6 Words that Change Everything

You get to be 100% yourself, 100% of the time! 

It’s true: this is 10 words (plus the two %-signs). I’m getting to the 6-word version. Stick with me.

One of the primary reasons I remain compelled by and committed to the “be-100%-yourself” idea, by authenticity itself, is because it serves as a direct contradiction to patriarchy, capitalism, and all that (endlessly) strives to keep us “in our place,” silenced, shut down, and often shamed. We live in a world that is adamantly committed to us NOT being 100% ourselves. It wants us wanting. It wants us to see ourselves as not enough. And it wants us endlessly searching for (and buying) any and everything that we’ve become convinced will make us better, more, perfect, seen, heard, valued, worthy . . . Blech!  With authenticity, all of this falls away. You are no longer lured by the promise of a future or “someday” you because the current you is 100% present and accounted for. More than enough. And never too much. I’m also compelled by you being 100% yourself, 100% of the time because it serves as an incredibly  powerful discernment tool.When you’re NOT being 100% yourself, 100% of the time, you have something VERY specific to look at, be curious about and investigate. Here’s what I mean:

  • Consider a scenario or situation in which you felt “off.” Maybe something just wasn’t right. Maybe you were uncomfortable, even if only internally. Maybe you sensed tension – whether within or without. Maybe there was an edge of insecurity that hovered around you . . . or a tinge of anger. Maybe you pulled back or withdrew. Maybe you withheld your opinion. Maybe you felt ever-so-slightly (or blatantly) invisible.
  • Now, as you place yourself back in that particular scene, ask yourself this question: Was I being 100% myself?

When I look back on so many conversations, circumstances, relationships, even jobs in which I felt “off” (or any of the other myriad possibilities named above) I already know the answer to the question. “No. I was not being 100% myself.” Instead of being irritated by such, ashamed, frustrated, or self-berating, I can choose to be curious. I have new questions to ask. New things to wonder about. And new data to rely on that is housed in my very emotions and body! Here’s a quick example:In my most recent corporate position, after a sudden and shocking leadership change, I found myself feeling an increasing level of irritation. I was frustrated almost all the time. I felt levels of tension and stress that had not existed before. I was pouring one extra glass of wine at night. I woke up feeling exhausted before I even began another day. It took me a while to acknowledge any of this, believe me; but once I looked closely enough to determine what had changed, I saw that, indeed, I was NOT being 100% myself. My relationship with my new boss had me second-guessing myself, compromising, complying, and feeling a low-grade level of fear that I’d do the wrong thing. In both big and small ways, I was contorting myself into what I thought he wanted me to be. This was a powerful “seeing” for me. It allowed me to put my emotions and bodily responses in the context of authenticity (or lack thereof), I had all the discernment I could have needed – and the necessary next steps. Clearly, the work ahead was to be 100% myself, no matter what; to watch what would happen when I was genuine and authentic 100% of the time; to not compromise or comply; to choose to trust my voice, my perspective, my opinions, my experience – come what may. I knew it wouldn’t go smoothly. I knew I would ruffle some feathers and upset an apple cart or two. I also knew that I couldn’t not be me! Not anymore. Not after years and years (and years) of doing so throughout my life. Not after working so hard to identify who that 100%-me actually was!It didn’t take long (less than a month, I think) before it became clear that I could not stay. Of course, I felt every bit of the risk and fear that went along with this. I was severing myself from my source of income, after all! But at the very same time, I felt confident, sure, and strong. I trusted myself and my decision. Being less than 100% myself was no longer tenable.

So, the 6-Words that change everything form themselves into a question:

Am I being 100 percent myself? 

I’d cannot encourage you strongly enough to ask yourself this question again and again and again. NOT from a place of self-critique or self-criticism or irritation or shame; rather, from a place of gentle and grace-filled curiosity. When your answer is “no,” you now have information, data, and context to work with. That’s exciting! It means you can ask another whole series of questions that helps you understand and discern even more!

