Alissa on the dance floor with open arms at her wedding.

Life Gets Better When You Make Your Own Rules

inspiration spirituality Nov 30, 2020

Okay, wait… am I doing this right?’ I let the water from the kitchen sink wash over my new crystals. I felt like a sweaty-handed teenage boy, awkwardly slow dancing with a girl for the first time. I had no idea what I was doing.

I had six of these pretty, precious crystals that I’d received from my Reiki healer. Each crystal had a different meaning, which, I was still trying to memorize. ‘They say you’re supposed to cleanse the energy from these things… I hope I’m not missing some special step…’

I know, I know. I’m sounding pretty woo these days. Lately, I’m just obsessed with following what sparks an interest in me and following that curiosity to see where it leads. It’s 2020, what the heck else are we supposed to do? However, this is new territory for me! Six months ago, I wasn’t really using crystals and I didn’t know how Reiki worked.

Fast forward to now, I’ve gotten my Reiki level one certification under my belt and I’m fumbling to wash my crystals in the kitchen sink. As I said, I’m following my curiosity! I’m allowing myself to be a beginner and I’m learning as I go.

Except, what happens when you’re doing something new? Well, you usually feel a little insecure about it. You probably feel kind of silly and you most likely compare yourself to the experts… a lot. You’re probably also vulnerable to the assumption that everyone else knows better than you do.

Why We Doubt Ourselves At First

Obviously, there’s something to be said about learning from experts and doing things the right way. Hello, I would not attempt to practice Reiki if I didn’t actually get certified by someone legitimate and experienced!

But, there’s also something to be said about the powerful wisdom that lies within you. You know, the wisdom that led you to meet your husband, quit your job, or put an offer on that house because it just felt right.

Every single one of us has an inner guidance system that leads us to the next right step. It can just feel kind of awkward and difficult to tap into that wisdom when you’re doing something new. Before we’re actually good at something, it feels more comfortable to look to others and to have a roadmap. Because… what if we do it totally wrong? What if we look dumb?

So, when I made the conscious decision that I wanted to deepen my spiritual practice and see where this interest in Reiki took me, I noticed myself shift into this weird, insecure state. I quickly started noticing all of the other women out there already doing energy healing and felt totally incompetent in comparison. Can I even do this? Am I “spiritual” enough? Who would even want to work with me?

Imposter syndrome, to the max, began to seep into my essence and I found myself feeling stupid for even saying I was interested in trying something new. Just a few days earlier, I’d been excited to practice Reiki after receiving my certification. I’d envisioned practicing in my backyard teepee with essential oils and zen music and herbs. Now? I was feeling like maybe I should close up shop before I ever even opened.

The only thing that had changed between my excitement and my insecurity was the fact that I’d hopped on Instagram and started comparing myself to others. Before I even gave myself a fair chance, I started doubting my own intuition and assuming everyone else was better than me.

Well-Intentioned Advice Isn’t Always Necessary

I thought back to the last time I felt this level of imposter syndrome and insecurity. I reminded myself of how I felt when I started my blog nearly two years ago. I’d started Life by Alissa without a perfectly clear vision as to where it was going to go. That’s why I called it “Life by Alissa”, because I had no idea, yet, what I was going to write about all the time. I just felt called to start sharing from my heart; so, I did.

In the first few weeks of my new blog, I felt incredibly happy while I wrote, and then like I’d gotten punched in the stomach when I shared my writing. So dramatic. I’m an HSP, alright?! But, really, I’d felt like I was putting a piece of my heart on the line for people to judge or even worse, ignore. I felt insanely exposed and silly for putting myself into the world in this way.

As I said, while I was writing, I felt really good. As my fingers glided across the keys, time around me stopped. I was fully immersed in the experiencing of writing; nothing mattered except for that white screen and those little black letters. The doubt only started once I shared my work. The doubt got even worse when I started listening to all of the well-intentioned advice out there.

I remember listening to a podcast episode about blogging and had heard how important it was to define yourself if you’re really trying to “make a name for yourself” as a blogger. At the time, my blog’s slogan was “Your go-to girl for all things spiritual growth.” I wondered if that was good enough, or if I was going to fail miserably because I wasn’t “well-defined” enough.

With every business podcast I’d listen to; every book I’d read, course I’d take; I began to doubt my ability to be clear about who I am. Do I call myself a blogger? A writer? A spiritual blogger? What do I do? I felt weird about it all. As soon as I’d define myself with my new title in my Instagram profile, I wanted to change it again.

This idea of needing to define myself really came to a head as I was filling out a form for a podcast interview. When I got to the spot where I needed to fill out how I’d like to be introduced on the podcast, I froze. I deliberated for 24 hours over these five simple sentences.

‘What do I call myself? This is my moment. I don’t want people to be confused about who I am!’ I wrote and re-wrote. I read it out loud. I listened to other podcasts to see what their intros sounded like.

‘UGH, WHO AM I?’ I was frustrated that I couldn’t define myself in this neat little box.

I got up from my computer and began nervously sweeping the floor while blasting music in my ears. As I swept a dust bunny into the dustpan, I had a revelation. I don’t have to define myself as anything.

We Can Do Things Our Own Way

As I reflect back on that day, I remember the freedom I’d felt at that moment. Finally, I was free to just be myself. If people were confused, so be it. I was sharing a message that I knew was valuable and important and real.

At that moment, and again today, I’m reminded that I do things in my own way and it works for me. I hate being put into a box. I hate being made to believe that there are only these six steps to success. I hate thinking there’s only one right way to do anything.

It’s very comfortable for us to look to others to tell us who we’re supposed to be and how we’re supposed to do it. Especially when we’re new to something and haven’t built up the experience and know-how just yet. It’s scary to rely on our own knowledge, right?

But if we’re always listening to everyone else; following the recommended steps; and doing things by the book, we’re just going to be watered down versions of everyone else out there.!

Maybe I’m not washing my crystals in the exact “right” way, but if I’m feeling the energy from them in a way that feels good for me, who can say that I’m doing it wrong? Maybe it’s a good thing that I feel like I’m “less spiritual” than other energy healers out there because it means I’m being authentic to myself rather than trying to fit into a mold!

I’m here to remind you (and myself) that you can absolutely, 100% do things in your own way. If it feels good to time block your schedule, do that. If it feels good to run every day, do that. If it feels good to eat gluten-free, do that. Just know, that you don’t need to fit into some well-defined, little box.

As you blaze your own trail, you can graciously thank people for their advice along the way. Heck, you can stop and take some of that advice, if you feel like it! But, most importantly, you’ve gotta take advice from your own inner wisdom.

If something works for you, go with it. If it feels good, go with it. Trust yourself. Love the paradoxical human being that you are. Stay authentic, undefined, and committed to your own unique path.

With love,