It was an amazing and interesting summer for me – it feels like it was an age away now! A friend came to visit and we spent just under two weeks travelling around France. It was really wonderful and we had so much fun but at the same time we seemed to be undergoing a spiritual journey or awakening together. I had so many realisations about myself rise to the surface about ways of being that no longer served me and that I knew I wanted to change.
After sadly saying goodbye to my friend I underwent a period of retreating and being internal. I just felt the need to focus on myself and my own needs and I knew that being around people would be distracting for me. I came to realise that throughout my life I had been expending most of my energy on others and meeting their needs in one way or another and keeping very little for myself until the point where I was exhausted. It was a pattern I had learned early in life where making others happy equalled approval and acceptance. It meant that I wouldn’t need to worry about being alone.
By chance I came by some information that suggested spending 80% of one’s time on oneself. For the remaining 20% the advice was to either choose to keep it for oneself or spending the rest of it outwardly on others. I thought I would give it a try and I have to say it was a revelation for me. In the past I would have spent my time worrying whether I was being a good friend, daughter, family member etc. This time however, I was spending time being my own best friend, parent and overall support system. I listened to my fears, worries and stayed with the emotions and feelings that arose within me.
The first time I sat down and really stayed with what was flowing through me, I felt a peace and love that I hadn’t felt in a very long time. I was giving myself what I had been needing (i.e. the attention and space to just truly be me and all that that entailed) and wanting for a long time but had been too ‘busy’ to give the time and space to. In truth, I think I was afraid to see what might come up and possibly the fear of being overwhelmed by it all. It’s a process that I’ve undertaken many times on this path and it still takes me by surprise when I see my reluctance to deal with an issue.
However, as I stayed with it, I was reminded that our feelings just want to be seen and heard and then they move on. Usually with the so called ‘positive’ emotions we are happy to experience these but with the so called ‘negative’ emotions, we feel less inclined to feel these. We’ve been conditioned to believe in duality that there is good and bad when in reality, our feelings are just feelings. There are none that are good and better than others. If we can just be present, flow with them and let them move on without judgement, we would be able to experience this process more easily.
We’ve also been conditioned to believe that we need others to love and approve of us which perpetuates the cycle of people pleasing. We focus our attention outwardly trying to have our needs and desires met by others. The reality however is that the only true opinion that counts is our own and that we love and accept ourselves. No one can do this job for us. If you feel unloved and unhappy, no one can truly make you feel better about yourself but you. It’s time to take back responsibility for ourselves and realise our own power to create happiness within. We really don’t need anyone else.
I had heard for many years that the most important relationship that we will ever have is with ourselves. Overtime, I’ve come to realise how true this is. My relationship with others has only ever been as good as my relationship with myself. Coming into alignment with who I truly am and learning to let go of unnecessary layers of old beliefs and behaviours has meant that I have attracted more people like that into my life. I no longer tolerate relationships that are not based on honesty, truth and respect because they don’t serve me. The more we evolve in our love and acceptance of ourselves, the clearer we are on what is acceptable and good for us and consequently our relationships with others will reflect this. However, if we resist looking at our story, our feelings, our beliefs then our outer world can only mirror this back to us. For example, if we don’t feel good enough and deserving of a good life, we’ll attract experiences that affirm this as it remains an unconscious belief and pattern.
My experience in retreat has been wonderful and enlightening and helped me to spend my energy more consciously and wisely with love of myself at the forefront rather than fear of being rejected. It’s an ongoing journey that requires time and attention but will keep me moving towards what is right for me on this path.
If you feel ready for change and to create better relationships around you, then start building that relationship with yourself now.
• It doesn’t have to take a lot of time and I understand that it can be difficult to carve out time when there are so many distractions around. However, applications like Facebook and Instagram can eat up hours of your time without necessarily adding much to your life. Don’t you deserve to spend quality time on yourself? Rest assured this will reward you many more times than social media will;
• Take the time to really listen and hear your feelings and thoughts and to feel into how these might feel in your body. I know it can be challenging to face up to our shadows – areas that may have caused us pain in the past. However, keeping them in the dark will only mean that you operate unconsciously from them. By bringing light to them, it may initially feel uncomfortable but you then have the choice to make decisions that are in alignment with the life that you really want;
• Check-in with how you feel when you are around certain people. Do they give you energy or do you feel drained when you spend time with them? Your body is intelligent so it’s important to listen to the clues that it is giving you. If you don’t feel good with someone ask yourself why you’re choosing to spend time with them. There will probably be a need that you’re seeking from them that it would be better if you fulfilled yourself e.g. feeling lonely
• If you feel triggered by people around you, ask yourself why? What is the experience teaching you about yourself? See them as a mirror of your own unconscious beliefs or behaviour patterns. It could also be that they are revealing a shadow aspect of yourself, one that you perhaps do not believe exists within you. Loving yourself (and others) means loving all aspects of yourself not just the parts that you think are ‘acceptable’.
If you’re in the northern hemisphere, this is the perfect time for retreat and if you’re in the southern hemisphere, then try to make some time for yourself in between your activities. Taking time to love yourself is truly a gift to yourself and others around you.