  • Why am I not being 100% myself in this situation?
  • What would happen if I was?
  • What is it costing me to be less than 100% myself? Where else and how is this impacting me in other aspects of my life?
  • Is there a pattern (or a person) that consistently brings this tension to the fore for me? What does that awareness invite me to explore?
  • What behavior(s) do I demonstrate that lets me know I’m not being 100% myself?
  • What emotion(s) do I feel that give me a clue that I’m not being 100% myself?
  • What happens in my physical body as powerful reminder that I’m not being 100% myself?
  • In what small (or large) ways can I experiment with being 100% myself when this situation presents itself again?

We know when we’re in the company of someone who has cut through hesitation to be brilliant, gentle, ridiculous and natural. They evince the most compelling and authoritative quality there is. Enough, just be who you are.” ~ Susan PiverWhen you are 100% yourself, 100% of the time, YOU are that person! Brilliant. Gentle. Ridiculous. Natural. Amazing. Wise. Witty. Kind. Generous. Creative. Courageous. Strong. Tender. Compassionate. Winsome. Grounded. Whole. You evince the most compelling and authoritative quality there is. You are enough. Just be who you are. No hesitation at all.

May it be so!

Treasuring All that is Precious

As I write this (early January, 2023), I am in Toronto at the home of my dear friend, Tanya Geisler. I was scheduled to fly there nearly three years ago, but had to cancel at the last minute because of my dad’s sudden and unexpected illness, days thereafter, his death. Then Covid. And border restrictions. And leaving my job. And moving across the country. And life. Now, at last, as of this past Thursday, I am here.

Tanya and I met online more than a decade ago. 2010, if I were to take a guess. I knew of her and somehow, shockingly, she knew of me. I decided to invite a small group of women to an in-person event, certain every one of them would say no. Three days together with no agenda—just time and space. All of them said yes, instead. Tanya was one of them.

She flew out of Toronto. Changed planes somewhere in the U.S. Landed in Seattle. Took a shuttle to the ferry dock. Took a ferry to Whidbey Island. Took another shuttle to where I picked her up. Then, having never seen me in person and after travelling for far too many hours and feeling a three-hour time difference, she jumped out of the van and literally ran to me, arms wide open. That embrace? Words fail me.

When I got here three nights ago, I felt that same embrace.

I leave tomorrow. She’ll embrace me one more time. It seems too soon. I cannot, would not trade these precious days for anything in the world.


My mom, knowing how much I love the writing of Ann Patchett, recently told me about her latest book, a collection of essays entitled, These Precious Days. My library loan expired before I got all the way through it, but I’m back on the waiting list. Before it was out of my grasp, I highlighted these words:

I’d been afraid I’d somehow been given a life I hadn’t deserved, but that’s ridiculous. We don’t deserve anything – not the suffering and not the golden light. It just comes.

This is how I often feel when I reflect on my relationship with Tanya. I don’t deserve it. Maybe better stated, I’ve not done anything to deserve it. It just came to me, and to us. It’s precious, sacred even. It’s a gift of grace.

In truth, there are countless, countless people and stories and memories and experiences in my life that are just like this. They have “just come”—in both suffering and in light. They have changed me, strengthened me, shaped me, and ushered me more deeply into a sense of awareness and acceptance and gratitude.

Precious, to be sure.

Why would we turn “precious” into something that is, well, less so?

I don’t have definitive answers, but I am reminded of a story . . .


I got married when I was 31 years old; my husband was almost 48. Given our ages, we were determined to get pregnant as soon as absolutely possible. After five years of infertility (and unsuccessful treatments), I was convinced it would never happen.

You already know how this story played out. I have two amazing daughters. Emma Joy is 26 and Abby is 24. I remain stunned and humbled by their presence in my life. Miracles, both. Precious, to be sure.

