Have you ever looked in the mirror and wondered ‘Who are you?’
It’s one of those questions that creeps up on you – and one you probably heard your mum or elderly relative say, and thought you’d never say it to yourself – and yet, here you are!
Finding out who you are is one of the two most important points in your journey to your best and most beautiful life
Most of the time we start with the end point in mind; the goal, the aim, the objective, and then we work backwards from that to create an plan of action that will take us in a linear, straight, A-Z line.
And that’s all well and good. But think about how you actually map out a journey.
What would happen if I gave you a map and said ‘Tell me how to get from my house to Manchester’ how would you know which route to take? You don’t actually know where I live.
What would happen if you entered ‘Manchester’ into your SatNav but the GPS wasn’t working? Would that nice lady be able to tell you the first turning to take? No
Whilst you definitely do need to know where you’re going, you also need to know where you are right now.
My directions to Manchester will be hugely different to the directions my friend in Yorkshire would take and if we tried to use each other’s directions – who know where we would end up!! Certainly not Manchester that’s for sure!
That’s why it’s worth spending sometime really looking at all areas of your life to see exactly where you are right now AND where you want to be so you can actually plan a route that will GET YOU THERE!
Yes it can be scary and unpleasant to rip off that plaster and take a look at what’s underneath (and I make no apology if that analogy is making you squirm) but until you know what’s going on under there, you can’t take any beneficial action to make it better.
When deciding to make huge changes to the way you live and experience your life, what you’re really doing is working out how to create your future self.
Before you can really make those changes though, you have to be really present to the self you are right now.
The current version of you is a collection of your past lived experience, the honed and practiced thoughts, emotions and coping mechanisms unconsciously developed since childhood.
In order to create our future self we have to learn and practice new ways of responding to situations and events, to learn to pause and breathe before recycling the same old habits and reactions over again.
It’s really tough and tricky to do! It’s like trying not to jump when you hear a loud, unexpected bang! It’s such an instant and instinctive reaction that it takes a lot of practice to change the reaction – but it can be done.
The first step is to be more conscious of your patterns of behaviour and thought. You can do this by reflecting on a situation where you didn’t act or think exactly as you would have preferred to (how your future self would have).
Become aware of what triggered your response, where that response came from and whether it’s still a relevant response today.
Be loving, kind and gentle with yourself as you go on this exploration – you are learning and you’re bound to screw up sometimes, more likely often!
Wrap yourself up in the pure love of the Mother archetype, that pure acceptance that you are perfect just as you are and that in time you will grow and develop – it’s all OK.
Some days you will be totally empowered, non-reactive and fully connected to your future self. Other days you’ll bounce right back into your old reactions, have a tantrum, a meltdown or have a 24 hour binge-watch, binge-eating session to hide away from the discomfort you are feeling.
When you do the latter, treat it as a gift because that discomfort and frustration you feel is your future self calling you forwards. You’ve not failed, or ruined it all, you’ve just had a set-back but your future self is still there, waving at you and encouraging you to ick yourself up and try again. Be compassionate with yourself.
She’s there waiting for you, you just have to show up every day in every way you can.
One of the most profound things I learned when I studied to become a One of Many ™ certified coach was the world is your mirror, although it took a little longer to become aware of the nuances that came with that.
I understood the concept that what you expect to see you will see, and what you expect to experience you will experience, and that literally creates your life. I understood that if something happens to you it’s showing you something you’re not happy with about yourself or life.
But what about when people are unexpectedly mean to you? I wasn’t expecting that nor am I mean – so WTF????
I began to realise that the world being your mirror isn’t always (or only) about the world reflecting back what you don’t like about yourself or what you’re expecting. Sometimes it’s about shining the light on something that needs to be released or changed.
That person who was mean to you, what did they actually do? Were they rude, disrespectful, belittling, intimidating?
