the names we call ourselves

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There is a pattern in my life, an unhealthy pattern, a pattern of denial. A pattern of not owning the reality that is placed upon me.

I established and ran a woman’s ministry in our church for a number of years, and yet I hesitated to call myself a leader. I have been writing in one form or another since I was 6 years old but only recently have I called myself a writer. I have been involved in creative events and services for a long time, and yet would never have thought to call myself creative.

But there is power in owning those names, there is power in finally stepping up and saying “yes, I am a leader, I am a writer, I am creative”. Because opportunities suddenly appear.

And this is why …

When I denied that I was a leader, I would see a leadership conference come up, and think “I’d love to go to that, but I’m not a leader”. As a person who wasn’t creative I would automatically disqualify myself from any creative pursuits I was invited to join. And I never thought to further my writing skills, as that was what writers do … and I’m not one of those!

But slowly things changed, not overnight and not with full-blown confidence. It sounded more like this “if I am a writer, maybe I should do this course”; “if I am a leader well then maybe that conference is a good idea”; “if I say I am creative then maybe I should just give it a go”.

And each time I said “yes” to one of these things I found that I was growing in my leadership, my creativity and my writing skills. And each “yes” lead to a strengthening of my confidence that actually this is who I am.

You see the language we use about ourselves is so important. Is there a name that has been placed on you that have been denying? Have you been called a photographer, or an amazing counsellor? Have you been called a phenomenal organiser or inspirational speaker? Have you been called a sensational teacher or incredible artist? What would happen if you chose to accept that name and see where the journey takes you?

I love this quote from Marianne Williamson:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

So what if you stopped making yourself smaller than you are? What if you embraced your own potential? What if you took the name and owned it, and ran with it for a while to see where the journey takes you?

I think we would find an amazing community of people growing in their gifts, stepping out in them and encouraging others to do the same. You see as Marianne Williamson says,  “as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same”.

Isn’t it worth a try?

Jodie (writer-leader-creative girl)

PS – I am owning my writer girl creativity once more and joining the inspire 15 creative women’s retreat next weekend and I am so excited about joining a group of women who are letting their own light shine and in doing that giving others permission to do the same.

6 thoughts on “the names we call ourselves

  1. Great thoughts Jo. I’m still at the fear, not yet fully embracing or sure stage..but with encouragement from wonderful people like you I’m exploring and finding my way. You are an inspiration. Enjoy the weekend retreat! Xx

    • Thanks Esther, what I am learning from this Brené Brown book is that the unsure and afraid stage is a necessary part of the journey. I think you’d love it. xx

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