Posted by: Tina M | 12 June , 2011

Self-Reflection 101

Earlier this week I was having a (one of my first) difficult check ins at work with a supervisor and I was astonished when the first question out of her mouth was: “What are you learning about yourself?”

The second shock was that I had some answers on the tip of my tongue- I wasn’t aware that I had needed a forum to process and share what had been happening as I settled/shifted into a new work environment.

And so I see a larger theme emerging where I don’t have the big picture thinking in mind as I wade through days of stress and stretching, that all of these experiences add up to self-knowledge, to an understanding of who I am, and thus what the world is for me.

It seems so simple, and yet I imagine this will be a lifelong process of meeting myself and then checking back only to find that I’ve grown or shifted again. But I’m sure some themes will emerge and my hope is that it will produce actual vocabulary for me to be able to articulate my wishes and needs in this world (a task I have infinite difficulty with).

So, what was the lesson on Tina M That I learned today? Taking care of me is a tiring job- it almost seems to consume all of my life!
It sounds funny but this actually is a realization. I never really put it together that taking care of oneself is our only function- Self-Preservation, self-actualization, and even reproduction is an extension of our desire to preserve some remnant of ourselves through our lineage.
I think that I hold in my heart some very strong feelings towards service and humble charity, or rather the importance of taking care of others. For me, it’s also self-interest since I find that my empathy makes it impossible to be happy when I am aware of other’s suffering around me. What I’m finding is that I fall so easily into the caretaker role that I am no longer conscious of the needs that I am trying to meet by doing so.
Even taking care of others is a part of me taking care of myself- but when I stop being intentional I can overextend myself, become resentful, or feel trapped in a role that I didn’t necessarily consent to even if I put myself in the position to hold that title.

So to care for myself I have to find the right proportions of being with others and being alone, processing and ignoring problems, sleeping, eating, practicing certain hobbies that bring me joy- It’s trying to assess in each moment what will be most effective.

It feels selfish but I might just be late to develop this type of emotional intelligence- and the only way to do so is to focus on myself- I know I’m going to feel better in the end, but man does the job make me tired!

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