No need to hide.
In the past, I wanted to portray myself in a way where others would think I had it all together. That I knew what I was doing. That I had everything I wanted. That I was “fine” and living a “fine” life the way I wanted to.
But I was hiding. I wasn’t allowing myself to be open and vulnerable. To be real and tell the truth. Why?
Patriarchal concepts, especially within my private equity job, played into my perception of myself. I used to armor myself, metaphorically, to put forward a competent, self-sufficient, capable version of myself who wasn’t emotional or sensitive. Who was there and could do the job no matter what, pick up the pieces for others–even at the expense of myself sometimes.
I didn’t give myself space to be authentic, partly because I didn’t know what that even meant for me. Who was I? What did I want? What brought me joy? I didn’t know the answers internally–I based what I wanted on external, societal, patriarchal values of what I “should” want or have for myself as a “successful” person.
I didn’t allow myself to be known because there were parts of myself that seemed unacceptable to me, because I thought they were weak. And I didn’t want other people to know about those parts.
It wasn’t until I started therapy after going through emergency open-heart surgery that I had a chance to look more closely at how I was living my life, by questioning beliefs I held that weren’t actually serving me, to redefine what success looked like and meant for me, to understand why I had armored and hid myself.
Through therapy, coaching, and deep self-care practices, I learned how to accept more parts of me, to start telling myself the truth about what I needed and wanted, about who I am. I learned how I can share myself with others in a more authentic way, to hold space for myself and for them to show up in real ways, not in people-pleasing ways.
I continue on this journey and I get to learn even more about myself and others along the way. I’m passionate about sharing how self-care can shift us to a place of self-acceptance and eventually to self-love.
Self-care is not just about bubble baths and massages–it goes beyond that, if we’re willing to see how powerful it can be.
Your turn: What parts of yourself have you been hiding and why? How would your life be different if you learned to accept those parts of yourself? How might practicing powerful self-care help you show up differently in the world, for yourself and for others?
Go beyond bubble baths. Find out more here.
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