We bend, we shift, we mould
We gently fold the corners of ourselves to fit with another
But what if we softly and slowly found an anchor
An anchor into our own authority
And instead of moulding into someone else
We wrap our hearts in strength
As we embrace our creases
And fold into internal fullness
- Cat Meffan
Our perception of the characteristics, behaviours and traits that make us who we are is often tightly intertwined by the many labels, roles, expectations and constraints we have present in our life. As we grow from infant, to child, to teen, to adult we are constantly being shaped into a version of ourselves that reflects the opinions of our parents, our peers, our work environment, our culture and our society.
It is expected that when we are younger, we are easily shaped by those surrounding us, our culture, our environment, and the media, as we are still of an age that is impressionable. The challenge is when we reach an age of awareness that we are curious and start to question or research outside the norms of what we know or feel discomfort for what we may at times feel trapped in.
Within our society today there is a huge amount of pressure that comes from all angles and it’s become increasingly challenging to quiet the noise, to pause, and to actually resonate with what is authentic to you through it all.
If this sounds like a situation you’re currently in, or have been in before, keep reading to reveal five reasons you might be feeling triggered and suggestions for ways in which you can come back to your authentic self.
HOW TO BE YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF:
Your authentic self goes beyond what you do for a living, what possessions you own, or who you are to someone. It is who you are at your deepest core. It is about being true to yourself through your thoughts, words, and actions and having these areas match each other. When we’re not in alignment with our authentic self, it is easy to adopt others' narratives and say and do things based on what is expected of us or social and peer pressure. You’re probably thinking that this is easier said than done and we would agree with you, it requires dedication to doing the work. If you give yourself that time and energy then you will thrive and you will start to understand your needs even more.
1. STOP AND PAUSE.
The first step to discovering your authentic self is to allow yourself the space and opportunity to pause and reflect - alone. Learn to ask yourself questions alone and begin to reflect, journal, meditate, or question further. Explore what comes up for you and how it makes you feel within that moment.
Without knowing how YOU truly feel in any moment, how can you know what YOU truly want?
Asking yourself direct questions can help you to discover who you are when you are not putting on a mask or betraying your core values. When those values become clear, you will find it easier to make decisions in line with your authentic self:
- How do I really feel?
- How does this feeling present itself in my body?
- When do I notice I feel most triggered?
- What do I want to do when I am triggered?
- Do I remove myself from people or situations that trigger me?
Affirmation: What other people want from me is not necessarily what I desire.
2. FAMILY PRESSURE AND CULTURAL TRADITIONS:
This could be one of the hardest pressures or constraints we ever face in life. Our families, cultural opinions, and expectations of who we are becoming can help guide our paths to discovery and growth or can also shelter us, sometimes leading to us feeling trapped. It can be our biggest motivation, but it can also be what holds us back from discovering our true authentic selves. If we are not careful or aware, cultural expectations and family traditions can keep us not only rooted and stagnant, keeping our minds quite closed off to new opportunities, experiences, and perceptions, but can also make us feel trapped, stretched thin, or depleted.
We are our own person, with our own path to walk, regardless of those who came before us. With grace, we must choose to walk our own path and discover what this may look like for ourselves.
"The first thing you should know about me is that I am not you. A lot more will make sense after that." - Unknown
Are you free to do this without judgment and with support?
Take some time to reflect and journal on where in your life you don’t feel supported or areas in which you are expected to perform but don’t wish to.
- Do I feel trapped or pressured by my family?
- Do my cultural traditions make me feel trapped?
- Are there expectations of me I wish did not exist - if so, what are they?
Affirmation: My happiness is more important than others’ expectations of me.
3. PEER PRESSURE
We still feel peer pressure even as adults. The common misconception that we have left peer pressure behind in the playground or the lecture hall is sadly not the case. Peer pressure in our adult life is so subtle that it can creep into our subconscious and consciousness, at times unnoticed. As an adult, it has just as much influence, if not more, over our behaviour. It changes us, our personality, desires, perceptions, and can even change our whole belief system.
To escape peer pressure, you need to start getting clear on what your triggers are telling you and diving deeper into who you are and what you want. Defining your beliefs and your values is a good place to start. Coming back to your inner compass every time you face a challenge that requires a choice. Learn what and who makes you more susceptible to influence. Also, remember not to be hard on yourself, it happens to everyone - get smart and aware. Notice when you feel the urge to reshape something about yourself to ‘fit in’ with others, and question why and where this will lead you. Does it lead you to true happiness?
Though it might feel daunting and triggering, having open and honest conversations with friends that you feel may be pressuring you can actually bring a lot of peace. When having a conversation like this we must remember that there is no expectation, we’re just there to honour our truth, share our feelings and allow the other person to be in their own narrative with how to receive that, without needing to obtain a certain result.
“The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved, loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves” - Victor Hugo.
- When and where do you feel the most peer pressure?
Affirmation: I am capable of making my own decisions.
4. MEDIA PRESSURE:
We have all grown up with toxic forms of media pressure. This may come from magazines, newspapers, television, radio, podcasts, and now most importantly - social media. With the ever-growing face and body manipulating apps and technology morphing our facial features, hair, bodies, and even our lifestyle into unrealistic parallels of reality - the pressure to conform to a life lived through a lens is higher than ever.
