Coming Out of Your Shell
the hard protective outer case of a mollusk or crustacean.
something resembling or likened to a shell because of its shape or its function as an outer case.
"How the hell did I get 50?!"
One of my hilarious friends confessed that this was his first thought when he woke up on his 50th birthday.
Aging is a sobering thought indeed. Most of us avoid thinking about it as much as possible. We want to believe that we will always be able to do the things that we do today. We look at those "old" folks and never say to ourselves, "One day, I will be there." That is until the day that we get there. And like my friend, you are shocked when it actually comes around.
When I rewind my life, I can see all of the different ways that I stayed inside my shell. At the time, it was my protection and armor against all of the troubles in my life. I thought that I was protecting myself by putting on this armor and isolating myself from people, my dreams, and limiting my daily involvement in "life."
I wouldn't take a risk for fear of failure. I wouldn't risk opening up to people for fear of rejection. I wouldn't show people my authentic self for fear of criticism. I carefully crafted a shell of perfection and distance - an outer armor for my soul.
The only problem with creating this shell was not only could nothing get in to harm me, but nothing could get out either. You see, relationships require currency - that is exchange. And exchange cannot take place when you are living in a shell. Like a turtle, you may poke your head out every now and then to see what is going on. You quickly survey your surroundings and take in fresh breaths of air. But at the slightest hint of danger (that is disappointment, failure, rejection), you snatch your head back and retreat from the world around you.
This is NOT living. This is, in the words of my Mother, merely "existing." You spend years in this mode and then one day you wake up and say "How the hell did I get...?! 30, 40, 50, etc. The decades tick along and one day you wake up too old and miserable to enjoy anything. I don't know about you, but that is NOT where I want to be!
Today, I want to encourage you to LIVE! Come out of that shell and really LIVE!
What does that look like?
Speaking up even though you know THEY won't like it.
Asking for help.
Saying "I love you."
Choosing that job that you don't believe you are qualified for.
Sharing your deepest fears with someone close to you.
Embracing your own weaknesses.
Forgiving someone who doesn't deserve it.
Refusing to be ashamed of YOU.
Going boldly after your DREAMS.
Doing the thing that you fear the most!
Does this list scare you? Yeah, me too.
It took me a long time to recognize that my carefully crafted shell (mine was called perfection) was keeping me from doing and being what I was created for. I had to come out of my SHELL!
Don't let your life pass you by as you play it safe inside of your shell!
Today, I want to tell you that your best life is ahead of you. But that life lies outside of your SHELL.
I have more to tell you. Until next time, be your UNIQUE YOU!