It Takes Courage To Show Up As Yourself In This World (Read That Again).

Amongst the plethora of lessons and revelations that have come as a result of the year 2020 and the COVID-19 global pandemic, one of the biggest illuminations have been the masks of perfection that have been pulled off of not only every celebrity alive but everyday citizens as well who do not have a huge reserve of resources to comfortably combat this pandemic. We as a global society, have been completely stripped down to our natural selves. We’ve been forced to be out in the world without the gloss and mirage of the “face” we put on to participate in the world. As the hair salons, nail salons, barber shops, spas and gyms all shut down, we were forced to still show up without the masks. Some of us did okay and found a groove and rhythm that is now working for us. Others of us did not. We struggled with the vulnerability of being truly seen by the world and not being able to hide. Our coping mechanisms of running away when we don’t want to deal with our problems have in some cases completely disappeared as we’ve been forced to be still, not travel and not be distracted.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how I show up in the world. I’m always fascinated and surprised when I speak to people and they tell me what their perception of me is based on either what they see or read. It always reminds me that my world is based on the reality I believe and project for myself; just as everyone else’s reality is that way for them. We all move through this life projecting what we think is the truth or our version of it. People we think we are angry at or are angry at us; people we want to harm or vice versa. People we think don’t love us or we don’t love. It’s all a projection of whatever is going on within us internally. It’s amazing how quickly you can move from one state of mind to another simply by your interpretation of what is happening in your current reality. And your interpretation is solely based on whatever your internal beliefs about this world and your life are. Recently, I’ve been very challenged as to what my beliefs are. As my life continues to move forward without my conscious control, all kinds of beliefs about myself and the world are coming up out of me. I must admit, it isn’t pretty. Being forced to really confront your inner emotions and internal belief system during a pandemic is a hell of a thing to experience.

By nature, I am not a controlling person when it comes to controlling other people’s lives. As a matter of fact, I abhor feeling like I need to control anyone else’s life. That is a burden and responsibility I personally do not want. However, when it comes to controlling my own life? Yeah. I’m militant about that shit, for real for real. I believe that I am a powerful creator and because I also know my work ethic, I know I am capable of accomplishing anything I put my mind to. That being said, here is what I also know to be true. Whether you believe it or not or whatever name you give It, there is a Force that is greater than ourselves that rules everything. It is aware of us and everything we do. Nothing can be done without It and nothing can be accomplished without alignment with It. So when you want something but that Source doesn’t come into alignment with you on it, it doesn’t matter what kind of powerful creator you think you are. You cannot create anything on this Earth without agreement from your Source. You also cannot be anything other than what your Source intended you to be. So when your life seems to be completely falling apart, sometimes it’s actually falling exactly into place as hokey as that may seem.

I can’t even begin to explain how difficult this concept really is to accept in actuality. There is a big difference between having knowledge of something and then having revelation of it. You can only gain revelation by actually experiencing the humanness of any given situation. There are certain concepts, like knowing that “when God closes a door He opens a window” that sound so very simple. But for some of us, these concepts bring about deep, often times very painful soul growth lessons. We have to go through having big deals, big plans, big opportunities fall through and then be given something completely different to sometimes learn gratitude amongst other things. Some of us go through this cycle several times in our life times and it can really begin to wear on your soul and your emotions. I myself have been struggling with several cyclical themes that have come up again for me in this phase of my life. Even though I am aware that I will be a wiser soul and more evolved person once I get through some of these lessons, I must admit the cross some days is completely unbearable. I’m emotionally drained on so many fronts. In a world where I should feel more free to speak my truth, I feel more alienated than ever. I’m questioning myself, my purpose in life and why I’m here. While for some people these questions may sound trivial or irrelevant, these questions hold very real meaning to me.

I have always felt like it was my purpose to serve people. I believe I have a specific set of tools and skills that matches up with that desire and want. There are other things I wanted for my life, such as being a business woman, mother and wife. These were goals I clearly remember at 16 very calmly stating to the Universe that I wanted. When I think back to my 16 year old self and how I viewed the world, I realize how naïve I was, yet how grown I thought I was. I swore I could have anything I put my mind to. Now, after failing magnificently at many different things in my life, I no longer believe that to be true whatsoever. I do believe this time space reality we call planet Earth has the ability to create wonderous and beautiful things and experiences for us humans and we can learn a lot here. And there are a lot of amazing things that have the possibility to be created, if your Source is in alignment with that for you. But at the end of the day, you cannot do whatever you want. Whatever is destined for you is truly destined for you. While there are small things you can create and have control over, the bigger picture is not something you can touch. That’s pretty much set in stone.

