Yesterday, at a media training workshop I was giving, I told the group that, though I’ve probably done 100s of TV interviews, particularly when I was working in the homeless-serving sector, I seldom looked at any of them.
What was I afraid of?
Well… first. I know the critter in my head. And, I know how self-judgemental he (me) can be. I didn’t want to subject myself to his tyranny of abuse and vitriol about how I move my facial muscles too much. I’m too animated. Too… this or that. Or… Not enough this or that… How I could have said this… better, more clearly, more emphatically. How I missed this opportunity, or that, to really get my point across… Yada. Yada. Yada.
What a missed opportunity!
Being able to learn from my own mistakes. Being able to watch myself in the environment where I was working to determine my strengths, areas needing improvement, and places I could strengthen my delivery, I simply refused to go. To accept the gift. I was too ‘vain’, self-conscious, and insecure to use those interviews to my advantage.
And here’s the thing. If I am to fall in love with myself, all of me, then I have to be willing to SEE all of me. To experience all of me. To know all of me. AND – To be KIND to all of me.
When I think about those missed opportunities to grow and learn from my own experience, the kindest thing I can do for myself today is, be kind in my reflections.
They are not about judging myself. My reflections are about seeing myself through the lens of ‘Oh my. How fascinating.’ and then, doing the thing I fear. Which in this case would be watching myself on camera — without the voice of judgment inspecting all I’m not doing right, or counting the wrinkles or booming out its condemnations and drowning out the voice of kindness that says, “You are brave Louise to do this. Let’s watch and see what you’ve done well here and see if there are places we can work together to improve your delivery.”
Which brings me back to these videos. I don’t like watching myself on camera — and here I am, every morning, putting myself in a position I fear.
Hmmmm…. Maybe, instead of looking for my perceived missteps, I need to celebrate the fact I’ve chosen to step into this arena and be present.
Maybe, I need to say to myself, “Louise, you’re doing okay. You are definitely learning as you grow into this process and you are giving your best. Your best is good enough.”
Because, a) I can’t do better than my best in this moment and b) I am doing this to learn — and part of that learning is to step into my fear and love myself in my fear and my courage.
Do you get what I’m saying?
Loving ourselves requires a willingness to embrace the light, darkness and shadows of ourselves.
It invites us to see more than our flaws. It invites us to witness and celebrate our successes, our courage, our willingness to unapologetically claim centre stage in our own lives.
If I am to age grace, if I am to claim all that I am as worthy, then I must choose to Love all of me for my courage to do just that.
Aging with grace isn’t about giving in. It’s about leaning deeply into the mystery, magic and wonder of this thing called life. This thing that changes us and all the world around us, every single moment we are alive.
I want to age with grace because for me, grace is a ‘criteria; word that extolls the beauty and majesty of being alive without fear pushing me into hiding or avoiding loving me, all of me, exactly as I am.