How has your understanding of your own leadership changed through the Fellowship to date? How has focusing on your own leadership changed the way you lead in your work? How do you now view the role of self-care in sustaining your ability to lead?
The power of cultivating relationships and self-preservation are my topics regarding how my understanding has changed my leadership. I have had acquaintances and other informal relationships that have blossomed into friendships. The connection and the subsequent support has shown me that my leadership is growing. It was recently admitted to me that my journey from being a Native Nation Rebuilder, to a Bush Fellow has been an inspiration. I beamed with gratitude and a sense of purpose during that conversation. We never fully know how we are impacting people and when someone shares that they have been standing on the sidelines cheering you on, it just makes the hard work so much more worth it.
The relationship that I have cultivated that has been the most profound has been with myself. I have learned that although I am a community servant, I do not live for others. I live for my own enjoyment and satisfaction from life, and then, I can be charged enough to give to others through my leadership. I have made changes of great magnitude in my family structure and my professional career that reflect self-love, self-respect, and loving compassion. Six months ago, I lived in a constant state of need for approval with loved ones and peers. I have shared in previous posts that this stemmed from a traumatic childhood, and later a conditioned codependency. However, I recently had a Child Psychologist re-frame codependency as “Compulsive Caregiving”. Interesting enough, simply changing the words, helps change my story and the ownership of those labels. Once we allow ourselves the appropriate context to our past, or present, we can move forward into our future with more ease and certainty. If we choose to believe that we are defective, the powerful mind will continue to show you how true the statement is. This, for me, is not the case anymore.
In my case and some of my peers, what we say, and don’t say to ourselves plays a role in our self-care. Do we lift ourselves up, or do we tear ourselves down? Criticism is a tool when done right, and abuse when not. Mental Self-harm is silent. I feel as though, we need to show up for ourselves every day, so that we show others what we need from them as well. When we are all clear and communicate our needs, there is greater opportunity for them to be met. Lesson: Be kind to yourself and learn ways to preserve.