I wondered if you ever have a hard time just looking at your own image and not tearing it apart, trying to figure out what's wrong?
It might be about the outside, or you might do it regarding the inside and battle a fearful mind? It can be incredibly painful waking up every day and meeting a version of yourself you struggle to be with.
My journey in mindfulness has helped me understand that we're not alone in feeling such things, that anxiety and fearful thinking is a universal experience and not 'mine' or 'yours'. It's given me techniques I've used and now share to develop the skill of being kinder to ourselves in the moments we feel most wretched, most like wanting to hide away from the world and most like believing we need to change into an upgrade of ourselves somehow, because surely if we were 'better', we wouldn't feel like this. A common trap we all fall into.
I was really surprised to discover that my opening sentence is exactly how one of my most inspiring role models feels. There I am wowing at her greatness, seeing her as a 'powerhouse', beautiful and making such a difference on a huge scale and it turns out that despite these qualities she has just the same insecurities as all the rest of us.
When I hear her talk about her struggles, this validates mine and those of all other women, it reminds me we’re not isolated and not so incapable of the change we’d like to see. And that isn't about changing into an upgrade version of me, its a change of heart. A choosing to befriend myself the same way I'd befriend someone else in need.
Hearing her voicing the challenge of being kind to herself speaks of our all our struggles, it unites us and we see our common humanity, our need of connection, a space to feel understood and loved.
Mindfulness has played a key role in helping me understand that the practice of quiet moments noticing breath (as a technique for anxiety/worry or stress) is not about shifting the discomfort but a way of holding myself tenderly with understanding at how hard something might feel for me. Too often we compare ourselves to a version of us we think we should be. There's nothing more exhausting, mean and undermining, and we don't even realise we're doing it.
I am sharing the link, so you can read about her intention for self-kindness and why that matters. She also speaks of the necessity to get comfortable with the uncomfortable - another key concept in the practice of mindfulness and how this provides a meaningful way forward through whatever adversity we maybe facing. Her light encourages me because THIS way of being is my practice too – the one I share as best I can with others who also know in their hearts, that THIS truly matters.
Find out who I’m talking about here:
and enjoy a further short read.
Maybe I'll write to her and tell her what our community of friends are doing, how we share time together to practice reconstructing the words of a harsh inner critic, find calm and feel more grounded together.
Its International Women’s Day on Wed March 8th, so talking about these issues and how we can navigate them is empowering for all women, so I'll be speaking with several groups about techniques to manage feelings of anxiety with a different kind of approach. If you’re looking for someone to speak to your team/staff about mindfulness, stress, anxiety and tools to help, check out this link Fiona Watson Mindfulness | Corporate & Schools | Sheffield and get in touch.
Thank you for reading my mini blog today.