A bag of chips

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“ How am I going to show the world and myself that I’m worthy of the work?

The above question is one that I often ask my clients to ponder. It seems like a loaded question, at least their long pauses, eye rolls, and sighs cause me to infer that they believe that the question (you know, one of those trick coaching questions) is loaded. However, what’s at the center of the question is this:

I am worthy of the work.

 I am worthy of attention to myself, physically, spiritually, emotionally, financially. I am worthy of taking the time to know myself beyond the labels, roles, and external and internalized expectations.

So many of us grow comfortable moving through the world in almost invisible ways. In fact, we are often invisible to ourselves, which is why so many of us, when we reach middle-age (whatever that is) find ourselves restless, dissatisfied, bound to what appears to be good lives that have somehow outgrown us, or maybe we’ve outgrown them. Whatever the reason, we often put our real, intended lives on a shelf. Forgotten. Collecting dust.

Do you remember the expression “ I’m all of that and a bag of chips?” I used to love this expression. In fact, I would say it with a neck roll, two snaps, and end it with my Black Superwoman pose.  Child, I was proud to be all things to everybody whenever they needed me to be.

Until I wasn’t. Truth be told, I found myself worn out and living outside of my true, divinely purposed self. So, I decided that if I was going to be all that, I would choose which of the all thats spoke to who I really am, and I would decide what flavor chips I would be. As a matter of fact, I concluded that I will be all that (the real me) and a bag of Cheetos! (I LOVE Cheetos!) I still do the neck roll, snaps, and my pose.

So here’s the thing. We all have multiple mindsets and practices that have come out of our unique life experiences. We are, indeed, at some juncture of our lives all of those roles and labels: All that AND a bag of chips. Some of those beliefs serve us well. Others? Not so much. Some of us spend so much of our time performing. Did you hear/see what I said? PERFORMING Periodt! based upon what we think the world ( and I’m often talking about the people who love us the most) think we should be doing. We do! We show up! We work! 

“You want me to be the world’s greatest Mama?  I can do that!

Lead every program in the church?  Okay! 

Pull you and everybody else through their struggles? You bet! 

Make myself presentable at all times? K! 

Always greet the world with a smile on my face? Absolutely! And I’ll even throw in a reassuring hug!

And I can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan.

I can do all of this when you want and how you want. I’m just happy making ya’ll happy!”

We get so good at it that we absolutely lose ourselves.  I mean we wake up one morning, look at that woman in the mirror, and ask, “Harpo, who dat?!”

We sometimes forget those seeds that were planted in us long before we knew ourselves. So, as I do for my clients, I’m giving us an opportunity to coach ourselves.

Take some time to sit in the following questions: 

  1. Outside of my current roles or labels ( mother, wife, teacher, angry black woman, etc.)  Exactly who am I?
  2. From my earliest memories, who have I always been?
  3. After pondering the two above questions, reflect on the following:

If this is who I am, and who I have always been, how do I begin, right now, nurturing, my true self? And finally…

  • How am I going to show the world and myself that I am worthy of the work? (Write the vision. Make it plain. Show up for yourself, ya’ll!)

And then, knowing with every fiber of your being that you are absolutely  worthy of the best possible love you can give yourself,  of the greatest amount of respect you can give yourself, of the honor that you deserve…

 On your own terms, unapologetically, be all that! Do the work! 

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