The past year has included a lot of letting go (divorce; sale of a beloved house in the French countryside; major decluttering to name but three). In addition to all of the material things and the hopes and dreams I have released, the letting go has extended to other things that were a waste of energy:
• unrealistic expectations of myself
• unrealistic expectations of others
• the need to always be busy
• the need to be seen to be busy
• the need to always feel in control
All of this letting go has been so very freeing. It has meant that I allow myself to do things that make me feel good more often and released me from this feeling of always pushing. I have taken more photographs and been more present. I have no idea what the future will hold (who does) and, at times, it feels overwhelming, but my gratitude practice and getting comfortable with not knowing have helped me feel lighter at times of uncertainty.
A few things have been instrumental in this letting go and being kinder to myself:
• Getting help with decluttering
• Having the support of a great mentor
• Tosha Silver’s book Outrageous Openness
• Working with a fabulous therapist
Well, you may be thinking, all of those things cost money. Yes they do! But what I have gained from each one of them has been so much more valuable and given me so much more confidence and self-knowledge, clarity and happiness than saving that money in the bank would ever have done. There is much to be gained from investing in yourself.
Being a single Mum to two boys; working freelance with a fluctuating income and having a fairly serious chocolate habit, I could find a million and one opportunities to beat myself up on a regular basis, but if I am kind to myself, I am a much better Mum.
And that goes for all of our relationships. You cannot serve from an empty vessel… the kinder you are to yourself, the kinder you will be with your children, your partner, your colleagues, your mother; you will have better relationships and deeper connections all round. Showing (rather than just telling) those you love that it is important to take time out, to do things you love and be kind to yourself is a powerful thing. If they see you doing it for yourself, they will recognise the value.
Too many people burn out from overworking and trying to please others rather than themselves. At school, year 6 SATS are soon to start after months of preparation. The pressure for my son and his classmates to work hard, do well, get good grades and keep both the teachers and their parents happy has been immense during week after week of sitting test papers. Some children cope better with this kind of stress than others and when I started to notice a difference in big boy’s behaviour at home as a result of this pressure, I made a conscious effort to take him out to the park more often after school; invite friends over and introduce more fruit as snacks. Whilst I appreciate the importance of helping children with their academic work, I place equal value on their inner wisdom; the constant requests to go out to the park and play football are not for nothing; they know (even if they don’t know they know) that physical activity helps aid concentration, memory and good behaviour, as well as keeping them fit and healthy. As adults, we must reconnect to our inner wisdom once again and trust that little voice that says, “be kinder to yourself”.
What beliefs or expectations are you holding onto that are draining your energy?
What can you do to top up that energy and be kinder to yourself?
Let’s start a conversation in the comments below.
If you need a little help letting go or being kinder to yourself, book yourself in for a mentoring session and start doing more things that make you feel good.