The Inviting Shift Podcast

S2 Episode 13: The Power of Clarity and Self-Love in Midlife Transformation

October 17, 2023 Christina Smith Season 2 Episode 13
The Inviting Shift Podcast
S2 Episode 13: The Power of Clarity and Self-Love in Midlife Transformation
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Looking for clarity in your life? Wondering how you can cultivate self-love? Mastering self-love is not an easy journey, but it's a worthy one. In episode 11, we talked about the first 2 steps to unlocking self-love. And the next step is clarity. We often get caught up in our inner critic's judgment, focusing on flaws and imperfections, and seeking approval from others. But the truth is, the key to self-love lies within us. It's about understanding who we are, what we want, and being true to ourselves. 

Navigating midlife can be a challenge. Society often makes us believe that midlife means the end of dreams and aspirations. We’re here to tell you that's not true. We’ll be exploring midlife as a transformative phase, a time to ask ourselves important questions, and embark on a journey of self-discovery. Midlife is not about losing yourself; it's about finding yourself, redefining your dreams, and creating a life you love.

We’ll also be illuminating the path to reclaiming and embracing your hidden gifts. How often do we ignore our talents and passions, choosing to fit into societal norms? We'll teach you how to recognize your gifts, cultivate them, and draw inspiration from those you admire. It's time to stop limiting yourself and start embracing the infinite potential within you. Join us, as we uncover the treasures of self-love, clarity, and midlife transformation.

Join us in the Modern Midlife Mentorship.

Learn more.

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Email me and tell me what you think: christina@christina-smith.com

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Speaker 1:

Welcome back shifters in midlife. I am here to continue our month of self love talk, so we started episode 9. I hope that you'll follow all the way through the month of October, because we have some really great ways on unlocking self love, and I know this is a giant topic, perhaps a topic that makes you cringe a little bit. Maybe you don't know what self love is like, and these are the keys that I've been talking about this month so that you can start experiencing just a little bit of what self love is and start peeling back those layers of self love. So last week, in episode 11, I suggest that you go back and listen if you haven't tuned in we talked about compassion and curiosity, and those are two essential steps in self love that will help us with the one that we're talking about this week, which is clarity, and clarity is essential to self love.

Speaker 1:

So often we're stuck in that inner critic part of us which is like this much of all of who we are. This is a tiny little thought of who we are, and yet we're so narrowed in on that. When we're in our inner critic and when we're unclear about ourselves, we think that we have to fix these things, and what I want us to do is get clarity on all of who we are so that we can have a more balanced look. So when we don't have clarity self love is hard because of a lot of things we start focusing again on that inner critic, all of our flaws or imperfections, if you want to call them, the things that we don't think serve us. That's what we're focused on often. When we're unclear, we often compare ourselves to other people as well. This is so easy to do, isn't it? Especially in our social media world, where we can see the Instagram stories of people's lives, but we're not seeing the behind the scenes, and that's what we have to remember that we aren't seeing the little conflicts that they're having within themselves or with others. We're not seeing the things that show up the way that they didn't want to show up, and we start thinking well, you know, suzy, it does X, y and Z. So great, now I don't do those things that great.

Speaker 1:

We're also not looking at our own gifts. So when we're unclear, we also seek this external validation. We think that if we are perfect enough, or we people please enough, that people will give us the validation that we're looking for. But what happens then is we start living for other people's expectations rather than getting really clear on who we are and what it is that we want and who we want to be, which are really big questions, right? And it takes a lot of inner work, and for many of us it's just 10 times easier to people please to overwork because we're good at our work, or to settle in a relationship because that person validates us, and so clarity helps us to start self-validating. It's great if we get external confirmation, but self-love is about self-validating, right, so that we are the judge of who we are if we're good enough, if we're not, if we're too much, whatever that those judgments we might have about ourselves. This is the work of clarity, right? So clarity is part of the practice of self-love, and you're gonna hear me say this a lot. Self-love is a practice and clarity is one way that we practice self-love.

Speaker 1:

And in midlife it's so easy for us to be unclear because there's so much going on. Our roles and our identities are changing. Some of us are shifting jobs, some of us are looking at retirement, some of us have let go of children because they've grown up and they're off on their own, and so all of these roles that we held so tight to before are like slipping through our fingers and we're starting to feel like, wow, well, who the heck am I without my kids? Who the heck am I if I'm not? Whatever put in your title here? And we start wondering what our whole being is, not just the doing right, not just who am I when I'm doing things, but who am I when I'm not doing things. We've also put off all these dreams, and you know, I remember when my kids, my kid, was growing up, I was like, ah, one day, when I don't have kids, this is what I'm gonna do, I'm gonna spend my time doing that. And yet I can often get stuck in a work rut, too, where I'm just like working and fairly living, especially with the pandemic that we had.

