Freedom means different things to different people.
I found my freedom by entertaining the idea that I no longer had to be at the mercy of another human being.
My client Nicole found freedom in a bathing suit. Here’s her story:
I wore a bikini. I wore a bikini on a beach in plain sight of everyone in broad daylight. I realize this doesn’t sound like much of an accomplishment. But this was my first time. I once had a very respectable bikini bod but never had the guts to rock one. I always wanted to wear one, but I was too self-conscious of my scars and my thighs … and too trusting of my Inner Critic. I mean, she must know what’s best for me. She’s known me my whole life!
So, three kids, two saggy boobs, and one sad- faced belly button later, I was determined to kick her out of my life and don a stringy little reggae number I found at the store. In the weeks before, I had one of those moments when I realized that ego wasn’t about arrogance. It was about living on the outskirts of an authentic life and denying myself my own love. I saw that the Inner Critic I so trusted was actually the voice of my ego, whose mission was keeping my mind preoccupied with the small stuff and away from the real show. So, I began to shut her down.
Fast forward to the day … I shed the last of the forty pounds of baby weight, but still had more stretch marks than could be counted and a body, though mostly in shape, that wasn’t quite the shape you see in magazines. But that was okay! Had I held on to my low self-concept, I would have sat in my cute enough tankini wishing I had the ovaries to get my Marley on. Instead, I took off my cover-up, revealing my red, black, and gold to the world. And guess what? The earth stayed in orbit.
I actually forgot about what I was wearing and just enjoyed the beach. It wasn’t about who looked like what. It was about being fully there. I watched my little girl boogie board in her bikini, I inhaled the salt air, and I silently prayed she’d always have that two-piece ’tude.
So, yeah, on the surface, it doesn’t sound like much—putting on a bikini. But that day, I won a personal thirty-nine-year battle and moved toward an authentic self-concept that can’t be cultivated by planting my roots in pop culture’s shifting sands. It must be grown in the rich soil built by living my own truth and accepting whatever that may be. This shift in my thinking is an ongoing process.
That itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny, Rasta-striped string bikini was the first major mile marker I reached while walking away from my critical self and toward self-love. Freedom can be found in a bathing suit. Who knew?
For me, freedom came when I finally gave myself permission to visualize myself as divorced. Visualizing myself as divorced gave me a new perspective and allowed me to reframe my situation. It was only then that I could begin to feel excited about the possibilities for my life.
It’s somewhat magical, but as soon as you admit to yourself what you already know and tell the truth to someone safe, you’ll start to feel a little more space in your internal world. You no longer have to hold yourself so tightly to protect your secrets and placate your fears. And you can start to imagine what it would feel like to be free.
If you’re not sure where to start or what your freedom might look like, please sign up for my next Free Jump Group Coaching Call here.