It all starts here.
It all starts here. In order to build a safe container you must practice transparency. Remember, a container is the mental, emotional, and physical life space around you that will protect you and promote your growth. It’s something you must rebuild so that it is safe. And the first step to this is practicing transparency. Without transparency, there is no soil. So let’s define what transparency means.
John Kim, LMFT is a published writer, speaker, life coach, and a co-founder of SHFT (link is external). As he was going through an expired relationship, John created a blog on Tumblr and titled his first post “My Fucking Feelings”. He named his blog The Angry Therapist and started to document his journey post divorce.
Editor: Saad Shaheed
Transparency means not only being honest with others but, more importantly, with yourself. Taking a real hard look at where you’re at in your life, including the way you think, what you internalize, your unhealthy behavior patterns, and how your actions affect others. So transparency also means practicing self-awareness.
Look at the evidence and to be willing to question your own truths, and to be willing to scrutinize things that you hold dearly because that way, that transparency, that self-awareness, will protect you from ever becoming somebody that whose beliefs somehow make them have myopic vision about what could be.
– Jason Silva
The highest currency you’ll ever have is self awareness. Without it, it’s impossible to know what you need to change. Usually people achieve awareness by getting chopped at the knees over and over until they realize something needs to change. Or they don’t have the realization and life just becomes one giant endless pattern of suffering. If they accept that, growth becomes a fairytale. But you haven’t accepted that because you’re reading this, which means something or many things have happened for you to at least be curious about yourself and if changing yourself can lead to a better life. You may have a general sense of what you want to change. The universe may have told you in some form or another. Through your relationships, life events, how people respond to you, how you react to them, and the consequences of that, all leading you to where you are now. Transparency means fully accepting all of it, taking full responsibility for where you’re at. No more blaming. No more playing victim. You are here. This is your truth.
Transparency means accepting your story. Most people want to rip out chapters. They want to forget what happened. Of course, because most of us have been through a lot of shitty things, we had no control over a lot of things. But your story is unique and believe it or not, it’s the most valuable thing you will ever have. It’s what makes you you and different from any other person on this planet. Since I hate numbers, let me give you a visual interpretation of the chances involved in you being born who you are, and everything it took to form your exact DNA. Say you set a turtle into a random ocean somewhere in the world. Then you tossed a life jacket into another random ocean in the world. The chances of you being born is that little turtle popping his head through the hole of the life jacket – on the first try.
If you spend most of your life trying to deny your story, you’ll never reach your potential. Here’s why. Your potential is activated when you are giving – and by giving, I don’t mean feeding the homeless. I mean being in a state of sharing your unique gifts. To get there, you have to be maneuvering into a state of authentic or honest self. If you are consumed by and/or holding onto all the shit that has happened to you in the past, it blocks that process. You are now taking. You are sucking energy, being angry, resentful, discouraged, and collapsing on yourself. This cycle only leads to giant tubs of ice cream, a television, and a sunken couch.
It’s a process, but if you want to practice transparency, you have to make the choice to start accepting your story. As this happens, the past will have less power over you. Eventually you’ll get to a tipping point where your past will start to empower you. But this tips, only when you start giving yourself new experiences and start to have different beliefs about yourself.
Here’s an example: I used to be a screenwriter before becoming a therapist. A part of me wants to rip that chapter out of my life, because I feel like I failed at it. But the truth is that if it wasn’t for that struggle, I would never have become a therapist. It was the conversation I had with my own therapist about my struggles with the screenwriting business that encouraged me to go back to school – which I would not have never done in a million years – and study psychology. And because of that, I started a blog, built a practice, and so forth.
Our story unfolds because of the choices we make and the events that occur in our lives. We have to believe in this progression, in this trajectory of connecting dots. You have to accept everything you went through in order for you to be who you are and where you are today. Even if you are not satisfied with who you are and where you are, which most of us aren’t, acceptance is required in order for change to happen. Acceptance gives you the first step to step up on. If not, the step turns into a slide and there will be no traction in moving forward. So what does it look like to accept? It’s different for everyone. For me, there are two parts. First, it means to make peace with the past. That’s not just a choice. It’s a practice, a daily practice. In plain English, make up with your past as if your past was a person you got into a horrible fight with. Apologize, say what you need to say, explain, forgive, whatever it takes. Make the past your friend. And you don’t have to be best friends. But you can’t want your past to die. The second piece to acceptance is refusing to live anywhere but the here and now. By accepting the past, you are making a chose to no longer live in it. The tipping point is when you not only accept your past but appreciate all the things that “went wrong,” whether they were situational or relational, and know that they were pockets of learning. Without them, there would be no opportunity for growth. The difference between accepting and not accepting your past is feeling owned or empowered. If you feel that life owns you, maybe it’s not about bills, shitty relationships, and lack of purpose. Maybe you haven’t fully accepted your story.
“Owning our story can be hard but not
nearly as difficult as spending our lives
running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
– Dr. Brene Brown
Transparency also means being vulnerable. There is tremendous power in vulnerability. Author Brene Brown has spent a lifetime doing the research. Says Brown: “vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.” Vulnerability means emotional exposure, but it doesn’t mean we verbally vomit on people. Being vulnerable involves responsibility. Let me John Kim it by saying that vulnerability is having the courage to show your true self even when you feel unsafe. Vulnerability is about pulling from your heart. Always. With friends, at work – everywhere. And men, this doesn’t mean that you’re being weak. There’s tremendous strength in showing yourself. Being weak is walking with a veneer and being someone you’re not. Most people do this out of fear. We’re afraid of what people think about us. Transparency means shattering that veneer.
Practicing transparency is like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it will get. It’s not a one time thing. You must thread it into your daily life, like your diet and your fitness. That’s the only way you’ll see results.
To learn all the steps to build yourself a brand new container so you can start living closer to your potential, CLICK HERE.