We live in a society where our relationship to things outside of ourselves seems far more important than our relationship to ourselves.
We pride ourselves on our families, our jobs, our labels and our outward expressions in the world. Not only do these matter, but they can often be sincere expressions of who we really are.
However, for most women our connection with ourselves often comes last, if it even exists at all. As we wake up each morning and catapult ourselves into the busyness of our days, we carry very little regard for the many ways we disconnect from ourselves.
Our connection with ourselves best serves as the foundation of our lives, with all else extending from there. We are the source from which our own life unfurls from.
The following are 18 ways many of us dampen, cut off and even destroy a connection with ourselves. My guess is that we are all on this list somewhere, my hope is that by reflecting on ourselves we will begin to transform the disconnection into a connection.
1) Being everywhere but here.
Presence is that thing we don’t often use even though it’s always available to us. Worry, fear, and our projection of the future tends to disconnect us from the experience we are having right now. Come back as often as you can by simply saying, “this moment.”
2) Our relationship to our body.
The body in which you exist is beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, it is sacred. Many of us have been disassociated with our bodies or associated only in a painful way. Sometimes we can feel as though our bodies are letting us down. But more likely we are letting our bodies down, by undervaluing our body or obsessing over it. Embodiment is the connection. Live within your body.
3) Being a miser with sleep.
Sleeping is a daily gift of restoration and our time of dreams. We must make our sleeping hours sacred, giving ourselves just what we need to wake rested each morning.
4) Making food a fool.
Rushing food, under eating, over-stuffing, following the “best” way to eat. etc. Food is very simply our fuel. When we fill our gas tanks we don’t put $1 in there because we’re worried the car will be too heavy, and we don’t keep filling the tank until the gas flows over because we are trying to soothe and distract the car from its feelings.
I’m not trying to sincerely compare our bodies to a car; I’m just making the point that we are far more complex than a vehicle—we have a spirit, emotions and a worth that can’t be destroyed. Food is fuel to help our bodies both survive and thrive. The food our body requests may not look like the diet we think we need to eat. It looks like giving our bodies what they need. It looks like hydrating completely. It looks like eating just what you need to feel satisfied. And it looks like leaving rigid behind.
5) Missing the importance of menstruation.
Our menstrual cycles are incredible revealers of our health, our moods and our burdens. Our relationship with menstruation can reveal our relationship with our bodies. Our cycles are cyclical gifts to help us rest, restore and release each month. Learning to appreciate this mini rhythm of nature that lives inside of us can do wonders for connecting us to ourselves.
6) Hormonal birth control.
Our bodies, when hormonally balanced, are a biological beauty. Taking artificial hormones each day to trick our bodies into pregnancy does such tremendous damage to our body’s wisdom. It creates an artificial atmosphere, hides the symptoms that reveal imbalance and damages the natural rhythm of a woman’s body.
7) Trying to prove our worth.
Worth is inherent. There is no one to prove anything to. We really are enough exactly as we are.
8) Prioritizing things that are not important to us.
Walk through your day in your mind. So much of it is filled with the tidyings and necessaries of life—so much so that we often don’t get to the things that are most important to us. What’s interesting is that if we start our days with what is most important, then we often store up excess energy that can easily and lovingly guide us through our day as we tend to the more mundane tasks of life.
9) Not being smart with our smartphones.
We have addicted ourselves to these mini computers that we never leave at home, never turn off, and sleep with next to our beds. For most people, their smartphone is the very first thing and the very last thing they look at each day. We are so fascinated with other people’s lives that we forget to connect with our own. First place to smarten up? No phones in our bedrooms!
10) Being way too hard on ourselves.
Watch, for one day, and notice how many times we tell ourselves we could have done something better, faster, wiser or sooner, or that we should have done something.
11) Not giving ourselves what we need.
For most women, we come last. We meet the needs of everyone else and if we have anything left over we guiltily share it with ourselves. Not such a great equation.
12) Interrupting intuition.
Let go. Let go. Let go. Controlling cuts off that part of ourselves that communicates with our inner knowing.
13) Not following the rhythms of nature.
As women we are intricately connected to the rhythms of nature. As mentioned above, menstruation is a monthly expression of that rhythm in our body. Spending time outdoors is critical to ground us and connect us with the vastness of our existence. Get outside to connect with the messages nature will give you and the energy she will fill you with.
14) People pleasing.
Look at the calendar and to-do list for the week and notice how many things are on there to please someone else. Make adjustments and fill those spots with a few things to please yourself.
Sigh. The biggest and most challenging disconnection we battle. It feeds many of the other things listed here. It is soul sucking, anxiety inducing, and the quickest way to live a life half-assed.
16) Staying too safe.
We get so comfortable with the way life is and settle in deep to the safety of being there. This has no choice but to stunt and drown dreams—often the very things we’d hear an urging to do if we were connected with ourselves.
17) Seeking balance.
Balance is a fallacy. You cannot find it because it doesn’t exist. At least not in the sense we are seeking it. We cannot, nor ever will be able to, give an equal amount of time to all the things that are important to us. Life is much more complex and beautiful than that. We must live life so fully that giving equally to it all doesn’t matter because we give so completely to what matters at the moment.
18) Limiting joy.
Too many of us are not making time for the thing that most lights us up. Why does joy get put last? Because we are so disconnected with ourselves we don’t realize the value, the importance and the sacredness of ourselves and how necessary joy truly is to our well-being.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Brenna Fischer/Editor: Travis May