Happy New Year my friends!
2018 proved to be a year of breaking, rebuilding, growing, and learning for me. Through all that has happened, I have gathered the strength and courage to step into a new version of myself. A version that releases the pain of the past, while still appreciating and utilizing the lessons I learned from it. I will finally offer my highest, most beautifully imperfect self to the world.
I invite you to join me in doing the same.
To break through to a new level and reach the greatness we are all destined for, we have to realize our darkest times yield the tools we need for our immeasurable growth. This past semester, I had a professor who really impacted the way I look at the world. His signature phrase is, “Find beauty in the struggle”.
He taught me this outlook can drastically improve my experience in life. I spent so much time and effort trying to eradicate all of my imperfections. One day, my professor and I were having a conversation about my writing and he asked me, “Is it better to battle or love our insecurities constituting our imperfectly perfect selves, while simultaneously loving our ability to work with them?”. I felt as if I was constantly swimming upstream, exhausting myself by nitpicking at my flaws, when all along I could have been in perfect harmony if I were to have just released the negative emotions I attached to them.
•Thank you, Dr. M, for prompting me to shift my perception of my flaws from something I have to fight against, to something to appreciate and learn from. You have really touched my life.•
I have come to find out imperfections are never in short supply. In life, in yourself, and in this world. To my relief, my professor made me realize that difficulty yields beauty, and without it, we would never be able to find meaningful value in this world or in ourselves.
2019 will be a year of healing.
Healing paves a path to unimaginable opportunities. I love growth. It’s what fuels me and makes me excited to live. It took me awhile to understand that I am not growing to reach perfection, I am growing to reach acceptance. Acceptance of who I am, acceptance of what I like, and acceptance of what/who fills me up. I am growing to learn the fine line between accepting the things I cannot change and being driven to change the things I can.
Heal from your past. I know you can do it. I have a world of faith in you. Dig up the negative feelings you have attached to situations, events, and insecurities that still haunt you. For me personally, I am just now starting to work through the feelings of unworthiness and insecurity I felt in my teenage years. I am a Junior in college people, and I am just now working up the courage to finally write down the feelings and sensations that left unhealed wounds. We all have those internal closets that we shove away everything too difficult to face.
It is spring cleaning time my friends! (a little early, yes)
Grab your brooms and swiffer dusters and let’s get to work. It isn’t fun, comfortable, or enjoyable to sort through the avalanche of problems/ insecurities/ and fears we’ve hoarded away for so long, but it is absolutely necessary to living your most peaceful and authentic life. Here are a few steps that have proven helpful to me in my healing from years of negative self-talk, loss of people I love, and national/global tragedies that threaten to deplete my faith in humanity.
One cannot heal if they are unaware of what is hurting them. Gain some clarity of what needs a little love and compassion within you by writing down 5 things that bring you uncomfortable emotions (pain, fear, sadness, shame, frustration, etc. ). It can be an event, a person, an insecurity… absolutely anything. The key to fully confronting these difficult topics, thus stripping them of their power, is to write down how they made you feel. The details of the situation don’t hold power over you, your emotions do.
Exhume the pain you have buried deep down within you. As it rots and decays, the stench worsens and eventually you will be unable to ignore it anymore. Look at it as deep cleaning for your soul. I have always had difficulty separating feelings of shame from my flaws. I used to think that flaws were blemishes that needed to be exiled immediately. I used to think I couldn’t create and develop myself if flaws were still present. It took me awhile to learn that my flaws are not what needed to be addressed, they are perfectly fine where they are. It is the feelings of shame, embarrassment, and unworthiness attached to the flaws that leave a toxic residue on your true essence. Embrace your flaws. To quote the super real/raw song Flaws by Bastille, “we’d be doomed without them”.Bastille- Flaws
You can write things like :
- _____ made me feel unworthy of love.
- I felt lonely and scared when ____.
- _____ makes me feel bad about myself.
This type of self-reflection gets you to the root of your blockages and sends you on your way to freedom.
