For the past few weeks I’ve been putting my energy out, when it should have gone in. You know what I mean: Instead of tea, I chose Twitter. Instead of tuning into my feelings, I tuned into Real Housewives. I am not alone in my tendency to avoid myself but I may be alone in my tendency to talk to myself about avoiding myself. It goes something like this:
“Seriously, what happened to your quiet nights and creative mornings?”
“I used them to eat frosting and masturbate.”
“Did you enjoy it?”
“Yes, I did, briefly. But then I felt a little empty and sad.”
“Well, you look a little haggard.”
“That wasn’t very nice.”
Sometimes my inner guide is a snarky bitch. But she’s pretty freakin’ legit, so I listen.
I tend to avoid. I avoid doctors, bills, and authority figures. But more than anything, I avoid my true feelings. So it comes as no surprise that the anxiety and fear of feeling whatever I’d feel was enough to have me overschedule myself under the guise of “being a good friend,” “needing to exercise” or “being more productive.” And if you read my last post, you know that most of us can be “productive” while avoiding what we truly need to do, whether the real work is taking action, having a difficult conversation, or being still.
The worst part is that running away from my feelings made me feel a lot less like myself which is pretty ironic since all I wanted was to feel like myself again. So, if you’d like to avoid a full on inner-guide intervention, I recommend the following:
- Set 3 non-negotiables. No matter how you’re feeling (good or bad) what are the 3 things that help you to connect to yourself? Meditation? A walk? A cup of tea? Most of us stop these behaviors when we’re feeling good and then act surprised when we inevitably feel like shit. Why not skip the cycling and just maintain it? Think of it as part of your routine, like brushing your teeth. Yes, I’m assuming basic personal hygiene is a non-negotiable.
- Keep an eye on your energy. How do you actually feel when you’re doing the things you do? How do you feel afterward? Drained or energized? Turns out, I don’t like dating. It’s really tiring. If I had been focused on how it made me feel and not just the fun (and cheese plates), I might have scheduled more alone time and less boy time. If you’re exhausted by something, it’s time to consider whether you should really be doing it.
- Be uniquely you. After clearing out what doesn’t serve you, it’s time to add back in what does. Do something that, on paper, adds nothing to your life. That doesn’t mean binge-watch Breaking Bad on Netflix. It means read a book, spend time in nature, practice the guitar, or anything else that connects you to yourself and not your cell phone. Schedule it in like a date or a colonoscopy. It may sound strange to plan a date with yourself, but if you’ve been running from your inner-guide, your fear will come up with a million reasons why you should spend that time doing something else. Outsmart yourself and prioritize the real you.
And, if all else fails, have an intervention with yourself. Stand up to your fear with love, compassion, and a sense of humor. Forgive yourself for not knowing what you didn’t know before you learned it. And then, grow a pair and give yourself what you truly need.
How do you connect to yourself? Share your tips in the Comments section below!