I find myself staring at a blank screen and struggle with where and how to get started. Creativity is an expressional art and often I struggle with how to convey that to an audience. I believe that as long as I stay true to who I am, my creativity will flow in expressive writing or through any other form of art I create.

I tend to struggle with getting into my “creative zone” when I have a lot on my mind and want to express. I often brain dump and wonder, ‘how is anyone supposed to make sense of all this?’

The other day while I was at the gym trying to get into my “creative zone” I needed to find some inspiration and decided to watch one of my favorite author/researchers, Brené Brown. While watching this video I found myself asking, “what is holding me back from writing/sharing my story?” The answer was Fear! The fear of being criticized and judged, by truly putting myself out there. This act of being vulnerable and watching it unfold through the public eye is very new to me, my journey. I love the safe, dark, shadowy corners I call comfort but here I am, facing my fears, getting comfortable with being uncomfortable! After all, this is why I created I am… Athletics, to overcome one’s’ limiting beliefs; to be real and vulnerable. Sometimes it’s harder to recognize our own fears, let alone figure out how to overcome them or at least face them head on with audacity.

Brené Brown: Why Your Critics Aren’t The Ones Who Count

In this video, she discusses the fear of being criticized, for being vulnerable, by expressing one’s self in what she calls a “Sweaty Creative” so obviously, I could relate because here I am, sweating over this creative.

She references a quote from Theodore Roosevelt which really resonates with me. After all, it was the inspiration behind Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
― Theodore Roosevelt

We are all critics and judges, some more than others, however, the worst critic is “Self”. Self-criticism creates a mess of negative self-talk, doubt, and uncertainty. We constantly find ourselves, questioning our own capabilities, comparing them to others, will it be enough and over thinking/analyzing the what is and what if’s.

For me, it’s how am I going to start, who am I doing this for, will it be enough, will they get it, what will others think, what if they don’t like it, what if…

“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”
― Brené Brown

Today, I choose to show up, to be brave, to be seen. So here I am, this is my story and this is my arena. Unless you too are in the arena with me, I will not let the criticism get the best of me. I am doing what most don’t and to me, this is courageous. I continue to face my fears, come out from the darkness into the light, express myself publicly in this arena of life and know that no matter what I say or do, I will be judged, and I will accept that because I know who I am. I made a promise to myself and all of you, I will only be me; real, honest and vulnerable. I encourage you to step into your own arena and be brave, be courageous, face your fears and know that you are enough. You don’t need the feedback from critics to validate you. Know your worth.

Everyone has a story to tell. Never forget where you came from, it’s what made you the person you are today. All the struggles and ugly messes play a part in your beautiful story called Life.

So again, I ask you, “What is holding you back?”

Face your fears; your limiting beliefs and Create your own Story.

***As I’ve mentioned previously, Brené Brown has been a great influence. She’s helped put a voice to my feelings and emotions and changed my perspective on what being vulnerable is. For those who struggle with shame and vulnerability, check out The Power of Vulnerability

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