Just because someone walked into the spotlight doesn't mean you became dull.
Have you ever heard a writer, a therapist, a yogi, or whatever.... ANYONE say something along the lines of: "The things I say are also things I need to hear"...? This is one of those pieces for me.
I've allowed myself to be threatened by the success of other women since I was little.
I'm talking like, 6-year-old-me-that-didn't-start-on-the-softball-field remembers vividly feeling angry, competitive, and jealous when parents and teammates were cheering for/rooting for the girl that was playing short stop, where I wanted to play. Talking about how well she was doing or that she was 'crushing it out there'. I don't remember saying these feelings out loud or ever receiving that tough love speech along the lines of: "if you want to start and you want to start as short stop, you better work your ass off!" and I definitely don't remember working hard outside of attending practice when I was younger.
This feeling of anger/jealousy/competitiveness carried through grade school, middle school, and high school sports... travel teams, clinics, workshops, personal training... friendships, social media... everywhere.
I felt like there was only one spotlight.
And if I wasn't the one in it, suddenly I felt like I was less than.
Like I needed to go to some extreme or do something noticeable to be, well... noticed.
Yoga brought me to self awareness and through that journey I consistently saw this come up in my journaling, in my emotions, in my habits, in my thoughts. There's a huge wound there, a trauma that I'm still working through and you probably will see it shedding into the way I live my life (we all do this, we live/act/breathe/be/say/do the things that come from our own shit, our own traumas, and we project it out into the world, I'm just being vulnerable and showing you mine piece by piece).
My parents homeschooled me in 3rd grade. Not my brother, just me. None of my friends were homeschooled. I didn't quite get it. I still don't really understand it... But all I know is this was another time in my life where I feel like I blacked out. I have pieces of memory from it, but it's not clear as day how I felt/what it was like for me on a day to day basis. In 4th grade I walked into a new school where I had to wear uniforms and I had no friends and I would go to the nurse almost every single day and sob trying to go home. Some days my mom brought me home... some days she wouldn't. I remember at lunch one day just sitting there watching a group of girls hanging out, laughing, and there was one girl that everyone wanted to be around. She liked a boy that liked her, she knew how to flirt, she could straighten AND crimp her hair, and all of her friends liked to braid it during class. She had so.much.attention.
I'll never forget what that felt like, no one talking to you.
Feeling invisible. Feeling unwanted. Feeling unworthy. Feeling like the outcast.
Yes, I eventually started making friends and having a group. But unfortunately this kind of spiraled into me becoming a wannabe mean girl from 7th grade on. A rebellion phase of making sure no one else was in the spotlight.
I got a taste of the 'spotlight' that I kept identifying as somewhere I needed to be and I never wanted to be out of it. People talking about you, noticing you, flirting with you, complimenting you, knowing your life... DAMN that was a change of pace from my past. I was 'COOL' I thought. This was 'AWESOME' I thought. Until I started seeing there was me, a girl who didn't have friends, sitting by herself. Until I started seeing there was a me, a girl who thought art was just as cool as sports, going to the art room instead of practice.
This trauma in my life has shed off positively into me being more inclusive and trying to talk to as many people as I can as well as sharing my life to try and reach people that I won't see in person-- but this is again... a different story. But last night I was given the opportunity to show extreme empathy to someone who has a feeling that is all too relative and second nature to me.
She doesn't feel seen.
She feels unnoticed.
She doesn't feel important.
She feels like her efforts aren't good enough.
God that's a shitty place to be, and I gave you the preface of why I have so much empathy for this, especially with nutrition clients. They see a before and after photo, a progress update, or a success snapshot and suddenly start questioning and comparing.
I'm not naive enough to just send her a message saying "aww stop comparing yourself!" or high up enough on my horse to say some blank statement around "just work harder!".
If it was that simple, we would all be crazy good athletes with perfect nutrition, 8 pack abs, and a positive mindset 24/7. Let's stop promoting this notion that people are supposed to shut off their emotions. Not only can I (or ANYONE ELSE) not tell you how to feel, I also don't believe I (or ANYONE ELSE) can tell you something so vague and expect that you will feel better.
We need to take note that, yes, we have to work hard to earn our spot on the podium-- but it doesn't mean we stay there forever. It doesn't mean that the person that's currently on the podium will stay there forever, either. Hard work is continuous. It takes sacrifice. It takes a combination of willpower, discipline, and a strong 'why' behind every move we make. It's choice after choice. And it doesn't care if you've had a bad week at work or if you've had a death in the family. Hard work is an effort no matter what is going on around us.
So when you see the person highlighted and you start comparing yourself... ask:
Why is this actually bothering me? Do I believe that person doesn't deserve that feeling of praise for their success? Where do I want to be and why? What will it take for me to be there and am I willing to forgo that type of sacrifice and effort? How can I love myself and my efforts in this present moment, and where can I give myself the love to move into more self growth?
Just because someone walked into the spotlight doesn't mean you became dull.
You are a body.
With a beating heart.
With a breath that is deep and full some days, and shallow and weak on others.
Your body is living through sunny days, and rainy ones, too.
With chaos and routine.
With grace and effort.
Be a work in progress and even if you need to grit your teeth to say it at first, tell that person in the spotlight how awesome they are doing and how proud of themselves they should be. Try to cut yourself off when you're about to say the words "Wow, I'm jealous!" and instead focus on replacing them with, "Wow, you just inspired me to set my next goal!".
Doing the work isn't about reading self love quotes or books about how to master your mind.
Doing the work is about putting it into practice and building that awareness in how you actually live and speak.
You won't get it perfect... none of us will. And that isn't the point. The point is to continuously call yourself on your own shit and look for opportunities and strategizing how to get over that fence, rather than viewing that fence as a dead end.
So here's your reminder:
Just because someone is doing well...
They've achieved something.
Doesn't mean that you aren't doing well...
That you haven't glowed/are glowing.
That you don't have achievements to show.
That you aren't successful/haven't succeeded with things.
Use that energy. That negative gunky & gross vibration and turn it into the fire that propels you forward in your next journey, your next motive, your next initiative.
It's not a sign to step down.
It's a sign to step the fuck up.
This is life without the filter,