11 September 2019

WHAT IT MEANS TO REALLY 'SEE' YOURSELF


^^ Image by Rowan Heuvel via Unsplash ^^

We watched the movie ‘Split’ last night, which is a film I’ve been meaning to check out for ages, have you seen it? Its such a good one. Right at the end of the film, the main character, played by James McAvoy, has the girl he's been keeping locked up standing there in front of him and, for the first time he sees that she is covered in scars from years of abuse from her uncle. He says to her ‘you are different from the rest, you are more evolved'; he realises that, like him, she has suffered in her life and he seems to resonate with her on an emotional level because there is a shared understanding of the pain they have been through. There is a message throughout the film about people ‘waking up’ through their experiences in life and that is what I want to talk about today. 

It is true to say that life shapes us, how can it not, it has so many facets to it and so many personalities all flowing around one another every single day. Every experience, good and bad, mould us over time, just as the sea smooths out a rock, or piece of glass, the more we are metaphorically 'tumbled in the waves', the more we understand ourselves and become something less jagged (less naive) and evolve into a perfect version of ourselves in our own way.

What I'm very sure of is how the more difficult, emotional experiences in life fast track our learning, self discovery and spiritual growth. As humans, we have choices; we can make a decision to to let something fester in our brains forever, turning us bitter, angry or depressed, or we can let them become a part of us in a more positive way, holding on to what was important from the experience and choosing to move forward with that new knowledge and growth (taking with us what the universe intended us to understand). 

Fear is crippling sometimes and so when faced with it, you have to try and run at it full pelt (unless it is fear of a big, hungry, very scary bear, in which case I recommend not running towards it at all... pick your battles people!). For example, and I will use a very small fear of mine here: you may feel fear about getting petrol for your car. For me the fear comes from feeling physically exposed whilst people queue in their cars behind me, forced to look in my direction and, in my head, judging me and thinking about how I look and what I am doing. If I let that fear take over I will never get petrol at all, meaning that I am stuck inside until Joe gets some instead. This is a small fear, or was, because I have now done it so much it barely even registers (win for me!), but my point is that it can have ripple effects throughout your whole life.

With small fears, like the example above, the best thing you can do is to face them directly; you have to distract the voice in your head that tells you people are looking at you, and you just have to ‘do the thing’, because afterwards you will drive away feeling amazing and, do you know what you can do with that amazing feeling... anything you bloody want to! That’s the great thing about doing the harder stuff in life, when you conquer one thing, you feel so good you want to do more right that minute!



The bigger things in life, the traumatic things, really shape us, they grab us firmly by the shoulders, stand us in front of a mirror and force us to see ourselves completely. As hard as it is to face things sometimes, we must do this work, we must ‘see ourselves’, including all our flaws, which is why doing the work after a trauma is so important. Once again, I can only reference my own experiences, and I’m not going to air them here, but the traumas I refer to are emotional and extremely hard to deal with. When you go through anything in life, as easy as it is to stick your head in the sand and push it away, trust me when I say, it will come back again and again until you acknowledge it. It may involve others or it may just be something that you have experienced alone, but that doesn’t matter because it will return to you as 'work you need to do' at some point. I have had things show up for me that happened when I was in my 20’s and I've had to work through the emotions all these years later, but it was worth it. 

With age I have evolved my understanding and have come to learn that suffering a little bit of emotional pain in order to start to clear the deeper pain is a must. You cannot be afraid of seeing who you are, and that is what happens when you refuse to push things under the carpet. What you see you may not like though, and that is the warning I am here to give you, but do not fret, because the biggest step is seeing yourself, once you do that you can change what you do not like, and that is true growth right there. Staying the same, ignoring the shitty stuff, that is just ignorance, so do the work, it’s bloody wonderful on the other side.

The downside is you feel emotionally exhausted for a while as you work through things and scramble about for answers, but my goodness it’s such a freeing experience. Work on yourself every single day, rather than allowing everything to catch up with you; you soon get used to doing it, and before you know it you think completely differently and your bounce back rate is so much faster!

Here are my tips to help you through self discovery:

WRITE
I do my ‘morning pages’, which involve getting up, making a cup of tea or coffee and sitting with a notebook to just write whatever comes into my head. If nothing comes, just write about anything and see what comes up. Some days nothing will surface and that is okay. Try and write at least two to three pages, giving yourself time to explore the things that arise when, and if, they do.

LISTEN
Go out into nature and walk. Listen to the birds, the wind in the trees and allow your mind to travel within and see what you hear. Journaling after this process can also be useful.

EDUCATE 
I love listening to podcasts that are thought provoking and soul enriching. My favourite is the Ophra Winfrey ‘Super Soul’ podcast, which covers such a wide range of subjects but never fails to make me think about things from the point of view of my own life, even if it is simply ‘wow, I live such a privileged life’, which is what I thought last week when I listened to a holocaust survivor retelling her version of events. It was so sad, but her story had such power and positivity to it, and you have to leave that episode thinking that, compared to that, nothing in your own life is that bad. Another favourite of mine is the Lori Harder podcast, Earn Your Happy, which covers a great deal of subjects from business to body image. I love her attitude to things and they way she has been through so much, talks about it openly and uses her story to encourage her listeners.

EXERCISE 
You guys know that I love my gym training; lifting weights and pushing my body is my way of going within, pulling out strength that I didn’t know I had and understanding what my body is capable of. The body issues I have had throughout my life, and continue to struggle with, will not win, and I will not be forced to stay indoors through fear of being seen in my skin, so my morning routine of the gym is therapy for me in so many ways.

So to end this post I will circle back to that last scene in 'Split'; the lead female character finally realises what she has to do to get James McAvoy's character(s) to 'see' her, and that is reveal her most vulnerable self to him. Isn't that so important throughout life? Not just allowing those close to us to truly 'see' us, but to allow ourselves to do that too, because most of us are scared of what we will see if we really look.

Let me know what you think about this subject in the comments guys. I am really interested to know!
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