It's been a long time since I have come on here, so I just want to say welcome to my blog if you have not already been here before. As for those of you who have, welcome back and thank you for your continued support.
Today marks my 27th birthday (June 15th, 2021). When I look back on my past self, I see how far I have come. I know this sounds cheesy, but I am truly proud of the progress I made. Exactly a year ago today, I was a totally different person than I am now.
Upon reflecting on my development, I have realized that the biggest changes for me were in terms of mindset.
I have developed healthier habits
I have gotten better at setting boundaries
I am living life by being authentic to my true self
I have been letting go of my ego
I am comfortable being myself
This year, I have developed healthier habits. I was always aware that habits held a lot of power in our lives, however I also learned this year that enforcing healthy habits is not always easy.
For example, I have prioritized putting my physical and mental health first (which includes setting boundaries, but we will get into that later). When we put ourselves first, there may be someone else that suffers because of this. This does not have to mean that we are torturing someone mentally, although we need to know what is good for us. One such example is with my exercise routine. Every week, I commit myself to 3 days of exercise for about 30 minutes to an hour each time. I have been doing this for half a year now, and it has helped increase my energy levels and made me feel better about myself. However, when my husband wants to spend time with me and I had already set aside time to exercise, I can't help but feel I am letting him down. Although I love him, I am doing what is best for me, which helps me show up as my best self for others.
Healthier habits also include giving myself time to be present, when I am feeling anxious and stressed. After having spoken with my naturopath a while back, he said that I held onto a large amount of stress in my body. This past year I have focused on meditation, journalling, taking walks, and just generally being present. Turns out these mindfulness habits that everyone puts on a pedestal are very effective. I am better able to understand myself and control the way that I react to a situation. Although healthy habits are sometimes hard to maintain, they are always beneficial.
Setting boundaries has always been something I have never been good at doing. If I am to be totally honest, I was complacent a lot of the time and a huge people-pleaser. Blame it on the way I was raised, but the truth is it was all about my mindset. I was scared that if I were to truly make decisions that were most authentic to myself, others would hate me for them and eliminate me from their lives. Then I asked myself 'Why would you want people like that in your life in the first place?'
Setting boundaries, while seeming restrictive, has been the most freeing experience for me. It allows me to protect my energy and my peace. At first, it was not easy and felt very unnatural...probably because I never made my true opinion or viewpoints heard. The hard truth is there will always be people trying to push you in one direction, but you need to learn to push back and know that saying no is more than acceptable.
We do not have to continue to be people-pleasers, seeking validation in every situation. We need to know what no longer serves us and let it go.
Living authentically to me means that I can choose to be who I am, without feeling the need to make others comfortable. It means asserting my viewpoints if ever they are challenged and staying true to who I am. It means fearlessly taking chances, based on my true desires and without being held back by fear.
When we live life authentically, we start to feel true happiness and fulfillment. Some may even call this success, and I personally think this is the highest form of success you can achieve. Why? Because it is something that money can't buy!
One such example of living my life authentically is my podcast (also entitled Common Sense Living). It may sound silly, but I have always been fearful of having people on my podcast. Maybe they won't care, maybe they won't like me, or maybe they won't share the same passions as me. This year, I decided to take a leap of faith and have had some amazing discussions with people in the community. Turns out we were all able to connect on so many levels and I learned so much from them. This would have never been possible if I had not made the decision to live a life true to myself, instead of living in fear.
Letting Go of My Ego
This one is a work in progress, but I have started to let go of my ego. After doing some soul-searching and reflecting on my past experiences, I learned that my present day life had been driven by a very strong ego. It had gotten so bad that I was not even aware that it was there.
Every time I had been challenged or someone thought less of me, I felt my heart rate go up and I started to get angry. I started to feel like I had something to prove and always had the thought of 'I'll prove them wrong!' in my head. It wasn't until later that I realized that this attitude towards life kept me stuck in a negative mindset of lack, and a constant need to prove myself. I felt unworthy, so I was trying to compensate with hard work that would either leave me mentally or physically burnt out.
When I chose to let go of my ego, I also learned to let go of those negative people who were holding me back...and sometimes one of those people was myself. I was able to understand that these problems stemmed from my past, yet they no longer controlled me. I was free to be who I wanted to be, and to do what I wanted to do, instead of trying to prove myself constantly. Because of this I am better able to deal with any challenge that comes by way, while feeling an inner peace I have never felt before.
Did you know that I am an extremely awkward dancer?
I remember about 2 years ago, I signed up for group hip hop dance classes to try and improve my dancing. I was set on wanting to dance like those choreographers on Youtube...or at least somewhat close to that. At the end of my ~4 month journey, I had not really improved that much. Ironically, the true improvement started to show up when I was jamming to my music during my at-home workouts. I just started moving my body in a way that was authentic to me, rather than following coordinated movements led by an instructor. I was dancing to the beat of my own drum, and it made me enjoy dancing a lot more.
For anyone who has seen my Reels on Instagram, I am still not entirely confident in showing off my dance moves in public yet. However, I accept that I am still an awkward dancer when I dance alone. The only difference now is that I own it.
When we choose to accept ourselves, flaws and all, we start to gain a larger degree of freedom from our own self-judgment. Oftentimes, we can be our own worst critic, but if we do nothing to fix this, we will always see ourselves in a negative light.
When we see ourselves as we are, without feeling the need to change, we can start to experience true happiness because we know we do not need to fit a set expectation. We can simply be ourselves, and that is always enough.
Even though I have experienced a large degree of growth in the past year, I still consider myself a work in progress. Our journey towards self-development is truly finished, and we are always learning and healing from past experiences. The good news is we are always getting closer to our best selves.
So although we may believe our journey towards growth and self-development cannot go any further, it always does. I look forward to where I will be a year from now and wish you love and support on your journeys as well.