This post was originally posted on Sheer Spirit, a cool blog much like this one focused on being a spiritual girl in a material world, back in December. To peep it in it's original form go to Essential You-ness.
“How would you define style?” I sat in my desk across from my instructor and thought long and hard for a second. We were talking about writing style but as the lone fashion girl in a room filled with an attorney, an administrator, a former reporter, an accountant, and a stay at home mom, my instructor felt I was the expert on defining the abstract idea of “style.” The best answer I could come up with was the concept of you-ness borrowed from the movie You, Me and Dupree. While it satisfied my instructor you-ness is a vague a notion as style, it’s something you can cultivate but cannot teach and when it’s absent you know it. You-ness is the essential driving force of your life, much like style drives your wardrobe choices, and if you don’t go out of your way to nurture it, you’ll be totally screwed.
I spent the past 15 years or so living fully in my them-ness, a state where I was defined by what I wanted “them” to think about me. This nameless, faceless “they” dictated what I wore, where I hung out & with who, what jobs were worthy of time, and even what I said at cocktail parties. I was constantly trying to make the perfect first impression in hopes that people would accept my self deprecating humor, impeccable taste in clothes and range of knowledge in pop culture first and then eventually accept me. Not that I gave them the chance to get to know the real me; I barely knew the real me. That all changed after a break up and job loss--in a 3 month span--forced me to stand on my own and stop relying on whoever “they” are for my sense of who I am.
Once the rug was pulled out from under me and I didn’t have a boyfriend to approve of my story ideas or a job to validate me, all I had was me. No titles, no outside approval, nothing be me, my convictions, my passions, my light and my dark. There was no one to blame, push away or lean on. For the first time in years, I began to hear and listen to that still little voice inside telling me that it would be ok. The more I listened, the more it showed up and the more I showed up. Yes, I read self help books, confided in a therapist, dove into yoga and began to mediate not medicate but I would have never found any of those things if I was busy ignoring that inner voice and doing what everyone told me to.
The operative word in the phrase “your life” is your. No one can tell you what to do, say, eat, wear or make you feel inferior without you acquiescing. So stop listening to them, me included, and listen to you because at the end of the day your most important and long lasting relationship is the one you have with yourself. Start nurturing your you-ness, conquering your shyness, embracing your flyness, and realize that you’ll never be happy with the money, the ring, the job or the shoes if you aren’t happy with you first.
Happiness is generally regarded as a fleeting emotion, one that we chase with fervor and are never quite certain when we've attained it. Even if we are certain, we know that one day soon, without warning, it's going to slip through our fingers and we'll be back to miserable, anxious, depressed, meh. We believe that everything but happiness is our natural state ignoring the fact that we come into the world happy and excited to be here until the world teaches us that we have everything to fear and loathe and nothing to be happy about that isn't tangible.
Driving on autopilot to meet my mom at work on the other side of town, a fit of warmth and happiness moved over me when I had every reason to be upset. Moments earlier I'd returned from my lunch break only to be dismissed from my job in a very surreptitious manner. I was caught off guard--which I really hate, and a bit stunned like when someone slaps you in the face or throws a drink at you, but I wasn't upset. (I'm only guessing, no one has ever had the audacity to either one of those things to me and would probably be in jail if they did.) Not an ounce of hurt or anger moved through me, just relief. Even as I relayed the news to my mother, I was still stunned but not at all angry or fearful or any of those emotions that rise up when someone feels wronged. I was actually more shocked that my emotions remained as happy and optimistic as they were when I woke up that morning than I was about me being fired. I felt relieved, for too many reasons to count none of which are connected to my ability to do my job.
There used to be a point in my life when things just happened to me. I slipped unconsciously into the passive voice and willingly surrendered the power to create my own life to racist editors, girls who were born with sliver spoons and people who had more credentials than I did. Not realizing that by waving a white flag and bending to their will, I was purposefully creating a life where I was at the mercy of everyone else. As I drove home after helping my mom chaperone a middle school dance--thank God I don't have kids yet, I remembered the conversation I had immediately preceding my termination and it amounted to me saying I was ready to take a big risk and move on from a job that I was just comfortable doing. I wanted work that I was passionate about and while I liked my job, my passion was reserved for the time spent in front of my computer doing exactly what I'm doing now. (That is not to say I was about to quit or had even begun looking for a new job, I was just ready for change.) Funny thing is, the last time I said I was ready for a career change was around the same time last year a day before I found out the store I was working at was closing and with little effort I walked form that job into the one I just lost. I don't believe in coincidences.
Am I jumping for joy that I lost my job? No, who does that? But I am all good. At no point did I entertain the thought that this somehow makes me a failure or means that I suck at life. People get fired all the time for various reasons that have everything and nothing to do with their abilities to fail or succeed at life. Actually if you measure your failure or success at life by how well you do something that takes up 8 out of 24 hours of your day, you may need to rethink a few things. Which is the point. Your happiness, feelings of self worth and success are all internals. Jobs, relationships, brown boots that you love more than life, all come and go in time and yes it fucking sucks when they do, but those external circumstances have nothing to do with who you are. How you handle the ebb and flow of life is how you can tell if you are truly happy with you. So of course I wanted to scream fuck you to the people sitting across the table from me as they told me to fork over their stuff and go (they didn't say it like that at all) but I didn't. I just rolled out and got on with my life. I've forgiven them for what I felt was an unprovoked wrong and that's that. One monkey don't stop the show and one sudden shower shouldn't ruin your day. I guess that officially makes me a happy person. Keep that on the low though I don't want to ruin my street cred.
Just because the last few weeks of 2012 are all about manifesting amazing shifts for 2013, I'm sharing this great vid by my fave spiritual gangster Gabrielle Bernstein. She is actually giving away her December coaching class, all about manifesting, to everyone who pre-orders her new book May Cause Miracles. I did coaching with her in January and it was amaze so you know I'm already booked up for the December class. Get grateful and get your manifesting on.