When you are lacking self-awareness, as I was, you become more and more dependent on other people. You start relying on them to give you feedback, to provide their thoughts about what you should do, what you should think, what you should wear, all that kind of stuff. So, when we lack self-awareness we lack independence.
I have discovered that the more self-aware I've become, the more independent I've become. And the reason that it's important is because this is YOUR life, and this journey is all about YOU so if you're going to put everybody else first and do everything that everybody else wants you to do, you're going to get to the end of your life and you're going to think “I actually don't even know if I enjoyed that life or I don't even know if I did what I wanted to achieve because I've never really stopped and asked myself, what is it that I want to do.” So Independent Ivy is all about you. She’s all about you seeking out:
What you want to do
What thoughts do you want to have
What behaviours do you want to have
What things do you want to do in your life
What lights you up
And the list goes on…
That's the essence of our Change Journey and Independent Ivy is about making a stand to stop being reliant on other people, and really start to think about you.
People will then say to me “that's really selfish”, and it is in a way, but it’s also your life and at some point you have to start asking yourself what do you want from your life. Because you can put your kids first, but they're going to grow up and move away and do other things. You can put your friends first but they might move on and do other stuff. You can put your partner first but you won’t feel fulfilled. At the end of the day, you won't find happiness unless you start to put yourself first.
Independent Ivy is the first character in the self-love stage of the Change Journey and we can't have self-love if don’t know what it is that we want to do and who we want to be. So that's why she's really, really important.
But what happens when we do have partners and kids and you think to yourself I just can't put myself first, and I always like to reference the movie “Jerry Maguire” when Tom Cruise
says to his girlfriend “You complete me”. And at the time, that was exactly what I wanted - I man who completes me.
What I’ve come to realise is that that is complete BS, because what we actually want is to have one whole person walking alongside another whole person in a partnership that is harmonious and moving forward together. The words “you complete me” means that there's some part of you missing, and you’re looking externally for something or someone to fill that missing part of you. But then you are reliant on that person to fulfill an inner core need for you. When in fact we would all be better off filling that need or void for ourselves.
A simple example is when women find themselves with men who resemble their fathers. Let's say what was lacking when they grew up was their father's love. So what they do is they find men that are very much like their fathers, because they're trying to fill that gap of their father's love. But if they could be self-aware enough and independent enough to analyse themselves to say actually, what I'm missing is my father's love, then they could find other ways to repair that missing gap. They could have conversation to try and repair that relationship or they could bring in a lot of acceptance and forgiveness around the situation. Both of which would be so much more empowering than seeking to fill that void by dating men that resemble their father.
So, that is what this Independent Ivy is all about. It’s really quite deep and intense.
But she does have a light side was well. To help you feel more independent, spend time with yourself more and start to prioritise your needs over others. If you are with the kids all week, organise time on the weekend to do something you want to do. Play a sport, go for a walk, have a massage…. Just ensure you carve time for you, doing what you want to do, into your routines.
Remember you can't help anybody else if your cup is full. So if you're giving to everybody else and your cup is full and you continue to give and give and give at some point you're going to crash. And you don't want to crash, you want to actually have your cup half full, be constantly giving to yourself so you're replenishing that cup so that you can still give to the other people in your life.
When I started on my journey of change, I was looking to external people to do my changes for me. And that is a great start… if you can have therapists and healers that can work with you, then they can really get in and get to the core of things. But what I'm learning is, the more I'm becoming aware of myself, the less I'm needing those people and the more I'm actually able to change myself based on my knowledge.
Let me share with you an example of what happened last week. Last Friday I just hit the wall. I said to my husband, I think I'm having a midlife crisis. I just felt yucky. I said to him, I'm not happy… I'm not happy with where we're living I'm not happy with what I'm doing, and all these things were surface excuses that were hiding an underlying truth. But I didn’t know that yet. I just knew I didn’t feel right. So I sat with it, and I journaled about it. Then I went walking near the beach, which is my meditation space, and I just kept saying to myself, why are you feeling yuck, what's the deeper reason?
I asked myself, you said you're not happy, are you happy? And the answer was yes, I am happy, I'm happy living where I am and I am happy doing what I'm doing and I'm actually really enjoying my life so why do I feel yuck. I just kept digging and asking why and I got to the point where I had this aha moment. And I discovered a deep fear I have, which is too personal to share, and as soon as I named that fear I started crying. You always know you're getting close to your things that need to change when you become emotional because they're really close to your heart and they're really dear to you and they’re something that you've kept in there a long time and it’s keeping you safe.
But crying is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s a beautiful release, especially when you discover a fear that has been hindering you and making you feel yuck. Discovering this fear allowed me to be open and honest with myself about how I feel. I was able to be open and honest to my husband. Ironically none of the things I had said to him the day before were true, they were just cover ups to a bigger issue. And once you find these things and have an awareness of them, all the fear they held seems to disappear and you feel an immense sense of relief.
So I wanted to share that with you because I want to a show you that I'm still walking along my change journey all the time. But I wanted to talk to you about it in Independent Ivy because I'm really becoming more and more intendent in my healing as I become more self-aware. The techniques I've given you in the book are simple but they work.