With great challenges come great lessons. While this year has been one the most heart breaking and challenging periods in my life thus far I can honestly say that I have also never felt more alive, capable and on purpose.
I want to share my big lessons from this year in the hope that they enrich your life in some way.
- Let go of all the ways you thought life would unfold. Letting go of the plans and expectations you hold for your future is extremely liberating and allows you in live in flow with the universe. I realised the more I agonised over the loss of the future I had always dreamed of the harder life was to stomach. I had never even imagined a life where my dad wouldn’t be around to simply talk to and one day walk me down the aisle. Letting go isn’t a simple little choice you just make one day and then you’re done. It takes self awareness and consistent choice. When you begin to let go and allow things to just be as they are you’ll be blown away by the possibility that stands before you. Sometimes things better than your wildest dreams can just show up but you have to be open to the possibility that you don’t always know where life is taking you. You can fight that and try and control things or you can dance through the journey…the choice is always yours.
- Don’t fight with hard emotions. When you’re sad and you go into overdrive trying to shake it off and make yourself happy again you can wind up doing more harm than good. I never really realised until this year how much I truly loathed feeling sad. We’re all probably guilty of trying to numb or suppress undesirable emotions from time to time but doing it repeatedly not only means that you’re living an inauthentic life but it also dulls down all the good stuff. You can’t selectively numb emotions. When you let yourself experience sadness and pain the happiness and joy in your life also intensify. Allowing yourself to really sit with and feel your emotions grows your ability to experience the full spectrum of human emotions.
- Don’t get addicted to emotions. This is a follow on from my last point, while you should always let yourself feel what you need to, you also want to have enough self awareness to discern when you’re dropping a little too deep into an emotion or spending a little too much time there. I talk about this mainly in relation to pain and sadness but know that excessive emotion of any kind can be damaging to your body. It’s important to honour how you feel but you don’t want it to consume your life. Know the people, places and things that bring joy to your life, that make you laugh, balance and ground you, restore your calm and heal your heart.
- Don’t compare the beginning of your journey to some else’s middle. When I first lost my dad I’d often to talk to people who had been through a major loss and I’d find myself getting jealous of how well they were doing. There were times where I got insanely frustrated and felt like it wasn’t fair that I had to go through all of this, why couldn’t I just get back to good. It wasn’t until I got comfortable with pain and sadness that I began to realise how much I had to learn. Don’t cop out on the lessons in the challenges. As much as possible try and live in your own life and embrace your precious journey.
- Slow Down! Time will pass regardless of what you choose to do with it so don’t be in such a rush to get everything done yesterday. You never know when your time is up so be micro ambitious. Care more about short term goals and the everyday things. The only time you have to be alive is in each moment so live for your moments and enjoy each breath. And if you find that you’re living for future goals and wishing away your days I hope you find the courage to make some changes and take back your life.
- Know your worth. When I started telling myself “I am enough” each day I was amazed by all the things that came up. I was able to really clearly see all the areas that I didn’t believe I was enough and that awareness began to create a shift in my thinking. The stories I’d been subconsciously telling myself about my shortcomings we’re getting replaced with this new story that I am enough. All the crazy expectations that I pushed on myself in a bid to reach some dreamed up ideal fell away. I began to believe that I don’t need more in order to be my best self…I was already there. I can’t even begin to tell you how much easier life got.
- Get help when you need it and don’t be too proud to accept it when it’s offered. I’ve never been overly brilliant at asking for help or accepting help when it’s offered but I’m so glad that all of that has changed. I knew this year that old habits and ways of coping were just not going to cut it. Accepting and asking for help from family and friends made me feeling so supported and really reassured me that I was going to be okay. Getting professional help made me feel a bit sick at first but it was truly one of the best things I’ve ever done. There were sessions where I felt like I was making heaps of progress and then there were sessions that felt a bit pointless but it’s all contributed to bringing me into an amazing space.
- Make it happen; sort it out. All those things you’ve been putting off – the hard conversations, the mess and clutter, the mile long to do list – just do them. Previously I’ve been a pretty big fan of sticking my head in the sand when things have felt a little too difficult, unpleasant or overwhelming. All the things that I knew I should deal with would buzz around in the back of my brain creating a mild anxiety that I could usually balance out with a bit of yoga and meditation. But when I lost my dad I realised that I just didn’t have the capacity to carry the mild anxiety that lingered in the back of mind and I started to learn to deal with things. It didn’t just happen over night but like learning any new skill bit by bit I got better and better at dealing with things when they came up. I slowly stopped letting things run out for weeks and started taking action. It feels absolutely brilliant to live in such a bold way.
Take the time to figure out what your challenges have to tell you about yourself and find the lessons hiding in your experiences. You hold the answer to all of your questions you simply have to look within.
Love and Blessings