The theme for this month’s practice series is the REBEL.
Last spring, my interactions with a challenging collaborator pushed me to the brink. I’d spent months swallowing how I felt in order to keep the peace. But on that April day, the dynamic became too much for me. In a rush of tears, I said everything I’d been holding back for so long. It felt messy, uncomfortable—and ultimately brought us to much greater understanding.
While my inner perfectionist wished I could have delivered my truth more calmly, I realized how freeing and wonderfully rebellious it felt to finally be honest. As women, we’re often encouraged to hide some part of our truth in order to get along, get ahead, or please others. We put ourselves in boxes—I’m the peacemaker, I’m the responsible one—and censor the fullness of who we are.
“It’s rebellious to expand the freedom of our self-expression and to lovingly rebel against the chains we’ve put around ourselves,” says vocal empowerment coach Ariella Forstein, whose practice this week invites your inner rebel to say the things you normally wouldn’t say—starting with yourself. “The more we do this with ourselves, the more free we’re going to feel to do this out in the world, to be rebellious in that way until it no longer feels rebellious."
A beautiful side effect? As you allow your own authentic self-expression, you invite others to do the same. “The more we say what we’ve been holding back, we’re giving ourselves permission but we’re also giving other people permission,” says Ariella. “When you do this practice, people will feel it regardless of if they know it or not.”
For this 5-minute practice, you’ll want a mirror, a timer, and a private space where you can talk freely and not self-censor.
- Sit down in front of a mirror. (Or stand if that works better.) Take a couple deep breaths and stretch your arms out for a moment to open up your body.
- Think of a scenario with a person, place, thing, or yourself where you haven’t been fully expressed. Just for a moment, think about it and be aware of any sensations you feel in your body.
- Set a timer for 2 to 4 minutes of free-speaking (similar to free-writing). Once you start, the idea is to let your words flow the whole time.
- Without much more thought—because you don’t want to spin off in your head about the story—say what is true for you about this person, place, thing, or yourself while looking at yourself in the mirror.
- As you talk, keep eye contact as much as you can. If that becomes too difficult, stay connected to yourself by placing a hand on your heart.
- If uncomfortable emotions come up, be gentle with yourself and breathe through it. Let yourself feel sad or scared or frustrated or angry. Keep going.
- When the timer goes off, take a moment for gratitude. First, thank yourself for the experience. Then, if you can, thank the person, place, thing, or yourself. Then get up and go about your day.