Daily Masks: Self Image
“People may call what happens at midlife a ‘crisis’, but it’s not. It’s an unraveling – a time when you feel a desperate pull to live the life you wanted to live, not the one you are “supposed” to live….to let go of who you think you are supposed to be and embrace you really are.” Brené Brown
When I was little I had knee problems from a rock climbing “accident” when I was twelve years old. I will use the word ‘accident’ loosely since it was not as dramatic as that word sounds. My knee went into the rock instead of my foot while repelling down a straight face. Ten surgeries later I have a metal knee and my dream of becoming my own version of Alex Honnold (https://films.nationalgeographic.com/free-solo) was permanently crushed.
Ok, I never wanted to free solo El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. But what happens when a more realistic dream is crushed? What if your identity or self image is grounded in the dream?
It leaves you lost, questioning and highly confused.
But what if your self identity and self image is grounded in your core values? Then the loss of a dream will shake you, but will not impact WHO you are. It may change WHAT you do, but not who you are at the core.
I have been asked many times, why people choose to change their behaviors, their relationships or their lives. What brings them to that point? What forces someone to knowingly walk through pain voluntarily?
The answer is different for everyone. But at the end of the day it boils down to being less overwhelmed with the process of healing than being overwhelmed at remaining stuck. The fear of being stuck is a powerful motivator for most people to make some significant changes in their lives.
One day you look in the mirror and do not like what you see. One day you wake up and wonder how you got where you are. Not what you wanted, not what you dreamed, definitely not what you expected. Now what?
Now you rebuild and create the version of you that you want. No more expectations, no more people pleasing, no more “shoulds”. Just what makes you thrive at the core.
Million dollar question: How do I do that Melissa?
One step at a time. First step is figuring out what your values are, which we did last week. Next step is to accept the good, bad & ugly of who you are. We started that in week two of this blog series and you are actively working on that. I recommend you have a one month social media “fast” so you can focus on you. Learning to be alone with your thoughts without any outside comparison games is an excellent way of creating your ideal self.
It will take learning how to say NO. Finding a way to practice self care instead of taking care of everyone else. Being able to recognize how you talk to yourself (come back in October for a blog series on Harsh Words!) and being able to alter negative thoughts in the moment. Understanding what your strengths are and what areas that you need to embrace with grace. Being able to be mindful and aware of what you need in this moment of your life. Not tomorrow or next year. Today.
My life was perfectly planned when I was 25 years old. Married: check. Bought a house: check. Had a Master’s Degree and a job: check, check. Knew who I was? Absolutely not. However, I thought I did. I thought I had it all put together.
Then reality hit, life happened and here I am. Choosing daily to either pick up the pretty glitter mask that looks sparkly and happy to those on the outside or choosing the white blank slate that allows my true self to shine through.
Some days I lose that battle, probably more than I want to admit. But as long as I pick the blank mask the next day I will consider it a win.
Most times we struggle to choose the blank slate because despite knowing our core values, despite being able to identify the good, bad & ugly – playing pretend of who we WANT to be is more of a draw than embracing who we are with grace & acceptance.
But that is for next month’s series: Let’s Play Pretend
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As I have stated all month, being known for who you uniquely are at the core is a freeing experience. One that will take bravery and vulnerability, but one that can be achieved.
Always remember to take care of you. You are worth it!