• Ann Kaplan

I am hiding. I am scared.

How are you hiding yourself?

Chances are words like fake, inauthentic, private, protective, or hidden probably sound completely ludicrous describing me. I am loud, I have NO secrets, I give everything to my friends and family (including my opinions), I tell it like it is and my clients love my tough love and exigency. But even I, obnoxious and unfiltered as I am, have been hiding. Like so many women I know, I have a false belief that there is something wrong with me, I'm not good enough, and I need to be better and fix myself. What do I do with that belief? I see messages all around (people's comments, my husband's emotions, random strangers' facial expressions, my kids' behavior...) that prove my inadequacy. Then comes a combination of contorting myself into what I think I'm 'supposed' to be, while protecting and burying my true self far, far down in a secret safe space where the harsh and critical outside world can't hurt me.

That I am hiding was news to me; I thought I was so aligned and authentic. I have been playing this game for so long that by the time I was capable of conscious self reflection, the authentic part of myself was already so hidden, I didn't even know it existed!

The cost of my belief has been huge, most notably in my marriage. Each time Mike asks me to do something, voices a pet peeve, or even expresses an opinion, I feel worse and worse about myself. I interpret each interaction as a criticism, and being myself around him is either really unpleasant or simply not possible. I withdraw myself more and more, which means less affection, connection, communication. Now I have withdrawn so far into myself that the only way to I know how to be myself is to get as far away from him as possible! This dynamic is a big reason why our relationship is on the brink of a big change, which is terrifying but so needed.

The brink of a big change...that could sound negative, but I don't think it is. I am so lucky to have realized my profound need to eradicate this belief and pattern from my life - now I know the task before me and I can see it transform and redirect me and the future of my family.

Why do I share this story? Because I know you have a false belief too; we all do and I see it every day in my clients. I know there is a story you tell yourself about who you are and where you belong in the world, and I know it is showing up for you in all parts of your life. If you are feeling trapped, stuck or totally lost - this is the biggest reason why. If you are doing OK but not great - this is the reason why. How do our stories impact our lives? Listing the parts of life that are UN-touched by our stories would be a lot easier...like it would be a blank piece of paper. It's everywhere - marriage, friendships, business, money, domestic life, parenting, learning, healthy, creativity, relationships with our kids...everywhere. Everywhere. (I am thinking of my daughter, my relationship with her, and the model I set for her...and I'm holding back tears)

The theme in our group this week is authenticity. It's a vague word that can mean everything and nothing at once. But this week I am going to try even harder than usual to bring my own authenticity to you and push you to dig deep. Find what is your true authenticity and how you have been holding yourself back from embodying it. Think about how it is affecting your life and what could be different if you let yourself be in a true connected space with yourself all the time, fearlessly.

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© 2018 by Ann Kaplan