I’ve been thinking a lot about the contrast between constriction and expansion, and how it impacts us. Today, I’m going to focus on the first part - the constriction we’ve experienced to survive.
So much of our lives we’ve been told to squeeze into a little box.
To not be too much.
To prove you’re enough.
To fit in.
To be successful.
To be good.
To be whoever the heck you’re told you’re supposed to be.
That box may look like…
Size 4 jeans
Doing a million things without breaking a sweat
Always on top of things
Enough money but not too much money
Desirable but not a slut
A player but not misogynistic
Knows how to party but never an alcoholic
Successful but not arrogant
Confident but not self-aggrandizing
Popular but not gossipy
Respectful of authority but not a pushover
Emotionally intelligent but always stoic
Always helpful but never needing help
Always improving but also completely content with my life
The good girl or boy
The golden child
The good Christian
The popular one
The perfect one
The smart one
The favorite one
The best friend
The fun one
The responsible one
The one everyone admires and desires
The successful one
A white, cis, heterosexual person in a monogamous relationship
Take a deep breath.
What constriction came up in your body that you want to notice and release?
All you need to do right now is notice with mindfulness.
If you have any feelings come up, welcome them with curiosity if that feels do-able.
Your feelings and body responses are here to help you process and release, not to add a burden.
If you can, speak to yourself with compassion like you would a friend around each of the above “boxes” you experienced. Here’s what I say to myself, and my clients, and I would like to say to you: “I’m sorry that happened to you. It wasn’t your fault. You can learn to feel safe and accepted without this box. I’m here to witness your pain and help. We can go as slow or fast as you like. I don’t need anything from you, even growth or change. Just know I’m here and you’re not alone anymore.” If it feels okay inside to do so, you can also say this to yourself.
In the next post, we’ll talk about what happens after recognizing your boxes, as you begin to release yourself from the expectation to live in them.
See you then.
Note: If you want to be able to process this with more people than me, then hop over to the Trust Yourself Again group in Mighty Networks and share about your boxes there! Sometimes it feels good to know we’re not alone in all the pressures we’ve experienced and are breaking free of.