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Here’s My Experience with Self-Acceptance
When I was growing up, I dreaded big crowds; the hustle and bustle of them, filled with people. I didn’t like to meet new people, tell my story, or get to know them. I was very selective, discerning. It was protection.
At the time, I defined it as a fear of people. Today, anxiety would be a more accurate description, a byproduct of fear, but more defined both by its nature and brand. I might feel nervous, on edge, self-conscious, or nauseous – a gradation to downright paralyzed.
I preferred to stick to one or two friends since I knew we wouldn’t be staying long anyway.
When my parents packed up and moved yet again, I was expected to go to yet another new school and start over yet again while my anxiety grew, and shortened, coming quicker until I couldn’t bring myself to speak to yet another new person.
So-called professionals in the school system tried to understand me, but instead labelled me hopeless when I didn’t corroborate their assessments.
Counsellors and psychologists said there was something wrong with me because I preferred my own company to theirs. Those who sought to analyze me would tell me how it’s done while I was in their chair waiting for the moment when I could escape out the front door.
I soon stopped going to school altogether and, to shorten a long story, graduated early from a high school of 50 people in a class of three.
During my 20s, the idea of speaking in front of a group was completely out of the question.
For most of my life I was told by various well-meaning people that I should be more outgoing, talk to people more, smile more, get in that crowd. I dreaded it.
Alcohol and drugs helped until they didn’t.
I was behind a camera lens for almost twenty years. I could hold up that camera at any time and disappear. I was on the fringe as an observer, not a participator.
Fast forward to 2006 and I’m teaching yoga classes all over my county, training all over the country, and leading my own school in the studio I built with my business partner, a fellow teacher.
I had come far from the young woman who liked her world small. I was vulnerable now. This meant something. But what?
Here’s My Strength
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I became a yoga teacher after I got sober. New-found clarity and a reignited love for the practice pushed me to share it with others. I wanted to tell people how amazing it was, how much stronger and more capable I felt. How yoga philosophy was so close to AA’s twelve steps.
But, as with all things, it came to an end because it evolved into a job.
Owning a studio required a sacrifice and I allowed it to be my love for the practice. It had been turned into a need to make money, pay the bills. And the people associated with it slowly lost their lustre, their halos tarnished, and I was reminded, just as I was with AA, that the world is populated by humans.
As conflicts with my partner grew, I wondered how I could possibly continue to instruct anyone in anything. How can I sling these philosophical phrases and nuggets of wisdom around as if I knew what I was talking about? Who am I to advise anyone? Who am I?
When I moved to Washington, my teaching approach changed completely and I let go of what I thought was my responsibility to the student: I let go of trying to reach them.
As it turns out, yoga still had something to teach me.
Today, I unroll my mat for me only.
I disappear behind the lens again. I put my thoughts on a white background so you can read them later when I’m not there. I huddle with my pod of family and friends, tucked away from the world that seems to crumble a little more each day while humans become worse and worse to their only real allies: each other.
Here’s My Hope
For me, the greatest lesson learned is that no matter how many times someone tells me 2+2=4 until I do the equation myself, I won’t completely get it.
I’m here to remind you that you can find the solution. Whatever direction your path takes you, listen to the signals, heed the red flags, trust your instinct.I'm here to remind you that you can find the solution. Whatever direction your path takes you, listen to the signals, heed the red flags, trust your instinct. Click To Tweet
The best part of sobriety is the earned ability to look deeply at yourself, to learn to accept yourself for all your perceived flaws. To know that different is different and nothing is ever the same as the other. To understand that there will always be ruts in the road, but that there will always be rainbows and butterflies, too. To get that no matter what your quirks, or likes, or dislikes might be, they are yours to explore, come to terms with, or make decisions about.
You can change. You can remain the same. You can uncover lost parts of yourself and honor them once again. You can be different because you are.
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Pass it on!You can change. You can remain the same. You can uncover lost parts of yourself and honor them once again. You can be different because you are. Click To Tweet
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