Listening to yourself is not easy in our world FULL of external stimuli, "experts", fads, trends, social media influencers, FOMO...
(Revolution meaning: a forcible overthrow of a social order in favor of a new way.)
And I don’t just mean listening to your thoughts... but *actually* listening to you… hearing your body, your heart, your spirit - if the word ‘spirit’ triggers warning bells associated with religion, think of the definition of spirit as in like ‘school spirit’.. I think most of us have some idea what that means.
So what is *your* spirit? Do you have spirit for YOU?
In order to listen to yourself, we must have a few key things in place…
Awareness that “you” even exist… This may be easier for some than for others. People with a strong identity, personality and sense of self will be quite aware that they exist. However, for people who don’t, this can be the biggest first step. Awareness of the self is crucial for living a truly fulfilling & vital life.
We can get ‘trapped’ in beliefs, ideas, notions, thinking… that causes us to lose our sense of self. And this is extremely prevalent in many self-help, spiritual and philosophical communities. We hear things like “We are all one”, “There is no I”, “Reality isn’t real”, or one of the most narcissistic detrimental notions from philosophy, “I can’t prove you exist, or if you’re just a figment of my mind”.
OF COURSE you exist. OF COURSE everyone around you exists. The planet you walk on. You did NOT create that.
YES, we are all one, ultimately, but we also all do exist as our own individual selves.
To enable a greater sense of self, you must know what you stand for, where your boundaries lie (physical, energetic, emotional etc) and you must assert and embody these. Otherwise we fall into enmeshment, lack of self awareness.
To feel your emotional boundaries is probably one of the most important for our modern society because so many of us grew up without great emotional support or healthy modeling.
A starting point: (which might throw some into mental chaos…) is that NO EMOTION IS WRONG. None. All emotions are welcome. All emotions have important information to convey -
the question is, are you LISTENING?
If you notice a trend that you don’t like to feel sad, or angry, or disgust… then make a practice of actually feeling it FULLY… *warning* you will want to communicate this to anyone close to you in your life because if some emotion has been repressed for a long time, it’s likely to come out quite messy at first.
But, if you have supportive, understanding people in your life, they will understand and not take it personal. And the more space you have to allow the repressed emotion to flow, the faster it will release and process, the sooner you will become a more integrated person.
And the sooner you’ll fully realize, in an embodied way, the powerful gift of each emotion.
What does it mean to be more integrated and why does it matter?
When we are more integrated as a person, essentially it means we are not ignoring, shunning, exiling, repressing, suppressing or otherwise denying any part of our own humanity, of our self. When we are enacting any of these behaviors, it eats up vital energy to live our lives more fully.
Think of it this way... If we are spending a bunch of energy pressing a big inflated beach ball under the water, we don't have much, if any, energy or availability left to actually swim or float in the water.
Suppressing or denying parts of ourselves works in this way.
So the more we simply allow to surface anything that we've been shoving down, the more free energy we have to life our live the way we *actually* want to.
It can be messy. It can be scary. It is extremely liberating.
This matters because you will never be actually happy with your life, unless you start the process of accepting the parts you reject in yourself.
This has been shown time and time again. The cliche example of the CEO who hustled his way to the top, has the perfect model wife he cheats on regularly, sports cars, private jet, 5 houses, millions in the bank... yet is utterly hollow inside because he has never take the time to cultivate a relationship with himself.
Perhaps it was never safe to be himself growing up... perhaps expressing emotion was literally beaten out of him from a young age. Healthy relating wasn't modeled for him - it was rejected, or punished or beaten. So he focused outward and abandoned the parts of himself that he had to, to survive as a child. And this became an ingrained pattern as an adult.
He may have rejected his softness. His tender heart. Compassion. Empathy. Sadness. Fear.
Or take the example of the child who grew up with absent parents. Even when they were physically around, they were still emotionally not-present - either high, fixated on the TV or computer, working or dealing with their own issues, so she learned to grow up very self-sufficient & independent.
She learned from a young age to not bother asking for anything she needed from anyone else - she knew it wouldn't happen anyway. She grew up to be quite accomplished in ways she could be on her own - in school, in sports, in being a single-mom, in being a boss or taking control. Yet when it came to more intimate relationships, she ran away or shut down when emotions got to be 'too much'.
She may have rejected her anger. Needs. Longing. Connection. Vulnerability.
These are extremely simplified examples, but my hope is they paint a somatic picture for exploration within your own body...
Where can you feel any parts within you that you have rejected? Even if it feels scary or unsafe?
Listen to those parts.
They have a tremendous amount of wisdom and knowledge to share about your live you have not yet lived.
If you would like more support in listening to these parts of you, and bringing yourself alive, contact me. I love this work and would be honored to support you.