Stop Taking Yourself So Seriously

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I have a lot to learn from Vera

I took a hip and hamstring yoga workshop from MacKenzie Miller this morning. Although I stalk her on Instagram (she is seriously amazing @MackenzieYoga), I have never taken a class from her. Actually, I have never taken a yoga “workshop”, nor have I ever done yoga for 2.5 hours straight. Heck, I haven’t even been doing yoga for a total of 9 months (that’s like 10 minutes in Yoga Years). All that to say, I felt way out of my league. But, for the sake of a BFF’s birthday wish, I was game!

Voluntarily walking into a situation in which you have no business being takes a few things: #1 Balls (check), #2 the company of a loyal friend (check), and #3 the ability to not take yourself so seriously (making progress).

In recent years (mainly since entering motherhood), I have found it helpful to lighten up a bit. As a way of coping in situations that seem ridiculous and/or out of my control, I’ve started to take myself less seriously. This attitude adjustment allows me to laugh in moments that seem embarrassing, unbearable, or straight weird (e.g. taking a Zumba class while pregnant). It also gives me the freedom to enter unfamiliar situations without obsessing over whether or not I will meet some expectation (be it real or imagined).

As an anxiety-prone person, I often have to do a bit of coaching (i.e. talking to myself) to get myself to a “lighter” place. Sometimes it takes time and focus. But, it always seems to be worth the effort.

When I stop taking myself so seriously…

  • I let go of preconceived notions about a situation and truly experience the moment.
  • I’m less worried about meeting everyone’s (including my own) expectations.
  • Failing doesn’t seem like the end of the world, so I am more willing to risk.
  • I’m less anxious (likely because I’m not obsessing over meeting some expectation).
  • I’m free to be myself.
  • Relationships deepen as a result of my transparency and trust.
  • I’m more fun to be with.
  • I laugh a lot, often at myself.
  • At times, it sets the stage for others to do the same. They worry less, they trust more. They fear less, they risk more. They go for it. 

Let me be clear, I am not talking about being irresponsible, making a fool of yourself, or living life without intention or goals. Instead, lighten up a bit and stop worrying so much about meeting every single expectation.

As it turned out, MacKenzie’s workshop was a great experience. She also doesn’t take herself (or her pupils) too seriously which makes for an easy going environment. I learned, laughed, and fell on my face (a handful of times). Oh, and I managed to get my foot behind my head! Who would have thought!

What is one area in your life in which you could “lighten up”? Try to take yourself less seriously the next time you feel afraid of failure – see if anything changes for you.

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