Growing up, I often felt compromised – it happened when I chose the other (friend, parent, teacher, family etc); the relationship’s or societal demands (perceived or real), over myself. Each time I didn’t stand up for my needs or for my values, something in me was compromised. Of course I never recognised it as such at that time. Each time I “did not find my voice”, the further I drifted away from me; till one day the rubber band was stretched so far out that the only two options were – go back to self or break!
This experience is not unique to me, of this I am quite sure -:)!
All the things we do without wanting to – and so get compromised
The things I refer to are often small things, but big things too. Saying yes, even when your whole being is screaming – “no I can’t eat anymore”! Or, saying no, because it’s the polite thing to do, when you really want nothing more than to say yes! Going along with the herd, even when it goes against the grain, because standing out is far more discomforting. The times when you are told how things are, but they don’t make sense to you; which was a lot of the times you were growing up.
Times when avoiding confrontation like the plague is the only agenda item, because standing out or standing up for who we are and what we believe in, is just not worth the trouble; and, we’re too scared anyway! I often didn’t recognise the fear; I just lived it as part of my life along with so many others around me. Some more and some less fearful, than others in different aspects of our lives.
As you read this, are those moments flashing back to you too?
How do we recognise when we are getting compromised?
We will know we are compromised by the knot in our stomachs, the headaches and sinus pain, the tightness in our shoulders, the pain in our backs, the not okayness of our beings; and as we get older – the dread, the nausea, the blood pressure and the stress we experience.
Our bodies are a fine barometer of the compromises we make, if we but learn to read the signs.
The habit starts in one’s childhood
As children we are rarely, if at all, given the necessary permissions or opportunity to be authentic and whole. To be aligned from the inside out requires a nurturing and mature environment. More often than not, and often with all “good intentions” I might add, the “shoulds”, the “musts” and the “must nots”; the “need tos” and the “have tos” of society at large, coming via the adults into the child’s life, get piled up so high on the child that, the child splits from its essential self in order to survive in this aberrant environment.
How can we be whole again?
The simplest awareness comes through the observation of the natural breathe; breathing deliberately, breathing into different parts of our body. Awareness also comes through observing our minds and our bodies at work; becoming intimate with our internal geography. That is to be able say, what feels okay and what does not, by simply watching ourselves.
The courage to experiment and step out of our comfort zones on a regular basis. To speak up, to honor what feels right, to say no when we mean no and yes when we mean yes.
With loving kindness.
To hold ourselves and others in gentleness and compassion.
For our struggles, our journey; in other words for our process.
With a Tribe.
By belonging-ness to a tribe; a person or people who we feel recognised by; in who’s presence we feel understood, cared for and supported.
With our Voice.
By speaking our truth – softly at first and then louder and more confidently as we become more practiced in the art of selfhood.
By investing our time, effort, money and focus on things that we love doing and by the doing of which brings us closer to our essence.
With self –care.
By eating and resting well, drinking lots of water and exercising. By taking care of our minds; by keeping a growth mindset and psychological health with therapy, with spiritual practice and with regular meet up with friends and family. Do what it takes for you to be in balance with yourself and your environment.
By being curious about and gently questioning the “shoulds”, “musts”, “need tos” and “have tos”. Breaking the patterns, by giving ourselves permission to do the things we need to do or stop doing.
Therapy is a great way to get started on this.
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