Updated: Aug 21, 2020
When Melissa invited me to write about being true to ourselves and the impact of living out of alignment, I pondered on the concept of alignment first. 'Being in alignment', what does that really mean? It feels metaphorical or abstract. Per the New Oxford American Dictionary, abstract means “existing in thought or as an idea but not having a physical or concrete existence”. That said, I’d argue when we are out of alignment with our values, there are certainly physical and concrete manifestations. (I’ll get to that in a moment.)
The term ‘alignment’ brought to mind two unrelated, but more concrete concepts to wrap my head around. The first, a car. Have you ever driven a car that was out of alignment? If you have, you know that the tires will drag to one side, forcing you to keep a hard grip on the steering wheel to keep the vehicle under control. The drive becomes more difficult, the vehicle consumes more fuel than normal, it no longer breaks or handles with the ease that it should, and safety on the road is compromised. The longer you wait to have the car realigned the more damage is being done. (Can you see where I might be going with this?)
The second concept that came to mind was a spine being out of alignment. I benefit from chiropractic care regularly and I have become very in tune with how my body feels when it is out of alignment. My symptoms can range from headaches, wrist pain, or just general back or neck stiffness. When I’m going to the chiropractor on a regular basis, with one adjustment I am instantly feeling relief. Mind you, when I first started seeing a chiropractor, it took several months of adjustments before my body started to feel the benefits of realignment. At first, my body was so used to being out of alignment that it would quickly position itself *back* to being out of alignment because that is what it was used to; the muscles and ligaments had to relearn what it meant to be in the correct alignment.
(Ah-hem...can you see where I’m going with that, too?)
So, when you are out of alignment with your values, when you are not being true to yourself, how does that show up in your life or in your body? What are your symptoms? What does your check engine light look like?
For me, one of my biggest red flags is when I am feeling anxious. My anxiety manifests in my body with a tight chest or knotted stomach. My mind races, and I can’t focus. This is when I need to pause and reflect. What has recently happened that could be triggering this anxiety? Do I need to correct my course, make an apology (to someone else or to myself), or perhaps take note of what has occurred and ensure I have learned from it and will take better action next time? This takes intentionality.
Let’s look at this from another angle.
How can we know when we *are* being true to ourselves?
When you are able to talk about what is important to you
What guides your actions and decisions? Being clear with yourself (and others) about that is an essential first step.
When you are able to be honest with yourself about what you think, feel, want, and need
We so often go through our days on autopilot, never pausing to reflect on how we are feeling, what our bodies are trying to communicate to us, and what we truly want and need for our deep soul satisfaction.
When you can review your day or week and tie your actions and decisions to your values
Again, fighting against the temptation to simply coast through life without reflection and intentionality.
When you can feel good about your actions and decisions
Is how you move through the world having a positive impact on others?
Here is some encouragement: this is a journey! You get to grow and evolve, you get to change your mind as you learn and discover new information, you get to mess up and learn from that and grow stronger because of it!
Not sure where to start? Well, reading this blog post and becoming more aware is a great first step. Self-awareness is at the core of all growth and development. Start having conversations with people who care about you around what is important and why. And, if you want to dig deeper and get even more serious about living your best life, get yourself a coach (wink)!
Hey, y’all… I am so glad you got a chance to meet Stacey. Her wisdom and compassion around being the best we can be is expansive. I am so lucky to have her in my life and if you’re interested in reaching out, you can connect via email (ChooseToThriveCoaching@gmail.com) or via Facebook (@ChooseToThriveCoaching).
Thank you for taking the time to read this Three Part series. And, if you have no idea what I'm talking about regarding three parts, head here for Part One and/or here for Part Two. Stay tuned next week for why talking money is so important for us women.
Here’s to you!