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When I fully recovered from an eating disorder, I thought that was it, “I’m done now.”
And then I was rudely awoken to the reality of life as its own journey, and how much there still was for me to learn and grow into.
I’d never revert to ED (eating disorder) behaviours or anything self-destructive, but challenges would come up or doubt would creep in. I’d feel tough emotions; I’d notice where I’m getting in my own way.
So, in response, I consumed all of the personal development courses and books and workshops I could possibly fit in my brain, thinking that’d be the answer. I’d have it all sussed then.
But slowly, it became apparent that there isn’t really an end goal. Regardless how well I can quote Brené Brown or Tony Robbins, I’m still going to be on my way. Which, I’d heard people saying before—in phrases like, “the work is never done,” or “healing journey is lifelong,” but I’d either get pissed off about it or completely dismiss it. I thought I’d be the one to crack some kind of code where I could just be perfectly free and happy all the time (good ‘ol perfectionism eh).
The truth is, there’s so much to learn, to become, to embody, to feel, to overcome. Which is genuinely amazing. It’s the nature of life. New challenges arise, we change, relationships change. Everything is in an incredible state of flux, including us.
Initially, I definitely judged myself for being in this state of “not being done.” I heard my reaction to seeing that I still had stuff to work on, and honestly, I was really impatient and rude to myself about it. I had been trying to hold myself to this impossible standard that, of course, doesn’t really exist.
The thing is, we’re all on a journey called life. Whatever that looks like for each of us, that’s what we’re here to experience.
And there will be ups and downs, regardless of our state of mental health. That’s part of it. It’s part of being human. And there’s no point judging ourselves for not having all our sh*t together, because who actually does?
I felt like I should because “I’m a Mindset Coach and I know things”—but realistically, I’m a human first. Always will be.
So I unravelled the stories, dropped the expectations, and rewrote my inner approach.
Now here’s what I’m choosing and reminding myself to embrace to make my journey more enjoyable:
1. Be a student
One of my top values is growth, and life definitely helps me stay true to that. Choosing to be a student of life is the most powerful way I’ve found to enjoy the journey more. To me, everything is information. Everything is an opportunity to grow or learn or let go. Every reaction, defensive response, judgement, frustration, trigger—they’re all simply material for my growth. They all allow me to get curious and find the lesson.
Am I always delighted to see them? Nope. But I know that seeing the lessons and learning are much more empowering than getting bogged down in victimhood, so I know I’m going to keep showing up for Life School.
How can you embrace being a student more?
2. Be present
We often lose ourselves trying to get somewhere other than where we are. I wanted to arrive somewhere, all nicely wrapped up and tied in a bow of perfection.
Where do we think we’re going to arrive? The journey is life. We’re on it ’til we die. There’s no destination of doneness.
Presence is key to being on any journey. Enjoying the fullness of the moment we’re in rather than racing on to the next. When we stop judging ourselves based on past and future, we’re left with appreciation of who we are in the now.
How can you be more present with yourself and your journey?
3. Let go of attachment
Attachment is the root of all suffering. I was getting attached to some kind of outcome or meaning of what my freedom is supposed to look like or how I am meant to be because of what I do. That’s all just made up. And it’s based on a misunderstanding of our true nature. Everything passes and changes. There is no point in attaching to anything.
That doesn’t mean we can’t love and appreciate all that’s in our life, but if we are fixated on it and rigid about it, we’re creating suffering for ourselves.
I was attached to a lot of ideas and meanings, few of which were serving me. So I let ’em go. As many times as necessary. It’s a continual process of uprooting, exploring, and letting go. Liberating ourselves more and more each time.
What attachments are keeping you stuck, frustrated, or judging yourself?
4. Have compassion
My coach recently commented on my lack of compassion for myself, and it was annoyingly true. There was a lot of pressure and “shoulding“ coming outta my mouth and I realised (with assistance) how judgmental I was being of myself. Compassion is absolutely key. And yes, I’m still working on it. But it does make a world of difference. Compassion helps us to flourish, it helps pick us up when we’re down, and it allows for a lot more expansion than criticism does.
Where do you need to have more compassion for yourself?
Whatever your journey looks like, I hope you can find ways to enjoy it. It’s hard to keep showing up, it’s challenging to face our shadows, and it takes plenty of energy to keep on keeping on. But when we let ourselves really be here for it, and choose to embrace it, it becomes way more enjoyable.
It’s interesting and exciting; it’s an opportunity to get closer to ourselves, to our truth, to our potential. It’s ours, unique to each of us, and it is laden in liberating lessons.
We just need to let ourselves see and embrace them.
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