How many selves do you let out in a day or week?
Let me guess – you might wake up and take your inner athlete for a run or your inner guru to yoga class. You put on your work clothes and become professional or corporate warrior. You might become ace sales person or top networker. You get home and turn into responsible parent or care giver, making dinner and chasing homework. You might at the end of the day let out your intellectual, knowledge seeker or escape artist. You end the day exhausted, maybe feeling like something is missing but you don’t know what.
Where is the space in the day for your inner dreamer, artist, lover? Where is the self that wants to create and play? What about the self that wants to rebel, change the world, shake things up?
What happens to all these selves we suppress as we go through our working day, locked in a version of ourselves that may no longer make complete sense to us. What happens to the energy they have, the frustration they feel, their longing to be given space to run and contribute to your life and those around us.
You might feel yourself becoming grumpy, cranky or tired all the time. Things that once were easy have become a struggle and it may be harder to feel joy in the simple things around you. Your motivation may have gone and at the same time you are feeling more dissatisfied. You may also find yourself more frustrated or angered by people who are living the life you do not dare to have.
For me, I know that when I become overly responsible for other people I easily lose my mojo, become angry, even resentful of others. I lose touch with my inner adventurer, the part of me who loves to be free, to explore new places and to try new things. I undermine myself, turn away from commitments, make myself so unhappy I have to leave or give up the responsibility all together.
The cost is that my potential contribution to others is compromised. I procrastinate, waste time, fiddle with non-essential details, change my mind, obsessively go over details, get frustrated with myself, panic that I won’t get it done, blame myself, chastise myself, and eventually either do something or give up. Things that should be easy take hours or days more than it should. I become a worrier (not warrior) and fall into blame and complain victimhood.
Yet if I give myself a break during the day to try something new: read something I usually wouldn’t , put on some different music, try a new recipe, walk the dog a different way… I feel refreshed and renewed. I don’t need to scale Mt Everest or spend a month in France.
If you sense you are becoming someone you don’t want to be – chances are it’s because you are not letting a part of yourself express itself in your life.
So this week, let your inner artist, rebel or dreamer out for a few moments a day. See what happens and what doesn’t. If you feel more like your “old” self or who you want to be, keep doing it, maybe for longer.
It takes a lot of alertness to see how we are changing or being changed. And then, a lot of courage and cleverness to seize control back.