Getting naked with Julia… and a sweet giveaway

YogaHippieWarrior2Here’s what I believe: the best works of art are acts of public nudity.

The artist, subtly or overtly, is exposed, even in works of fiction, even if the exposure lies only in the creator’s desire to communicate something true and real. To some degree, that kind of nakedness is inherent to the act of putting one’s work out into the world where it can be accepted or rejected, praised or ridiculed. Putting your art out there for everyone to see is an act of badassery for sure, and also faith, and love, and selfhood, and rebellion.

And I think the same is true for each of us and the act of putting ourselves – our most honest, truest, open-hearted selves – out into the world. It’s risky behavior. You could get hurt, or you could get truly seen, truly understood, truly loved.

In all likelihood, you’ll get both: totally wrecked and genuinely adored… and the former will somehow (often inexplicably) always be worth the latter.

My friend, Julia Fehrenbacher, is offering an online class called “Getting Naked,” about learning to trust yourself and your innate worthiness, “seeing, finally, that your perceived weaknesses are your greatest strengths in disguise and embracing every bit of your wild, tender self.”

I love that.

As part of her preparation for the class, Julia asked me a question that I want to ask you because a) I’m truly interested to hear what you have to say, and b) I think answering the question is valuable, whether or not you share your answer with me. Her question was this: What has stood in the way of you being your most empowered, loving self, and what are you currently doing to be more of who you really are?

I was so intrigued by the question (by its requirement that I not only look hard at my own roadblocks but beyond them to what, if anything, I was doing to solve them) that when I replied to Julia, I asked her the question too.

Both our answers are below.

My answer…

Recently I read an interview with Cheryl Strayed and she was asked what her greatest obstacle was as a writer and a human. She said, “Being okay with people not loving me.” I almost cried when I read that. I think that is the single biggest thing that has stood in my way, the need I feel to be loved by everybody. Of course, we all want to be loved, but I think we can never be our most empowered, authentic, loving selves until we get okay with not being loved by EVERYONE. Once we do that, we can say what we really mean. We can make art bravely. We can stand up for ourselves and others, and we can let go of the people and things that don’t support our northbound trajectory. (And the ones that do… they’ll find us.)

I work on this every day. One of the less obvious things I do is log off the internet. That may seem like an odd choice, but honestly, while I love the community I’ve built and tapped into online, I know there’s a darker side to all this virtual connectivity. We can start to measure our self-worth according to our stats: number of friends, number of followers, number of subscribers, comments, replies, retweets. And the minute we do that, we’re sunk; we’re chasing a moving target, all the while getting further and further away from who we are, what we really care about.

So I log off, and instead of checking my stats, I make stuff. I write and doodle and try new art forms. I get on my yoga mat, hike a trail, play with my dog, spend time in the physical presence of people I love.

Julia’s answer…

The more clear and mindful I get in my life, the more I see that the root of my hold back has always been thinking I’m not enough or that I’m too much.  Not a good enough poet/writer, not a good enough artist, not smart enough, too dreamy, too sensitive, etc…

I’ve held back so much over the years out of fear that who I am, what I do, how I do it, is not good enough.  And, amazingly, I thought it was up to others to decide my worth.  There were times when I would look at what everyone else was doing and think – They’re so good, I could never write/paint/build a business, etc…that well – I could never be as good as them.

What I know now, what gives me freedom and courage to show up and put myself out there again and again, is that I now see clearly that it’s not about being “as good as them,” it’s about being ME.  It’s about showing up and doing it my unique way.  My focus is no longer on being “good enough,” it’s on being loving, being kind, being free, being real, being true to who I am.  This shift in focus has truly made all the difference for me.  “Good” is subjective, “good” depends on what they think (and they all think something different).  To borrow words from J, trying to be “good” is like “chasing a moving target.”  Where as showing up real and true and loving is something I experience on the inside – my joy and peace no longer need to depend on whether they approve, whether or not they find me worthy.  I no longer need to wait for others to give me permission to shine and this feels like freedom of the most delicious kind (yep, and I made a rhyme!). The ironic thing is that the more me I am, the more “good” I am too.  It’s wild that way.

