I am sensitive, curious, thoughtful, self-aware, creative and introverted.
I am also assertive, analytical, driven, purposeful, visionary and a natural leader.
Accepting that I am all of these and more has allowed me to relax in to myself. To re-connect and accept my strengths and vulnerabilities.
It wasn't always like that for me. I spent years, and by years, I mean decades in the latter qualities above. Feedback time at work was always a vulnerable time for me as I knew it would bring with it that word "assertive". I dreaded that word as for a woman it is a negative not a positive quality.
I was constantly pushing too much in all areas of my life. Whether it was in how I always seemed to be the one organising the social events with friends, never asking for help or confiding my vulnerabilities, proud that I never took a sick day from work, revelling in problem solving for everyone, whether they asked for it or not!
It meant I was constantly "on". If I didn't have the constitution and personality I have, I may have burned out. That is not a boast. At least if you burn out you have to stop. I was lucky though, I started to listen to myself and became aware that I didn't want to live like this.
I wanted a fuller life, one that I felt like I was being me. A life that I was proud of and that I could feel again. Change had to happen. Five years ago I started that journey.
I decided to take 100% responsibility for my behaviour and how I wished to live my life. I didn't know it then but I recognise now that I was completely disconnected from myself. I was living in this "fast lane" that I thought I wanted. But none of it was making me feel good.
There is only one way to make change. You have to want it. REALLY want it. Not the lacklustre "I want to be/do x". You have to feel it and say it from your gut, with your feet firmly planted on the ground, standing in your full power and say. I WANT MY LIFE TO BE FULLER AND TO FEEL EVERY BIT OF IT. The good and the shitty days. Because life is full of both.
The most natural way for me to find myself was by exploring passive interests that I had. I carved out from time for them. I left work on time and went in on time. I started off with a Mindfulness Course for 8 weeks. Which by the way didn't work ;-). It opened the door, and planted some seeds, but I still have never done a 45 minute body scan. A 12 week nutrition course reignited my creative flair for food and cooking. I practiced Yoga with Adriene. All of these invited me to slow down and allow new little habits to infiltrate my life. And recognise the Susan that is inside.
Now I know that;
I am sensitive and assertive. I am passionate and a geeky learner. I am driven and caring.
I know there are other women who like me are ambitious, driven and naturally assertive. But who feel disconnected and want to show the empathetic woman she is inside. There are also women that want to be more motivated, have a vision but feel unheard. Today I see you, I hear you. And I share this with you - you are all that you believe you are. You are all that inside. You can allow her to be seen, that you can be compassionate and be a strong leader. Let her out, let that compassionate and motivated woman out.
As a Type A person (these labels are good for something!) I always like practical tangible steps. So here are three steps that I have found the most powerful.
1. Decide you want to really make a change in your live. Do you want to own it? Do you believe you can change? Ready? Let's go!
2. Accept who you are. Every single human has both strengths and vulnerabilities. Embrace both. Start off with 1% acceptance. Write down or say it to yourself - I accept myself. I am at ease.
2. Spend five minutes on your own. Sitting quietly, doing nothing. No phone, no reading, writing. You can allow your mind to wander (that's its job) but sit and do nothing. We can only show compassion to ourselves and others when we pause. And speak from a place of pause.
Be patient and kind to yourself. It starts with you.
And if you want any support share it with me or comment below. Intentions work best when shared.