This morning, I finished listening to the last half of a Marie Forleo podcast featuring Brené Brown in the car. I heard something so powerful it made me want to drive off the road and replay about 2 minutes of the last 5 minutes over and over again. However, I was in school drop off mode, so I paused it, finished my mom duties, and headed to my favorite coffee place (closed til 10! Boo!) landing disgruntled but excited at a local Starbucks. I got my coffee and played these words over and over again. I wrote them out to let them sink in and make them shareable visually with you.
“Don’t walk through the world looking for evidence that you don’t belong because you will always find it. Don’t walk through the world looking for evidence that you are not enough because you will always find it. Our worth and our belonging are NOT NEGOTIATED WITH OTHER PEOPLE. We carry those inside of our hearts.”
Before I share more, though, let me back up.
The most important self work I’ve done in the last few years has not been in losing weight or training for a marathon or even finishing my masters degrees. It’s manifested while taking Brene Brown’s “Living Brave” semester. In doing so, I figured out that I operate on two core values – empathy and compassion – and, more importantly, I learned that to be my most authentic self and give what I am here to give to the world, I MUST operate from those two values as much as I can. MOST IMPORTANTLY, I learned that these values are non-negotiable. I don’t do this perfectly, in fact, I screw up all the time, but as a human being, it’s the way I strive to operate in every “arena” of my life.
Now fast forward to today, on mom duty, listening to these amazing women have this exchange in the car. I hear Brené read these words from her new book, Braving the Wilderness, and I’m struck once again by the words “not negotiated”. It literally knocked my insides over. So often in my life I’ve let myself succumb to that ever present pressure to “fit” in to a group or a situation and I find myself so unwilling to do this anymore. Not because other people are wrong but because I know I’m alright (not all right) and that there are things about me that are non-negotiable though I think how I engage and how I respond are always negotiable (and this is where I tend to struggle.) This week I had amazing conversations with colleagues, new friends, and am starting to grow my business and volunteership, and I find these truths shared today so important to consider when engaging in these new and sometimes uncomfortable or challenging arenas. Know what makes you you, know your values, know your worth, and whatever you do don’t negotiate any of it with others.
Tomorrow, I turn 42. I think about what my own mother was like at this age. She was working, loving her friends, obsessed with Cirque du Soliel (lol), and struggling with her identity. I was already a sophomore in college, my brother almost through high school, and I remember worrying about what she was going to do “next” since she’d pretty much built her life around us.
Unlike my mother, how I work and where I work has been changed by my children, but they aren’t the focal point of my life. They are a reason for me to keep growing, a reason to keep growing my love and respect for my husband, and a reason to cling tightly to those two values of empathy and compassion and act accordingly in my arenas.
I will close by continuing with Brené’s words from the podcast. She says:
“For me, I know who I am. I’m clear about that and I’m not going to negotiate that with you. I will negotiate a contract with you. I will negotiate a topic with you. But I’m not going to negotiate who I am with you because then…I may fit in for YOU but I no longer belong to myself. And that is a betrayal I’m not willing to do anymore. I spent the first 30 years of my life doing that. I’m not willing to betray myself anymore.”
Her words are my gift to YOU this year. Thank you for giving me the gift of your time by reading this and I hope you have an amazing weekend.