Creak. Rustle. Crack. WHAM!
Just this morning, one of those background stories I had apparently been telling myself all along cracked open right in front of me. I almost felt as though I could see it.
You know how we all tell ourselves certain stories about ourselves, the way the world works, and everything in between?
We mostly create these when we’re young, and we gather evidence to support them throughout our lives. But, we’re usually oblivious to the stories and the evidence-gathering until someone points it out, or if we do some serious self-reflection, or if one taps us right in the middle of the forehead.
My story this morning was blatant: You won’t be accepted as a trusted and knowledgeable person/professional unless everyone agrees with you, or unless everyone likes you.
Do you see what I see? I see fears about acceptance and belonging in my community and beyond.
I mean the people who live around me, the people with whom I have a profession in common, and even the MotherHustle community. Community can be a geographical term defined by physical boundaries, but it’s also a broader social term. And at its core are belonging, ownership, and membership.
We can choose to connect and interact regardless, making our community rich and diverse and strong. Rich and diverse and strong.
Can we feel belonging even if we have opinions different from those of others in our community? Can we be accepted as relevant, knowledgeable, and valuable even if we’re not the same? Can we be respected even if someone can’t imagine being friends with us?
The daylight shining on my long-held, subconscious-until-this-morning story opened up that part of the lens through which I experience life. Once I noticed it, I could start to see, even in one day, all the ways I was working around that story.
When we are aware, we can start to make some different choices about how we interact with some of our ideas and beliefs.
That’s how we got to be on the business-owner path!
And I’m going to go ahead and say that it’s okay if you’re not liked by everyone. If I’m not liked by everyone. I don’t want to hide away from my communities and shut down my truth. And you know what? You don’t need to either!
Phew. Feels good to take the pressure off.
MotherHustle Panelist Emily Souder is a mama, author, and clinical social worker in Maryland. She provides therapy to pregnant women and new moms who are experiencing anxiety or depression, or who are just needing some help adjusting to this new time in their lives. She is married, has two children, and loves spending time outdoors. Follow her on Facebook at Nesting Space Therapy LLC and on Instagram at Nesting_Space. Make sure to check out her book here.
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