When I was about 3 years old my mom took me to have my picture taken. I had on my favorite dress, she had curled my long blonde hair using her curlers, I was wearing my perfectly shiny patten leather shoes, and I was carrying my prized possession...my beloved stuffed dog. That dog had been there with me throughout all of my life's journey thus far, so of course, he would be joining me for this monumental day.
We arrived at the "photographer's studio" which as I recall was at the back of the Big N Store, next to the toy department. I was ready and excited for my big moment. The photographer commented about how pretty I looked. I was ready for my close-up! But then, it happened...
He took away my beloved stuffed dog and handed me a brand new stuffed animal. What was he thinking? I don't know this toy...it isn't mine! I don't love it and share precious memories with it. Take it away! AND BRING ME BACK MY DOG!!!
I screamed, I cried, I asked for what I wanted, I had a full-on tantrum. Nothing worked. No matter how nice the idiot photographer tried to be, he was not getting a smile out of me. He had become the enemy. And he was not going to win this battle. My mom even took me for a little walk around the toy department to explain that they just thought the new stuffed toy would look nicer in the picture. I did not care. In the least. I. Just. Wanted. My. Dog. Back.
And I got it! When we returned to the studio I was reunited with my precious doggie, and the photographer was ready to get a bright, smiley picture of me. But you know what, I wasn't feeling very smiley...
When I look at that picture which I love so very much it reminds me of three amazing lessons from my childhood:
1. I have always held a clear vision for what I wanted to create and experience in my life.
2. I did not give up my beliefs or cave to the will of others.
3. I am not someone who is easily controlled and manipulated, and do not like being disrespected...at all.
Another thing I adore about this picture is that it is a completely honest and true reflection of how I was feeling in that moment. It may not be as cute as a bright, smiling face with a brand new stuffed animal, but that wouldn't have been a true reflection of my true self in that moment.
And so I ask you, when you look back at pictures from your childhood do you see the "real you" or do you see some other version of yourself that you don't really recognize?
The reason I ask is because I think it is important to understand that from a very early age we were taught to put on masks and act the way that others thought it was appropriate for us to act. We were taught to act in ways others wanted us to behave, and many times if we didn't, there were consequences to pay. And so we began to give up little pieces of who we were born to be, and started to adopt this other "acceptable" version of ourselves.
The problem is that one day you wake up and realize that you don't even like this person you have become, and you are EXHAUSTED from having to be who other people think you should be all the time. Sound familiar? You are not alone. This is a story I hear over and over again from my clients.
But how do you find your way back to your true self? The easy way (in my humble opinion) is by investing 8 weeks into your journey within through the Inward Bound Program. You will be given the tools, support, safe space, and guidance you need to find your way back to the Self you love and accept unconditionally.
It is time for you to reconnect to your true vision of what you want to experience, to believe in yourself, and to create a life for yourself that is a beautiful expression of who you really are. You are the only You that will ever be...and there is a sweet magnificence to that. It's time for you to shine your light in your own unique and beautiful way.
Even if that means holding on to a stinky old dog with your grumpy face on!