- "I feel like I need to fight for myself all the time and after "the battle" I feel extremely exhausted."
- "I feel under-valued, overwhelmed, and taken advantage of. I need ways to cope with hard days at work."
- "I want to not allow other people's suffering to affect me for so long, so I can shake it off and move on."
- "I want to learn to cope better and not cry when overwhelmed, and to try to become more self-aware."
I frequently hear from people about the challenges they are experiencing that affect their ability to live a fulfilling and happy life. They share things like this:
Have you ever felt that there must be something holding you back, but you just can’t get to the bottom of what it is?
Like the person who can’t seem to make the progress they want, no matter how hard they try. Or the person who is very knowledgeable, successful and accomplished, but continues to doubt themselves and their abilities.
Then there are people who are so deeply affected by other people’s energy, emotions and opinions, that it affects their confidence, self-esteem and happiness.
It can all be very confusing, as well as frustrating and overwhelming at times.
Even though people think they know themselves quite well, when they begin to go inward and look more closely, it soon becomes very clear that there are emotions and energies affecting them that they had absolutely no idea about.
It’s often a shock for them to discover just how much these emotions and energies have been controlling them.
In this blog post I’ll share examples of how this invisible emotional energy and pain can affect you and hold you back, and what you can do about it.
Defining Emotional Energy and Pain
Everything is energy. Our thoughts are energy, our emotions are energy, and any painful or traumatic experience we have has energy.
When a particular emotion is triggered, you feel it in your body. When you have an unhappy thought, you feel it, and when you have a painful or traumatic experience you feel it energetically in your body, and that energy is stored inside you.
It is in our nature to move away from whatever doesn’t feel good. When it comes to uncomfortable emotions and painful experiences, this can mean that we ignore them, try to push them away or alternatively, we can allow them to overtake us, taking us into a downward spiral of pain and discomfort.
This energy and pain can build up inside you and, even when you think you’ve moved past the situation that created it, it can continue to affect you without you knowing it.
Emotional energy and pain is invisible, but it affects you on a daily basis. When it’s not acknowledged and released, it will create more painful situations and more discomfort.
Why is Understanding Emotional Energy and Pain Important?
When you have awareness and understanding of this energy, it enables you to see just how it impacts you and your ability to accomplish what you want.
Without this awareness, this energy controls you without your knowledge, and you never associate the experiences you’re having and the situations that arise with the emotional energy and pain that is stored within you.
Without this awareness, when things are not working out as you want them to, you’ll find yourself focusing on the wrong things. As you focus on the wrong things, you’ll experience more frustration and anxiety and add more of this energy to what is already there.
Without this understanding we become disconnected from our true selves, constantly looking outside ourselves for answers that we cannot find.
For example, think of the person who is unhappy with their job, so they leave and find a new job, only to discover they are just as unhappy in the new position. This may happen multiple times as they are constantly searching for that ideal position that will bring them happiness and fulfillment, which never comes.
It doesn’t happen because the problem is not the job. Nothing will change until they begin to look at the energy within themselves.
I once worked with someone who was having this exact experience. After a couple of calls he said “I’m just realizing that it’s not the job, it’s me.” He recognized that he would continue to have the same experiences until he looked at himself and how he was creating these situations.
Another client was struggling to grow her business and was frustrated with her husband whom, she felt, was being unsupportive. During one of our early conversations she said “It’s not him is it? It’s me.”
When I work with people it’s always exciting for me when they arrive at this understanding because it means they are ready to change their situation. As long as they continue to believe that the problem is outside of them, nothing can change.
The key lies in being aware of and being willing to acknowledge your emotions. Not only the emotions you are feeling at any given moment, but also the emotional energy and pain that is stored from your past.
Instead of avoiding ‘negative’ emotions, you can learn how to process them. When you do this, they cannot continue to affect you. This article in Psychology Today has some helpful information on the processing of emotions.
Releasing Emotional Energy
The thought of doing this type of inner work is terrifying for some people. They imagine they will have to revisit painful experiences from childhood, or that once they take the lid off these emotions and this pain it will be too much to bear.
