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Conscious clarity: The path to self-love
Growth happens outside our comfort zone
I recently did an exercise called “Love Your Body” using a modality called positive intelligence. You take just 2 minutes and quietly gaze at yourself in a mirror noting all the positive qualities looking back at you. And when those judgy voices crop up to point a finger you simply say, “Now is not the time, this is not the space. Be quiet.” It is the gift of unconditional love. I found the exercise to be sweet, and gentle and supportive. But that is because I have decided to be sweet, and gentle and supportive to myself. A year ago, I don’t think I could have got through 2 minutes of that exercise without the critics commandeering the conversation in my head. Try it. And set a timer.
There is only one reason I could do this exercise without all the voices in my head clamoring and protesting. Last year was my year for conscious clarity.
Getting clear means examining your whys
Why do you choose to do the work you do? Why do you work where you work and live where you live? Why do you choose the friends you have, and why do you choose to be in relationship the way you are with family, both intimate and at arm’s length? Why do you set your boundaries as they are, and why do you serve who you serve in the way you do? Why do you hold the beliefs that you hold?
Getting clear means asking yourself, “Is any of this doing in alignment with who I am at my core? Or am I just ticking off boxes because of standards and values that were handed to me by some collective somewhere that I somehow accepted knows better than me what is right for me?”
This quest for clarity leads to self-love in a way that is powerful, foundational, and unshakable.
Achieving personal alignment
As a heart-centered professional Black woman, a transformational coach, a veterinarian in practice, a specialist in my field, a business owner of some 30 years, a friend and a companion, a unicorn who has “made it,” holding a mirror up to myself was key to knowing and accepting who I am so that I could decide my next steps on this magical journey.
I found that it was pretty easy to identify the places of alignment. Those places felt good. I felt happy and those feelings spread to the people around me like the ripples created on a pond when a pebble is dropped in. I was in flow.
When a relationship or activity was not in alignment, it was a struggle mentally and emotionally to get through it, and the results were not satisfying for anyone. Believe it or not, that was the painless part of the assignment.
The big question was, if you were not in alignment, why not? Ugh! That process (still ongoing) was tough and a little unforgiving because I did not give excuses a voice. It either felt good or it did not. It either had a positive impact on my mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual well-being or it did not.
I certainly struggled. Not only with where I was versus where I wanted to be, but with how I could make the choices needed to get me moving in a direction that is aligned with where I want to be (and not give up all that I have worked so hard for). I mean, I did not want to give up certain things. Why? Because as human beings we tend to choose “sameness” and comfort and safety over change.
Making positive changes
Growth happens outside of your comfort zone. My biggest triumph was recognizing 3 things, as follows:
- That overcoming my resistance to change meant unapologetically embracing and trusting that I know what is true and best for me right now. Yesterday’s dreams, whether met or deferred, are no longer my present.
- That who I am now is a product of my work, and my work is not done.
- That what I am creating now is new and different and may not have a score card, ruler, or test I can use to measure whether I am “doing it right” or not. I must do it anyway because I am the only one who knows what is best for me. My dreams are still in the making. I love what has emerged on the other side, and I trust that where I am is exactly where I am supposed to be.
Doing this work is like going to the gym. When you start out, the work is hard, you hate the way it makes you feel, and sometimes you just want to quit. But then you begin to see and feel the change and how it affects you mentally and emotionally, and you start to look forward to the challenge.
At this point in my journey, my intuition, self-awareness, and clarity on my values and my purpose all guide me in sharing my gifts and passions in a way that will uplift those individuals who come into my orbit. I know this truth in my gut, my heart, and my soul. And it is because I loved myself enough to do the work. Ripples become waves and waves become tsunamis. I am ready to ride the wave wherever it takes me.
So what about you this year? A lot of people have been saying “2023 is for me,” but what does that mean? Where are you on your clarity journey? What do you really want? Who are you becoming?
If you have not done so, take the time to sit with these questions, journal on them, rely on your faith to ask these questions, or simply create your goals for the year. Asking yourself these questions is the foundation for creating a life you love that loves you back.
You are the creator of your life in every moment with each decision you make. It’s time to choose you.
Patricia D. White, DVM, MS, DACVD, is a transitions and transformational life coach specializing in guiding professional women to rediscover their value, purpose, and passions to create a life they love that loves them back. She is also a board-certified veterinary dermatologist and former owner of the Atlanta Veterinary Skin & Allergy Clinic, a referral veterinary dermatology practice. She shares her home with 3 fur babies, Thelma, Shalley, and Zuri.