When All Else Fails, Be Yourself

Aidan“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

During the holidays, it is especially easy to get caught up in the lists of things that we must do.  Sometimes, in the midst of all the action, we forget who we are.  Considering the wide range of emotions that can come up at this time of year, it is important that we take care of ourselves.  We must take time to do the things that we normally do to support our own well-being.  If we are willing to take a few steps toward caring for our own needs, we will add even more good to the people and places we visit.

One of the first steps in getting back into a good feeling place is to slow down and acknowledge all the thoughts and feelings that are coming up.  There is something inherently healing about stopping and checking in with ourselves. In those moments we are breaking our old patterns and programs, and inserting a new choice.  It does not have to be a long pause.  All you need is enough time to slow down and breathe, while listening to what is going on inside and all around you.

This simple act of acknowledging our own thoughts and feelings will make it less likely that they will boil over in front of people that might be in the midst of their own inner turmoil.  That is the key to reclaiming our own power.  It is also a great way to take the stress out of the holidays, and every day.

When we take care of our own thoughts and feelings, then we are less likely to be emotionally dependent on the people around us.  This is very liberating because we have no control over the way others are acting and we have no idea what might be going on behind the scenes in their lives.  If we have taken good care of ourselves, we are likely to have more space in our mind to show up lovingly for others.

There is another value in checking in with ourselves and being gentle with whatever is coming up.  There is a place inside us that is waiting to be heard.  Too often we look outward for someone to acknowledge and honor us.  All the while, there is within us, a part that wants our own attention and care.  When we provide that love to the places inside us that are begging for our attention, we start to bloom.  In those moments, we get real enjoyment out of the people we are with, and the places we go.

When I meet students who are going through a challenging time, it is the students who are at peace with themselves that have the easiest time making the adjustments and taking the steps that might be required to move gracefully through whatever they are facing.  It is easier because they are not as concerned about what others might think of them, and are not afraid that someone might find out that they have challenges.

A parent recently told me about a wonderful interaction that he witnessed between his son, who is autistic, and some friends.  His son is attending a school that specializes in the education of children with autism.  He was talking to some of his buddies who are attending a school in Culver City Unified School District.

The parent shared that he was in tears as his son openly shared with the others that he attends a private school because he has learning challenges and requires extra support.  What was even more beautiful was that one friend responded that he was also interested in attending a private school because he was interested in the education that they have to offer.

There is something liberating about being who we are.  Having nothing to hide and no one to blame is a wonderful feeling.  This is something that I continue to work on in my own life.  When we know who we are, and take care of our dreams and desires, the rest of life seems to line up to cheer us on and support us.

If you feel stressed around the holiday season, or at any time, take the time to slow down.  Give yourself a few minutes in the day to check in with your thoughts and feelings.  Do something wonderful, just for you.  Cheer yourself on and reclaim your power.  When you are living in full accord with who you are, the world will light up and you will have a real reason to celebrate.

Photo (Top):  Take some time to celebrate yourself. When you feel good inside, the world feels good outside.  Aidan Ferreria, a fourth grader at Farragut Elementary School, brightens the world by sharing who he is, in and out of the classroom.

Edward Biagiotti is the Inclusion Specialist for Culver City Unified School District.  He is also co-host of the popular radio show, Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed, to find out more go to www.DarrellandEd.com

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