It’s the eve of my thirty-second birthday; a perfect time to sit and reflect about how I’ve grown not only in this past year, but in the last thirty-two years as a whole. I hope I say this every year at this time - I never thought I’d be where I am right now. I’m filled with so much gratitude for the lessons and growth life has brought me. There is really a lot to be excited about, yet I am overcome with a sense of peace...a sense that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. Every triumph, every tear, every sad day, every hard conversation, every beautiful experience...they’ve all led up to this moment. I’ve worked hard to have these moments of serenity and clarity (though they are sometimes fleeting amidst a world of chaos and distraction), but when they come, I embrace them fully.
Tonight, I’m reminded of all of the things I have had to be willing to let go to get me to this moment in my journey; the thought patterns, the beliefs, and the habits that I stubbornly held onto for too long because I believed - in some way - that they defined me or kept me safe. I am tremendously grateful that I’ve arrived at a place where I can recognize that holding onto thought patterns of fear, judgement and guilt are destructive or that clinging to habits used for avoidance or coping are unproductive. While it may not be the easiest to break free of these patterns, the simple ability to acknowledge them and choose again has been such a monumental point of growth for me. Here’s just a short list of patterns, beliefs, and habits I’m willing to release as I begin my 32nd rotation around the sun:
Compensating, managing, and coping. We all do it, instead of working on healing a wound (because, like it or not, healing takes a lot of effort), we compensate, manage, and cope our way through situations. Ultimately, making it harder on ourselves and enduring more struggle in the long run than we would if we chose to look at the problem head-on and heal it from the root cause.
Judging others...and myself. Judgement is incredibly toxic. We make little judgments every day. It’s a behavior we’ve all learned, but a behavior we can also choose to recognize as unhealthy. Once we’ve done this, we are able to choose again when we are tempted to judge.
Holding on to negative emotions. Resentment, pain, anger. Sometimes we hold on to negative emotions towards others to protect ourselves. However, forgiving people and situations is absolutely instrumental to healing and growth. Holding on to these negative emotions takes up valuable space in our consciousness that we could use for much more higher vibe thoughts. Point blank: holding on to negative emotions is a waste of mental space.
Avoiding and numbing. This is a big one. We all develop habits that we use to mask underlying issues and subconsciously keep ourselves trapped. It might be drinking, eating, spending, binging, scrolling - anything that helps us to be mindless in some way in order to avoid looking within. When the goal in life is to be more mindful, there is little place for mindless activity.
Thinking I have to have it all figured out. By nature, I’m a bit of a perfectionist and a “need-to-know-it-all.” I hold myself to a high standard and have often stopped myself from playing big because I didn’t believe I was ready. The reality is, I will always have room to grow and improve...that’s what life is. So, if I wait until I’m perfect, I’ll be waiting forever.
The lesson I’ve learned and intend to apply (and reapply) this year is that when these old, tired thoughts, beliefs, or habits creep back in - I have the power to simply choose again.