On Monday I sent you a newsletter sharing all about a woman’s power and the hoops it has to go through in order to stay burning bright. I promised you a story of my own power going out when I was a little girl, so here it is.
I have one wound from my childhood that still shows up in my life today. I was three years old playing make believe in the dining room. I accidentally broke a glass candle holder while having a tea party with my imaginary friends. The glass broke all over the floor, and with tears in my eyes and the fear of getting in trouble bubbling in my snot, I brought the broken pieces to my babysitter to apologize. Without going in too much detail, I’ll tell you that her response deeply scared and traumatized me. I was eventually sent to my room for being such a bad girl.
I decided in that moment I could never, ever make a mistake again. My life depended on it. I had to be a “good girl” from that moment on.
This belief played out for a couple of decades and I avoided making mistakes at all costs. I would never be a bad girl again. I didn’t take risks in school and lived in fear most of the time when it came to my education. Instead I got really good at sports because I couldn’t get in trouble on the field.
As you can see, my true power started to fade as soon as I decided to be a good girl. I thought that in order to be powerful and good enough, that I had to be perfect, but get this.
Trying to be perfect is a defense mechanism. It’s a strategy to avoid pain.
Deciding to be a good girl was a way of protecting myself from feeling the pain that I didn’t know how to deal with when I was three years old. My nervous system and psyche were still developing, and they simply didn’t know how to handle the pain of a grown up hurting me and scaring me. Instead, I froze, and made the decision to never get close to that scenario again. I would stay far away from pain, and far away from mistakes.
I chose to be a good girl out of fear, not empowerment. This “good girl” persona was a very limited version of Chrissy. The good girl wasn’t an expression of Chrissy’s true power. I slowly but surely forgot who I really was before the fear took over.
As we all know, it’s impossible to go through life without making mistakes. I’ve had a long road with this one. Making mistakes today is still tough for me, and I still beat myself up at times with my words and energy, the same way my babysitter did with her actions.
When did I get my true power back? When I reconnected with my three year old self who was hurting and calling out for attention. She needed love, patience, and someone to hold her. Through years of coaching, trauma work, and the many intensive workshops I’ve attended, I’m happy to say that my three year old has been tended to, loved, and affirmed. I had to let her cry, kick, and scream it out. I had to give that little girl permission to defend herself and take her power back when she didn’t have the voice or courage to do so in the moment.
When I emotionally and somatically released that trauma from the past, a new confidence formed inside of myself. A new curiosity that was willing to make mistakes and learn from them. My life became brighter, more interesting, and vulnerable. I started living again and my power was remembered.
I finally woke up. I felt empowered again.
Here’s the truth about power. It never, ever goes out completely. There’s always a spark waiting for your attention. But how do we stoke that fire to a roaring flame again after so many years of hurt? We have to feel the pain with presence, love, and compassion.
If you want a formula for remembering your power, I have one. You must first build an internal sanctuary of awareness. The quiet place you return to with the breath, meditation, and embodiment. Another word for this? Presence. The ability to witness your current state physically, emotionally, and mentally without any judgment. This sanctuary can hold your pain, and from this space of presence, you can feel your pain and let those primary emotions such as sadness, anger, or fear move. This could look like quietly crying, or speaking the words your little one couldn’t say in the moment, defending against the person who hurt you. It could look like a conscious temper tantrum. The invitation is to see where this presence takes you.
Your true power is on the other side of this expressed movement. It’s on the other side of feeling your pain.
The difference between Chrissy now and Chrissy 10 years ago is that Chrissy today has a powerful sense of awareness and compassion for that little girl who simply had an accident. I’ve been able to go back in time and give that three year old girl what she needed to feel safe and secure. When she’s scared and worried that she’ll get hurt and in trouble after making a mistake, I breathe her in, and let her know that she’s safe, and that I’m driving the car now. She can relax and let go.
Thank you dear ones, for hearing my story, and holding it with so much love.
P.S. If this newsletter struck a chord with you and you long to do some deeper work to remember your true power, hop on the phone with me. Women leaders must dig deep in order to express their gifts in the world. Schedule your discovery call with me find out how to transform your own pain into your purpose. On the call I’ll give you a taste of what coaching with me feels like.