Just Show Up

Just Show Up.jpg

By Kate Kole

I love the moments in life where things just seem to click. When a song plays, or a conversation happens, or a piece is published – and right there, in that instance, you could practically swear it was meant for you – like the universe somehow aligned to give you the boost, inspiration, or wisdom you needed to carry on.

That happened for me last week when Jillian shared 10 things she’s learned since she started writing about her feelings on the internet. In it, she said that “writing is an exercise in surrender.” And I couldn’t agree more. I’ve received some of the kindest feedback and roughest criticism through publishing my thoughts on the internet. In many ways, it’s felt like a mirror to the common feelings of acceptance and rejection I’ve experienced in life, that we’ve likely all experienced in life.

Which got me thinking: what would happen if I approached each aspect of my day with that mentality? If I decided to show up, create, share, work, and communicate to the best of my ability, and then, to let go of the outcome. To know that I’ve done my part and said my piece, and that I’m not in control of the way it’s received, whether it’s fully embraced or harshly judged.

How freeing would that be? To realize that we aren’t responsible for how other people respond to us and our ideas? To truly let go of the desire to control how others perceive us and to focus that energy instead on being and expressing the most authentic parts of our selves. To release the concern for looking good and having it all together and to forget about convincing others of our worthiness. To simply be and live as we are.

And yet, it’s hard, right? At least, for me it is. Because I want people to like me. I crave affirmation and approval. I like connecting with other people and feeling like what I’ve gone through and learned is true and applicable to their journey as well. I want to believe that I’m not the only one who feels like she’s sometimes lost without a compass and isn’t sure where to step next. I have a deep yearning to know that I’m not alone in this often complicated and confusing world.

That being said, I’m starting to see and believe that it really isn’t my responsibility to create and control the feelings of agreement and understanding in others. My role in this world isn’t to seek and receive their two thumbs up. And my purpose isn’t to modify who I am to fit anyone else’s mold of expectation. My job is to show up without hiding, fixing, or forcing. It’s to embrace my own idiosyncrasies and uniqueness, so that I can get down to the business of being who I am.

When I step back and take the time to consider the moments of the most genuine connection in my life, I realize that they never occurred as a result of editing, concealing, or trying to prove myself, anyway. They haven’t happened when I’ve aimed for all the world to like me, but rather, when I’ve decide to reveal who I am, imperfections, quirks, fears, and all.

I’ve strengthened relationships by standing before others, admitting both my insecurities and also my deepest passions, sharing both the things that keep me up at night and also my dry sense of humor, and exposing both my struggles and also my successes. That’s the truest way I’ve ever found to meaningfully connect with anyone else.

Perhaps at the end of the day, our journey isn’t about earning the approval or avoiding the rejection of others. Maybe it’s about loving ourselves enough to show up as we are and then exercising the willingness to surrender and allow the rest of life’s magic to unfold from that space.

{featured image via unsplash}

3 thoughts on “Just Show Up

  1. smudge says:

    Thank you for sharing this! It is because of transparency such as this that we find kindred spirits – those who are on the same wildly unpredictable and unabashedly insecure, terrifying and yet wonderfully amazing journey through life and all of its twists and turns, ups and downs, bumps and bruises, trials and triumphs! Letting go of things we can’t control is frightening and humbling – admitting that there are things out of our control is a step often not taken in the first place! Here’s to surrender and living free of weights we weren’t meant to bear!


  2. shardeyfp says:

    Thank you for this! As I am coming to this very point in my own life where I can see how life is truly just meant to be loved. I find myself ready to just let go and leap into it head first. True happiness does not come from others acceptance but rather from our own self awareness and acceptance. Although I am scared at times I find words like this to remind me and keep me strong and focused not the only thing that matters most. It’s my life and I want to love it!. Thank you again


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