It is in the knowledge of the genuine conditions of our lives that we must draw our strength to live and our reasons for living.
~ Simone de Beauvoir
As the oldest child in my family and the only girl, growing up at a time when options for women seemed limited, it didn’t take long to learn that society placed greater importance and value in men than women.
I was 20 when my father died. I watched my mother struggling to take care of herself and I decided, I better get a man’s job if I’m going to make it.
I got married shortly after this as a backup, even though I was filled with fear and a lack of love for myself …because I didn’t trust in my ability to take care of me on my own.
I got a good job at a bank and quickly began to move up and around. I felt in control in this world – I knew how to get what I wanted. But I also felt empty inside.
Then I turned 40 and life started to feel more and more uncomfortable for me. I had two daughters at this point, and in the back of my mind it bothered me that they were seeing me walk on eggshells around my unpredictable husband.
I had chosen to leave my career to raise my daughters at that point; which was a big deal for me, considering my self-esteem to this point had only come from climbing the business ladder. It didn’t take long for my confidence to falter. Soon I noticed that I was becoming invisible at home when he was there, just to avoid fighting with him.
One day I a thought overtook me.
“If I die tomorrow, I will never have been a well-loved woman.”
And that one thought began my journey.
I began to rebuild my life on a very different and beautiful new foundation. Getting to know my “genuine conditions” – from the inside out – is exactly how I did it.
I learned everything I could about what I liked, what I hated, what I wanted most, and what I didn’t want at all. Every time I claimed one of these facets of myself, I came closer to becoming whole. Up until this point, I never had a clue what I wanted because I was so busy focusing on everyone else’s wants and needs. It was beautifully liberating to launch this major expedition, delving deep into the wilds of ME.
As I learned (and learned, and learned…) about healing and rebuilding in this period, I looked back at my steps along this journey and developed my 5 Principles of the Well Loved Woman. Want to know the number one step? Know, Love and Accept Yourself.
So just think about that. We draw more strength and purpose from knowing ourselves than we do from projecting what we think others expect of us. For me, donning and keeping on the mask was absolutely exhausting… and pretty disorienting, too. I now see that living in the truth about my genuine condition takes a lot of work… but it is so worth it.
Here are a few ways you can start to learn the genuine conditions of your own life.
- Spend some time learning what you enjoy. Take a cooking class. Hit the gym at night if you always go in the morning. Check out a movie you’d “never see.” Play hooky from your life for just a day. Head off in the car by yourself and watch where you go. Walk into the stores that call to you.
- Ask yourself: “If money was not a constraint, how would I spend my time?” Many of us never look at this question. It’s generally pretty illuminating as so much of our life and actions are a result of earning or saving money.
- Make a list of 25 things you’re grateful for. Is this easy or does it take some time for you to do? Gratitude is definitely a muscle and you’ll get to know your own conditions best by being grateful for them.
- Discover how you’re designed to make decisions and work in a group. One way I highly recommend is with a Human Design Reading. This information about how you are uniquely designed is life-changing.
- Practice self-care and create time to listen to your intuition. Watch your tendencies. Do you allow your self-care time to go out the window when someone (a husband, a client, a child…) needs you?
What’s the easiest exercise for you in your life? What’s the hardest? What did you learn about knowing, loving and accepting yourself?
Posted on September 25, 2015 at 7:50 am