October 8, 2020

NAVIGATING UNCERTAINTIES PART FOUR

Reconnecting and Solidifying our Foundation

“To live is to choose, but to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there.” – Kofi Annan

This is one of my all-time favorite quotes by Kofi Annan. It reminds us that we all have freewill– that ability to choose, to decide, whether the outcome is good or bad, right or wrong, that is life.

That’s what makes this statement so powerful, and why we must embrace everything that goes into making a choice and exercise it wisely.

In my earlier post on Channeling to the Right Focus & Taking Back the Driver Seat, I talked about how channeling our mind and having the “right” focus can help improve the way that we handle a situation. It can also contribute to the results of an outcome.

Today’s post will help us to connect with ourselves on a much deeper level as we navigate how to go “inward” in order to create an empowering foundation that is solid.


BUT FIRST, A QUICK MESSAGE FROM THE PAST


“As we continue to ride this wave called life, it’s important to take a holistic view of our life, and to make peace with ourselves and our choices. Doing this allows us to continue in a positive growth momentum, as we build a healthy mindset for our future.”
– Mim Chawimon

A Quote from Healthy Growth Mindset: Part Three

Before we dive into today’s post, I want to share a quick note about something that sort of called out to me from my previous journal entries, the Healthy Growth Mindset series. There, I discussed how to get to know ourselves, as well as how our values and belief systems can help us navigate life.

Knowing ourselves and building a healthy mindset is what helps us evolve and grow through the challenges and uncertainties that life brings our way. It protects us from losing touch with our roots, while ensuring that we stay true to our sense of self.

In today’s world we can allow our lives to be filled with so many distractions that we sometimes forget to reconnect with ourselves because we are simply too busy to stop, take a deep breath and focus on ‘us.’  Sadly, this can often cause us to become “human doings” instead of “human beings.”

If this sounds like where you’re at today, or if you can see yourself heading in that direction, I encourage you to read through the Healthy Growth Mindset series. This series can help us navigate the uncertainties of today with mindfulness, while growing a healthy mindset for tomorrow and years to come.

No matter what the rest of this year or 2021 throws our way, we can remember that…

“We can’t change the reality of how the world works, nor the external landscape. But we can change how we handle it.”
— Mim Chawimon

A Quote from Healthy Growth Mindset, Part One

Alright, let’s get back to the present on with today’s message


KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU STAND FOR


Is it true to say that when we are in tune with ourselves on a fundamental level, our boundaries become very clear? 

For some of us setting personal boundaries comes naturally, for others it’s a process acquired through trial and error, like the process of growing from adolescence into adulthood, where with age comes maturity.

Some of us are more passive by nature and might have a hard time grasping the concept of how to even set a personal boundary. Since we are already looking closely at who we are and what we stand for along this mindfulness journey, let’s take this opportunity to explore the process of establishing personal boundaries together…

Knowing Your Boundaries 

I must admit that I struggled A LOT with finding and claiming my personal boundary, so if you have ever felt this way, know that you are not alone, (Lol) At least we’re on this journey together!

In the past, people would often tell me that I wore my “heart on my sleeve,” or that they could totally tell how I was feeling based on my facial expressions. Because of this, I was having conflicted feelings about “wearing my heart on my sleeve”.

On one end, I felt at ease and happy getting to be “me” and showing my authenticity. But, another part of me hated it for this characteristic made me more vulnerable to being easily manipulated or taken advantage of.

Basically I was really struggling to maintain my authenticity, while trying to prevent myself from feeling too vulnerable and exposed.

At one point, I partially gave in to being less authentic and less of myself in order to have that false sense of feeling like I’m “protected.” But it never worked. The end result would consistently leave me feeling unrooted, which didn’t feel good at all.

Those feelings of being disconnected from my true self were signs telling me that I needed to change course, and that being less of myself must not be the “right” way.

Working through this internal struggle wasn’t simple to do, but it’s an important aspect of getting to know ourselves, who we authentically are, and where our boundaries are.

Only by working through the uncertainty of many personal and professional interactions, as well as conflicts and resolutions daily, did my boundaries begin to take shape and truly become clear.

“It’s important for us to be patient and gracious with ourselves as we work through figuring out
our own personal boundaries. It might take time, and it might take working through some struggles before
we know where our boundaries are.”
– Mim Chawimon


THE BRIDGE TO AUTHENTICITY


Upon finding my way back to my authentic self without feeling overly vulnerable or exposed, I asked myself this question— “How can I still be my authentic self without feeling vulnerable and exposed?”

First was to ground myself with an affirmation that it’s ALWAYS good to be open and authentic, regardless of what I perceive the outcome of that action to be.

Second was that I needed to sharpen my judgement call on exercising my discernment in selecting how much I share with each person I engage with. The answer was pretty simple, but it took an accumulation of experiences for me to learn the right formula for applying it the best way.

The fact of the matter is that not everyone in the world is trustworthy. However, it doesn’t mean we need to allow those untrustworthy people to rob us of our authenticity. I love my authenticity! Lol

While building a bridge back to our authenticity might prove to be somewhat difficult at times, I can confidently say that it’s 100% worth it.

Coming back to our key takeaway, we can choose very carefully who we want to open up to and how open we are with that person. We do this because being authentic can make us feel vulnerable at times, yet we can’t embrace our true authentic selves without that vulnerability.

