A long time ago, in a land far away, after immersing myself in a few metaphysical & spiritual communities, I noticed that too many people were dimming their lights in the name of someone else. Someone who was either leading the way, or someone who was bullying them. All while continuing to spin spiritual chatter. It irritated the heavens out of me. I don’t like being part of that storyline. Or hearing it. Or perpetuating it. It’s not me. I’ve got too much New York mojo and Israeli chutzpah in my blood for that.
What I didn’t realize at the time is that shrinking oneself is a very common response to trauma. Feeling smaller can unconsciously make people feel protected. It’s a childhood response. The problem is that if it becomes a lifestyle, you’re fucked.
“There’s nothing spiritual about staying small.” – Marianne Williamson.
So the other day I was in a conversation with one of my favorite young men who was complaining to me that he felt intimidated by a friend of his and that if he didn’t express himself to that person, he (my friend) would suffer for it.
Well, this favorite young man of mine happens to be a really over-the-top kind-hearted human being. He is also extremely unique, original, opinionated and smart. I asked him what was stopping him from speaking up. He said, “I’m afraid of being caught wrong if I say ANYTHING. I feel this way often.” A few days earlier, he had confessed to me that one of his deepest fears of speaking up is a fear of being PERMANENTLY WRONG. Like, PERMANENTLY. FOREVER.
As I empathized with his angst, I started feeling angry. The good kind of anger. The kind of anger that moves me to BE SASSY and write blog posts like this one. I think SO MANY PEOPLE can relate to my friend’s experience. I certainly could relate. In the past, that same fear stopped me from sharing my true voice. I used to feel so afraid to take a stand for myself. If someone I cared about was unhappy, I would be the first to blame myself.
Afraid of being truly seen, so many people hold themselves back. They’re afraid of being shot down. Or humiliated. Or rejected. There is only one place that that fear will land you and it’s the land of smallness, loneliness and unfulfillment. #notspiritual
One of the most important aspects of spirituality, to me, is ACCOUNTABILITY. SPIRITUAL ACCOUNTABILITY means being responsive to the fullness of your SPIRIT, to the ALIVENESS of your SOUL.
It means being willing to participate in difficult conversations. Not with everyone, as some people deserve to be released from your life if you believe they’re going to try to bully you or manipulate you or intimidate you. But with people you choose to care about, with people you’re in a friendship or love relationship with, negotiating for JOY can be a very spiritual, expansive and life-enhancing experience.
Successfully negotiating for JOY actually depends on how accountable you can be to your friends and loved ones and how accountable they can be to you. After the conversation with my young friend, he wrote this with a good bit of fire in his belly. I’m sharing it publicly with his permission. That’s a REALLY BIG DEAL for him. We hope it moves you to speak your truth to someone that matters to you. We hope you increase your POWER to negotiate for JOY.
AMEN AND AMEN! PREACH IT KID!
My aim is to see you prosper and thrive. I want you to feel phenomenal. I want you to GET SASSY!
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Much love and Happy New Year!
Debbie Happy Cohen
aka Happy D! and Reverend SASSY SHORTS!
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