An important part of radical self care is learning to take responsibility for our lives. Having our own backs and being honest with ourselves (and others), about what truly matters. But what if you are having a hard time discovering who you are? What if you are caught up in years of societal conditioning, feeling disconnected from your own values, or wisdom and don’t quite know where to begin? I’m here to tell you, that’s completely ok.
Permission to feel lost while we find ourselves
I spent my entire childhood and much of my teens, effectively ‘knowing’ myself through the eyes of others. If the term, ‘Stepford-child’ existed – my image would have been clearly showcased in urban dictionary. I kid you not. (Go and have a look!).
I consistently looked to the external world for feedback and validation. I relied heavily on what I was told and based my self-worth on the accumulation of gold stars, positive feedback and the successful avoidance of interpersonal conflict.
I dont recall the exact moment that I queried my reflection in the mirror, but it went something like this – I was asked a question about a slightly controversial topic, and while reciting my well rehearsed, go-to response – I experienced a strong physical dissonance in my body. Flaming red cheeks and a belly full of shame. Like a voice, it spoke clearly to me
Thats not what you really think. Why are you saying that? That’s not true.
And later…much later, began curious and grateful enquiry. If you acknowledge yourself in a similar situation (and it doesn’t matter if you are 20, 30, or 60). Congrats. You’ve arrived. Because it is at that precipice of enquiry, that the real work of knowing ourselves begins. Allow yourself that privilege.
In terms of self care, the process might look something like this:
:: Noticing the way your body responds when you are expressing your views (your body knows your truth).
:: Requesting a replacement cup of hot tea, instead of pretending to enjoy it cold.
:: Speaking a truth that you had previously suppressed.
:: Noticing when a personal boundary has been crossed.
:: Deciding that you are no longer going to feel guilty for speaking your mind.
:: Having the audacity to save the largest slice of cake for yourself!
:: Practicing your No and owning your Yes.
For some of us, these are powerful acts of courage and the beginning of a deeper, more satisfying relationship with ourselves and the rest of the world. And the work begins any moment we decide.
We are allowed to feel shaky, uncertain and lost.
We are permitted to start over again on any given day, in any given moment.
To recalibrate, redefine oursleves and embrace all the questions and curious insights that we may have been unconsciously avoiding for much of our lives.
Respecting our imperfections while bringing more of ourselves to the world.
This is all ok. This is what it means to be human. Fallible. Practicing and progressing.
So take your permission slip today if you need it:
The more we do it, the more we discover the hidden teasures that exist within each and every one of us.