Of course, I’m not a turtle. That’s totally obvious. So why would I say that?
Because, sometimes, okay, a lot of times, I feel like a turtle – or I used to.
I’m guessing you know the feeling, the one when you pull back and make yourself as small as possible inside the protective shell you’ve created?
In fact, I kind of want to pull back in that shell now, because I am feeling incredibly uncomfortable sharing this with you.
But I need to write this, and I’m hoping it will help you too.
So, the times that I have typically wanted to pull back in my shell:
- When someone is angry or critical of me
- When I’m trying something new and might make a fool of myself
- When I want to say something that might upset you – or someone else – that might invite that anger or judgment.
- When I’m interacting with someone who has hurt me in the past.
- When I have done something wrong, made a mistake or failed before, and I have to face the person/situation again.
- Oh yeah, and in most situations where I feel like I’m going to be judged or rejected.
Do any of those sound familiar to you? You might have your own reasons for creating a shell.
We all build turtle shells. We build them when we are hurt or criticized or judged, especially as a child. We build them when we are blamed or made wrong. We build them when we make a mistake or are embarrassed. We build them when we are told we are not good enough. We build them when we compare ourselves to others and find ourselves wanting.
Need I go on? There are a million reasons that we build shells for ourselves that we can withdraw into and escape and avoid the hurt and pain and whatever else we fear.
The problem is that we are not turtles. We don’t really NEED those shells the way turtles do.
We just think we do. We really aren’t protecting ourselves within those shells, because the reality is that we’re going to get hurt and feel pain anyway.
The shells don’t keep us safe. They keep us small. They inhibit our growth. They stop us from being who we are meant to be, from fulfilling our potential, from shining our light in the world as brightly as it’s meant to shine!
I’ve been working on dismantling my shell and taking it off for a while now. It’s not easy. Every tile that disappears feels like a hole in my armor, a place where I’m vulnerable. It’s uncomfortable. And at this point, there are a lot of tiles missing.
But I know I’ve been clinging on to a few parts of my shell that I’ve been pretty convinced that I couldn’t possibly take off, and one of the bigger pieces of shell that I’ve been clinging to is the ability to talk about Faith and Love and Spirituality, especially in relationship to the workplace.
I’m passionate about the fact that now more than ever we need to bring our spiritual selves – however we define them – into all aspects of our lives.
It’s not about religion, although I’ve worked with people who are deeply religious. I’ve also worked with people who are atheists.
It’s about faith in the unknown, faith in the mystery of life, faith in the creative energy in the universe. It’s about that higher level of consciousness that encompasses all of humanity, all of life.
These things – faith, love, spirituality – are scary to talk about though, because so often there is judgment or rejection or downright shame associated with talking about them in the workplace.
If fact, when I left corporate and told one of my colleagues that I want to help people bring more spirituality into the workplace, she gave me “the look”, you know the one, like seriously? And then she proceeded to remind me to tell people what NOT to do. I know she only had my best interest at heart, but it was enough to make me think twice and thrice and . . . hang onto that piece of shell.
However, that tile, and the few others I’ve been hanging onto, are keeping me small, inhibiting my growth, keeping me from shining the bright light into the world that I know I am here to shine.
So, I’m taking them ALL off. I’m getting support from my coach Sally Anderson, my husband, a few close friends, and from my spiritual connection to universal consciousness.
As uncomfortable as it is, I know it’s time. Because I want to reach my full potential. I want to share ALL my gifts and talents with the world. Because I want my light to shine as brightly as it was designed to do.
Because I want to live a rich, full life of deep meaning, and I can’t do that in a shell.
So, my friends, the filters are coming off! Starting today . . . And I’m really looking forward to the wonderful new conversations we are going to have.
I’m taking my shell off – all of it – will you join me?