But this does not have to be the case. It’s not about going back. I see it more as looking at what’s going on now and how it’s affecting you - then moving forward from there.
I’ll share some of my favorite ways of releasing emotional energy and pain, but before I do that, I want to show you the huge impact and benefit of identifying and releasing this energy by sharing comments from some of the people I’ve worked with, so you can see that it doesn’t have to be terrifying at all:
"Over the past weeks I have seen parts of myself I didn't realize existed and they shook me to my core. My focus has shifted away from trying to figure out my next career move to paying attention to myself. I am relaxing into whatever is to be and not trying to control it.”
"I had a wonderful moment of clarity about fear. I have allowed fear way too much power over me in my life. It doesn't have to be that way. It's so obvious all of a sudden. In trying to sort it out, I realized that there were 5 different things contributing to the fear of this moment.”
“I’m only two lessons in and have experienced the most profound shift. I used to be petrified to take my mind off of financial striving, for fear of not having enough. With your program, I’ve focused on creating ease and peace in my life, and at the same time created a better income than I’ve experienced in years.”
“When I look back on the past 5 weeks I can’t believe how much I have changed. I feel like I have more control, more peace in my life. I’m more accepting of others, I have a better relationship with my brother, not so jealous, more loving relationship. Same with my mom. I feel like I’m releasing a lot of things that I have had inside for a long time.”
“I've learned I am good enough and relearned to trust my judgement, walk away from things that don't feel right instead of doing them because I feel obligated. I've learned to focus on what I need to focus on instead of obsessing over things I felt jealous about. I've regained my self confidence and feel happier."
For these people, and many others, the insights they gained are invaluable and, as you can tell, immediately helped them to feel better and improve their situations.
5 Strategies for Releasing Emotional Energy and Pain
I think the most important thing to remember is that, although there are people who can help you do this, nobody can do it for you.
There are many techniques and strategies that are helpful. I’ll share some of my favorites here:
Process the Emotion - this is my favorite. It has proven to be the most effective for me and I love to help my clients work through emotions by following these steps:
Sometimes insights come right away, sometimes it may be a day or two later, be open to learning what this is about
The more you practice this the easier it will become. Eventually, you’ll be able to do it without needing to close your eyes, and you’ll be able to do it in any situation. It can take just a minute or two to do.
Journaling - this is another very effective way of discovering what energy you’re dealing with and then releasing it. You can write about the situation you’re experiencing, write about what you’re feeling and see if you can uncover any insights. Again, you can ask yourself what it is you need to learn from what’s going on - if you allow yourself to write without thinking too much you will often gain valuable insights.
You can then write something like “I am now willing to release this….” or ask how you can release it and again see what comes to you as you write.
You can also use specific journaling prompts to help you with whatever emotion you are feeling.
Meditation - a guided or focused meditation can help you release difficult emotions. You can meditate on the specific challenge. You can create an affirmation or mantra to focus on while you’re meditating. For example, if you are feeling angry about something, you could focus on an affirmation that says “I am willing to learn what my anger is telling me.”
Instead of trying to push the feeling away or replace it with a positive one, embrace it and see what you can learn from it. If you find it difficult to do by yourself, you can also use a guided meditation that walks you through the process.
Talk it through - sometimes there’s no substitute for talking through what you’re feeling. It’s best if you do this with someone who is trained and has the ability to help you - such as a coach, a therapist or healing practitioner. Although if you have a supportive and understanding friend or colleague who knows how to listen and ask the right questions and who won’t try to ‘fix’ the situation, that can also be helpful.
Sometimes just the act of talking about it brings clarity and helps to release what you’re feeling.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) - If you’re not familiar with this technique, it involves tapping on certain acupressure points while saying certain statements related to the situation. There are many YouTube videos that show you how to do this - I think this one is effective, by Brad Yates
There are also many therapists who specialize in this technique.
When you feel unhappy with your life, when things aren’t working out, or when you continue to repeat the same patterns over and over, recognize that what you think is the problem (the job, the relationship, the situation) is probably not the real problem. You may have emotional energy and pain that is holding you back.
We can become very good at hiding or not dealing with our emotions, but this does not cause them to go away. The energy and pain from your beliefs and your experiences is stored within you and can affect everything you do.
