Until recently, I have always been addicted to the idea of what I could do. I made countless lists filled with goals: eat well, exercise, learn how to meditate, use my creativity more, discover my purpose, create a career path, become more confident, rid myself of the external and internal clutter – the lists went on and on and called for me to change pretty much everything about myself. The goals embodied a whole life’s journey, but yet they were changes I wanted to make in one year.
I have no idea where all those lists are now. Most were probably pitched. Some might be in old journals. Others might be lost in piles of paper on my desk. The changes, if I made any, would last for a week, maybe a month tops.
Instead, I focused on everything but myself: my friendships, my relationship, my family, my career, my education. I clung on to anything I could, in the name of selflessness and drive, to distract me from the real work that needed to be done: my own life’s work.
I was so overwhelmed by all of the things I wanted to change that I made no real effort towards actually changing them. I felt complacent, if not dignified, in my self-awareness.
“I might not be perfect, but at least I know what’s wrong with me.”
Oprah Winfrey talks about how life has a way of whispering to you when you need to change course, and when you don’t listen, it progresses to a scream. Let’s just say after years of ignoring my intuition’s whisper, she became fed up.
It took years of investing myself in everyone and everything around me, at the cost of myself, to realize this pattern had to change. I reached a point where I had nothing left to give. I was depleted. I was slowly shutting down and the only option I had was to build myself back up.
If this at all sounds familiar to you, and you no longer want to ignore your life’s whisper, here is your first order of business:
Realize that you are worthy, just as you are now.
For many women, especially 20 somethings who are told by our culture to focus on everything BUT their own personal evolution, making the decision to invest in yourself is a radical choice.
In order for the journey to be successful, you have to fundamentally believe you are worth the investment.
This is the foundation for success in everything.
You don’t have to be established in your career before you make the decision to invest in your personal growth. Choose career over self, and chances are, you will look at the life you have at 35 and wonder how the hell you got there.
You don’t need to lose 10 lbs before making the choice to love your body. Continue to hate yourself, and you will make choices that reflect your self-hatred.
You don’t need a boyfriend in order to feel worthy of being loved. If you wait for someone else to prove your worthiness, you will hand over all your power to them.
You don’t need a publisher, a recording contract, or your dream job before knowing you have a talent worth being shared.
Now is not the time to seek external validation. Now is the time to look inward.
Be kind and forgiving towards your past.
Don’t judge the very things that led you to your moment of salvation, because you would not have listened otherwise.
Maya Angelou says it best: “Wouldn’t take nothin’ from my journey now.”
Make the commitment.
Are you ready to live in a space of openness and release the need to know what happens next? Are you done with the empty promises you make to yourself and ready to earn back your own trust? Are you willing to change, even if those around you don’t understand?
Are you ready to stop imagining the woman you can be and start BEING her? Are you ready to rid yourself of complacency and instead choose to be positively smitten with your life?
If so, then let’s forge ahead together in sisterhood.
This is the first piece of an ongoing series written by Liz focused on Life and Lessons.