So we learn to exercise discernment when sharing ourselves with others without mistaking being authentic with being an open-book to everyone. These are two very different things. When we first learn to come back to our true authentic selves, it might take a while before we are able to distinguish between the two.

For the sake of simplicity through illustration, let’s compare our authenticity to an iceberg in the ocean…

The tip of an iceberg is usually all that we can see, yet, there’s much more to an iceberg than meets the eye. Most of us are aware of how icebergs work because we either learned about The Titanic in history class, or we learned about it by watching the popular movie back in the 1990’s.

Understanding how icebergs work, if the tip of an iceberg is what we show to the world, we are still able to be authentic because the tip itself is still an iceberg. We would be inauthentic if we show the tip of something else. But as long as what we show is still the iceberg, we are true and authentic.

I share this analogy with you because you might be met with some resistance and even skepticism when you begin being more selective with whom you let see beneath the water.
Personally, I encountered this with some of the people in my life when I made the shift away from being an open book. Some of these people expressed doubt regarding my authenticity because they could no longer “read” me, nor see 100% of me. They could only see the tip of the iceberg.

At times this made me feel uncomfortable, especially with older friends and acquaintances when they’d notice the change in how I carry myself or raise their eyebrows at me. I must admit that there were a lot of times early on when I struggled with and even gave into trying to “prove to them” that I had been authentic despite my change of self-expression. Luckily, I realized promptly enough that …

“Authenticity can never be proven. It is within you. And only you can answer the question of if you are being truly authentic or not. Other people can only observe your actions and expressions.”
— Mim Chawimon

So, don’t waste your time and energy trying to prove to others. Rather, focus on consistently showing up authentically. Your authenticity will shine through overtime, and by then you will no longer need to do anything because others will “experience” it themselves.

Letting Your Authentic Self Shine Through

Along the journey, it became clearer and clearer to me that as long as I feel real and authentic on the inside, that authenticity will always shine through.

Go inwards and focus on asking yourself whether you are showing up as the real you or not. How much of you to show and to share is your choice.

For example, if you are not happy with how someone is treating you. You do not need to act out and express how much you are mad at them. You don’t need to act as if you are okay with it just for the sake of keeping harmony either.

Instead, you can simply distance yourself from the situation. You don’t need to fight with them, nor do you need to fake that you are happy or agree with them to fit in either.

Forming a boundary is how you communicate to others, through verbal and non-verbal Qu’s. That boundary is what divides what you can accept and what you cannot accept.

I hope this will help you see what to expect along the transition, the reactions from people around you along the way, and how to maneuver the transition of setting boundaries and living authentically more easily.

I cannot and will never tell you what your personal boundaries should be. And I can’t and won’t ever tell you how you should communicate your boundaries. Boundaries are highly personal, as they should be.

With that said, I can share with you a couple of tips to come up with your own personal boundaries.


TWO TIPS FOR HELPING YOU COME UP WITH YOUR OWN PERSONAL BOUNDARIES:


My first tip is to stay open and give people chances.

Of course, we all love it when people are open, giving, and nice to us. But a lot of times, we expect things from others without reflecting back upon ourselves to see if we are doing those things in return for them. Most of us want people to trust and love us, but how often do we go out of our way to do the same for them? Do we lose trust after the first mistake, or do we show grace and give them the time and the chance to continue to earn our trust?

“BE the change that you want to see,” is a philosophy of life that I subscribe to and connect with on a deep and personal level. Based on my personal experience, when I change, the world around me changes. Not the other way around. So I encourage you to stay open and give people second chances when it’s reasonable to do so.

Which leads me to my second tip…

Be mindful of the fact that meaningful bonds and trust takes time to build. We must allow time for other people’s actions and expressions to narrate their trustworthiness.

Returning back to my iceberg analogy, you can give time for those meaningful bonds and trust to occur naturally, by first showing your authentic tip of the iceberg to that person. This allows you to learn through their actions and expressions whether they’re trustworthy enough to go scuba diving with you underwater. And when you choose to go scuba diving with that person, the actions of love, compassion, and understanding that you both share for each other is what will fill up both of your oxygen tanks, in turn dictating how long you’ll be able to stay underwater, and to what depths you’ll be able to go to when exploring each other icebergs.

The above can be applied to an intimate relationship, as well as to other meaningful relationships such as your family and your friendships.

Before we continue, let’s tie the two tips for setting personal boundaries together…

“Be authentic and loving in nature, but open up bit by bit. Let people’s actions and time reveal how much and how deep you feel comfortable sharing your life with them.”
— Mim Chawimon

Through both experiences and mindfulness, I have formed and refined my personal boundaries, along with learning how to communicate them to others. In doing so, this has allowed me to cultivate meaningful and authentic relationships along the way. I hope that my experiences and the tips I’ve shared with you today will be useful for you in some way. 🙂

The goal is to stay in the NOW and find the alignment between your head and your heart. With clear boundaries and staying true to yourself, this is where you can live your “authenticity.” And in turn, make it much easier to find harmony from within.

In the next post, we will be discussing ways to navigate to our intended destination. Where do you see yourself in the future? Why do you want to be there, and how are you going to get there? I will see you there.

Bye-bye for now!

With love,

Mim

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