So, what I’m doing to be more of who I am is showing up, one step at a time, trembling fear and all, for what energizes and inspires me, for what brings me joy.  Rather than comparing mine with theirs and coming up short, I see that it’s not about being “more,” it’s about being more me. And I see that as I show up more me, I am able to best serve others.

Your turn…

I’m excited to hear your answer to Julia’s question, and so is Julia – so much so, that she’s offering a free seat in her class to a commenter chosen at random! Click here to read more about the class, then leave a comment below with your thoughts. Julia and I had a couple of long email exchanges around this question. We’d love to expand the conversation.

Also, if you register for Julia’s class before the end of the day, Friday, April 26th, you can use this link to save $10 off the price of “Getting Naked.”

***Congratulations, Karin, who won a spot in Julia’s class!***

Remember, you still have all day today (Friday) to take advantage of the

$10 discount link.

A bit about Julia…
Julia2Julia Fehrenbacher is an author, a poet, and a painter.  Her life’s work is to step into her truest, most empowered self and to guide others to the same.  If you’d like to join her on this painted path of shedding & opening & living from a place of truth and wild authenticity, please visit her at, she’d so love to have you there.

Julia released her first book of poetry and art, On the Other Side of Fear, in May of 2012.  It, along with her art, is available at



  1. Tania on April 25, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Oh yes. Lack of self worth and not being liked by everyone…why do i even think that is necessary or desirable..both those hold me back all the time! Working on it and women like yourselves help inspire and encourage!!!

    • j on April 25, 2013 at 7:39 am

      “Why do I even think that is necessary or desirable?” <--- Exactly! I thought about that after I posted. I don't like everybody... why would I feel it's necessary to be liked by people I don't like back? Gah! (Things always make more sense here on the blog than in real life.) 😉

  2. Nina Badzin on April 25, 2013 at 7:37 am

    Oh my goodness– all I can say to THIS (I think that is the single biggest thing that has stood in my way, the need I feel to be loved by everybody . . .) is ME TOO ME TOO ME TOO. 🙁

    • j on April 25, 2013 at 7:44 am

      Really? When I read it from Cheryl I felt reassured that I’m not the only person who feels this. Then I posted and thought, “What if it’s just me and Cheryl?”

      Thanks for chiming in. It is weirdly comforting to know that smart, talented, explore-their-edges people struggle with this too.

  3. juliafehrenbacher on April 25, 2013 at 8:20 am

    It’s so good to hear the thoughts here – thank you for showing up with us!

    I read somewhere recently that at the root of all of our suffering is the fear of not being enough.

    I see how this is tied directly to the fear that we won’t be loved by everyone. Like, if we’re not loved by EVERYONE, we’re somehow not enough/not worthy of love. It’s wild (and sad) to think that our sense of peace/joy/freedom would need to depend on how others respond (or don’t respond to us). It’s like being on a roller coaster that never stops, it’s dizzying/nauseating/exhausting – and makes no good sense.

    Silly us.

    It’s time to stop this. Seriously.

  4. Jerrie on April 25, 2013 at 9:16 am

    This is a really great question and as I’m at work right now I can’t take the time to fully respond. However, I see a wonderful journal entry later this evening………..
    Quickly though, I’d say my need to do and be what others expect of me has hindered me my whole life. It goes back to being liked, being accepted, not rocking the boat. I picked the safe roads, the “right” (to other people) options. Lately, I’ve decided that I need to just be me. Maybe my friends are unorthodox, my choices may be questionable (to others), sometimes not even my husband or close friends understand but that’s not my concern. I trust them, they should trust me. It’s been an adventure, one that not everyone is always comfortable with but I feel so much more free now that I choose to be me, now that I choose the options that feel authentic.
    Thanks for the question and the opportunity to respond.

    P.S. The doodle at the top? One word…AWESOME!

    • j on April 25, 2013 at 10:16 am

      I love your tone in this comment, and your observation that letting go of other people’s expectations is freeing. I think it’s Martha Beck who talks making life/work decisions based on a simple internal test: Does doing this thing make me feel “shackles on” or “shackles off”?

      Sounds like you are full throttle shackles off!

      And thank you on the doodle! I’m coming out with a set of yoga cards cards next week, and this is one of the designs. More soon!

      • Jerrie on April 25, 2013 at 2:23 pm

        Shackles off… I love that!

