I think from the ages of 23ish-30, I was constantly searching for the areas I wanted to improve in my personal life. One that stood out in bold font to me when making this list was that I knew that I wanted to be someone more in touch with my emotions. To give you a little background: from the time I was 14, I dealt with my feelings very much to myself. I got the news that my mother had cancer and her life would soon end if this cancer stayed present in her body. Like the nasty disease that it is, the cancer didn’t go away. I then lost my mom, moved in with a dad who hadn’t really had a relationship with me prior to her dying. Once I moved in, that relationship didn’t improve and that’s ok, I pray that it will someday. I developed a lot of depression, confusion and emotional pain. My sister went off to college, one brother had a family of his own to take care of and the other brother was in and out of jail but most of the time just flat out m.i.a. So these feelings I was having, I had to deal with by myself. Don’t get me wrong, I did spend a ton of time with my high school boyfriend and play every sport possible at that time to keep busy and run away from what I was feeling. I moved in with the greatest family for a few months and I will NEVER be able to re-pay them for how they took care of me during that time. They gave me the thing I needed most which was a family style living situation. While all of this was happening around me, I graduated high school; I toured a few colleges, developed new relationships and went on with life. I still knew I needed to work on my emotions. I knew I needed to become more familiar with what I was feeling.
Over the past few years I’ve worked on my emotional side. I can actually remember where I was when I decided to really work on this side of me. I was on 19th street in Moore, turning on to Santa Fe, I felt tears fill my eyes when I was talking to Will on the phone. I told him that I really needed to figure my emotional side out. I told him that I was worried I might have to see some type of counselor or therapist, but I remember feeling a sense of release when I was able to admit that I knew that this was something I really wanted to work on. So over the past year and halfish, I dug even deeper and really tried going the extra mile to deal with my feelings and emotions. I didn't see any type of therapist, however, my sister is a counselor and was extremely supportive in the topics that I have discussed with her over this time. I’m finally more in depth with what I feel. I am able to respond emotionally and physically to what is going on around me. It took a little while for me to get here. In fact it wasn’t an easy climb. But I’m here, I feel like I can approach situations differently. I finally feel and express my feelings to others in hopes they will have a better understanding of who I am. For myself, I wanted to be able to document the steps I took to get to where I am today on an emotional level. Sidenote: I’ve also learned to hug over the past year, I didn’t do this before, but I’ve gotten so much better at this.
Identify my blind spots. Blind spots refer to areas our eyes are not capable of seeing. In personal development terms, blind spots are things about ourselves we are unaware of. Discovering my blind spots helped me discover my areas of improvement. One exercise I use to discover my blind spots is to identify all the things/events/people that trigger me in a day – trigger meaning making me feel annoyed/weird/affected. These represent my blind spots. It’s interesting for me to do this exercise because I discover new things about myself, even if I may already think I know my own blind spots (but then they wouldn’t be blind spots would they?). After that, I work on steps to address them.
Acknowledge my flaws. Everyone has flaws. What’s most important is to understand them, acknowledge them, and address them. I asked myself: What do you think are your flaws? What are the flaws you can work on now? How do you want to address them?
Learn from people who inspire me. Think about people you admire. (In my case, it’s my mom; I genuinely wish everyone had the opportunity to know her like I did) Think about people who inspire you. These people reflect certain qualities you want to have for yourself too. What are the qualities in them you want to have for yourself? How can you acquire these qualities?
Meditating & Prayer. Meditation & Prayer have helped calm me and be more conscious. I also realized that during the nights when I meditate, the clutter clearing process in my mind is very helpful and I even sleep a lot better. If you are picturing me sitting on the ground in the swastikasana pose humming while breathing in and out deeply, let me just say that’s not really how it goes down. I keep it simple, I may go to a different room/outside/in my car basically anywhere I can free myself of distraction and meditate by myself. Talking to God helps me a ton. I’ve always talked to God, I do it when I’m running, when I’m lying in bed, when I’m in the car, I just talk to God and I’m pretty sure if I were God, I’d get on my nerves.
Reach out to the people who don’t like me. If you ever stand for something, you are going to get haters. It’s easy to hate the people who hate us. It’s much more challenging to love them. Being able to forgive, let go and show love to these people requires an open heart. Is there anyone who dislikes or hates you in your life? If so, reach out to them. Show them love. Seek a resolution and get closure on past grievances. Even if they refuse to reciprocate, love them all the same. It’s much more liberating than to hate them back.
Commit to my personal growth. If I do not commit to my personal growth, it doesn’t matter what I write, what I say or what I do. Nothing is going to get better. We are responsible for our personal growth – not anyone else’s. Not our parents, friends, boyfriends/girlfriends etc. I have to make the decision to commit to my personal growth and embrace myself to a life-long journey of growth and change. My results from taking these steps personally may not have been immediate and they are definitely still a work in progress, but I kept with it, and I’ve finally started seeing positive changes in myself and my life. I just hope it continues to improve, like I said before, for me, there’s always room for improvement.