During a recent client conversation around creativity and critical thinking I asked, “are you spending time with your inner people each day?”
My client paused, and then requested clarification – whether I meant time with family and close friends. I clarified: “…your inner peeps… me, myself and I!”
This prompted further conversation around the need for and benefits of quiet space to allow for innovative thinking, as well as to foster self awareness (a key component of emotional intelligence). It was an “aha” moment, and one that created new perspective in my client’s approach to implementing and leading change initiatives in her workplace.
But this concept of checking in with ourselves (me, myself and I) is not limited to our professional world. It is instead critical for us in all of “our worlds” – life in general.
When Last Did You Check In With You?
As women, we are born with the instinct to “check in” and ensure everyone is alright (and has the supports and resources needed), personally, professionally, mentally and physically. If they don’t, our motherly instinct takes over. But what is our relationship like with ourselves? How often do we carve time or make a date to really get to know “me, myself and I”, and ask the same questions we ask others? Things like:
- How are you doing?
- What are you feeling right now and why?
- What do you need?
Several years ago, I had lunch with a friend who shared that she was learning to spend time with herself. Real time alone. I was intrigued, and admired her passion and dedication in committing to really getting to know and understand herself. Time alone can be a discipline unto itself. One that can be especially hard for extroverts, who get their energy from being with people.
Benefits of Alone Time
But by “spending time with yourself” and gaining a better understanding of who you are and what you desire in life, you’re more likely to make better choices about who you want to be around, says Sherrie Bourg Carter, Ph.D., on Psychology Today.
Checking in and spending time alone allows us to get in touch with our inner thoughts and emotions and builds self confidence, especially as we experience some of the new challenges and changes that middle-aged life presents. It can provide us with better understanding of how we feel about things going on in our life. There are times when the noise of the outside world ends up cluttering our minds, and these are perfect opportunities to regroup to our own personal space, and evaluate things from a renewed perspective.
How I Practice
I learned to spend time alone and check in with myself as a coping mechanism when feeling anxious or overwhelmed, and it’s become an important tool and ritual each morning during my meditation. During this time, I can be completely honest with myself and get back in touch with the inner me when everyday life just gets in the way. It has helped me contemplate decisions as well as provided some of my most creative moments.
So: as you embrace the renewed energy spring offers, I encourage you to ask if you are spending enough time with your inner peeps in getting to know your middle-aged self.
Why? Because contentment with life is strongly based on contentment with who you are…you may just find yourself a new best friend. And…because we can!
In the spirit of spending time with my inner peeps, I will be taking some quiet time over the next month to curate and deliver new upcoming work projects, reflect and write, and enjoy the first signs of spring. My bi-weekly publications will return later in April. xo
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Photos taken by D by denise team member Ashley-Anne Schmidt