If It’s In You, Put it Out There.
I saw the title sentence in a magazine once. I cut it out and put it on my vision board. It resonated with me so much because for a good part of my life I felt there was something in me. I felt that no one saw me for who I was. The image in my head about who Charlene is didn’t quite match the reality of how I interacted with and was perceived by others. For years I felt that there was something in me that no one else could see and perhaps no one even wanted to see. But then I realized that no one saw me for who I was because I didn’t show them who I was.
I may have told this story on one of my podcast episodes. It had such an effect on me and I didn’t even know it.
When I was a kid, first grade or so, I was outside at a baseball field with my parents, brother and sister. I believe my brother was playing in a t-ball game. I was standing on the family car crying. I don’t know why I was crying. I think I may have wet my pants. I don’t even know if I remember the event. But I certainly remember the video tape. That video recording was played in my household throughout my childhood. Each time I felt embarrassed, ashamed and alone. No one stuck up for me. No one noticed my pain. I learned at a very young age that people can be mean, judgmental and inconsiderate. They will have a good laugh at your expense. And then look at you like you’re crazy for being offended.I learned at a very young age that people can be mean, judgmental and inconsiderate. Click To Tweet
This is not a dig at my family. It’s life. I told this story at a Toastmasters meeting and one of the other members came up to me afterward. He had the biggest smile on his face while he told me a very similar thing happened to him. So it happens. It’s not just me. However, we do all process and react to things differently. My reaction birthed a lot of insecurities and fear of judgement.
So I hid. I hid literally and figuratively. I didn’t want to be the center of attention. I didn’t want to be elevated (standing on the car). I didn’t want to be judged. So what I had inside of me stayed tucked inside. I built a wall around myself to protect myself. Yet overtime I realized I had suffocated myself.
I was dying behind that brick wall. I often wished and silently pleaded that someone would give me permission to be seen. I wanted and waited for someone to call my name. To ask for my opinion. Put me at the microphone. In elementary school, I remember writing a speech that no one asked for and no one would ever hear. Even back then something inside of me wanted to come out and I longed to put it out into the world.
In class often times I knew the answer to the question the teacher posed, but I couldn’t raise my hand. The fear of judgement and the second guessing paralyzed my arm. It was super glued to my thighs while my soul slowly died.
Something was inside of me. It wanted to come out, but I suppressed it over and over again. Not intentionally. Subconsciously. Unknowingly I cut off my own air supply day after day thinking I was saving myself. Protecting myself. All the while I was gasping for air, short of breath. I thought the symptom was due to my flaws. What was a shortness of breath due to my self suppression I mistook for a shortness of worth. I hid even more.
I’ve often heard coaches and motivational speakers advising you to stop waiting for permission. Lisa Nichols says it often. It actually never resonated with me. You see I don’t think people are waiting for permission in this sense of “can I do this?” People are (I was) waiting for someone to say, “you are safe.”
“I just stopped asking permission and just gave notice unapologetically.” – Lisa Nichols
We long for someone to say it is safe for us to take what is inside of us, the flaws, the craziness, the unpopular opinions, the tears, the desires, the ideas, the change of hearts, the mistakes, the insecurities, the passion, the faith, the confusion, the fear, and put it out there. I wanted to know that if I give the world me the world wouldn’t drop me. I wanted it to know how precious and fragile I am. I wanted it to realize the courage I had to muster up to even put the real me into it and to be gentle with me. I wanted to be assured that the real me would be safe in the world.
I wasn’t really waiting for permission. I was waiting for safety. It’s one of our most basic needs per Maslow.
Because we’re taught our whole life that we’re not safe. Life isn’t safe. Every time we are picked on, laughed at, scolded at, or disapproved of we learn just how risky and unkind life can be. Every time we have an idea that isn’t received or an answer that tinkles the classroom pink at our expense we are reminded just how vulnerable and fragile we are. Almost every day we can be on the verge of getting dropped by life and breaking into pieces.
We try to protect ourselves at all costs because we crave safety, wholeness, and belonging. I’ve learned that that’s not the answer. If I truly want to protect and preserve who I am, the real me, I have to take what is tucked inside of me and put it out there at all costs. I’ve learned that suppressing myself and holding back is riskier than showing up and being seen, flaws and all.Trying to protect or spare yourself is riskier than putting the real you out there. Click To Tweet
It’s absolutely crazy that I’m here at this place in my life. I started a blog, fromcaterpillarstobutterflies.com. It’s almost three years old. I’ve told ALL my business. My health issues, my relationship woes, my desires for marriage and kids. Now random men are emailing me carrying on, calling me beautiful. 😂😂😂 (That’s probably why I’m single. I’m a bit stuck up about it. You think I blog so you can hit on me?! It reminds me of 50 First Dates, one of my fav movies. Drew Barrymore’s character goes to eat breakfast at the same place every morning. Adam Sandler’s character is interested in her so he starts showing up every morning too. The chef is like, “You think she wants to be hit on while she’s having her breakfast?” or something like that 😂).
I wrote a book and actually published it (and continue to sell copies). Check it out here: From Caterpillar to Butterfly: Transform the Life You Have into the Life You Love.
I have spoken in front of rooms full of strangers. There was a time I didn’t even want to raise my hand in a room full of classmates I knew by name and saw everyday. I’ve grown and I’ve changed because I’ve learned that I HAVE to put what’s inside of me out into the world. It’s not an option. It’s a must.
Anytime we try to protect our feelings, get all prideful, or otherwise suppress what we really feel and want we’re doing more damage than we do when we let the real us out. I think the stab of judgement or ridicule hurts more. But the stab of holding in what begs to come out hurts longer. It can pain you for a lifetime.
So it’s better to put it out there. Maybe get a little bruised in the process. But then dust yourself off and raise your head high knowing that you did it. You held back nothing. You suppressed not a doggone thing. You took what was inside of you and flung it into the world.
Confidence is not “they will like me”. Confidence is “I’ll be fine if they don’t” .
So whatever is inside of you put it out there. You have my permission. It’s completely safe. Or maybe it’s not safe. Maybe you will get hurt and rejected, but you’ll survive. And beyond surviving you will be able to live. Truly live. Perhaps you, like me, will no longer need an oxygen mask. You’ll no longer gasp for air every day of your life.
Instead you will be the air for everyone else around you who can’t breathe and are suffocating in the misguided hopes of protecting themselves.
So instead of protecting yourself or saving yourself have enough courage to be yourself. And if it’s in you, whatever is in you, put it out there…every chance you get.
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