Life speaks to us all the time. Mine wouldn’t let me sleep last night. I had some unexpressed anger to feel, so I got up at 4 AM and wrote it out. My favorite anger release is to go outside and play “Little John” by smacking some dead trees with my staff, but it’s too damn cold for that.
Anger is an emotion that begins first as a feeling (physical vibration) in our bodies. But if we don’t give it the space and time to be felt, it will just duck under the covers of our consciousness and come back to bite us in the ass later. Feelings don’t morph into emotions until we attach thoughts to them. When we don’t feel a feeling and instead judge it as good or bad, it must surface in the way we’ve labeled it.
On Monday I got some disappointing feedback, not in its truth but in its delivery. I’d shared my vulnerability with a friend and asked him to be gentle, supportive and encouraging, regardless of the quality of the work I’d submitted, for his review. For some unknown reason, he was unnecessarily harsh. But since I wanted the feedback, I silently listened and took notes. Interestingly I’d just written about support and speaking up.
I knew that my friend’s behavior was just a trigger for a deeper self-anger that I’d buried. I’ve previously shared the techniques I use to feel my feelings and about the power in begin pissed. So I’ll not cover that ground again. But I would like to write about accepting our darker sides.
Authenticity isn’t just something that we express when every thing is coming up roses. It’s also authentic to be pissed when you feel off kilter and anger is trying to surface. Years ago I quit wearing the mask of false happiness. While writing this I was tweeting back and forth with fellow coach Tim Brownson when he half-jokingly said.
I don’t even know what authentic is other than to be doing what I want to be doing. Tim Brownson
Thanks Tim, that seems like a pretty powerful definition to me.
But is it advisable to share ones authentic darker side, in a public forum like Twitter?
A well-known social media expert recently tweeted something like this. “Don’t share anything here that you wouldn’t put up on billboards all over town.” Even that pissed me off, because he seemed to be saying, “wear the mask – don’t be real – be careful.” Bullshit to that! I wouldn’t pay to express my anger on a billboard but I’ll not run from it either.
Perhaps people, who play it safe and cautious, end up doing business with others who also value appropriateness over authenticity. I guess playing it safe could be genuine for them. But when I see someone holding back, I question his or her integrity. I think trust comes first, from simply being real.
I’ll close with my favorite three stanzas from The Invitation, by Oriah Mountain Dreamer.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon…
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shriveled and closed
from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it. Oriah Mountain Dreamer