Speaker 1:

And so this is about us rediscovering what we're passionate about, what we want to do for ourselves. And if we're only seeking external validation, that what we want to do for ourselves can be really, really hard to come up with, because we've never really thought about what we wanted for ourselves. We always thought about what other people expected from us. So clarity can get really hard if we've always depended on that external validation. And the other thing that happens by midlife is many of us have become comfortable in our lives. So, maybe financially, maybe it's just emotionally, whatever it is, we've created comfort zones in our lives and so sometimes it's hard to break out of those comfort zones because our brain sees any risk of that comfort zone as an unsafe thing, not necessarily just uncomfortable and so we want to be weary, that we can get too comfortable, and that stops us from growing and it means that we have to shrink our dreams, it means that we don't get excited about things as much anymore, and so we don't want that.

Speaker 1:

We want to get clear, and by using curiosity and compassion that we talked about in episode 11, we can start getting clear. By opening up our vision, by having less judgments right, by asking ourselves questions, by using our imagination, which is what we're going to do today. So Clarity comes by asking really good questions. And yet we often want to start with these big questions, right? Because if we can answer these big questions, boom, we'll have that clarity.

Speaker 1:

And clarity let me also premise you with clarity also comes like an onion. It's in layers, so we cut off one layer and then we feel like we're clear and then we realize that there's another layer, that we can always be going deeper, and this isn't a bad thing. I know a lot of people who want to be like I just want to get clear and be done with it. And yet that's not the way it works. We're really complex beings and so in order for us to be able to imagine what that core center layer might look like, we have to go through these little changes, and it's where our growth is. So it's very exciting for us to be able to discover newer and newer things about ourselves. So what are these big questions that we want answered? Let's just start with the overview and then we can go into the details. I'm going to give you some ways in which you can get really clear with yourself. That I'm hoping you'll try out.

Speaker 1:

But the big questions we have the biggest who am I now? And that's kind of our sage archetype wants to say who am I now, now that maybe the role of my mothering has changed, maybe the way that my job description or title has changed, maybe just not having a job title anymore? Who am I now with all out all these things? Maybe I've lost friends, maybe I've shifted relationships. Who am I now without those people? Or with these new people? Who am I Right? So who am I? Is answered by what's most important to us and also all of who we are, not just that inner critic view, that's really, really small, but all of us, all of our gifts, our strengths, our characteristics, our values. Those are all the things that make up who we are.

Speaker 1:

The second question that I get asked a lot, or that people want to answer in midlife especially, is what do I want now? What do I want Right? It's such a hard question for so many of us because we've been serving for so long. It's hard to then go back into ourselves and ask, like, what do I want now? And some of us are afraid to dream, right? So if or even change dreams this is a big one too is this changing of dreams? Well, I have this dream and I feel like I'd be failing or quitting if I let go of it now or if I shifted it now. And to that I want to say not all dreams are meant to happen. Some of them are just meant to get us on one path so we can get on another path, and that's okay. So when we know whether or not we want to change dreams we want to start looking at does this align with who I am Not? Is it hard? Am I afraid? Is it risky? All of those things. But does it align with who I am If I say that my gifts, my magic and my values, my characteristics all went? This one thing is that dream still in alignment with that? And that's where we want to get clear.

Speaker 1:

And as far as goals, what do I want now? Some people love big goals. That's their thing. And some of us have done so many huge goals that by midlife we're like I'm exhausted, I can't even imagine a new goal. And I want you to know that even if your goal today is just I'm going to be kind of myself, that's a goal. So I mean, these goals that we make in midlife can be world changing and they don't have to be. It's okay not to go out and try to cure cancer. Okay, it's okay if all we do today is be really kind to ourselves, and that's our goal every day. So in midlife we get to choose what we want for the second half. The first half, we spend a lot of time doing what we think we should. What other people expect that we should. And in the second half, the freedom comes with us starting being able to really dive into what is it that I want and living our lives that way.

