Self-Discovery Journey: 3 Steps to Get You Started

Right before women came out screaming into this planet, just as we were finalizing our soul’s contract with our John Handcocks, we obliviously glossed over the teeny tiny fine print down on the bottom of the last page that stated: Within your greatest strengths,  lurk your greatest weaknesses. Where you will find success, there will be stress, where you exercise empathy, there may be resentment, and in the very primary source of what makes your heart happy—that will also be your ultimate tear down.

It is a paradox, but I suppose most of life’s truths are. Here are some of my favorites actually:

The more you fail the more you succeed

The more something scares you the more you should do it

The more you learn, the more you realize how little you know

In last week’s blog post I shared how some of our greatest qualities can also be some of our greatest shortcomings. When we are constantly giving from our water fountain of resources but fail to keep up with maintenance, we run out leaving us drained, metaphorically and literally. It is important that we learn and explore how to give back to ourselves, and the precious commodities that we give out.

Contradictory Things

Within success there absolutely is stress. With most jobs, as you continue to promote, you are given more money –and more responsibility. Finding success in the areas where you excel in life feels so damn good. Powerful even. But it definitely comes at a cost. It can create stress in your family life if you are a wife, mother, or both; it can create stress in your personal life if you are a single woman, or it could just straight out create stress for your own well-being. Being successful is putting out effort. It is an exchange. You give to receive.

The same with empathy. Empathy used correctly and it is a powerhouse of energy that really places you in a position of lifting up a community around you. To connect to others. It is an especially effective tool in the workplace environment when running a team and rallying others in working toward a very positive goal. Empathy is an especially important quality when a person is in a caregiver role.

Most women naturally have this ability to turn it on as soon as their empathy radar starts buzzing. However, it is also another energy source that if overly used without replenishment, can turn a natural nurturer into the devil bitch herself.

Empathy turns into resentment. Turns into negative feelings. Anger. Guilt. Which throws you down the rabbit hole of what a terrible person you are for feeling the way that you do and then you just decide you belong in hell.

One of the more difficult contradictory things that I personally struggle with is voicing my needs. In saying I want XYZ because I want it. That right there folks makes me feel like the huggest ass hole EVAAAHHHHH! For example:

  • Hey Honey, I want Saturday for myself. I have some projects Id like to catch up on.
  • Hey Babe? Do you mind if I stay in bed a little longer? I didn’t sleep so well last night.
  • Darling, don’t count on me being home for dinner next Tuesday, I am going to plan a night out with Twila to catch up. Thanks!

But then after I make those statements in my head, Evil Vee pops up and says…

  • Who the fuck do you think you are asking for a Saturday to work on your side projects?
  • Why should you get extra sleep? Parents are ride or die bitch so if he has to get up so do you!
  • No, you can’t go out to dinner and enjoy talking to another woman, alone, and in a nicer atmosphere than in your toy-trashed house. Besides, he will think you rather spend time with other people than with him. I see a divorce coming your way.

(sigh) I mean honestly, for everything that I want, that would soothe my soul and make me feel happy, tears me down internally. I feel like I could better accept doing those things if they were just offered to me, rather than me having to speak up and ask for them. But that’s not how that works.

These types of contradictory things ( I like to call them easter eggs in life), once identified, can be very beneficial to women. Life already is hard enough and it ain’t getting any easier. So let’s do what we do best and problem-solve. Let’s revisit that teeny tiny fine print and re-examine our lives. To relieve stress where it is not necessary. To be happy without worry. To master the art of living life.  

3 STEPS TO SELF-DISCOVERY

Without further ado below I give you the three steps to get you started on your self-discovery journey. Why are there three? Who the hell knows? These are just my recommendations for you to get started. They are not systematic. You can try one or all. Each in their own practice is an invitation to transformation.

STEP 1: MEASURE YOURSELF

So you’re finally in a place where you admit something is wrong. You just aren’t happy. You have the job, you have the home life you want –you have all the things that a person in your station should be happy about -yet you’re not. And that can feel alarming!  

It is very easy to simply detect when you are feeling unhappy. Feeling like something is wrong. It’s not so easy to connect the dots or actually pinpoint the why.

Just as having different measuring techniques to track progress when it comes to weight loss and gains can be beneficial, so are measuring techniques and tactics when it comes to your well-being.

The Strategy

Alex Banyan, national bestseller of “The Third Door”, has shared a strategy for helping those of us that are burnt out and even questioning our career paths since the pandemic. He calls this a tool for rediscovering our calling and pursuing things that light us up. It’s a 30 Day Challenge to help you find the next chapter in your life.   

Through my own journey following his 30-day challenge, it has magnified more than anything, the areas that drain me. Which helps in making direct changes since I can obviously see what the problem is.

To execute this challenge thoroughly see his article for the full details. For the purpose of this post I will run through the gist:

For 29 days, you are going to ask yourself three questions. I’d say do it at night. Give yourself 15 minutes and answer each question in a paragraph. Use an empty (preferably new) notebook for this so only this is in your book.

Ask yourself and journal

1.What has filled me with enthusiasm today? (NOT happiness, enthusiasm. What got you pumped)

2. What drained me of my energy today?

3. What did I learn about myself today?

On day 30, you are going to look over all your answers from the month as if youre studying yourself and about to assess the person you are reading about. Then you will answer these three questions with a one-sentence headliner.

  1. What filled this chick with enthusiasm this month?
  2. What drained her of her energy this month?
  3. What did she learn about herself this month?

You are either going to find a theme in what’s drained you letting you see – ahhhh shit, that has got to change. Or you may find that you didn’t have a lot of days filled with answers for enthusiasm meaning you aren’t giving yourself any joy.

