Showing up in one’s life? May not always mean what we think it does…
I’ve heard the phrase “showing up in one’s life” many times over the past few years from all sorts of different people - speakers, coaches, in movies, etc. It’s now used in many different contexts and some would say – it’s becoming harder to understand what it actually means… This got me thinking, what DOES it mean to show up in one’s life? Does it mean – striving for goals relentlessly and valiantly until they’re achieved? Does it mean making sacrifices in life for one’s beliefs? Following our one and only passion with all the might? The sort of thinking that the only way to show up in life is through following big goals, working to get that “American dream” going otherwise it’s not really the life of meaning has really been getting traction lately. And achieving big goals is great, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for it – but that’s until we know what they are and are ahead in this race. But what happens when one year we’re not?
My own hypothetical brick hit me hard on the head a while ago when I realized that at some point in my life a lot of my happiness got tied to achievements and living for the big passion of mine (that at the time was completely tied to my ego by the way, so really wasn’t a true passion at all). Everything else was secondary. So in my mind I was showing up firmly day in and day out and was fully protected from ever having to think about things. I had my big idea and was following it, what could possibly go wrong? Until at some point I realized that I’m not quite sure why I’m doing what I’m doing.
So my question here is – what happens when we lose that passion? Or maybe we don’t know what it is? Or we like doing and trying many things in life and don’t fit the “big dream” stereotype? Because it seems that a lot of the current thinking is based around the notion of finding this one big beacon in life and going all in on it. But I’m only just beginning to realize how dangerous this belief can be. What it does is it tell us that we’re not enough – just us, here. As long as we have something we’re striving towards we’re okay, we’re showing up for ourselves, we’re living this life fully. And that can be exhausting. Always looking, relentlessly striving and always giving it all 150%, always “showing up”.
But what if sometimes showing up for ourselves means – stopping, slowing down…and doing nothing? Or saying no to an opportunity because you can’t remember the last time you had a proper night’s sleep and really want to be project free for a while? Or being content with who you are right now – regardless of your job, your weight and your marital status. And by no means am I advocating for the “no striving” policy, I think moving forward and learning new things has immense potential to make us happy. What I’m saying is that sometimes we can drive ourselves crazy with the goal setting and achievements, thinking this is what showing up for ourselves means, constantly on the pulse of the game. But sometimes, for our own sake – showing up may mean just the opposite – slowing down and sitting in a bubble bath with a book .. Because rest and space to be still may turn out to be the things that ultimately propel us forward in our achievements.