I See Myself

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I rely on other people for approval, validation, and possibly my very existence. How welcoming it is to learn that I can rely on myself for these things!

When I try to create my life based on others' expectations, I always fall short. I can't possibly fulfill someone else's view of me, even when they mean well. In fact, in my mind, I will never meet someone else's opinion of who I should be, how I should behave, or what I should look like. I don’t need someone else’s approval for how to exist.

I trust myself to see myself. I learn to see myself wholly and completely and then, accept who that is.

A lot of times the people who love us the most and only want the "best" can inadvertently make us feel like we will never measure up. When we try to make others happy, we might dismiss something mundane about our true nature that would actually fulfill our dharma (our purpose). A common struggle for new writers is this - Who am I to be a writer? Isn’t it indulgent and irresponsible? Why do my words matter? And, why do I matter? I struggle with being a yoga teacher the same way. I am skilled at many things, so shouldn’t I choose something more validating and prestigious? Shouldn’t I play the part that is common and expected?

I feed myself the story that I can be more, and therefore, receive more approval from those around me. Looking back, I am glad my path has been what it is, up and down, filled with detours and tragedies. I’ve learned along the way that I am the only one who needs to be fulfilled and happy with a decision. Furthermore, I am the only one who knows what I need.

The greatest part is, once I am fulfilled, others who care about me will also be happy, and I will have accomplished what I tried to in the first place.

Think about it, do you really care what your friends and family do? Do you care if they are lawyers or authors or street sweepers? Do you care if they have amazing health insurance or the bare minimum? Do you care what their office or workspace looks like? Of course not. If you sense a friend is depressed or struggling, you will hurt for them and try to help. But the "thing" they do is irrelevant to who they are. All that matters is that you witness someone at peace in their soul. And to be at peace, we must be true to who we really are - whatever that looks like for us.

We are the only ones who know ourselves so wholly and completely that when we abandon ourself it hurts. Something deep inside begs us to change course. The anxiety of forgetting who I am fills my stomach and my heart. A heaviness sits inside my chest and I have to ask myself what it means. I knew I needed to give up alcohol long before anyone else did. I sensed it each time I poured a drink - something is not right. This has become an escape and an addiction.

Often we mistake the broken, incomplete feeling as being someone else's fault, or related to an outside circumstance. (I wouldn't drink so much if my marriage was better, my kids were older, my career took off...) Of course, unhealthy relationships or bad situations can make us feel conflicted or lost, but a lot of the time, the anxious feeling is completely within us to resolve. What have we done to step away from our truth? Are we living someone else's life or view of who we should be? Are we relying on other people for validation and therefore acting in a way that goes against what we really want?

This is the biggest life lesson in how to attain freedom - I strive to live in a way that honors me, and as a result, I watch everything else around me fall into place - my relationships, my career, my day to day life. The Universe will conspire in your favor as long as you are on your path. And when you're not, your body tells you pretty quickly. You get sick, tired, frustrated, and lonely. I've been there - I have been all those things. That's one thing I love about yoga and meditation. I love that the stillness quiets outside noise and brings me back to truth. I love that the mat gives me time to reflect without others talking to me. I love that I can love myself while in a pose, and I never have to tell another soul. I loved myself today. This is the greatest you can do for yourself.

Love yourself by seeing yourself.

Love yourself by getting honest, and then, own it!

Molly Chanson