In order for us to live a life of emotional rest we need to know ourselves. We need to know what lies beneath the surface of why we do and say what we do and say. Oxford Dictionary defines subconscious as, “Of or concerning the part of the mind of which one is not fully aware but which influences one’s actions and feelings: my subconscious fear.”
I mentioned in Part 1 of the emotional rest series that “I subconsciously thought performing to everyone’s expectations of me would give me acceptance and love.” If someone had said this to me a few years back, “Ella you’re trying to perform for love and acceptance”, I would have probably rolled my eyes and said, “No, it’s called being a responsible person. I have goals I want to achieve.”
Learning to understand ourselves
One of the key ways we grow in wisdom is by understanding. I’m not talking about understanding from a logical/intellectual point of view. I am talking about understanding in an experiential way. Sorry, my headstrong people, this a matter of the heart. Experience always engages your heart. If we don’t understand what’s going on in our heart, then we will be more prone to blame people and get offended. Then we stuff that down, because we know in our head it’s not good to be mad at people. We try to let it go without ever exploring why it triggered us so much in the first place. I will use an example because I know this heart stuff can be tricky to get our head around…
You walk into a birthday party, where you’ve known the people for a while but you don’t feel very confident entering the room. You’re remembering past experiences with these people where you felt awkward, and feeling afraid that this will happen again. Subconsciously, you wonder, will I belong here? You badly want to be their friend. The first person you greet, you go straight in and tell them your whole life story. You talk about all the amazing things that are happening (because you want to sound positive). Then you start feeling weird, and start to gossip about one of your friends that was really rude to you, hoping for the friend to agree with you (subconsciously trying to feel connected). You then start talking about how life is hard, never once considering how the person on the other end of the conversation is doing. The conversation ends awkwardly, you are feeling weird, then are hard on yourself because you realize that you never asked how they were, and so the next person you talk to you rapid fire a million questions without truly listening because you’re thinking about trying to come across as genuinely interested. Then the cycle is repeated. After exhausting yourself with people, you get into your car and leave. As you are driving away a million thoughts are swirling around your head like; “How can I be in a room full of people and feel so alone? Did I say something wrong? Did I say too much? Do they think I’m weird?” then we try to make ourselves feel better and we resign ourselves to the fact that “those people are just up themselves, and they don’t get me.”
Self acceptance brings emotional rest
Ok, let’s step away from this example. What did her heart want? Belonging, connection and to feel known. Why do we gossip? Because we want to feel connected. We think if we are super-open about our lives, we will feel known, when in actual fact we are verbally vomiting over everyone. That’s why we need to understand what’s going on inside us. Then we’ll grow the wisdom to know who to share our vulnerable stories with. Belonging is something we need to cultivate inside ourselves. We need to have a relationship with self-acceptance. Self-acceptance brings rest, and we walk into the room already belonging and are there to give to people rather than take. When we come to the room to give, the by-product is almost always feeling a sense of belonging and connection. (You can read my blog on confidence for more thoughts on this!)
Head and Heart are in sync
Our head and our heart are not supposed to be at war. We live disconnected and disengaged because we aren’t aware of our subconscious. Life begins to flow when we learn to understand what our heart needs. The truth is EVERYONE has fears and insecurities! EVERYONE. Confident people are the ones who know their insecurities but accept themselves and are kind to themselves anyway. For example, I know I am a verbal processor, and sometimes if I feel disconnected from myself I overshare. The better I understand what’s going on inside me the less I overshare, but if I do overshare I can acknowledge it without shame, accept myself and give myself the kindness I need. I connect with myself, which is my deep need.
Self-awareness is a huge key for transformation and for living in rest. It helps us be teachable and grow. When we are self-aware it doesn’t feel so daunting when we receive feedback. Self-awareness is not introspection. Introspection can make you feel low and helpless about yourself. Self-awareness always sheds light. When our head and heart are in sync rest streams through our inner being. When our inner being is rested giving out isn’t a burden.
Questions to create self-awareness
What happens inside you when you feel out of control?
When you feel insecure what happens to you? Do you shut down and not talk much? Or, maybe you verbally vomit on people?