How to Be Emotionally Transparent Without Feeling Destroyed

We all are a compilation of our experiences, memories, and perception of those. What we learn from them is the key. Chosen change—or unchosen change—all eventually has to be accepted and digested, and then life continues.

What key points of your life have affected your way of living and what you share or don’t? How could that change if you found the place and person to share what you have not shared, to say what you have not said, and to dream out loud with a caring listener?

Responses to events are mediated. In other words, once an event takes place, our responses—our behaviors—are shaped by

  • Our interpretation of the event, a consequence of our beliefs, attitudes, and assumptions.
  • The feelings generated by those beliefs, attitudes, and assumptions.

Those beliefs, attitudes, and assumptions are the preexisting lenses we wear and look through, which determine or at least color our observation and interpretation of events.

Discover ways and means to be naked emotionally when it is safe and secure, and you will find yourself feeling more whole and open in the right times, places, and circumstances and with the right people. And you will become more REAL.

We often think we are not perfect. In fact, perfect does not exist. We are all unique and one of a kind with a calling or life purpose for being on this planet. Imperfections, as we call them, are just uniqueness. You are not in a baking contest, per se. You are living your life, and judgment from others is only their point of view, neither right nor wrong.

What do you think about you? Who are you in essence? Can you love yourself and then change what you choose to change for you? Because you want to; not because others say you should. Once you accept that imperfections make us homemade, you can begin to embrace the meaning of real.

To be real, you have to risk not meeting other people’s expectations, and you have to be willing to meet the parts of yourself you have been trying to deny. Our flaws are merely the shadow aspect of our potential. They long to be held, cherished, nurtured, and brought into the light. Once we can honor our flaws and remain open to our potential, we can move toward our dreams, just as Vikki was able to turn shame into poetry. And once you live your life that way, you inspire others to do the same. Once you become real, you encourage others to live life more on the edge, to take chances, to not be shamed, and to exemplify a sense of wonder, curiosity, and openness rather than cynicism, fear, and loneliness.

I had a client whose life changed radically once she was willing to get real with me as we worked together to take a closer look at her motives. I specialized in coaching attorneys for several years as part of a business development course they took. My goal was to help each lawyer implement new strategies to work more efficiently, cultivate his or her ideal client base, and meet more of his or her personal goals.

A few months into the coaching, I sensed a lack of motivation on one of my client’s part. I asked about it. I knew she was successful, made great money, and even liked many of her clients. Valerie was a contract lawyer and did estate planning. I asked her to tell me how and why she became an attorney. What did she like about the law?

Her response was to pause for several seconds. Then she said, “I never really wanted to be a lawyer. My dad wanted me to and said I could segue into his successful practice.”

As it turned out, law was never her dream. It was her father’s.

“What was your dream?” I asked.

“I always wanted to be a teacher, but my father said that career was not good enough for me.”

“So you’ve been living someone else’s dream,” I said, exposing the truth for her.

To become real is to risk baring your truth to someone. Take the leap of nakedness.

Valerie wanted to teach. She found herself happiest when leading seminars on estate planning or teaching at women’s shelters and other community organizations. I explored what her response would be if a teaching opportunity came up. She said she had never given it much thought. I then coached her to look for opportunities at local colleges, especially law schools, where she would have the necessary expertise.

Several months later, after expressing her interest in a teaching position, a well-known law school in her state asked her to apply. Anticipating an imminent job offer, I then coached her on how to have a truthful conversation with her parents.

Even though she anticipated the conversation with dread, after she had shared her part, her father told her that he was proud of her for being so truthful. He had only assumed she wanted to be a lawyer like him because she seemed to like it. She cried as she related the conversation, and I told her how much it touched me as well.

She ended up closing her law practice after a few months and taking the job. She adjusted her lifestyle to match her lower salary and reported she was happier than she had been in years. Wow! She was dating a wonderful man and doing what she loved while still honoring her field of expertise.

In what ways do you hide from your own truth? In what ways does your desire to be good get in the way of your own happiness?

Your shadow, your unconscious potential, contains many valuable insights that need to be plumbed. You can do this by journaling, reflecting, and/or working with a coach. Coaches ask what we in the trade refer to as powerful questions, those that evoke new thinking, visions, and possibilities.

Here are some examples of powerful questions:

  • If money were no issue, what would you be doing?
  • What assumptions are you making, and what are the facts?
  • How would you like things to be different a year from now?
  • What are you missing or avoiding?
  • What dreams have you given up on?

To become real is to risk baring your truth to someone. Take the leap of nakedness. You will discover, many masters have taught, the part of us that wants to become is fearless.

When we let go of needing it to look a certain way, the imperfect becomes our paradise.


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