Do you remember when, exactly, you stopped checking in with yourself — when you stopped getting really, really in tune with how you’re feeling — as a human?
I’ve thought a lot about this lately. When we’re born and come into the world, we’re unapologetic about how we feel. We cry to express frustration, hunger, tiredness; we tend to say things outright as we start to talk that might not have been… appropriate at the time (any toddler mamas here?! Oof!), and we generally approach those first few years of our life with conviction.
Conviction that we deserve to be spoken for, that we deserve to be heard, and that we deserve to be honest about how we’re feeling.
That conviction starts to fade though, doesn’t it? Maybe we’re told as children that we need to be seen, not heard. Maybe we’re shushed. Maybe we go through massive life changes or trauma that start to close off that little window.
And then, before we know it, we’re adults — and hiding how we feel, even from ourselves, is par for the course. After all, we were all told, time and time again, that we didn’t need to feel every feeling or analyze every emotion.
Here’s what happens to those children when they grow up — when we grow up — though: they don’t know how to express themselves. The same things that they were told as children get told to their children, and so on and so forth. This is why we see so much generational trauma and so many webs that need to be unwoven into adulthood (which, hey, is probably an entirely different blog post).
This is why we live in a world full of people with no emotional intelligence, with no connection to their inner child, and without the ability to feel true, actual, incredible joy.
How incredibly sad is that?
Good news, though: it’s never, ever too late to give yourself grace, to invite healing to your inner child, and to try again.
Because we can do better for ourselves than what was done for us.
A lot of the work I’ve done myself and with my students boils down to uncovering and challenging those beliefs that we have, deep down, that we don’t deserve something or that we can’t feel things as deeply as we might actually want to. Like I said above, there are absolutely tons of reasons for this — and a lot of those reasons really, really do come back to childhood.
An invitation to check-in with yourself
So, I want to give you permission to do something:
In fact, I want you to give you permission to do something — but I know that giving yourself that permission can sometimes feel more difficult, especially if you felt like you were never given that permission in the past.
Invite yourself to take the permission to, truly, check in with yourself, from the tippy top of your head all the way to the base of the arches under your feet. Ask yourself how you’re really, actually feeling. Take a deep breath and dive in further than you may have before — and truly find out what, exactly, the emotions you’re feeling are wanting to communicate with you.
There’s a lot that happens when you really, truly do this. Sometimes, the feelings are absolutely overwhelming, especially when you haven’t touched on them or addressed them in the past. Sometimes you come to a serious realization about the way you’re living your life. Sometimes, it feels like you’re talking to a blank wall.
But when we latch onto a lack of checking in — when we don’t let ourselves do it — we postpone this incredible ability we have to feel real joy. To be wildly proud of ourselves. To sink into gratitude. On the other hand, we postpone the incredible ability we have to process the things that have happened to us. To be wildly sad. To grieve.
And, here’s the truth: we deserve to feel.
You deserve to feel.
Plus, here’s something else…
When we really start to work backwards and look into the reasons we’ve never let ourselves sink into a check-in or feel deep joy, there’s a big chance that a lot of it comes back to guilt and to fear — guilt over feeling a certain way, or fear that it’ll all go away.
And, as entrepreneurs, this is so, so easy to do. It’s easy to postpone our (real) check-ins until we’ve reached some arbitrary milestone, you know? But when we do that, we lose out on the chance to celebrate and honor those tiny things. Those 1% movements.
This is something that James Clear dives deep into inside his book Atomic Habits (which I hiiiighly recommend) — AKA, the idea that simply doing something 1% better every single day can lead to absolutely astounding results and change.
So, why not focus on celebrating just 1% more than you did the day before?
Feeling just 1% more than you did the day before?
Delighting in the day just 1% more than you did before?
If you did this — if you moved up by 1% every single day — you would be 37 times better at celebrating, at feeling, and at delighting in your life than you were a year before. How incredible is that?!
Because, here’s the absolute truth… and something I challenge you to really dig into and think on: If we’re not enjoying, celebrating, feeling, and delighting in our lives, what’s the point of it all? As creatives and as entrepreneurs, we all know how important those little things *really* are… so why don’t we check in with ourselves and honor them?
I hope this resonates with you, and I really do invite you to let it resonate with you. To check in with yourself, on a deep, deep level, every single day. When I say that it can change your life and your business — and unravel years and years of deeply rooted beliefs — I deeply, truly, mean it.
Get curious with yourself today. Your life will be better for it.