self awareness

remember to exhale

some years ago, a therapist told me that i tend to subconsciously hold my breath. i learned that this habit comes from subconscious anxiety (probably amongst other things) and that such limiting of my oxygen intake can erode my health over time. i was paying attention.

now when i catch myself— which is typically daily— i let out a big, big exhale.

and then i let in a big deep breath and exhale again— slowly or swiftly, whatever is needed in the moment.

i often say to myself, “exhale exhale exhale.”

this becomes a pretty powerful opportunity for in-the-moment awareness as well. i might ask myself:

  • what am i “holding my breath” about?
  • or, what am i holding onto?
  • what am i afraid will happen?
  • is there something i’m secretly dreading?
  • what am i hiding from?
  • what might be making me feel tense or uneasy?
  • do i feel unsafe right now? why?
  • am i disallowing flow and trust in this moment somehow?
  • am i simply holding onto generic anxiety because that’s what i’m used to?

what often arises upon answering any of these questions is a realization of some sort of subconscious “clenching.” typically, this clenching— or bracing— is the result of repetitive thoughts or beliefs about the “reality” of our world, our lives, ourselves being erroneously deemed truth and subsequently embedded as a broken record in our subconscious.

once we recognize this subconscious fight or flight (or freeze) loop is silently draining our life force, our exhale allows us to gently recognize and release our false narratives, moment by moment.

exhale and let go, loves. i’m doing it right here with you <3

why we do that unsolicited advice thing and how to stop

unsolicited advice: that boundary violation when someone prescribes their will upon you.

the idea of “should” is way too hella much embedded into our culture.

however subtle or seemingly harmless, the person on the receiving end often feels uncomfortable, annoyed, frustrated, condescended, pressured, unseen, and disregarded. yet many of us continue to dish it nonetheless— why?

what is this irresistible compulsion to give our two cents? and to double down upon resistance, even?

identity and ego.

the identified mind creates ideas of what it believes the world is and references these ideas when deciding how to move about life— on the most base level, in the interest of survival.

our egoic minds and constructed identities are ultimately fragile holograms and our subconscious knows this; it knows that our true selves are formless and devoid of the “i.”

and so, if we are too attached to our egos and identities, our safe space resides in a clearly defined, delicate box. then when anything feels divergent from my safe space construct of a sound reality, it is perceived as an actual threat to *me* and my very existence.

we try to organize and control the world around us as if it were a simulation of what our minds have decided is “right” and therefore “safe.” that’s not real life, though! and it ain’t no funnnnn.

when i learned these concepts in therapy several years ago, it blew my mind and changed my life.

so much of the pain we cause ourselves and others is because of this death grip we keep on our egos and identities as a form of protection. we think that if another person doesn’t see the world how we do or live their lives per our values, that their refusal is an affront to our own goodness, worth, and “rightness.” we question our own freedom to safely exist as we are.

once i really digested this and began to observe what was behind my urges to tell people about themselves, i saw my “advice” was often more about me than the other person. i also started to notice how crazy much everyone does this unsolicited advice thing. and as i stopped imposing my will upon others, i became further sensitized to and uncomfortable when others tried to impose their will upon me or someone else.

what i’ve done since is my best to:

1) ask people if they want feedback or my thoughts before giving it. and be totally fine if they say “no!”

2) cut “should” out of my vocabulary and replace it with things like: “you could consider,” “have you thought about,” “it might be helpful to,” leading questions, personal accounts, etc

best wishes if you decide to take this journey! it’s been a mutually affirming one for both me and folks on the receiving end.