Dehumanizing myself looked like exhaustion, anxiety, weight gain and varicose veins. It also looked like very temperamental kids as they could feel my uneasy energy. This was all a result of me trying my best to reign myself in. To always think of my family and put my needs to the bottom of the list… the part of the list that I could never get to without the help of a fairy godmother! Think of me as Cinderella and the wicked stepmother and stepsisters all in one body. The stepmother and stepsisters kept adding chores to my list, so I would never have time to mend my dress for the ball!
I didn’t realize I was doing it to myself… not at first. I had to be triggered over and over with situation outside of myself. I was then able to look at why I was so worked up? I could see other people dehumanizing eachother. And it was so painful and triggering to witness because I was dehumanizing myself first! Another way to describe it is treating myself like a robot, assuming I had no emotional or physical needs, just here to serve.
So how do I dehumanize first? Acknowledging where it is happening in your life is meant to help you release the attachment to the belief. Writing it, saying it, seeing it out in the open allows space for it to heal.
I can easily see this belief with my kids. I constantly lower their potential. When Oliver was an infant, I just thought of him as a baby (a noun, not a verb). I remember my dad and the midwives bringing to my attention how Oliver loved conversations. Without their reminders, I had it in my head Oliver was almost inanimate. I just needed to breastfeed, diaper change and cuddle. If he was crying, that had to be the solution. But, I forgot he was also a human, I needed to also talk to him, include him on the conversation even if he was only able to listen. I did not do this intentionally, I was a tired mama, in my own head, trying to figure out how to survive an 18 month old and infant. I was very focused on my fears. Even now both Hazel and Oliver are toddlers and I get stuck dehumanizing them. I forget to explain what is happening, I don’t ask first before I do something… I have forgetten the simple steps very typically extended to adults, but, I assume my kids won’t understand or won’t listen or won’t follow along… so I just do it.
I also dehumanize myself. When I became a mother, I pushed myself into either mom (95% of the time) or wife or entrepreneur or ecologist. There was no room for just Amber! And I was able to maintain this pace for a while. Then Oliver came along and really challenged that pace. I still tried to maintain, but about a year into Oliver’s life I was starting to fall apart. I was trying to launch my business again, but, had forgotten to factor in some Amber time (downtime). I had dehumanized myself for 2.5 years. I expected myself to perform more like a robot, than a human being. I hit a wall at 2.5 years; exhaustion and anxiety were very prevalent and I did not want to feel that way. I started a real dive into what I really needed. I still struggle with dehumanizing myself. As I write this I am out for a pedicure. My last one was 5 months ago. I went all summer without making time for that luxury. And maybe a pedicure might seem silly, but, it just shows how I was putting myself last. I love having my nails painted, but, “I needed to get through the summer with my new job”, so I put that to the bottom of the list.
How can I shift my relationship with dehumanization? I need to be gentle with myself. Look to take care of myself. Remember I am allowed to be a human first. I am allowed to be Amber first. And then all my other hats can fall into place after that. ❤️
What does this look like for me day to day right now? Well, I am not always nailing it… I am aware it is helpful to acknowledge when I’m rattled or upset. However, I stuffed it down the other day and the result was insomnia all night. My body wouldn’t let me rest because I needed to process. I didn’t process… so, then it brought on a head cold to show I still have unresolved frustration.
So? How am I working through it? Today I asked myself what I needed, and set out to make it happen for myself. I creating space for myself to journal or say out loud what is so upsetting. I made time for a walk. I made time for a bath. I made time for slow so I could sit with my emotions.
I created the meditation to help those that might also have a night of insomnia or an overthinking mind that won’t let you relax.