Tag Archives: approval

The Power of Accepting & Sharing Who We REALLY Are

Point to Ponder:
Do you ever find yourself not responding to questions or situations authentically
in order to avoid others having a negative opinion of you?

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Do you ever find yourself wanting to laugh out loud, ask a question, make a comment or take an action, but instead you don’t follow through to avoid drawing attention to yourself, risking that someone might think you’re strange, or fear they will think negatively of you? I do, and that’s one of the areas I think we all can make self improvement strides in to see rich results.

Last February during our Winter Renewal Retreat, one of our guest speakers Dave Sunde said, Vulnerability never risked is intimacy never gained.” Let me repeat that: Vulnerability never risked is intimacy never gained.  For me, that was an epic A-HA! moment. Ever since Brené Brown brought the concept of vulnerability to light for me I have strived to be more vulnerable, but the idea of intimacy being the result of vulnerability- wow! That’s a game-changer and makes perfect sense… but it’s scary!

Intimacy doesn’t just refer to marriage or a physical relationship, it’s the result of anyone fully opening themselves up and letting others take a look into their desires, imperfections and messy life.  It’s loving ourselves enough to confidently express ourselves without the fear of rejection or need for approval. It’s being brave and courageous enough say YES to our passions and the things and people we love, because when you say yes to what feeds your heart, you’re giving others permission to join you. Being and living out exactly who we are is the highest form of intimacy, and that is where real life begins.

One of my favorite examples of vulnerability resulting in intimacy (and personal fulfillment and success) is Jake Worthington. Jake is a true country boy from La Port, Texas and the only thing fancy about him is his authenticity, which is brilliant. In 2013, after not making it past the blind auditions on The Voice, rather than slink away humiliated in front of millions of viewers and assume he wasn’t good enough, he respectfully asked the panel of judges how he could improve. The courageous result was his return in 2014 and finishing second place overall. I don’t know about you, but that kind of boldness inspires me to the ends of the earth and proves there’s only one way to live, and that’s passionately vulnerable so we can share our gifts and have intimate, rich, and meaningful relationships and life experiences. It’s a self-improvement opportunity for all of us and I invite you to watch Jake, witness his passion, honesty, vulnerability and ability to create intimacy. It’s mind-blowing and I love it!

Action Item:
Focus on being more vulnerable in your interactions with people this week,
and notice how much more rich and intimate those experiences become.
And, of course, watch the video below to be inspired by Jake’s comeback performance 🙂

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Mirror Mirror OFF the Wall

If you learn to love yourself and all the flaws, you can love other people so much better. And that makes you so happy.
– Kristin Chenoweth

Unfortunately, I cannot keep an organized office to save my life. I have all of the necessities that would allow me to do so; however, despite my ongoing efforts to make the office my official and inspirational space to work, I can’t seem to make it happen! Instead, my office has officially spilled over  into the closest room — our formal dining area. As a result of my disorganization, I am constantly shuffling through my piles trying to locate an important document, article, or reminder.

Last week and while in hot pursuit of finding a note, I saw a reminder on my bulletin board that I posted last fall. The note read, “No Mirrors/Negative Voices.” I immediately recalled the mind-blowing and introspective story I saw on 20/20. It featured Kjerstin Gruys, a 29-year-old PhD student in sociology and bride-to-be, who in an effort to boost her self-esteem and inspire others to stop focusing on external perfection, avoided her reflection for one whole year!

In the past, Kjerstin struggled with her body image and battled eating disorders. After reading the book Birth of Venus, she was inspired to “live life experiencing the world for itself instead of constantly reflecting on how you looked. It was a life where you could get away from yourself.” She also noted, “I kept coming back to this pattern of perfectionism and obsessing about my appearance, and I thought, if I can’t think myself out of this, then maybe I need to change something about my environment to force me to change. The project was to get rid of mirrors with the intention of focusing on everything else in my life.”

While many months have passed since seeing Kjerstin’s story, I vividly remember being more aware of how many times I looked at myself in the mirror, a reflection in a window, or in my rear-and side-view mirrors of my car. Honestly, the result was disturbing. I found myself being critical of my appearance, and when I acknowledged my truth, my truth told me that I was too concerned with the opinions and approval of others.

Do I think that avoiding mirrors and reflections for one whole year is extreme? Yes. But do I think we should care about our appearance? Of course. However, I think Kjerstin’s point is powerful and brings up the very important subject of self worth, self acceptance, and self love—despite our physicality or societal approval. Furthermore and regardless of age, I believe that the junior high girl in us all has the capacity to show her insecure face at any time, so it is important that we do what is necessary to suppress her — even if that means covering all mirrors. Not only do we owe the gift of high esteem and self-value to ourselves, but we owe this to our daughters, sisters, mothers, girlfriends, husbands and future generations.

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Point To Ponder:
Do you find yourself overly concerned or critical of your appearance and what others think?

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Action Item:
Look at yourself in the mirror and tell a friend or loved one (each day) at least one thing you like about yourself and that you are good at. Rotate the attributes so they include physical, mental, and personality characteristics and skill sets.

To Your Health,

Neissa

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