If you are among the 1% or less of the population who hasn’t played Monopoly, there are spaces on the board that send you to jail. Your best bet at that point is to use a “get out of jail free card.” It will get you off this spot and back into play without having to roll doubles or pay a $50 fine. I’ve been wondering if we don’t all have a get out of jail free card as it relates we use in our life.
I think about a lot of stuff, particularly with respect to figuring out how I’m wired, and how I show up in life, to myself and to others. So to get to that, I’ve been looking at what I value and a big standout is being responsible. For me, being responsible is a big deal. My wiring is to be responsible in everything I do. Here’s what that looks like. I take care of my home – it’s neat and clean all the time; I show up for work, every day, even when I’m sick; I work hard, and long, and put forth 110% effort; I take care of other people, family, friends, from the standpoint of their visible needs…providing, cooking, attending to their visible needs; I take care of my physical body by exercising (granted, this one brings me a lot of energy). Being responsible in these ways is how I was raised, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing.
It’s occurred to me lately though that I’m missing part of the picture. I think being responsible is a bit of a get out of jail free card for me. Here’s why. When I am doing all the things I think are responsible, I’m too busy to just be. I don’t, or maybe I avoid, spending time on myself, my inner needs. I’m starting to see that I use being responsible as my “Get out of jail free” card. I don’t have time for nurturing myself because I’m busy doing all the time. Nurturing myself means slowing down, letting other things go – maybe – so that I can just rest. Rest my body, nurture my body, nurture my spirit. Honestly, just thinking about it makes me break into a nervous sweat. If I’m not Lisa the responsible person – responsible as I’ve defined it, than who am I, am I letting myself, or others, down?
But I’m also learning, realizing, that just being with myself is as important, or maybe more important, than all the other things I do. AND, I’m realizing that all the doing and “responsibility” is a way my inner critic keeps me small, covers up those fears that I have about being seen as I am on the inside. Keeps me from truly experiencing life and relationships. Tells me that doing is part of my worth. In reality, my worth IS on the inside, comes from God who made me just as I am, it’s not dependent on what I do. How am I going to know that though if I’m so busy doing? That doesn’t give me time to just be with myself and be with others. The truth is, to have deeper relationships, I need to get comfortable in the space of being with myself, and being with others. Redefine my truth. Responsibility is a strength, but not what defines me. It’s not “jail” to take care of me, my heart, my spirit, and it’s not “jail” to take care of others in the same way.
What is your get out of jail free card? That excuse you use (probably subconsciously) to avoid fully engaging in life? It’s different for each of us because we are different, we are unique, and that’s an awesome thing. I think that we don’t really need that card because where we are, who we are, is not really jail at all, we’re worth embracing, worth getting to know, worth acknowledging our own needs, worth being brave enough to see ourselves as we are. If we try to escape that, to avoid it, we miss developing the gifts that we have to give ourselves and give to others. So I’m going to sit in that space, to just be, and invite you to ditch the get out jail free card too, the excuse that keeps you “safe.” Lean in to the discomfort because if we don’t ever feel it, we may not feel the flip side which is fully experiencing our lives.