When you properly acknowledge and process your emotions, you can effectively release them and use them to give you greater confidence and strength, so you know you have the ability to handle any situation.
If you’re still not sure whether emotional energy and pain might be holding you back, take this short quiz to bring some clarity.
You can also enroll in a free mini-course that will share with you the Top 10 Reasons Energy Holds You back.
In this short video we explore the invisible emotional energy and pain that holds us back.
This is such an important topic because it holds the key to many of the challenges that you have been facing.
It will help to make sense of some of the things you are experiencing that haven't made sense before.
Want to know if there is invisible emotional energy and pain holding you back? Take the quiz to find out.
Some people know from an early age exactly what they are passionate about and what they want to do with their life. They have a clear sense of purpose and develop a clear vision for who they want to be and what they want to accomplish.
There is often an assumption that this is how it should be for everyone. So if you are not clear on exactly who you are, what you’re passionate about, and what you want to do with your life, you can be left feeling as though there must be something wrong.
In fact, many people struggle with the whole concept of having passions, a purpose and vision, and it can even create anxiety. They say things like:
What's the Difference Between Passion, Purpose and Vision?
Passion - something you enjoy doing so much that you lose track of time when you’re doing it. Perhaps you love reading about it, talking about it, and/or you want to do it any time you can. It can be something big and meaningful - like saving animals or the environment. But you might just as equally be passionate about baking, playing a sport, or doing a jigsaw puzzle.
Purpose - why you want to do something. Why do you enjoy it so much? Why is it so important to you? What is your purpose in doing it. Again, it could be something big - like you want to save the planet, or put an end to the suffering of animals, or it could be that completing a jigsaw gives you a feeling of accomplishment, or baking for your family is a way of showing your love for them.
Vision - your vision for yourself, your life and what you want to accomplish comes from knowing your passions and purpose, and is something that inspires you. Your vision can adapt and change as you grow and change. Again, you may have a big, bold vision that inspires you and is your motivation to get out of bed each morning. Or, your vision could simply be to be the best you can be at what you do, or to live the happiest life you can. When you have a vision you then start to think about HOW to make that vision happen.
How to Connect with What's Important to You
If you don’t already have a clear idea of your passion, purpose and vision, here are some suggestions to help you connect with them in the way that’s right for you.
There’s no doubt that being passionate about something energizes you. When something is very important to you, and you really enjoy it, you feel energized when you think about it, talk about it, or do it.
If you’re still finding it difficult to identify what your passions are, here are some things to think about:
Feeling that you have a purpose and you are living that purpose is also energizing, rather than feeling that you’re just moving through each day with no sense of purpose.
When it comes to purpose, many people struggle to know what this is for them. When you do something with purpose, you do it with determination. When your activities have a purpose, you have an aim or intention in mind. I’m doing this because….
So really, everything you do has a purpose – you have a reason why you’re doing it. The important thing is to know what that ‘why’ is, and to make sure it’s a good fit for you.
For example, I mentioned that I’m passionate about tennis and will play as much as I possibly can. Why do I do it? For me, it’s about so much more than running around and hitting a ball, and getting exercise.
Getting exercise is helpful and important, I also enjoy the social aspect – being on a team and creating friendships with my teammates. But the biggest thing I get out of it, is that it’s a tremendous source of personal growth and improvement for me.
I’m always striving to improve – not just my tennis game, but my physical fitness, and my emotional and mental fitness as well. I have learned so much about myself, and other people, and handling conflict and difficult situations by playing tennis than anything else. How I feel and how I handle things when I’m playing tennis also helps me to make sense of many other things in my life.
So my purpose is much bigger than just the game of tennis.
If you’re thinking – well I have my job, but I’m not passionate about it and my purpose in doing it is so that I can pay my bills, well that’s still a purpose isn’t it? Maybe that’s not the purpose you want and perhaps you would ideally like to find a job that gives you more meaning and fulfillment. Then your job search would have purpose – it wouldn’t be just to find another job, it would be to find a job that is the best fit for you that gives you meaning and fulfillment.