Speaker 1:

So who do I want to be is another one right, and this doesn't mean like, oh, I want to be Beyonce. This is more like, who do I want to be? I want to be a person that has these certain values, that shows up with these qualities, that feels a certain way. What do I want to look back and think of myself as Like, do I want to look back and see myself being generous and loving and kind? Or, you know, do I successful and focused and committed? What qualities or characteristics that I have? Might I want to grow more as I age, right, as I get older? So those are our big questions. Who am I? What do I want? Who do I want to be? Right, when we love the answers to all of those just to land in our labs, I know I certainly would, but these are big questions and they're hard to focus on just like that.

Speaker 1:

So we're gonna have to peel back layers, and one thing that we're gonna have to use to peel back those layers is a bit of imagination and the reason I want to bring up imagination. It's so important. It's something that as adults we don't use nearly as much, at least on the whole. We tend to start seeing how roles and structures and the way that things work and we stop questioning if they can work a different way. We stop questioning if there's a better way, if there's a way I haven't even thought of yet or imagined yet, right? So imagination is essential to getting clarity, and I know that that sounds odd because some people are like oh yeah, just what I need is more thoughts to come in and more ideas to come in. Right, what if I already have too many ideas? That's the point. We want to see the whole spectrum. Then we get to feel into ourselves and go what is actually out of this whole spectrum of who I am, what I want and who I want to be? I get to choose. We're offering ourselves much, much more choice with imagination. It's part of that curiosity lesson that we talked about last week.

Speaker 1:

So imagination is one way that our inner wisdom speaks to us about what's truly important to ourselves. So I often do visualizations with my clients. That's one way that they start unlocking the inner wisdom that they have within themselves. I don't give them the answers, I give them a scenario and their brains fill in what that looks like, what it feels like, what it smells like, what happens there, and all of those details are really important because that's our inner wisdom, offering up little bits of information, and it's helpful to grasp onto those little bits of information and get really curious about it, because then we can get clear about what's really important to us, what it is that we value, what it is that we really want to see ourselves as.

Speaker 1:

So, with that being said, I want to talk about ways that we start gathering this information so that we can get really clear, and one of them is dreaming, and this is so hard for some midlife people. Others are great. So if you're great at imagination and dreaming of big dreams, then this is the part for you. If you're not, this is also the part for you, because I also had shrunken my dreams down so that I wouldn't have to risk anything, and that did not serve me at all, and so I want to ask us to just dream about what it is that we actually want, and usually when we start this, or even when I ask the question of people what is it that you want? The answer usually starts with not this, and so we do this thing that I call getting to shore.

Speaker 1:

So if we're drowning in the ocean, all we want to do is get to shore. And so this kind of dreaming is we're dreaming to solve the problems that we have right now. We're dreaming to avoid the risks that are up right now. We're dreaming to leave the fears that we have right now. Right, like we're surviving and we're just trying to get to survival mode, and that is just getting to shore. And if that's all you can do right now, that's beautiful. Ultimately, I want you to keep dreaming and keep dreaming until we can get beyond shore. Instead of just getting to survival, I want us to start thriving, and the way that we thrive is going beyond the shoreline right, climbing up the mountain to the big old castle in the sky. That is thriving. We're going towards something we want. When we're in the ocean, going to shore, we're just trying to run away from the immediate safety problem, right, drowning, and so that's us running away, or getting away from what hurts us.

Speaker 1:

Thriving is all about how we dream beyond that, right, like, not only good enough, but beyond that, like what is our wildest imagination and it might be crazy big information. Some of these visualizations I do with my clients are about, like you know, you can have anything. Maybe you want a pink elephant, maybe you want a dinosaur. You can have it all in your imagination, in this dream. Right, it doesn't mean that just because we dream, it doesn't mean it all needs to come true. There's something really beautiful, there's some kind of information that that pink elephant or that dinosaur is giving us about what it is that we want. So this is realistic or non-realistic visualizations. Right, this is going beyond our ego, which is going to try to go that's too big, that's too big, let's be logical, let's be practical. This is not logical or practical. This is beyond, because we're going to get a lot of information.

Speaker 1:

We want to dream about where we want to live, who we want to be with, who we want to surround ourselves, with, what we want to do every day, what we want to do for ourselves, what we want to do for the world, because I think in our hearts we all want to give back in some way how it is that we want to show up in our everyday life. What does happy look like for you? And, in the end, what we're looking for is how we feel about that. Yes, there's going to be some very, very interesting pieces of information that come up, but what's most important to me at this point, right to start getting the clarity that we need. The grasp of clarity is we all want something, because we want to feel a certain way.

