Do you do things you don’t want to do or don’t have the capacity to do, just to please others? Do you ever do things because you worry what others will think of you if you don’t? Do you ever hide your true feelings because you’re scared that being completely honest will scare the other person away? Are you shy to speak up at work or in school because you think you’ll say something stupid? Do you ever act a certain way around certain people because you want them to accept you and think that you’re like them?
I can personally identify with all of the above statements. And I’ll be completely honest with you, I still do sometimes. I’ll catch myself agreeing to requests, even though I feel a gnawing sensation in the centre of my chest, screaming out at me that I have too many other things on my plate, I can’t possibly add this now?! I catch myself worrying that I said something dumb at a party, berating myself for how “un-cool” I am…and then the next thought, ”jeez, Natalie, do you still care about that?”.
Those insecure parts of us show up in different situations and with different faces, but for many of us, they’re still showing up.
So when I say I’ve been practicing becoming more of myself, I mean becoming more comfortable with the person I know myself to be. Being comfortable with who that is, and who that is not. Believing the idea that I am whole and complete just as I am…
You want to try this too, you say? Great!
I suggest cultivating these three practices:
1. Practice self-love. I read something in Brene Brown’s book, Daring Greatly. She discusses the idea that you can only effectively put up boundaries when you love yourself. It was a lightbulb moment for me. Of course! How can I erect those boundaries to what I can do and can’t do, will do and won’t do unless I love myself? I need to love myself, value myself, and respect my OWN needs before I can attend to the needs of others.
2. Practice mindfulness. I’m thoroughly convinced that mindfulness is the key to a happy life. Mindfulness increases awareness, it increases your ability to stay in the present moment…and that my friend, is where your true self lives!
3. Take deep breaths and let go. Let go of the negative self-talk. Trust me, I know that this is easier said than done. But just keep breathing and your breath will do the work for you. Deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth…and as you let all that breath out, let out the tension and the repetitive thoughts and just keep breathing.