Again, I think we often get stuck thinking that we have to have a big purpose in life – and that’s fine if that’s what you want. But everything you do has a reason behind it – I like to say it’s the energy behind what you’re doing. So if your purpose or the energy behind what you’re doing feels good, then you’ll get much more out of it – and so will everyone else around you.
Having a clear vision of who you are, what you want and where you want to go can give you the energy and motivation you need to get out of bed in the morning.
Many people are so used to simply getting up and getting through each busy day – and focusing on what they have to do and on the needs of the other people in their life, that they’ve completely lost touch with anything that might really fire them up and get them excited. They just don’t know what that is.
Were you ever asked – what is your vision for your life? Or where do you see yourself in the next 5 years – what’s your vision of where you’ll be and what you’ll be doing?
I always hated those questions because I just didn’t know. Having to come up with an answer to that always felt a bit fake to me – and I thought that was just me. But I now know that many people feel the same way.
My experience has been that when you let go of feeling that you need to have a vision, or that your vision for yourself or your life should be a certain way or isn’t big enough, then you open yourself up to more possibilities.
You can’t have a clear vision of anything unless you really know who you are at the deepest levels. The more you commit to self-awareness, the clearer you become on what you want for yourself and your life. But if you try to figure that out before you really know yourself, I think you may struggle.
And I think that’s where people do often struggle and feel stuck, and stay stuck. Because they’re trying to figure out their purpose and vision without really knowing themselves properly.
I think that when it comes to passion, purpose and vision it’s helpful to:
Most of all, take the pressure off, because what if, as the Dalai Lama says: The purpose of our lives is to be happy. Then all you need is know what makes you happy and do that.
What I’ve learned is that when you let go of trying to figure it all out, and instead make a commitment to getting to know and accept who you really are, then your passions, purpose and vision naturally emerge.
If you’re having difficulty knowing what it is that you really want for yourself and your life, a great place to start is to identify what you know you don’t want, and then go from there. It’s a great starting point to help you identify what you do really want.
Most importantly, make the decision to learn as much about yourself as you can. Every person and every situation has something to teach you about yourself. If you’d like to connect with a community of like-minded people who are on the same path, check out my exclusive membership membership program, where you will learn how to Know, Accept and BE Who You Are.
Not everyone feels comfortable when asked about their passion, purpose or vision. For many people it is a cause for confusion, they say things like:
If you've ever felt this way, I hope this video will help you feel better and perhaps gain some clarity when it comes to passion, purpose and/or vision.
Answering Your Questions
This short video answers 4 excellent questions about situations that impact your confidence and self-esteem.
There are questions on:
Confidence and self-esteem are terms that are often talked about together, but there are differences, and I think it’s helpful to understand the difference.
I think most of us experience low levels of both from time to time - some people more than others.
As someone who grew up with extremely low confidence and self-esteem, I know how painful that can be. I also know that you can transform, increasing your confidence and developing healthy self-esteem.
I didn’t used to think it was possible, but, having done it, I now know that it is and it’s something that anyone can accomplish - if they want to! That’s the key - you have to want to.
In this article I’ll share what I have found to be most helpful, what has worked for me and what improves in your life when you are able to change in this way.
What is the Difference and Why Does it Matter?
Confidence is really about how you feel about your abilities, and self-esteem has more to do with how you feel about yourself - it relates to how you see yourself and relates to your sense of self-value and self worth.
Having low self-esteem can definitely have an effect on how confident you feel about something.
Even when you know you can do something, low self-esteem can mean that you don’t feel confident in your ability to carry it out, or that you worry about what people will think when you do.
For example, you can have low self-esteem, but be confident in certain areas of your life. Just like one client I worked with years ago who is a CPA. She is extremely confident in her work, but her low self-esteem allows her family to take advantage of her, causing her to feel extreme anxiety and stress.
Or you can have healthy self-esteem, but not feel confident about your abilities when it comes to certain things. This is often known as imposter syndrome - a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a "fraud".
There are many well-known people and celebrities whom we know to be very successful, who have also admitted to having the experience of imposter syndrome.
Many people also become very good at hiding low self-esteem, and can appear to be very confident.
