For 30 minutes this morning and 30 minutes this afternoon, I met two halves of a Grade 3 class online. I told them a story* about how feeling like yourself helps you access your power and then I led them through an activity to create a list of things that make them feel like themselves.
My basic premise in my workshop is that while we all have a variety of skills and abilities, it is very hard to access them when you are don’t feel like yourself and you can end up feeling pretty powerless. So we want to figure out ways to feel like ourselves even when we are overwhelmed or feeling weird or we can’t follow our usual routines (say, during a pandemic, for example.)
And, as usual, focusing on explaining these ideas to someone else reminded me of ways that I needed to apply them in my own life.
Last year, one of my Go Team! posts was about giving yourself the things you need to make your habit work.
I still want to encourage you to do the sorts of things I suggested in that post – setting reminders, getting kneepads for yoga, whatever works. AND I want to encourage you to think about the other kinds of things you might need, activities, objects, habits, and support that help you to feel like yourself and to be able to make good use of your personal power.
It feels a bit weird to be using the word power that way, like I am trying to be a self-help guru shouting at you about personal empowerment so I am going to explain a little further. A therapist once explained to me that we all have a variety of skills that use to get through situations we encounter and we store them until we need them. It’s a bit like having things on shelves in the basement, ready for when we need them. However, when we get anxious or overwhelmed or end up in the grip of a challenging emotion, it is like the basement floods. The tools are still there but we can’t quite get to them.
When I’m talking about power in this post, I’m not talking about roaring at ourselves in the mirror or viewing ourselves as superheroes. I’m talking about the everyday power we have, our skills and abilities, our capacity, our feeling of well-being. When we don’t feel like ourselves, for any reason, it is harder to use our skills, to access our abilities, to figure out our capacity or to find a sense of equilibrium.
When we don’t have access to those things, it’s extremely difficult to add new habits or to adjust to new routines and there is a real risk that we will be hard on ourselves about our inability to do so.
So, we want to do whatever we can to maximize our access to our power and that means, in part, giving ourselves the things we need to feel good, to feel like ourselves.
For me, that means things like practicing my Taekwon-do patterns even though we can’t have class right now. It means choosing to have tea in my favourite mug. It means drawing and reading and taking the dog for a walk. Giving myself all of those things, even if I have to alter them slightly for time or circumstances, makes me feel like myself. When I feel like myself, I can more easily use my existing skills, and I have more patience with myself as I a develop new practices.
I hope you can consider what sorts of things you need to feel like yourself and that you can provide them for yourself in some form, as soon as possible.
Note: Meanwhile, if you are dealing with an especially stressful or difficult situation right now, also consider pausing the habit-building until things ease off. You don’t need to prove anything to anyone and you don’t have to take on a new habit just because it is January or just because you thought you would try it now. Please be kind to yourself.
Today, I invite you to consider the things YOU need to feel like yourself and to feel a bit more in charge of your habit-building and of your day-to-day.
What do you need to feel more like yourself? Do you have some anchor activities that can help ground you? Like drinking from a specific mug, doing things in a particular order, or taking a break at a specific time?
What do you need to be able to include your habit building in your current routine? Do you need some of the straightforward adjustments like reminders and specific clothes that I suggested last year? Do you need specific support to make your routine work?
Drawing is one of the things I do to feel like myself, so I decided that I would draw today’s gold star and enjoy the little burst of creative energy that came with that process.
I am offering this gold star to you in celebration of your efforts today, no matter what they are.
I hope you feel like yourself and I hope your habit-building process is working well for you, whether you are starting out or well-underway.
I wish you ease.
*The story in question is a version of Lady Sif’s Golden Hair that I have reshaped to emphasize specific aspects and to highlight Sif’s power instead of making her just a plot point.
For the second year in a row, I’ll be posting a Go Team! message every day in January to encourage us as we build new habits or maintain existing ones. It’s cumbersome to try to include every possibility in every sentence so please assume that I am offering you kindness, understanding, and encouragement for your efforts right now. You matter, your needs matter, and your efforts count, no matter where you are applying them. You are doing the best you can, with the resources you have, in all kinds of difficult situations and I wish you ease. ⭐💚 PS – Some of the posts for this year may be similar to posts from last year but I think we can roll with it.