The older I get the more I realize that I didn’t really know myself when I was younger. I was pretty much just flying by the seat of my pants and not really thinking about it…but that’s not true anymore. I definitely focus on thoughtfulness, and paying attention to me and how I am feeling. What I have found is that the more I pay attention to me, the more I am able to not just react to situations but I am able to recognize triggers that show up for me and adjust accordingly (of course, I definitely still get it wrong sometimes).
You may be asking how it’s possible to be more thoughtful and notice things as they come up…so I’m going to let you know what I do and it works for me.
I practice being present – really present wherever I am. In the past I was guilty about thinking about what was coming next, what I had to look forward to and almost wishing away my time. I have noticed that when I don’t do that, when I enjoy right where I am, I notice things more. I notice feelings that come up for me…I notice patterns and I remember them for future times when the same things show up (because they will).
I don’t become so attached to my ideas that I forget about other people. I think in childhood because of our experiences we find that if we are wrong about something, if we screw up or if someone knows more than us then there is some part of us that is not right. It’s a very simple black and white concept, but not easy to spot if we are in a more reactive space like I know I have been in my life. Now I feel like even if I feel that I have to defend myself, I usually catch myself at some point (sometimes it’s right after I do it) and I allow myself to get it wrong and not beat myself up!
I pay special attention to how I eat, to what I put in and on my body. I want to be around for a long time, so I pay attention to how certain foods affect me and make me feel. When I find something that makes me feel not great, I avoid it in future. I pay attention to my health and practice using as many preventative healthy ways of taking care of myself to avoid any illness or injury as much as is possible for any person to control.
Just as I take my relationships with family and friends very seriously, I do the same for myself. I recognize when I need something – sometimes I need solitude so I find a way to take care of that. Sometimes I crave interaction with others, sometimes it’s as simple as needing more sleep, but whatever it is…I make sure I am taking care of me so I can be the best possible for other people.
I feed off the energy of good, positive people, so I surround myself only with people that lift me up. I have worked in places in the past that did not have the best environment and now I am no longer in that space, I realize how vital it is to be careful who and what you surround yourself with.
Breathing – I’m not just talking about the unconscious act that we do all day every day. I’m talking about deep, thoughtful breathing that allows you to exhale away stresses and negativity. I started doing this when I was younger and didn’t really realize what I was doing. Now I know that it has served me so well because I am paying more attention to my body and myself that I notice I visibly relax and feel less stressed when I practice my breathing. I even teach my kids to do the same and my youngest swears by this to help him relieve his stress and anxiety.
Having a relationship with yourself, and really knowing who you are is truly the only way to live. As I reflect on all of my life and realize that a lot of it was spent in reaction mode, it makes me even more determined to focus on being present and knowing what I need and how to give it to myself.
Do you have some ways that you make sure you are taking of YOU? Comment below – I would love to hear!