Valuable Lessons on Happiness And Living Purposefully from 2017
In light of the new year, I was reflecting on all the things that has happened in 2017. Initially, I went in to this session feeling defeated and disappointed (I feel like there’s so much more I could have done) as I hadn’t accomplished anything in the traditional sense. However, on second thought, I realised that 2017 was more productive than I had imagined. I began the year feeling lost, depressed and sad, and took the time I needed to take care of my mental health; this in turn lead me to a journey of self-exploration and growth. I started meditating, I took routine breaks from my phone, I started developing habits to be happy. And most importantly, I took a plunge and decided to deepen my yoga practice These decisions in turn taught me a few valuable lessons that has changed my outlook of life.
Keep reading for a few truths I've learned that has kept me happy and motivated along the way.
Make discomfort the new normal.
A common theme in yoga is discomfort. When you’re stretching your hamstrings or working on that front split, chances are it will feel extremely uncomfortable. I’ve had to sit through discomfort many times in my practice, and although it’s a pain in the butt while it’s happening, I see the biggest transformations and feel so rewarded when I can breathe through it. Similarly, I’ve learned that when you can breathe (physically and figuratively) through uncertainty as opposed to walking away from it, you experience the greatest growth within yourself.
Timing is never right
Do you ever noticed that the moment before you decide to do something is often more difficult than actually doing the task. Think about the last time you went to the gym: convincing yourself to go is often more exhausting than actually going. You will reason, there are a million things I can be doing instead, so why now? The truth is, timing is never right, and you can easily talk yourself out of doing something, even if you know it’s the right thing to do. Human nature opposes change naturally, but in order to growth, one must be willing to push beyond our natural routine.
Let go of your ego
Our ego is our sense of self, shaped by our experiences, habits and our surroundings. I was taught my entire life that there's only one way to live in order to become a respected member of society, and as such my actions were driven by how I wanted others to view me. Only when I was able to internalise this and to detach from my ego was I able to take this first step. I am only human, and I have to keep my ego in check almost everyday, but realising that I am so much more than how others and society define me is crucial towards letting go of my anxiety.
Choose to live your life by design, not be default
It’s a saying that I stumbled upon, and something that I’ve revisited again and again. I want to be able to confidently say that the life I live is the life I chose. While that’s still a work in progress (and I believe will always be a work in progress), I don’t want to to live passively. I want to be able to create something because I’m passionate about it, and something that is 100% mine.
Tune out the haters
This just might be my favourite lesson. I’ve spent so much of my life worrying about how people feel, but somehow practicing yoga has given me the confidence and courage to let go of how others feel or think. You can’t please everybody, and if you choose to, you might make yourself very unhappy. Tune out what others think or say (because everybody will want to give you a piece of their mind), and start listening to the only voice that matters - your own.
These lessons have made me feel lifted, less burdened, and overall happier. And in times of anxiety, I come back to these lessons again and again to keep myself motivated and encouraged to continue doing what I’m doing. I hope that you too can take away some of these truths to lead a purposeful and fulfilling life.
To a Happy New Year!