How often do you find yourself lost professionally or personally and wondering “why am I doing this?” Have you ever found yourself arguing with your inner critic at 3 am for spending all night binge watching an entire season of your favorite new show when you told yourself you will go to bed after just one episode? Do you find yourself experiencing that Sunday night anxiety that begins to beat like a faint drum and builds louder and louder as the weekend closes and Monday morning approaches?
Do you ever feel like you’re not in charge of your life?
It is very common for individuals to experience periods of time or stages of life where they feel out of sync with themselves as well as others. It can almost feel as though you have competing agendas taking place simultaneously inside of you.
When instances arise with clients who feel “out of sync” or “not in charge” we explore the topic of self “agency.” The term “agency” describes the felt sense of overseeing your life. A sense of knowing who you are, where you stand, that you have a voice, and that you can impact your circumstances.
An important first step in exploring agency is turning inward and expanding awareness of our self. While doing this it is also imperative that you approach yourself from a curious and kind perspective. Do not judge or be critical. Just notice. Connecting our mind with our body will enable us to begin to build a greater awareness which offers the potential to influence how we feel, how we experience, how we act, and how much agency we hold within.
What are you looking for when you turn inward and focus on yourself? One approach includes exploring yourself as parts or members of a family, if family is not an option for you, then consider a group of friends or persona’s. The objective is to identify the various members or persona’s that exist within you and build an understanding of who they are, what they need, where they manifest, and what they’ve experienced. Be open to yourself and notice the different degrees of maturity, wisdom, eagerness, energy, emotions, experiences they hold and how each influences your own self-agency.
- You may find a part of yourself that feels youthful, full of energy, and fuels your desire to get outdoors and be active & healthy. All the while you may also find a competing part of yourself that expressed as an angry, frustrated, and scared child who fights back and refuses to go outside. That part of you would prefer to just sit and be stubborn.
- You may find a part of yourself that acts as the critical friend and never has anything good to say about yourself or others. On the contrary, you may carry a hopeful advocate who believes things will be better. All the while they are both in conflict with one another which leaves you feeling guilty from insulting your friend versus providing a compliment.
While we are whole beings who are dynamic in nature and not necessarily individual parts, like a Lego set, we are a system or network that is influenced by small forces that constantly influence how we operate. Therefore, while you’re exploring yourself take the time to understand the many or several parts of you that exist.
After you have Identified your persona’s and connected where they may exist and manifest across your body you can begin the next step which is implementing your own self-leadership. When one or many parts of you begin to compete for attention and take charge you can influence your own agency by deciding if that is what you want to experience in the moment, believing you have a say in what happens, and ultimately believing you can shape your situation.
Developing self-awareness and building a relationship with the parts of our self will enable an even greater opportunity to carry a more confident sense of agency and a stronger belief that we can influence our circumstances through our own self-leadership.