• Catherine Hansen MD, MPH

It's more than self-care; It's self-identity.

As I was conducting our EWC Blossom Session, it became obvious that we can’t just nurture ourselves into our power. We can’t take a spa day or extra-long walk and expect to show up differently in our lives. There are parts of our ‘old story’ that are so embedded in our body that they exist at a cellular level. Women can spend months or years in psychotherapy, talk through all their problems and never find a way to shift out of old habits. There is no way to talk ourselves into authentic confidence. Positive thoughts are nice, but they are just that, thoughts, not ways of ‘being’ or a new identity. Law of Attraction or ‘thoughts become things’ make the assumption that the energy we extend into the Universe will magnetize our dreams into our lives but those concepts, while valuable, don’t explain the mechanism. A future vision becomes our reality when we embody a new sense of self and integrate, into our very soul, the knowledge and understanding that we are everything we need to be. We are whole. We are worthy. We are enough.

You can’t get there from a therapy couch or a prescription bottle or even a glass of wine (as much as I’d like to think you can). You can’t get there by forcing the emotions into submission, failing to acknowledge that they’re there or laughing to disguise the pain. In fact, some of us don’t even know the wound exists because we stay so busy proving our worth in the outside world that we forget there’s an inner self that informs and guides every step of our life.

Learning to listen and lay bare our soul is not just the important work of our time; It’s the missing piece of the puzzle that will awaken humanity and elevate women to their rightful place as leaders and trailblazers in a world that needs our love.

If it’s so important, why aren’t more women doing it? If it’s the answer to humanity’s pain, why aren’t we all signing up?

Simply put, we are content to stay where we are because learning to listen inward creates angst and discomfort that we’d rather not feel. It’s easier to blame someone or something for our troubles or pretend they’re not there.

We are all a collection of our experiences, some known and some best forgotten. From the time we were little, we were integrating signals from the people around us and using those messages to inform our sense of self. Even those who had the very best childhoods made meaning of external messages long before maturity could filter the ones that didn’t serve us.

When babies make eye contact, they are searching for a response — Does she love me? Does he think I’m cute? Young girls are more apt to perform in order to impress and when we tell them we are too busy it means, to them, they’re not important. Adult women may go to great lengths to change their appearances or mutilate their bodies if they think it’s going to make them prettier or happier or worthy of greater respect.

It’s got to stop! Measuring our worth by someone else’s interpretation of our body, our beauty, or our IQ is still a measurement that leaves us out of the equation.

How do you feel about YOU? And not just on a conscious level when you look in the mirror, but deeply embedded inside your fascia.

Who do you believe yourself to be at the level of identity?

If you’re ready to let your ego’s defenses down and you are seeking true and unfiltered answers to these questions – Let’s try this…

Close your eyes and imagine a difficult feeling or uncomfortable emotion that is familiar to you. Anger, sadness, resentment, frustration, fear. A feeling that you notice bubbling up when things around you get tough.

Breathe deep into that emotion and feel its location in your body. If you’re a visual person, it may help to draw a stick figure with a big blob of ugly emotion scribbled in red.

Now, go deeper. Expect nothing and give yourself lots of empathy and compassion; you are not alone and you are not the only one who feels these things (I promise you that!).

As you breathe deeper and get under that uncomfortable emotion, ask yourself about the message that those bodily sensations are whispering to you.

“I’m scared.” “I’m a failure.” “I’m not worthy.” “I’m bad.” “I’m alone.” “I’m invisible.” Just let the emotions speak to you and don’t censor them. They’ve been waiting a long time to be heard.

Journal these messages that your cells are sharing. All of them. Take your time. Reserve judgement.

When you’ve finished listening and you’ve wiped your tears, turn toward yourself and offer the same level of love, compassion, and care that you would offer to your own child. Pretend that inner part of you is a younger version of yourself who needs your support and give it wholeheartedly. Extend the energetic warmth of a hug and unconditional love and speak to her with encouragement — You are loved. You are worthy. You are safe. You are enough.

Journal these loving, mature responses that you are extending to the vulnerable parts of yourself. Write them down. Share them openly. Feel their strength.

And, just as you would if a child or younger woman were asking for your help, remind yourself of what is absolutely true about you.

Your deeper truth is that you have all you need, right here, right now, to be the happiest, most fulfilled and most powerful version of yourself. You already are.

Share those insights in your journal. When these words deeply resonate in your body and you can, literally, FEEL their truth, they become your POWER STATEMENT. Write it down and post it as a reminder of your strength and your courage. You are strong. You are capable. You have resources. You are enough.

You’ve just witnessed a part of you that was yearning to be seen and heard and by doing so, you have transformed an old story into a powerful new identity. Sit with your new identity and speak, aloud, your power statement. Draw it in with your breath. Deep inhale. It’s the new you.

But you’re not done yet. The next step is to determine how to act in alignment with your new identity. How would a woman who is happy, fulfilled, worthy and loved, BE in the world? How would she walk? How would she talk? How would she respond to others around her? How would she interpret the world? These are the decisions and actions that integrate and embed this new sense of self. Take action today and each day this week to BE this powerful woman who knows her worth, celebrates her authentic beauty, shares her gifts, laughs at her mistakes and bounces when she falls. We are not seeking perfection, just progress toward a life of genuine alignment between the outward expression of your personality with the inner wisdom of your soul. Not just because it feels harmonious, but because it’s the way we rise in a world that needs our greatness. A woman, aligned with her innate power, is truly unstoppable! Go be that woman!

This exercise is based on work by Dr. Claire Zammit, Founder of Feminine Power

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