I recently attended a beautiful wedding celebration. We stood barefoot on the sand as the bride and groom shared their vows overlooking the ocean. The bride was escorted down the aisle with her brother on one side and her father on the other. What a blessing to witness a father who had been missing from their lives for many years and, before his lifetime is over, found his way back to his children.
After the service, while we were joyously celebrating under the stars in a nearby park, I spoke with a career woman who is also an artist. Upon learning that I am a creativity coach, she proceeded to share her feelings regarding her artistic abilities.
As she talked to me, the laughter of the party seemed to evaporate into the night air. Her inner critic sat between us and tore to shreds her style, focus, technique and even her future ability to, as she put it, “step outside of the box” with her art.
My one and only thought was that until she steps outside of her head, she’ll never get outside of the box. Fear takes up residence in our head first then infiltrates, if allowed, down to our cellular level. That’s when paralysis sets in, mildew coats our brain and we whine that we’re not good enough.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Do what you love”? I can tell you right now that she loves the fact that she’s an artist and that she can paint pictures. She’s doing what she loves, but not loving herself in the process. The joy of creating is being censored at every turn by her devilish inner critic.
You can love something or somebody and still be joyless. Joy arises from the heart and soul of life. All too often joy begins to rise, but it is prematurely distinguished by being too hard on ourselves.
What if you loved life so much that it didn’t matter whether you were rich or poor, successful or not, healthy or sick, and so on? I know that’s not a very coach-like question to even think of. But life presents to us all types of circumstances — some great and some not so great. Does the experience dampen our joy, or is it our judgment that does?
Traditional wedding vows are spoken daily around the world and include: for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. Contemporary vows are more along the lines of: I take you with all of your faults and strengths, as I offer myself to you with my faults and strengths. I will help you when you need help, and will turn to you when I need help.
They are meaningful sentiments colored with emotion and spoken from the heart. Why can’t we say them to ourselves and live by them — loving ourselves through the ups and downs of life?
We can and we will when we begin to celebrate ourselves. The beauty of the wedding I attended was that neither the daughter nor the son held any anger or resentment toward their father. All three just wanted to celebrate the moment — one another.
That is what we should be doing. Then we will witness beautiful healings taking place naturally in all areas of our lives.