"Once this feeling sunk in re. work, my mind naturally wandered over to the other segments of life, the ones that mean much more to me: personal growth, mental health, relationships. And it was in these areas as well that I had to smile to myself. Not because life has been all sunshine and rainbows. In fact, far from it. As you guys vaguely know, I've been in a bit of a grey cloud the past while. But it's the ability to sink into this cloud—not to sulk but rather to hear its whispers, its lessons— that has me saying, 'Good going, kid.' Because, really, in the past, I couldn't do this. A personal story for you. When I was 18..."
Hi my loves,
Something to chew on before I start writing here: When was the last time you looked back at all you've accomplished (be that re. work, personal growth/mindset, relationship—what have you)?
I ask as I tend to forget things I've done as I forge ahead, muddling through new waters. And the past few months have been mostly that—day after day of swimming upstream, slaying new dragons. I'm sure it's felt that way for you too, at least at some point. The world's been a heavy place as of late.
In my world, I've been working hard to get my freelance writing business to the place I believe it can be, financially speaking, as well as stability-wise. And then I've been working on the soul projects (mental health workshops, book editing, short story pitching).
More interestingly, I've been working on myself through very deep (nearly hypnotic) meditations and journalling, both of which have already done wonders for my self-understanding, self-confidence, self-love.
And then, of course, I've been working on how I show up in relationships, looking at where I've been too absent, too giving, etc.
With all this working, I've hardly taken a step back to see how far I've come. That is, until today. I happened to be going over my schedule for next week when I felt this surge of pride. I have a boatload of calls, but they're all with ladies I deeply admire—ladies who have built businesses that are truly changing the world, and for whom I am lucky enough to provide the written word for. And then there's the call with the yoga studio that may sponsor the workshop Stacey and I are planning by way of venue... Grateful.
I obviously don't say this to brag. I just say this to share a simple reflection we can all do—look to our calendars and see how we've filled them, because we've created those meetings. We've built our lives. This applies to anyone who has taken a job at a company, of course, too. Because you got hired. I really believe that's as much of a feat as building a successful business. There's so much blah blah blah out there right now glorifying entrepreneurship, and not enough of a kudos to those skilled people nabbing incredible jobs. So, if that's you, big claps on the back—you did something many of us couldn't.
Anyway, once this feeling sunk in re. work, my mind naturally wandered over to the other segments of life, the ones that mean much more to me: personal growth, mental health, relationships. And it was in these areas as well that I had to smile to myself. Not because life has been all sunshine and rainbows. In fact, far from it. As you guys vaguely know I've been in a bit of a grey cloud the past while. But it's the ability to sink into this cloud—not to sulk but rather to hear its whispers, its lessons— that has me saying, "Good going, kid."
Because, really, in the past, I couldn't do this. A personal story for you. When I was 18/19, I dated someone who was quite horrible to me, in many ways. When I finally found out he cheated, watched him lie to my face, it was the straw that broke the camel's back and, naturally, I said adios. After that I dated someone who wasn't necessarily a bad person, but was not a great person, and it went on for far too long. The reason for that? Low self worth.
I say that, of course, without any shame to my younger self. What had happened, in retrospect, was that I'd let the previous guy affect how I viewed myself. And so when the next guy did his own series of questionable things, I forgave repeatedly. Because, again, it was what I'd come to think I deserved.
(Didn't think this would become the history of my dating life, but the lessons come soon and won't make sense without this backstory!)
Finally, I moved to Europe, which was a blessing as that put a stop to that. My time in Europe, as long time readers know, spans the course of ~3 years. And throughout those 3 years, I dated no one but myself. It was then, too, I started writing a ton. I learned so much about me that I fell in love with who I am at my core. Sounds cheesy but it's true. All that affection I poured outward finally dripped back inward.
I didn't see anyone again until returning to Canada full time, and actually I didn't even begin to do so until I felt the call to date. My intuition is really strong. It's a bit hard to explain. Basically, it sounds like a whisper that won't shut up until I listen.
And this is the long-winded version of how I explain I've come to clap myself on the back in this realm. Because when I finally did start to date again, the only ones that I formed any sort of relationship with were truly good people. Like, to the bone good guys. One became a friend after we admitted post-trying that, eep, we were not attracted to each other in that way. Another two became, not friends, but good memories, as the only thing that happened there is we saw we weren't long-term matches.
What I mean by having pride in this realm of relationship is that I've seen my own growth. We do tend to attract what we think we're worth. And so to see that the humans in my life as of late have been truly good souls tells me a lot about how I view myself. It shows me that the work I've put into understanding who I am, what I want, and what I deserve has paid off.
I mean, honestly, the one I didn't mention—the one that is not past but rather present, and who's privacy I will maintain—has been the very best. (Not better as in a better human, but better as in the best fit.) And the reason that there has been space for him to be in my life comes down to this: I learned in my 3 year break that it is healthy to walk away from what isn't a fit. And not just walk away, but release.
I'm not an expert on anything, but what I've always been able to share is my experience. And so if you're wondering how one actually truly releases, I can tell you what I've done that's worked. Maybe it'll resonate with you, maybe it won't.
Here it is. I happen to believe that we get stuck with old emotions because of the way things ended in the past. So I never throw in the towel too soon. I always try every possible solution so that, at the very least, we both know we tried and there's nothing left to go back to, nothing left to hang on to.
I must say that myself and my most recent ex were truly good at this, and I thank him in my mind still for how gracefully we ended things. Everything was well communicated. Nothing was abrupt. We took time apart, and then time together to think. We cried in front of one another. And then, when we just knew it was done and we'd tried it all, we spent one last night together. Not to be sexual at all. Just to, you know, have a sort of long, parting cuddle before the sun rose and we gave one last hug goodbye.
(He told me then that I could write about this if I ever wanted to. So I've permission, haha. I believe writers should get that, by the way, permission if we're to be so open.)
I'm riding a clear high right now when I look back on all this, on all that I've managed to do (mostly in terms of my personal growth), and I knew when I felt this surge of joy that I had to share. Because it was so easy to feel this way. It took a simple look at the past, and a look at the present, and the mountain climbed in between. It's moments like this that make the clichéd line, "It's about the journey," sink so deeply in. I mean, it's so true. It's really not about the detail. It's about the zoomed out lens and all it has to teach us about ourselves, our loved ones, our society, and, really, human nature.
We have this tendency to get oh-so focused on the stress of this particular second in this particular minute, that we can forget that in the grand scheme it's not about if you crossed that T properly or dotted that I expertly. It's really not. It's about the broad brushstrokes:
How did I respond to that situation? Was that really reflective of my beliefs? My values? My desires? Would my 90 year old self be proud? No? Why not? What happened? What have I let take over? How can I come back to myself? Act in accordance with my heart? My soul? What do I need to strip back? Layer in?
And then, of course, other times it's about asking no questions at all, just living in the dang moment. Feeling the sun, the sand, the water, the grass. Remembering we're just as much raw animal as we are cerebral human.
To come back to that, to ground, that's an easy way to just feel so beautifully grateful for this life. Especially on those days you're just too tired to reflect, and, gosh, I have many of those, too. :)
Okay, my loves, that's enough of me.
Big hugs to you all.