I wrote this a couple years ago based on a personal experience which really opened my eyes and brought personal growth in my life. I want to post to post it here as a reminder to myself and others let those layers get peeled away and keep growing.
I feel like an onion with a stinky new layer exposed.
Brene Brown is one of my favorite authors. In her book, The Gifts of Imperfection she lists
“10 Guideposts for Wholehearted Living”. My latest personal life-lesson reinforced the first one on her list: “Cultivating authenticity; Letting go of what people think”.
I am such a work in progress. Ugh! I am trying to walk my talk and own my truth – no matter how uncomfortable that might be. So here is the latest layer of my exposed oniony self.
I have been routinely, and unconsciously, violating three of my top six personal values.
#1 on my “To Live by” list is Authenticity / Genuineness: To be true to who I am.
#2 is Connecting with others in loving, respectful, and meaningful ways.
#6 is Honesty (which I actually considered a part of #1)
I have not been living in integrity in these areas. Yikes!
That’s right: I have been a liar – and I didn’t even realize I was doing it.
In the book, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, the first agreement is to “Be impeccable with your word”. I have actually been proud of how honest I am. I have thought of myself as a very honest person; authentic and genuine. First and foremost. NOT.
How did I come to this painful realization?
I already knew that I have this tendency to leave things unfinished at times. I get a new idea or a new project calls my name. “Oh, look. A shiny new penny.” I get distracted. I move on, sometimes leaving things almost done. That is some- thing I was aware of. I have been working on it.
But my coach brought something new to my attention. That habit of leaving things incomplete is a form of not keeping my word to myself. OK. Great. I can see that. I can work on that. Awareness itself will help me “be impeccable with my word” to myself.
Well, that was the thin layer of onion that was holding a big thick, potent, bring tears to my eyes, layer in place.
Let me try to explain. I recently had a house guest. This person just seemed to push my but- tons and left me resentful. What did I say? “Come back any time!” “You are always welcome.” Did I mean it? NO! The People-Pleaser in me showed up.
I looked at the behaviors and attitudes that pushed my buttons and realized that – YEP! I have those – and I don’t like them.
But, I found myself saying things I didn’t mean in an attempt to be Nice & Sweet & Loving and I felt resentful. I felt kind of squished and tight inside. I was not connecting with this person in a loving, respectful, and meaningful way. I was not being honest, authentic or genuine with any- one. So, I started looking at other times I have felt resentful. Sure enough – it is usually be- cause I have been out of integrity with those values that I hold the highest and most precious.
Any time I said, “I don’t care” when I did care or “it doesn’t matter” when it did matter or “you de- cide” when I knew what I wanted; every time I said, “oh, I’d love to…” when really I didn’t want to. All the times I opened my mouth and spoke words of ‘kindness’ that were not from my heart, I was being dishonest with myself and the person, or people, I was speaking to. OUCH! I am not proud of this. It is what it is.
So, what’s my answer? If I am honest, (oh there’s that word again) the qualities I disliked in this house-guest boiled down to them acting bossy and opinionated. I am aware that I can be those things. I am also aware that I had judged those qualities as not the best. Somewhere along my lifeline I decided not to be “that way” which left me swallowing my truth, being “nice” and then resentful.
But, that darned, bossy, opinionated Peggy has popped out in some pretty inopportune ways regardless.
So, for one thing, I need to continually be aware of my judgements and accept ALL of myself, finding the gifts in all of my qualities and learning to use them appropriately.
I have decided that my bossy, opinionated voice is OK if I can learn to speak my opinions with love and kindness and, hopefully, without hurting someone else. Do I need to tell someone they are not welcome back? No. Not in this case. But, I don’t need to speak dishonestly either.
I can learn to sift my responses through the truth and just keep my mouth shut sometimes. Don’t invite resentment. Don’t agree to things I don’t want to do. Don’t be phony. Just be. I am a kind person. I am loving. I am a sweet onion. But I am also a strong onion. I have opinions that deserve to be heard. Once in a while, someone needs to be the “boss” and make a deci- sion. I need to use my voice, when appropriate, to speak my truth in love. I matter. We all do.
That “thin layer” that I thought was the small thing actually ended up being the most important layer after all. In the end, what really matters is that I am impeccable with my word to my- self.
I want to be authentic and genuine, and honest and loving and respectful to MYSELF.
That’s where it starts. That’s the membrane that holds me together. In the end, Peggy lives with Peg- gy. My goal is to start filtering all my responses through my most cherished values and follow Shakespeare’s advice. “To thine own self be true.”
People pleasing stands in the way of my authenticity and honesty. It also stands in the way of kind, loving connection. I want to speak the truth in love. I will speak the truth in love.
How about you? What are your most important values? Are there any ways in which you are out of alignment with them?
Here is a personal-growth challenge: Notice where you feel resentment, anger, or stress. What pushes your buttons? Then ask your heart to shine light on areas of unawareness, judgement, or values conflict. Remember to be accepting, compassionate, and loving with yourself! (How was that for BOSSY?) We are all wonderful works in progress.
Thanks for being you!