But let’s go back to those five years. I did NOT, in any way, see my suffering as precious. In point of fact, I didn’t even allow myself to suffer. At least not visibly, consciously, wisely. Every twenty-eight days I’d give myself a good talking to: “buck up, accept your lot, get it together, trust God’s plan!” If you hear a ridiculous degree of harshness, you’d be right. Even typing it now, I feel a lump in my throat. In many ways, what I told myself (without realizing it until this very moment) was to NOT be precious; to not consider myself more highly than I ought, to not see myself as “entitled” to that which I held most dear and of great worth and price.

Isn’t this sad?

My longing deserved to be precious and dear. My suffering and grief deserved to be precious and inestimable. My hope deserved to be precious and prized. Instead, I told myself that I was being affected, fragile, and pretentious.

We can be so quick to dismiss that which is rich and tender and vulnerable in our lives. To Ann Patchett’s point, we can, all-too-often, see ourselves as undeserving and so, not notice what “just comes.” When what’s precious comes to us through suffering more than light, it’s that much harder to see it as such.

Before I turn this around (which I promise I will do), I’m wondering where all of this lands for you. I’m wondering if, like me, you have stories of suffering that you didn’t allow, experiences you couldn’t let yourself grieve, hopes you couldn’t dare hold onto. I’m wondering if, like me, you have been far more inclined to see yourself as undeserving and so, in light of such, have not given yourself permission to take in, revel in, and honor all that is precious in your life . . . and in you.

I cannot be talked out of this truth: The definition of “precious” defines you—valuable, of great worth or price, honorable. The synonyms for “precious” describe you—adored, cherished, dear, inestimable, loved, prized, treasured.

You are precious, to be sure.


Tomorrow I will fly back to Charlotte NC. I’ll go through customs, take the shuttle to my car, and then make the 3.5 hour drive back to Hampstead. I’ll feel tons of gratitude for the days Tanya and I have shared. I’ll be lost in thought about all we talked of together. I’ll be happy the weather is at least 20-30 degrees warmer. I’ll wish I weren’t driving back in the dark. I’ll listen to an audio book. I’ll stop for gas and probably drive-through dinner. I’ll pull into the driveway, see the porch light left on for me, and say a prayer of “thanks” that I’m safe, that I’m home, that this is my life. All of it is precious—when I choose to see it as such.

I’m certain the same is true for you.

May it be so.

About South Stars

I was talking with a client a few weeks back who can honestly and confidently state that she is strong and powerful and capable and competent. She’s 100% right about this!

Still, she is dealing with some things that have her feeling weak and wobbly and incapable and incompetent. She knows better AND she feels what she feels. It’s a conundrum, a paradox, a truth, a lie. And much like me, this has her spiraling a bit, feeling bad, berating herself, acknowledging her own ridiculous shame spiral.

I could attempt to talk her out of what she’s feeling. I could tell her what we’ve all heard a gazillion times: talk to yourself like you would someone you love. I could encourage her to see that she’s being overly critical, that self-compassion is deserved. (And of course, I could do all of this with and for myself, as well.)

Here’s the thing:

Our doubts and insecurities, our wounds and seen-patterns, even the negative thoughts that are completely contradictory to who we KNOW ourselves to be, are very, VERY good news! They point us to what matters, to what we care about most, to what we know-that-we-know-that-we-know.


When my client tells me she feels weak and wobbly and incapable and incompetent, these very pains and irritants serve as irrefutable evidence of what matters to her, what she cares about most, and what she most definitely knows is true about her.

It’s uncomfortable to feel and name the contradiction, but it serves as a generous reminder of what is more true.

  • If we don’t allow for the fact that we feel heartbroken and hopeless, we won’t see that compassion and hope are, in fact, qualities and characteristics that we hold dear and do, in fact, have…in spades.
  • If we don’t allow for the fact that we feel lonely, we won’t recognize just how much we value relationship…and that we are more-than worthy of such, no compromising or compliance allowed.
  • If we don’t allow for the fact that we care about how we are perceived by our co-workers, our boss, our kids, our significant other, then we won’t see (sometimes with excruciating clarity) that we must speak our mind, stand up for ourselves, and unswervingly value all that we offer and bring.

Our most uncomfortable feelings are often profound gift and grace.


