Woman looking out window
November 27, 2023

Relationship No. 1? The one with ourselves

By Sherrie Frank

I am sitting here watching a very blustery wind transform the landscape outside my window. It’s like a high-powered leaf blower, clearing away any remnants of autumn. I am imagining this wind as winter’s cleaning crew, readying the landscape for her big arrival. As the year comes to an end, I too am clearing away and making ready for what’s to come. And so, I find myself looking back, seeing how I have changed and what I have learned on this trip around the sun.

Sometimes I question the amount of time I spend on listening to my life. I can imagine myself as one of those characters on Saturday Night Live being spoofed for “gazing at my navel.” And yet, for us to live authentically, it is important to make time to know ourselves and learn how to create meaning from our experiences.

What can get in the way of creating a meaningful life is our beliefs. Many of us were taught not to talk about meaningful things or to make our happiness and well-being a priority. We learn how to hide out in plain sight, even from ourselves. At some point, we may begin identifying with the roles we play and derive our self-worth from how well we play them. What’s at risk with this strategy is ever having a sense of a real, authentic self. We can end up feeling lost and absent from our own lives.

I think it’s important to challenge the notion that it is self-indulgent to be curious about our lives. Living life without self-awareness can make us reckless, like a toddler behind the wheel of a car who knows enough to get on the road but lacks understanding of the impact on others. The more we know and understand ourselves and what it means to be human, the more responsive and less reactive we become. Being aware of our own humanity and growth helps develop empathy and compassion for others and healthy self-esteem in us. When we love and respect ourselves, we naturally bring these qualities to how we relate with others; these qualities of love and respect support the development of healthy relationships, from which healthy families and communities can grow.

So today, I invite you to join me in making self-reflection a habit. This may mean that you, like me, look back on this past year with curiosity and love. I’ll be revisiting journals and thinking about the people who’ve inspired me. And then, I’ll begin to dream about what I want from my next journey around the sun. How about you?

Xo s

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  1. AH, to be self aware. I am currently working at this one heavily. It means so much to me that I am well balanced. I have that contract with myself to be in balance. Yet, I find I do need help from time to time to juggle all the things. I am reminded that all my judgements are about me! Sometimes these judgements are so harsh. I am able to remind others to be gracious with themselves. I do snap back into self awareness at times and remember I want to be gracious with myself as well. The absolute best compliment I have ever received was was that I was “emotionally intelligent” this comment has continued to resonate with my life and I work to live up to it fully.