Although I take time every day for reflection, there is something about birthdays that compel me to write a longer reflection note.
33 was an eventful year for me and I’m grateful for it. I learned a lot about myself and life in general during my 33. Below are a few main things I focus on lately.
If you know me then you would know that I like to make plans. I don’t cope well with uncertainty. Although I know that uncertainty is the only certain thing about life, I still cling to planning and thinking about the future obsessively. These past few months I’ve learned to stop planning for the future too much and recognise that as long as I’m aware of my actions in daily life, make sure they are aligned with my life’s core values then the future will take care of itself.
Gratitude is the only quality I’ll cling to with my dear life. The ability to feel grateful or thankful for things in your life no matter how big or small they are is one of the most important life skills that I will always practice. When we are at the moment in life where we feel like we’re drowning, being able to appreciate small little things we still have going on, appreciate the kindness of people around us or just appreciate that they are still alive is like having a life jacket that keeps us afloat.
Create My Own Little Culture
Over 10 years ago, I read this passage in one of my all-time favourite books, Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
“Well, for one thing, the culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. We’re teaching the wrong things. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it. Create your own. Most people can’t do it.”
I remember thinking back then that that was a good idea, creating your own culture but then I didn’t think much about it and kept on living my life. Now that I’m older and realised that there are certainly a few things in our culture that confine us to thinking in certain ways. How a good life should look. How a good family should look. How a good person should act. Even the word “good” itself gets confined. And when our life doesn’t fit into that criterion, we are forced to think that there might be something wrong with our life or that our life is not enough. Just being alive and living and having a few loved ones around us is not enough.
I decided to start creating my own little culture. As long as I know that I don’t harm anyone else and that I can contribute something good to the world no matter how small it is then that is enough. I don’t give a f**k about how society or other people think what a good life should be.
Self-Love, Self Compassion, and Self Respect
I assume deep down everyone knows that they should love themselves but sometimes we treat ourselves in a mean way. This includes me. I always think that I am pretty good at self-love, self-compassion, and self-respect but at times I still let other people treat me in ways that if I love myself enough or respect myself enough, I wouldn’t keep putting up with that. I would tell them off if they treat my best friend that way. Or I would behave in a way that is not respecting my physical, mental or spiritual health just to please other people and then feel bad about it later. So this year, I would like to just explore myself, learn how to love, be kind and respect myself. The candle can not light another candle if it itself doesn’t have the light.
I have spent most of my life so far trying to “be better” at everything that I think is important; health, work, relationships, etc., and I found myself feeling exhausted from doing that. What I learned to do in the past couple of months is that I learned to “just be” and know that it’s okay to “just be” too. Just be.
I’ll just keep on taking my little steps forward. As long as I keep walking in the direction I want my life to go and the direction that I choose for myself, it doesn’t matter if I will walk slowly, take a rest sometimes, go on a detour to see something different to learn something new and then walk again then it is okay.
I might even run now and then when I feel like it!
I’m looking forward to getting to know you, my 34 self. 🙂
“You once told me
You wanted to find
Yourself in the world –
And I told you to
First apply within,
To discover the world
You once told me
You wanted to save
The world from all its wars –
And I told you to
First save yourself
From the world,
And all the wars
You put yourself
– APPLY WITHIN by Suzy Kassem