Do You Remember Who You Were Before The World Told You Who To Be
“Do you remember who you were before the World told you who to be?”
I first heard this quote from Danielle Laporte, maybe 6 years ago. It was exactly what I was working on at the time. I wanted to find my authentic self again – to forget everything I had learned about who I was supposed to be and all the “shoulds”. I wanted to live fully expressed as ME, the authentic, unadulterated, unfettered, ME.
Do YOU remember who you were before the World told you who to be? Are you being her?
“Self-image” rarely has anything to do with what we ourselves see. Let me explain. For the first 6 years of our lives our brains are like sponges – always taking in information from others and the world around us. This is when we learn what to believe about ourselves, others and the world. Those belief systems operate on the subconscious level and are constantly present from then on. What’s more, the subconscious mind is responsible for 95% of our actions. We don’t realize it consciously, but unless we upgrade our subconscious belief systems we are making decisions and taking actions from the place of the beliefs we formed before we were 7 years old.
Self-Image, in my experience, changes over the course of our lives, if we do the work to upgrade our beliefs about ourselves.
I remember being a “shy” little girl, and a “self-conscious” teenager and young woman.
Through the journey of raising children, I have come to see my own strengths through watching theirs. When I learned to see myself like I wanted my children to see themselves, I acknowledged my strengths. I transformed my thoughts so that I now see what I thought were weaknesses as strengths. For example – I’m not shy, I am a conscious observer. I observe others and my surroundings before jumping in. Once I know my surroundings and have assessed the others, I am all in and have lots of fun. Reframed this way, this is a wise way to be.
When I began my coaching practice in 2014, my whole purpose was to help people see the magnificence in themselves. I was so saddened by seeing these amazing people sitting across from me, who could not see their own MAGNIFICENCE! And so, I set out to be a mirror of love and to shine a light on the gifts that others possess. It brings me so much joy to see someone acknowledge their own magnificence and step into it!
On this personal and professional journey, I have identified 4 stages on the Self-Image Journey
Here are the key markers for each stage:
- Self-Critical: Compares self to external sources. Inner voice speaks critically. Focus on “weaknesses” and “fixing self”. Does not see personal strengths or give them any value.
- Self-Acceptance: Knows and accepts own weaknesses and strengths. Neutral self-talk. Still compares but sees others and self in a balanced way. Does not seek to change self. Some value of own strengths.
- Self-Love: Recognizes strengths as true gifts. Acknowledges and loves all parts of one-self. Weaknesses are transformed into positive traits and loved for what they are. Inner voice is kind and like talking to someone that is loved deeply. Trust in self to handle whatever arises.
- Self-Celebration: Embodies self-love and outwardly expresses celebration for who and what one is. Shares gifts openly, without reservation or pride. There is no competition because each person is able to value their own gifts as unique. Celebrates one’s gifts and the gifts present in others. Inner voice is kind, loving, and joyful for self and others.
The woman who embodies Self-Celebration reminds me of the quote from Marianne Williamson:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
Where are you on your self-image journey? What do you feel when you read “Self-Celebration”? If it’s triggering in any way, I would invite you to lean into that and explore why. What feels uncomfortable about that?
Can you step into Self-Celebration consistently? If not, can you begin to envision that? Who would you have to be in order to be someone who was at that stage?
From what I’ve seen in my coaching practice, the first big obstacle on the journey to self-love is our inner voice. As the saying goes “Pay attention to what you’re saying to yourself because you are always listening”. Your inner voice is the voice of your belief systems, usually a throw back to your child-hood. So if your beliefs about yourself are limiting, so is your self-talk. If you’re like 99% of women, that voice is very critical of you, almost non-stop. Changing this inner voice is the most important first step you can take towards true self-love and ultimately self-celebration. Begin speaking to yourself like someone you love dearly.
I like to share my experience with this. My inner voice was a real meanie and persistent. One day I told her she had to leave because I was moving my best friend in. I began to speak to myself like I wanted my daughter to speak to herself. But the self-critic kept coming back. I’d catch her in there talking smack to me. I imagined her scaling the fence or digging a tunnel to get back in. She was persistent. And yours may be too. So, just keep watch. Notice when she sneaks in and send her out of your mind again. No self-judgement. She’s doing what she was trained to do. Just send her back out. Slowly she will come back less and less. Until one day you will realize that you speak to yourself lovingly and kindly more often than not. It’s about progress, not perfection.
When you’re ready to step into Self-Celebration and the joy that brings, find someone who understands and can cheer you on beyond the limitations and blind spots that keep you from shining your brightest light. Know that this is a journey and it helps to have someone who can show you the blind spots you can’t see, and to reflect your brilliance and magnificence back to you.