I recently have become quite a night owl (I’m a grandma that gets sleepy at like 9 o’clock so I end up being wide awake at 3 a.m). I’m sure everyone can agree that the lonely hours of the night, our minds runs rampant. I started adopting the practice of writing down exactly what was making me feel uneasy and scared, and let me tell ya… it has done wonders for me! Since I finally started to drain the worries that were clogging up my brain onto paper, my mind has soooooo much cleared up space for me to actually fully interact in this world. Not only have I noticed a drastic change in what I spend my time thinking about, others around me have as well. My brother and I were driving home from the mall recently and as I finished sharing a random abstract thought that was floating around in my head, my brother looked at me puzzled and said “Becca, lately you have been bringing up topics that only a super high person would think of… whatever you’re smoking, I want some of it.”
I had to admit, the really philosophical ideas coming to my head did make me sound stoned, but marijuana wasn’t the culprit of my mind’s expansiveness… it was the new space I created from dumping out all the exhausting negative thoughts and emotions that were consuming all of my attention. Just as you do with your closets piled high with crap and clutter, sift through your mind, and throw out whatever isn’t of nourishing and healthy quality. For me, the process is still underway (I don’t think we ever completely wipe our internal canvases clean), but the positive effects I have experienced from the dirty work is life-giving.
In the wise words of my brother “You don’t have to be high to be a philosophical thinker.”
2. Make a habit of doing what you love
Now that you have begun the hard and emotionally tiring (yet totally liberating) action of facing and cleaning out your internal wounds, it is time to throw in some peaceful enjoyment to this healing process. Create a nonnegotiable pact with yourself to routinely partake in an activity that makes you feel whole, alive, and purposeful. It could be reading for 20 minutes before you go to sleep, taking a weekly trip to your favorite place (mine is the San Marcos River), or even cooking a new recipe for a loved one once a month etc. (the possibilities are infinite and completely unique to each person). If you already practice this, great! Add more 🙂
Photo by smmercury.com
The trick is to figure out what brings genuine happiness to your soul, the type of joy that kinda makes you feel like you’re gonna explode because you can’t possibly contain this much happiness. If it is something that you are scared of other people finding out, that makes this practice even more impactful. Not only will you be cultivating your self-worth by making the enjoyment of your life a priority, you will also be strengthening your self esteem by learning to confidently stand by what makes you truly happy, despite what anyone else thinks of it. Once you feel comfortable doing the things that light up your soul no matter who is watching, freedom is at your fingertips. I used to never want anyone to know that I kept journals and wrote all of the time. I thought I’d be perceived as strange and hard to connect with. Now that I openly do what I love, simply because I love it, I feel limitless. Contrary to my prior fear, I have made connections with people deeper than I thought possible. Writing is what my soul craves. It is healing.
Now that you have cleared up some space in your mind by ridding yourself of unnecessary anxieties and pain, do a little soul searching and figure out what activities heal you, then make a habit of doing it. If it makes you feel good and isn’t hurting anyone (bonus points if it adds positivity to the world) then go for it, no matter what anyone else thinks.
3. Spread love in a way that feels natural to you
Nothing is more healing than activating restoration in others. Knowing that you are leaving a trace of positivity, encouragement, and acceptance everywhere you go acts as a catalyst for deep self-nourishment and causes a chain reaction for others to do the same. The great thing about spreading love is that you literally have millions of opportunities every single day. It doesn’t take a mission trip across the world or a full day of volunteering (incredible modes of service nonetheless) to show kindness to someone.
Know the difference between service and servitude.
Service is something that you feel incredible doing. It aligns with your own gifts and you never want to stop doing it, even if it can get difficult. Here are some examples:
- someone who is passionate about fitness and health helps others to find and cultivate a love and confidence in their own health.
- Someone who loves fashion helps others to feel beautiful in their own body and style.
Servitude is the desire to help others that stems from feelings of obligation and external motivation, such as pleasing others. This mode of service quickly drains you and makes you question why you are helping in the first place.
To avoid getting trapped in this unfulfilling and ingenuine practice, ask yourself what you truly love to do and what gifts you possess that you want others to benefit from. Today smile at someone, listen patiently, reach out to someone who you’re concerned about. No one is perfect, and we all screw up opportunities to be a beacon of positivity to others from time to time, but as long as we are trying that is all that matters. Notice the healing you experience within when you take a second to makes someone’s life a little better. It’s a win-win situation!
Have strength and courage to empty out your junk closet, sort through and let go of what is no longer serving you, and get acquainted with who you are when your mind and soul are clear and peaceful. Healing is a process of highs and lows, but I promise the hard work will lead you to your mountain top.
Make 2019 a year of self-realization, renewal, and limitless growth.