I get to choose.
These four words challenge me as I continue to allow myself to show up in the world more and more as the person that I want to be. And if I get to choose how I am going to show up in relationships, at events, and in my life. I DO want to show up as a woman of light. My challenge to myself is to notice my own emotional state when I am at a beginning. How do I show up at breakfast? What energy am I bringing to a zoom meeting? How would my kids describe how I am feeling when I am cleaning or doing the laundry? How would my friend or Andrew describe my energy in our most recent conversation?
How about you? How are you showing up?
Here are 3 clear lessons I have learned that have allowed me to be more intentional about showing up as someone who brings light . . .
1. Leave it at the door
I was eight years old when I first heard the phrase, “leave it at the door.” The statement was not directed at me, but I took it as a clear rebuke to never allow my own emotional issues to come into the theater.
At the age of eight I performed in my first community theater production of the Sound of Music. I adored and feared our director. She had been a New York City actress back in the day and she now was the renowned director of all the shows at the opera house. Her name was Steve Hall and she was an adult who always told it as it was and was ready with constructive criticism at every turn. At a young age I aimed at perfection, never wanting her critique to be directed at me, when it was my eyes would tear up from embarrassment. So when I heard her address adults about things, I was taking notes because I did not want to be on the receiving end of her quick wit.
When she exclaimed to our Captain Von Trapp that he needed to pull it together and leave everything else at the door. It made an impression. “When you are on this stage Vim, you ARE Captain Von Trapp. Do not allow us to see any of your personal distress. Leave it at the door.”
I got the lesson very clearly. Whatever is going on in another part of my life should not bleed into the theater. When I was on stage I was to embody the emotions of the character I was playing.
I do believe this is a good lesson for us as we step into various scenarios in our day. How might your life look differently if you left work at work, home at home? What if you always chose to show up at the table ready for connection, bringing light to those times around the table?
When do you recognize that you get to leave emotions at the door? Where are you most likely to bring your emotions, your mood, your distractions with you, and how might it change things if you could leave all of that at the door?
2. Responsible for processing
This is in no way an excuse to not look at your emotions or to compartmentalize your life or to not be authentic. You get to have emotions and your feelings are tremendously important. The truth is that you and only you are responsible for really taking care of yourself, your sadness, your anger, and your upset. How then do you leave emotions at the door in a healthy way? You intentionally plan times to process your own emotions.
There are a few ways to include this practice in your days and weeks that will allow you to process emotions and show up as light. The first way to allow emotions is in your morning or evening time, giving yourself a way that works for you to journal or meditate, or read. You allow yourself to process and be filled so that when you show up for others you have taken care of yourself. Commit to a time of reflection and intention every day.
Another way to process through you emotions is to have accountability in your weeks. Choose to process in accountability regularly. This can be your spouse, or a good friend that you regularly connect with. Agree together that you will choose to ask one another about all that is really going on for you. Allow this to be a place where you do process how you are feeling, why you are feeling that way and how you want to feel.
And a really needle-moving way to process your emotions is to choose be coached. A coach is an ally who will help you recognize when you are carrying emotions that are weighing you down. A coach will provide you with concrete ways to examine how you are feeling and collaborate with you to find a healthy path forward.
How are your taking responsibility to process your own emotions? What works for you? Who do you want to process with?
3. Change your state
Tony Robbins offers us a very clear way to shift from one set of emotions to another intentionally. He reminds us of three ways we can change our state. He writes, “To change your state of mind, you can do something as simple as adjusting your posture. You can make eye contact with the people around you. You can smile, just to trick your mind into thinking you’re feeling better than you actually are. Eventually, your emotions and mindset will follow suit.”
My challenge to me and to you is to change our states as we choose to show up in light. First, change your physical state: take a deep breath, shoulders back, chin up and smile. You get to consciously shift. Second, shift your focus: as you leave everything at the door, consciously choose an intention for what is before you. And third, shift your language: consciously show up articulating what you want others to hear in a positive way.
How will you intentionally shift your state when you feel down or frustrated?
Our lives get to shift when we make small choices that shift how we show up in small ways. I want to show up in light and love. I get to leave negative emotions at the door, knowing I will process them in ways that are beneficial to me and others. I can shift my state anytime and anywhere. I can show up in light. I get to choose.