Welcome to the paradox of you: population 1.
If no one's told you lately, we're all beautiful, individual paradoxes intertwined in this world.
We're walking contradictions.
We're multi-faceted humans of shadow, light, and a whole bunch in between.
A hundred dollar bill with two different sides is still a hundred dollar bill, even though we only see the front or the back depending on how we're holding it.
Benny, and the person who holds Benny, knows that both sides exist on the same bill, and if you fold it *just right* you can see both sides coexisting together.
We're kinda like Benny.
Our "outside" projection doesn't always reflect our inner landscape, and most of our lives is spent trying to reconcile the two while they, too, are ever-changing.
We know deep down the person we wanna shift into and embody, but we just can't seem to project that image confidently to the outside world.
Our inner circle knows (almost) each and every piece that co-exists within us, but the world at large usually only sees what we're able to show them at different points in our journey.
And most of us really want the world to see us as we are, and to feel good enough to show up that way.
It takes a little sleight of hand and reality bending to embody ourselves completely.
I think part of this stems from the fact that by default, we're uncomfortable giving ourselves permission to live a life that truly reflects who we are.
We're besties with our thoughts, but we wrestle with taking the actions that can radically change our lives and help us live our inner expression in the outside world.
Example: I've always been deathly terrified of public speaking. Like, I would probably pass out on the floor from not being able to breathe if I actually had to talk in front of a group of people.
I was that kid who never raised her hand because, god forbid, I was called on. (And of course, I was always called on because the teacher always knows when you're trying to be invisible.)
You would never in a million years think that now because I've spoken at a ton of conferences, I act, and do other scary public-type things, but you didn't know Death by Public Speaking Selena. Or even Death By Talking In Front of 5 People Selena.
I knew I needed to get over that shit because I felt speaking and being able to work with a crowd would be a part of my future.
But my body didn't agree with me.
Because of that, I spent years living in the shadow of what I knew I could accomplish. I knew I had to take some kind of action otherwise I'd lose out on opportunities and Future Selena would be soooooo pissed at me.
I decided to work through my fears and give myself permission to fail.
(While secretly hoping I succeeded quickly because I really didn't wanna fail and deal with the dread I felt more than a few times.)
I took a public speaking class in college and died a little from embarrassment. I didn't feel good enough and was mentally wrecking myself. NEXT.
I went to Toastmasters (once) and as soon as I felt that familiar hollow bubble surrounding my head and the beating of my heart that was probably outside of my body at that point, I decided that wasn't for me either. NEXT.
I was suffering while trying to express myself on the outside, but Inside Me still believed it was something for me.
I had to reconcile the two and make that shit work. I was sick of letting myself down and only being able to show one side of Benny.
I wish I could tell you that I worked on it every day after that, determined to become a great public speaker, but I didn't, because...
I learned something interesting about myself shortly after that.
As much as I hate it, I do my absolute best when I have insane pressure on me and it's totes Trial by Fire. (Lol, not healthy, I know. Something I'm working on.)
Neither of the previous scenarios had the kind of pressure that mattered to me. It was the wrong kind of pressure and importance.
When I worked at an agency shortly after, my boss at the time came up to me and was like "Oh hey. We're creating a pretty large conference, and I created a session for you to speak on. Cool?"
Inside I was like "Fuck. WHY. OMG NO. ☠️" but a smalllllllll part of me was excited that I kinda had no choice and was being forced to get over my shit on a pretty big scale.
So I said "awesome sauce." I immediately went to my desk and started panicking because I was certain that I would crash, burn, die, and all the things.
Long story short (Or I guess long, at this point. 😬) I spent every minute leading up to it with a terrible feeling of dread and despair until I got on stage and looked out at all the people.
I had a presentation to share with them that could drastically improve projects and businesses that they were working on. I had a reason for being up there, and I had to be brave enough to get my words out because to not do so, would be selfish.
I'd be depriving everyone of something I could give them because I was too busy being selfish with my own shit and feeling scared.
The feeling I had after I got over the "omg I'm going to pass out right here and single-handedly ruin this conference track" was a feeling of complete euphoria, excitement, and possibility. Adrenaline took over, and the rest is history.
I was finally able to show a side of myself that I knew existed, but was suppressed by fear of failure and uncertainty.
I was able to reconcile that shit and it felt REALLY damn good.
Are there any parts of yourself that you're not giving yourself permission to be? That you're sabotaging and keeping in the shadows?
Get familiar with it. Intimate, even. And start mapping out the steps to bring that inner part of yourself to your public persona.
Whatever you're trying to express or embody in the world is right around the corner, after the sidewalk crack that marks where "fear" lives. You can cross it. It may take some inner work and a lot of action, but you got this.
Nothing feels better than being able to embody both sides of Benny through and through, and that requires you to take radical, brave action.
You're courageous and I believe in you.
Hop to it.
Cheers to living PermissionLESS,