Updated: Mar 9, 2020
I haven't posted a new blog post in quite a few weeks now. I was getting myself together. Practicing self-awareness and learning some new lessons so that I could come back with something that reflects the season I'm in instead of just sharing something for the sake of sharing. Thank you for bearing with me. On that note….when is the last time you checked in with yourself????
Over the last 4 years, I have dedicated myself (although not always the most consistently) to doing this inner work to get my mind, body, and spirit all on one accord. One of the hardest parts of that for me has been self-awareness. I remember doing one of Shanel Cooper-Sykes' challenges and she prompted us to ask the people closest to us to tell us what they like about us and what they'd like to see us do more or less of (I'm paraphrasing). I found this to be the hardest part of any challenge I'd ever done. For context, prior to this challenge I had done the following without this much fear or discomfort: written forgiveness letters to people I felt like I hated, written forgiveness letters to myself, gave up tv for weeks at a time, gave up music for weeks at a time, fasted for a certain number of hours per day, cut out all liquids except water for weeks at a time, dedicated a minimum of an hour to prayer each day….the list goes on. These were all major sacrifices but none felt as uncomfortable as asking people to tell me their truth about me. I realized then that I had a major problem with awareness. Before asking them, I decided to ask myself and ya'll…..I dreaded it. I found it so hard to be honest with myself ABOUT MYSELF.
Things I realized about myself when I did this:
I lacked self-awareness
I was overly concerned about the perception other people had about me
I refused to speak up for myself
I found it hard to talk about myself so I deflected all conversation to others
These were hard realizations but since going through that exercise, I have become an advocate for self-awareness. If you are in the Living Single Facebook group (if you aren't you should be) then you are familiar with the weekly check-ins that we do. On Monday we check in by dropping a word, GIF, or emoji that signifies our mood for that day. I don't do this just to get high engagement or to have something to post. I do this as an easy exercise in self-awareness.
If you really ask yourself every morning "How do I feel today?" 2 things will happen:
1. You teach yourself that you are important. Taking that moment to care about your own feelings validates them. When we push our own feelings and thoughts aside we are teaching ourselves that we are unimportant.
2. You will automatically begin to unpack it. If I ask myself how I feel right now and the answer is "tired", without prompting, I automatically begin to assess why I'm feeling that way. Am I physically tired or mentally tired? Did I get enough sleep? When is the last time I prayed? Yesterday I ate really heavy foods…could that be it? Did I have caffeine today? When did I hit the gym last? I can then resolve that negative feeling or mood. I can take a few minutes to pray, grab some tea, eat a light breakfast, go for a walk or whatever I need to do.
Questions to ask yourself right now:
How often do I check in with myself?
I suggest checking in with yourself first thing in the morning and again before bed. My mother bought me a journal last Christmas called Wholeness x Priorities (click the name for the link) and it has daily space for you to check in with yourself in the morning and again at night. It is an awesome way to document your check ins with yourself.
Am I honest with myself?
You know how when people ask "How are you today?" and you automatically go with "I'm good. How are you?" or some variation of it? Don't do that with yourself. Tell yourself the truth. You deserve the truth.