I ugly cried on my mat today. I got to pigeon and the floodgates opened. I'd just gotten home from subbing a class for an instructor at our studio who is so beloved. I'd walked in the door, looked at the sign up sheet, and seen all the cancellations. I'd felt the pressure to perform and teach the way she does and have her energy.
I mostly felt, though, my incessant need to be liked, to be seen, to be adored.
This is nothing new. I've been dealing with this demon for as long as I can remember. My astrology chart actually talks about how this is the thing I'll be dealing with for most of the first half of my life, so that's encouraging, I suppose.
There's this video that gets pulled out every once in a while (or at least talked about now since it's VHS And who has a VHS player anymore) in my family. It's a video of my brother, Ben, sharing or saying something for the first time, and me in the background screaming, "look at me, mommy, look at me, look, I can do it too." It's always presented in a loving manner, and we always laugh about it. A little piece of me feels stabbing pain each time this gets brought up, too. (Like I said, for as long as I can remember).
I've tried over the years to analyze and over analyze what is behind this need to be loved, to be adored, to be in the spotlight. Is it my daddy issues? Did I not get enough love as a child? Was I born that way? Did I do something growing up that reinforced this need, this belief? What I'm finding is that this way of going about my life is exhausting, and even when I *think* I've found answer that I think can fix those thoughts and feelings for good... they always come back. It's a never ending cycle I end up stuck on, of trying to rid myself of all the qualities I find "not right" or "imperfect" or "unacceptable" about myself, only to find that, much like emotions, what I resist persists. The more I fight this self-centered, attention seeking side of me, the more she shows up.
The problem I'm seeing is, when I come at anything in my life from needing to "fix it" or "make it go away," the more the game becomes about perfection, which is illusive. I'll never get to perfection, and so I keep carrying out the same cycle.
The same thing happens on our yoga mats. When we try to "perfect" a pose or be the perfect yogi, we get distracted, get out of our bodies, and we're actually missing the point.
So, today, as I lay in pigeon and cried, I saw myself going down the rabbit hole into the cycle. And I stopped myself. "Wait. What if nothing is wrong with me? What if it is completely normal to want to be liked, to be loved, to be seen? And what if me agonizing over this and trying to make it go away is actually perpetuating it? What if, instead, I see it for what it is, acknowledge it, and choose to move on? What then?" So, I did just that. I stopped perpetuating the cycle. I stopped fixating on all the ways that what I was feeling was bad or wrong and instead I just FELT the emotion moving through, and I let it. I chose to move on.
On the other side of moving on, I felt grace. Love. Acceptance of myself just as I am. I saw myself as a whole and complete person, and as someone who struggles with things just like anyone else. I'm not superhuman, nor does anyone expect me to be. I'm a real person with big feelings and emotions. And sometimes my emotions get the better of me. It doesn't mean I just let them run amok... it does mean I give myself grace when they try to run the show.
What story do you live with? What demons are you confronting? What thing about yourself that bothers you keeps you up at night? Makes you analyze and over-analyze? Dear friend, you are human, and part of being human is being aware of our humanity, of the ways we fail and mess up and get lost and struggle. It's the beauty of being alive.
If you haven't stepped onto your yoga mat yet, today, step on with confidence, and also with a whole lot of grace and love for yourself. Use your time on your mat to let emotions move through you, without having to analyze them. Let energy flow. Take it as your time to get to know yourself... and to love yourself a heck of a lot more. You are whole and complete... step on your mat that way.