I once heard someone explain the idea of a “south star.”

We know what a north star is: a concept, belief, or inherent truth by which we set our course, that keeps us focused, that points us in the right direction. A south star is just as powerful. It shows us where NOT to go and what is NOT true.

  1. What are your south stars?
  2. Think about some recent situation in which your internal response was almost immediate self-contempt or irritation.
  3. Write out what you felt, the self-talk that poured forth.
  4. Now, for each of those things you just wrote down, name their exact opposite. An example: I am so lazy. It’s opposite: Intentional. Contributing. Present.
  5. So, “lazy” is the south star that points you toward and reminds you that, in fact, what matters to you is being intentional, making a contribution, being fully present. And I’d be willing to bet that you already ARE all these things!

Worth stating again:

Our doubts and insecurities, our wounds and seen-patterns, even the negative thoughts that are completely contradictory to who we KNOW ourselves to be, are actually very, VERY good news!

They point us to what matters, to what we care about most, to what we know-that-we-know-that-we-know.


As my client talked to me about feeling the opposite of who she knows herself to be, she was able to use those emotions to name the exact conditions that often lead her down that path. She could see how those circumstances a) almost always bring about the same result, and b) are actually possible to avoid and eliminate. Honestly naming what she felt (her south star), even though hard, guided her back to remembering who she truly is.

I hope the same for you!

As caveat, let me say that not every painful or frustrating emotion can be *simply* converted into a south star that leaves us feeling better about ourselves. I do not mean to paint some kind of patina over the hard and excruciating things that happen in our lives. And believe me, though I am a profoundly hopeful person, I am not one who looks for the bright side or seeks out silver linings.

I am, however, a woman who believes deeply in the wisdom inherent in every emotion we have — admitted, expressed, or held tenderly within. Sometimes they are south stars. And sometimes they are veritable craters into which we fall. Either way (and everything in between), I am committed to allowing them in myself and others, to giving them ample and generous spaciousness and grace, to trusting that they will not overwhelm, but will, eventually and at last, walk us home to ourselves.

May it be so.


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In Praise (and Pursuit) of Normal

I turned my book’s manuscript in to my publisher just over three weeks ago. It’s a bit of a shock, given that for the past year, I have had a minimum of two full days per week blocked for nothing but writing (not to mention the 20-some years I’ve been working on this thing!) I now find myself with days that are blank, open, spacious . . . and admittedly, a bit daunting.

Part of me revels in this reality. I (mostly) appreciate that I am not busy, pressured, or stressed; very few demands are placed upon me. When I can stay with it, it feels “normal,” somehow. This is rare, even strange, when compared to how much of my life has been shaped-if-not-defined by exactly these things: busyness, pressure, and stress (as a mom, a single mom, an employee, a laid-off employee, an entrepreneur, and far more hats-worn than I dare count).

“Normal” is in fierce opposition to what our culture endlessly pushes and promotes: messages to respond to, emails to answer, feeds to scroll, exercise regimens to enforce, meal plans to obey, days that are never long enough to get everything done, planners and calendars to purchase, time-management systems to master, success to achieve, money to make, more to buy, more to do, more to become . . .

We live in a world that does not honor, esteem, or support “normal;” rather, it demands just the opposite.

It’s no wonder we struggle to rest, to breathe, to loosen our grip, to *just* be.

Given all this, you can imagine my response to this quote:

“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, savor you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.” ~ Mary Jean Irion

As you read her words, I wonder: do you exhale in gratitude? Or do you feel a sense of longing, an “I wish” that rises up within?

Me? I feel a bit of both. I want this to be true — treasuring normal days — AND it feels foreign, sometimes even slightly impossible. I’m way more familiar with the “quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.” Not so much as it relates to a singular day, but the quest for perfection in and of itself. Ugh.

Yes, I know better, but it hardly stops me from fantastical thinking: if I could just do/get/attain/manage/accomplish X, Y, and/or Z, then surely everything would come together, fall into place, and be . . . well . . . perfect.