When I was younger this is exactly what I did. I remember receiving a promotion to work as personal assistant to the assistant director of a company. I was constantly terrified that I was going to mess up and they would find out I didn’t really know what I was doing.
Over time I became friendly with the Director’s personal assistant and one day, several months after I’d been in the job, she shared with me that when I first started she felt intimidated by me because I was so efficient!
I couldn’t believe it. I felt anything but efficient. My low self-esteem caused me to lack confidence in my abilities - but I obviously hid it very well!
Strategies to Improve Confidence and Self-Esteem
Obviously, if you have low confidence and self-esteem, it’s not something that’s going to change overnight.
It’s a gradual process, and it’s something you work on every single day. It takes self-awareness, and a desire to improve. These are the steps that I’ve found to be helpful for me:
Notice - you have to become really good at noticing things like:
Becoming aware of a problem is always the first step to being able to change it.
Part of the problem is that we can become really good at hiding these things or denying them. When you make the decision that you want to change, then you will start to notice more.
Sometimes you won’t become aware of something until after it’s happened. It’s important not to be frustrated with that, because if this is new for you, it will take time for you to become really good at noticing.
Each time you do it, it will become easier and you’ll start to notice more.
Be honest - You must be really honest with yourself, and sometimes that’s uncomfortable.
For example, it took me quite a while to understand and admit to myself that my tendency towards perfectionism and unrealistic expectations was contributing to my feelings of not being good enough.
If I tried something new and it didn’t work right away, then I would feel like a failure. I would feel like there was something wrong with me, and would move on to look for answers elsewhere, instead of giving myself a chance to really learn from what I’d done and tweak it until I saw results. I would just dismiss it as a failure.
Acknowledging this was not comfortable for me at first. But doing so has enabled me to learn and move on. I now recognize whenever this is happening and can stop myself repeating the same unhealthy patterns.
Question everything - I have really learned to use the power of questions to turn things around. Whenever you find that you’re being critical of yourself or doubting yourself, asking questions like these can be transformative:
It doesn’t matter if you don’t have answers to the questions right away. Simply asking them is empowering. Turn a question over in your mind. Write about it. The answers you need will come, as long as you ask the questions.
Talk things through - I think it’s important to have someone on your side who is trustworthy and supportive that you can talk to. You don’t need them to tell you what to do - in fact it’s better if they don’t. Just ask them to listen and let you talk.
Often, just the simple act of reaching out to someone in this way can bring clarity and answers.
This happened for me recently. I was feeling particularly overwhelmed with some things that were going on for me, and could not see a way forward. At first, I tried to sort through it all by myself, but ultimately had to admit that I needed help.
I reached out to a trusted friend and talked things through with her. She asked me a few helpful questions and at the end of the call I had a new sense of clarity that I hadn’t been able to find by myself.
Before, I had no idea how to move forward. After the call, I knew exactly what to do - not because she told me what to do, but because the act of talking it through with someone brought me to the clarity I needed.
It’s important to recognize that not everybody is capable of fulfilling this role for you. So, if you talk to your partner, or friend, or family member, and don’t receive the kind of help and support you need, don’t be upset with them. Perhaps they are not able to give you what you need.
You’re not looking for someone to ‘fix’ things for you (tempting as that might be). You’re simply looking for someone who can listen, perhaps ask questions, and simply be there to support and encourage you. That may be a friend, or a colleague, or a coach or mentor. Know who that person is for you and don’t be afraid to ask them whenever you need help.
The more you do this, the more your confidence will grow, as you see that you do have what it takes to move through any challenge. Each time you will feel better about yourself as you gain the clarity you need.
Monitor your thoughts - Often people think this means that you should always think positive thoughts and never think negative ones. That’s not helpful at all.
These are important clues that tell you the belief of “I’m not good enough” is active.
Instead of trying to force yourself to change these thoughts into positive ones, instead, try asking yourself some of the questions mentioned above.
Another approach I’ve used with great success is to use “what if” questions to help you, like this:
I have found that using ‘what if’ in this way can help to calm the mind down and focus it on more helpful thoughts. It’s not about denying any negative or unhelpful thoughts - it’s about using them as stepping stones to your success, which will help you increase your sense of worth and confidence.
