We often hear the phrase “the grass is greener on the other side”. Many of us have probably realized by now that this is a lie our society and culture has fed us to perpetuate - a constant sense of dissatisfaction with ourselves and our lives, and an envious attitude toward others; ultimately wholly negative and destructive thought processes.
What I want to tell you today is this: the grass that you’re standing on at this very moment is already pretty damn green. I want to tell you that the woman you are, the one standing on that green grass is a dangerous woman - a woman with goals, grit, passions and inherent talents and yet, you also possess areas of vulnerability and contain flaws. But I want you to be encouraged and uplifted by this: these qualities which at first sight seem to be opposing, can kick start a deep process of transformation once those strengths and flaws are consolidated.
Imagine this: when you combine the inherent qualities you have, the deepest talents, with an attitude of humility admitting our imperfections and the drive to constantly improve them, this creates momentum, growth and constant progress.
How do we do this, exactly? How do we consolidate all these various facets of ourselves? How do we create growth and progress, to continue to water that green grass that you are standing on? To mobilize and reveal the dangerous woman within you?
The secret I live by and what I want to share with you today is this: honing self-awareness.
I want you to discover yourself, all the complex layers and unique facets that make you, you. Virginia Satir, a famous social worker and a founder of family therapy, likened each individual to an iceberg: we are often only cognizant of the tip of the iceberg, the surface level of behavior and reactions that most people see. However, beneath that tip of the iceberg, we are comprised of complex levels of emotions, perceptions, expectations and yearnings. All these levels interact and impact each other, affecting the behavior that ends up being revealed to the world.
Without a mindful understanding of the multitude of layers that make us who we are and how our unique experiences shape the way that we function, we can easily impede our growth potential and halt the explosion of opportunities that await us.
Virginia Satir asks us to take time to honestly explore the multitude of layers within ourselves. She asks us to not only examine our feelings, but to explore all these layers: our feelings about feelings.
For example, when you get irritated about something, someone, or a situation amongst our busy lives, how do you feel about this irritation? Do you feel ashamed? Maybe disappointed that you feel irritated? Maybe you feel sad that the situation or the person involved had spawned this irritation? These feelings about feelings are crucial to explore for they reveal many things: your perceptions – what beliefs you hold, the assumptions you make, what your subjective reality entails, what your thoughts, ideas and values are. Your expectations get revealed, which include your expectations of yourself, of others and also from others. At the deepest layers of our being are your yearnings and your self.
Humanity generally agrees that yearnings are ultimately universal for every individual – we yearn for love, acceptance, to feel a sense of belonging and to feel connected and related to others around us.
As Busy Women, with careers to develop, friends and family members to love and nurture and personal passions to cultivate, it is essential to have a clear awareness of all these layers in our being. We need to be honest with ourselves, our reactions, feelings, perceptions and yearnings. We need to know ourselves deeply. How do we do all of this?
I have a simple rule: My personal discipline is to practice being in solitude. This does not mean you are lonely. This means you are mindfully taking time to honour your body, mind and soul by giving it the peace it deserves. The space you need to rest, to check in, to gauge how you are doing. To experience silence uninterrupted by the noise of other people, by distractions, by the unforgiving list of responsibilities you have to attend to.
When you have time in solitude, you get the space to explore all the layers of your being, to think back on how you are doing, what you have been saying, what relationships you have been cultivating, how the goals you had set for yourself have been progressing. Most importantly, you get to check in with how much fulfilment and meaning you are deriving from your life.
Take a day each week to reflect upon one thing, or several things! For example, your fitness goals, a recent experience, a friend, a developing relationship, a project happening at work, a personal hobby you have been developing.
Write down your feelings, your feelings about your feelings, perceptions, expectations and yearnings surrounding this one thing. Keep a journal, find yourself a yoga mat, a sacred space where you can just sit and meditate, and dream.
I find that when I do this, a sense of clarity and thankfulness overcomes me. I realize that when I hone my focus in on one or two things, I become aware of how there is a beautiful pattern to my multitude of experiences. I become aware of how my passions, talents, the people in my life, and the opportunities that had presented themselves, are being magically, supernaturally, miraculously (however you want to put it), woven together to form the present moment.
I become aware that life is working out in ways that I could not fathom. I begin to appreciate the grass that I am standing on.
I look less to the grass that other people are standing on and I do not compare with negative envy or jealousy. Instead, I develop a deeper appreciation for what I have, and your perception of other people’s patches of grass transform into different shades of beautiful green that you draw positive inspiration from.
I urge you, encourage you, and cheer you on to continually hold big goals and big dreams. But plan in pencil, not pen. Because when you have these moments in solitude and honestly hone self-awareness, you see how the universe may be giving you things that were even bigger than what you had planned. So you erase some points, amend some points, add some points. Then you continue marching on and show the world the dangerous, relentless woman that you are...