3 Steps for Listening to Yourself
by Courtney Harris, Life Coach
School vs. The School of Life
Let’s be honest, you learn soooooo much from navigating the ebbs and flows of friendships and relationships, working part-time jobs, and putting your heart and soul into extracurricular activities like band or sports or crafting. These spaces are the school of life, and as a former teacher of 10 years, I would argue that your life outside of school is where you find and grow some of your most valuable gifts and tools.
I invite you to Stop. Breathe. Feel.
Notice how this idea lands with you. Is this a new thought? Does it affirm a feeling you’ve already had? What does the idea of “the school of life” inspire within you?
All experiences, feelings, and thoughts are welcome here. If you’d like, pause here and write or draw what’s coming up for you.
Lessons from The School of Life
Everything you learn outside of school creates context for the learning you do inside of school; it helps shape your lens of the world. Furthermore, as you develop awareness of the real and powerful ways you are learning from your everyday experiences, you will become more familiar with your unique needs, preferences, and tendencies. These special parts of you deserve to be listened to and developed! Furthermore, listening to yourself is a skill, and you can set the intention of growing this skill starting today.
Here are 3 steps for listening to yourself more deeply:
- Grow a relationship with your emotions. You can increase awareness of your emotions by noticing your body. What signs is your body giving you about your emotions? Throughout the day, you can stop, check in with your breathing, and scan your body. If this feels safe, I invite you to notice signals in your body. Is there tension anywhere? Relaxation? What does your breath feel like? Do you feel tingling anywhere? What other sensations do you feel? Body-scanning helps you understand how emotions show up in your body. This subtle, simple practice can actually spark big awareness and big change. You might like to give your feelings a name, and this list can help you through that process. Stay curious about the range of emotions you experience, knowing that shifts and changes are normal.
- Determine what you need. Once you are able to name an emotion, or even just know that you are in a more active emotional state, it can be helpful to ask yourself, “What do I need in order to feel comforted?” (You can change the word comforted to supported, happy, peaceful, or any other feeling you want to achieve.) Then, explore possibilities for helping yourself meet your needs. Maybe you need a hug, quiet time, a snack, or a safe person to talk to. Consider: Can I fulfill my own need? Or does this need require the help of someone else? Either answer is valid. Stay patient with yourself as you begin this practice. Sometimes you won’t know what you need, and that is okay too. You can simply acknowledge yourself, “I am feeling sad, but I don’t know what I need yet.” Keep breathing, and let this not-knowing be. Over time, the practice of naming feelings and needs will become more natural and comfortable, even in the midst of uncomfortable emotions.
- Make time for self care every day. Self care is any act or practice that helps you refill your tank. These are small, intentional actions that you do for yourself because they offer comfort, peace, soothing, joy, or something else you need. From baths, to playlists, to running, to napping, the options for self-care are endless! Check out this free download with ideas as you get started. Additionally, if you keep a planner, you might add your self-care to your daily to-do list or calendar. I also invite you to talk about self-care with your friends and family. Share these practices with those around you because the more we are each taking care of ourselves, the more we can care for one another.
Life is Practice
I often remind myself and clients I work with that life is practice. We learn today so that we can do better tomorrow. Self-awareness and these 3 steps to listening to yourself are processes. Just by showing up and offering your attention to these ideas, you are growing! Set the goal for growth; growth is perfect and flawless. Thus, you are perfect as you are, and as you grow. Enjoy the journey, friends! And reach out if you’d like to chat more about these ideas.
As a Life Coach for Teens and Parents, Courtney helps young people get out of worry, isolation, and anxiety and into connection. Through coaching, tweens, teens, and young adults find their voice and grow confidence as they explore their sense of self and personal power. With a Master’s in Special Education, and 10 years of teaching experience, including Social and Emotional Learning, Courtney brings vast knowledge of the teenage brain and effective family interventions to her coaching practice. As a Positive Discipline Parent Educator, Courtney supports parents in exploring kind but firm methods for leading their children and teens; simultaneously, she lovingly guides parents in maintaining self-care and growing alongside their children. Clients who work with Courtney have the opportunity to connect more deeply to themselves and others. Ultimately, families who work with Courtney achieve improved communication, deeper trust, and greater peace. Stay connected with Courtney on her blog, Instagram, and Facebook.
Snag a free downloadable guide to building your support network as you learn to listen to yourself more deeply.
Want to explore your current challenges and visions for your future? Invite your parent or caregiver to book a complimentary 30-minute Discovery Call with Courtney.