I don’t know what it was about the last less than ideal unfortunate event I experienced in my life, but something really shifted in me. Is it because I’m older, or I’ve been exposed to more, or maybe it’s the accumulation of what I’ve learnt over years (since I’ve consciously made the effort to grow my mindset). I don’t know, but something just clicked differently this time. I had a different set of thoughts, beliefs, and resources that were guiding me. I was shedding thick layers and finding my way to a me I’d known was there but had never met while I was on this journey. At this point, I had two very distinct feelings; fear of what I was going to find, and excitement for where it would lead me. I am writing this not because I’m ‘there’ (wherever this, in my opinion, fictional ‘there’ is) yet. I am still on this journey, learning from whoever and whatever I can, daily, since I don’t believe this work is ever just done. Here are some lightbulb moments I had, that allowed me to feel differently than ever before and therefore take actions and make decisions I never had before.
- Our identities are heavily influenced by beliefs we inherit from family, culture, religion, even geographical location. None of those influences are bad if we know how to use it. But if we stick to only that to help us define identity, most of us would stay lost. It wasn’t until I started on this journey, to take aspects of life, beliefs, values, culture and religion, question their relevance and how it’s serving (or not serving) me that I started to form my own identity, spirituality and unique view of the world. This is ultimately how we create a version of ourselves we can align with. This is still influenced by many different things (we don’t come up with it all by ourselves), but hopefully more aligned, deliberate, and thought out things, rather than just inherited.
- While you’re on this journey, change can often feel like betrayal in the beginning. This is one of the subconscious reasons many of us don’t tend to question and re-wire ourselves. That was certainly the case for me. It took much unlearning to realise that this creation of a new identity is not betrayal. If done with love, respect and gratitude for the aspects that initially raised us, this is one of the most worthwhile journeys we’ll go on. Although there are many beautiful aspects of life we can inherit, we should not solely rely on inheritance to become ourselves.
- We’re constantly changing, so it’s almost impossible to find ourselves. Our energy is better spent freeing ourselves from non-useful conditioning that controls us. Creating ourselves and freeing our conditioning is to identify what parts of you stay and what go. Going through the experiences of life will call us to adapt things, unlearn and recondition to keep creating our identity. Life calls us to work on this daily through the events continuously happening for us.
- The way we think about all of the big and small things in our lives is programmed by everything around us. Until you realise this, you will always be guided by programming from the past and that’s where your decisions, responses, feelings and actions will come from. We are under the false assumption that whatever we’re thinking is solely us right now in this moment. I started to actively write down how I actually felt when things happened, double check to make sure it’s really what I thought or felt and not what I was defaulted to think, and then things started to change for me. Not big huge drastic changes, but little changes, like feeling lighter and not so heavy about decisions I made and responses I had. It sounds tedious at first, but eventually it becomes second nature and you respond more often than you react. The statistics say that 85% of our thoughts aren’t even ours. It’s what other people (family, friends, teachers, media, etc.) have programmed us to think. Write your thoughts down and assess the percentage- you’ll be surprised.
- The empty space between here and ‘where to next’ is allowed to be empty, we don’t need to rush to fill it. Every time I found an empty space in my life I used to get so uncomfortable and dash to find the next thing that would fill it. I am still learning how to let this go. Talking to many, I realise that the empty space is often synonymous with unsuccessful, lazy, time wasting, ‘if you want it bad enough you would use every single pocket in your day’, etc. You don’t need to have it all figured out straight away. Pushing and shoving and trying to fit a round peg in a square hole is not the way to move forward. I know it’s not an easy thing to come to terms with (I cringe as I write this!). The forcing gets you more stuck and puts you into a worse space mentally and emotionally (I’ve been there many times). Just know that even in the waiting, you are still learning, growing, experiencing and most importantly, living. The empty space is only ever wasted if you stop living while trying to fill it. Instead of forcing and spending hours being down on yourself for it, write a list of what it would feel like to have that space filled. Whether that space is a new or different job, a partner, a home, a new city, or even a new routine- write down what it would feel like to have that space filled. This will get the ball rolling and have you searching from a place of inspiration rather than desperation!
I hope these help you to unpeel yet another layer, let your inner light shine a little brighter, & have a little more faith on your journey. Even if it takes time, even if it’s not linear, you will find your way home.
- The Journey Back Home to Myself (…which I’m still on) - May 3, 2020