Celebrate your progress - Sometimes it’s difficult to see progress, because it can be subtle. So there’s a tendency to think you’re not making any.
This often happens with clients and it’s not until we take a look back to see where they were, how they felt, and what was going on when we first started working together that they realize they’ve made significant progress.
You can support yourself through this process by celebrating every single win. For example, you can give yourself a pat on the back:
These are all causes for celebration and will help you feel better about yourself.
Accept your uniqueness - Any time you compare yourself to other people you are setting yourself up for the experience of not feeling good enough.
We often put pressure on ourselves because we see what other people are doing and wonder why things don’t happen in the same way for us. Or we think we want to be like someone else, or we’re told we should be more like someone else or do things in the same way.
The truth is that you are unique. So am I. Instead of trying to be like someone else, or do things in the same way - find YOUR way. Be the best YOU that you can be.
When you can fully, completely and unapologetically be yourself, this is where you can experience true happiness, success and fulfillment by increasing confidence and self-esteem.
Trust yourself - If there’s one piece of advice I wish I could have given to my younger self it’s this.
My low levels of confidence and self-esteem caused me to put my trust in others, instead of trusting myself.
Have you ever done something that someone else wanted you to do, even though it didn’t feel right to you at all? But you did it because you thought they must be right?
Has this ever worked out for you?
I’ve done this many times in the past, and each time I paid a high price for it. I remember clearly the last time I did this. I had been working with a group of people on a particular project with the understanding that I was only helping to get things started. Once it was ready, I would leave, because I had other things I wanted to do.
However, when the time came, even though I knew it was not right for me, I let the others persuade me to stay. I told myself it wouldn’t be for long - but it ended up being about 4 years, and I was miserable.
I finally learned my lesson from that experience. I trust myself and if something doesn’t feel right for me, then I don’t do it. I don’t ever want to put myself in that position again. It was soul destroying.
Learn to trust yourself - talk things through with others, listen to advice from others, but ultimately, check in with yourself to see what feels right to you and trust it.
Your inner guidance is priceless, and it can take time to learn to trust it, but you can start right now.
3 Things to Keep in Mind
According to the Mayo Clinic, “When you have healthy self-esteem, you feel good about yourself and see yourself as deserving the respect of others. When you have low self-esteem, you put little value on your opinions and ideas.”
I think that’s a really good description. It stands to reason also that when you have healthy self-esteem, your confidence increases too.
If your self-esteem is low right now, it may seem like an overwhelming task to change that. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. All you have to do is make a start and each little thing you do will bring added momentum.
There are many reasons why you’ll want to - here are just a few:
There’s no time like the present to get started!
For more information on how to be who you really are, request a free guide: 10 Steps to Be Who YOU Are.
People can often appear to be confident, especially when they are very knowledgeable. But no matter how much knowledge, skills and talents you have, or gain, that won’t help you feel better about yourself if you have the deep-seated belief that you’re not good enough.
In this short video you'll learn:
When someone asks you to describe yourself, you probably do what most of us do - talk about what you do - the roles that you carry out everyday. Such as, “I’m a wife, sister, daughter, teacher, accountant, counselor,” and so on.
But who are you beyond that?
Roles are things that can change - you might get divorced, so you’re no longer a wife; you might lose or change jobs, so you’re no longer a teacher or accountant. Who are you then?
When you know who you are outside of the roles that you carry out, you understand that it doesn’t matter what you ‘do,’ because you bring who you are to anything that you do and if what you do goes away it doesn’t matter, because you can easily apply yourself to something else.
However, many of us don’t really know who we are, and when you don’t then you’re likely to experience greater struggle because you will become more identified with what you do and with other people’s expectations for you, and think that’s who you are.
In this post I’ll discuss:
Knowing Yourself, and Why it Matters
Some people have a strong sense of their personality, gifts and abilities and what's most important to them from a very early age. They know who they are and what they want to accomplish. For example:
I’ve worked with many people who, like me, never had such a strong sense of self. When you look at people who have always known themselves that well, it’s easy to feel that there must be something wrong with you if you don’t. That’s certainly how I felt for a large part of my life.
