It’s the time of the year when I can be proud of having survived the year gone by despite all it brought my way.
I’m brimming with the hope that the new year shall be the BEST year of my life.
This is why I’m confident that before I move ahead in 2019, I must invest sometime reflecting on who am I and the person I am becoming.
While I spend time reflecting all through the year, this is particularly the time when I bare my soul and be brutally honest about myself, my expectations and the life I’m hoping to create for myself in the days ahead.
Keeping in tune with my thoughts in the new year, I have chosen ‘Growth’ as my word of the year for 2019.
It has more to do with the person I am striving to become, continuing with the foundations I laid in the past year.
I want to invest more time and energy into taking actions, to grow emotionally.
To take more risks.
Be prepared to make more mistakes and step out of my comfort zone where I spent 2018.
To be a better version of who I’m today.
This year, I wish to grow to be human enough to be, well, enough.
Who am I becoming?
♥ More Mindful
I started 2018 with the determination that I shall lead a more mindful life.
A life where I’m well connected to my thoughts and my instincts. Where I’m paying full heed to the murmurs of my body besides the surroundings I am a part of.
I decided to practice mindfulness in a way that best suited me.
Mindfulness is believed to cast a magical spell of calm and control over our lives.
I haven’t been successful at meditating religiously because in the chaos of daily life, acting from a place of stillness all the time feels rather futile or worse, almost impossible.
However, I have come to believe that I have the ability to mould the unpredictability, the unending chase for perfection to achieve desirable outcomes.
I am working to accomplish it in a way that I can be at peace, be relaxed and not churning unpleasant emotions when life chooses to take its natural course.
This has been a BIG win for me.
Mindfulness for me has been about being more focused on what I’m doing.
Cutting back on distractions (both online and offline) has been helpful. And the best bit was, over time, I stopped craving for the distractions that once served as a relief from the stress of doing the tough, challenging tasks that demanded my full attention.
Mindfulness has made me pay more attention to whatever I am doing, even if it was painting with my daughter when I was least inclined to participate.
Being fully present at the moment without the constant worry of what else I could be doing in that time has bestowed my mind with a sense of relief.
Being mindful about where I invest my time, has helped me step out of the autopilot mode that has been thus far pushing me to carry on with the same mental ruts, day after day, for the better or worse.
♥ Journalling keeps me focussed
I have been a big fan of journal writing since childhood. And you can spot me raving about the benefits of writing a gratitude journal on the blog.
I discovered a life-changing benefit of writing my thoughts down on paper ~ Clarity and focus.
Every time I chose to brain dump on a piece of paper or in my journal, I had a written draft of my train of thoughts for future reference. This not only helped me assess my progress but also served as the much-needed source of motivation when inspiration fizzled out and I needed to revisit the WHY I had started something in the first place.
This is how contrary to procrastinating I am slowly becoming an action taker.
I’m becoming a person who is slowly learning to get results from the tasks I had long been wishing to accomplish but had left them half done in the past.
♥ All drama is the product of the stories I choose to tell myself
This lesson didn’t come easily to me.
It took me a long time to come terms with the master storytelling skills of my mind. I was amazed by the stories my mind spun in a matter of seconds that were purely based on assumptions and only added to my fears, biases and grief.
Ever since I started repeating this understanding to myself, the quality of my life has changed dramatically.
I feel like I am in much better control of my life and emotions.
If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you might have noticed how some of my earlier anecdotes took a blaming tone. I’m not sure about you, but when I reread my older posts, I have felt so on more occasions than I can count. I blamed myself, my circumstances and the people around me for my sufferings.
Though today its an altogether different story. I feel like a changed person.
Last year, I invested a lot of my time reading books that helped me find the answers I had been seeking for a long time.
In my quest to find a lasting resolution of the problem of being constantly surrounded by toxic people I finally took action.
I have often been advised by many well-meaning friends to step out of my parent’s home to cut myself some slack from the daily drama.
I’d be lying if I say I have never considered that option.
However, after putting in much thought in the matter, I have decided to work upon ways to exist peacefully and one of the steps has been to deep dive into the psychology of the people who had been draining my emotional energy all the time.
I highly recommend reading the book; Emotional Vampires by Albert J. Bernstein
This book delivers on the promise of acclimatising us with the personality traits of the emotional vampires or the people who add toxicity in our daily lives and leave us feeling emotionally exhausted.
Reading this book over a number of times has helped me develop an action plan to survive the daily drama and thrive without feeling burnt out.
I’ve experienced a slow mindset shift that helps me spot the negativity the minute my mind tries to churn it. That’s exactly when I consciously guide my mind towards positive thoughts to prevent my calm and emotional energy be spent uselessly.
This book helped me realize that some people are just not meant to be in your life, making it easier to let them go and getting on with my life without guilt.
♥ A minimalist
I am a minimalist at heart. I am forever finding ways to reuse and recycle to minimise shopping for the stuff I really don’t need. I do not enjoy shopping. Not even online. Not even for clothes, bags (though I love them in all shapes, sizes and colours) or shoes.
But I did not get a chance to embrace minimalism until I lost a lifetime of earnings and all belongings at the hands of a greedy, heartless ex-husband.
