[Image description: Someone holds a mug of tea in their hands]
Before jumping into this week’s blog post, I’d like to start off by saying that from here on out (although arguably, beginning last week), I’ll be attempting to write a blog post every week for the rest of the year. That’s 15 posts (I think), including this week and last’s, for you to look forward to and read as you make yourself look busy at work. As I started this blog to hold myself accountable to write and share more, I’m hoping this little personal challenge will add to that. Some of the posts, like this one, will be more self-reflective while others may take on a more creative feel.
It’s evident from all of my previous blog posts up until now that a lot is happening for me right now. A lot is changing, a lot is new, a lot is ending. And through the last few weeks, I’ve heard the voice in my head change dramatically, in ways I didn’t think it was capable of. I’ve gotten more familiar with the idea of soothing myself – of being the one who tells me, “It’s okay. You’re okay.” And while I’m trying to extend myself grace in situations, I find myself extending beyond that now. Rather than, “It’s okay,” I’m ready to ask myself, “What do I do to get to the next step?” And not in my previous, overachiever way – how do I get over this? But in a way that acknowledges I need time to be angry, time to be hurt, time to be distracted, and time to plan next steps. One of my biggest goals in the next year was to become more in-tune with my intuition, and I already feel that happening.
So I figured that I’d call this transformation self-empathy. I am one of the most empathetic people I know. If someone I care about is hurt, I hurt. It takes a lot for me to see someone cry and not start crying. I’m a Pisces. I have a superhuman ability to step outside of myself and feel what others do. A friend told me once that if I were a superhero, I’d be Mystique, shape shifting into other people. And for a long time, I wasn’t able to extend that deep ability to feel for myself. Instead, I’d power through things. While I thought I was revolutionary for conceptualizing self-empathy, a quick Google search of proves that I am not the first person to use the phrase. This guide is a really helpful one that gets at half of what this blog post was going to be. So instead, I’ll keep talking about myself. It’s what I do best.
I’m thinking of self-empathy as what happens after grace. Self-empathy is what leads to healing. I’ve tried to ground myself more than ever: leaving my phone in a drawer or on Do Not Disturb (it’s always on silent anyways), allowing myself to break out of my routine some, writing a lot, realizing that no one hears my thoughts but myself and I don’t need to share them with anyone (ironic, given that I’m writing this in a blog post…), advocating for myself and remembering that’s not new to me. I want to be able to hear the voice in my head and sense the feeling in my gut more clearly. And in that grounding, I feel…better – all around more sure of myself, confident that I can get through most things. I feel for myself. And that isn’t necessarily a good feeling. It’s warm but not fuzzy. It feels like being swollen. I feel more clear and aware of myself. In some ways, that means being temporarily sadder, as I acknowledge the feelings I have when they arise rather than tabling them for when it’s convenient to process. It feels a bit like being caught in a wave.
Because I’ve been trying to acknowledge the past and myself more, my intuition is more queued up for the future. Since that intuition is deep but I didn’t trust it, I’d wait until my instincts were proven right to take action. But I know to trust myself more, and that means being proactive. I’m getting better at feeling out what the right things for me are. My last two blog posts are part of this long, winding journey of self-compassion. Because I’ve cracked my emotional crème brulee (I really love that metaphor), I can see my emotional self a lot clearer. I’m better at feeling a pang in my chest or my stomach turn, and I can say, “It’s this that’s causing it.” If something feels bad, it is. I have to remind myself that this is a good thing! It doesn’t mean I’ll teeter into permanent sadness, as I’ve been very scared of in the past. It means that I can be empathetic and feel for myself as needed, and then when I’m ready, keep it moving.
I gotta say – with all of the life that’s happening, all of the waves I’ve been caught in, I’m really proud of myself. I feel myself growing. And sometimes that teetering sadness comes from a longing for things being how they used to be. Stifled, constantly bitter, frustrated and disappointed. That’s what’s familiar but not necessarily easier. And I have to say, in practicing self-empathy, a lot of my perfectionist tendencies have already been stripped away. I felt myself starting to outgrow them some, but once I committed to stopping, it’s been an easy enough transition. Although I feel a lot less levelheaded at times, I feel more…leveled in myself. I’m excited to be my own confidante.
Image from nappy.co