Around about this time last year, I had a breakdown. A breakdown that woke me up, taught me a lot of lessons and was the main motivator behind starting this blog. For those who don’t know, I was caught up in a sticky situation and I just completely lost sight of who I was and how to take care of myself. It wasn’t until I ended up in the hospital due to a panic attack that I realized I needed help. Those two months I took off from school to focus on myself were the most important months of my life; they truly changed me and I will be forever thankful for them.
In fact, I am thankful for all the difficult things life has thrown my way because they have made me the person that I am today and have taught me important life lessons. I have come a very long way since last October and I am pretty proud of myself for that. Obviously I still have some bad days, days where I feel more self-conscious than others, etc.. but who doesn’t? Anyway, I have had a particularly good month this October and wanted to take the time to write a post to reflect on some slightly random, yet important revelations I have come to realize this year.
It’s okay to enjoy spending time by myself
For most of my life I always felt somewhat ashamed that I enjoyed spending time by myself and doing certain things alone. I also used to hate when I was labelled an introvert because at the time, I unknowingly associated introversion with not being social. This semester, I have been taking a course in personality theories taught by Dr William Sharp and it wasn’t until he clarified something about introversion that I was able to truly accept and identify with the concept. It is a common misconception that introverts aren’t social – and growing up, I was guilty of believing just that. However, the other day Dr Sharp explained to the class that introverts can be just as social and enjoy other’s company just as much as extroverts. The difference between the two is that socializing takes more energy from an introvert than it does an extrovert. For example – after socializing, or standing up and giving a speech, an introvert usually feels quite tired and needs some time to themselves to recharge. While this may seem quite obvious to some of you reading this, I definitely did not realize this growing up, which is why I was so adamant to be labeled an introvert. So.. thanks Dr Sharp for that small moment of enlightenment! I am an introvert, I love to be social and I also love alone time (well.. not completely alone, since Cooper is always by my side, ha!).
Saying “no” and sticking by it feels good
I used to have the hardest time saying no to just about anything because I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. This caused me a lot of unncessary stress when it came to decision making. However, over the last couple of months, I have noticed that I have become increasingly better at saying “no”. Every time I use that word and stick by it, it feels incredibly empowering – even with the littlest of things, such as deciding to stay in for the night instead of going to a party. Saying no when you mean no is the key to self-respect.
Taking care of yourself is a beautiful thing
Knowing how to take care of yourself and being able to tune into what your body and mind needs is such an important life skill. I have always been quite an impulsive and inpatient person and I would often do things thinking of the short-term outcome rather than the long-term outcome. Lately, I have been making decisions based on how I will feel over time instead of in the immediate moment and it almost always results it a much better outcome. Also, I used to let myself get so worked up over what other people thought about me and the decisions I was making in my life. It would occupy my mind and cause me so much stress. Now, I can honestly say that I don’t let other people’s opinions get to me like I used to. While I respect that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I don’t think people should force their opinions onto others. I think what it really comes down to is – as long as we are happy with how we are choosing to live our lives, then we are doing just fine.
Passion is the key to success
If it wasn’t for my passion and interest in psychology ever since I first “diagnosed” myself when I was 8 years old, I wouldn’t be enjoying going to class everyday, doing my homework and planning my future. If it wasn’t for my passion for animals and their nonjudgmental nature, I would of never made the decision to get Cooper who makes me happy every single day. If it wasn’t for my passion for healthy living and self improvement, I wouldn’t have started therapy which is another thing that has completely transformed my life and perception of myself. “Pasison is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you” – Oprah Winfrey
My love for reading books
Ever since I can remember, I have always loved reading. As I have gotten older, it’s been harder for me to find the time and state of mind to read. Usually I will read millions of books over the summer but then won’t touch a book till the next holiday or plane ride.. so I am in the process of changing this. I definitely have the time to read a couple of chapters a day, just like I have the time to go to a yoga class, bring my dog to the park or watch a TV show. There is no excuse! So, I have come up with a list of books that I have always wanted to read and I am going to try and work through them. I am currently reading When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron and am loving it. It’s a great book that offers a lot of insight on how to live your life in a more mindful manner.
So far, this is my favorite quote from When Things Fall Apart – “We are like children building a sand castle. We embellish it with beautiful shells, bits of driftwood, and pieces of colored glass. The castle is ours, off limits to others. We’re willing to attack if others threaten to hurt it. Yet despite all our attachment, we know that the tide will inevitably come in and sweep the sand castle away. The trick is to enjoy it fully but without clinging, and when the time comes, let it dissolve back into the sea.”