Speaker 1:

So, if you break out that vision board or you create a new one based on these crazy realistic or non-realistic imaginings that you have, what is it that you actually want, right? So, let's say, I did have a castle on my vision board. I want to look at that vision board and ask myself, right, well, what do I think I'm going to feel when I have that castle? Because that's ultimately what we really want. We want that feeling, that feeling that comes with doing being having that thing. And so, if we think about it that way, that's the purest form of clarity that we can have is how do we want to feel? And so, after you do all that imagining, I hope that you write down some things. If you want, dm me and I will definitely get you a visualization out. Just let me know, I will send one to you. I just didn't want to do one in the middle of the podcast In case I put people to sleep while they're driving, or in imagination while they're driving or doing something important. So just message me and let me know that you want the dreaming visualizations.

Speaker 1:

The second thing that we can do that I think that a lot of people forget about is our golden shadow. So if you've never done shadow work before, ultimately the shadow is all those things that we see in other people, often that we repress and deny about ourselves. They could be unusually are the things that we talk about, are the triggering things. Oh, she does this thing and it drives me nuts, and that's really about me and the fact that maybe I do that or I don't, or I force myself not to do that, and so it's not fair that she allows herself to do that, and so I get mad at these little things.

Speaker 1:

But today I don't want to talk about the dark shadow. I want to talk about the golden shadow, and this is a part of shadow that some people forget is that the golden shadow is all about the things that I see in other people that I think are brilliant or awesome or gorgeous. I think I just heard the term shimmer the other day, the opposite of a trigger when really beautiful things happen, and I suddenly get a jolt of joy, right. And so all these shimmers that we're seeing in other people, they are also in us. Because the idea behind the shadow is you wouldn't be able to recognize them if you did not possess them. You wouldn't be able to recognize them if you didn't possess them. And so what you see in others is also in you, even this good stuff. And you're asking me but why would I not see that? Why would I not show off my shimmer if I had that in me? It can't be right. I used to think like I can't be graceful, right. I see some women with grace in the way that they handle situations and I'm like, maybe that's not me. And then I learned this concept of golden shadow and I was like, wow, could that be me? Could that be me? And here's the thing we hide these things from ourselves. Someone told us it wasn't good. Maybe For me, sensitivity was one right, like it was always used as a negative.

Speaker 1:

Oh, you're so sensitive. Well, in my 40s I've reclaimed sensitivity as a gift. So I always hid my sensitivity because I thought it was terrible and so I went like 180 and became really tough, big walls and that didn't really serve me. And now I realize that that part of me that's really sensitive is really important to me. But I find it as a gift. I'm sensitive to other people, I'm sensitive to what's going around me, I'm sensitive to energy. That's not terrible for me. That gives me a lot of information before other people necessarily get it. So I get to choose that. But before, if I saw somebody else being sensitive let's say you know, or being accused of being sensitive, I would judge that negatively. Now I see it as a gift.

Speaker 1:

But there's also other reasons why we hide these golden shadows. We're pushed or told not to use that part of ourselves, right. And she talks too much, and that used to be a bad thing in school, right? Not if you're an influencer, not if you have a podcast, not if speaking becomes your thing, right. So talking too much might have been sheened out of you. That might be the very thing that's going to help your relationships, help you in your job, help you with your kids is that you talk too much, right?

Speaker 1:

So just recognizing that any one of our gifts can be construed negatively or positively, and it was our inner child that didn't know how to deal with the criticism of them, so she hid them right. So another one was like showing off, oh, you can't show off. Well, some of us learned that that means that I have to hide my gifts, and so we put these gifts in our shadow because somebody told us that they weren't good enough or they were criticized or something negative is related to them. So we put them in our shadow and go I'm not showing up like that anymore, I'm not doing that anymore, and so that's why we hide these gifts. We can transform these beautiful gifts that we see in other people into our own, and the way that we do that is by growing those gifts.

Speaker 1:

So here's the exercise that I want you to do on your own I want you to think of three people that you greatly admire. Like you think that they're awesome, right, like and maybe for me it would be like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, because she was so committed to the cause and fair and just, and I might start thinking, wow, I don't stay committed to causes enough. I don't give enough commitment for I don't know. I always know if I'm being fair in my head, and yet those qualities are in me because, remember, if I can see them, they are also in me. It may not mean that my fairness shows up like hers, right? We might have. I'm sure that we probably disagree on several things, right? So it does not mean that if I see grace in someone else, that my grace is going to look like her grace, right? We all have different shades of these characteristics, and so we want to just make sure that we know that just because I have vibrance in me does not mean it's going to look like you know Taylor Swift's vibrance. It's going to be different, right?

