When I was a young girl, I looked up to many others, including my Mother, my Grandmothers, my sisters; and there were countless others, such as my teachers, my friend's mothers, and since I was raised in a household where my father was a professional photographer, I looked up to many of the models who came to our home for photos, and without knowing much of anything about them, I took notes on how they dressed, and walked, and talked.
They all inspired me in some way and I considered them role models; I wanted to emulate some of their traits, and developed a set of standards for myself on how I wanted to be seen in this world, and how I should behave, based on what I witnessed in them.
My Mother was the perfect role model; she was kind, patient, tolerant, loving, and she could run a household like no other. Our home was always clean, in tip-top shape, and we always had meals to eat. She provided a safe haven for myself and my siblings, and it wasn't until many years later I realized it was all a facade she worked unbelievably hard to attain. She wore many "hats" and was expected to be the perfect mother, wife, sister, sister-in-law, daughter, lover, caretaker, woman, cook, cleaner, and friend, and after trying to be all those things for so long, we began to see the reality of just how exhausting and unrealistic it all was.
That's a LOT of roles to fulfill for any one person; certainly not sustainable. And when I look back on how many roles I have taken on in my life, I can see how I emulated her in my life, particularly in my thirties and forties. I assumed I was supposed to be all of those things, and more...in addition to all of those roles, I felt compelled to also be a great teacher, a steward of the land we lived on, to be a triathlete, and I took on a leadership position in my community by volunteering for roles in my children's schools. By all appearances I was managing it all beautifully, until I wasn't.
For most of us, we take on some of these roles, and/or others, because we were conditioned to believe "that's who we are supposed to be", and these roles "are what we want." Society tells us who we are, what we're supposed to look like, how we're supposed to act, and how we are meant to show up in this world. It's no wonder we get lost in all the messaging and the 'doing' and the expectations, and we have more material possessions, and are the least happy we have ever been as a society.
What responsibility do we bear for carrying on these traditional and outdated roles, and how do we shift from being role models for burn-out, depression and anxiety, and re-define what a role model should look like?
I believe it starts with unlearning, de-conditioning, and paying attention to the degree of programming we have all received.
The statistics are alarming when you consider the average person has over 100,000 thoughts a day, and out of those 100,000 thoughts, only 3 are kind, and only 1 is original to you. The rest of the day, your thoughts are running a program, which was dictated to you, and one which keeps you in a cycle of fear, anxiety, anger and disconnected from who you really are.
The second step is AWARENESS; to become aware of your thoughts, and notice if they are coming from programming, or from your gut, your heart, and THEN your mind.
As soon as you become AWARE that every thought you are thinking is problematic, you can begin to filter your thoughts; to question them, and challenge them.
A great exercise to try is utilizing this filter for your thoughts:
Is it true?
Is it necessary to have this thought?
Is it kind?
For example, what typically happens is from the moment we wake up, we have a judgment about our day, usually before our feet even hit the ground. "Ugh! Today I have to do all of these things, and I don't have enough time to do what I want to do, and it's going to be a long day, and I can't wait until it's over!"
Sound familiar? First ask, "Is it true that you have to do all of those things?" I mean, who says you have to do them all today? And is it programming from yourself or someone else that says "If you don't do all of the things, you will be seen as ________________, and you certainly don't want to be seen as that! Anything but lazy, incompetent, a failure, not earning your wage, etc.."
Is it true you don't have enough time in the day to do it all? Maybe so, and it's usually your programming that tells you you have to do it all, TODAY, because, you know...you won't measure up, you are not enough, you aren't worth what you're getting paid to do...when in reality, the programming is unrealistic, unsustainable, and unhealthy.
Which leads to the next question to filter your thoughts through-"Is it necessary?"
Is it necessary to think those thoughts in the first place?
Is it necessary to DO ALL THE THINGS, and if you feel it IS necessary, is it kind to either think this is indeed the case, or is it kind to yourself and others if you do, in fact, do all the things?
You could spend some valuable time actually evaluating your thoughts and put your brain to good use by filtering your every thought, and noticing.
This third step is my new favorite, especially as I have made it my soul's mission to become a better SOUL MODEL ( someone who only takes on roles that are in alignment with my soul). I take a few selfies!
I'll explain what I mean...the other day this phrase came into my head, "You are not a role model. You are a SOUL model. You take on roles that are in alignment with who you really are, and not who society says "you should take on." This was a gift from Source, I believe, reminding me of my own sovereignty, and the power of choice I have, which is completely against the programming, and it does require a different mindset, to be sure.
The "selfies" I take are different than what you think-my "selfies" don't even involve my phone or my camera. I think of the long list of selfies I might need when I notice the programming showing up. As in:
These "selfies" are completely against the narrative of the programming; you are supposed to be self-sacrificing, self-loathing, self-less, and so on, until you have completely abandoned your SELF, at which point you will have become the role model society most admires; the one who is NOT THEMSELF.
What would it take for you to become the SOUL MODEL you have always needed, and longed for? Is there even one role you play in your life you can reexamine and determine whether or not it really serves you?
If you can follow the three steps I have outlined for you, of unlearning, noticing and becoming aware of the programming versus the original, creative, dynamic and vital voice from within, which is your soul that most desires to come through, and take a few 'selfies' along the way, I believe you will become the SOUL MODEL you have always wanted to be, and the SOUL MODEL the world desperately needs.
I would love to hear more about your experience, and how I can be of assistance in helping you become a better SOUL MODEL. I have two slots available for new clients and I would love to help you lose the roles, and enrich your soul!
You can connect with me on my website www.debikennison.net, or message me on Instagram, at Debi Kennison.