It feels worth naming that when we stay in fantastical thinking, the pursuit of perfection, and the grind of the day-in-day-out Hustle (which pervades everything we see and hear around us), we forget what “normal” even is. Worse, we no longer see it as “treasure.” Instead, normal becomes something to avoid at all costs: Who wants to be normal? Who wants to live a normal life? Who wants to settle for *just* normal? 

Uh, I do. Desperately.

I’ve spent a lifetime captivated (“confined” is more accurate) by the climb, the challenge, the race, any and every effort to do and be more/better/all that I can be. It’s incredibly seductive! Which explains why, when I have time on my hands, I feel restless — like something’s wrong or “off.” I wander around (especially in my mind), trying to come up with what I “should” be doing, what will accelerate and advance, what will move me forward. Because CLEARLY, “normal” is not nearly enough!

Except that it is!

I get glimpses of “normal” every once in a while: moments, even a stretch of them, in which I am satisfied by very little, by something small, by doing nothing. I am able to let things be as they are vs. demanding they be different. I (miraculously) give myself permission to not do something else — one more thing — and even more after that. Steps in the right direction. Bit-by-bit. “Normal” as intentional choice and oh-so-gentle pursuit.

“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, savor you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.”

I have more to think about and MUCH more to practice when it comes to embracing and treasuring “normal” in my life. I know this with complete certainty because even in this very moment I am wondering what more I should write in this article to make sure it is pithy and meaningful and deep and . . . well . . . perfect. *sigh*

I’m making myself stop.

These last thoughts (for you and me both):

  • Reflect on how you might define and express “normal” in relationships; with time, money, and work.
  • What if you let go of every “quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow”?
  • Consider a C- as a completely acceptable grade.
  • Believe that you are already and always enough, that no more is required of you to be worthy, valued, and loved.
  • Normalize “normal” in every way you possibly can, knowing that you’ll never get it completely right, completely perfect, completely anything . . . which is exactly the point!

May it be so.

I hope the days ahead offer you generous opportunity to let go of any and all expectations/demands of “more,” that you can *just* be, and that normal reigns. Ahhhhhh.

Two P.S.’s:

1) I recently came across the idea of C- (mentioned above) when reading Reclaiming Body Trust: A Path to Healing and Liberation by Hilary Kinavy and Dana Sturtevant. I highly recommend this book. It is challenging SO much within me and it feels hugely significant, even critical.

2) Worth reading one more time: “Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, savor you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.” ~ Mary Jean Irion

If my writing resonates, I’d be honored if you’d subscribe to A Sunday Letter. Long-form, from me to you, every week. Learn more.

Three Illusions Worth Shattering

I received an email from one of my current book coaching clients a few weeks back that included an attachment with words by poet, David Whyte. It more-than captivated and provoked me.

Whyte speaks to three illusions that keep us from fully inhabiting the pilgrimage that is our life, that keep us from living fully.

  • The first illusion is that I can somehow construct a life in which I am not vulnerable.
  • The second illusion is that I can construct a life in which I will not have my heart broken.
  • The third illusion is that I can somehow plan enough and arrange things that I will be able to see the path to the end right from where I’m standing, right to the horizon.

Let’s begin by acknowledging that David Whyte is right: these three things ARE illusions.

Let’s also acknowledge that despite our awareness of just how obvious these illusions are, we keep trying to outwit them.

We don’t want to be vulnerable. We don’t want to have our heart broken. And we do want to plan and arrange everything so that we can see the end from the beginning.


I could talk about WHY we are so determined to outwit these illusions, but I’m guessing you know the answer(s) as well as I do. Instead, what I’m curious about what it looks like, instead, to acknowledge them as true and thereby, to Whyte’s point, inhabit the pilgrimage of our own life and live fully.

I am vulnerable.

My determination to remain impervious to vulnerability has been one of the biggest sources of pain in my life. In an effort to keep a stiff upper lip, believe that “all things work together for good,” and not let anyone see me as broken or imperfect, I have kept myself from grieving, from acknowledging harm, from extending myself (and others) grace, from believing that I am enough and not too much.

