Hope this blog post finds you well! Today, I share with you the biggest life lessons I learned in 2016.
1. Prioritize Self-Care
The idea of self-care may seem self-fish, but it’s rooted in self-love and love for others. Half-way through last year, I made it a point to add a few self-serving + self- indulging practices into my every day. As a new(ish) mom, I went from having so much time on my hands, to having no time (at all) to myself. After becoming a mom, it was hard to pick up and juggle working full-time, caring + nurturing my family, and doing everything on my to-do list. I found myself running ragged + tired and at times frustrated because I had personal interests + goals I wanted to accomplish and no time left in my day to so. In general, as women + moms, we tend to put our needs and desires last, without realizing that we are doing ourselves, our families, and the people around us disservice.
Creating space in our days to recharge ourselves is critical because we cannot give to others something we don’t have. Self-care + recharging our energies will take different forms for everyone, so it’s important to realize what each one of us needs and desires. Last year, I became very intentional about carving out time to go on walks, journal, blog, practice yoga + pilates, meditate and take more baths. I may not do all of the above every single day, but I am carving time for myself daily. As a result, I’m more joyous. Self-care is a practice I am looking to grow this year and beyond.
2. Gratitude is Life Changing
My gratitude practice has progressively increased over the past couple years, but it was really in 2016 when I noticed a shift take place. As I focused more on the aspects of my life that felt really right (the important people in my life, myself, my joys, blessings, my present...), as a result, I felt more joy, satisfaction and peace.
3. Be Open-Minded
I thought I was open-minded and I am, don’t get me wrong, but I have been really focusing on being even more open minded and not making judgments of someone’s situation(s) as we really don’t know the circumstances that shape someone’s decisions and actions. “Cada cabeza es un mundo.” My goal here is to try to understand where people are coming from prior to making up my mind – so I’m striving to ask more questions and to listen with an open heart. Am I perfect at this practice? Nope. But awareness is the first step.
4. Appreciate + Admire without Comparing or Internalizing
Comparison just destroys all the joy that we could ever experience. In this age of Instagram and Pinterest pages, it’s really easy to compare and feel down about where we are in our journey, but it’s really important to remember that those Pinterest pages and Instagram feeds are someone’s highlights. It’s really important to put things into perspective and know that most likely it’s taken someone a lot of work and hours to build those beautiful feeds and perceived lives. We must also remember that our circumstances, priorities, goals, interests, and our season of life, most likely are completely different than someone else. I love this quote by Jon Acuff, “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle”.
5. It’s OKAY to Not Know
In the past few years, I had really struggled with the idea of “figuring out what to do with my life” when it came to the career front. The so called “quarter life crisis” is real my friends. The “not knowing” was tripping me up so hard, that I wanted to put starting a family on hold until I figured out what I wanted to do with my life (fair, right!?). In retrospect, I’m so thankful I decided not to wait any longer because motherhood has been my biggest blessing yet and it has brought me a new found appreciation for the present moment. It wasn’t until I surrendered and decided that I may not figure this “career thing” out in one or two years (or ever), so why put other aspects of my life on hold?!
Granting myself permission, to accept that it is perfectly okay to not know, was so liberating. I realized that I don’t need to be “xy or z”… because I already am. And just in case you’re wondering --no-- I have not figured out what my dream career would be and I’m not letting that steal the joy from this moment and all the wonderful things that feel so right with my life now.
6. My Heart is my Compass
"Listen to your heart and it will show you the way." As cliche as that may sound, it is soo true my friends. From a very own age, grown ups, peers, and society, teach us to tame the calling of our hearts and to rationalize + be realistic. So as we rationalize every single decision and ignore our heart's calling, it is harder to listen to our inner calling, and as a result we become unhappy.
So how do we stop this cycle? Start listening to that tiny voice inside you!! I found that spending time with myself in a quite place, reflecting, meditating and journaling have been huge. My thoughts, desires, passions, and perhaps, my calling, have become more clear to me and as a result, I'm more joyful too.
These realizations were life changing and I look forward to continuing these practices in 2017 and forever after. Hope some of these resonate with you where ever you may be in your own journey.