Wellegance

Cultivate a Life of Vitality, Pleasure, Passion and Purpose

One Piece of Advice I’ve Chosen to Ignore

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When I was a little girl, my favorite activity was going out into our backyard, getting onto the wooden swing set and just swinging and singing my heart out. I mean, I BELTED it out…everything from t.v. show theme songs to Top 40 hits. I spent hours out there, not giving a thought to how good my singing voice was or who heard me. I was so full of myself that nothing and nobody else even existed. I was totally authentic, full of confidence, absolutely in the moment and without a care in the world.

So, recently, when I read the following quote, it brought up some interesting feelings.

The quote reads:

“The emptiest people are those who are full of themselves.” (Anonymous)

It was a familiar message. Like so many young girls, I was raised to believe that being “full of yourself” is a bad thing – narcissistic and unattractive. That it’s far better to be humble and demure, to recognize that I’m not such a big deal, that I have a lot to learn and that I have weaknesses, like everyone else.

While it is, of course, important for each of us to recognize that we don’t know it all, to remain open to learning new things and to practice humility, I believe it’s equally important for us to feel strong, powerful, bold and, at times, invincible. Like we are, in fact, a very big deal. Which is exactly how I felt when I was on those swings.

I’m not so sure that this message, “don’t be full of yourself,” is an empowering one, especially for young girls. We live in a culture that tries its best to make each of us feel lacking and strive to be like everybody else…from the way we look to the way we dress to the way we act to how we spend our time and the work that we do. Most young girls (and women, young and old) work pretty hard to satisfy everyone else’s wants, needs, demands and desires, in an effort to earn approval and acceptance. Perhaps if we were all a little more “full of ourselves”, it would leave less room for insecurity and people-pleasing. Perhaps we’d place more importance on loving, valuing and pleasing ourselves. Which, once again, is exactly how I felt when I was on those swings.

Self-awareness and self-respect come from knowing who we are and what we value and then, making choices and taking action based upon that. If we aren’t full of ourselves, then what exactly are we full of? What is driving us? Are we authentic? And do our choices and actions have purpose and integrity?

A healthy dose of confidence is a good thing and should be encouraged, as it fuels our dreams and sustains us when we meet obstacles. Can you imagine someone telling Beyonce or Madonna or Lady Gaga, “Don’t be so full of yourself.” (In all likelihood, they WERE told this, so perhaps the better question is: can you imagine them listening to and obeying this advice??) It is precisely BECAUSE they are full of themselves – unique and quirky and unapologetically themselves – that we admire them and are inspired by them. It takes a healthy dose of self-love and boldness to drive people earnestly and fearlessly toward their dreams. In other words, a healthy dose of full of yourself-ness. No superstar, hero or icon was ever created without it.

Now, let me be clear, I am not suggesting that people keep their hearts closed off from others, that they reject new ideas and perspectives or that they act without kindness and compassion. I simply don’t believe that these two states of being are mutually exclusive. We can be full of ourselves AND generously share ourselves (our gifts, talents, kindness and compassion). In fact, it is my belief that ONLY when we experience the fullness of ourselves can we experience the fullness of life.

I hope that you reflect, this week, on your own “swing set moments” and that you experience the pleasure and freedom of being unabashedly and unapologetically full of yourself!!

And, as always, please feel free to continue the conversation by posting a Comment below. I would love to hear from you.

Have a wonderful, Wellegant™ week,

Karen

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