Josh Langley

Unapologetically You: How to Show Up as Yourself

I talk a lot about showing up, whether it’s for your creative passion, business, or life in general.

But are you afraid of showing up fully?  As your complete self?

I had a vivid dream where a woman lifted her house onto train tracks and moved it from the back of her property to the front and set the house down again. She said that she couldn’t believe how dark and musty the house had become while it was at the back. Now that the house was at the front, she could feel the wind on her face, see a view of a river and feel more alive and free.

We spend so much of our lives living in the shadows, our own shadows. We hold ourselves back from being our true selves. Afraid of what other people might say or think of us.

For people who’ve experienced a troubled childhood, like me, holding back was a way of protecting yourself from a real or a perceived threat. It was a learned behaviour.

We shrink, making ourselves feel small, less of a target.

A violent father. An angry mother. An abusive older sibling. A cruel teacher.

Or whenever we did stick our head above the pulpit you were told to settle down, stop acting up, or just as bad – completely ignored.

So, you stopped being the free-spirited child you were born as. You stopped showing up as yourself and soon forgot who you really are.

I know the experience deeply. I feel it in my bones. It’s hard to emerge out of the shadow space, but it is possible.

Like in the above dream, you can come out and stand in the light and feel the warmth on your face.

When that shrinking into the carpet feeling comes on:

  1. Deeply notice that feeling. It could be shame, fear, embarrassment, or all of them. Sit with the feelings and don’t shy away. They can’t hurt you now.
  2. Say to yourself, ‘I’m allowed to be me in all my own uniqueness. I have a voice and I can share it.’
  3. Own your story. Feel it well up inside you. Learn to be comfortable with how it feels.
  4. Take one brave step out of your shadow and show up … yourself.  
  5. People are too busy focussed on themselves to worry about what you’re doing. You’re not doing yourself or your story any justice by staying small.

As playwright Samuel Beckett said, “Dance first, think later. It’s the natural order of things.”

Step forward, feel the wind on your face and speak your truth – and don’t apologise.

Welcome back to being you.

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