Skillshare Audio: Make Self-Awareness Your Superpower With Yasmine Cheyenne | Yasmine Cheyenne | Skillshare

Skillshare Audio: Make Self-Awareness Your Superpower With Yasmine Cheyenne

Yasmine Cheyenne, Writer, Speaker, Self-Healing Advocate

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2 Lessons (21m)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:18
    • 2. Learn to Unlearn With Yasmine

      19:33
37 students are watching this class

About This Class

This class is audio-only, so you won’t see any active video on your screen. Plug in your headphones, take a listen, and let us know what you think!

Light a candle, take a deep breath, and join writer and mental health advocate Yasmine Cheyenne in this audio-only class all about following the sometimes winding path toward self-discovery, balance, and a life that feels right for you. 

Listen along as Yasmine shares her personal history with getting in touch with her emotions, her body, and her true wants and needs, from a start in the military to her current career as a writer and mental health advocate. Yasmine shares turning points from her own life, then guides you through simple exercises to jump start your own self-awareness, self-curiosity, and self-love.

Yasmine shares:

  • How her experience in the military impacted her relationship with her own emotions
  • Her journey toward understanding the importance of self-awareness as a basis for self-care
  • Simple exercises for you to try today

No matter where your day takes you, bring Yasmine along in your headphones as you run an errand, finish your latest creative project, or relax at home. You’ll leave this soothing session filled with the inspiration and certainty you need to take a look at your own life, find the potential, and take your first steps to a whole new world.

