in search of (even more) grey

I keep finding myself stuck.

Stuck in the way other people do things.

Stuck in how I should present myself on social media if I want to coach/yoga teach/write/who knows what for a living eventually.

I’ve been holding myself back. I’ve read several places that those that are successful in places where I want to go, they don’t write about stuff until they have it figured it out. They don’t publish what’s going on when they are in the middle of their shit.

Well, guess what. That’s not me. And I’m tired of being quiet because I think I have to have it figured out before you will believe in me, have faith in me, take me seriously.

I have opinions. (Or, as Nathan says, I “just know things.”) And they are just forming. But just because they aren’t solidified doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t talk about them. Because, seriously? If I wait until I have it all figured out? I’ll just find something else to figure out and I’ll never write here again.

(#nowplaying : Do you know Radical Face? This song slays me.)

With that said, welcome to my latest Soapbox.

I want to preface this by saying that I’m not talking about anyone in particular, sweet friends. Not you, or you, or even you.  I follow a lot of people in social media. These are patterns that I see. I am a therapist at heart. I look for patterns and interactions. I look for ways I want to be present. And this is what I’m seeing.

There seems to be two polarizing schools of self-improvement floating around right now: permission and aggression. In theory, they both have their place. Permission is self-kindness, self-love, self-everything. Aggression is being hyper-focused, ignoring self in order to reach a goal, no-excuses-ever. I get both. And, at different times in my life, I’ve been in both places.

I get the appeal of both. I get how easy it is to get drawn into one or the other. It seems like such a continuum to me. And I see so much danger on both ends. And the trends are polarizing.

Too much permission? Things don’t get done. Important tasks get missed because what I really need/want/ is to lay here on the couch and watch another episode of SVU or Criminal Minds. Or maybe even watch one now and DVR the other. And that yoga prop? I want it, I’ll use it, so I’ll buy it. Who cares if I can afford it? I’ll figure it out. Yes, life is experienced. Yes, we learn about ourselves. But is what we are building making us truly happy? Are we creating happiness in our career? Are we living in line with our values or our whims? Are we just reacting to the Veruca Salt inside of us? The only thing that is important is happiness in this moment.

Too much aggression? This kills me, friends. Few things make me more sad on social media (well, except for surprise starving animals) than seeing my friends at war with themselves. Self-improvement as a battle that is just white-knuckled through. Denial of physical and emotional needs to check off a box or meet a goal. The only thing that is important is the goal, no matter the cost.

I’m trying really hard to find a balance with this with myself. Important goals, with flexibility. Staying focused and pursuing self-improvement with kindness and contentment. Trusting myself to know what I need, but being aware that I will have to step out of my comfort zone and my complacent nature from time to time.

Knowing what my heart wants. Moving. Noticing. Adjusting. Moving. Noticing. Adjusting.

But I’m afraid that there’s no glamor in this middle ground.

Is it accessible? Yes.

Is it a realistic way to create lasting change? Yes.

Is it kind and loving with necessary pieces of self-redirection and even a nudge from someone who knows what you really want? Yes.

But it isn’t flashy. It doesn’t have an impressive before/after picture. It doesn’t look good on pinterest or instagram.

And I’ve realized that it doesn’t matter.

It is something that I want to live. I’ve been working really hard at it.

And it is something that I want to give to you, to show you, to bring to you.

But I don’t have to wait until I have it all figured out.

Of course, I’ll be writing about it here on the blog. I also send out more vulnerable stuff to my newsletter subscribers (get on the list here) and I love using my Instagram feed for mini-blogposts as well.

Finding the grey, friends. Story of my life.

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5 Comments

  1. I love this post- the thing is grey space isn’t sexy- but it is REAL and the more we strive for the life of flashy instagram and pinterest, the more unhappy we are. I think it’s important to talk about the grey- about the struggle, while you’re in it. It helps to combat the falsehood of perfection, of “if only”. I think that until we accept and embrace the grey, the discomfort, the feeling of loneliness, we can’t truly grow and be at peace with ourselves. It’s the human condition. The blogs I appreciate most are those that embrace the grey- it’s not easy or flashy, but it’s real and I appreciate that from you!

  2. Love, love, love. Over the last year, you’ve helped me to see that living in the grey area is not a bad place to be. If I’m being completely honest, this time in my life is probably the happiest that I’ve ever been. Thank you for being willing to share the not so glamours parts of your journey!

  3. I love this… you’re right, the grey isn’t sexy, but it’s real and authentic and it’s one of the aspects of your blog that hasn’t changed in the years I’ve been following along.

    I’m glad you’re not waiting until you have it “figured out.” There is a lot of beauty in the figuring process, and it’s an honor to be invited to bear witness and be a part of that with you.

  4. I love this, for so many reasons. But also, I have loved your blog these days more then I ever have – love the transition(ing, as it’s not over yet) and maybe it’s just because it’s more in tune of where I am at right now – either way, I am so happy after reading it, helps me through my own thoughts. Like Stephanie says, it’s an honor to be invited to bear witness to this process!

  5. This really resonates with me. My husband and I often discuss how the “boring middle,” the nuance, the shades of gray, are unsexy and unglamorous. But they are just about always the perfectly right thing for us. In almost everything. Religion/spiritual matters, health, habits, etc. All of it.
    Great stuff here. I am glad you shared it 🙂

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