One of my friends was interviewing me recently about the work I do with women. "You're a leader," she said, like it was a fact. I didn't say yes right away. Instead, I kind of nodded but skirted around that word, leader. She called me out on it. "I can see you have a hard time calling yourself one." And she was totally right.
I'm not as good of a leader as...
I just started really diving into this work so I'm not really a leader yet.
A leader is _______, _______, and _______ and I'm not those.
All of these thoughts began to float around my head when she called me a leader. And you know what? That's straight up pollution. Polluting our creative waters is something Clarissa Pinkola Estés writes about in Women Who Run With the Wolves. We need to clear the pollution from the water first before we can bathe in the clear, clean and thriving river of our creativity. These polluting thoughts about me as a leader have the potential to not only pollute my creative waters but keep me from stepping into the leader I know I can be.
It takes courage to stand in your strength. It takes courage to receive compliments and simply say "thank you."
Have you ever been in a situation where someone gives you a compliment and you shrug or say something along the lines of I guess so or I'm still working on it or another response that doesn't allow you to receive the compliment whole-heartedly? I know I have. It makes me think back to elementary or middle school when I would get made fun of for getting an A on an assignment or test. I mean, how crazy is that? But these are moments that we carry with us throughout our life. However, when we examine them in the current phase of our life we can say, there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing well. In fact, it is a gift to myself and others to celebrate my strengths.
I was in the supermarket the other day and the woman checking out in front of me remarked to the bagger, "You're really good at bagging!" And the man smiled back at her as he handed her the grocery bag and said, "I am! Been doing it since '68." That moment will stick with me because he allowed someone else to celebrate him but even more importantly, he celebrated himself without any justifications.
Why is celebrating yourself so crucial? Because it stokes your creative fire. It cleans out another layer of pollution from your creative river. It flexes your creative muscles, so to speak. It gives others permission to celebrate themselves. And you know what? That creates a community of uplifted and confident people who know their worth and can fully own it without feeling ashamed or guilty.
Creative gifts and strengths vary. Maybe you are passionate about visual art or theatre. Maybe you love to journal for ten minutes each morning. Or you could be an amazing listener. These are all strengths. These are all creative gifts. If you are infusing your authentic self into it, it is art. If it feels like a living, breathing thing full of magic, it is art.
If it feels, deep down, like it aligns with your truth, then it's your strength. Even if you are just planting the intention into it. Even if you are just beginning to explore it. Even if you haven't "mastered" it yet. Even if you don't yet believe that it is your strength. It is real. Real is what has life.
It is so important to celebrate your strengths. So, what's your strength? Your strength could be something you're known for, something people come to you for or compliment you on. Keep noticing the praise and receive it whole-heartedly. Don't be shy to say what your strengths are and to celebrate them. The world needs more uplifted people.
By standing in your own light, you shine onto others so brightly that they begin to see their own strengths and gifts.
So, what is your strength? What do you consider to be your creative gift or a creative act that inspires and fuels you? They are so incredibly valuable and healing, trust me.
The first step to clearing any pollution from our waters and reclaiming our creativity is speaking our strengths out loud. It is the first step to deepening an existing creative passion or moving forward with a creative passion we're interested in pursuing.
So now, I would LOVE to hear you celebrate yourself out loud. Meet me in the comments section and let's hear it! What is your strength? Say it loud and proud, lady! I know that I and all the other women here are celebrating you in all of your strengths, passions, interests and creative endeavors. I'm going to head over there now to share my strength and I can't wait to read yours. If you wish, follow your strength with some exclamation points or an affirming YES! so we can really let you shine and lift other women up into their strengths.
Loving all your gifts,