I can’t wait to look back upon this in 5-10 years and realize that today, I was only on the brink of self-discovery and inner knowing. At some point in our lives, many of us find ourselves to be on a clearly laid out, divine path. Others may not even see their path up ahead, oblivious to the twists, turns and meanings at every crossroads. One may argue that this second way of going through life may be a simpler way, one with far less stress and drama. Others may argue that such a life lacks depth. Maybe the difference may be the age of our souls… The oblivious soul may just be one of youth and naivety, while the aging soul has already been down this road and is working on perfecting it.
However one may view the various paths through life we choose to take, I think we can all agree there are lessons to be learned along the way. I am of the mindset that these lessons are meant to be noted, deposited in our bank of growth, and later called upon for service to ourselves, and more importantly – to others.
I believe I am at a pit stop of reflection. A place where contentment is what currently needs to be noted. Whatever it may be… it caused me to hug my children just a little bit longer and tighter at bed time tonight. It was an opportunity for gratitude that I could not ignore. And so now, to reflect, these are the ways in which we grow, and the lessons that we learn that have come to be oh so important in my life!
It’s not about you. Multi-faceted to say the least. One of the hardest things in life is knowing when it’s not about YOU! So often we emotionally react to the perception of another person’s words because we allow ourselves to take those words at face value. What we have failed to realize is that those words are truly a reflection of the person speaking them, along with their ego and insecurities. It’s not about you when:
- someone is mean to you
- someone is intimidated by you
- someone disapproves of you.
In another facet of life, business, we tent to spend a large majority of our time while in conversation with others, making up stories about what the other is thinking about us. When in reality that aren’t thinking of us at all, or if they are, it is in a glowing light! And when, in business, someone turns down our offer, we make it all about us. But guess what?! It’s not about you!
In our relationships, namely romantic, when our counterpart expresses their frustration and we put up walls of defense to withstand their “attack”, then we begin to fire back upon them in retaliation… did you know? It’s not about you! Frustration and anger come from within. And not only is it not about you, but whatever your significant other says they are angry about, is NOT what they are really angry about. We do a pretty darn good job of masking what the real problem is with silly stuff, like the dishes, the laundry and the DIY project that never seems to be finished. Allow yourselves to drop the dishes issue and look deeper to uncover a real problem that can actually be worked on and resolved.
It’s about the journey, not the destination. We spend so much time in life “looking forward” to the next thing, the next moment, milestone, promotion, vacation. When you are constantly looking forward, down the road, you miss the scenery of the moment you’re currently living in. Time for a Chinese Fire Drill and get in the passenger seat! Look around at everything you DO have, the scenery of where you ARE and most importantly look at WHO you are with. There is not one grieving person in the world that wouldn’t advise you to slow down and appreciate your life, to live in the moment. I’m not suggesting not to plan or glimpse ahead here and there. If you don’t, you may miss the signs for your next turn or path. So be the kind of passenger that the driver can’t do without – be your own life’s co-pilot.
If you think about your life as a journey, the destination is death. So enjoy all of the pit stops, roadside motels, bumps, hiccups and potholes. Appreciate every detour for the lesson that it serves you with, because there are many. And guess what? It wasn’t actually a detour – it was the path you were meant to be on, even if you feel like you’ve been “re-routed”. If you are sitting there doing a Sudoku in the passenger seat you’ll completely miss the route you are meant to be on.
So, stop saying “I can’t wait until…”. Trust me, it will be here soon enough. For now, roll down the windows and crank up the tunes!
Live outside your comfort zone. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally.
Being comfortable is so overrated. Nothing amazing ever happened while you were curled up in your sweats with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s on the couch! Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but make that kind of night the exception, not the rule.
To stretch ourselves in ways we couldn’t imagine is to grow. Even my 7-year old says so! He came home one day and told me that when you challenge your mind you grow. So I took the opportunity to tell him about living outside your comfort zone and he totally got it! Imagine that?
Physically challenge yourself to do more, run harder, stretch further. You’ll be rewarded with more energy, and better health.
Mentally challenge yourself by learning something new all the time. Read books, lots of books, about lots of topics. Read adventure stories to get your creativity flowing. Read personal development books to work on becoming the best version of you possible. Read professional development books to expand your horizons in your career, or maybe open up your mind to possibilities you hadn’t previously considered.
Emotionally challenge yourself by letting yourself delve into your fears. Dig deep, where the scary stuff lives to help weed out the crap that isn’t serving you. Maybe drop down the walls of defense with your loved ones and put yourself in their shoes, or consider that they may be right. What if they were right and you are being stubborn? What’s so bad about admitting it and working on it? Doesn’t everyone win that way?
When you feel uncomfortable just remember that you are growing and we should never stop growing!
Work on becoming the best possible version of you! Do you know that when you work out the junk in your head and the junk that’s bogging down your health, you start to become your best self? Being the best possible version of you serves you, the ones you love and those that love you. When you get yourself straight, you can love unconditionally because you start to love yourself unconditionally. I bet you didn’t even know that you may not love yourself. Most of us struggle with that on some level…
When you choose to live in your comfort zone and in fear, you aren’t allowing your true self to be seen. What everyone around you gets is a half-assed, angry and/or anxious version of you. We are born with 2 fears: the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. These are our reflexes. ALL other fears are completely made up in our heads.
Surround yourself with like minded individuals because you will reflect the ways and attitudes of the 5 people you surround yourself most with. Do you want to be like the whiny, complaining friend that always brings her baggage to the party? If not, then start to redirect your energy to friends that lift you up, not bring you down. As your circle changes, you change.
When you are working to become a better person, the universe rewards you for the little steps of progress along the way. Soon you’ll start to notice your relationships changing and you’ll start to enjoy your life a bit more.
One of the most profound moments I’ve experienced on my journey was when I told my husband that “I’m working on making myself better” and his response was “but I like you just the way your are – I think you’re pretty great!”. Instead of just sitting back and relaxing and accepting that what he thinks of me is enough, I chose to continue down my path of self-discovery and guess what? He started to follow me… to join me. I felt so rewarded when I discovered that we are still on this journey together, that we are even in the same car most days!! After 13 years together, we’ve gone through peaks and valleys and the recent valley we were in I wasn’t sure if I had left him at a rest stop or if he was hitchhiking or what!
This isn’t to say that no one is good enough as they are, but we are constantly up against life’s challenges and if we aren’t working hard to be our best selves, life might get the best of us…
Regret is an emotion that is a complete waste of time. What happened cannot be changed. So if you cannot change it, why spend your energy on wondering what would have happened or what could have been? There will never be a way to go back and make a different choice or take a different path.
There are many quotes about this sentiment, but my favorite is “there is a reason that the rear-view mirror is a lot smaller than the windshield… where you’re going is much more important than where you’ve been”.
So while there is no sense in expressing regret about your past, there is absolutely merit to understanding why you did the things you aren’t proud of or why your life unfolded in a certain why. Learning from your mistakes is crucial! A common example is regretting marrying your ex when you have a couple of beautiful kids because of it. That is certainly nothing to regret, but looking for the reason that your marriage didn’t work or why you allowed yourself to stay with an abusive person is worth all the tea in China! And guess what? The answer is not them… this is when it IS about YOU!
The answers always come from within. Always. Don’t beat yourself up while you go through life, just love yourself and all will fall into place.