Have you ever tried disconnecting from media or having a digital detox? Maybe you're prone to constant scrolling, watching, and following others who you wish you could look, be and act like. IT’S NOT REAL. No one else is you and that is your superpower. The sooner you can become aware of and take time away from the often negative and unhealthy depictions from the media, the better you will feel in yourself, in your decisions, and in your life.
A Few Tips:
• This weekend try deleting or muting apps that don’t make you feel good about yourself.
• Take some time OFF Instagram, Tiktok, Snapchat, and platforms that showcase snippets of life.
• Stop following accounts that make you feel bad about yourself - instead focus on accounts that are positive, uplifting, and encouraging.
• Spend the time that you allocate to media propaganda on something more nourishing, like connecting with a friend, moving your body, cooking, and finding a hobby you love. This way you will come away from this activity feeling refreshed and happier.
- Do I feel empowered or depleted from social media?
Affirmation: Perfection is not realistic. I am worthy without social media.
5. SOCIETAL PRESSURE:
Societal pressures are expectations that affect the entire community, or specific parts of it, like the pressure and expectation to get married, buy a house, have a certain job, and have children.
These options might not be for everyone, nor may they be possible due to circumstances. Although they are slowly shifting, these expectations are still present in our modern world and many struggle with feeling a sense of failure if they don’t achieve them.
- Do you feel under pressure to tick boxes in your life that don’t excite you?
- Are you happy in your career?
- What values do you consider most important in your life?
- How do your actions align with your values?
Affirmation: I am walking my own path and living the values that feel aligned to me.
A reminder that we interact with people every day, and to ensure that the effect that we have on them and our own energy is a positive exchange, we must understand see that we project a demeanour of ourselves, and not always the quality of our wondrous inner landscapes.
Therefore we should strive to stay true to ourselves and not always get caught up in the seriousness and complexity of life where we analyse everything. There is no permission necessary to be more playful and compassionate, to laugh, to be silly, and most of all, to have fun.
This month on the Soul Sanctuary, we again take a deep dive into our own home, our body, mind and soul, and journey through practices that encourage us to come back to our inner self, (not what we portray to the world outside), and anchor back into our individual and personal needs and desires, learning what parts of ourselves we are not willing to compromise on.
You will take time on and off the mat to fold into your own fullness and realign with your authentic self whilst learning and rediscovering YOUR truth, away from the influences and opinions of society and others.
You can flow along with our monthly playlist HERE.
In our first week, we have a 60-minute vinyasa flow with a strong focus on forward folding and balancing. Titled ‘Gather and Grow’, this practice will help you connect with your own innate wisdom, building self trust and belief. As you fold into yourself and your own intuition through this practice, you can allow your curiosity to flourish and grow alongside any feelings, thoughts, and values that may arise.
We also have a very special yin yoga class this week from a dear friend and fellow yoga teacher, Phoebe Greenacre. A beautiful practice to cultivate an internal reflection of your inner world, whilst soothing your nervous system with forward folds and connecting and accepting your emotions in the current moment.
In the second week, we have a 30-minute opening heart and hips flow with our beautiful guest teacher Caroline. This practice will encourage you to surrender to any emotions that may arise in the body, helping to create space in the heart and mind.
This week we also have a nourishing meditation that focuses on replenishing your physical, emotional, and mental energy. Starting your day with this meditation is an incredible way to take time for yourself and fill up your cup before your time and energy runs away from you.
In our third week, we have an energising 45-minute stretch that will awaken your posterior chain. The posterior chain refers to all the muscles on the backside of your body from your head to your heels - including the calves, hamstrings, glutes, latissimus dorsi, and erector spinae muscles. A strong posterior chain will help to reduce the risk of injury, improve posture, balance your stabilising muscles and boosts athletic performance.
You are also in for a treat with two variations of a forward fold for this month’s movement breakdown - Janu Sirsasana (head to knee forward bend) and Trianga Mukhaikapada Paschimottanasana (advanced seated posture with a forward bend).
In our final week, you will be dropping into your authority with a fiery full body 20-minute power flow. A practice designed to ignite your passions, beliefs, and values so you can anchor into your innate wisdom and bring forth your own authority to your life.
A fluid, yet strong flow that will help build your inner strength and courage, connecting your mind to the breath, as you release any constraints you feel that are holding you back.
** This month we also invite you to continue a form of daily practice following Yoganuay 7.0. by joining us from the 1st of February (at your own pace) with either one of our 10-Day courses 'Journey To Splits' and 'Progress To Pincha'.
As always, we have our suggested Soul Sanctuary flows from the back catalogue (in black) that align with this month’s theme, mapped out below in our printable calendar. You can also find these additional practices in the calendar function on our beautiful app or search for them on the membership on the website via desktop.
And don't forget - you can flow along with our monthly playlist HERE.
I'M DOING IT FOR ME - Tiffany Moule
I’m saying no … when I used to say yes, to protect my peace.
I’m choosing to put my goals at the top of my priorities, because I deserve to reach them.
I’m starting to trust myself every day as I am keeping the promises I make to myself.
I am no longer allowing others to control my emotions and actions, and this may mean ending relationships.
I hope you know this has nothing to do with you or anyone else, but that I need to do this for me.
See you on the mat xx