Love, Confidence and Courage
I woke up to these words today. It took me a while to process the words, the dreams that led to them and the ultimate messages. It was worth the effort.
Let me share some context and let’s see if there’s something in here for you, too.
Before I went to bed last night, I re-read the end of the Will Smith book, Will, where he was facing his fears and learning how to be a “Freestanding Man” – someone who is self-aware, self-reliant, self-motivated and utterly unswayed by people’s approval or disapproval. He was learning how to be honest and authentic while releasing his lifelong need for approval from others.
My mind wouldn’t let go of conversation he had with his therapist: “As long as you do things for the approval of [someone else], you will never be free. That is a descending hell.”
The therapist went on to explain that when people see that they can bend you, they lose trust in you: “We need you to be solid; we need your ‘yes’ to be a yes and your ‘no’ to be a no. As long as you are twisting and contorting and selling yourself out for the affection of others, you will always be untrustworthy.”
How about that direct dagger to chill the people-pleaser right out of you!
As my mind slowly churned through these concepts and world events, I fell into Alice’s Wonderland. In my dream, I found myself walking on a hill with people laughing and playing off to my right, when suddenly the hill turned into a narrow, crumbling ledge with a precarious drop off to my right. I experienced palpable fear as I was cautiously trying to make my way forward.
Out of nowhere, a stranger showed up on the ledge with me. He initially shared my fear of the situation. But he was wiser than I. As I watched him, his face shifted from a furrowed brow to a peaceful smile. Unexpectedly, he put his finger in his mouth and made a loud popping sound as he plucked his finger out of his mouth! Then, he turned and looked at me, smiled and stepped off the ledge.
Pan in to see me in jaw dropping shock!
He refused to let fear stop him, so he looked it in the face, laughed and did the very thing he was afraid of to remove its power over him. I could still hear people having fun on the other side, which reminded me that the thing we fear is often not real, rather it’s a distorted, conjured up image in our mind and what we find on the other side of fear is actually supportive to our lives.
I was transported from the ledge to a strange college setting where a mean bully was berating a young student for poorly speaking Russian while taking a Russian language class (Clearly my subconscious mind had been watching the news!). No one stood up for the student, so I stepped in the ring and reminded the bully that the Russian language is one of the toughest languages to learn and it takes time to master it.
I didn’t barge in, warrior up and respond with similar meanness; rather, I took a calm yet firm, direct and engaging approach. And I didn’t flinch in the face of the bully.
At first, I wondered if I should have taken a stronger approach in her support, but then I realized that the point was to use my voice in an authentic way to help someone who needs assistance; to stand up for those who need assistance, for those who don’t have a voice, for those who need protecting by speaking my truth from my power, not by being a bully in return.
I also looked at my dream and recognized this scenario may appear insignificant and minor, especially if you compare it to what’s happening in the Ukraine and the unimaginable brave measures some citizens are taking to face an overwhelming destructive force. But this is not a game of comparisons. This is life asking you to respond to situations that you face that call to you to take action.
That’s all we’re asked to do friends. Take an authentic stand for what you believe in and do it from your center of power.
Finally, I was trying to park my car in a strange lot that looked like someone’s backyard and it was impossible the way the cars were arranged. After struggling trying to force a fit that was not possible, I finally asked someone to move her car in a way that would allow for both of us to park our cars which she gladly did.
The simple lesson: don’t try to force something that won’t work. Instead, ask for what you need to arrive at a workable solution. People are happy to help so stop struggling and ask for what you need. And if you don’t know what you need, ask for help to figure it out.
As I drifted to a new day, I awoke to a message encouraging me to come to the table with love, confidence and courage to be a trustworthy force for good. It was the first time in a long time that I woke up with a deep-seated feeling of peace, hope and possibility. I held on to it all day. It’s still here now as I share it with you. Perhaps it will find its way into your dreams.
May you find peace in your heart and dare to step through your fear to take an authentic stand for what you believe in. Ask for what you need and give generously in return. Together, we can make a difference.