Hello everyone and welcome back to Taking My Own Advice! Last time we talked about triggers and how the past can come back to haunt us. Remembering to retrace our steps, explore memories, and stay present will aid in our pathway to healing! This week we will dive into hard truths about ourselves and the world around us. For me, this is the hardest step because perception is subjective. Sometimes we can get muddled when thinking about an objective view point in our own lives. This is why I have provided three steps to help us both, when it comes to accepting hard truths and realities. Enjoy!
Step 1: Be Honest With Yourself.
Purpose: To regain clarity in your life. Think of our minds and hearts as windows. Sometimes we need to clean them to see outside (and inside) clearly. Think of your window cleaning solution as honesty.
Experience: Honesty with ourselves can be a tricky thing, especially when us humans have a very hard time looking through a perspective other than our own. However, even aside from that, an objective viewpoint can be gained through instinct and environment. Self-awareness comes with the exercise of our instinct. For example: maybe you've been dealing with some unwanted anxiety. You may experience any number of symptoms; shortness of breath, heart palpitations, shaky hands, or dizziness when you feel nervous or stressed. This awareness of your physical health is your instinct letting you know something is wrong. Your instinct now gives you an opportunity to be honest with yourself.
When dealing with your environment look for repetitive themes. For example: maybe you start to notice that in every job you have, similar problems arise. What about in your relationships? Do you notice the same problems with friends, family and partners? You may be noticing a cue from your environment that you need to examine your own behaviors and actions. Sometimes it can be easy to blame others, but we need to look closely at ourselves with an objective viewpoint. We all have a part to play and none of us are perfect so be honest with yourself!
Question: What do you have a hard time being honest with yourself about?
Action: Write down some repetitive themes in your life. These may have to do with relationships, work, or mental health. Take note of any inconsistencies or patterns. Write down anything that you have had a hard time dealing with.
Step 2: Reality Check
Purpose: To manage the false narratives you are giving your personal story and reality. Remember those dirty windows? Sometimes our windows just get dirty with time, but sometimes the dirt that gets on our windows is from false narratives and expectations.
Experience: I am a dramatic person. Maybe it was all the Disney movies growing up or the musicals, but to me, my problems always looked larger than life. I am starting to understand that life ebbs and flows. Sometimes you are on top of the mountain and sometimes you are in the valley. Does that mean one is better than the other? We need both to thrive and fulfill the destiny of our story. To do that, we need the so called, "bad things" in our life to happen. These days I am doing a bible study from Beth Moore called, It's Tough Being a Woman. In this bible study she talks about destiny. She describes how God promises, "our past cannot be amputated from our destiny." The mistakes we made then and yes even the mistakes we are making now, are written into our destiny. Look at your reality closely and address any problems. Whilst addressing them, look at how they can benefit you, help you grow, and how they can be part of your destiny that is to come.
Question: What parts of your life have not been living up to your expectations? What parts of your life do you regret or see as mistakes?
Action: List truths about your life. Where do you work? What do you enjoy doing? Who is your best friend? How close are you with your family? What do you eat everyday? What does a day in the life of YOU look like? Try to list this without any emotions. No worries, you can put your emotions on another page. The point of this, is to look at your life objectively, as if someone else was looking in. Now I want you to read this. Though this may seem mundane or tough, your story is being written. Remember while reading, this is your story and your reality, but it is only one chapter. In step 3, we can look at how we can move into the next chapter of our lives.
Step 3: Assess The Resources You Have
Purpose: To analyze what you have at your disposal right now to further your dreams. If we are truthful about the reality and resources we actually have, we can make a better plan for the future.
Experience: Many times I have said to myself, "If only I had that, I could be doing this. If only I had this, then I would be happy." I'm going to let you in on a little secret, the if this, then that formula may work in math proofs, but it does not work for our mental health. Let's not even think about what we don't have! How great would our life look in our own eyes if we only focused on what we have now? How much easier would it be to spend every day in the present moment? If we continue to want and desire and long for what we don't have, life can start to seem very bleak. I know it is so easy to want to plan ahead and plan for what is to come. However, even more important than the plan, is our hope. If our hope relies on false realities (if this, then that thinking) it will easily crumble under pressure. If our hope is built on solid facts and realities that exist, it will not falter as easily. This is why it is so important for us to really find what resources we truly have.
Question: What do you have right now, that can further your dreams? What has God given you to help you grow?
Action: Make a list of what resources you have at your disposal. Think about what you really have in your life and how you can utilize those things to make your life happen. Maybe you have an online community you follow. Maybe you have some books or videos. Maybe you have a skill or a contact. Not all resources are found with money and not all resources are gained by experience. Many times, we have much more than we think.
Thank you so much for working through this exercise with me today! The purpose of this step is acceptance. Speak truth to yourself like you would to a best friend. We do not lie to those we truly love, so don't lie to yourself and set yourself up for failure. It is not easy to accept dark truths about ourselves, but even our greatest failures can hide our greatest strengths. We just have to be open enough to see them. I hope you enjoyed reading todays article and I will see you soon for Part 4 of our Feeling Trapped series! Feel free to share, like and comment below your experience and remember to always take your own advice! See you next time!