When you don’t have a strong sense of self, it’s difficult to accept yourself, so I became a people-pleaser, doing everything I was asked in the hopes of gaining acceptance and approval from others. If someone had a problem, I felt it was my job to fix it.
I took on other people’s problems, and other people’s pain because I thought it was up to me to make things better for others.
I held myself back. I never spoke up for myself, and I let people dump all their problems onto me - at work and at home - because I thought it was my responsibility to make them happy with me.
I thought I was the only one who felt like this, but I have since discovered that there are many of us, looking for approval and acceptance from others because we cannot give it to ourselves. We cannot give it to ourselves when we don’t know who we really are, so we turn into a version of ourselves that is formed by the needs and expectations of others.
The Problem with Not Knowing Who You Are
I could go on.
You may be wondering what these things have to do with knowing, and being who you are. They may seem like random, external things to you, but they are not. They are all connected, because when you don’t know who you really are, you:
This also leads you to have no idea what it is that you really want, so you find yourself in jobs that are unfulfilling, or working so hard that you become exhausted and overwhelmed. You have no passion for what you do so you feel under-valued and unfulfilled.
You have no sense of why you’re here and what your true gifts and passions are, often you even wonder if you have any, or if you just got the short end of the stick. So you feel lost and drift from one thing to another without any sense of where you’re going or why. Until you wake up one day wondering how you arrived here and may even feel there’s no hope.
You find yourself fitting into other people’s agendas, so you’re always last on the list. Other people’s needs come before your own. You somehow feel responsible for others’ pain and insecurities. So you end up doing things that feel meaningless and unfulfilling to you, yet you don’t know how to stop the cycle.
What Changes as You Learn Who You Really Are?
As you begin to learn more about yourself, the next step is acceptance.
(Image by Gerd Altman, Pixabay)
You might discover something about yourself and wish that you were different. For example, I hear from many people who have discovered that they have the trait of being highly sensitive, as I do. This brings with it many challenges, but also many benefits.
When you focus only on the challenges associated with the trait it will cause you to try to ‘shut off’ your sensitivity, and deny it, because you want to fit in. When you resist it in this way, you will only experience more challenges. When you are able to accept it, then you learn how to deal with the challenges and benefit from the best aspects of the trait.
Truly knowing, accepting and connecting with who you really are is liberating. You begin to accept that you’re not like everyone else and that’s how it’s supposed to be.
How to Be Yourself
The first and most important thing to recognize is that this is a process, and it is unique for everyone. When you’ve been used to living as an inauthentic version of yourself that is not going to change overnight. So promise to be gentle and patient with yourself.
It’s really a process of unlearning - of letting go of who you thought you were, and in the process, discovering who you really are.
For example, as someone who used to be a chronic people-pleaser, I thought that’s who I was. I have since learned that I’m actually a really good people-challenger. If someone treats me badly now, I will call them on it right away - whereas I used to just accept it. If someone lies to me, I will let them know that I know, instead of being afraid to say something as I used to be in the past.
(Image by Ladyritzn, Pixabay)
Here are steps you can take to begin the process:
Get used to asking yourself questions
Whenever something doesn’t feel good or you’re not sure about something, you can ask questions like:
Is this really true for me?
Is this what I really want to be doing?
What’s the most loving thing I can do for myself in this situation?
What is it that I really want?
Asking questions in this way puts your energy, your focus and attention on finding what’s true and right for you. Don’t worry if you don’t have answers to the questions right away. Get used to asking yourself questions like this and answers will come to you and your truth will begin to emerge.
Learn from everything and everyone
Pay attention when someone says something they really like about you, don’t just dismiss it. For example, if someone says “you’re a really good listener,” and you find that people often come to you with their problems, then own the fact that you have this ability. Not everyone does.
In particular, be willing to learn from the difficult people and situations you encounter. Instead of resisting them, or talking about how unfair they are, ask yourself what you can learn from that person or situation. This is one of my favorite strategies, because you learn that every difficult encounter is an opportunity to learn something about yourself. Once you learn what it is that you need to learn, then you won’t need that difficult person or situation any more.