        I’ll be checking the shop next week – that doodle is mine! 🙂

        • j on April 25, 2013 at 3:07 pm

          My comments need a “like” option. 🙂

  5. sophylou on April 25, 2013 at 9:19 am

    For me I would say it’s not exactly that I need EVERYONE to love me, more that I have an ongoing fear that NO ONE loves me, which I think would be eased by feeling more certain than I apparently do that SOME ONE loves me. And since I’m an extrovert who was born into a family of introverts and was also bullied, there’s a sense of needing ENOUGH people to love me. Not quite the same as needing EVERYONE… but definitely related. ENOUGH would be a good counter to the knowledge that there will be people who won’t like/love me.

    I completely relate to this: “the root of my hold back has always been thinking I’m not enough or that I’m too much.” I have a persistent fear of being seen as really, really annoying, but the opposite of that seems to be being invisible, which is something I seem to have perfected as a result of a lot of bullying. The balance is hard to find…

    • j on April 25, 2013 at 10:36 am

      Actually, it might be the same thing, my desire for love and yours. It’s just that my definition of “enough” includes everyone. (How sad for me!)

      Your thought about invisibility being the opposite of being seen as annoying really struck me. The balance IS hard to find, and I wonder if we shouldn’t worry so much about finding it. It’s hard to trust that if we just be ourselves – however awkward, noisy or annoying we fear we may be – the “right” people will love us all the more.

      Easier to say than to trust and act on.

      • juliafehrenbacher on April 25, 2013 at 11:47 am

        “The balance IS hard to find, and I wonder if we shouldn’t worry so much about finding it. It’s hard to trust that if we just be ourselves – however awkward, noisy or annoying we fear we may be – the “right” people will love us all the more.”

        The points you make above are so key, J. I find that when I try to find balance, when I worry about what others will think, I suffer immensely and end up greatly displeasing myself. The truth is, we have no way of knowing how anyone will respond, who we will touch, what will resonant – letting go of thinking we have control over this feels like freedom to me.

        When I trust that I can fully be myself and the “right” people will show up, I feel such relief. The truth is, I don’t want everyone to show up, I want those who resonant with who I am/what I’m doing to show up…

        • j on April 25, 2013 at 3:06 pm

          And they do show up, which is a lesson I keep having to relearn.

          • julia on April 26, 2013 at 3:46 pm

            Yes. And trusting.

            It’s something I have to continually remind myself of too…

  6. alriske on April 25, 2013 at 9:26 am

    I hate being wrong, and I think that holds me back sometimes.But that fear can be a good thing, too, on the rare occasions when I am wrong.

    I get past the fear by reminding myself that, in a day or a week, I’ll be the only one who remembers I made a fool of myself. Everyone else will have moved on more important things.

    • j on April 25, 2013 at 10:39 am

      I hate being wrong too. Especially publicly.

      Your second comment reminded me of this: Once, a friend told me about this time she tripped. You know, when you trip while you’re walking and then you look around to see who noticed, or you look back to make sure everyone knows there must have been a rock or something in your path. So she was doing the “look around” thing and her father said, “I know it’s hard to believe, but the whole world isn’t always looking at you.”

      Yes, everyone moves on to more important things.

      Wait… you’re wrong sometimes?! 😉

      • alriske on April 25, 2013 at 10:43 am

        Well, I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken.

        • j on April 25, 2013 at 10:52 am

          Click. JCW likes this. xo

      • juliafehrenbacher on April 25, 2013 at 1:36 pm

        Ha! So true! We’re all so busy trying not to trip or screw up that we hardly notice other’s little mishaps.

  7. Karin on April 25, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Oh wow I wouldn’t even know how to top both answers you and Julia gave. I have to admit I almost got the wrong idea when you said naked (ha!) but it is an accurate term. Putting yourself out there for everyone to see is the most personal kind of exposure. It’s like that dream we all have when we realize halfway through we are naked in front of everyone. The trick is how to react after that.
    Do you say, “Yes , this is me , this is who I am. I am not ashamed”?
    Or run back into a corner and try to not die of pure embarrassment?
    I’ve certainly had some pretty embarrassing things happen to me. And there is a reason I do not put my most personal poems on my own blog yet– I’m not ready to be stripped , so to speak.
    It is this fear of letting all my secrets go that usually stops me short of really putting myself out there. I am usually concerned about what other people think of me. I know I shouldn’t care, and I’m hoping to reach that level of bad-*ssery that so many others (including you) have achieved.

