Embracing Who You Really Are

https://i0.wp.com/goldenwordsofself.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/embrace-yourself.jpg “Embrace who you are and don’t make any apologies for being yourself.”

Have you ever felt ashamed of who you are? Do you shy away from showing your real self? Are you afraid of what others will think of you, flaws and all? The ultimate battle between who we are and who we think we should be can be a loud voice inside our heads, stopping us from “coming out” with our truth.

However, letting outside beliefs, conditions or people dictate how we live isn’t okay. Neither is living in an emotional prison that may have been built by yourself and others. We create the lives we live. There isn’t anyone else who really has control over our personality, lifestyle or beliefs unless we give them that power.

For years, I felt ashamed of the person I am. I felt like I needed to hide my past from people, to hide the dark truths of my life and also just hide myself. I felt the desire to please people first instead of making myself happy because that is what I believed real friendship and love depended on. If I was everything they wanted me to be then I would have a friend, partner or mentor to be there for me like I was for them.

However, I was rudely awakened. Making everyone else happy and putting my needs last was the worst thing I could have done for myself. Not only did I lose those people in the end but I also lost me. I was so afraid to talk, speak up or share what I was thinking and feeling. I didn’t want to be judged or seen as weak or naive.  I always felt the need to apologize for myself.

What I was actually doing was abusing myself and letting others abuse and take advantage of me. This is not love nor friendship.

You are the one who has the keys to your happiness. You can choose to express yourself in whichever way you want. Don’t live your life dependent on anyone’s beliefs, opinions or thoughts of you. I know it is much easier said than done but once you start embracing who you are, you begin to embrace your real happiness.

You are giving yourself the gift of true respect, authenticity and love. People who love you for you will be there and those that don’t, well that relationship wasn’t right for you anyway.

Way to start embracing who you really are right now:

  1. Live from your heart- Begin to check in with yourself and see how you are feeling throughout the day. Live from your heart and make decisions that won’t compromise your happiness later.
  2. Learn to say “no”- It is okay to say no. You can turn down an invite, or not always be the therapist for your friend to talk to. Put your needs first and if you aren’t fully comfortable there is nothing wrong with just plain saying,  “No” or “Not right now”. People are willing to wait and be patient.
  3. Set boundaries- Yes, we must all set boundaries but for us people-pleasers this can be the most difficult. If someone isn’t respecting your boundaries voice it in the most kind yet assertive way possible. You want to make your point and be clear.

Turn a new leaf today and start living, breathing and being

you.

3 Lessons You Can Learn from Feeling Lost

“People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates.” –Thomas Szasz

Have you ever felt lost? Do you feel lost right now with no direction? We have all been there and it’s not a pleasant feeling.

Feeling lost can be terrifying, nerve-wracking and yet eye-opening all at the same time.

Recently I went on a hike, the first of the summer. It started out great and then we took a wrong turn. Before we knew it, we were lost deep in the woods. It had already been 45 minutes and I was starting to lose my patience.

If things couldn’t get any worse I encountered a snake (my first time seeing one) which set me over the edge. I panicked and freaked out. I was extremely emotional and had a serious anxiety attack. I felt so out of control and lost. I wondered if we would ever get out of the woods and thoughts of being stuck or worse, death crossed my mind.

Eventually we found our way out of the woods by an entrance nowhere close to where we initially started. It was quite an experience and I learned some profound truths about being lost that day.

1. Control- The first thing about being lost is loss of control. You feel as if you have no control over anything and everything you have tried has failed. It is out of your hands.

So what DO you have control over? Yourself. It is easy to panic or listen to our irrational fears and thoughts. But it does nothing. It only makes the situation and circumstance feel worse.

Having control over your own thoughts and approach will lighten the load. You may not have the answer immediately to which direction to take but you can use your wise mind to make more rational and intuitive decisions.

Never make an impulsive decision when feeling lost. Making impulse decisions only add to the fears and lack of control you are experiencing. It is best to wait and go through the experience with a wiser awareness and approach before making a decision.

2. Direction-  One of the worst feelings about being lost is not knowing what path to take, feeling directionless or afraid that you will take the wrong path and miss out on something.

Being lost in the woods taught me that while we didn’t end up finishing where we started I was still on a path to somewhere. The unknown can be scary, extremely scary. Knowing what to expect creates a sense of safety. Safety is important but sometimes it prevents us from growing and going outside of our comfort zones.

The path you take may not be the one you hoped or anticipated but nevertheless it will teach you great things. It will lead you to places within that you may need to face or deal with. There is no right or wrong path. There may be detours or setbacks but these are also a part of the journey.

If everything we experienced came easily we may not understand certain human truths including empathy, compassion or trust.

3. Facing Inner Truths-  Sometimes it takes being lost to really find yourself and realize who you really are. You discover what makes you stronger and your own inner critic gets silenced. You experience an awakening and a deeper wisdom that perhaps wasn’t there before. It is okay to be lost. It is okay to feel alone in the experience. Just know it’s not a permanent experience or feeling.

“Nothing in life is permanent, not even our troubles.”

Listen to your inner voice and allow the unknown to guide you to your next destination.

Solitude: Tuning Out & Tuning In

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Solitude. Photo Credit by Louis Roche

“To make the right choices in life, you have to get in touch with your soul. To do this, you need to experience solitude, which most people are afraid of, because in the silence you hear the truth and know the solutions.” – Deepak Chopra

Being in silence or simply being alone is difficult especially in a busy city like New York. There are so many other things we could be doing other than being alone. It’s easy to get distracted from ourselves and how we are feeling.

Was there ever a time in your life when your schedule was so jam-packed busy you barely had a moment to yourself? Perhaps your inner voice or intuition was telling you, “It’s time to slow down! Get grounded. What about you and what you need?”

I definitely have had times like this. I intentionally would make my life so busy so that I could avoid going home early because I didn’t want to be alone. For those of you in relationships experiencing being alone may not be as often but for those of us that are single, being alone is an every day reality.

Regardless if you are single or in a relationship, taking a break from all of the busyness and intensity of our lives is necessary. Being alone is necessary for growth and personal reflection. Spending an hour a week just on yourself without any outside distractions will help you feel more grounded and in tune.

Solitude and being alone doesn’t have to be a chore or something we force ourselves to do. It’s an opportunity to learn about what we want and can be very therapeutic.

When was the last time you had a moment all to yourself without the cell phone buzzing with a new message, an email from your boss or a friend calling to make dinner plans?

We are instantly connected to the world around us that it’s just as important to instantly connect to the world within us. Meditation, spending time in nature, walking, writing, creating are just a few activities that can help us instantly connect with ourselves. However these practices don’t work for everyone. Where do you find the most peace when you’re alone? Go there and experience that be it through meditation, a healthy meal, or a hot bath.

In our solitude we can experience profound realizations and truths about ourselves and those around us. Write down or take mental notes of what you discover. Allow any fears of being in solitude to subside and just be. Your self will thank you later for doing it.