It took me a long time (and lots of therapy) to trust myself enough to be vulnerable. Ironically (and of course) it was giving myself permission to cry, to feel, and to let go that invited a life that finally began to resemble something full, instead of compartmentalized, cold, and exhausting. I was, for one of the first times, whole and present and raw and alive and honest and “real” in my own life.

I still struggle. Years of conditioning are hard to undo. A culture that demands (and promises) happy faces and silver linings is hard to argue with. And the fear of being hurt even more by choosing tenderness, honesty, and openness (translate: vulnerability) remains.

But these days, I far prefer the wisdom and graciousness of vulnerability over the disconnect and weariness I felt in protecting myself from such.

I will have my heart broken.

I have been heartbroken many, many times. Certainly in the context of my marriage (which, in many ways, ended because of my vulnerability), in other significant relationships, and by a world that is more broken than I can bear. I cannot possibly construct a life in which heartbreak is not a thing. Nor would I want to.

Like vulnerability, heartbreak is what tenderizes and softens us. Heartbreak is what invites deep and true wisdom. Heartbreak is what generates resilience and strength. Heartbreak is what makes room for more love (not its absence, which is what we too often fear).

When I look back (which is really the only way to have any perspective whatsoever), I can see that the things, people, and circumstances that have broken my heart have been the very things that thankfully shattered the illusions I was determined to perpetuate: that all was well, that the good would outweigh the bad, that I was too much, that my silence was safer than speaking out…

Heartbreak opens me to what is true, to a life that is full and honest. Not all at once, not once and for all, but heartbreak by heartbreak, over and over again.

I cannot plan and arrange everything (maybe anything at all) in order to see the end from the beginning.

I am a planner. Lists. Pros and cons. Spreadsheets. Goals. Tracking apps on my phone. A countdown calendar. As a “J” in the Myers-Briggs world, I want everything ordered, organized, and nailed down. “A place for everything and everything in its place.” You get the idea (and can imagine what this was like for my girls when they were growing up). So this one? The illusion of thinking I can plan and arrange everything in order to predict and make possible the ending I desire? Aaaaaaugh!

It’s actually the two illusions above — both shattered — that have helped me with this one the most.

Vulnerability has slowed me down, kept me from demanding that everything (and everyone) go to plan, and invited (sometimes forced) me to live my life in a place of unknown, of mystery, of not demanding answers. I’ve learned (with some reluctance) that spreadsheets are not applicable, helpful, or even needed when tears and grief and honest emotion is present.

Heartbreak has been a reminder, time and again, that I’m not in control the way I think I am. No matter my attempts to resist it, to protect myself from it, to pretend in the most brilliant of ways that all is well, it crashes in anyway.

At this point in my life, closer to its end than its beginning (which is a very odd thing to realize and say), I have far fewer ideas or demands about how everything is “supposed” to work out anyway. Most days I am appreciative of this — glad and grateful to loosen my grip on making things happen and planning for every contingency and trying to outwit and out run the unknown.

Deepak Chopra is right: “Most people talk about fear of the unknown, but if there is anything to fear, it is the known.”

And Anne Lamott: “The opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty.”

It’s a lot to think about. Actually, maybe a better way of naming all of this is to NOT think quite so much and instead let ourselves feel . . . vulnerability, heartbreak, and the reality of the unknown.

May it be so.


If my writing resonates, I’d be honored if you’d subscribe to A Sunday Letter. Long-form, from me to you, every week. Learn more.

“I’m so proud of you!”

I have had conversations with clients in past weeks where a sense of self-pride showed up . . . and then was semi-quickly questioned or felt a little squirmy. I get it. We look to, deserve, and hope that others will say they are proud of us, that they see us, that they are thrilled by all that we’re doing and all of who we are. But to acknowledge it in and of ourselves? Yeah. It feels kind of odd and unfamiliar.

What if it wasn’t?

