Until recently, I had no idea how much of my life I lived from the outside in. Or how good I was at creating results for everyone else in the world other than me and my own life.
You never would have guessed this about me. I looked like someone who was highly motivated, willing to push back against the system and its injustices, able to make hard things happen in complex situations, and quite successful by all external measures.
Only I longed for something more. And I wasn't moving towards it. Instead, I was filling in the cracks and empty space in my life by trying to make a difference for everyone else. I knew who to be for others, but not who to be for myself. And the terror, panic, and emptiness I felt anytime I tried to take tiny steps in the direction of what I loved (like slowing down and reading a book in the back yard) sent me rushing back to try and figure out what I could do for others.
This meant I constantly scanned the outside world to see what was going on. What did others need or expect of me? What problems needed fixing? What should I do in this situation to gain others positive responses? I excelled at living life like a sponge, detecting and taking in everything going on around me. Like many women, I performed my life from the outside-in. My power and sense of worth lived outside of me.
But I wanted to move towards what I loved in life. I wanted to let go of what no longer fulfilled me. And I wanted to trust that I could feel stable and secure enough inside that I could create a life that was just as bold and amazing as everything I created for others.
To do this, I needed to learn to live life in a new way: from the inside out. Here are 3 core practices to use daily while learning to live life from the inside out.
Practice 1: Ask yourself questions every day to connect you with yourself instead of the outside world.
- What would you love to do today? In this moment?
- What would you do if you weren't worried about what anyone else thought?
- What would you do if you trusted everyone you met today was whole, resourceful, capable & creative?
- What brings a smile to your face, makes you curious, and creates a sense of delight? What do you need to tell yourself to know you have permission to do these things & feel the joy of them deeply?
Then, listen for the answer and do whatever feels true, no matter how terrifying it is. Believe me when I say that a LOT of fear surfaced each and every time I chose what felt true inside. But this has been the pathway to experiencing a deep and lasting sense of fulfillment.
Practice 2: Get comfortable slowing down.
What's your relationship like with boredom? And what comes up for you when you face empty space and don't know what to do with yourself? Space is the birthplace of creativity. So, if you find yourself skittering away from these, then you're onto something. When we're used to scanning the outside world constantly, then it's likely our "problem-solving/productivity brain" is driving life. This brain is used to constant stimulation. And the more stimulation it's used to, the harder it is to slow down. But until we learn to drive our lives with our slower, more open, creative brain (and use our problem-solving/productivity brain in a supporting role), we'll keep wasting loads of energy on the trauma, drama, endless expectations and stimulation of the outside world. This means we'll have no energy left for expressing the fullest, most creative version of who we are.
Practice 3: Learn to tolerate & dwell inside yourself.
Our bodies are amazing resources. But often we've learned to contract and disconnect physically with parts of ourselves to self-protect (for good reason!). And these physical habits have often been with us for years. This means our energy may be trapped or constricted rather than moving freely inside. Or it could mean we're physically resisting a part of who we are,--a part we need if we want to experience fulfillment in life. But what if our bodies felt like the safest place we could possibly be? What if we knew how to be inside ourselves and experience our physical body like a temple that protects and holds us in the world? Here are 2 guided, outstanding practices you may enjoy that can support you in accepting and coming home to yourself physically.
If you'd like to join an amazing community of women learning to live deeply fulfilling lives (from the inside out), please sign up for a 30-minute discovery call to learn more about a 6-week class for women. Live Your Wildly Beautiful Life. The course begins April 7, 2021.