All of You
All. Of. You.
Are you being all of you?
Let me start this with a little story. It's an unexpected, but nicely-timed (and mildly humorous) story from my week.
Yesterday, we took my minivan in for an overdue repair. We needed to get a rental car, and, due to a shortage of cars at the rental agency, we ended up with a 2020 Jeep Wrangler.
(That's me and my family in our first drive with the top off. My daughter makes it a point to try to not smile in EVERY photograph, regardless of how much fun she is having. And my son? I have no idea what he is doing.)
I went from being perceived as...and experiencing the feelings of...being behind the wheel of a very traditional, safe, practical minivan to a somewhat exotic, not practical but wildly fun, Jeep.
Luckily, this week is treating us to gorgeous temperatures and sunshine, so we took the roof off of the Jeep almost immediately. I've been driving around town - to my dentist appointment, picking up the kids - with the wind whipping my hair around and the sunshine warming my entire body.
I love this car. AND I love my minivan. Both represent different aspects of who I am.
What I've noticed, though, is the experience of driving the Jeep (and yes, being seen driving the Jeep), awakens those aspects of who I am that don't typically otherwise get acknowledgement. Funny thing is that I hadn't even recognized I'd been ignoring them.
For example, it's not impossible, but it is difficult to feel sexy behind the wheel of a minivan. It's difficult to feel lighter and spur-of-the-moment adventurous when you are lugging around 4 chairs, a tennis bag, and whatever your daughter happened to leave in the cup holders last week.
I love feeling sexy, light, and adventurous. I don't need a Jeep to feel those things, but having a Jeep reminded me that those feelings are part of what I crave, part of who I am .... part of who I am neglecting in my minivan-loving, mommy-defined self.
"All of you".
Think about this for a moment. How many parts or aspects or characteristics of "you" do you feel that you are aware of and/or express in any given day?
There are the parts that are obvious. The parts that are reinforced everyday.
Moms, you'll feel me here: You are so-and-so's mom. (And oftentimes, it feels like that's all you are).
You are your job title.
You are the interest that you mentioned once (and now everyone gets you those same-themed gifts for every birthday and holiday).
You are the things you think about repeatedly each day (a dieter, a stressed-out human, a mess, a goddess). (By the way, for those who think about the last one daily, I bow to you.)
Now consider those parts of you that aren't so obvious to anyone else. The ones that don't get daily expression.
Think beyond judgment.
Consider all of those parts of yourself that you tend to regularly ignore. Your adventure-loving self. Your sexual self. Your peaceful, quiet nature, ... your fierce, anger-loving nature. Your hatred, your unabashed love. Your unspoken attractions. Your pie-in-the-sky dreams. Those things you consider "guilty pleasures" and those things you consider even darker, deeper secrets. The clothes you love but would never wear, the songs you know by heart but would never sing along to in public, the beliefs you hold that you don't ever share. The relationships you crave (but would never act upon) and the relationships you hate (but would never end). And so on.
Consider that you may not even know all that you love and desire and fear and hate.
All of these parts of you that you show on a daily basis and all of those parts you keep hidden (or are unaware of) ....
How limited of an expression of YOU are you creating in daily life?
Believe it or not, your answer really, really matters.
The more you limit your self-awareness, the more you limit your (authentic) self-expression. The more you limit your self-expression, the less you and we are granted exposure to that full expression. The less exposure we have to full expression, the less we know about you and our world as a whole*. And the less we know about our world, the less likely we are to understand and nurture it**.
* Your stories - your life and how you experience it - are part of our collective wisdom. Any time someone hides their story, we understand less not only about that person, but about ourselves as a whole.
**This is a scientifically proven aspect of human nature: The more we understand about something, the more likely we are to care about it.
Lack of individual self-awareness and fullness of expression isn't an individual, secluded problem. It is something that is creating a whole host of societal, cultural, and ecological erosions. (This might seem like a big leap. I ask you to just re-read the sequence above and consider how the smallest thought, change, or action can result in a tsunami of change.)
So beyond your expected roles, who are you being in daily life?
What you wear, drive, own, rent, attend, and support - those are parts of who you are being. Those things not only show other people parts of who you are, but they also create who you believe yourself to be (and thus, how you act and reinforce that self.)
For example, if you wear a "power suit", others will tend to respond to you as if you are a powerful person. In turn, you will feel more free and supported to BE a powerful person. Your thoughts and actions will turn towards that being, you will express more power, and others will continue to respond to you as an increasingly powerful person. (Possibly a silly example with various exceptions, but you get the idea.)
Many people tend to wear, drive, own, rent, attend, and support the same things week after week. Through these things, we tell others how to respond to us, and we, in turn, create the person to which others are responding.
You become more of a mommy with the minivan. You become more of the stereotypical employee with each day on the job (dreading Mondays, longing for the after-work drink, complaining about your boss).
But you know this and I know this - this person you have become is not all of who you are. Not by a long shot.
The question arises, then:
Who more can you be?
Back to the point I share all of the time: You are co-creating the world in which you live. Every thought, every action, every day at work and drive in the minivan (or Jeep), you are creating your own reality.
For multiple reasons, our thoughts and actions tend to be on repeat, creating habits and routines. Keep in mind - habits and routines are not bad. Those patterns run the risk, though, of putting us to sleep. They encourage a lack of curiosity around who you are and what else is possible with each precious day.
So .... I forgot to mention at the beginning of this: It is my birthday week.
And I've a little something to ask of you for my birthday.
It doesn't require any money, but it does require a little bit of your time. And while I benefit from this, it is actually an opportunity for you to invest 5 minutes of your time in yourself ... in exploring what too often gets neglected.
I want you to join with me, for just a short little jaunt, on this journey of considering all of you. I want to ask three things:
1 - who you are
2 - who you might be, given the support, time, and freedom to explore and express that being
3 - one wild and TINY thing you promise to do in the next week to see how it feels being more of YOU
I've created a COMPLETELY ANONYMOUS Google survey, and would LOVE if you would take 5 minutes or less to respond.
You can find that survey here:
Take a full, lengthy breath. And another. Feel that? That's you. That's more of you than you get to feel in a typical, rushed-through moment.
If nothing else, please take a few more of those today.