“To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom” – Socrates
Knowing yourself is about being aware of your core values, dreams, priorities, purpose and what lights you up with joy. Knowing yourself means accepting your strengths and weaknesses, your thoughts and feelings, and your boundaries. Another part of knowing yourself is being able to recognise when you experience an internal shift in energy, mood and thoughts that takes you away from a feeling of being settled and grounded to a feeling of being distracted, uncomfortable and unsettled. You may not be able to pinpoint exactly how you feel or why. You just intuitively recognise that something feels off and you don’t feel like you.
When this happens, it is usually a sign that you are out of alignment with your true self. The discomfort you feel is the inner self letting you know that your mind, body and/or spirit is not operating in line with your core beliefs, values, purpose or goals. Initially, the signs can be quite subtle. The longer you are out of alignment, the more apparent the signs will become to you and possibly others, through your emotions and energy. This growing misalignment can present itself in some of the following ways: mental and/or physical fatigue; low mood; irritable; demotivated; frustrated; anxious; and negative.
What we don’t always realise is that when we start to feel off and unhappy with something in our lives, we are being given an opportunity to course correct and move towards what we do want in our lives. The key to getting back into alignment is to want it and to be willing to look inwards and ask questions of yourself, with compassion and curiosity. Start by saying “I am done with feeling this way. I’m ready to feel good”; this will begin to empower you and send a strong signal to the universe that you are ready to pivot toward alignment once more.
If you are out of alignment here are four steps to get back into your flow:
STEP 1: When you become aware that you’re out of alignment, play observer to how you act, feel and think. Write down the emotions you feel, the behaviours you show and the thought patterns that dominate. Let this be your future checklist so that you can catch yourself sooner next time and take action to prevent a full-blown ‘funk’ setting in.
For example: I feel tired, my energy is dampened and I am less tolerant. I feel frustrated and defeated. My mental cognition is slower. I snap at people. I begin to shut down.
Finish this sentence: When I’m out alignment with my authentic truth, I…
STEP 2: Identify the patterns and triggers that cause you to fall out of alignment. Be truthful with yourself and ask what am I doing differently? What good habits have I let slip? How am I spending my time? Who have I been around? What environments have I been spending time in? Have I been neglecting myself? The answers to these questions will allow you to see what things you need to either change or restore in your life to bring you back into alignment.
STEP 3: Notice what it feels like when you are in alignment with your truth. Pay attention and take notes of what you’re doing, who you are with, what environment you are in, and how you feel. Come back to these things when you begin to feel misaligned.
STEP 4: Have habits, practices and rituals that are your anchor. Know what works for you and consciously return to the habits, practices and rituals that anchor you to your authentic self and support your mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing. These are the activities, small mindful moments or acts of self-care that help to provide structure and meaning again, and that bring you back to a state of being and connection to the inner self.
My go-to habits are: (1)gratitude and affirmations when I wake; (2) meditation before bed; (3) journaling; (4) time in nature; (5) early bedtime and good quality sleep; (6) reading’ (7) moving my body / dancing around the house; and (8) re-introducing spontaneity instead of routine.
Staying in constant alignment with your authenticity is difficult. The egoic mind will try to keep you attached to negative self-talk, false beliefs and old behavioural patterns. There are times when life will throw up challenges and a multitude of demands that inevitably knock you off track for a while. But you can always consciously choose to begin again after each misalignment. After all, you’re a work in progress.