Let this challenge be the window into your life.

STEP 2:  GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION

If you decided to embark on the 30-day challenge from step one you are now in a position to make some changes in your schedule, your week, or your day. Step 2 is about allowing yourself to speak up for yourself to self-advocate. It is also about forgiving yourself. Let yourself off the hook. They don’t have to be done in order nor do you have to do both. They are, however, more effective when practiced together.

SELF ADVOCATE

You finished your challenge. You see the light. You are surprised. You are impressed. You are ready. Let’s say these are your findings:

  1. What filled me with enthusiasm this month was paddle boarding in the mornings. I only did it 6 times out of 30 days but that’s when I felt enthusiasm the most.
  2. What drained my energy this month? 2 things stood out the most. Phone calls with my brother Jack and my daughter’s exhausting bedtime routine.
  3. What did I learn about myself this month? A couple of things…
    • I don’t offer myself enough enthusiasm as I should
    • I need to set boundaries with how much I allow my brother Jack to come into my space with his negativity AND I need to ask for help in Jill’s bedtime routine
    • Out of 30 days, I was able to fill in what drained me every single day but when it came to enthusiasm or even learning something new about myself It was rare to have a daily answer in that area.

So now you know that you need more days for enthusiasm, you need to tell Jack to bugger off, and you should ask your partner for some help in putting your child to bed. All there’s left to do now is just say it.   Easier said than done, am I right?!

The scenarios of what women may want and need can be a range of things. But the one thing that women hold in common is what they feel right before they voice what they need—and it’s fear.

In our minds, the things that we want can be an inconvenience to another person. And so either we move forward and do the thing we want, guilt-tripping ourselves every step of the way or, we don’t speak up and say it at all, leaving us to suffer silently.

As I have been experimenting with my little project called “Operation Inconvenience: The Wreaking Havoc in the Lives of Others”, I am actually learning quite a few things about myself as well as the people I have relationships with.  In voicing my needs, speaking my truth, and sharing my vulnerability, I have found waaaaaay more times than not, I am met with “sure babe, that’s fine” or the simple “cool, cool, cool”.

Just as I am supportive of my husband’s needs (and I swear men don’t have a problem saying what they need or want at all) he has been supportive of mine.

To self-advocate is not only saying what you want. Its purpose is to also voice what you don’t like, what hurts you, what scares you, and when you feel that a boundary needs to be set. Those may be more complex, definitely more uncomfortable conversations; but, it is in that arena where you truly deep dive to explore and come back up to the surface fully knowing who respects you, and how much you truly respect yourself. Who makes you feel like a shit ass for being vulnerable versus who hugs you the hardest in such an uncomfortable moment.

I have found personally the exercise to self-advocate has allowed me to identify all the weeds in my garden, and I’m plucking them faster than ever at my fine age, leaving me surrounded by some of the best human beings I have ever met. My garden is small, but it’s so damn colorful, and fuck, it makes me happy. There is nothing or no one in my garden who makes me feel bad. And if I do feel bad or doubt, it’s because I caused it myself. This brings us very quickly to the next part of the process…

STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP!

This one is a toughy. It really is. I know it. I tell you not to do it and then I’m beating myself up right now because I do it too. Was I too forward? Did I sound selfish? All the thoughts that go on in our heads, and all of everyone else’s thoughts that we take on –are an energy drainer. It is.

So you didn’t work out today. I know my pants are tighter too but you know what, I am doing the best that I can and so are you. Be kind to yourself. Don’t burden yourself with what others think. Self-advocating is an essential practice for your well-being. It can be scary to tell people things and then worry about what they are thinking so you go down this rabbit hole of how stupid you were to say anything in the first place. No, fuck, and no! Stop.

Those who know you, really do know you and they will stay. For those who turn themselves into victims from problems THEY created, those relationships will just fall away. BONUS!  

Letting things go, not beating yourself up about things you do or say, is another weed-wacker tool. I mean this process is a BOGO. You give yourself kindest by giving yourself a break AND you will also know exactly which relationships were meant to go and which are here to stay. This segways to the third step on your self-discovery journey…

STEP 3) MAKE TIME FOR  FRIENDS

This may seem contradictory (HA!) as I do believe in the importance of finding time for yourself but this truly is another way to discover yourself. You’re probably thinking, “Uhm, wtf! How the hell am I supposed to find time for friends if my 30-day challenge suggested I need to find more freaking time for myself?”

I know, I know… I’ve said those words out loud myself too. But I share this one last because I feel like it’s the most helpful of them all. Not just because laughter is medicine, but because as we chat with our friends, and share and compare our horrid life events for the month, we are exchanging valuable information.

The roman philosopher Seneca said, “while we teach, we learn”.  Have you ever listened to your friend vent, then you offered your piece of advice, and then later that night or perhaps days later something similar happened to you and you were like -OH! Either you now have to take your own advice or you can have a deeper understanding of the position your friend was in.

Making time for friends is another kind of BOGO deal. It’s a 3 for 1 actually. You get to laugh with your person which always feels good, you get comforted in knowing that you’re not the only psycho within the 813 area code, and you get insight into your own world as to how you should handle things with a level of attachment removed.  

 As I give advice, I must accept my own. And when friends are together, a space of new awareness is brought upon. I try to meet with a friend at least once a week and I find myself questioning “should I go, I really have things I need to do”…. But I go. And after my little friend’s date, I am so happy I did because I always come home with a new insight, a new perspective.

And that—is priceless.

The journey of self-discovery, of self-mastery, of knowing yourself, can be long, confusing, and very, very difficult – but it is worth it. Take the steps. Get started.

Love you! Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

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