Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

“I’m just a soul whose intentions are good, Oh Lord please don’t let me be misunderstood” The Animals 1965.

These words sum up how I was feeling and what my intention was as I stepped into The Daring Way arena a few months back.

The Daring Way is a 2 ½ day workshop based on the research and books of Brene Brown. Its core themes are Show Up, Be Seen and Live Brave.

I’d booked this course in mid 2018 as an “experiment” as I felt I needed and wanted to live more bravely, do more of what I love and try new stuff, as well as let go of more of my tightly held and past their sell by date “stories”.

Why? 2 main reasons

Firstly, I sense the Universe has been telling me for a while that change is coming and I could feel a deep restlessness that wouldn’t let me be. I thought that for me to be ready and to embrace ANY opportunity, that felt good, I needed to uncover and explore who I am more deeply.

Secondly, in the Leadership work I do, helping leaders and their teams elevate and accelerate performance whilst making a personal impact, I’ve been feeling that what’s often needed more than or at last in equal measure to skills and knowledge, is support and focus. This support can create the space for people to explore who they are and who they truly want to be; to understand what drives them, their thoughts, feelings, actions and shift their mindset from one that is more fear and control based to one of possibility and openness. In that way, I believe that their ability and motivation to apply new skills and knowledge is better served.

In order to confidently and credibly focus on the second reason, I felt I wanted to start with me. What as yet uncovered layers of emotionally driven stories could be still getting in my way? I adopted the mantra, I often offer to my clients …

If it’s to be it starts with me.

Over the past 10 years I’ve done a lot of personal work, which has woken me up and increased my self awareness and consciousness on many levels and in many areas of my life. And yet… I have a sense that these upcoming changes and feelings of restlessness are telling me something – the next phase is here and it’s time for me to go one step further.

So back to more of the lyrics in The Animals song;

“Baby sometimes I’m so carefree with a joy that’s hard to hide
And sometimes it seems that all I have to do is worry
And then you’re bound to see my other side”

My experience in The Daring Way reflects both the joy and the worry.

The joy of allowing my intuition to guide me in the creative process and the worry of feeling I was being misunderstood.

Allowing is an interesting concept and one I have difficult relationship with. Why difficult? Because 2 of my core values are courage and freedom. Therefore not allowing or holding back feels like I’m being incongruent, untruthful and out of kilter.

It felt good to play and allow myself to go with the flow in the creative elements. I enjoyed creating visual representations of various thoughts, feelings, concepts and ideas. To fully let go of being…

  • Right enough
  • Good enough
  • Perfect enough
  • Creative enough

…was fun and liberating.

To accept and not judge, to relax and not worry, to do and not think was effortless – “a joy that’s hard to hide”

Invariably throughout the weekend I heard my inner child and inner critic doubting and questioning who I was being.

  • Are you “all in” to this process?
  • Are you being vulnerable – really?
  • Are you letting the drawbridge down to your self and to the rest of the group?
  • Are you being truthful?

And here, for me, lies a core struggle.

I don’t consciously or intentionally put or keep up the drawbridge, nor do I intend to withhold or hide AND YET… I sense it’s happening and I’ve been told it shows. (Not just during the weekend but it’s how I’m often perceived)

This is both frustrating and sad for me. Why? The impact is that

  • many people either don’t engage with me of quickly disengage because of barriers they see or feel.
  • I don’t feel connected to people and end up being alone or lonely some of the time
  • I tend to beat myself up because “I should know better” – not a very self compassionate behaviour.

My need to self protect, like all human beings, is built into my DNA. Our most primal instinct to survive and feel safe is a powerful driver of how we think, feel and act. It doesn’t seem to matter whether a threat is real or perceived, physical or emotional, survival is an over riding motive.

I admired, was inspired by and felt a deep sense of empathy for my fellow participants. Their courage to be vulnerable and open their hearts and their willingness to let their raw humanness be seen bought me to tears; tears of connection, empathy for those beautiful souls and tears of sadness for myself.

Why could I feel and resonate with the emotions of others and yet feel almost numb to my own? I must be hiding, blocking and disallowing my own emotions. That was frustrating and sad.

My intention in going to this workshop was in part not being manifested. What a waste. And yet again, my pattern of good intention was opening another door to “please don’t let me be misunderstood”

Vulnerability as defined by Brene Brown is uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. She says vulnerability is also the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy and creativity,

My “experiment” uncovered more opportunities.

So Beverley, you are a beautiful work in progress. You are worthy of love and belonging and you have the power within you to grow into all the possibilities the Universe has in store for you.

No misunderstanding there!

And to you, I humbly and compassionately ask …

  • Are you being you?
  • Are there drawbridges that could come down a little bit more?
  • Are you hiding from feeling certain emotions?

If you answer yes, no, no, that’s fabulous, so why not take another step further to deepen who you are and keep going.

If you answer no, no, yes, be kind and compassionate towards your self, you too are a beautiful work in progress.

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