What if you could just be yourself?
*enter in cheesy 90’s rom-com music*
I know, that’s the pitch line on the front of every [surface level] woman’s magazine. And even at a surface level, we can recognize that all of us, at some point in our lives, will be compared or compare ourselves to somebody else’s story.
Some of us will experience a time in our life where we don’t feel like it’s okay to be us. And if you haven’t experienced this, you probably know someone who has felt this way.
Many of us will feel like we can’t be ourselves because we are afraid of what people will think, what they will say - “my parents will be devastated, or even worse they will be angry.”
Some will fear abandonment, or fear being ostracized by their community.
Others may not feel like it would be safe to be who they are.
Some don’t like who they are and hide.
Most are afraid to fail.
The list goes on and on and on. And, what if we could just be ourselves?
When I started asking myself this question I gained a lot of insight.
When I would lie, not speak up and out...
when I would get angry and respond with defensiveness or aggression...
when I would be hit personally and choose to be offended...
I would ask myself, “What kept you from being yourself?”
The answers to this question began to paint a clear picture:
I am afraid that I am unlovable,
I am afraid of abandonment,
and I am afraid of never being seen as good enough.
Rationally, and in my current state of self-love and grounding, I can read those stories, and I can see them as that - stories. However, in moments where my friend forgets about our coffee date - “I’m unlovable” - or when my boss doesn’t mention anything about the work I’ve done other than what needs to be changed - “I’m not enough”- or when my partner tells me he thinks we argue too much - “I will be abandoned”, I am tempted to react from a place of Story.
But what is our Story? What is our Shadow?
- Story: an individual’s perception and projection of what will happen and what has happened, based on a shadow self.
- Shadow: a story, belief, idea that you have about yourself. A shadow will typically have deep roots, possibly developed in early childhood; however, they can arise in teenage and adulthood too. Like our own physical shadow, these reflections are not always things that we can rid ourselves of. Instead, we can walk alongside our shadows, aware of what it is and where it is so that our shadows do not push us around and dictate who we are, what we do, and who we become. Thus a part of Self Mastery extends to all of our Selves.
I knew I needed to find a sustainable way to be more solid, to feel more confident, and to stop questioning myself.
This is where I uncovered the incredibly empowering shifts of Boundary work. Boundaries have been a significant tool for me in my journey towards Self Mastery (because flipping tables are only funny in GIFS).
- Boundary: a guideline, rule or limit that a person creates to identify safe and permissible ways for other people to behave towards them and how they will respond when someone passes those limits.
Self Mastery: the ability to CHOOSE the tone of your energy in any given moment. Mastery is the ability to OCCUPY an uncomfortable situation with a sense of where you are inside and hold a deep level of COMMAND as to how you behave externally.
Flipping Tables: NOT Self Mastery.
Boundaries help me to respond in a way that is authentic to myself - not my triggered self.
Instead, I am able to be my Mastered Self in presence and groundedness, creating boundaries and upholding them, when responding to individuals who or situations where my boundaries are crossed.
Here lies the work of not taking on other people’s stories, which I commonly refer to as: not taking on other people’s shit! The ability to know your boundaries generally comes from a healthy sense of self-worth or valuing yourself in a way that is not contingent on other people or the feelings they have toward you.
Written Reflection Activity:
Below I have provided some subcategories of boundaries to get you interacting with these areas of your life a little deeper. In your notebook or journal, write down at least ONE boundary that you have for each of the categories below. Take as much time for this as you need, and certainly, feel inspired to spend 20 minutes on each boundary category.
intellectual worth: you are entitled to your own thoughts and opinions, as are others
emotional worth: you are entitled to your own feelings/experience to a given situation, as are others
physical worth: you are entitled to your space, however wide it may be, as are others
social worth: you are entitled to your own friends/approaches to relationship and to pursuing your own social/romantic activities, as are others
spiritual worth: you are entitled to your own spiritual beliefs and perspectives, as are others
Is there a specific category that has come up strongly for you?
Which areas do you have a harder time setting boundaries in?
Which category do you have resistance towards?
Which categories do you feel strong and confident in when setting boundaries?
Are there themes in when you do and do not feel comfortable setting boundaries? For example, do you have a hard time setting boundaries with a specific gender/sex, do you feel confident setting boundaries when you are in a position of power, etc.?
By creating and upholding boundaries, I am teaching people how to love me, see me, respect me, trust me.
Here’s a boundary mantra I wrote for you, you can write it down on a piece of paper and carry it with you, you can put it up on your fridge or bathroom mirror, you can say it to yourself before bed or during a yoga/meditation practice:
“I stand strong in my values and in trust with my truth; I keep myself safe by outlining and upholding my boundaries.”
In my next blog, I’m going to be talking about yoga and how yoga is a great place to begin boundary work and self-integration. Included will be a free yoga sequence that you can turn to for grounding, empowerment, and grace.
AUTHOR: Natasha Allain is an OSYL Igniter and Mirror of Truth, Modern Medium, Healer, Yogi & Intentional Artisan. Her main purpose is to truly see You. She is here to mirror your Gold and hold space for you to reclaim your Spirit! Together, you will journey inwards and foster a stronger communication line between your body, mind, and Spirit.
Find out more about Natasha and her services HERE.