This morning I listened to a couple of people in the entertainment business talking and one of them said “every human deserves to laugh and have fun”. I thought to myself of course that’s true and hence one of the values that entertainers bring to the world. This made me think about my value and how I would rephrase the same statement to represent this. What is it that I evoke in others that is essential?
I know I can evoke a lot of feelings in my clients. Uncomfortable feelings might be the one they most often tell you if you asked them. I tend to ask them challenging questions that call for self-reflection that isn’t always pleasant. 😉
I think I also evoke hope. I wouldn’t be asking these challenging questions if there wasn’t a belief that the person I’m asking isn’t capable of more. That the goal they came to me for wasn’t achievable. Me asking the challenging questions is one way of pulling them through the door of growth.
I think I also evoke confidence. All my clients have inevitably experienced the standard question from me “On a scale of 1 to 10 how confident are you about completing this task?” And regardless of their answer I always follow up with what would make you feel more confident? We keep chasing that feeling until I can see it in their eyes and hear it in their voice.
But besides these and the likely hundred other emotions I might evoke I would hope the most common feeling I give to my clients is simply feeling good about themselves. So many of us carry the burden of imposter syndrome or just not good enough. That there is always something I need to improve upon or could be better at. That I need fixing. That the million things I have done wrong in my life makes me a bad person.
Of course, it’s great to want to improve. To see opportunities for growth and reach for them. I am all for more self-awareness and self-improvement. However, not at the expense of fear, shame, and guilt. So many assholes and tyrants we meet every day are operating from one of those places. And the hard truth is that each of us has worn the asshole t-shirt many times in our life.
I just recently tried it on when I noticed I was being very snobbish to a group of people. The uncomfortable reality was I feeling shameful about my own past and those people simply reminded me of that past. It was an interesting self-reflection exercise to notice my thought pattern. But here is the thing, if I didn’t already have a belief that I was a good person I likely never would have been able to do that self-reflection. I wouldn’t have been able to observe my nasty thoughts without also feeling even more shame and guilt. Which would have led to more thoughts or behaviours that were equally unhelpful. Instead, I was able to stay curious and get to the root cause which became an extremely useful piece of insight. Now, when in a similar situation I can tend to my own shame carried from childhood instead of project it onto others.
We all deserve to feel good about ourselves. No matter what bad thing we did or said or thought. We all are carrying around experiences that are so deep in our sub-conscious we often don’t realize how our past can easily be triggered by the most benign things.
More self-compassion leads to more compassion. More curiosity. More empathy.
More self-compassion leads to more confidence. More courage. More growth.