In this addition of Joy Tip Wednesday I'm exploring how I show up for myself in the stickiest of times...the middle. I've been reading the brilliant work Rising Strong from Brene Brown this past week and she helped me realize something. I hate middles. I want them to end. And my mind wants life to get on already and get over "the middle" of everything.
According to her research, people who rise strong, who live a life full of daring greatly, are committed to showing up for themselves. I read this and thought, awesome. Yes. I've been doing that. More than ever before. I've been showing up for myself and showing up for my life. What they also have in common is being willing to have the grit to make it through the middle of the journey. That part where you are so far in you can't go back and where you don't quite see the light at the end of the tunnel. Shit. I hate that part. And I know she's absolutely right. Because I've seen it in my own life and in the lives of my clients. When we make it through the gritty middle full of uncertainty the other side is amazing. The amount of growth we experience and clarity is profound. But that middle...mmm. It is not easy.
Truth be told I'm in quite a few middles right now. Emotionally in my romantic life and as close friends have transitioned to new phases in their lives. Academically in my dissertation phase. Professionally as I'm growing into new adventures. Mentally as I'm forming some new ideas about my work, my life, my learning. And perhaps even life wise given my age. So I'm steeped in the middle. I'm steeping in resisting the urge to turn away from sticky emotions and feelings that have unsurfaced. Staring fears that are lurking in the corner while I stand in the dark tunnel with no way to go back and no sight of the end. And really, in the middle, I know I can't go back because I don't want to.
When we hit the middle of anything in our life, we risk giving in...giving up. We risk giving up what we've worked so hard for to fear. To doubt. This week during an energy healing a mantra was revealed for the person I healing and I realized it's precisely the mantra of the middle: "I am enough." Because in the middle we question whether we are enough. Our fears, insecurities, uncertainty, has us question whether we have what it takes to keep walking.
When I hit the middle I know I have to dig deep and connect with knowing "I am enough." And I need to connect with practices, people, thoughts, and beliefs that reinforce my commitment to show up for myself and to ensure that I don't give up on finishing the journey I'm walking.
So here's the joy tip for this Wednesday on how to show up for yourself in the sticky middle:
1. Take a look at your life and identify the current "middles" you're living. Bring awareness to the fact that you are in the middle which is the make it or break it phase. And know that you can make it. Just knowing this helps me have more compassion for the emotions that arise in myself during this phase and helps me with the steps that follow below.
2. Choose one or two people who you know will help you get through that middle. Maybe they are accountability partners. Maybe they are family members or friends who make you feel loved...understood no matter what. We don't have to go through the middle alone. Brene Brown reminds us in her work that we are wired for connection. We live in an interconnected world. Despite our attitude to pick ourselves up with our bootstraps, people who do it successfully do it with support. This has been a hard lesson for me as a fiercely independent person, but I can absolutely say that when I get support in the middle, I'm stronger than I am alone.
3. Identify one practice you can take on that will support you in getting through the middle. I have many. Some of my favorites are singing with my harmonium as if I was at the top of a mountain and no one was around to hear, listening to new music and drinking a cup of tea or dancing around my apartment or doing an energetic yoga practice, and meditating. Practices that connect me deeply to myself where I can remember that "I am enough."
4. Remember a time recently where you got past the middle. Any time you doubt yourself, remember that you've made it through "middles" in the past...and you can now as well. Maybe you write a reminder on a post-it and put it on your bedroom mirror so that when you doubt, you've already dug deep to remind yourself that you can continue walking.
Navigating the middles are how I found my teachers, my coach, and how I started coaching and teaching myself. If you're looking for more support through your middles contact me for a free 30 minute consultation or join me in my next Choose Joy Course. Because I believe "you are enough" and you got this!
In the meantime, take solstice in knowing that everyone has their middles. And everyone is treading through them. And everyone faces fears just like you and uncertainty. And everyone questions whether they are enough. And know that the answer is you are enough, you can do it, and just keep walking.