    • j on April 25, 2013 at 10:47 am

      I understand that. Not everything I write is for public consumption. (You’re welcome!) But, for what it’s worth, I do find that the closer to the bone I write, the more connected I feel to my readers. So far, they’ve never let me down, and with only a couple of exceptions, never made me feel anything other than brave and appreciated.

      Also, I do think we should care what other people think… to a point. I think caring what other people think means that we listen when people offer advice or constructive criticism, which is especially important for writers (and lovers and parents and besties).

      But then at some point, after we’ve sifted through whatever inputs we need to sift through (which is not EVERYONE), we have to just trust our own vision and leap, even if not everyone understands… maybe even especially then.

      And can I just say that being a poet, putting your poems out there (even if you’re not quite ready for a total baring of your soul) is way more badass than anything I do.

      • Karin on April 25, 2013 at 3:31 pm

        Aw that made my day. Thanks 🙂

  8. Clare Flourish on April 25, 2013 at 10:31 am

    I have got naked, actually, in a vaguely hippyish camp with others clothed, either running back to my tent from the sauna late at night or wandering across the camp in the sunshine to the hot tub. I am relaxed by the holiday, and nakedness is empowering.

    What gets in the way? The gender binary, the idea that one is either a man or a woman and the two are different. Well, yes, but there is a great deal of overlap. Of course this links to your “people not loving me” because I want to give them what they expect, or what I think they expect, and Julia’s being not enough or too much, because I am judging- is it feminine/masculine?

    What am I doing?

    Oops, phone call, I will get back to you on that one.

    • j on April 25, 2013 at 10:51 am

      I hope you do, Clare. I love this train of thought – both your literal interpretation and its lead-in to the larger questions. On a related note: why is it that we don’t even have the language to identify people in a gender-neutral way? I suspect that is not true about other languages, but it is a frustrating truth about our own.

      One I actually think may change as our society evolves…

      • Clare Flourish on April 25, 2013 at 11:12 am

        Swedish has: they have this year formally adopted a gender-neutral singular pronoun.

        I was so afraid that I suppressed it from consciousness, and now I take time to notice the fear, and also reassure myself before, and notice when the fear has been unjustified. Will this person judge me? I fear it, and then she does not. I notice that.

        Why do men not have these problems? They are usually able clearly and forcefully to present their case and their ability. Or so it seems from this perspective. Jesus said, “I will make Mary male, for every woman who makes herself male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven”.

        • j on April 25, 2013 at 3:04 pm

          There’s a quote I’ve never heard before. I believe Buddha said something similar, that a woman would spontaneously turn into a man before achieving nirvana.

          I really like the point you bring up that we’re running our own little stories in our heads all the time, forgetting that’s what they are. Julia addresses that too. It’s powerful (and often amazing) when you can let go of what you assume and just be with whatever really is.

  9. juliafehrenbacher on April 25, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    It always strikes me as amazing (though not surprising) that we humans think we need to hide our humanness (me included). That somehow it’s not ok to make mistakes, that we better get it right the first time! This pressure to get it “right,” to appear that we have it all together, to hide our “weaknesses” are at the root of it all, I think. It can seem easier to not show up than to risk getting it “wrong.”

    It’s funny to me that we try to keep it a secret that we all struggle, that we all get it “wrong,” that sometimes we yell at our children, that we tremble with fear each time we show up to create something new.

    When others show up “naked,” daring to expose their imperfections, it gives the rest of us the courage to do the same. I think we do a great service to one another when we risk showing the imperfect, messy “behind the scenes” instead of just the polished end. This feels like the sweetest kind of freedom to me….

    • j on April 25, 2013 at 3:01 pm

      Totally agree that when we share our imperfections (and fears and setbacks) we give others permission to be visibly imperfect (and share it) too.

  10. Stephanie at Visible and Real on April 26, 2013 at 5:09 am

    I think, for me, I’m finding that sometimes, it’s hard to be naked in the moment, that it sometimes takes some processing, to see what’s underneath. Is it about fear? About feeling unworthy? About something entirely different? All possible.

