As we’re in the gift-giving season, it’s essential to reward the most important relationship we have with the hottest gifts of the year. The relationship I’m talking about is the one you have with ourselves and the gifts? Well, you’re just going to have to keep reading to find out!
2020 was rough for all of us but let’s not go crazy and overspend or overindulge in gifts we regret as soon as the new year and “new you” starts. You don’t need to buy into the “treat yourself” BS or disillusioned (and overly marketed) “self-care” gifts. Not only will you risk breaking the bank, but you also end up cluttering your home to provide temporary relief to a much bigger problem.
This year, and as we prepare for 2021, I am giving myself 5 gifts. Not only are these gifts free, but they are also actually investments to my future self. How, you ask? These gifts will continue to compound benefits over time and pay dividends! In this case, they will help me grow to become my better self.
The gift of patience
First off, if this year taught me anything, it’s to have patience, especially for myself. In a culture where everything is demanded instantly (especially gratification), personal growth feels impossible due to the amount of discomfort and consistent commitment it requires over a long period of time. That, in addition to my inner perfectionist, it is extremely frustrating to make the necessary progress needed to level up.
In comes patience. This has helped me better manage my expectations (especially the ones I put on myself), disappointment, and address my self-inflicted guilt and shame. This allows me to heal and work through the internal conflicts that naturally come with personal development and healing.
The gift of forgiveness
Speaking of guilt and shame, as I unearth, unpack, and unlearn everything, from bad habits to mental models and limiting beliefs, I learn one of the biggest things I can do for myself is to forgive myself.
Forgive my past mistakes that sounded like the right decision. Forgive myself for any feelings of shame I carried over from bad relationships (romantic and otherwise). Even forgive myself for holding onto the past I wished I could change. I need to accept that as much as I wish I could have done things differently, I can’t. I can only learn from the experience (and stop replaying those arguments in my head at night and reliving that trauma of feeling powerless).
Forgiveness also applies to scenarios that haven’t happened yet too! Whether it’s trying something new or for the first time, I can forgive myself if I don’t do it perfectly. If I end up saying or doing something wrong at the moment (because I’m only human), I can practice forgiveness and be gentle with myself (instead of being my own bully. Yes, I’m speaking to you, Inner Critic!).
Forgiveness allows me to learn from the experience, not hold onto any resentment or grudges.
It frees up your capacity to focus energy on more important things! Like being present in the moment, enjoying your relationship with loved ones, and working on your personal development journey (PDJ).
Permission to fail
My inner Perfectionist has a really good grip on my ego lately. Because of her, I have been holding myself back from trying new things and going after what I want. No one likes rejection, especially the Perfectionist. To her, it’s either do it perfectly the first time or don’t bother because the shame from failing would be crippling.
The fear of failing, judgment, and not doing it right has destroyed enough dreams and wasted enough time. Let’s not mention wreck havoc on one’s self-confidence.
Now, I am giving myself permission to acknowledge her concerns then push her aside and do it anyway! This allows myself the opportunity to actually try something new and/or take action on an idea. Instead of giving up before I even began (which, I’ve been guilty of a lot lately…). It also allows me to make mistakes, learn from them, and grow to be better.
The last thing I’ll say is forgiveness also opens the door for welcoming new (and preferably aligned) opportunities. Who doesn’t like a twofor?!
Space to be myself
2020 also taught me the importance of priorities and that I need to make myself my top priority. If I don’t have them, I will forever bend and conform to everyone else’s will. All of which quickly leads to burnout, resentment, and a lot of other bad shit (and I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way!).
2021 is all about carving out my place in the world! That means blowing through the discomfort of taking up space. Then, to go a layer deeper than that is being comfortable being myself IN that space. *mind blown*
Long story short – no more compromising myself and giving in to my fear of making others feel uncomfortable.
To be clear, there’s a difference between being yourself, not letting others make you feel less than, and being rude or offensive. I am all about being open and honest with people but no one likes the I-tell-it-like-it-is-no-matter-who-I-offend person. Displaying emotional intelligence and practicing nonviolent communications can help you avoid that troupe.
For me, taking up space means I am not afraid to talk about my big goals, advocate for important causes I care about, and talking about my personal development. It also means not taking it personally when people interpret me saying about my PDJ as a reminder (or trigger) as to how much work they still have to do for themselves. (This is a good time for a friendly reminder that everyone is on a different path and different levels on that path. All we can do is strive day by day and not compare your day 6, especially when dealing with an area of personal development, with someone’s day 295. Thank you for coming to my TED talk!)
It’s important to recognize that there are a right time and space to share my experiences. However, that doesn’t mean I have to make myself smaller because I don’t want to make others feel threatened or uncomfortable. Doing so only stalls my progress. It’s time to let go of my desire to please others at my own expense.
Dare to be great and celebrate it
Last but certainly not least, I am giving myself permission to be great. Whether it’s having Asian refugees as parents – who only allowed for practical choices (especially when it comes to career), ranking a strong Thinker vs Feeler (Myers Briggs test), or strong imposter syndrome (common amongst female entrepreneurs), I limit myself when it comes to what I believe I can “realistically” achieve (damn you, Inner Critic, for reenforcing these doubts!!).
Why, you ask? Oftentimes, we are so scared of failure and disappointment, we set micro-goals to ensure we can achieve them. It helps avoid the discomfort of rejection and not being good enough.
Small wins are important when it comes to goal setting, there’s no denying that. However, without stretch goals (goals you’re almost too scared to set because you don’t think you’ll actually achieve them), repeatedly setting small goals over time, you condition yourself to be content with smaller wins. In the past, instead of daring myself to achieve (or even expect) more in relationships, career, and life, I settled for toxic relationships, mediocrity positions, and nonsatisfying experiences.
If we don’t allow ourselves to set and try to achieve those bigger goals, we will be settling for what we can believe we can achieve instead of pushing ourselves beyond our limits and surprising ourselves.
This year I am saying EFF ALL OF THAT! I am doing it BIG! I am giving myself permission to strive for more, more than I ever thought possible!!!
I’ll be happy to report, I surprised myself with what I was able to achieve once I remove this mental blocker!
As we close out 2020, a year that invigorated our biggest vulnerabilities and priorities, I invite you to include yourself on the giving list. What would you give yourself this year that your future self will thank you for? Share your strive with us in the comments below.
Many thanks and happy holidays everyone,