Are You Living In Alignment With Your Soul?
Living in a state of alignment with your soul feels right. You know you’re in a state of alignment when things that once triggered unhealthy reactions are no longer hijacking your attention to your personal detriment. In a state of alignment you feel self-assured, confident in your abilities to overcome obstacles, and accepting of life’s happenings. You know whatever unfolds is happening for you rather than to you and you’re able to process those things in ways that preserve your peace because you know who you are and that knowing translates into actions that intentionally support your best life.
Living out of alignment feels icky. It’s a stressful way of moving through life and shows up as feeling drained, overreacting, exhaustion, and being vulnerable to each thought, judgment, verbal exchange, and external happening. Being out of alignment feels powerless and is a common baseline for so many of us who are out of touch with our true nature.
Remember, Your True Nature is Divine
When we came into this world, we were perfectly perfect little babies with a clear sense of what felt right and wrong. But that barometer becomes askew via the influence of various life experiences and social conditionings.
Though our upbringings and backgrounds may be vastly different, we all grew up integrating ourselves into societal culture and maybe even heard things like, “You have to share”, “stop crying like a baby”, or “don’t be a quitter.”
Such statements are used flippantly and seem harmless for so many who grew up saying/hearing them and yet consequently those [and other similar] phrases become internal mantras that confuse our inner knowing, cause us to question our feelings, and guilt us into action.
Only You Can Do the Work
But blaming our upbringing and/or the people in our lives for conditioning experiences is less important than acknowledging that we lived them because our past is exactly that—our past. Recalibrating our true nature requires living in the present and observing our physical sensations, inner dialogue, and reactive patterns in realtime.
For example, I spent much of my adult life hyper aware of and invested in the moods and needs of others. Being the daughter of two overwhelmed parents who were raising five kids, I constantly saw and heard about how stressful life was. Those experiences played off my true nature (which was love for my family) and resulted in a pattern of pleasing, fueled by my desire to be less of a burden. Though agreeing to do things I didn’t want to do with a smile and being a flexible little helper didn’t serve me, it was highly rewarded.
It wasn’t until I became a full-grown people-pleasing adult that I realized how ingrained my identity and concept of self-worth was rooted in the approval of those I served. Playing small and being “flexible” made it hard for me to say no and easy to minimize my desires in exchange for a breadcrumb of approval. I lacked boundaries, self-care, and felt guilty putting myself first.
I don’t blame my parents for those patterns because I recognize that selflessness was how I processed and coped with the challenges and conflicts within my household. I wasn’t attuned to the long-term conditioning that avoiding negative feedback could have on my concept of self because I was just a child who wanted everyone to be happy and happy with me.
Shedding my pleasing patterns took a lot of time practicing self-observation and listening to my inner voice react to life. I didn’t wake up one day and realize I was a people-pleaser, it was something I discovered months after an intense family conflict that left me feeling misunderstood, shortchanged, and powerless. It wasn’t until I went inward and explored my feelings with “the whys” that I was able to unpack the motivations fueling my behavior.
“Why” did I feel guilty for something I couldn’t control, like how others viewed me? “Why” were expectations others had of me the only expectations I had for myself? “Why” was making everyone happy so important to me? “Why” did I avoid conflict with those closest to me? “Why” did I need everyone I met to like me?
That process of objective introspection is known as “shadow work” and though it isn’t necessarily fun, it is a crucial process to uncover the path to liberation from one’s past conditioning and to achieve a state of alignment.
By auditing desires, value systems, and concepts of self against one’s emotional responses, physical sensations, and behaviors, we can learn what we need to know in order to integrate actions that produce healthy boundaries, support our wellness, and establish new patterns that provide meaningful and safe life experiences in realtime.
Making Real[time] Effort
Once we realize what we wish to unlearn and who we are and who we really want to be, real effort to do so is required. Awakening to the habits and conditioning we’ve been operating from must then be replaced with inspired actions rooted in intention.
For me, I had spent so many years minimizing my desires that I didn’t know what it was I actually desired. It took present living to help me figure out what efforts I needed to make. What brought me joy? What made my heart sing? What was working for me and what wasn’t?
In our next article we will detail the habits, behaviors, and inspired practices we can do to help us find our way back home to living as our most authentic selves.