To gain self awareness, you need to discover how your beliefs about yourself were formed.
Self awareness and our internal belief systems
How many times have you given others the benefit of the doubt? How often have you said “They did the best they could”? Have you ever considered that truth about yourself?
We also need to understand, accept and embrace the reality that whatever we have done, our internal belief systems kept us from being able to do it any differently.
I’ve been privileged to work with women from all walks of life and, in doing so, I have noticed one thing they continue to share in common. This commonality is beyond socio-economics, life experiences (good or bad), educational levels, careers inside or outside the home: Women are very hard on themselves.
This is especially true when it comes to relationships. It is as if we as women believe that we have some kind of L-factor. No matter what or how much we do for everyone, we don’t feel like we are doing enough. We blame ourselves and feel inadequate at home and at work, which perpetuates increasingly higher stress levels.
This lack of self-care is cascading into high blood pressure, dissatisfaction in our relationships, alienation with our children, increased anxiety levels, survival fat around the middle and sleepless nights. If you are one of these women, take heart, the only L-factor you need to find is Love yourself.
Why do we blame ourselves?
Now is the time to recognize that as a human being you were taught to believe:
1. Cultural and media messages about who you should be in society.
2. Family messages about your worth (or lack thereof).
3. Intergenerational messages locked in cellular memory, such as “It was all Eve’s
4. Authoritative messages from school teachers, clergy, entertainment, news, and social media.
5. Peer approval and disapproval messages from classmates, colleagues, friends, lovers, etc.
All of these, plus your own experiences, make up who you believe you are and who you believe you are not. They also affect who you believe you can (or cannot) be.
How often do you struggle with getting your husband to put the toilet seat down in the bathroom, dirty clothes in the hamper, unload the dishwasher? How often do you have to remind your children to clean their room, do homework, take out the trash? If we were as powerful as the intergenerational belief about Eve and the apple, why is this happening?
I don’t see anyone running to comply with my wishes in my house. What about yours? No longer accept the belief that you have the power to make others do what you want. You can only change yourself.
Trip down memory lane
This month, I encourage you to give yourself 30 minutes of quiet time (no distractions!) Find a table at the library, or a spot in the park, and, whether you use an electronic device or pen and notebook, answer the following questions in writing:
1. What does society tell me I should be? What does the media tell me I should be?
2. What does (or did) my mother, father, sister, brother, grandparent, partner/spouse, child tell me about myself (through words and actions)?
3. What messages have I received from teachers, clergy members, bosses, doctors, others that have authority in my life?
4. What garners me approval (or disapproval) from classmates, colleagues, friends, coworkers, lovers?
Review and add to this list over the month of March. In April, we’ll be discussing how to upgrade those beliefs you have adopted as your own.
Soulfull Woman Deborah Chelette-Wilson is a Licensed Professional Counselor, speaker and life coach who has helped many women find that elusive “something missing” in their lives. We are often pulled in so many directions, that it’s difficult to know how to put ourselves on our own To Do list. Deborah offers a 15-minute free life coaching session exclusive to YourTango readers to help you identify what steps you can take to finding a more stress-free and soulfull You.