Speaker 1:

But I want you to look at these three people and pick some qualities that you greatly admire about them. I want you to really think about, like, how you can embrace more of that for yourself. I want you to know that you already have that in you, but I want you to start thinking about, like, how can I explore those gifts more? How can I use these gifts more in my life? Because probably they all had to practice at these gifts to get really good at them, right? And so I want you to see them and then, if you had those gifts. If you could see yourself really expanding those gifts in your life, how would you feel? How would you feel about yourself? Because, remember, we're going back to feeling. So this is your imagination saying if I could put that in my life, what would it be like? And then feel it out, what are the feelings like? How would I feel? How would that help me feel about myself that I want to feel so?

Speaker 1:

Then we have all of this information from the visualizations of this getting to shore and beyond shore, right, what would that dream and imagination look like, looking at these people that we admire, getting all their qualities, and what would I feel like if I could show up like that? And you might be thinking like that's a lot of information. How is this getting me clear when we're just adding and adding and adding information? We're an editing generation. I get that short text, short posts. We don't want to go on and on. Get to the point, right, that's a lot, but this is where we start connecting.

Speaker 1:

Right, this is our inner wisdom saying, wow, these things are, some of these groups of things are pointing towards specific things, and we wanna start creating those lines and starting to see, like what is a common theme that's coming up and sit in our own inner wisdom and really say, well, what is all of this about? And then what I want you to do is come up with like three to five words tops about how is it that you really wanna feel? That's the clarity that you can start with, and this is all we talk about in the intentional and aligned method. We're gonna do it in a weekend in December of 23. So if you're interested, let's do that, because this clarity is so essential to self love, self worth, self esteem is getting really clear about who I am, so that I can love me in a really good way.

Speaker 1:

So this is about setting intentions and these become our intentions, because what I learned in my life, especially in my early 30s, had checked all the boxes that I was supposed to check, right, like I went to college, got the job, had the husband and the house and the kid and I did all of those things. I checked all the boxes and I was never more miserable in my life, even though I had been told I would be happy when I got there. I was not happy and what I realized was that if we wanna be happy when we get there. If we wanna be happy when we get all the things on our vision board, we have to bring happy with us, and so happy meaning whatever it is that you wanna feel, that's just the generic term, right. But if I wanna feel love, connection and peace, I'm gonna have to bring love, connection and peace with me. Does that make sense? So that becomes our intention. I'm gonna show up every day with love, connection and peace, because that's what I say is most important, and when I'm aligned with that, more love, connection and peace is going to come into my life.

Speaker 1:

So we set our intentions on the way that we want to feel. What lights us up most. Don't pick the hardest feelings. Pick up the ones that, when you bring them into your heart, they feel exciting. You get turned on, it feels like excitement and vibration in your body. The energy feels aligned. Right, you might need to practice that, but that's okay because, like I keep telling you, self-love is a practice. So next week we're gonna continue our journey into unlocking this self-love.

Speaker 1:

It's a course too, in case you're interested, and it does come with the modern midlife mentorship. So if you join the mentorship, this is a course that you would get on your own. You would get the visualizations, you would have access to doing the course with us. We do a half day experience twice a year. You would be able to come join us for that. It's a little different each time and you could go deeper and deeper and start peeling these onions off of this huge ball of that that is you.

Speaker 1:

That's the best way I can put it right now, anyway, so to wrap up, in episode 11, we talked about compassion and curiosity, essential steps to self-love right and especially to getting into this clarity excuse me, to get into this clarity.

Speaker 1:

This compassion and curiosity is essential because we wanna open up, we wanna let go of the judgments and all the restrictions that we've put on our thinking and open up and see the whole big picture. Then we can get really clear, and that's what we're talking about expanding our vision to see more possibilities, not limiting ourselves or focusing on some specific path. We can be all of the things right. The clarity is for us to see all the possibilities. Next week, in episode 15, we'll talk about how to use this clarity, how we start moving forward, getting movement, and we're gonna talk about two of my favorite keys, which is courage and choice. And, of course, with that it's gonna come a lot of fear, a lot of inner conflict, maybe even outer conflict, and we'll talk about that too. So I hope that you'll join us next week again. Have a great week, shifters.

The Importance of Clarity in Self-Love
Finding Clarity and Purpose in Midlife
Reclaiming and Embracing Our Hidden Gifts
Expanding Vision and Finding Clarity