The past few years I have started a huge personal project to protect my inner peace.
To me, nothing is important enough to disturb it.
This extraordinary commitment to my mental well-being has led me through some stormy and troubled times.
I have had to face many an ugly truth about myself.
I have had to sit in discomfort and lay down clear boundaries with myself, my surroundings, and other people.
The process is messy and painful and shakes up a lot of pent up trauma, learned behavior, cultural & gender stereotypes as well as coping mechanisms learned as a child.
It has not always been pretty, but it has been utterly worth it.
I do not have enough words to express the gratitude I have for starting this self-improvement project relatively early in my lifetime.
In hindsight, I know that the work I have already done has cleared the path to the present moment I am in now: Moving through huge challenges and thriving. Peacefully.
Taking all the punches as they come with grace and strength.
I acknowledge the fact that I am in the privileged position of having all my basic needs met. I do not have to lie awake thinking about where I will get my next meal or whether my kids will be okay in school.
I have the time and resources to be able to read a lot of books and do quite a bit of introspection.
I can completely devote myself to my own mental growth process.
Again, the gratitude I have for this luxury is in-explainable.
I am what I repeatedly do
Everything I practice on a regular and consistent basis will eventually become a habit.
Personally, I found that my process evolved into steps and it took quite some time for each new behavior and thought pattern to become second nature.
One of the first things I decided to tackle was negative self-talk.
That self-doubting voice in my head who never really told me anything good about myself.
I still get the whispers, but I am experienced and equipped enough to know how to acknowledge its existence and to expel its effect on me.
Hey voice! I hear you. I do not believe you. I am worthy. Let us get on with the day.
Next on the list was my learnt coping mechanism of rage.
Rage is my default reaction when I feel sad, hurt, betrayed, accused, ignored, offended, or misunderstood. Basically, when I am feeling shamed.
Its quite a powerful reaction to standard emotions.
The change came when I realized that experiencing painful emotions is not a bad thing.
It is part of being human and it is usually a wake up call that I need to change something or pay attention to a problem.
I cannot scream the emotion away as it will only re-appear later.
The trouble does not lie in the feelings itself; it lies in how I react to those feelings.
I HAVE to feel all the above-mentioned emotions. They are there to serve as lessons.
What I don’t want, is to react with a screaming fit.
What helps me in the moment is to ask the question: WHY?
Why do I want to scream?
What hurt am I feeling and what can be the root of this feeling?
Pent up frustration? Poor communication? Low self-esteem? Rejection? Shame?
As Brené Brown often describe it, shame is an enormously powerful feeling.
It has a way of swallowing you and everyone around you if you do not acknowledge its existence and work through it.
A big remedy to shame is empathy and kindness.
I cannot control my rage if I do not acknowledge my shame or my pain.
I cannot stop my outbursts if I do not possess strong empathy and kindness towards other people I am communicating with and towards myself.
With the display of courtesy and compassion, comes a sense of calm.
Staying calm and practicing mindfulness is my most recent step in self-development.
I don’t think I would have been able to get to this stage without the lessons that radical acceptance and authentic honesty brought to my life.
Radical acceptance of myself, my flaws, my qualities, and everything that makes up uniquely me.
This includes embracing other people warts and all.
By practicing compassion and believing that most people do not have bad intentions.
Its rare that someone will hurt another person on purpose.
And if that is the case, the problem lies within them, not within me.
It probably stems from their own feelings of insecurity, fear, and shame.
Most people struggle with these emotions or find it hard to sit in the painful discomfort of their presence.
I will make mistakes and that is okay. Other people will also make mistakes.
It makes much more sense to focus on accepting someone else and myself for the perfectly flawed human beings that we are.
I want to move through the uncomfortableness of the moment, so we can get to the good part of healing and flourishing.
David Kessler said that judgement demands punishment.
If I stand in judgment instead of acceptance towards someone or myself, I cannot escape the situation without some form of punishment.
Someone is going to get hurt.
And that takes away all sense of calm in my inner world.
I am forever going to be on this journey of self-discovery and mastering tough emotions.
My end goal will always be to learn, grow, react positively and achieving permanent inner peace and calm.
The more I practice, the more I grow.
The more I grow, the more I change.
My life is what I commit myself to.