How to ACCEPT all of Your Self: Part 1 of 6
Congratulations you have made it to Step 2 of the Dare to Ask Journey. Step 1 saw you removing some of your masks from your conscious mind, as you questioned your beliefs around your stories. Shifting one’s consciousness is painful as we have to let go of our “known” identity and reintegrate the parts of ourselves that we have either ignored, forgotten or repressed. This can leave one feeling raw and exposed.
The unhealthy ego does not like change, so it has a sneaky accomplice called “The Inner Critic” which tries to drive you back to the status quo of chaos with negative thoughts. These negative thoughts about ourselves and/or others cause us pain.
A reminder: The Dare to Ask journey is an integrated healing journey with your spirit, as you learn to see, accept and love yourself. A simple definition of the word heal is, to make whole or healthy. I emphasis the word whole as you have embarked on a conscious process of integrating your “Whole Spirit”, by bringing the spirit of who you are into awareness of your WHOLE Being of MIND, BODY and SOUL.
The aim: To flourish as an adult in your individual expression.
In Step 2 you will learn how to witness yourself in courageous practices through the topics of PAIN, ACCEPTANCE and TRUTH.
Let’s take a quick look at what Step 2 of the journey entails, as well as a quick reminder of what you covered in Step 1.
The Dare to Ask Journey
An easy 4 step process to help you (re) connect with your Whole Being: Mind, Body and Soul.
How to SEE your hidden Self
Questioning and understanding your BELIEFS
1 and 2
3 and 4
5 and 6
How to ACCEPT all of your Self
Questioning and understanding your THOUGHTS
7 and 8
9 and 10
11 and 12
For a detailed map of the entire Dare to Ask journey you can download this free PDF.
So how do we process the pain that is real for each of us or even know if we are hiding or denying it?
Well you will start by recognizing your Inner Critic. To do this you will need to examine your thoughts and learn to witness your Inner Critic. You will then learn how to silence it.
The topic of PAIN is almost as difficult as forgiveness because it too challenges our ways of being. We are continually encouraged to hide our pain, thereby hiding our truth.
Here’s a quick scenario:
A young child stubs their toe and begins to cry. Often, within seconds, the child hears, “don’t cry darling, it’s okay,” and thus immediately is encouraged to abandon the spirit of their feelings.
Think of how many times you’ve heard the same thing, or have said something similar to your own child. Not only are we fearful of expressing our own pain, we are also fearful of witnessing or being present with the pain of another. Think of how many times you’ve encouraged a friend not to cry over a broken relationship, saying that the other person is not worthy of their tears. Or, think of when you’ve told a friend or colleague not to show their feelings during a confrontation.
But our pain is real and when we deny or suppress it we are ignoring the voice of our spirit, our authentic Self.
When we acknowledge, expose and mourn our individual pain, we process, transform and grow. When denying or suppressing this real pain we stagnate, regress or get stuck.
Consider this as an option. Your child stubs their toe and begins to cry. You sweep your child into your arms, look deep into their eyes (the soul) and say, “Honey, I know that is sore. Allow your tears to flow until they are done, breathe deeply and know that I am present with you until it is over.”
We comfort the spirit of the whole child (mind, body and soul) and the child’s integrated Self has started a practice to trust its felt senses, through the BODY.
Voila, FREEDOM of the spirit.
Most of us abandoned this trust in our authentic felt senses at a very young age and have created negative thoughts or limiting beliefs that support the suppression of this pain. If this is true for you, then you are in the right place as Step 2 of the Dare to Ask Journey is all about creating practices to reactivate these parts of your own truth so that you too can access FREEDOM with your SPIRIT.
Without even realizing it we are constantly encouraging one another and ourselves, to wear masks of false bravado. When wearing a mask, we abandon our courage to trust our felt senses and without conscious awareness, we embody a practice of abandoning our true selves.
Our masks are our ego projections and not our truth. It is no wonder our world is filled with adults that are in ego wars with each other, bringing conflict into the world, countries, marriages, and with ourselves and even strangers. This toxic behavior gives voice to our inner critic and inner defender allowing it to play havoc with our spirit and remain hidden in our shadow with blame, guilt and shame.
This suppressed pain is then embedded in your BODY, backed by an unhealthy belief system which encourages you not to expose and mourn your authentic feelings. By hiding our pain in the body, we develop coping mechanisms and ways of being. More often than not our inner critic takes us down a path of unhealthy behaviors (such as overindulging in alcohol, food, social media, television, or under-eating, over-exercising), unhealthy thoughts (e.g. negative judgements of self or others) and unhealthy spoken words (e.g. inappropriate anger, traffic rage) in order to numb ourselves from our true feelings. Stuck in these dark places we cannot even see the havoc we add to an already chaotic world.
