A NEW YEAR IS HERE and soon I will turn 30. Jeez, thirty seems old! Not long ago I was looking at my older brothers thinking, “I still have time to figure it all out” and now I am excited but scared for it to be here so soon.
I feel behind. Do you know the feeling?
I’ve only just finished school and though I am fortunate and grateful to be a Naturopathic Doctor, school seems to have halted my life. I realize everyone follows his or her own timing in life, but I can’t help feeling as if I need to catch up.
This year alone, I have 12 close friends getting married and 7 are having children. While most of my peers are moving forward in the typical social path of career, marriage, kids (and hopefully not divorce), I am choosing something different. Not wrong or bad (I keep telling myself), just unique.
If I was on the outside looking in I’d be proud that I am where I am. I’d say, “YES! That a girl! Go explore life because the one back home is safe and fine but not your great adventure”. I’d be in admiration at the courage it takes to live in a distant place making your own way instead of the comforts of status quo.
I am living in a surreal paradise everyday and don’t regret it. But to be honest, sometimes I have doubts. I don’t need the designer clothes, house, ring, 6-figure salary, or cars to fulfill me… but I secretly want them anyhow. I want them so I can belong to society and a community. I want the ‘likes’ on my status updates to confirm my decisions. Knowing another pair of heels won’t resolve my doubts, I consciously practice letting go of the desire. True happiness comes from perspective.
I like being different but at times I also feel insecure. I love the life I’m living. There is no question that I am exactly where I want to be… but 30! Thirty is old. Thirty means, ‘get your life together, make an income, start a family, and be stable’. Doesn’t it?
How freeing would it be to not have a birthday to compare your life status against another’s?
Without age there wouldn’t be pressures to meet a ‘developmental expectation’ from others or yourself. No predetermined terrible twos, bitchy teenage years, age of adult responsibility, mid-life crisis, retirement status, or an old age death sentence.
The rat race creates anxiety for me. It makes me want to rebel against the norm and expectations of others, but it also drives me to attain more. Work harder. Eat better. Exercise more. Be more conscious. For all the envy, I receive just as much judgment. My strongest game is defense, and I’m defending my decisions. I’m on trial to justify my actions. Why can’t I create the life I want? What kind of life do I really want anyways?
WHAT I WANT IS FREEDOM
Freedom from age, freedom from expectations, and freedom from my unfairly judgmental self. I have endless compassion and empathy for others yet when it comes to myself I have a wicked tongue.
I hear this from my patients all too often, without them even recognizing it. Listen to the words you use to describe your inner self. Not the superficial self that you want others to think of you, but the deeper level of self-hatred and destruction. There is too much self-criticism to allow freedom to be creative, engage in life, to embrace yourself just as you are, or to love deeply.
The 3 levels of self-description:
- Superficial pleasantries: the words we would like others to describe ourselves and the way we act to portray those characteristics. For example: kind, generous, loving, happy, a great cook.
- Mid Level Gremlins: These are the nasty thoughts you tell yourself about your insecurities, self-blame, self-hatred, comparisons, shame, pain, and traumas. These come on autopilot and we believe them to be the Truth, when they are actually stories we choose out of a defeated perspective, often developed from childhood.
- True Deep Soul: This is the Truth, the pure self who is whole, complete, lovable and worthy of a remarkable life. This is the person who should be celebrated in every waking moment and rewarded with health and vitality.
I used to think of insecurities as a negative quality. Yes, being confident about your skills and abilities is critical to attack life with vigor, but successful people are those who have the freedom and courage to fail. To try without a 100% fail-proof plan takes guts. It takes someone who, regardless of their insecurities, still value themselves and their opportunity to go for it. They create opportunity and don’t just wait for them. Your dreams are in reach if you look (read more here…)
Insecurity, as I am teaching myself, is an opportunity to be humbled. To be able to see things from a perspective void of ego or superiority. It is not a limitation but a chance to fail courageously and succeed passionately. Both are commendable. My mistakes and failures teach me deep lessons that I absorb far beyond the lucky breaks that just happen to work out in my favor. They also are a reminder to appreciate the small successes and “get back on that horse”.
“Insecurity is not a limitation but a chance to fail courageously and succeed passionately.” <--Click To Tweet
Identifying your 3 levels of self-description is vital to look your gremlins in the face and tell them to ‘shove it’. Your true deep soul is the only level that counts. What other’s think of you is nice but superficial. It is only a small window into your True self but just as important to differentiate.
Make a list
In one column, write down all the words you think others would use to describe you. