Internet Inspiration – January 3, 2014
January 3, 2014
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On Crushes, Flirting, and Delight
January 8, 2014

You Don’t Have to Prove It

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Last week I wrote about my 2014 Theme, which is that I’m Turning Pro.

Turning Pro, at its core, means to me that I no longer need to wait for legitimacy, respect, prestige, admiration, approval, or whatever else.

I’m a Pro.

I’m already there, just by virtue of being myself.

Cover charges were taken care of by The Universe and I get to party in the VIP lounge of Life.

(But really, there aren’t cover charges. Life is one big VIP lounge and everyone’s a VIP.)

I don’t need permission. I don’t rely on approval.

The thought that triggered this for me was the comment, “You look the way a woman is supposed to look.”

Hm.

[I totally understand the intention behind the compliment, and I’m not trying to give myself power by attacking someone else. The person who said this (and actually, I’ve gotten this line several times over the years) was giving me their version of “Namaste”: the divine in me honors the divine in you.]

But I think there’s an underlying assumption about interpersonal dynamics that might be damaging. Someone may think that they’re giving me a gift of legitimacy or Rightness, by giving me this compliment. Someone watching this interaction might think that I need approval in order to be secure in the world. It’s not true for me anymore.

The reason I look the way a woman is supposed to look is because I identify myself as a woman and I look like myself.

It’s that simple for me.

I have a bikini body because I have a body and because I put a bikini on it.

Have you ever played Texas Hold ‘Em?

It’s a form of poker, and if you’re not sure how to play it, that’s the version they play in the World Series of Poker, and it’s also the version James Bond played in Casino Royale.

Anyway, the beautiful thing about this particular version of poker is that it’s rather egalitarian. At the beginning of play, one player puts up a “Small Blind” and another player puts up a “Big Blind.” Everyone has to put in each blind at least once, but the purpose of having these two initial contributions is that then anyone who wants to be dealt in can potentially win, no buy-in required.

When I Turn Pro, I’m buying myself into every game. Here are the stakes:

Small Blind = I Am

Big Blind = I Choose

Now we can all play.

That’s not really the pattern we’re used to. We’re used to walking up to the door and having the bouncer tell us that we need a password.

  • What’s In It For Me?
  • Did you get a job yet?
  • What’s your [GPA / SAT] score? What school did you go to? PhD? Or just a Bachelor’s?
  • How much money did you make last year? What kind of car do you drive?
  • Oh, you’re a writer? How many books have you sold?

I feel myself putting up defenses just thinking about it.

And I get it; none of us developed in a vacuum. But it’s hard to live on the defensive, strategizing how you’ll justify your truth and your existence. It’s hard to believe that in order for something to be true, everyone has to agree that it’s true.

It might even lead you to hide your truth.

You might get a prestigious job that’s nowhere near your passion, or carefully curate your social media presence. You might make New Year’s Resolutions with the underlying belief that you’re not enough right now. You might lie to people about your eating patterns, or hide some “undesirable” habits. You might even complain a lot, fishing for compliments.

It’ll show up when you don’t dream big enough. Maybe you fear success, maybe you don’t believe in yourself, maybe you’re looking for a way to sabotage yourself in order to feel Right and stay in control.

You’re a Pro.

You are yourself.

You are choosing your life.

It’s enough. You don’t have to prove yourself anymore.

Easier said than done, I know. But this week I invite you to just observe where in your life you try to prove something.

And if you find that pattern, ask yourself, “What if I was already a Pro? What might I do differently?”

You didn’t get a job you applied for.

  • Are you just bummed about the rejection? Or are you also worried about what your family will say? Are you bracing for judgment? What would a Pro do?

You lost weight.

  • Is that a personal victory? Or might it be a victory over someone else? Do you feel more “successful” now than you did before? Or has a fear of regaining the weight overshadowed your accomplishment? What if you were a Pro?

You earned a million dollars last year.

  • Might there a part of you that wants to stick it to everyone that ever doubted you? Do you still love the work that got you a million dollars? Or does it drain you? What would your Professional Self choose?

No judgment, no pressure. Well, except for the pressure of the pattern. It’s a chronic, low-level stressor: having that voice in your head that, while trying to protect you, is poking holes in the story of your life.

Just remember: you’re a pro. You don’t have to protect yourself in that way anymore.

This is your show, baby. Everyone came to see you. And we’ve never doubted you for a moment.