We all change, constantly and unconsciously. Sometimes we can feel ourselves changing, other times it’s subtle and change creeps up on you.
And this year I changed a lot. Not only did my hair go through about five different colors but my perspective on life changed, my aspirations changed, my hobbies, my passions, my goals and my dreams changed. It all changed.
I grew up a lot this year. It felt like growing pains as I rediscovered parts of myself and learned (still learning) how to fit my “new” more adult, more mature self into my “old” life and relationships.
It was weird. This past year was weird.
It was a year of growth and a year of discovery. I lived in three different cities on two continents each for four months, traveled to 11 countries, held three part-time jobs, rediscovered old relationships, found new relationships, strengthened friendships, said a lot of goodbyes, difficult goodbyes, found a lot of hellos, found heartbreak, found new hobbies, discovered old passions and made some pretty big realizations along the way.
I realized that I can have pretty bad anxiety but I also realized that if I’m surrounded by positive people, if I’m outside adventuring or if I’m being creative then the anxiety isn’t so bad anymore.
I realized that it’s okay to find things you don’t like. I realized that Washington, DC ( a place I thought would be perfect for me) is not the city for me, it doesn’t refuel my soul, it actually causes me lots of stress and anxiety, and it doesn’t inspire me but that is okay. I realized that I don’t actually like working in the field of Public Relations. I realized that life is too short to settle for a job, a city or a person.
I did, however, realize that I LOVE writing and I love introducing people to a world that is new to them.
I realized that my soul is meant to travel and be outside experiencing new things. I realized I love being out of my comfort zone. I realized that I don’t need to put time and effort into relationships that are not being reciprocated.
I realized that it is okay to be single, no matter how many jokes, judgments or passive aggressive comments you might get. I realized that it’s okay to have standards. And I realized that it’s okay to put myself and my aspirations first sometimes even if the people that I’m closest with don’t agree.
Journey to Self-Love
For the first time in my life, I have set aside time to set intentions every month, to reflect on those intentions and explore how and if I am being intentional about achieving my best self. It’s a journey I like to call self-love.
I’ve never thought about my relationship with myself before this year. Maybe because I’m just 21-years-old and I didn’t know that self-love mattered or because I didn’t have the time or because I was always surrounded by other people that loved me that I didn’t need to worry about loving myself.
BUT here I find myself… scheduling “me time” every week where I write down intentions, concrete goals and dreams I have. Where I make an intentional effort to reflect on those things. It’s a constant and intentional effort to get to know myself more and to strengthen the relationship I have with myself. And BOY has it been a process….
My biggest and most consistent lesson from this past year of change was that right now, in this new season of life, I need to find love within myself. I need to prioritize working toward loving who I am, independent from anyone or anything. I learned that if I can prioritize my own happiness, other things will fall into place.
So why am I sharing this on the internet?
It seems like it should be kept in a diary… WELL, I figured that other people can relate to this because everyone experiences change and everyone has a relationship with themselves that needs work. Finding confidence in who you are, especially in your 20’s is not easy or natural. Navigating change, navigating self-love, navigating figuring who you are can be daunting, frustrating and hard so…..
I wanted to share what I’ve found helpful and what I’ve learned in hopes that other people can be intentional about setting out to live a life for them, simply and unapologetically.
An Unfinished Guide to Self-Love
So, this is my unfinished guide to self-love. It’s a journey that we are all on. It’s a constant, forever unfinished relationship with yourself that will always need time, attention and lots and lots of love.
I’m no expert but here is what I’ve discovered so far,
- Finding time to love yourself is hard. Finding time to prioritize your own happiness is hard. Finding time to figure out who you are is hard. Especially when life gets in the way. It’s not easy to find time to self-reflect, to set intentions and to intentionally set out on a journey to love yourself. It won’t come naturally, you may have never even thought about putting time and effort into your relationship with yourself until now. So know, that it will be hard and it does take time, effort and intentionality but it does have amazing rewards.