In these ways of being we are asleep (unconscious), and as much as we suppress our pain, so too we suppress our capacity for joy. Even when we do experience moments of happiness, it tends to be in a reactionary way. We hold others responsible for being able to ‘make us happy’, while blaming circumstances or accusing others when things don’t go our way. This negative “reactionary” narrative leads us down a spiral of confusion.
Later in life we don’t understand parts of ourselves, fall into depression, develop physiological illnesses like heart disease, arthritis, cancer, chronic fatigue etc. This in turn can trap us into a vicious cycle of suppressing our truth which often leads to denial and deeper depression. Or, if we allow it, it can have the surprising capacity to liberate us into an awakened state. If we can stay awake we get to see, acknowledge and accept the gift of this decline and stop the cycle of reoccurrence. (If you are curious to read further, you can start by reading “Why do people get ill?” by Darian Leader and David Corfield).
Don’t get me wrong, as human beings (mind, body and soul) we are incredibly brave, but when we live from spirit as an integrated being with our mind, body and soul all awake, we can access true courage to overcome ourselves, perform miracles and live with love for “what is” in a state of joy. On a personal note I recently cured myself from an abnormal cyst on my ovary through meditation and prayer. I of course have an amazing gynecologist who not only had faith in me and all that is greater than me, but in himself to give me the space. I will share this story with you in my next blog.
So let’s start the process of making peace with ourselves by accessing the courage of our spirit to examine our thoughts and notice which of our thoughts are built on love and which are the negative voice of our inner critic.
In Step 2 you will be deepening your awareness of self with self-observation and self-reflection practices with your felt senses. You will be moving out of the story in your mind and start exploring the felt senses of your story as you learn to observe / witness your thoughts and notice where pain and/or joy are present for you.
In deepening your practices, you will begin to recognize and accept that thoughts can appear from nowhere.
In exercise 7 you will be developing your awareness as you practice the art of “witnessing yourself” and in exercise 8 you will start to develop healthy ways to deal with the negative thoughts (inner critic) and the pain that they cause. In exercise 9 to 12 you will access courage for acceptance as you learn to witness your individual pain or joy in your mind, body or soul (your truth, separate from the voices of others).
Exercise 7 – Developing the art of Witnessing Yourself
Intended outcome of this exercise:
- To allow your thoughts to flow authentically.
- To develop the art of witness of Self.
- To open your heart to notice emotions of pain and or joy that arise.
Over the next 2 weeks undertake the exercise below.
Developing your body awareness practice with your thoughts
- Over the next 2 weeks, make 10 minutes available to each day to meditate.
- If you are new to meditation I invite you to download this guided meditation.
- If you already have a well-developed meditation practice, I invite you to undertake 10 to 20 minutes of silent meditation during these two weeks and merely witness your thoughts.
- You will achieve maximum results if you can do this guided meditation first thing in the morning, before you start the day.
- Your progress will not be diminished if you only manage 5 out of 7 days each week.
- Remember this is a practice and some days will flow easier than others.
- If you feel inclined, you can journal about your experience afterwards. Be sure to share from an authentic space with yourself, merely as a witness to what came up during the meditation.
Developing your awareness practices with your feelings
Take time to stop twice each day over the next 2 weeks for 5 minutes. Once late morning and then again either late afternoon or just before you go to bed. (I usually put a reminder on my phone). You can either journal about this or merely make a mental note. (Download your journal pages for exercise 7 here)
During this mini break with yourself go through the following steps.
- First breathe deeply 3 times.
- Now access your courage and ask yourself the following questions:
- How do you feel about yourself in this moment?
- How do you feel about others in this moment? (Be that a boss, colleague, child, partner or anyone else). Ask yourself: Is anyone in particular evoking specific feelings or emotions in me right now?
- What emotion is strongest in this present moment?
- Is it an emotion of joy (a positive sense) or pain (a negative sense)?
- Are you allowing yourself to express these feelings authentically or are you avoiding them?
- Merely notice (witness) your answers to the above question with curiosity. Allow yourself to be yourself, accepting where you are at in this very moment. Notice if you judge yourself or justify the denial or suppression of your emotions. Notice if you are blaming another or an external circumstance for these feelings.
- Lastly close your eyes and once again breathe deeply 3 times, then open your eyes and continue with your day.
Now rest and don’t take yourself too seriously until we meet again in a few weeks for exercise 8, Dealing with the pain of negative thoughts.
In the interim if you have questions on expressing pain truthfully, either submit your question in the comments section below or here (link) or on FB (link). Likewise, if you have a story you would like to share about acceptance of one’s pain, then please do so on the same links above.
I love you all for your courage.
As always, warm love and regards