Celebrating your unique self

Reading Time: 6 minutes

For the past several weeks I have been writing on the topics of self worth and self compassion. I have touched upon various facets of our lives that contribute to our sense of self worth and self compassion which include topics like resiliency, self acceptance, choosing yourself.  (You can read them HERE)

In the last post in this series, I want to celebrate all that makes you, well, YOU!

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” 

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

We often tend to overlook aspects of our lives that make each and every one of us unique and worth celebrating. We often focus too much on our shortcomings and all the things that we need to work on and improve about ourselves. As someone who believes in self growth and that we need to be constantly moving forward, I need to be careful not to ignore what is already working well in my life.

I know that self development on a consistent basis is the key to improve different aspects of my personal and professional life. However, I have also realised that there is often a hidden danger in this. If I only look at all the things that need improvement in my life, I can very easily overlook all that I have achieved and the person that I have become over the years. I try and avoid this pitfall by using my strength of gratitude as a way of appreciating all that I have and by fostering self acceptance towards myself to keep my self worth intact. However, this is something that I need to constantly work on, it does not come naturally to me.

As you think about what I have written above, ask yourself these questions-

What makes you unique?

What makes you stand apart from others?

And in what ways are you "whole" today? 

One of the pitfalls of working on ourselves to improve our situation and moving towards the peace and happiness that we are searching for is that we can end up becoming fixated on the notion that we are somehow "broken". A feeling of inadequacy can creep in unknowingly as we look to self help offerings to "fix ourselves". Also, we can even up missing out on the happiness and fulfilment that is in right in front of us at this moment as we embark on a self improvement journey.

So today, do not look for all your flaws and your perceived imperfections. Instead, take out some time and see if you can

STOP...

seeking approval from others in order to feel valued and see if you can find ways to give yourself what you are seeking from others

comparing yourself with other people and start living life on your own terms

competing against yourself and instead, look for and embrace your strengths AND your flaws

We spend most of our lives trying to fit in, moulding ourselves in the space that is available to us.  Girls (even more so than boys) are conditioned to do this right from the start and this becomes a way of life. Later, as women, we learn how to say the right things, in the right manner and at the right time. We learn how to modify our behaviour to please others and keep the peace. With time, many women start to lose their identity and often reach a point in their lives when they no longer know who they really are or what they stand for.

I see this often with my coaching clients (who are mostly women in their mid-thirties to early fifties) who are struggling to give themselves the time and effort that they need to work on their health issues. As a part of working together to reclaim their health, we peel back the layers gently one by one so that their true self is revealed and they can connect once again with the innermost part of themselves. They realise that in order to heal, they need to treat themselves with dignity and respect and that they deserve the same love and kindness that they give their families.

Becoming free of disease is NOT the same as being truly healthy. If we are to truly heal ourselves in the true sense of the word, we need to work from the inside out

This means becoming aware of the nature of our thoughts and then working on developing the right mindset to give our bodies what it needs from us to heal. I find that often, this means that at the very least we need to simply stay out of its way. And then as we become more aware we find that we start treating ourselves with the compassion and respect that we deserve. And with time, no longer do we feel like indulging in activities and thoughts that bring out the worst in us or harm us in any way. We start celebrating all the ways that we shine and stand out from others.

More importantly, we start embracing our imperfections and our quirks. The way that we laugh with abandon, our inability to remember names (I definitely struggle with that!), our need to keep everything in perfect order, our tendency to worry or overanalyse- whatever makes us "one of a kind". 

If you struggle to know what makes YOU unique, take out some time and ask yourself these questions

What are the things that I value most in my life? 

What makes me really happy?

What brings a smile to my face just by thinking about it?

Which activities/hobbies do I try to fit in whenever I get the time? 

You may find that as you write down the answers to these questions, you have rediscovered a part of yourself that has long been forgotten. A part of you that helps you to rediscover your passions and sets you on an exhilarating journey of self discovery. A journey that takes you away from a life lived on autopilot to a life lived with intention and meaning.

(You can read my earlier post on related topics of finding your purpose and self acceptance here and here)

This path of self discovery also helps us release old patterns of limiting beliefs and old patterns which are no longer serving us.

WE...

no longer beat ourselves up for making mistakes or feel ashamed by our flaws

embrace our strengths, our weaknesses and all our imperfections

celebrate every small win and understand that failure teaches us a lot more than success ever could

no longer try to become someone we are not in order to fit in with the crowd

we find the strength to present ourselves to the whole world just as we are- imperfect and unique

I hope that this series of posts have made you think and has encouraged you to travel within yourself to look for what you may be seeking from your outer world. And I hope that you realise that you are indeed WORTHY - first and foremost of your own love and kindness.

I get it, this path is not easy. I have travelled the same path that you may be on right now. It has taken me some time and much effort but over time I have learned to embrace all that makes me "different" from others. I am no longer afraid to show up just as I am, my imperfections are there for all to see. I now realise that none of us is broken or damaged- we are exactly who we are meant to be. It is up to us to keep searching for this WHOLENESS, for this will set us free.

As the poet, author and activist Maya Angelou had said so beautifully

“You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all. The price is high.”

~Maya Angelou

Book review – Kitchen table wisdom by Rachel Naomi Remen

Reading Time: 2 minutesBook review – Kitchen table wisdom by Rachel Naomi Remen

Rachel Naomi Remen is an amazing doctor but more importantly a healer who has touched many lives and healed countless of people through her work and writings. Her own suffering from a then incurable and painful Crohn’s disease taught her much more than her medical degree had ever done. Her grandfather, a rabbi, had a huge influence on her even though he died when she was only seven years old and contributed much to what she became later on. Over time she also learned through her experiences what life is really about even in the face of great difficulties and pain. Through her close proximity to death due to her own health and that of her patients she realised she had a choice when it came to closing off from life to deal with her pain or to embrace it all and live fully. She has written books like Kitchen Table Wisdom and My grandfather’s blessings.

This book is a celebration of life and our connection to others through their stories of love, joy and happiness, pain, suffering, freedom and letting go, the  mysteries of life and especially death.

Kitchen table wisdom is collection of different stories about healing and love, resilience, strength in the face of pain and suffering. Telling each other stories around the kitchen table is how wisdom used to get passed along from one generation to another and through families and friends. In our modern hectic pace of life we have lost a lot of what used to be our way of life and of connecting with others and. This book is a celebration of life and our connection to others through their stories of love, joy and happiness, pain, suffering, freedom and letting go, the wonder as well as the mysteries of life and death.