What is it that life has robbed from you that you need to rob back?
When life robs you, sometimes you have to rob it back (from The Book Thief)
Getting started is often the hardest part, isn’t it? Moving from thinking about doing something to actually doing it—whether it’s writing the first entry in a new blog, changing a career or overcoming an unhealthy habit. How many times have I been immobilized over the years, not following through on some initiative, idea or inspiration, big or small? Thinking I don’t yet have it just right, that I don’t have what it takes to do it, that I’m not the subject matter expert.
What if people don’t appreciate what I’m saying or doing? What if I try and fail? There are others out there way better at it than I am. What if the real me is exposed and people don’t like me? What if I’m rejected?
Yikes! Hellish, paralyzing thoughts. Very effective at protecting the vulnerable, scared, ashamed inner-me from taking a chance and revealing myself.
And totally effective at preventing me from becoming fully alive.
These debilitating thoughts are like a fence enclosing me. A 12-foot-high, barbed-wire-topped, chain-link fence, to be specific. Like you’d find around a junkyard. (If you haven’t noticed, my brain is addicted to metaphors.)
Without apology—since I no longer apologize for who I am—I’ll continue to feed my craving for metaphors.
This fence keeps my fearful, core self safely trapped inside the junkyard of my mind. The rubbish surrounding me are heaps of failed past attempts, unfinished projects, unpursued opportunities, decisions proven wrong, mistakes, failures, dysfunctional relationships—all rusted over with shame and blame.
And, as if the fence of “I’m-not-enough thoughts” isn’t sufficient to keep my vulnerable inner self stuck in place amid the trash, chained to it is the unfcukwithable, junkyard dog. On guard. Ferociously barking and snarling at would-be thieves who threaten to breach the fence and steal any of the, well, junk.
The junk I hide under: my tattered, worn and moldering security blanket. The dog is the incarnation of my deep-seated self-beliefs, convictions and worldview. It viscously fights off all threats to my mindset.
And then something awesome happens.
One dark night, a thief approaches the junkyard fence, staying out of reach of the lunging, teeth-baring dog. The thief, catching a glimpse of the small, shivering inner-me trapped behind the fence beneath the debris of the junk pile. She moves into the circle of halogen light with the dog, crouches down at a safe distance, and talks softly to the worked-up beast. Some time later, the thief disappears back into the night.
The next night, she returns, and again mutes the dog’s vehement threats with calming words. (Something about an open mind being an open window that let’s in fresh breezes.)
Then, she begins cutting a hole in the fence.
Night after night after night the thief comes back, gently whispering to the junkyard dog whose growls grow increasingly more perfunctory with each visit. And night after night after night, the dog watches the enigmatic thief take away one piece of junk after another—steadily clearing a path towards my inner-me hidey-hole. Night after night after night, the thief respectfully edges ever more closely towards the junkyard dog, familiarizing the dog with the wire cutters that will be used to cut its chain when the dog is ready.
Finally, the thief has moved enough junk out of the way. The inner-me is enabled to stand up, albeit wobblily. It’s often the hardest part isn’t it—getting started? The emboldened inner-me takes a first tentative step. Then another. And another, towards the hole in the fence and towards the unchained, springing dog with the waggly tail.
Who is this good thief tenderly looking on as the enabled inner-me embraces the metamorphosed “guard” dog? With Dog in tow, I walk over, reach out, and pull the balaclava off the thief’s head.
I see then the face of unfcukwithable self-love.
Do you love yourself sufficiently to begin the dirty work of digging through your junk, one piece at a time, to start freeing your authentic self?
If you’ve ever felt as if there is something holding you back from being all that you can be, I invite you to read Part 2 and learn more about the power of unfcukwithable self-love to bring about a life of purpose, fulfillment and happiness.