Want to know how to embody your courageous spirit? I challenge you to connect with your bravest self with this simple step:
I’ve been BUSTED – by my 10 year old! Which feels uncomfortable and weird and fills me with pride all at the same time.
My daughters are officially out of school for summer and have lovely swaths of time to themselves. Some of that time was spent raiding the “super secret goodies” my husband and I keep downstairs for our “grown up snacks” – you know, organic bean chips, 77% dark chocolate and the like.
Upon discovering a half bag of chips was missing, we asked the girls to fess up.
To which our youngest stated “….I might have had one – but only one….” (Like that’s actually possible.)
The oldest said “I got into the upstairs bag, but I didn’t even know there were snacks down here!”
So we asked again and our youngest looked us in the eyes and said firmly “Two. I took two chips. That is all.” Which we knew was totally impossible.
I thought I was awesomely adulting (I mean, parenting) by saying “What matters now is that both of you understand this (no longer secret) area is a LEAVE-IT. You may ask us for a goodie when we are here, and we may let you have some, but there is to be absolutely NO raiding of this whatsoever. Got it? Furthermore, if things go missing, I don’t care WHO did it, you’ll BOTH have consequences.”
Which didn’t go over well AT ALL with my oldest – because, well, little sisters, right?
I continued my “win” when I was smacked across the head by realizing of COURSE kids are going to go after illicit goodies if they don’t have abundant, healthy prepared foods available that they actually LIKE.
So I totally patted myself on the back and declared:
Henceforth, I’ll help you choose parentally-approved snacks every evening and you can prepare them for the next day. You can have a veritable smorgasbord to choose from!” And I thought I was so DONE. No more chasing the tail instead of giving options that make it easy to do the right thing.
Boundary set, problem solved.
Except it wasn’t.
Once the children were tucked in, my husband shared his frustration with being lied to. He holds honesty in high regard as a way of showing respect for himself and others. He expects this to be reciprocal, and I hadn’t addressed honesty at all.
He decided to set a consequence that would register by rescinding his offer to help our “chip raider” with a project they had planned to do together.
I was devastated. I want harmony in our family and love bonding activities. This decision meant a joyful activity would not happen and I knew there would be stress and tears.
I also knew he loves her as much as ever, but needs to hold the line.
So when I was driving the girls this weekend, I had set my mind to devising the perfect way to share the importance of honesty. I had no idea what that was…..until we listened to a TED talk on teaching girls to exemplify courageous spirit instead of striving for perfection.
The lightbulb went off. If I want to change something in the world, the one place I have direct leverage is working to alchemize wherever the issue shows up in me. And I DEFINITELY grew up wanting to be perfect. Not in so many words, of course, but the drive to always get things right is strong. At school, at home, in my relationships, in my career.
The cool thing is that the older I grow, the braver I get. I’m stretching all my boundaries with The Alchemist’s Heart, forging ahead into uncharted territories, challenging myself to authentically bring my courageous spirit forward. BUT I can see a thousand tiny ways I’ve lied over the years…trying to hide my mistakes, dimming my light a little (or a lot) because I wanted help others feel more comfortable. And I realized the biggest issue is the way I’ve lied to MYSELF. About how I really feel and what’s really going on during tough situations.
Because we can’t be more honest with other people than we are with ourselves, right?
If I want my children, my friends, my family, my colleagues, my clients, my readers (YOU, my Dear) to be BRAVE, I need to respect each and every one of us with as much honesty as I can muster. It’s time to honor the courageous spirit in each of us!
So I turned to my youngest and said “Honey, do you know what takes the most courage of all?“
And she said with nary a moment’s pause: “To be truthful with people you care about when you know something might be difficult, they might not like what you have to say, or you might hurt their feelings?”
I was stunned.
But of course, she’s been watching, and listening and really SEEING what the bleep I’ve been doing while wrestling with my own courage and self-respect.
So I told her she’s absolutely right, and that instead of lecturing at my girls, I will consciously challenge myself to model the qualities I want my girls to practice every day. And I will share my process with them whenever possible so they can see what’s going on under the surface.
Now, Alchemical One, here is YOUR challenge!
With gentleness and compassion, notice in your life where you have withheld the truth from yourself. I know you’ve had positive intentions for this, just like me. I also know you are a divine being worthy of love and respect. And I want you to begin to practice being aware of what is true for you each day. You don’t even need to share the information with anyone else!! Simply inquire so you can begin building a deeper friendship with your own mind, body and spirit. You will naturally begin to grow into your own courageous spirit!
With Love and Alchemy,
P.S. If you’re ready to nourish your own wellness, join my thriving, FREE private Facebook group ~ Inviting Aphrodite: The Alchemy of Self-Love & Soul Nourishment . Connect with women around the world committed to supporting the courageous spirit in each of us so our inner Goddesses can SHINE!