Think of an infant who begins to smile. We lather on the praise! When they reach for something or say a first word or take those tentative first steps? We cheer and take pictures and fawn all over them. Understandably! But at some point that slows, even stops. At some point in our own story, others’ enthusiasm started to wane.

In the absence of consistent and celebratory praise doubt begins to creep in. We start to wonder what we’ve done wrong, why the people in our world aren’t responding to us like they once did. Our sense of self begins to shift, dependent almost exclusively upon external stimuli; how we feel about ourselves is determined by others’ expressed feelings — or lack thereof.

Yes, over time, we mature and grow. We don’t depend on others’ oohs and aahs the way we once did. We learn to read cues and body language. And if we’re emotionally healthy, we self-soothe; we affirm ourselves. But something is lost, even damaged along the way when we stop receiving, even expecting praise. Because we deserve it!

Here’s my point in all this:

You deserve to be blatantly and boldly proud of yourself.

What runs through your mind, your heart, even your body when you read these words? When you hear me encourage (even insist) that you state them, repeat them, believe them?

Your spontaneous answer? The one that immediately sits at the tip of your tongue? It matters. What IS that resistance? What is that niggling voice nattering on about? (It would be super-helpful to write it all down…) THAT voice? The one that tells you that being proud of yourself is arrogant or egoic or nonsense or ridiculous or a waste of time or impossible? Uh…it is NOT telling you the truth. Lies. From. The. Pit. Of. Hell.

You deserve to be blatantly and boldly proud of yourself.

Listen closer. What does the deeper voice within you have to say? What is underneath all the chatter — where wisdom, courage, and hope live? What do you actually hear that allows and invites you to feel proud of who you are and all that you do?

You deserve to be blatantly and boldly proud of yourself.

Now, take a deep breath. What do you feel when you give yourself permission to float and soak and revel in just how praise-worthy and incredible you are? Think of all you have learned and let go of and said “no” to. Think of all you have invited and allowed and said “yes” to. Ahhhh. Yes. That. You! What if every evening for the next week (let’s start small, shall we?) you took just a few minutes before going to sleep to write down all the things you are proud of in the day just completed? From the minutiae to the mammoth. Some examples:

  • I got up before my alarm went off. I’m so proud of myself!
  • I made the bed. I’m so proud of myself!
  • I only drank two cups of coffee. I’m so proud of myself!
  • I didn’t eat the leftover pizza for breakfast. I’m so proud of myself!
  • I did some amazing writing today. I’m so proud of myself!
  • I drank lots of water. I’m so proud of myself!
  • I didn’t lose my temper with my kids. I’m so proud of myself!
  • I told my kids how proud I was of them. I’m so proud of myself!
  • I called _____________ and told her that she matters to me. I’m so proud of myself!
  • I sent an email to someone I’ve been meaning to reach out to for months now. I’m so proud of myself!

You get the idea.

As you read this list was there even a little part of you that rolled your eyes? It’s too much. It’s unnecessary. It seems silly.

Mmm hmm. (If so, scroll back up to the part about listening and listening some more, about taking a deep breath, about feeling…)

I can’t prove it, but there MUST be a direct correlation between our resistance to self-expressed pride and being stuck and/or afraid. And I believe there is also a direct correlation between our practice of self-expressed (and much-deserved) praise and our lived capacity and courage! ‘Seems like it’s a hypothesis worth testing out, yes?

I know how hard this can be.

I know how much effort it takes to overcome all the lies we’ve believed, the stories we’ve been told, the messages we’ve consumed, and the lack of praise we’ve often experienced.

I know all too well how easy it is to slip into self-talk that tells me to remember my place, to not be too full of myself, to definitely not be too much.

I know how trapped and straightjacketed I have felt when that self-talk has taken hold and become “true” in my own mind.

And I know just how much it has cost me when I’ve not trusted my own wisdom, demonstrated agency, stepped forward in courage, and held onto hope. *sigh*

One antidote to all of this is giving yourself permission to name just how amazing you are. Did I mention? You deserve to be blatantly and boldly proud of yourself.


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