Do you know your inner self — the TRUE you or are you a conglomeration of the roles that define you? When people ask you about yourself do you answer by the roles you play, “wife, husband, mother, father, your career (whatever TITLE THAT may be), daughter, son, friend, etc. etc.? Do you welcome distractions like TV, constant texting or cell phone use or do you relish the time when you can sit in quiet contemplation of life? Getting to know your inner self is the first step toward healing whatever is wrong in your life. By figuring out what it is we truly believe about life, the roles we play and about our place in the whole big scheme of things we empower ourselves. By examining the roles, quieting ourselves and listening to our self talk we can heal and address some past habits, set boundaries and move forward to being a happier and healthier person.
The Roles We Play
I love Eckhart Tolle’s work on “roles” in “A New Earth”. I feel it is so important for us to look beyond the roles others have given us and we have assigned to ourselves. Yes, I AM a wife, mom, daughter, friend, “blogger” and more but that does not define the true inner Jenny. When we think “role” we also assume a whole lot of other things with that role. When we DEFINE that role according to past messages we are setting ourselves up to be judged by ourselves and others. In examining each role by looking at the objective reality, understanding how the subjective definition of that role affects us and then going inward — we can REALLY figure out what the differences are and set boundaries. We are admitting we are MUCH more than that role. We can play many “roles” in our lives but they do not define WHO we are, in recognizing that and setting boundaries we empower ourselves and KNOW more of who we want to be.
1) Pick a Role and define what you have HEARD about that role: (parent, spouse, worker, friend, ______)
I am a mom. So I think, “How IS a mom supposed to act?” Hmm… well I have been told that mom’s are supposed to ALWAYS put their kids first. I have been told mom’s “do it all” and still have a smile on — laundry, child rearing, working, groceries, cooking, etc….. Those are messages I have heard since I was little from society and the world around me and I know messages I repeated to myself especially as a new mom.
2) What is the Reality of that role?
Children need their parents/mothers for protection, comfort, love, food and shelter. Humans also need time to take care of themselves. It’s the old put “put your Oxygen mask on yourself BEFORE assisting your kids if the airplane is in trouble” example. If you do NOT take care of yourself first you will NOT be able to care for someone else. As long as your children are safe, fed, loved you are doing your job as a mother. Considering WHAT you have to offer FIRST is best for all involved — a reality I had shown to me in The Crystal Labyrinth.
3) How has thinking of the role of “mom” as it is traditionally defined affected me?
If I am ALWAYS putting my children first that does not leave time for me and leaves me depleted and NOT able to BE the best mom I can be. It also leaves me feeling “guilty” that I am not living up to “what a mom should be”. These messages replay themselves and it could become a constant struggle. It WAS a struggle especially as a new mom.
4) What Going inward Accomplishes
This allows me to understand the difference between what I have been told my role is and what it REALLY means to me to be in the role of mother. It lets me know Mom is just ONE of those roles I play but it does not define ME. I KNOW that if I have taken some time for myself to work, meditate or do something I love, I am MUCH more present as a mother and enjoy the role and my children whole heartedly. I need time to self reflect and do things for ME. When I regularly take time for myself (which I have gotten MUCH better at doing) I am completely conscious when interacting with my children. We ALL are better off for it and FEEL it deeply. If I jump to action any time they want something I am telling them 1) they can’t do it themselves 2) their every whim is more important then whatever I may be doing at the time. By going inward I set my boundaries, set my priorities and everyone wins – my children and ME.
You can do this with any “role”. What are your messages about the role of a spouse? What about in work? What about as a friend? Another example I see often is people say “friends are supposed to be there for each other no matter what” but what if the relationship has consistently drained you? Maybe it is time to look within and to set some boundaries. By clearly defining these roles we realize they are just that and NOT the true inner self. We can begin to set boundaries and know what is acceptable to us and what is depleting us. We can use the questions above to see what ANY role truly means to us and how we can embrace the role but yet know we are NOT the role – we are so much more!
Ah the maddening noise of the day — cell phones and the many sounds they make, computers and printers buzzing, mp3 players, traffic and or noise of commuting, then let’s come home and put the TV on to “unwind”. Sigh…. we as humans NEED peace. I know people that fall asleep with the TV on “for company”. Truth is, if we do not take some quiet time for ourselves there is no way we can know our inner selves. Walks, meditation, simply day dreaming… these are healthy activities for us to KNOW who we are. Quiet time is essential in asking ourselves these questions. It does not matter how you accomplish it. Turn off the noise, quiet your mind and begin to ask yourself some of these questions about the roles you play in your life. Do you know the reality of those roles or are you acting them out as you have been told to? Are you on auto-pilot in these roles or are you consciously understanding their place in your life and that you are THAT and so much more?
Self Talk/Listening to Our OWN messages
I have written about this often and not only because it WAS CRITICAL in healing myself but I feel it is something I will always be dealing with in one way or another. We are usually our own worst enemies. We repeat to ourselves the messages we have grown up with like some broken record. In Slade’s latest post “Your Ego is an Awful DJ” – he did a wonderful job of defining those blasted messages in our heads!
When I interviewed James Sinclair, Director of the movie “What If?”, he pointed out that we have recorded messages we have learned up until the age of 6 that we repeat to ourselves when we are on auto pilot. They don’t even have to be what we truly believe. MOST of the time they are words we heard from our parents, neighbors, community. Since we are in such a receptive state in our younger years THOSE are the messages that stick. That is why it is so very important to take that quiet time and ask ourselves what we truly believe about all aspects of our life. Acting against what our inner self truly believes can bring stress and illness. In my post “What Do You Believe?” I wrote included a poem I wrote about how the first chakra correlates with these messages and how illnesses can result if not addressed.
LISTEN to what you are telling yourself about the roles in your life. Consider the things that come up. Yes, when you begin to listen to your self talk utter horror can be felt. I know I felt it when I listened to what I was telling myself about my illnesses and how my life would be. My “role” of a person with lots of chronic dis-ease. Do not beat yourself up for the messages heard — HEARING them is the first step in re-programming them. Ask yourself what the reality is. Ask yourself WHAT you want that role to look like in your life if you are playing it consciously and NOT on auto-pilot. There is power in facing these definitions and correcting them to your inner self and needs.
We all have many roles that we play. We all can keep on doing as we have — letting our auto-pilot run and not knowing if we are in alignment with our inner selves or not. It doesn’t take much time — quiet the world around you, listen to what your self talk tells you about the roles you play, ask yourself if this is in true alignment with what you believe, make adjustments and see how empowered you feel as you align them to reflect the true inner you. As always, comments and sharing is welcome. What roles have you examined and made changes to in your own life?