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Transcripts

1. Introduction: Learning to unlearn, is the process of self-awareness and recognizing where there's still places of necessary growth. I also believe that everything that we've ingested from society and our families and our experiences, begins to really dictate what we think is true about ourselves. In the unlearning to unlearn, we are getting to decide what's true for us and making it something that feels good for us versus what we feel we have to be. Welcome to Skillshare audio. I'm Yasmine Cheyenne, a writer, teacher and mental health advocate. In this course, we're going to be talking about learning to unlearn. I really wanted to share a bit of my story and how I began to learn to unlearn with you, so that you can know that one, you're not alone, but two, that I have and continue to practice what I preach. We're going to be working through some steps on how to tackle and look at self-awareness. We're going to be looking at boundaries, anxiety, shame, and self-discovery or curio- 2. Learn to Unlearn With Yasmine: I've shared with you a little bit about what we're going to be doing in this course. But to begin, I want to talk with you about how I got started on this journey, and it starts from when I grew up in New York City. I love New York. I want to preface it by saying, growing up in New York is one of the best experiences that I've ever had. But growing up in Brooklyn, especially during the time that I grew up in Brooklyn, and where I grew up in Brooklyn was pretty tough. I'm a black person, but being in any BiPAP person in low income neighborhood, has completely different experiences than other folks. I just remember feeling very much like, I was in a neighborhood that people didn't want me and I was growing up during denitrification in Fort Greene, and it really stuck with me that people didn't think that I belonged. New York gave me a tough skin. I think most New Yorkers, native New Yorkers believe in that slogan, like if you make it here, you can make it anywhere. But I also really recognize that it would be really hard for me to make it in New York the way that I wanted to. I just felt really caged in. The military became something that seems like the only opportunity that I would have to be able to, one, have a job that was secure right out of high school, but also travels through the world and have that accessibility to education that I knew would be paid for. That was my number one goal. Even though we were at war, it just seems like I didn't want to give up on myself and I felt like if I stayed in New York, I would have less of a chance of really pulling myself out of my environment than if I gave myself the opportunity to try something different. November 2006, was when I enlisted in the military and I went to San Antonio, Texas, which is the first place of the Air Force. That's really cheesy, but that's what they call it. That's where everyone goes that joins the Air Force to go through basic training. I think the number one thing that surprised me about the military and still surprises me about the military was the amount of racism. I expected chauvinism, I expected to not be treated fairly because I'm a woman. But I did not expect the amount of racism there, was present in the military. I think it's because, sometimes we can be a little hard on ourselves when we look back at history at our lives and say, "You were naive or you didn't really understand what was going on." But I remind myself I was only 19 years old, I was still growing up. I'm still unpacking all of the experiences that I've had, and so I didn't know how to cope or deal with what was going on at the time. The military doesn't really leave a lot of space for you to cope or deal, it's like go on with it. I think I definitely began to push a lot of tension down. In addition to that, I deployed within being in the military less than a year, and so there was a lot of other stressors and things going on that made me feel like, I should just learn how to get on quickly. What ends up happening for me was, and what I learned and teach now is, you can't push everything down and just silence one feeling. Like if you shut your emotions off, you shut all your emotions off. I thought that I was protecting myself from that really uncomfortable experiences that I was having in the military, and accompanied with being young, being away from home, being in a new culture, all of those things that I was dealing with, but actually, I was shutting myself off for my emotions. I thought that I was fine because I couldn't feel anything. But actually, I was numb, and couldn't feel anything. I think that's where my journey with healing actually began, because eventually, it bubbled to the surface to a point where I couldn't ignore it anymore. While I was in the military, I was able to do many different things. But one of the things that I reflect on often, and in that really prompted me to want to get in to trauma work and healing is when I worked with domestic violence victims. One of the things that is very difficult when you're a woman, or a female, or a person that identifies as a woman, is the stigma of sexual assault, no matter where you are, but especially in the military, you just want it to go away. I think in the process of just trying to move forward and get on with their lives, there was no room for them to actually have any emotion or real feeling around what just happened. The military is a very small place. If somebody wasn't charged, or if something didn't go through, or if something was wrong, you're going to see potentially your accuser again, it was just a very traumatic experience. It was eye-opening to me that this was the way we handled people who had went through something traumatic. The way that we define trauma, when we see someone that's been sexually assaulted, we say yes, that's traumatic. But then I began to realize so much of everything that we experience is traumatic and none of us were dealing with it. No one's talking about it. We're just processing whatever we have to do to get through it so we can move on, but no one's actually sharing or saying, yes, me too, or hearing anyone out. It just became clear to me that this was something that was really important to me to begin to help people with. Because when I help them in that time, they felt seen. When I spent time with them, they felt seen. It's like they breathed for the first time. I could see myself in that, even though I wasn't experiencing what they were experiencing, I could see myself in the feeling of, I just want to be able to breathe, and I feel like I have to hold this all in, all the time. Now that I've shared a bit of my story with you, the next session that we're going to talk about is how you can begin to learn to unlearn. One of the things that I think is really powerful to begin with is self-awareness. The reason that we're doing this is to gain a deeper understanding of self. It's really hard to unlearn something that you don't know what's going on. Self-awareness is allowing yourself to really pay attention to what's going on in your everyday life. Not trying to fix it, not trying to change it yet, not trying to find ways to shift it. But just saying, I see that that's there. One of the things that has been really helpful for me is setting aside at least five minutes to sit down and say to myself, "What is it that I need in this moment?" Two things that usually come up that we're not expecting but they do, which is, I'd like any water and I have to use the bathroom. It can seem silly like, okay, I'm just going to sit here for five minutes to find out that I need some water, and then I need to use the bathroom, but so often, we don't even give our self space to do that. I saw a mean one that said, "Since you deserve it, go to the bathroom when you feel like you have to go," because that's how often we're pushed out to the side. It may seem really simple, but something as simple as reminding ourselves that we're worthy of the break to use the bathroom and to drink water, is a huge part of taking care of yourself and is something that comes from self-awareness. The next step that I like to talk about with you is self-discovery, or what I like to call self-curiosity. It's really important to give yourself the space to figure out what is it that I actually want? It's so interesting how we can be living an entire life that we believe we cultivated and created for ourselves, but actually, it's our parents. A society, it's all of these different societal dynamics that impact what we decided to do, what we choose, why we choose it, and there's nothing wrong with that. But if you are not living fully your joy, and if you're not living fully in your purpose