Most of us have emotional triggers that we aren’t aware of until we blow up or “lose it”. These learned responses helped us to survive unpleasant situations (often in our childhood). Unfortunately, those very habits (cues/triggers, course of action or response, and rewards) that allowed us to survive in childhood now sabotage or hamper our growth and relationships.
I’m not talking about PTSD triggers: those are at another level, where it’s not merely a habit. These triggers actually require deeper assistance, such as therapy.
These habitual responses are survival tactics, often learned in our childhood. I adeptly overlook and sidestep the bigger issues when I ignore the hidden rewards of my habits. The slowing down of 2020 gave us much needed time to sit and do the inner work of looking at our survival tactics.
Even 2021 has shown me (especially on social media) how I respond to certain types of posts and comments. There are people that I have been tempted to block “for my peace of mind”. Nonetheless, my commitment to healing and working on myself continues. So, I decided that rather than block them (or engage or shoot back), I would make time to actually look at where I have lost my freedom to respond gracefully.
If you are anything like me, there’s a list of excuses holding you back from building your dreams:
when I have more time,
if I had more money,
as soon as I finish.
For those of us that said that we needed more time at home, 2020 has provided many of us with a lot more time at home. Now we get to find out that this wasn’t holding us back!
Perhaps you said you needed more time with your kids to build stronger relationships. I don’t know how it’s working out for you, but my experience is that I am finding out just how little patience I have for teaching a six-year-old how to write, do her social studies and mathematics lessons!
It came on the heels of burnout. I recognised that recovery required a new set of standards and values by which to lead my life!
Have you stopped loving your life?
Maybe some of the following words or phrases resonate with you:
Going through the motions
Living up to old dreams
Living up to other people’s expectations
I forgot what the question was while pursuing the answer
Life just got in the way and took over
And then, one day, you wake up, finding you lost all respect for yourself and others and you ceased loving.
“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him or around him, and so loses respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”
The Power of Authenticity
There is an extraordinary power that is held in YOU being You. When I suggest you need help finding your voice, I am not referring to a writer or a speaker. Instead, I want you to find the power of the small, still voice – somewhere deep inside – that dares to stand up for you.
It’s finding that voice that dares to think your thoughts.
That dares to speak your mind.
That dares to make decisions for that are right for you – because they are right for you.
The voice that truly represents who you are – or perhaps, at this moment in time, who you wish to be.
I invite you to search for the best, authentic, true version of you.
The you that keeps your word – especially to yourself – that wakes up when the alarm goes off the first time. When you know the value of starting the day early, you keep the smallest promises to yourself. “I will get up at this time.” When you finally recognise that if you lied to yourself about something this insignificant, you couldn’t trust yourself for the more essential things in life.
I want you to find YOU – the you that keeps your word about how much exercise you want to do and how you want to feel in your body – because you care about you.
You keep your word about what you will do and get finished today because what you say to yourself matters.
Because how you do anything is how you do everything.
Finding your voice is discovering the You that has investigated, for yourself:
What you really think
What you truly desire
And who you most deeply are: the deep inner you.
You are, in your own, unique way, really creative, truly compassionate and fiercely courageous.
They say that we come into this world as living souls of infinite potentiality to be discovered and released – when we dare to live life from the inside out.
A story is told of a man who sits brooding at his desk in the evening.
Earlier that day, he received his dismissal notice from a company that he had served for more than 20 years.
He’s busy despairing on the difficulty of getting a new job – at his age – the impossibilities of living on his income – the shock of finding himself dispensable in the world!
A little spider was walking across his desk at that moment, and he unconsciously brushed it off.
Immediately he found himself watching, in awe, as this tiny creature took this disaster – of being swept into the air and off its path, and spun a tiny strand to bear its weight and gracefully swung down to the floor.
If that spider – a tiny creature – can get into the flow of using all its talents and natural resources and deal so creatively and gracefully with a crisis – why can we not do the same?
Your innate power lies within:
Could you invest a little of your time discovering your inherent ability? This power comes from knowing who you are and what your strengths are and the resources that you have at your disposal.
The power of a person that owns what they say – that can compassionately, and yet clearly, say what they mean. Can you permit yourself to be you – warts & all?
– Jay Acunzo
“If you just stopped trying to be a better version of everyone else, you might find way more success using your creativity to be the only one who does what you do.”
Finding your inner voice: WHO AM I?
When you are alone, taking off the labels of relationships, religion, profession, nationality, and all the rest of the tags that society or even you have placed on yourself – WHO are you?
-Lao Tzu, Chinese Taoist Philosopher.
“Mastering others is strength; Mastering yourself is true power.”
Know thyself now. It does you little good to know the person you were ten years ago. Even the person you were last year is not going to help you out today. Who are you now?
Are you in touch with your feelings and needs?
We are human beings: who are you now? And I would even go further. We are human becomings: who are you becoming?
Most importantly, who do you want to become? Understand “this is me here and now” even as I grow and change.
‘A caterpillar who seeks to know himself would never become a butterfly.’
I started off asking if you were stuck, unhappy, disengaged. One of the issues with forgetting who you are – really, truly, deeply – is that you can’t express who you are because you don’t know any more. You’ve become trapped in the definition of self that you made up some time ago. Or worse yet, you failed to define “who am I?” and so someone else told you!
Finding your voice and identity:
As you get to know yourself, you find happiness: I like this, but I don’t like that. Then you can say I want to do this and I don’t want to do that.
When you know yourself – you feel less conflicted. Your actions will align with your inner feelings & values.
When you know the answer to “who am I?”, it’s easier to make better choices for yourself.
Do I like this sweater?
What would I like to eat?
What do I want to invest the rest of my life building?
Knowing who you are, and finding your inner voice, allows you to slow down. Do you feel that you are busy living your life with other peoples’ choices? Or, are you choosing what you would like to eat? Do you love your body? How does this influence your wardrobe? Who decided your lifestyle?
What are your limits & boundaries?
Here are some great questions to ask yourself:
How good am I at X?
How well do I do what I do?
What are my strengths & weaknesses? What are the limits of my strengths? Strengths might be your abilities, skills & talents – but don’t forget your character strengths –
Respect for others
Encouraging others or a great listener
Do you know your “superpowers”- because knowing these strengths also gives you self-confidence!
Knowing and acknowledging your weaknesses allows you to hold back from accepting responsibilities or roles that you are not cut out for.
And one of the best things about knowing yourself, of really understanding your likes and dislikes – is having the power to say “no” when you mean “no”. How many times do you say yes – to social obligations, to invitations, to responsibilities & commitments, when you wanted to say “no” because you weren’t standing in your power?
Wherever you look today, you will find information and awareness campaigns. If ignorance were the problem, the information age would have solved everything. Whether you want to look at issues of health and wellbeing, caring for the environment, or simply improving your lifestyle, it seems that knowledge is not enough to bring about change. Knowing is only half the battle.
For example, perhaps you know what kind of diet and food your body responds the best with. What results do you have to show for knowing this?