Which leads me back to the title of this article. Like many people, I have faced a lot of hurt and disappointment about my life not at all turning out how I had hoped or imagined. If you had asked me 20 years ago where I would have been by now, I swore I would have been a therapist with my own practice, married and had popped out at least one kid by now. Sadly, I’ve never been more far from my childhood goals and dreams than I could have ever imagined. So many things in my life didn’t go the way I had hoped or planned. They still continue not to, no matter how much I keep trying to make my dreams come true. I truly believe one of the hardest things to manage as a human but especially as an adult is the death of some of your dreams. When you realize that the Universe is just not going to give you what you want. I’ve seen this play out in real life with people I’m close to. I remember years ago, a male family friends dream of playing pro football came to a screeching end when he passed out on the field of an away game and almost died. We later found out he had had an undiagnosed heart condition and would never play ball or any rigorous sport again. I remember how he cried. I remember the depression he went through, realizing his only dream and one true love, football, would never be a reality for him. What’s worst was he was being scouted and was seriously being considered for scholarships in the US. But all of that was lost the night he passed out on that field. He had to go through the grieving process of knowing his dream was dead in the form he imagined it would be. That’s a process that can take quite some time to work through. Some people never get out of that phase. He then had to work to recover and get back on his feet and adjust to the new normal of his life as an ex-athlete. Doing that in front of friends and family while also trying to process all the emotions that come up takes courage. There are so many people like this person in the world. People who’s dreams and lives have been destroyed or lost and now they have to pick up the pieces, adjust and find a new normal.

This life can be so very hard for some of us. There is such a sliding scale and degree of suffering that sometimes we get caught up in playing the Oppression Olympics to see who’s had it the worst. However the individual situations don’t really matter. It’s the overarching theme that causes universal understanding and compassion. Themes like loss, grief, anger, resentment, fear, sadness, hope, joy, mercy and grace. No matter how the specifics come to us, we are all bound together in the compassion of these themes if we’ve had encounters with them in our lives. So when we choose to show up in the world, scars and all, flaws and all, masks off and no longer wearing our armor, it is the most courageous thing we can do. Speaking our truth, owning our experiences, holding space for others to do the same and showing kindness and compassion when they do is courageous. In a sycophantic world where many people seem to be willing to sell their integrity, ethics, principles and basic human decency for the almighty dollar and tax cuts, when someone authentically shows up it is the most courageous thing we can do.

Being courageous enough to unabashedly and unashamedly speak your truth, no matter how tired people get of hearing it or you is revolutionary. Not giving an entire fuck what people outside of your circle of safety say about you is revolutionary. Not being beholden or bound by the opinions of big companies who have and never will walk a day, mile or inch in your shoes is revolutionary. Setting boundaries around your mental well being and what you are and are not willing to tolerate is revolutionary. Never in our history or lifetimes have we ever been this connected and accessible to each other thanks to the modern marvels of technology. Yet, we feel at times more separated than ever. Because while technology provides the platform for close connections, it cannot actually procure them. That can only be done by putting ourselves out there, in all our messy glory and allowing ourselves to find our tribe of people who we can truly be our full selves around and with.

As we wind down this insane year and I reflect on the next chapter if I’m blessed to be allowed to see it, I pray to be more courageous and brave. I knew when I started writing, particularly on the subjects I primarily write about on this platform that I would face resistance and might even be silenced because I refuse to shy away from speaking my mind or curtailing what I’m saying to make white and other POC comfortable. I just didn’t imagine it would be quite this hard. But hopefully there will be a day, maybe when I’m long gone, when people will be able to read what I wrote with an open mind, compassionate spirit and kind heart and realize my writings are a reflection of my reality. I can’t change the colour of my skin or my gender (or rather choose not to). My experiences are what they are. But maybe one day, others can see them through the marginalized filter of my lens and not their own privileged one.

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Certified Life Coach & Workshop Facilitator specializing in Self-Awareness, Emotional Intelligence and Emotional Resilience coaching. I also write a sometimes.

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Whitney Smart

Whitney Smart

Certified Life Coach & Workshop Facilitator specializing in Self-Awareness, Emotional Intelligence and Emotional Resilience coaching. I also write a sometimes.

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