So have you started paying attention?
That is, have you been doing your homework? I challenged you to become a student of your Self, paying special attention to your own HONEST feelings, your internal responses to events and interactions around you for ONE week. I told you to pay attention, jot down some of things you notice, then answer a few questions.
So, what have you found? Once they start paying attention, some women find themselves being more bothered, even irritated, about little things that happen around them. A friend’s comment here, a work conversation there. Once you start paying attention, it seems like EVERYTHING gets under your skin.
Don’t worry. That’s normal. All part of the process, though it can be a little overwhelming at times.
And folks around you may start to wonder. :)
In my counseling and coaching practice, women often call me with vague complaints about being unhappy. They’re out of sorts but don’t know why. They’ve startled themselves by snapping at a friend, a spouse or their kids in a way that’s just waaaaaay out of character for them. Sometimes they cry at the drop of a hat, or worse – have a panic attack. It’s a little unsettling.
They come because it’s getting harder to hide. They come because it’s embarrassing.
They come because … truth be told … they’re feeling a little crazy inside.
But they are soooooooo Not. Crazy, that is.
They’re just right at the start, the very beginning, of what is sure to be a challenging, sometimes painful, but almost always fantastic growth spurt in their emotional lives. They, and YOU, are beginning the journey towards self discovery, new awareness, new skills, and a MUCH better, richer, fully ENGAGED life.
So the first thing I try to do, is teach them (and you, if you’d ever like to explore this yourself) not to be afraid of their feelings – but to listen to them. LISTEN to their inner selves. LISTEN to what those emotions are telling them. Pay attention to their innermost selves, their internal reactions. Listen, and observe.
Women are often denigrated for being “too emotional”. Listen to me, my sisters – your feelings are your road map to better understanding, better lives. They deserve your respect.
To develop the Art of Self Awareness, establish a habit of studying your reactions to things that happen around you. Pretend like there’s a part of you that’s sitting off to the side, just observing, listening, noticing the little things you do, say, think – or feel – as you go about your day. Let that part be, oh, a little detached– like a sociologist or an anthropologist conducting a study.
Hmmmm….. interesting specimen here, you might mutter to yourself.
When do you tend to get upset the most? When do you find yourself crying, lashing out, feeling just so extremely frustrated? You know just now when you felt that little twinge inside? What was that about?
And be honest. Because anything else is a waste of time.
And as you start paying attention, making observations and gathering data, go back to some of those questions I mentioned earlier.
Is there a pattern there? Does it always tend to happen around the same kind of situation? Or with the same person or group? Or in the same setting?
Is there something UNDERNEATH the feelings on top? Dig a little deeper.
What else is in there?
When you’re in the middle of the mess, it can be hard to make ANY sense out of it, hard to see any rhyme or reason. But I can promise you – it’s there. This is one reason why counseling or coaching helps, because there you have an objective pair of eyes taking a new look at a situation you live and breathe every day. Just having someone with a fresh, outside perspective can make all the difference.
But you can also figure out a lot of things on your own, once you start paying attention.
There’s something in your life that you’ve been putting up with.
And you’re just a little tired of it. What is it? Really?
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