What is it that causes us to do this? Over time in doing my own inner work, I have found over and over again that I did this for varying reasons. The following are the ones that seemed to pop up the most:
1. I just wanted to be loved and accepted.
2. I did not want to be different.
3. I believed the stories my inner critic or others told me about my capabilities.
Love and Acceptance
Somewhere along my journey I picked up the belief that if I did not fit in or look like the others, I was not loved or accepted. In reality, I have never, nor will I ever look like others. I have unique features, and names and aliases that often make people ask, “What are you (they are usually referring to my race)?”
After many years of self-work, I have come to terms with this and often jokingly respond with, “Oh, I’m human.” That usually brings a smile to everyone involved in the conversation and I proceed to tell them. I no longer take offense to this (which I recognize as progress!). I had to learn not to take things personally, and trust that my being different serves me well.
I have also found that I am a left and a right brained person, meaning I tend to jump from creative to analytical thoughts. I think differently. I picked up on this at an early age and after being looked at kind of funny frequently when expressing my thoughts or ideas. I began to keep much of the stuff that matters bottled up where no one could make fun of it. However, when transformation takes place and you begin to honor your True Self, you can no longer do this.
Part of what transformation revealed for me involves being real, even if it means being in an uncomfortable place. I embrace my uniqueness and honor everyone else’s. As I now see that through our differences, everyone’s contribution is meaningful.
The Inner Critic
I cannot tell you the number of times that my inner critic has talked me out of following my dreams. I can remember being in high school and having a secret desire to become a clown. I had a name picked out and everything! Yet, as a debate nerd and someone who was expected to bring home excellent grades, there was no way I would ever share this with ANYONE! My inner critic told me over and over again how unacceptable this would be to my parents or anyone who ever knew me.
At the age of 32 I could no longer stand it, I was taking the meek and quiet approach, and my inner “clown” was dying to come out. I realized that not living my dream was slowly killing who I was intended to be, so I told my inner critic to take a hike!
I announced to my parents, children and husband (at the time) that I was determined to go to clown school. I wanted to do it more as a hobby, but if something came from it, good! I got mixed reactions, but my inner critic was most shocked when my dad said that he was in full support and wanted to “gift me” the money to go to clown school.
Finally, after so many years of hiding my dream, Petunia (my clown name) was becoming a reality!! Please believe me when I say that there was a lot of adversity, because my ex-husband was my greatest adversary and was very ashamed of Petunia. But there was no way I could turn back…the ink (at clown school) was dry! =D
Although being a clown is not my primary source of income, nor does Petunia come out of her trunk very often, I will never regret all of the experiences and joys that clowning has brought me. I’m also glad that I was able to disregard my inner critic and live out my dream!
I think many of us reach a point where we get tired of living for someone else. We have to realize that right here and right now is all we have and we have a purpose to fulfill. If this were not so, that burning desire would not continue to burn. Learning to honor and accept ourselves is a journey, and often times it may start with just ordering what you really, really want!