In less than two weeks, I'm going to Nashville for the Blissdom Conference.
I'm beyond excited that Brene Brown (pronounced Bren-nay - I don't know how to type the accent over the second "e") will be a keynote speaker at Blissdom. I posted about her TED talk recently, and I've just finished her book The Gifts of Imperfection. Her message is life changing, truly, and if you haven't seen any of her talks, read her books or her blog, I can't recommend them enough. The idea that I'll get to hear her speak in person makes me go all fan-girl.
The primary concept Brene examines in her book is living a wholehearted life no matter the circumstances. I won't try to paraphrase what the book is about, because I won't do it justice, but a part that resonated with me was about leaning into discomfort. Without even realizing it, much of the time, we are programmed to go around things: by people-pleasing, numbing behaviors, avoidance or distraction. In sobriety I'm slowly figuring out that going through things - however painful or uncomfortable - brings freedom and unexpected gifts on the other side.
here). The who-do-you-think-you-are voices come out in full force. I see my name up there with other bloggers - some of them household names (in the microcosm of the blogosphere) - and I start to feel unworthy.
I can talk about worthiness, self-love and acceptance until I'm blue in the face, but when I'm hit with a new situation like this I tend to default to old behaviors and thinking patterns. The thing is, I'm starting to recognize those nay-saying voices for what they are: a cheap, easy way to lower my expectations; a vain attempt to protect myself from disappointment or failure.
I'm trying to reprogram my brain to see experiences for what they are, and not put them into categories or good or bad. If I speak from my heart and avoid getting wrapped up in what I think people want to hear, it will be what it is, no more and no less. One of the biggest gifts of living an authentic life, drawing strength from the inside instead of engaging in people-pleasing, is that I can only be who I am. I'm starting to realize that who I am is enough.
The past year and a half have brought several new experiences my way, and with each one I'm learning more about letting go. It began with the Oprah Winfrey Show, and then going to BlogHer in New York, Creative Alliance in Ojai, and now Blissdom in Nashville. With each one I questioned my worthiness, my sense of belonging. Especially before appearing on Oprah, I worked myself into a nervous wreck, and at the root of it all was the fear of rejection, of being judged, of not being worthy enough. What I'm starting to understand is that there is no way I am not worthy of my own story. It's when I don't own my own story, or I try to fudge it to fit other people's expectations, that I get into trouble.
I'm also starting to embrace anxiousness, apprehension and nervous butterflies. I'm starting to understand that these emotions - as uncomfortable as they are - mean that I'm on the verge of having a breakthrough, not a breakdown.
So if you're going to Blissdom, I'd love to meet you. Stop by the panel, or look for me at one of the conference events.
I'll be the one whispering to myself: be authentic and you can't fail... be authentic and you can't fail.