    And I agree with the others above – being vulnerable about it, showing those not so pretty parts, gives permission for others to do the same, and it allows others the freedom to explore what it may mean to be naked for themselves, even if, in that moment, it’s just to toe the line and see what they think. Because even thinking about it? That’s a shift.

    Thank you for this powerful question.

    • j on April 26, 2013 at 7:27 am

      Good point, Stephanie. I think some processing is almost always in order. Brene Brown talks about the difference between allowing yourself to be vulnerable and just plain over-sharing, which can often be done manipulatively. (The opposite of healthy vulnerability.) By taking that pause to process, you can understand your own motivation, evaluate whether the environment is safe, decide if this is a time for emotional nakedness or not.

      And I agree that even thinking about it is a shift. Answering Julia’s question brought up a lot of stuff for me… I’m still processing.

      • Stephanie at Visible and Real on May 9, 2013 at 7:26 am

        Agreed. There’s a lot to consider and wonder about when thinking about being naked in light of sharing, in light of bringing it into the world. But, it’s also so desperately needed.

  11. Cynthia Fassett on April 26, 2013 at 6:19 am

    I love everything about this post. It strikes right at the heart of what I discovered within myself, and what I came to see in other people. Rumi said, ““Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Having discovered the barriers within myself, I also found the initial reasons for their existence. Those reasons sprang from a child so wounded – a child yet unable, and ill equipped, having no mental capacity to grasp the dark effects from violence committed against her little person. As children, we are pure emotion, with our thought, or mental processes not yet formed. So, to handle it, and to protect myself, I came up with my own unique, creative way to build my wall of defense, finding a way to disassociate from senseless traumatic events. That defense, and a part of my self and my history, went underground, diving deep into the dungeon of the subconscious realm of mind.

    That defense, which took the form of distrust, built from a very real, and understandable need to protect self, took on a life of its own from habitually being used, eventually becoming the very wall, or barrier, that I needed to bring down. Having experienced harm as a child, when we are the literal, living embodiment of being wide open and vulnerable, and feeling unprotected, I took over a job I should never have had to worry about – self protection. Thus, the very understandable formation of Ego. How can we possibly judge ourselves, (and unfortunately, we do for a time, until we find understanding), or the creation of our Ego, after finding it to be the only loving thing we could think of to do at the time to protect ourselves from harm? What we don’t know is that it was only meant to be temporary, serving its purpose for a time until we “grow up,” then we must let it go. That is what healing is. We heal as each barrier comes down…brick by brick.

    It’s been a slow, painstaking, focused journey, to take the hand of the child within, full of emotionally charged fear, and in a way, become the loving parent to ever so gently guide her back into the light of her being, (what she came into the world as being), and to come to the awareness that she is now safe to let go, the nightmares are gone, over, and it is safe to let down her guard and play.

    Any form of art, or true expression, is Play. Yet playing, by its very nature, requires losing, or letting go of that inner guard, and as adults, we learn to consciously trust what came naturally, without thought, as children. Trust is a loving act, and playing requires a profound leap of Trust, which is a decision to step out into what we perceive as the unknown. Ego, the voice that speaks from our past experiences, and tells us what COULD happen IF we take that leap, doesn’t do well in the unknown. Creation springs, for the most part, from the void of an empty page. Step by itty bitty step, I’ve brought the child within out, who forgot how to express her true nature – that part of herself she defined as weak, instead of openly, beautifully vulnerable ~ naked and exposed, instead of radiantly shining – Slowly, I’ve embraced the Child within, and ever so slowly, symbolically speaking, she has come to return the embrace within me, no longer holding herself back, trusting, and in doing so, finally uniting us as One.

    I am trusting – myself, (my ability to handle whatever comes in response to my true expression), Life, and others – which, from where I came from, and from my way of viewing things, is the most loving act I can commit.

    • j on April 26, 2013 at 7:39 am

      What a beautiful response, Cynthia, and an amazing expression of self-awareness. Everything I think of to say about it feels like an over-simplification, so I’ll just say… wow. Thank you for sharing. You remind me how full of possibility we all are.


