I’m unsure if you feel it too, but there is a lot of positive energy in the air and I hope all of you are taking a moment to soak it all in. Perhaps it’s because we’re all happy to see the back of 2016, (I don’t think we need another recap of last years events), and that this year represents a fresh new start. However, I can't help but be aware of the fact that we’ve done this before. We start a new year eager and hungry for change, only to settle into old habits and complacent behaviours when it gets too hard.
If 2016 has taught us anything, it’s that we can no longer sit and wait for positive change to come knocking on our doors, we actually have to invest the effort and energy to drive our lives forward, in the direction we want them to go. Fortunately, we can kick start positive change by investing time in personal development, and it doesn't have to be a daunting task either, for personal development works as a cycle that functions in both directions, and we can start wherever we feel most comfortable:
Develop an awareness before committing to an investment.
First off, let’s change our attitude to the way we see the world, because realistically it isn't all that bad. It may seem that way because of our access to information, but that's the force behind change, awareness. For example, we have less racial inequality now than we did 5 years ago, although there is still a ways to go, we’re closer to equal rights for all than we ever have been before #blacklivesmatter. We’re also becoming aware of global elitism, and how a small group of people seem to impact the wellbeing of our everyday lives, both home and away. We’ve become so aware of our ignorance, because we’ve made ignorant decisions fueled by anger and frustration; #brexit #trump2016. Yet still, that’s the beauty of awareness, it makes us curious about things that were once not so clear, and feeding that curiosity inspires us to become even more aware.
As an additional note, even though my personal opinions were so against certain political directions, we must never forget that we’re in this together. We all desire the same emotional experiences in life and unfortunately, these desires can be manipulated and used against us if we’re not aware. If we’re shown something that we truly desire, associated alongside something that seems to get it for us, a lack of awareness can really fool us into believing the association to be true #propaganda #advertising. Therefore, it’s important that we develop an awareness and increase our knowledge and understanding of something before committing to it. We have access to the world's knowledge at our fingertips, it’s time we all realise how lucky we are and make use of it. Let’s collectively become aware of the world that surrounds us, by first becoming more self-aware. Let’s look for, access and accept the truth wherever it resides, and then drive change.
Learn to face and embrace your truth.
The best advice I’ve ever given, can ever give and I believe I will ever give, is to be true to yourself and live honestly. Until we face our inner truth, life will not move in the direction of our truest desires. As mentioned earlier, we are all striving for the same emotional experiences in life and these experiences will not be felt earnestly, unless we’re living true to who we are and how we feel.
Furthermore, our purpose in life becomes ever more apparent when we live by this philosophy. Distractions also become less of a bother and emotional restrictions, like anxiety and depression, start declining. I wrote a personal post not too long ago titled ‘Live Life with Integrity’ and mentioned how I was liberated from a lot of fear and anxiety, just by accepting my truth and sharing it with the world. It set me free to explore life in order to uncover my purpose, to trust it and then stand by it. Living true to ourselves enables us to get on with, and pursue the lives we want to build, and encourages us to make life the best experience possible.
Becoming more aware really does help us connect to and enter this stage of truth, because we soon realize what truly matters in life; we soon become aware of the benefits of living more honestly, not only for ourselves, but for our relationships too. Becoming aware of poverty and war for example, like our brothers and sisters from Syria fleeing their homes for their lives, should make us appreciate the opportunities we have available to us, and inspire us to drop the insecurities that restrict us from pursuing them.
On the other hand, as we start accepting truth we slowly start becoming aware of the things that we’re not so clear before. I personally realized that I was choosing to hold onto fear and that I could’ve let go a lot sooner, had I sooner accepted my truth. It really opened up my mind and made me aware of a world full of opportunity, it made me feel confident to explore curiosity, because I became curious about the things I had once feared and avoided.
Get comfortable exploring curiosity.
Exploring curiosity is one thing that can really propel personal growth and development. Just as children grow and learn by being curious, we must hold onto this quality for the entire duration of our lives. Life is meant to be explored and being curious is the best way, perhaps the only way to explore it completely.
Our awareness increases as we’re curious, becuase we learn more about ourselves, about our capabilities and also about the world around us. Curiosity is life’s teacher and can really help us answer so many unanswered questions, and it helps us to develop confidence and strengthens self-belief. For example, I had a client who was unemployed and believed she was uninteresting and that no one would ever be inspired by her, a belief based purely off of perception. So, I signed her up for a volunteer program she had always been curious about, but never pursued because of her belief. I only encouraged her to feed her curiosity and the rest she developed naturally, today you should see how her identity shines. She never realized how much she actually had to offer people. She was able redefine her personality traits from what she dubbed as “passive” and “timid”, to comforting, supportive, open-minded and kind. Now she’s putting herself through school and carving out a career as a Nutritionist.
We develop confidence whenever we push the boundaries of comfort, and as we expand our comfort zones, we hold onto the confidence we develop. Confidence is all about ownership so as you can imagine, the more confident we become the more sense it makes to live life more openly and honestly, and really take ownership of our own lives. Lastly, we realize that life is much more fruitful and exciting when we’re constantly engaging with something that’s fresh and new.
That old saying ‘live each day like it’s your last’ seems so limiting to life experience to me, so I say, live each day like it’s your first! Make each day a brand new day to get excited about, be aware, be true and be curious, and don’t live another day in vain.
Happy New Year!