How to Show up for Yourself

Part of you is ready for anything. Help it out.

Jessica Wildfire
Aug 25 · 5 min read
Photo by Cody Black on Unsplash

You’ve heard the saying, “Showing up is 80 percent of life.” Well, it’s true. But not for the reasons you think.

Advice like this always assumes one thing — when you show up, you’ll actually do something. You won’t just stand there.

You won’t just fold your arms and scowl the whole time.

Showing up — really doing it — is always the hardest part. Why is that? What’s so hard about showing up? It sounds easy.

It’s hard because part of you always thinks you want to stay home. It’s scared, sad, pissed off, distracted, or just plain tired. Or maybe it’s raining outside, and you don’t want to get wet.

There’s nothing wrong with any of your negative feelings, the ones that pull you home. They’re normal. Look at most animals. Lying around is what they do best. They don’t do anything unless they have to.

That’s the part that wants to stay home — the mammal part. It doesn’t want to go to work, or the gym. It wants Cheetos.

Relax, she doesn’t wear spandex and a cape. She doesn’t fly. But she’s kind of incredible. She’s in you somewhere — a normal human being, one who doesn’t want to do things that are good for you on any given day.

Normal you wants to take a nap on the couch.

So how do you just show up?

Good news, another part of you exists. She’s already there at the gym, ready to go — waiting on the rest of you. That part likes exercise. It likes your job. It even likes people. You just have to go meet it. Remember that, and getting out the door feels a little easier.

The rest of you — normal you — lives in blissful ignorance of the part that likes broccoli and cardio and dinner parties.

Normal you believes that Super You doesn’t exist. Because it’s easier to stay home and take naps on the couch.

But Super You will take over if you can just get up off your butt and get dressed, if you can just get out of the door.

The super part takes over the minute you walk into the weight room, when you pull into the parking deck, when you step behind the lectern. It can handle way more than normal you.

It’s hard to believe in Super You. She shows up only when needed. The rest of the time, she’s up there in the fortress of solitude. Recovering. Watching. Waiting for next problem.

The rest of the time, you feel average — not super at all. It’s okay. You’re not supposed to be super all the time. You can’t.

But normal you needs to hold it together in the meantime. It has to show up, and then it has to get out of the way.

Some people take the advice about showing up at face value only. Sure, they show up. Then they behave like a dick. They don’t shake hands or pretend to smile, or even make conversation.

They fill up on cheese and crackers, and then they ghost.

They show up and drink too much. They mistake the keynote speaker for a grad student, and toss out some awful pickup lines. They embarrass themselves, without even knowing it.

They go to the conference, but they spend all morning in bed. Then they spend all afternoon sight seeing.

And they wonder what’s wrong with their life…

When you look at some people, you see nothing super about them. Or maybe you feel that way just glancing in the mirror. Sounds harsh, but it’s true. Happens to me plenty of times.

Here’s the thing about that. You’re hiding your super. Stop. Super us is in there somewhere — just smothered in a lake of nacho cheese and beer. Or cheesecake and wine, and self-doubt.

Everyone has a Super You. But maybe it needs normal you to cut back on some of those bad habits.

Maybe you’re wondering where super comes from. Understand this — you’re not a solo act. You’re an ensemble.

Super comes from the best of what you see in others. The ones you admire. The ones you envy.

If you see someone you want to be like, then just do it. Learn what makes them super and then make it your own. That doesn’t mean copying their clothes or hairstyle, or their voice.

Study how they do life. Copy that.

We’re all versions of each other — some better, some worse. That’s why you see yourself in almost everyone.

You’re not that different. That’s why we all have a favorite character from a novel or a movie. We identify with them.

We have things in common. They’re taking what works for them, and leveraging that into a kind of power.

Super you probably can’t flip a car. But she can do way more than you think. She can read a book every week, even two. She can get up in front of the board of directors at her company. She can give a TED talk. She can do just about anything on this planet that anyone else can.

That thing might never make you rich or famous.

But you can do it.

Life isn’t about earning more money, or nailing a super model. It’s about mining yourself for gems and then polishing them up. We all have extraordinary abilities, as well as limits.

Most of us just hide them. We forget them. We treat them like fine china, like they might break if we’re not careful. We’re afraid if we show everyone what we can really do, they’ll expect that all the time.

But that’s on us. We can’t be super every single minute — just when it counts. So work on showing up. Find the part of you that’s got this, and then get out of their way. Super you might screw up the first few times if she’s rusty, if she’s still covered in nacho cheese and last night’s mascara. You’ll always be human. Vulnerable. Flawed. But you’re also super.

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Jessica Wildfire

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Life is an amazing journey to nowhere.

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