The deep yes is the right to dream your dreams and live an authentic life as the hero of your own unfolding epic. It’s a yes to all your imperfections and the knowledge that you’re fabulous anyway.
I think it’s no coincidence when I stumble upon something – a song on the radio, a page I flip open to – that puts perspective and clarity on what’s been weighing on my mind. During a lunch break this week, while browsing my LinkedIn feed, I clicked on an article which then led me to a Google search which then led me to a YouTube video called “The art of the deep yes”. Over the last few weeks I had been thinking about: who am I? Am I being authentically me in this life I’m living? Would the little girl I used to be think that I’m doing a good job living out my dreams? I spent the remainder of my break enchanted by author Justine Musk as she eloquently described self worth. I felt like she was talking directly to me in so many ways.
Like Justine, if you opened up my childhood diaries you would see that I thought I would rule the world one day. I lived every day as if I was shooting beyond the moon and stars, and I truly, deeply believed that I would accomplish everything as I planned. I believed I would be president as well as a world-famous author. As an older kid, I was actually putting in the work at an impressive speed to “get there” sooner rather than later. (I assigned myself homework during the summer. Enough said.) I was shy and kept to myself, but I had loads of self-esteem and drive – I did puzzles, made posters, read books, wrote stories, kept a zillion never-ending checklists, and challenged myself.
My self-worth, or what Justine refers to as a “deep yes” was abundant: I dreamed, I was 100% me, and I thought I was fabulous. Of course, as a kid, it’s much easier to feel like you are all of these things. For Justine, she ultimately suppressed her “deep yes” as a pre-teen, embarrassed by her high opinion of herself when she came across her diaries, and because other people said she thought too much, read too much, and used too many big words.
While I don’t recall external voices saying I was “too much” of anything, I do remember gradually believing that I was too passionate about too many things. Fortunately, it took until after college to feel this way; that was only about seven years ago. But the feelings had trickled from one year to the next until it became a nagging thought in my mind recently.
For me, that was the equivalent of tossing my old diaries. And then I realized, at my core, despite all the ways I’ve grown up, I’m still all of those things I was as a little girl. Others have maybe asked themselves “who am I?” as they get older. I would ask you to reflect on your dreams formed as a kid. But don’t listen to me! Justine’s presentation was loaded with great quotes that I’ll share before leaving you with the video itself, which will make you laugh, nod your head, and walk away with the intent to reconnect with your past dreams, self-worth, and inner child.
The day I threw it out was the day I made a bad decision. I decided not to trust the voice that filled those pages: the unfiltered voice of my deep Yes, my own high opinion of myself.
We have a way of rising or sinking to the level of expectation the culture holds for us.
I wanted to be the star of my own epic life.
Even the smart, feisty, bookish girl (if she’s not careful) gets cast as the Hermione to someone else’s Harry Potter.
I realized that behind every No is a deeper Yes to whatever it is that you do want. No is a bright line that, when used properly, marks off where you end and others begin.
Women want to play a bigger game. Women want permission to pursue dreams and goals and greatness of our own. And when I say permission I mean a story that supports us, a story that manifests in the kind of social, economic and political structures that make female greatness possible. You shouldn’t have to feel like you might sacrifice some or all of your womanhood. You shouldn’t have to feel like you’ll get massacred for admitting, out loud, that you have some greatness in you.