self-care / part 2: getting to know the person living in your skin


self-care series
((part two of eight))
hello stardust,

it's so nice being here with you. i've been feeling a bit off lately, like the wind is blowing harder than usual and i'm struggling to stay on this tightrope. being here with you and talking about these things feels like a branch to hold onto. so thank you for that.

this is the second part of my series on self-care. this week i wanted to talk about getting to know yourself. it's an interesting concept and something i think about often. am i more soul or body? are they separate? is my personality/wants/dreams separate from the reflection i see staring back at me? a bit off topic, but interesting to think about, i think. so if you're looking in the mirror you see a slightly distorted version of 'you'. it's not even a perfect representation of what people see when they look at you, and there's a much bigger part of what makes you who you are.

i think of it like my body is an apartment that i'm renting. it's my responsibility to take care of it while i'm here, to feel proud of it when i meet people. but it's not me. what is me is much deeper and more complex than skin and bones. my soul is what survives longer than my body. my soul is what people think of when they think of me; how they'll remember me when i'm gone.

it's easy to know and understand the temporary shell that surrounds your soul. you can touch it and memorize the colors and curves. it's not so easy to understand what's underneath. but it's much, much more important.

when you get to know that person, making life-choices becomes a cinch. this knowledge is nourishment for every area of your life. it's a way to water relationships in your life and watch them grow. a way to save time by avoiding doing things you know will ultimately make you unhappy or hurt you.

so if you think of yourself as a friend, you can begin this process. you care deeply for this person, but maybe don't know or understand fully who they are. so the first thing you would do with this friend would be to ask them questions.

maybe you don't know the questions to ask. some things that continually help me with these questions are personality tests.

i’ve always loved taking these kinds of tests. any silly thing that i scroll by saying, ‘what type of leaf are you?’ catches my eye and i have to find out. 

this may sound a bit shallow, or even narcissistic. but as these tests have brought me insight into myself that i couldn't have found otherwise, i realize how valuable they can be. these tests can help you learn the deep things about you that will then help others understand your needs. they can help you understand your gifts.

i tend to be a little bit superstitious. i love finding signs and deeper meanings. so when i take a test that tells me my spirit animal and it ends up touching a unique place in my heart, i'll hold onto it. 

for example, years ago i took a quiz to tell my what my 'spirit animal' is. i'm always curious, and sometimes the outcome doesn't seem quite right, but at the time it felt dead on. this quiz told me that my spirit animal is a swan, and over the years, i've seen swans on significant days of my life, and it seems like a sweet little blessing. here is the simple description this test gave about my spirit animal:

Swan: 

Powers: Foretelling future through dreams, dream-walking

Swans are idealistic, open-minded, and passionate. Your good nature often leads people to think they can take advantage of you, but they should be careful—beneath that serenity lies a fighting spirit. Your love is fierce and unconditional, fueled by the certainty that it should last forever.


i recently (years after the first time) re-took this quiz and got the hawk as my spirit animal. here's their description of this:

Hawk:

Powers: Communicate with the divine, discern powers in others, photographic memory

Hawks are the messengers of the Spirits. Adept with language, you might be a writer or a teacher. Your ability to assess situations impartially means that people often seek your guidance before making decisions. A brilliant visionary, you sometimes forget the mundane details of life like eating, sleeping, or paying bills.

so i try to take each test result with a grain of salt, not attaching it too deeply to my spirit, but acknowledging that i have gifts that i can share with others.



so as i've gotten to know myself, i've learned not only what gifts i have to give, but what gifts i desire to receive from others. these are often the same, but sometimes it's more complex than that. a good test to determine what you like to give and take in relationships is the love language test. there are a few of these out there, and they are typically geared toward romantic relationships, but i think it's good to know for any kind of relationship in your life. 

when you know what you need and can communicate that to the people in your life, your relationships can be so much stronger. or maybe this person is unable to give you what you need (or vice versa), and it's a good idea to distance yourselves.

a couple of other tests that i highly recommend are the Enneagram (more information here) and the Myers-Briggs (more information here).

these are both very well established tests which can give you thorough insight into your personality. i've taken the myers-briggs test multiple times in the last ten years or so, and have consistently gotten the same result. every time it tells me i am ENFP (extrovert, intuitive, feeling, perceiving). and the description that goes along with it describes me to a T.

this has been particularly helpful as i can often have introverted tendencies, but know deep down that after a difficult day, the best way thing for me is to be around a friend or two. my social anxiety will also often tell me that i should be alone, but in reality that only makes me feel worse.

that's just a personal example, but knowing myself can help me filter out lies that depression and anxiety often try and make me believe.



i truly believe that knowing yourself is a way to love yourself; to know what you need out of life, and not settling for less. you deserve all of the joy and fulfillment this life has to offer.

have you ever taken a personality test that has been an epiphany in your life? i'd love to hear any other ones you guys recommend!

just a reminder:

during this series i will be posting each week at 5pm Eastern Time and going live on the Vertigo music app at 8pm Eastern Time. 

see you then.

xo,

Ashley



Listening to:

listen with me to my playlist tonight (wednesday 4/12) at 8pm :) we can chat while i livestream and it'll be lovely.

you can download the free app for iphone herespotify premium or an apple music subscription are needed to listen along. if you don't have either, you can still hop in and chat with us and see what songs we're listening to.

if you're unable to make it tonight, i'll be posting my playlist on here tomorrow :)

3 comments:

  1. Ashley, your words are so encouraging. I've been reading your blog for several months now, and enjoy every one of your posts. Thank you for speaking out and being a voice and a light within the struggle and the messy journey.

    (and it makes so much sense that you're an ENFP. I am one, too, and maybe that's part of the reason I feel like I can connect with your words so much.)

    keep being amazing. <3

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  2. woah ashley, this makes so much sense to me, I'm so going to take the test you recommended, I have taken only one of those I think, btw would you mind sharing where can I take the spirit animal one please?

    see you next week x

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  3. i love this so much ash!!! love u!!!!

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