All my growing up years I have been surrounded by people who LOVE the stuff and don’t tire from shopping and splurging. But it has only been now that I learnt to follow my heart and embrace minimalism in its true form.
This Diwali I emptied two closets full of clothes in great condition that weren’t being worn because of one excuse or the other. Though I faced immense resistance from the family, finally when we gave away the clothes to the needy, the happiness that we felt was priceless.
♥ More Patient
All my life I have lived by the illusion that I was a very patient person. It was only recently that this myth dispelled and came forth a face I had never known before.
The reality was what I had believed to be my patience was actually my ignorance in having the vocabulary to be able to name my emotions and virtues accurately.
Though my mind doesn’t altogether buy the above theory, some of life’s bitter experiences have told me otherwise. Awakened by the words of the sane, I have been investing a lot of time and conscious thought training myself to be more patient.
Parenthood has been the mirror that introduced me to the impatient self I have been all along.
One such step has been my transformation into a more peaceful parent. Though my full transformation is far from done.
♥ More Vocal
I used to be an inherently introvert, quiet person who shies away from the spotlight and is often the meekest girl on the block.
That was the case for a major part of my life until I was faced with the responsibility of being a single mother.
It was then I had no choice but to step out of the shadows and get working, talking, asking and doing everything I wanted my girl to do, someday.
Learning to stop letting the life-long social conditioning silence me has taken me a lot of work, learning and reading. Though I’m still taking baby steps in the direction, the results have already begun to show.
Being confident enough to put my foot down without fearing criticism or family resistance is an all-new territory for me.
The rush of adrenaline the drumming heartbeat in my ears and the pride in my daughter’s eyes when she sees her mother stand up for the principles she teaches has been driving force.
Words can’t describe how lighter my soul feels when I gently yet assertively refuse to behave in ways that my heart doesn’t believe in.
It is only now that I’m beginning to learn to feel what ‘being comfortable in your own skin’ truly feels like.
♥ Nurturing my Intuition
As a child, I was always amazed by how strong my intuition was. Though at the time, I used to call it a hunch or the sixth sense and rarely paid heed to it. After some major losses in my life (a miscarriage, a divorce, to name a few) my outlook towards life and above all my intuition has changed dramatically.
It took me a long time to come to the understanding that why I had been ignoring the subtle and not-so-subtle hints my body and the energies around me were constantly sending my way.
While I struggled to forgive myself for being an idiot at not listening to the voice of my conscience, it took me still more work to find the compassion I needed to let go of my past and be determined to get attuned to my intuition.
When you’ve been trained (by social conditioning) to not pay heed to your gut instinct (particularly as a woman), turning back to the way nature made us can be confusing, difficult and often frustrating.
But I’m not giving up. Despite the failures and false alarms I often encounter, I am working hard to nurture my intuition.
♥ Adopting self-compassion
I take no pride in admitting that self-compassion is altogether new territory for me.
For almost all of my existence, I have been so invested in being busy or playing the caregiver (being conditioned to be so right from childhood) that not stopping to care for my own self, not paying attention to my needs or my body has been the norm for me.
In 2018, I finally adopted self-love and self-compassion in their entirety despite finding it to be an uncomfortable feeling in the start.
Have I completely embraced self-compassion? Probably not.
However, I am slowly but surely getting there.
♥ Getting more comfortable with saying NO
This has been a gradual change that I have been consciously bringing about in my crowd-pleaser or rather obliger personality over the years. It was heartbreaking, to begin with, but the turning point came when I understood;
No is a decision. Yes is a responsibility.
When you say no, you are only saying no to one option. When you say yes, you are saying no to every other option. This mindset shift has saved me from a lot of grief and drama lately.
♥ Cutting off from the world and spending a lot of time on my own
As an introvert, I have been like this all my life. However, it is only recently that I have understood the needs why I love being so. This understanding has been the spark that helped me learn to spend my me-time, my solitude in carefree, open-hearted conversations with myself.
It can be rather boring sometimes but the sheer comfort I feel in my own company is something that keeps me looking forward to the alone time.
♥ Actively working on my issues
Each day of life is a struggle. It is our perspective and attitude towards life that defines where we go and we eventually become.
Journalling has helped me pay close attention to the things that slow me down, drain my emotional energy or make me weak.
By acknowledging my weaknesses, I feel I’m already ahead of the curve. I have been spared of the regret of never having the courage to look myself in the eye and work on what bothers me about myself.
And the best bit has been finding a solution to most of these hasn’t been as life-threatening as my mind has been telling me it would be.
♥ Being scared of the future but choosing to go ahead anyway
When my marriage fell apart and the massive responsibility of being a single mom fell on my shoulders, the one thing that haunted me night and day was the fear of the future. I was unsure if I had it in me to be able to do survive in the life I saw lying ahead of me.
However, today is different.
Today, I have been able to quieten those concerns.
I know that it isn’t always going to be easy. I’ll not always have the confidence that I probably have today, but I am ready to keep going and make the most of the life wholeheartedly.
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The song on my mind: Is mod se jaate hain ~ Aandhi
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