It’s my 32nd birthday today. I’m not normally the biggest birthday person, in fact, I normally get graced with an incredibly bad mood every birthday. I try to fight it, but sometimes my mood’s endurance surpasses my tips and tricks to escape. It’s frankly impressive.
But not this year! It’s a good one, and even if I do get waves of Mr. Mood, I’ll just embrace it for the moment and let it go. One thing I’ve learned in these 32 years is the more you resist or deny something’s existence, the harder it pushes to be seen.
So with that, if you’ll indulge me, rather than a nutrition and health focussed article this month, I thought I would write just for me, and my own reflections. If you relate and find it helpful, lovely, and if not, then that’s okay too! This is your free time, and if you stop reading right now, then that’s wonderfully okay. If you choose to carry on - that’s great too.
I always loved (I think Oprah coined it) the phrase “What I Know for Sure.” It’s such a compelling statement, both intriguing because you want to hear what someone knows for sure in this uncertain world, but also impressive - having someone be so confident in their own opinion. Battling my own anxieties and confidence issues over the years, I always find that sort of energy inspirational and impressive.
So I’m taking a note from Oprah’s book. Because I, in all humbleness, am proud of how far I’ve come, and feel like I've learned some things. Still have further to go, but I decided my birthday gift to myself this year would be to sit with some pride and self love - because it’s not my comfort zone, and I believe that when you are uncomfortable and sit with it, that’s when you grow in leaps and bounds.
So, humour me. After 32 years. . .
This is what I know for sure. *
* subject to change. I’m only human o’course.
1. Wanting everyone to like you is an exercise in exhaustion.
I’m a chronic people pleaser (working on it), but it really is a never-ending spiral trying get everyone to like you, and constantly thinking about how you’re perceived. And you never really win at it - because the thoughts of what people possibly might think about you are way stronger and more real than what people actually think. It’s a trap. Letting go of what other people might think is a freedom that keeps on giving. Be kind of course, don’t be a jerk. But love yourself and approve of yourself first and foremost. The irony of it all, is that you are the one who actually cares the most about you, just as people mostly care about themselves and their own issues. I know, shocking.
2. Listening is more attractive than talking.
A wise woman told me this a long time ago, and man does it hold true. It’s far better to be interestED than interestING. People want to be heard, so be the listener more often than not, and I guarantee people will take note. Especially in any sort of networking situation.
3. Holding onto resentment is an energy-sucker.
It’s like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die. It won’t happen. Resentment is insidious, and it can rot you from the inside out. As hard as it might be, let it go, release it. If it comes back, say hi, but then let it go again. It does zero good to harbour that inside of you.
4. Meditation actually works wonders.
This is one New Year’s resolution I’ve actually stuck with (for 4 years now), and it has done amazing things. Most days I only meditate for like 6 minutes, but it does make me an overall calmer person, and often gives me needed perspective.
5. Time heals
It’s the last thing we like to hear when we’re hurting, but it’s true.
6. The biggest trick of growing up is that none of us really do.
Man oh man, we are all literally just BIG KIDS doing the best we can. Sure we’ve got some knowledge and experience under our belt, but half the time it still feels like we’re in high school, trying to navigate the world as best we can; wanting the older adults to have the answers that we’d thought we would have by now.
7. Comparison really is the thief of joy.
Social media brings this to a whole new level nowadays - but it really is true regardless. Comparison does no good, and tends to only makes you feel less-than. And I don’t know about you, but I can make myself feel less-than ALL on my own WITHOUT any social comparison thank you very much. Be kind and shine that spotlight on yourself. We’re all just doing the best we can, and it’s OUR journey in the end, no one else's. Live your own movie and be the lead in it, not the supporting player.
8. Breathing only through your nose actually calms you down, and helps you breathe deeper.
I guess a little health stuff got in here, but this actually works every time. When you breathe through your nose ONLY, you activate your rest and digest state, telling your body “all is well”. I’ve made it a habit to walk on the street only breathing through my nose, and by the end of the walk it literally feels like I’ve just finished a yoga class.
9. It’s way too easy to be busy for the sake of busy, and it doesn’t really serve anything but your ego.
This is a hard one for me to remember when I feel like I’m being lazy. BUT truly, busy for the sake of busy serves that lovely ego that falsely tells you “I am a good human being because I did X, Y and Z today.” Trick is, you’re a good human because you’re a good human, experiencing all aspects of life, INCLUDING doing absolutely nothing and relishing in it. Screw this false narrative that states we’re only of value if we do stuff. Embrace the busy when you need to be busy, but equally embrace the nothing. Both are of equal importance.
10. Smiling at yourself as if you’ve told yourself the best joke in the world that no one else has ever heard, is a pretty great way to feel instantly happier.
Try it, smile at inner-you and see how much better you feel. Nothing makes me happier than smiling at myself for no reason while walking down the street, having people wonder what the heck I’m smiling about.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for taking the time. It felt pretty good getting those thoughts down - I wonder if this is what Oprah feels like every day. It’s a pretty cool exercise if you ever feel like trying it.
Okay, I’m off to take a walk.
But before I go, I want to share my immense gratitude for everyone who has been an endless support in my life. My family, my friends, my new wonderful community on the interweb and shows - it just means the world to have so many people lifting me up - I appreciate each and every one.
To a wonderful year ahead, and to a wonderful YOU.