Although I feel like I have spent the last ten years or so doing tons of self-work and unpeeling of the layers and layers of ‘stuff’ that has accumulated in my life, I still love that I am willing to do deep soul work.
A few years ago was a definite year of courage and the willingness to listen to my inner voice. As the dust began to settle from the major changes in my life, I took a month or so off from the heaviness that can come when you are in the labyrinth of self-improvement. Establishing myself into my new home space and adjusting (again) was my focus. It felt so good to pause from the rigorous self development and instead just enjoy myself.
Not soon after, I began an online course on Courage. Brene Brown has been one of my favorite authors and speakers in the last few years and when the course was offered, I said a gigantic YES. To be guided through courage, vulnerability and shame with a leading researcher and expert was an opportunity I was not going to pass on.
Knowing that I had spent the previous year in the ‘arena’, I was curious as to what I would find I would need to explore in the bravery realm, but willing I was to examine it. Lesson one offered over one hundred values to identify just one that guides your way in life; everything from accountability to balance to faith to humility to love to optimism to spirituality to well-being. Where do you hold your highest regard and when this value is not in place you know you are off your path? In my ego mind I wanted my chosen value to be something easy like compassion or kindness. My soul said go deeper than that and asked what is it that I know for sure, when this is threatened, I am off my center?
Safety?? Yea, like in the form of being judged, not being seen or understood for who I am, financial risks, being unorganized and chaotic, feeling unsure of decisions, having people in my life who are disrespectful or threatening, allowing fear to creep in, etc. Safety. I wear the armor to protect my safety. So going into the ‘arena’ again, I had to be open to the rawness and vulnerability of the emotional exposure around this value of safety and to be willing to set the armor down.
Using the metaphor of a lantern, she explains that the flame that burns is the identified value. The glass that surrounds the flame illustrates the behaviors you display and people that you have in your life that protect that value. The handle of the lantern symbolizes when you have set your value down and walked away allowing your ship to get off course.
My flame is safety. My glass (behaviors and people) that keep my flame protected include boundaries, choices, self-respect, meditating, journaling, keeping a budget, being organized, people who support and honor me, a knowing and exploring of self. When I have set this value down I am allowing fear to enter, I take risks, I allow people to speak or treat me in ways that hurt, I am not grounded and I worry irrationally.
Knowing that this value is held in such high regard to me, I can see why some life decisions I have made, and the experiences I have been offered, have caused me to feel such anguish. In addition to better understanding what it is that stokes my flame, I am way more armed with tolerance as to what makes me tick and then respond when the value is threatened.
Safety. Indeed my highest value for my life is safety. I know when it is threatened or I am off course because of the internal responses that I have that then lead to behaviors that diminish the flame. It is so clear to me now. While compassion or kindness may have been easier, I am so grateful for this new knowledge about myself and can move forward in my life with a strong flame and people and behaviors that will protect that part of me.