The first step in loving ME is knowing ME... and while it sounds crazy that it's possible to not know ourselves, most of us really don't.
Yes, most of us have some idea of who we are. We've taken a personality test at work... we've done some soul searching... we know our astrological sun sign... and we've been working long enough to know our strengths and 'weaknesses', but truly knowing ME beyond the image, the fears and the societal pressures takes more than that. It takes a conscious choice to actually say, "You know what, I am going to get off this crazy treadmill called life, where everyone is running around trying to get to the next job, house, etc. and I am going to find out what I really want from my life... and to do that I need to first understand who I really am!" And it takes help from people who can help you peel away of the layers of images, masks and yuck that aren't you.
I have worked with lots of women to help them find their REAL ME ... I've spent years finding my own REAL ME... and what I can tell you is that knowing ME happens on at least three levels, probably more. But let's start with two:
LEVEL ONE: Who are you NOT? The gremlins or the mean girl in your head.
Before we wake up and live on what I call 'self awareness mode' vs. autopilot, we are driven by our fears, defense patterns and belief systems -- all yucked up stuff that has nothing to do with who we really are, in fact they keep us from the REAL ME. They are the voices in your head that tell you that you can't, the defenses that push people and good situations away, and if you don't know what yours are, they will silently run your life. How do you find them? Check out the Dare #1 below to get started identifying and redeploying your Gremlin Crew.
LEVEL TWO: Who are you NOT? The baggage you were handed but that you don't have to keep carrying.
Obligations, shoulds, musts... all those hard, heavy bags that we pick up from society, relatives and the media. They tell us what we should do, who we should be, how we have to act and they are full of heavy emotions like guilt, self doubt, and overwhelm. But you know what? Yes, we've all been handed these bags along the path of our life, AND no one is making us continue to carry them. We choose to carry them and the are H-E-A-V-Y! So heavy, that they keep us from seeing the real me. Women have been carrying these bags for centuries, so it's no wonder we have things like guilt programmed into our DNA... but we can no longer afford to carry these heavy bags around. How do you start kicking them to the curb (or to the recylcing bin?) Read Dare #2 and get started!
DARES: take one, take two-- what do you have to lose?
Dare #1: Have a Face Off With Your Inner Mean Girl
You know that voice in your head that loves to tell you what you did wrong, what you should have done or how you will never be good enough? Some call it the inner critic. I call her your inner mean girl, and as my friend and host of the Women's Master Series Amy Ahlers says, this girl loves to tell Big Fat Lies! My mean girl is named Mean Patty and she has red pigtails and freckles. What does your mean girl look like? What is her name? What are the lies she tells you? Write that all down. Draw a picture. And then have a Mean Girl Face Off. I want you to literally talk to her and tell her that she needs to knock it off! Give her a new job. Ask her to say the opposite of the mean big lie. And tell her to give you a break!
Dare #2: Give up Guilt.
Guilt is a totally useless emotion - as least as far as we use it as women to beat ourselves up. I dare you to give up guilt... and to do it by stopping the obligations, the shoulds and the could haves. Don't take the guilt from other people - if they try to guilt you, name it and call them on it. If you find yourself wallowing in the guilt, notice how it makes you feel and what it is actually helping you accomplish. And then ask yourself in that moment - what do i WANT to do right now? And then do it.
There is nothing more beautiful or powerful than a woman who truly loves herself!
Causes Christine Arylo Supports
Step Up Women's Network
International Museum of Women