“Knowing yourself deeply has nothing to do with whatever ideas are floating around in your mind. Knowing yourself is to be rooted in Being, instead of lost in your mind. “ Eckhart Tolle
Over the past year I’ve really grown as a person through the work I do with seeing a psychotherapist. You see I’ve made a good job at making my identity in WHAT I do, instead of understanding that it is simply just WHO I am.
If that seems a little strangely worded, let me put it this way…
I’ve put a lot of my self-worth in the hands of receiving awards. I love the thrill of getting acknowledged for doing a great job, I love reading comments on my social media posts and I adore reading your emails that you send me.
These things have become an addiction over the years. Working hard for the next prize or acknowledgement.
So before the big event where I was going to be acknowledged for being a finalist in the Shine Category (which I’ve lovingly nicknamed the Miss Congeniality of the life coaching world – it’s for establishing a heart centred business and for looking for ways to serve your clients with excellence), I decided that I needed to unravel the anxiety I was having about getting to the awards and potentially losing (and how to do so with grace + compassion).
Right at the end of the session I had this epiphany moment where I burst into tears and said ‘Well, everything gets taken away from me.’
I start listing the things that have been taken away from me. Here are just a few:
- When I was in grade 6 I really wanted to be a Band Majorette. Every year they would choose someone for the following year to take over the role. They always chose a year 7 student. I was the only one that applied. I assumed I would get the role. Instead they gave it to two girls who were going into year 6. I was told it was because I was short. I wrote a letter to the teacher saying how unjust it was (including witches stickers to outline the border) and I got in trouble. This then has lead me to believe that if I speak out, I get in trouble, so what’s the point.
- My (now ex) husband who decided to disappear.
- A subject I really invested a lot of time in building up was taken away while I was on maternity leave. Yeah, they were reasons and that’s something that is out of my hands. I have no shame in posting this here even though I currently still teach, because what happened is true, and it hurts. Even though, I know this isn’t about how well I taught, it doesn’t mean the sting of losing something I was (and am) incredibly passionate about doesn’t leave me feeling crash hot.
We ended the session on that realisation that I’ve seen the world through the filter of ‘I have things taken from me’ and my counsellor said ‘Di, I think you not winning this coaching prize could actually end up being a blessing. If you win, it could end up fuelling the beast.’
So I went to the awards…
And I didn’t win.
I didn’t melt down at the venue.
But I did have a cry at the hotel once the lights were all turned off. It had after all been a big few months and chucked in with some ongoing health challenges, my resilience was low. Plus at the end of the day, it is OK TO BE DISAPPOINTED.
Just in case you need me to say it again: It’s ok to feel disappointed!
Have you been there?
Have you been building up your identity with awards?
Do you seek out validation from your boss the way I seek out the best hipster coffee shops? You have a nose for smelling out what you need to do to get that ‘Well done.’
But you then seek out the next thrill…
- The next promotion…
- Material Possession…
- Speaking gig…
- Newspaper article
When does it stop?
In all honesty, this is one I’m still figuring out.
But what you can do is the following:
Put your palm flat across your forehead.
This is a technique you can use when you are going into meltdown mode. This helps to restore blood flow back to your frontal cortex. When you’re anxious the blood flow gets drained from the front and goes to the back of your brain which is the flight or fight brain. When you put your hand across your head it brings blood flow back helping you to feel calm and relaxed. I use this when I’m in the car and my husband is driving lol.
Notice when you don’t want to process stuff you start to busy yourself. Sit down. Free write. See what comes up for you.
That pain and hurt you are feeling is because you refuse to accept what is going on in the present moment. Eckhart Tolle said that ‘Accept – then Act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. This will miraculously transform your whole life.’
Create a joy time
When you have done the inner work don’t forget to create pockets in your day for joy. Ask yourself ‘What will bring you the most joy today?’
For me that looks like:
- Getting outdoors with my 2 year old
- Drinking coffee from a hipster café
- Daggy dancing
- Applying beautiful body products.
Yeah, I didn’t win but it doesn’t define me. Not winning doesn’t mean I’m not an awesome coach or I’m less popular (even if my anxious voice tells me that).
And whatever you’re going through, and whatever the anxiety says to you, is not an accurate depiction of WHO YOU REALLY ARE.
You are so worthy, regardless of what your anxiety is telling you. That mean voice inside telling you that ‘she’s so much better than me’ or ‘I need to get this award as a nod that I’m doing well.’
You don’t need God to give you a neon flashing sign.
I like to think of my anxiety like a little child chucking a tantrum. What soothes the tantrum?
A hug and a drink. (In other words – find ways to soothe your anxiety).
Sit down with your anxiety. Find ways to soothe her. Hug the little girl inside of you that just wants you to desperately love her.
And grace + compassion beauty.
You’ve got this.
How do you react when things don’t go your way? How do you respond to not getting that external feedback? I’d love to know in the comments below. If you’d love help letting go of the awards and praises so that you can genuinely feel happy when you attend your next event get on a call with me: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to help.
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