I watched a video of an intuitive life coach the other day, and it scared me.
It scared me because of how slowly she spoke, how airbrushed she seemed, how little empathy she seemed to have. It scared me because what works for her doesn’t work for me. The words coming out of her mouth were clichéd versions of bubbly homemade quotes on Pinterest – all strung in a row and said with a mechanical smile. I wasn’t feeling much intuitive love or guidance emanating from the screen.
It scared me because I could feel myself judging her – an inky kind of judgment that crept through me slowly, almost soft enough to be left undetected. It scared me because I had a difficult time respecting that she is helping some people live their dreams, even if I am not one of those people.
And it scared me because a flicker of fear cast over me that I would have to become her someday in order to help people. I wondered if being successful meant looking like Barbie and never letting go of that strained teeth-gritting smile. I wondered if having a neurotic side meant I am inherently under-qualified to radiate spiritual insights into the world – if my experiences are something I should keep more tightly under wraps.
(I have been told that I smile Too Much, that I am Too Happy, that I obviously Couldn’t Understand. As I felt myself try to distance myself from this woman in the video, it occurred to me that those comments may have affected me more than I realized.)
In the moment, I scrawled an impromptu prayer on a half sheet of paper I happened to be holding:
God, help me be authentic. I don’t want to have my own trademarked methodology. I don’t want to talk slowly and superficially, and I don’t want to have a pointy laugh. I don’t want to feel like a cheerleader all the time. I want authenticity above all. I want to reach out and touch others. I just want to write about universal experiences through my own lens. I don’t want to feel plastic. I don’t want to look plastic. I want to pulsate.
By daring to ask for guidance, I received the insight I was seeking: I don’t have to become her. I just have to become more of me.
Our individuality is sacred. Our lives are gold mines of learning experiences, and if we were to take inventory of every moment we felt resistance in a given day we would have so many clues to learn from. “Why did that bother me so much? Why did I waffle when I knew exactly what I wanted? Why did I react so childishly?” We are bigger than we know.
Your youness is holy and radiant, with so many skills and laughs and insights and talent. You are brimming with raw power and gushing with individuality, and the stories of the miracles accrued through your life experience could keep you dancing for days. You are a point of expression of a gigantic universe that vibrates with color and desire, and your uniqueness is not something to be hushed away.
Marianne Williamson writes, “A tulip doesn’t strive to impress anyone. It doesn’t struggle to be different than a rose. It doesn’t have to. It is different. And there’s room in the garden for every flower.” You don’t need to be more well-rounded, and you don’t need to become a different flower. You don’t need your path to be a cookie cutter version of your role model’s path. You just need to shine where you are.
Embracing our individuality does not inherently lead to selfishness. The more we delve into our own motivations and grief and oddities, the more compassionately we can treat every other human on the planet – all of whom are struggling at some level with resentment, guilt, and self-criticism.
(And the people who come off as conceited and self-absorbed, like they have taken this advice a little too far? Behind the mask and winding words, they too are struggling deeply with their own self-hatred. Hold them in tremendous light.)
That particular teacher in the video didn’t work for me, so I find and embrace the teachers that do. My blog posts don’t resonate with everyone, but they don’t have to – they resonate with some people, and that is enough.
So thank you, intuitive life coach, for becoming the hidden teacher that I didn’t want you to be. For inadvertently revealing my own judgment and for inching me toward being more of myself. For being my muse, at least for a day.
For opening me up.
Love & Open Eyes & Self Forgiveness,
(Tell me about a time when you judged someone without meaning to. Tell me what you learned from it, how you let it change you. Or if you didn’t let it change you – how could you open yourself up a little deeper now that time has passed? How could you see it as a gift? Share your wisdom in the comments section!)