and your happiness, it can begin to eat away at you, and you can begin to feel sometimes like you are imposturing someone, or that you are living someone else's life other than your own. With self-discovery, you begin to ask yourself powerful questions like, "Do I really love the job that I have? What would I be doing if I could do anything in the world? Why do I have the relationships that I made? Am I advocating for myself? Am I saying what I need? Do I know what I need?" To be clear, if we're not being open and honest with ourselves, then it's really hard to be open and honest with other people. To recap, self-discovery and self-curiosity is really an opportunity for you to create the life that you want. This isn't something that you have to share with your best friend, or your family, or anyone. You don't have to post this on Instagram or Facebook. This is a private exercise for you to dream up whatever it is that you desire that perhaps no one will ever see or know, and you can decide to unleash this part of you whenever you feel comfortable. It's a really empowering exercise. I just want to mention, can also be a little bit painful when you look at what you want versus what you've been doing, and be willing to give yourself the space to grieve. But also, know that, now you're giving yourself an opportunity to choose something different, and that's not only really special, but it's incredibly brave. This next topic is a merge of two because I feel like we can't talk about one without talking about the other, and is one of my favorite topics in the world, it's about boundaries. To talk about boundaries, I want to start off with the definition or at least my definition of what boundaries are. Boundaries are the way that we interact with people, places, and things in our lives and relationships, and the rules that we set that ensure that we feel safe, respected, that there's reciprocity, and that we're been taken care of in a way that feels good. Most of us have grown up to feel either one of two things: that boundaries are wrong and that people who have boundaries are selfish. Or that boundaries, which we've actually created, walls are not boundaries but barriers, which is what I call them, is the only way to feel safe. We think we have boundaries because we're keeping everyone out, but actually we have walls and no one can really get in. What we gain from having boundaries is we create safe ways of interacting with all of the things that we do: our jobs, our relationships, our partners, even our children, we teach them how to interact with us. We respect other people's boundaries and we learn how to interact with others, and we have relationships that are built on trust because when we trust that we can create boundaries for ourselves and show for ourselves, we can trust others and when we do the same for others, they'll trust us. I think a good way of beginning to set boundaries is starting with self boundaries because it's really hard to begin to tackle this with every single person in your life when it's your first time stepping out and doing it. I want you to start with very easy ways of saying no. My favorite to talk about is do not disturb on your phone. That's a boundary that you never have to communicate. People won't know that you set it, you won't know that it's going off, and it's a quick way for people to learn that, hey, after 8:30, Yasmine's not going to pick up her phone. Eventually, people just call someone else. I know in the beginning it'll feel like, but she needs me when she drives home from work, or am I being a good friend, she's going through a lot? I think it's important for you to recognize that people will need you and they will need things from you, but you need you and you need things from you, and the only person that can make sure that you get those things is you. That's my first example of a boundary, do not disturb on the phone. The second that I'd like you to play around with is with Instagram and screen time on social media. I recently set screen time on my phone when this whole pandemic began to put a boundary in place with how much time I had been spending on social media. The reason why is because I noticed I was complaining about how tough social media is. There's so much going on, and it's constant 24/7 news, and I was like, "Wait a second, I don't have to be on here 24/7." Sometimes we have to check ourselves and put that self boundary in place and say, "No, I'm not going to do this." When we actually honor our boundaries, we build the trust that we're seeking and the safety that we're seeking in external relationships. A lot of times we feel like other people are going to give us that safety and give us that feeling of peace when actually it's when we advocate for ourselves and do what we said we were going to do for ourselves, we begin to trust that someone at least is going to show up for us and that peace begins to build within. I know that this may seem a bit overwhelming because boundaries is a really expansive topic, but the two things I want you to take away from this is: one, you do have the power to say no and the people who love you and respect you will honor, and advocate, and be proud that you're finally taking time for yourself. The second thing is there will be relationships that will change, shift, and perhaps dissolve because you're saying no, and it is really painful. But the thing that you gain from that is the space to have relationships that actually mirror what it is that you desire to have in your life. As I mentioned earlier, when you're setting boundaries, it can begin to help you tackle a lot of the different places in which you have anxiety in your life, because a lot of times our anxiety stems from us being spread extremely thin in places throughout all of our relationships and not really saying what we have time for. What I think is important to mention is after you start setting boundaries, I think anxiety begins to become a big issue. One, anxiety around setting boundaries and saying no, which is very real thing. Two, anxiety around loneliness and being alone. I think it's important to create a relationship, if you don't have one already, or use a friend that you already have and you know you can trust. What I mean by that is someone that you know is dedicated to perhaps doing their own work, their own self-healing work to be clear, or someone who has shared with you in the past or that you shared with in the past that has actually listened to you and held real space for you to say how you feel, because having that person that you can call on to share what you're going through and talk to is going to be paramount in you continuing to do this because you really do need support. Even though you're setting boundaries for yourself and for you to live life in the way you want to, it's new and it can sometimes be hard. The last way that I think is really important to look at anxiety from a place of love and compassion is to dismantle shame. Shame is the thing that makes us feel like, Dr. Brene Brown always says this in the best way that shame is, "I am bad," and the opposite of shame is, "I did something bad," or "I made a mistake." Beginning to come down from that place of, "I'm a bad person" or "I am not a good person for not being there for people," or "I should put everyone else first," which is such a huge part of the unlearn for so many of us, changing that framework from, "I should put everyone else first," to "I come first and then everyone else comes," is major. Now that you've gone through everything that we've just discussed, you might be wondering like, "This is heavy. What's the point? Why am I doing this?" The reason that you're doing this is because the more that we release all of the stagnant societal ideas, other people's opinions, all the things that people are asking us to do that we don't actually want to be doing or don't have time for, we make space for our own joy. The most powerful thing about this work is that it leads to freedom, it leads to us living a life that is laced with all the things that we actually want to be doing. That may sound super too good to be true or super gumdrops and rainbows, but the truth is you can have a life that is built on the things that matter to you and that is built with love, and respect, and reciprocity, and relationships that feel good. That doesn't mean that your life is perfect, but it means that your life feels good and joyful. That's it for today. I'm Yasmine Cheyenne, and thanks for listening to Skillshare audio. If you enjoyed this lesson, make sure to check out my other classes on my Skillshare page. Finally, I'd love to see your thoughts, ideas, and reflections. Feel free to share comments in any length in the class discussion section.