Get used to treating yourself well. The better you treat yourself, the better you feel, and the better you feel, the more everyone around you benefits. This is surprisingly difficult for many people, and it used to be for me. I think not treating yourself well goes hand in hand with not knowing who you really are.
Treat yourself with love and kindness - as you would treat anyone else you really cared deeply about. Care for yourself in the same way.
Give Yourself What You Need
Often we get stuck because we’re not getting what we need from those close to us. Your family may not understand you, your spouse may not give you the response you were looking for when you share a challenge with them. You may feel unappreciated and unloved.
Instead of being upset that other people are not giving you what you need, learn to give it to yourself. Appreciate and value yourself, and you’ll find that you receive more appreciation from others. Release your expectations that others should give you what you need. Give it to yourself first, rather than needing it from someone else.
Know What’s Most Important to You
Sometimes people have a hard time with this. If you’re having trouble knowing what you really want and what’s really important, then start by making a list of what you know you don’t want. For example, if you hate the fact that you’re busy all the time and you never have any time to do things that you want to do, then perhaps your time and freedom to do what you want are particularly important to you.
As someone who used to put her own needs last and everyone else’s first, it was a revelation to me to learn that one of the most important things for me is my time and freedom to do what I want without being controlled by others. I no longer tolerate someone wasting my time or trying to tell me what to do.
Start learning about what is really important to you.
Take Care of Your Energy
Make your energy and vitality your number one priority. This means that you learn to set boundaries - saying no to what doesn’t serve you and yes to what does. To be able to do this you must know what is really important to you, as mentioned above.
The more you do this, the easier it is to let go of things that don’t support your energy. This includes people! If someone drains your energy, then why would you want to be around them?
Sometimes you have to be around someone who affects your energy in a negative way. Perhaps it’s a family member or co-worker. If that’s the case, accept who they are, and set the intention that you won’t allow them to take or manipulate your energy in any way. Refuse to let them pull you into their negativity.
As you begin to respond to them differently, they will no longer be able to negatively affect your energy.
Be Willing to Let Go
You will discover that there are things in your life that don’t support you and are not good for you. Be willing to disconnect from them and let go. Perhaps it’s a job or a group that you’ve been part of for a long time, but that doesn’t really serve you.
If you are a highly sensitive person or empath, it’s also highly likely that you take on (often without being aware of it) the energy of others. It could be individuals, or it could be collective energy - such as ancestral energy or global energy.
For example, think about all the emotional and physical pain that’s going on in the world right now - with COVID, fires in the west and storms and flooding in the east. There’s a lot of uncomfortable energy and if you allow yourself to take that on and be hooked into it, you will never be able to make any progress.
Learn to recognize when it is affecting you and be willing to let it go.
7 Tips and Reminders for Becoming Yourself
Are you feeling great about yourself and your life right now? If you are, give yourself a pat on the back and a round of applause because you know who you are and you are living as yourself.
If you don’t feel great about yourself and some aspect of your life, then there’s (inner) work to do. You’ll want to start right away by implementing what I’ve shared in this article.
We’re only here for a limited amount of time - and none of us knows how long that is. Don’t waste another day not knowing and being who you really are. Start the process now.
It’s your choice of course, you don’t have to do this. But do you really want to be repeating the same patterns and be in the same place 1, 3 or 5 years from now?
When you’re ready to commit to being who you really are, connect with others who have made the same commitment. I invite you to join the Know, Accept and BE Who You Are program. It’s a monthly membership program where you’ll learn everything you need to know, and receive the support and guidance you need to really know, accept and finally BE who you really are.
Try it for one month for just $1, if you like it, the price is just $47/month after the first month. You can cancel at any time.
Why is it so difficult for some of us to know, accept and BE who we really are?
That’s the question I’m discussing in this video post, along with thoughts on:
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
One of the things that can hold you back when you’re diligently working to discover and accept who you really are and then BE your true self is external energy - coming from others - that you’re not aware of. Join me at a live online event, as I discuss what energy holds you back with Medical Intuitive, Jacqueline Kane on Wednesday, September 16th at 9:30am Pacific/12:30pm Eastern.
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