At one of my recent workshops on freeing the power of your voice, I did an exercise with the audience of businesswomen that I learned from Noor Tagouri at an event we both spoke at, who learned it from some young women at a college she spoke at, who probably learned it from a MTV reality show.
I don’t normally get groundbreaking content from MTV reality shows, but I experienced the power of this exercise first-hand during Noor’s talk.
Participants are asked to finish this statement: If you really knew me, you’d know…
The simplicity of the statement and anonymity of writing it down brings out a raw honesty I’ve not seen before from conference participants.
It also brings out some tears, ah-has, and for me, deep empathy for all the unnecessary suffering and heartache I heard both times from so many of the women who participated.
Here are a few from my workshop: If you really knew me, you’d know…
- Even though I look really put together, I’m a recovering mess.
- I control everything because others have broken my trust in the most basic ways.
- That I am my worst critic – nothing I do is entirely right and it’s paralyzing.
- That even though I’m an extrovert, I live with constant and crippling anxiety.
- My exterior is tough but deep down I have insecurity and self-doubt.
- That it is difficult for me to show or share my true feelings.
- I’m happy on the outside and really hurting on the inside.
- I’m scared I’ll never live up to my potential.
- I never really feel “enough.”
I shed a tear for every one of the women who shared the pain that’s holding them back from living their full and true lives. From feeling their total worth and power. From fully loving and accepting themselves for the beautiful women they are and… for relating to every single one of them.
Can you relate?
Are there secret insecurities, fears, doubts, and anxieties you’re holding within that are holding you back from living your best life?
Well, you’re certainly not alone.
Despite the anguish I felt over these women’s deepest thoughts and feelings, I loved how connected it made me feel to a room of anonymous people who no longer felt like strangers. Our kinship held together by painful truths and shared trauma.
It’s mind-boggling to know that even in a room full of successful, professional women, the majority of them felt, in some way, not enough.
Imagine what that self-image does to your relationship with yourself.
If that’s hard to think about, imagine how you’d feel if your friend, partner, or child felt this way about themselves.
You’d probably want to tell them they’re crazy. That their best qualities definitely outweigh their worst. That they are loving, wonderful people who deserve all the best. That they should love themselves as much as you love them. That they are enough.
You may even go so far as to tell them you love them unconditionally.
Even with their flaws and sometimes negative behavior, and definitely without concern for their failures, you love them.
Although they can sometimes be a jerk or make mistakes and may not be living up to their potential, they are still worthy of your love.
And, no matter what, you love them for who they are, not their title. You love their heart, not how much money they make. You love their beautiful soul, not their accomplishments.
You may even expect this kind of unconditional love from your loved ones. It’s a beautiful thing to give and receive.
But, what about you?
Is the love you feel and give yourself unconditional?
Do you love yourself for who you are… your heart and your beautiful soul?
Do you feel worthy of this kind of love?
Or, are you reserving it for when you find “the one”, finish that degree, land that job, fit into those jeans, are able to buy a house, or be that image you hold of someone who deserves love?
Stop waiting. Open the flood gates of self-love. Give yourself the kind of love and acceptance you’d give someone else you love. Practice radical self-love.
It’s radical because it affects the fundamental nature of your relationship to yourself and the world.
It’s radical because it may be an extreme departure from how you’ve been feeling about yourself.
It’s radical because it may require extravagant measures to accomplish.
But guess what?
You’re worth it.
And you’re already enough.
Share your radical self-love examples, exercises, and comments below!