Last week, I wrote about a tough pill to swallow: that to whatever degree self-actualization is lacking in your life, is the same degree that self-abandonment is happening in your life. [If you missed it, click here.]
As I re-read what I wrote, I dropped into a deeply reflective state.
Sitting in one place, I stared into the distance for I-don’t-know-how-long while silently reflecting on thoughts, questions, and emotions about some of the circumstances that have happened in my life that have shown me where self-actualization is lacking and – with that – where self-abandonment is/was happening.
I always gain immense clarity from this confronting-but-productive self-inventory … inevitably noticing ways that I am acting in cahoots with patterns of self-abandonment.
Areas of dissatisfaction come to light.
I notice areas where some of my needs have gone unmet.
I notice where, not only aren’t I getting what I want, but where who I know myself to be is feeling stifled or being dishonored in some way.
From such awareness comes the recognition that IF I DON’T CHANGE ANYTHING to make improvements to these areas … I am essentially denying myself these things.
Settling for less than you desire is a form of self-denial.
Such evidence-based self-inventory isn’t for the faint of heart because there’s no room for pretending in the relationship between you-and-you.
It boils down to this:
Either you decide to consent to self-denial, self-abandonment, and self-neglect that impedes your own self-actualization, OR … you do something about it.
We impact our circumstances with our choices. There’s a point at which we can no longer hold others responsible for our own experience or blame circumstances for what we aren’t experiencing.
Doing something about it can take many forms. Giving thoughtful attention to the circumstances, doing what you know how to do to remedy the situation is generally best, followed by patience and time to see the impact of your actions, hopefully for the better.
BUT – what happens when actions fail?
It’s not always true that when we ask for what we need, or set a boundary in a relationship, or express ourselves fully, or take time to heal and be self-responsible … that this is the ultimate answer or remedy.
In the midst of even the most complex circumstances or the most challenging relationships, we each get to choose how – and for how long – we invest our energy into finding the right solution.
But, when all of your best efforts don’t work and something carries on for too long or in a way that still isn’t satisfying or supportive, what then do you DO?!?
When noticing such a pattern in your life and in yourself – assuming you are committed to making the necessary changes to remedy it – you can interrupt the pattern in one of two ways:
(1) By doing new things, initiating NEW action
(2) By deciding what you will STOP doing
NOT DOING can be a powerful pattern interruption.
Not everything requires more effort.
Sometimes the best thing you can do is STOP participating in a conversation, a situation, a relationship, or a space – creating a disruption in the already established dynamic.
And unlike the time and energy that efforts behind new habits or new actions need to “kick in”… while making the initial choice can be laborious, once made, NOT doing can often bring instant relief.
Do not underestimate the power of reclaiming your energy, calling yourself back to yourself, by doing less of what isn’t aligned.
I need these reminders from time to time, and perhaps you do too:
⭐ Abandoning yourself in order to tolerate circumstances that aren’t a match for you is an expense of precious life force. If maintaining the status quo requires that you abandon yourself to perpetuate it, and you STOP doing this, your circumstances will inevitably change.
⭐ Abandoning yourself in order to maintain connection with others isn’t healthy. If what is holding a relationship together is you abandoning yourself, and you STOP doing this, that relationship will either change or fall away.
⭐ Last but not least, abandoning yourself in order to do things you find utterly draining and misaligned is an affront to your soul. If continuing to do these things requires you to keep selling a piece of your soul, and you STOP doing these things, your stand for who you know yourself to be will give your highest sense of Self the opportunity to surface and take the lead.
Taking an honest look at areas where change is calling and where you’re being asked to step up, is both empowering and daunting.
Making intentional changes in the direction of self-actualization is what I’m here for and what I’m committed to.