Today is my 26th birthday (yay!) and looking back, this year has been one of the most beautiful and rewarding years of my life. I haven’t won any big trophies or made lots of money. I haven’t run a marathon or travelled around the world. I’m not enlightened and unlike everyone else in my yoga class, I still can’t touch my toes. But you know what? I’ve spent my whole life accumulating accomplishments. I have a pilots license, a sports career and I have traveled the world and met all sorts of famous people. And yet it’s only now, during a year that I have achieved so little, that I actually feel some sense of internal satisfaction.
I should tell you though, it’s hasn't been all smiles and roses. I have cried plenty of times over the last year. I have felt pain, insecurity, fear and self doubt. But let’s face it, what twenty-something doesn’t feel that way at times?
Why then has this past year felt so rewarding to me? I’ll put it in a few sentences. I am slowly starting to be less concerned with how others see me and more concerned with how I see myself. I am learning to place more importance on being loving in my relationships than on trying to look good. I am practicing saying no to others when it doesn’t feel right for me. I am replacing my judgements with compassion and I am becoming more interested in connecting to people than getting something from them. All these things give me a sense that life, and happiness comes from within.
I guess I am just scratching the surface with these things, (I am by no means an expert!) and the depth to which you can develop them is endless. The reason Steph and I created RealYou is because we all experience challenges at times and to talk about them is such a great way to heal. I wouldn’t trade anything for the difficulties I’ve gone through, even though sometimes they sucked. Because, it does seem like the more we go out of our comfort zone and face our fears, the more we grow and the richer our life becomes.
If I could go back to my younger self, on the eve of her 16th birthday, and give her one piece of advice it would be this: You're beautiful and perfect as you are. We all go through challenges and there is no need to judge yourself for how you feel, so be open and share these things with someone you trust. And I'd give her a big hug :)
PS one highlight of the year that I didn’t mention was getting engaged to my future husband, Adrian! And now, time for cake...
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