      • Cynthia Fassett on April 26, 2013 at 8:16 am

        “You remind me how full of possibility we all are.” ~ Well, thank you, but I don’t know about that, seeing it as merely a journey I embarked upon out of necessity. You mentioned over-sharing in a comment above…but what I know is that having had to dive so deep to find the infection in the root, then heal it, then the journey back up to the surface, and then outward in expression, I carry with me the entirety of my personal journey, and can no more “hide” it than I could my own body. I’m aware it causes discomfort in some, but as I’ve gone along, writing about what I write about, I can’t concern myself with those who might consider it inappropriate. That is a highly subjective field. I know the place I’m coming from, after having checked, and re-checked my motivations, and if others don’t know that place, then there is nothing I can do to enlighten them. They will simply trust, or not. Yet, somewhere out there someone will find my words and be able to relate, and it is my hope they find healing on some level within them. If I can be of service to just one person, (and I don’t even have to know them), from the honest sharing of my own experiences, helping them find their way clear out of the dark, then I am content.

        • j on April 26, 2013 at 8:35 am

          I believe necessity is often the root of possibility.

          As for over-sharing, I referred to Brene Brown’s work, in which she talks about the difference between vulnerability and over-sharing. It’s not about what you tell people, it’s about your reasons for telling them. So, by that definition, if you’ve checked and rechecked your motivations, then you are not over-sharing.

          There are a lot of reasons one might share uncomfortable truths about themselves. Not all of them are generous, and the only person who can know your reasons is you. (And by you, I mean all of us.)

          Also, you’re right that you can’t control how your truths affect the people you tell them to. I think that comes back to my conversation above with sophylou. We have to trust that when we are our truest selves, we attract the people we are meant to attract, the ones who will love us as we are… and we also need to be okay with the people who drift away because “who we are” doesn’t work for them.

          • Cynthia Fassett on April 26, 2013 at 8:47 am

            Oh, I hope you didn’t think I took your remark personally. If so, I apologize. I’ve grown so accustomed to the reactions to what I write, particularly from a family who is big on secrets, and keeping things hidden and under wraps. So your remark above reminded me that that also was a massive barrier for honest expression, (because they questioned my motivations for doing so, finding it to be a form of familial betrayal), even in the form of art. I absolutely do the very best I can to protect their individual privacy. That line is sometimes so narrow, I find it most challenging, but the place where I get more resourceful in my creativity.

            “I believe necessity is often the root of possibility.” Indeed. <3

          • j on April 26, 2013 at 9:02 am

            I didn’t worry that you took my comment personally. (Well, not too much.) I mostly just wanted to make sure I was clear on the definition I was using for “over-sharing.”

            And believe me, I totally understand being the writer in an intensely private family! And yes, it’s challenging! <3

    • julia on April 26, 2013 at 4:03 pm

      I’m taking a deep breath right now, Cynthia – just letting this sink in deep. You had me at the Rumi quote – that’s one of my very favorites and I think what this spiritual/opening journey is all about, what I too have been intent on doing for many years now.

      So much of what you say here I can relate to. Thank you for sharing so openly, so beautifully. It takes such courage to set down the barriers/the armor we’ve built up over the years, the very armor that served as necessary protection for us as little ones.

      It’s an honor to be here with all of you. Thank you, each of you, for showing up and sharing so openly.

      • Cynthia Fassett on April 26, 2013 at 6:43 pm

        “It’s an honor to be here with all of you.” The feeling is certainly mutual on my part <3

        I see people struggling with that armor, judging themselves so harshly, not understanding yet, and I want to take them in my arms and say, "Shhh…it's okay! Take your time. There is no rule book saying you must force yourself. Be kind. Be kind to self." Because I know a key is in the relaxing, with the recognition that it is we who choose our own individual pace, and space, (including withdrawing for a time), where half the battle is done, and where courage can be found.

        I'm glad my response resonated with you. Thank you back. <3

  12. Terri on April 26, 2013 at 10:41 am

    I relate to everyone’s answers here and can only point to a post I wrote last year called “Acquired Nakedness.”

    I remember telling my 18-year-old daughter: “some people won’t like you just because you remind them of their mean aunt or cranky coworker …” Still, there’s something in us humans that longs for, if not love, acceptance. It’s an inside job, tho. When I don’t feel love/kindness/compassion toward myself (which is way more often than I’d prefer), nothing “out there” will fill that hole. It might feel good, temporarily, when someone complements me … but that good feeling will fade if I can’t access that complement within myself. It’s ongoing work … this business of self love … and just being. For me, it requires boundaries and limits and “opposite action” … doing the less comfortable thing.