This could be shining the light to show you there are some ways that you are not being kind to yourself, showing yourself respect, using positive and loving language when you think or talk about yourself or being really hard and unforgiving on yourself.
We can usually see when someone else is being too hard on themselves, beating themselves up for not doing XYZ, or for doing XYZ yet again! But often we don’t see how our actions are playing out for us.
So the next time something happens you’d rather it hadn’t, take a good look in the mirror and see what it’s highlighting for you.
We often measure oour lives by the success we feel we have…but success means different things to each of us and it may mean different things depending on the area of life you feel successful or unsuccessful at.
How is it than one person seems to effortlessly achieve everything they set out to do and some of us feel that we’re floundering around in the sticky mud at the bottom of the pond and can’t seem to get out no matter what we try?
It’s all down to your motivation. Motivation has two directions…towards what you want or away from what you don’t want.
You will be more successful if your motivation is 100% towards what you want. Why?
Let’s look at dieting. If you are motivated away from what you don’t want you may not want to feel fat, over-weight, tired etc and because you’re really feeling all those things right now you have a huge motivation to do something about it. So you change your eating habits and start exercising.
At some point, you realize you don’t feel fat, over-weight or tired and are actually feeling pretty good!! But where’s the motivation?
That extra glass of wine, the slightly bigger portion of chips, that doughnut is OK to have right? You’re doing so well you deserve a treat, and before you know it, you feel fat, over-weight, tired and your motivation from moving away from feeling those things shoots sky-high and you’re on another diet, another exercise regime…until you stop feeling that way.
So what if you flipped it? Stat focusing on what you do want. How your life will be different when you achieve that goal. What will you be able to do then that you can’t do now?
By focusing on moving towards those things, your motivation stays high and you’re much more likely to see success.
We also often look to our significat relationships in order to validate ourselves. We believe that if our spouse/kids/parents are happy and content then we have reached some pinnacle of perfection and all is well in our life! But so often this is hugely damaging to relationships and we find ourselves unheard, unsupported and feeling abandonded by the very people we thought we could reply on.
I’ve had a few relationships over the years, most of them haven’t worked out, but as I grow older I’m realizing why. As children and young adults we are taught a lot of myths about healthy relationships that we take on board as fact because we don’t know any better.
It’s not surprising really because we don’t really talk about relationships and how they really work. We have to fumble along carrying all that we’ve seen, heard and experienced as we were growing up from quite possibly the only reference point we had – our parents relationship.
You can’t just ‘work’ on a relationship and expect it to change; you have to heal it. And you can’t heal it until you heal yourself.
Often we have to deny parts of ourselves in order to gain approval from our parents and that teaches us to betray ourselves in order to be loved.
When we’ve experienced trauma that’s unresolved, we lose connection with ourselves and are unable to voice what we need and have empowering conversations with our loved ones.
But in order to heal, we have to find someone who can hold the mirror up to us and stand with us as we gain the courage to look to the shadow side, as we find the courage to connect to our bodies and learn who we actually are.
If we do not commit to the healing of ourselves, we will never find peace in our relationships. We will constantly find fault (as we do with ourselves), we will judge (as we do with ourselves) and we will place unrealistic expectations on them (as we do with ourselves).
Working on your relationships means working on yourself. And that means looking deep into the shadows, facing what’s there, letting go of blame and shame and guilt and fear and letting go of that conditioning that says ‘Find someone who understands you and loves you unconditionally, someone who will be your other half and complete you, and will deny themselves in order to make you feel comfortable, as you deny yourself to make them feel comfortable’.
If you’re finding your relationships tricky to navigate and want to know what you can do about it, you may be interested in my group coaching programme Claim Your Courageous Life.
For the next few months I’m opening doors to applicants. You can take part and join my founding members in a 4 month deeply supportive coaching experience where you learn to claim space and time for you, connect to the woman you are today and claim the life you actually want.
If this is something you’re interested in, let me know and I’ll send you some info.