The Choice to be Free

I hear the sound of my heart bumping through my ears at the same pace as I feel it pulsate against the balls of my feet.

I stand there, still, free from judgment of myself as I know no one is watching.

“I am beautiful. I am smart. I am bold. I am loving. I am kind. I am caring,”

Mantras I repeat to myself as I am erectly planted with my stems to the ground.

I sway as if in a slight wind, as I feel my body shift weight to one side of my body to the other.

I love being here.

A feeling of calm engrosses me with the exhale of every breath.

If I can stand here alone free from judgment, why can’t I stand in a populated area all the same?

Why am I timid to speak up in a group but have the gusto for constant debates with myself?

Why can I dance alone in an empty yoga room but I am frozen in the presence of others?

Why?

To be free from judgment of ourselves is to be free.

To be accepting of ourselves—insecurities, thoughts, and fears—is to be free.

Do I wish to live a life of freedom and wander, or would I rather be bound by my own mind, shackled in a room which has been hoarded with insecurities, thoughts and fears blocking the door out.

What is the choice?

 

Embracing “Fluidity” and Feeling Connection

I’m not sure others share in this experience, but there are many times I have interactions with people and cannot help but observe them—the way they talk, listen and present their ideas. These intriguing people are who I can only best describe as having a sense of “fluidity” in the way they are. Some characteristics of people with this “fluidity” are open, attentive, curious, shameless, spontaneous, and non-judgmental, to name a few that come to mind. I observe these individuals from the perspective of a student, yearning to adapt this more fluid way of being in my everyday interactions.

All of us, myself included, can be guilty of having our minds drift during conversation with a colleague, worry about a friendship or family matter in the middle of an experience that should be wonderful, truly not listening to someone who is close to you because we are distracted, ashamed to voice a more raw version of an opinion because we feel humiliated in its potential inappropriateness…

These sort of actions are indicative of not living our life with fluidity, something that seems to come so naturally for some and not for others. I have learned overtime that much of this hindrance comes from insecurity and shame.

Insecurity and shame are the feelings that have us retract from our real and natural self to adapt to environments and social circles in fear of turning others off or not fitting in. On the other hand, people who present themselves in this fluid way appear, conversely, to be secure and shameless, free of worry or care for the thoughts and opinions of others. As a result, they often seem to experience connection more easily. Now, whether or not that is true of them, I am not sure, but the more I am exposed to people I at least perceive to be this way, the more I am inspired to work on letting go of my shame and insecurities to live a more fluid life, regardless.

The one thing that does give me hope that the fluidity in these individuals is genuine, is the look in their eyes. I don’t know exactly how to explain it but the look in their eye is that of a portal, as if I can see right through their pupil with no wall blocking our connection. All of us are guilty of unconsciously stunting connection at times with small actions such as holding back texts you want to send, letting the mind adrift during conversation or responding with what your audience wants to hear rather than your own opinion in an effort to feel more accepted. Ironically, acting in this less-fluid manner has us feel less connected, more insecure, more self-conscious, and in turn… Still not feeling accepted.

I encourage us all to embrace the actions of the “fluid” by truly listening to one another, be genuinely curious of one another, act on intuition, say what you want to say when you want to say it, don’t hold back opinions and be more courageous to disagree (one I personally must work on the most). We are only forced to be ourselves this way and we have no choice but to prompt more connection.

“You’re Interviewing Them As Much As They Are Interviewing You”

This quotation is one I have always carried with me throughout various job interviews over the years. It is a reminder of our worth as well as of the power we possess in making our own decisions.

Currently, I am interviewing with real estate brokerages to find a fit for me. When making the decision to decline or accept a new position, we are forced to reflect back on our values.

What do we consider to be most important to us? Do we believe this company aligns with what is important to us?

“You’re interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you.” I would even slightly disagree with this statement and argue that we are interviewing them MORE than they are interviewing us. A company does not know what we, as an individual, value. How could they? They only know what THEY are looking for a candidate to possess to be qualified for the ROLE.

But do they know that you value a flexible schedule because your daughter has piano lessons every other Wednesday night at 4pm? Do they know that you value mentorship over online teaching because you are better at learning hands-on? Or do they know that you value having a positive working environment over any pay-increase they may offer to you?

No. They don’t. Only you know what your values are and, conversely, a company can only know what their own values are. Interviewing is an opportunity for you to find out whether or not you and a company’s values are aligned. So, back to my point. You are interviewing THEM, first and foremost.

As a pre-interview exercise, I would suggest writing out the values that are important to you. Though money is important, I do encourage you to think of values beyond the monetary. This will hopefully provide a clearer understanding about what you would be looking to hear, see and question for before going into the interview room. .

In considering my current options with this in mind, I have to trust my gut, to a degree, to cue as to whether or not my values are harmonious in this decision. I personally can physically feel angst in my gut when something is not agreeing with me (beyond the hot falafel sauce I had for lunch), so in making this decision, I trust it.

The values I consider most important in making this decision are the following:

  • Support
  • Responsiveness
  • Mentorship
  • Professionalism
  • Growth/ Learning
  • Personal-worth
  • Goal-setting/ ability to fulfill my personal goals

After this reflection, I believe I have made my decision.

The company will take you, but will you take them?