    • j on April 26, 2013 at 4:36 pm

      YES on the “compliments don’t last” point! I’ve often thought – in the midst of a compliment and its immediate floaty aftermath – “I wish I could feel this way all the time.” I never thought in terms of the goal being to access the compliment within me. That’s beautiful. I’m going to work on it… because, as you say, this business of self-love is ongoing.

      • Cynthia Fassett on April 26, 2013 at 6:52 pm

        Wow! “I never thought in terms of the goal being to access the compliment within me.” ~ I never thought of that either! I like that. I’ve never been comfortable with compliments. I don’t know what to do with them except say, “Um…thank you…,” and then in my mind I’m finishing that sentence with some sort of qualifier, saying, “…I guess.” It feels like a hot potato was just handed to me, and all I want to do is drop it, ha! Thanks Terri! I’m with j, and so going to work on it coming from that angle. It gives me a feeling of do-ability for some weird reason. Like a door was just opened that I could manage to walk through. 😀

    • julia on April 27, 2013 at 6:19 am

      “When I don’t feel love/kindness/compassion toward myself (which is way more often than I’d prefer), nothing “out there” will fill that hole.”

      Oh, yes. This is what I’ve had to learn over and over and over (I could keep going and going with the overs) again. Absolutely nothing will fill the hole if I’m not feeling it on the inside.

      When I feel that icky grippy attachment to “needing” comments/compliments/approval, I know I’m not feeling it inside. Thankfully, this is finally shifting for me…now, (some of the time), rather than asking, “I wonder what THEY will think?” “I ask…what do I think?” “Do I like it (whatever it is I’ve created/written/painted, etc..)?”

      Also, I’m getting much better at celebrating myself, my little steps, my big steps – really recognizing my movement/my growth/my courage. The more I do this for myself, the less I find I need it from others. And the more I can give from a place of overflow, rather than from needy/half full me.

      When the positive feedback/compliments feel like a bonus/icing (because I’m already filled up), that feels like a good thing…there is no sense of neediness, just gratitude.

      I’m just starting to experience the sweet freedom that comes from feeling it, really feeling it (the love, the enough-ness) on the inside. That “shackles off” feeling really might be the best ever…

      Big sighs..

      Seriously wowed by the responses here…

  13. Pam on April 26, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    This is my fourth try at commenting. I’ll keep it short to try to avoid the time out gremlins.

    I think my answer is similar to Julia’s. I edit myself in various situations to try to seem less opinionated* or less grumpy or more indulgent or more serene. All this editing seems to mean I think I might be too much of one thing or not enough of another for some people.

    My goal for getting to be more me more of the time is to try to be in the moment as much as I can. Working on that! As Ringo sang, it don’t come easy.

    *this may be hard to believe, but it’s absolutely true.

    • j on April 26, 2013 at 4:40 pm

      Sorry for the timing out thing! I looked it up and it sounds like maybe it’s a host problem… and I have no idea what I should do with that information. 🙂

      You made me laugh with your asterisked note. I think your opinions are fascinating, girlfriend. You just might be right about the key to success – being in the moment. That whole presence thing is powerful magic… wonder why it’s so hard to stay there.

      • Pam on April 26, 2013 at 6:38 pm

        In retrospect, I’m particularly proud of having quoted Ringo in this conversation with Rumi quotes and Steve Jobs quotes… (As Roger Daltrey sang: can you see the real me?)


  14. Joanne Marie Firthj on April 26, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Wow! I think this is the hardest question in the world to answer. In only the best of ways, of course. I’m going to ponder and then share my response. This sure got my brain in gear and for that, I thank you both.

  15. The part we get to choose | Judy Clement Wall on May 16, 2013 at 12:07 am

    […] “What we focus on, expands.” ~ Julia Fehrenbacher […]

  16. Elizabeth on November 2, 2013 at 7:07 am

    I am a BadAssHippie Warrior of Love, Thank you for painting this… it helps me remember that it’s OK to Be Open Hearted

    • j on November 3, 2013 at 9:26 am

      Aw. Thank you, Elizabeth! It is more than okay. We are changing the world. I believe that. xo

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