- You have to be intentional. I love that word. Intentional. Obsessed some might even say. If you focus on being intentional with your word, your thoughts, your relationships, your actions then you will find a happiness that is authentic and true. If you realize that you are constantly being negative with your word, then be intentional about seeking out positivity. If you are surrounded with people who are speaking down to you or not respecting you or not empowering you to be better then be intentional about letting go of those relationships. If you are unhappy in a place or a job, seek out change rather than sitting in unhappiness. Things don’t just happen, happiness doesn’t just happen, you have to make it happen by being intentional.
- Physically make time. Actually give yourself an hour once a month and go to a coffee shop, on a hike or to your favorite restaurant and make time to reflect on your dreams, your goals and your progress. Don’t let life get in the way of prioritizing yourself.
- Physically write things down. I swear by this one. Things become real when you put pen to paper. Get out a notebook and write down your goals, your intentions and your wildest dreams. It’ll make it more real when you can see it right in front of you. And you can revisit those goals and intentions when you sit down to reflect if you are moving toward those.
- Focus on positivity. Life can suck sometimes but as my best friends Instagram bio says, “Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure – Bob Bitchin” It’s up to you to make a bad situation an okay situation. Be intentional about finding the funny part, the lesson or the good in every situation, it’s there. You just have to find it. It’s up to you and the people that you surround yourself with to seek out what is going right and celebrate that rather than sulk on what is going wrong.
- Date yourself. I should write a whole blog post on dating your friends and yourself because I think it is SO important. Most people associate dating with someone they are romantic with but you can date anyone. Dating is scheduled time to spend quality time with people. This includes yourself. Treat yourself to time where you can decompress your life experiences and gather your thoughts. Even if it’s just dinner by yourself, put your phone aside and just be present.
- Date your friends. We, people, human are always changing. Even if you’ve been friends with someone for 1 year or 10+ years you still need to get to know who they are in this very moment, what they are going through and what they are currently passionate about. The people who surround yourself with majorly impact who you are and those relationships take time and effort to maintain and keep healthy. Allow time to ask the real questions, not just the easy ones. We all can learn from each other and what other people are going through.
- Don’t be afraid of goodbyes. Some people are not meant to be in your life. It sucks. It hurts. You may even cry but it’s true. Don’t be afraid to say goodbye to people who are toxic. Surround yourself with people who root for you (always), who respect who you are and what you’re doing, who celebrate your mistakes, who are nice to you (this seems obvious but you’d be surprised) and who want you to be the best possible version of yourself.
- Letting go sucks. This one is easier said than done. It’s hard to say goodbye to people who have been with you through major ups and downs but just because you have a past with someone and they’ve seen you at your worst does not mean they are meant to be in your life right now. We change, people change and that is okay. It’s a hard reality that I struggle with personally. I’m the WORST at letting go. But I’ve found that if I make my own happiness a priority instead holding onto people who don’t make me feel confident or respected than I feel SO much better not having them in my life. I’m less stressed and less anxious because I know that I don’t have to tiptoe around them or feel bad about myself when I hangout with them.
- Don’t stress yourself out. Setting goals and intentions and reflecting on your progress can be stressful. Sometimes the process of self-reflection can highlight failures. Don’t let failure cause you stress or anxiety. Instead be intentional about letting failure teach you what to do next time. Use failure to teach yourself patience and keep you humble.
- You are enough. As you are right now with laundry bins overflowing, emails unread, dirty dishes in the sink, take-out boxes next to your bed and unwashed hair are enough. As messy as life may seem, it’s okay. Don’t let yourself be hard on yourself. It’s a journey and we have to love every part, not just the good parts.
That was a lot. I know. But I am SO passionate this. So passionate about setting aside time to discovering yourself and living your best life so save this, pin it, read it again and leave a comment saying what you think.
And if you have any advice on any of this, that is ALWAYS welcomed.
That’s all for today.