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  • Writer's pictureNaomi

I'm pretty sure that virtually every client I have ever coached has one specific thing in common...

A nasty habit of should-ing all over themselves.

Maybe we've always been this way as humans, or maybe it's worse in our modern age of information overload and near-constant social visibility. Either way, there seems to be an epidemic of should/shouldn't thoughts going on in the world.

We pick up our "shoulds" from all over the place:

  • expectations in our family of origin

  • religious culture and teachings

  • direct and indirect social conditioning

  • messaging from past relationships, etc.

Essentially, any feedback we have ever received about what it means to succeed at being human has been implanted into our brains as something that we should (or shouldn't) do, say, think, feel, or believe.

Anytime a client comes to me complaining that they are deeply depleted, overwhelmed, or swimming in anxiety, I know there is a long list of shoulds just waiting to be unpacked.

The main problem with shoulds is that they generally originate from someone or somewhere outside of us, which keeps us stuck in a constant cycle of seeking external validation to know if we are worthy and ok.

The simple truth is this:

You are worthy and ok. Period. End of sentence. No debate.

Your worth and right to exist in this world is something that you brought with you when you were born. You cannot prove it or earn it by pursuing that long list of shoulds that you are carrying. You already have it. Your worth is untouchable, no matter who tries to tell you differently.

You could take every single should you have ever internalized and throw it straight to the wind without losing a single drop of your worth and importance.

Show me the list of shoulds that you have acquired over your lifetime and I will show you an instruction manual of who other people want you to be. But what if they were all wrong?

What if the only person in the known universe who could possibly know what you are supposed to do in this world or who you are supposed to become is actually you?

Who do you want to be?

If you think you might want to put aside external expectations long enough to actually get familiar with yourself again, I highly suggest the following framework:

  1. Identify a "should" thought that is driving your current evaluation of your worthiness.

  2. Swap out "should" for "want to." (Example: "I should eat more vegetables," becomes "I want to eat more vegetables.")

  3. Does it still ring true?

    1. If Yes, do you want to do that thing for reasons that you genuinely like? (i.e. reasons that resonate with your highest self, that allow you to live in integrity with your values, that don't require you to reject any part of who you are, etc.)

    2. If No, what do you actually want?! Who do you want to be in this area of your life, and why?

What if you didn't have to spend a single moment more on living your life for other people? What if tapping into who you truly want to be and what you truly want to contribute to the world was actually what the world needs from you?

You might just be one dumpster full of shoulds away from exploring that possibility.

I want that freedom for you. Are you capable of wanting it for yourself?

  • Writer's pictureNaomi

I wonder sometimes what we are all missing out on because so many of us just don’t feel safe and comfortable enough to show up in the world as our fullest selves.

One thing I believe deeply is that every human I encounter, alive or dead, has something valuable to teach me.

And not just the obvious ones like Jesus, Siddhartha Gautama, or Mother Theresa (whose leadership and teachings have fundamentally impacted the way I conceptualize my own human purpose and responsibilities).

But literally everyone.

The other moms with familiar vacant eyes who share my same waiting room.

The cashier behind the register who so gently returns the pack of gum to my child after scanning it in.

The person rushing past me on the road, only to awkwardly avoid my gaze as we end up nose to nose at the next red light.

Who are these people? What are they facing today? What do they know and understand about the world that is so specific to them that I could never learn it from anyone else?

Sometimes it feels like I have to physically restrain myself from begging them to show me the full spectrum of all their shadow and light.

Humans used to terrify me. The number of social interactions that still have me crawling in my skin at the memory of my anxiety-induced insanity is staggering. But when I finally realized that each person I meet is filled with a deeply personal and specific type of wisdom, I didn’t want to hide and isolate myself anymore. The possibility of missing out on learning from so many potential teachers has become too great a risk.

Now, as I come further and further out of hiding myself and open up to the possibility that I could also be the teacher that someone needs, I find myself wondering what brilliance is being kept from the world because so many of us are still in hiding.

What could we learn and accomplish together if we all gave up the ruse of playing out our assigned parts and instead showed up daily in our own glorious, messy, brilliance?!

Perhaps it is selfish, but it saddens me to think about what I might be missing out on because someone around me has learned that they must hide pieces of themselves in order to stay safe.

How do I coax them out of their shell and into the warmth and brilliance of coming home to themselves by learning to cultivate safety from within?

My only hope is that, as I continue working to show up in the world in all of my own messy imperfection, I will somehow be giving others around me permission to do the same.

  • Writer's pictureNaomi

I used to be convinced that no one liked me.

Believed that I was inherently unlikable and that I needed to figure out how to be someone else in order to be accepted. It didn’t matter how accepting or inclusive people were, there was always the thought in the back of my head that they were just pretending. That I was the charity case and that people only felt bad for me. I changed friends frequently because I was trying so hard to find a place where I felt accepted and safe. It didn't work.

I didn’t understand that the reason I felt so unaccepted was that I had no concept of how to accept myself. I didn’t know that the safety I craved was something I could only create internally.

Twice, when someone I was dating worked up the nerve to tell me that they loved me, I broke off the relationship. (My now husband was one of them. Bless his persistent heart.) Both times I told them that they were confused. Explained that they couldn’t possibly love me if they actually knew me. Apologized for leading them to believe I was someone that I was not. Someone that was worthy of their love.

I didn’t know that the person who was truly incapable of loving me was myself.

I was in my 30s before I really started to do the work of learning to love and accept myself.

I still notice that old script creeping up in my brain. The one that says people might not like me. But it doesn’t debilitate me into pretending and hiding anymore. At least not the majority of the time.

I’m doing the ongoing work of getting to know myself.

I’ve learned how to cultivate internal safety and acceptance.

I know that not everyone will like me, and that doesn’t scare me anymore.

I am comfortable letting myself be seen and I trust that the people who choose to stay are the exact ones that were always meant to play a part in my story.

This is the same work that I do with my clients.

I help them come home to themselves. We separate the external from the internal and focus on what they can control: how to know, accept, love, and honor themselves.

If you’re tired of trying to live into the version of you that everyone else will fully accept… maybe it’s time to start learning what it looks like to fill that need internally instead?

If you don’t know where to start, I’m here to help. I’m ready to hold safe and nonjudgmental space for your journey back home to yourself. You don’t have to face that inner critic on your own.

Your first session is always on me.

You would be shocked by how quickly the healing can begin when you have the support of a coach. I would be honored to hold that healing space for you.

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