When I came out in my mid-30’s, many of my close friends and family mistakenly thought I was sharing with them that I had a serious terminal illness. Why? Because each time I told another person, I led up to my news with a preamble that made it sound like I had something terrible to share with them. By the time I actually got to the point and told them I’d fallen in love with a woman, their response was often “PHEW! That’s it?! I thought you were gonna tell me you had cancer or something!” You’d think I would have learned that I needed to update my presentation after the first couple of people gave me this response!! But this particular presentation stuck around for quite a while as I worried that others would see me differently, think less of me or even feel repulsed. I thought it was THEIR reactions I was worried about. It didn’t occur to me at that time that it was actually ME who was having those reactions toward myself. I concretely worried that who I was as a person was somehow not ok.
But guess what? My fear of somehow not being ok as a person came along way before my sexuality was the topic at hand. It sat smouldering under the surface of my awareness for many years, unknowingly influencing so many of my experiences, choices, and actions. You see, back then, the lens I used to navigate my life was a lens of wrongness. I hadn’t yet discovered how to invite a lens of rightness to the scene. This lens of wrongness led me to be on a constant hunt for what was wrong in and around me. And then I’d relentlessly try to FIX the wrongness.
Maybe you know this lens of wrongness yourself. When this lens is guiding your life, it can feel like a weight on your shoulders that becomes heavier and heavier as you easily notice the parts of you and your life that are wrong or not quite right. Maybe you throw yourself into trying to please everyone to offset your fear that others might see the truth about you. Perhaps you stay busy trying to fix what feels wrong (your body, yourself, your health, a relationship, your job, your house, other people, etc). And guess what results from relentless doing and fixing? It makes you wired with stress and terribly tired. It often requires that you push your body past its limit, which commonly impacts health. Maybe your mind spins with anxiety and your inner Judge Judy relentlessly criticizes you about how your feeling or handling your life, which results in routine insomnia. Any joy in your life may feel fleeting simply because there isn’t much time or energy for it. I know what this path is like because this was the primary lens I used for over four decades.
But here’s the great news: there’s another lens available to each of us: a lens of rightness. This lens often remains undiscovered because of life experiences like trauma, heightened anxiety from growing up with dysfunction or addiction, or simply from living in our culture. I mean, let’s face it, our culture itself fosters a lens of wrongness. But you see, there IS so much rightness in and around us! When the mind has been on the hunt for wrongness for so long, this becomes a default mode that’s wired into the brain.But guess what? It’s possible to help the brain become rewired so that this lens of wrongness is no longer driving your life and instead, the rightness around you suddenly becomes visible, too.
As my ability to see and experience the rightness in my own life unfolded, it changed how I experienced the wrongness. It led me to discover another part of me that had been there all along, but I hadn’t before trusted: my Inner Compass. It’s a part of me that is SO accepting and nonjudgmental of me and my life no matter what’s going on. And it’s so darn wise and peaceful. This Presence makes it possible for a pause to occur when a feeling of wrongness about me or my life shows up. This pause offers choices that were once invisible and makes space for me to invite my lens of rightness to be a part of the scene. It allows me to notice the rightness that’s been tucked into the seeming wrongness all along, which has changed my relationship with those parts of me that I once believed were so wrong, including my sexuality that I once presented like it was a terminal illness! Despite all the critical messages my inner Judge Judy threw my way for so many years, it turned out my Inner Compass had been whispering an entirely different, more loving, accepting message to me the whole time. As I integrated my lens of rightness into my life over the last eight years, the messages of my Inner Compass became more audible and my trust in it was cemented. It’s transformed how I go through my daily life and has radically changed not only my life but the lives of many clients. It could change yours, too!
If you recognize in yourself this silent worry that who you are is somehow not ok or you’re wired and tired from working so hard to fix yourself or your life, reach out to me. If joy feels impossible in the face of life stressors and health concerns or your inner Judge Judy feels relentless, schedule a discovery call with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can talk about working together in private sessions. I can show you how you can discover and apply YOUR own lens of rightness so you, too, can connect with your own Inner Compass that’s been there all along. And you can tap into peace, joy, and relief that remain steady regardless of your outside circumstances. What if it turns out this rightness revolution has been waiting for you all along?
P.S. Comment below if you’ve ever felt this way!
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Emily Colwell, MSSW, ND
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