Have you learned anything new about yourself in 2020? If so, I’d love to hear about it! As for me, I’m learning more about who my Creator made me to be and what it means to live a fulfilling life. I no longer feel the need to adjust myself to fit the mold of others. That kind of living is a detriment to human flourishing.
I’m finally learning how to love myself the way God does. Part of it has to do with a book I picked up called You Are Enough. It is a 30-day devotional that is trauma-informed. You can read my review of the book here.
In Western/Christian culture, it’s not typically encouraged to pay attention to “the self.” We are taught to “deny thyself, take up the cross and follow Jesus.” But denying the self is more about moving away from pride and leading with a posture of humility.
In that sense, self-denial and self-love can be a both/and and not an either/or. We can follow Jesus’ lead by leaning into both denial or humility and love. Even Jesus said to love your neighbor as you love yourself.
As a Highly Sensitive Person, the message of self-denial was super damaging, even if unintended. I have a strong tendency to fall into criticism already. If self-hatred has been a thing for you too – you are not alone!
In 2020, we could use more kindness. It seems humans are more into proving each other wrong rather than finding common ground. Maybe it has to do with our society’s tendency to fall into “either/or” type-thinking.
There’s something about the nature of slowing down while living with uncertainty that causes us to face any unhealed parts. Showing kindness to “the self” is a great first step toward wholeness.
Our body’s natural response to fear moves us away from thriving and into surviving. I tend to get super tense and freeze up when faced with a threat. My nervous system becomes hyper vigilant and can easily transition into fight mode when fear/anxiety have nowhere to go. We tend to hold it in the body.
Some of us turn to numbing or ignoring a threat by going into flight mode. I do that at times too. People-pleasing is another way to keep myself safe or what some call fawn. It takes practice to set reasonable boundaries and limits by listening to the body.
I have never been good at listening to my body. When I’m hungry or need to use the bathroom, I’m real good at ignoring those signals. I skip meals and hold it. Why? Because I’ve conditioned myself to dismiss the body and allow myself to get wrapped up in what I’m “doing” over caring for my “being.” Perhaps you can relate! I am still learning to take care of myself.
This unsettling season has forced me to pay attention to my body and loosen my grip on what I have no control over like the world for example. And lately, the opinions of others. Relief, for me, is found through movement or being out in nature. Yoga is an excellent way to bring the body back into regulation.
I’ve discovered the importance of deep breathing too. It really helps, but takes a bit of work and isn’t something to quickly check off my list. Slowing down to be present with my Creator used to be hard for me – even just the idea of slowing down period.
I find great comfort in the Divine who is with me ~Emmanuel. If you’ve grown up in the Christian church there’s this thing we call a “quiet time.” I used to add it on my to-do list but now I make room to enter the quiet place instead.
Since my mid 30’s, I’ve been transitioning from “doing” into more of “being” and it’s so freeing. No more earning. No more striving. No more achieving. But simply just being. I hope you find time over the holidays to do just that.