I'm all about living in the moment and have no trouble accepting the past has gone and cannot be changed. I also believe that information, people and opportunities arrive when we are ready. BUT having said this if I could travel back in time these are the things I'd tell my younger self.
Let go of the people and settings that don't support you.
When I was younger, I found it hard to let go of people who I felt drained me or maybe I didn't like as much as I felt I should because of a sense of obligation or maybe even hope that they would want to be nicer or kinder or less toxic and I wanted to give them the opportunity to do that. However, with hindsight ,I can see just how much time and energy I wasted on people who weren't ready to be any different than they were. I also now now that it's not my responsibility to help them change, in fact it's none of my business how they are. All I need to know is how they treat me and make me feel and then be proactive in managing that.
For some people, it meant letting them fade out of my life, for others it meant looking at them as the person they are not the one I wanted them to be and readjust to that reality and for others it meant enforcing effective boundaries so that we didn't trigger each other. The same applied to workplaces. Sometimes I stayed somewhere because it was easy and secure rather than somewhere that enabled me to thrive and be true to myself. I wouldn't have my life any different know but I could have saved myself a lot of stress, worry and hurt if I have been more aware of how much control over how I lived my life I was giving to other people.
Accept things as they are, not how you want them to be.
I wonder how much of my life I have spent getting all her up over thinking that things weren't fair or that people shouldn't behave in a certain way. I think probably one of my most life changing light bulb moments, was reading Byron Katie's loving what is and realising that people are who they are and shouldn't be any other way. And that the solution is to accept it and change your response. The same for situations, accept what is happening and choose how to respond. Accept how I feel about something but challenge the thoughts behind the emotions and turnaround the ones that aren't working for me.
Life is far less stressful since I started doing this and I find it much easier to manage people, situations and things now.
Take responsibility for every thought and action and change what isn't working for you.
This is another biggy. I found the concept of accepting that I am responsible for my thoughts and all the situations I have found myself in was a bit daunting at first because I didn't think I had asked for some of the stuff that had happened first but when someone explained what that actually meant was that I have free will and I had allowed people and situations to trigger me into a reaction rather than mindfully observing what was happening and choosing to respond. They told me that while I still thought that it was someone's fault that I was unhappy about something, blaming someone else for how things had turned out, I was giving away control over my life but when I accepted that I had made all those choices because I hadn't examined my thoughts or questioned my feelings or taken responsibility for something, I realised that how my life is, is completely down to me and whether I choose to allow myself to be triggered and react or choose to mindfully observe and decide how I want to respond.
This has given me absolute power over how my life is, how I feel about that and what I intend to do in the future.
Be yourself. I remember being quite an anxious child and despite having loving parents and a great childhood,I felt the need to be validated by other people. As I learned more about Mindfulness and responsibility and the power of choice, I started to understand that the only person that I need to impress is myself. If I am trying to be someone that I'm not because I want someone to approve of me, then I am doing myself a great disservice and will never find true contentment. This is called external validation and is what causes us to compete through material possessions and adapting our beliefs. Instead, through mindful enquiry, I began to discover who I am and what I need.I began to see what skills I have that I can share with the world making me feel fulfilled.
This was another massive game changer for me. Developing a meditation practice in my 30s helped me to understand my emotions, make sense of my feelings, create space to think and connect with my inner awareness or spirit/ soul. Aligning with my spirit has enabled me to work out what I need from life to thrive, to discover what I feel is my purpose in this life and to understand how powerful my thoughts and emotions are and that when I am in control of them, my impact on the world changes and brings about better outcomes.
I know that every experience that I have had in my almost 55 years has been to teach me something and as I said at the beginning, I wouldn't change my life as It's perfect as it is. I do however feel that if we teach children Mindfulness and self reflection, the opportunity for them to reach their potential must increase exponentially. If I'd known this stuff as a child, I wonder how much more I would be capable of now and that's why these are the things I'd tell my younger self.
Food for thought huh?
It's never to late to learn and understand these concepts so if you feel that a lesson in mediation or Mindfulness is for you or that it's time for you to integrate these practices into your life with Coaching, then please get in touch.