What I learnt about myself - and how it can help you
Recently, my daughter and I travelled to Germany so she could play matches for Tennis Australia. Even though I went along to support her, as an athlete she had to travel and stay with her group.
It meant I had to travel and stay alone. For the first time in 16 years, I was on my own in a strange country with plenty of time on my hands.
Big emotions came to the surface.
As soon as I was on my own, fear, sadness, and overwhelm struck.
Whenever I catch myself reacting to something or feeling strong emotions, I pause and try to identify that feeling until it passes. This method helps me manage my anxiety.
I felt scared because I was travelling alone, sad that I had left my family behind, and overwhelmed because I didn’t know what to do with myself without the kids, their needs, and their schedules to distract me.
I could do whatever I wanted. Eat what I wanted, go wherever I felt, and watch anything that interested me on TV. But instead of feeling happy and excited, I felt scared.
“I’d lost that sense of who I am and what I like to do. I found that extremely confronting.”
- Deidre Datolli
Up until this point, I thought I’d been doing everything right and was being true to who I was as a person and what I wanted to achieve in my business. I was doing all the things including self-care and taking time out when I needed to rest. On the contrary, it seemed I’d been in survival mode and on autopilot for quite a while. I had lost a sense of who I truly was amidst the chaos of building a business, raising a family and meeting their needs.
Because I hadn’t had the space and stillness until now.
“Do I really put myself first?'' Was a big question that came up. And the answer was no, I don't. I do everything else for others and then focus on me.”
- Deidre Datolli
Unpacking a deeper sense of self
How often do we actually take time to create space to reconnect with ourselves? So many of us have lost who we are - and the trip to Germany showed me I had too.
I do this work every day and I thought somehow I was exempt from all of that. #truthbomb - I wasn't.
The space and stillness I found proved to be a blessing. Because there were no distractions, it forced me to be with myself, step out of my comfort zone, and take a long hard look at where I was, and what was stopping me from achieving my vision of who I wanted to be and where I wanted to be.
It was an opportunity to go back and really unpack a deeper sense of self and figure out where my real truth had disappeared. These questions started rising in my mind - and being with myself gave me that space to reconnect with my deeper, inner wisdom and explore. I also thought about how I wanted the next decade or chapter of my life to look like.
I made myself feel comfortable with this new discomfort and started tackling it in the best way I know - journaling.
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.”
Sitting with my discomfort
Initially, I flew to Dubai on my way to Germany and spent quite a few hours alone. I remember standing there feeling… lost. I ended up going and finding somewhere to sit and I just journaled. I let the emotion come out and put into words what I was feeling and why.
Of course, there was excitement about the possibilities of what was ahead for the next three weeks. But there was also this real shock of being alone.
But then a lightbulb moment happened, “I’m not alone, I’m with myself!”
Most of us aren't able to be with ourselves. My biggest opportunity was to really be with me and get to know me again - because I'd lost myself along the way. Journaling helped me check in with those emotions that were coming up and allowed them to move through my body and mind. I also sat in stillness and meditated as one does when going through a process of self-discovery!
Every experience challenged me and made me uncomfortable - from eating breakfast and dinners on my own to going out at night to explore Germany alone. Instead of choosing to sit in my hotel and order room service, I took a book and stayed away from social media. Or journaled where I was sitting. Or watched people and talked to them as much as I could if they spoke English.
“I pushed through that discomfort with lots of self-compassion.”
- Deidre Datolli
What happened after I came home
So did anything change once I was back home and surrounded by the usual schedules and chaos?
Yes. I learned the value of being present.
I’m present in every moment instead of thinking about the kids, my to-do list and preparing dinner! For example, when I'm with the kids, I'm with the kids. I'm more present in what I'm doing and taking time throughout my day to check in with what's important to me and making sure I'm doing that, as well as checking in with how I'm feeling.
I've created more space for myself since I've come back. Even though I've still got the chaos going on around me, I'm not part of that anymore. I'm centred and I'm present. No longer on autopilot or in survival mode.
I feel good and excited about the next chapter of my life.
Create your own space with Ignite
Ignite is the program that gives you the space to focus on YOU over 14weeks - and to really find that stillness. To think about who you really are and how you could do things differently. It gives you that opportunity to reset, rejuvenate and re-energise with a support network so you’re not dealing with things on your own.
Ignite gives you an opportunity to bring more peace, calm, and joy into your life. And take care of you. Use this time to unblock, get clear on who you are, and discover what makes you happy by clearing out some of that stuff that's getting in the way.
Get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about how Ignite can help you.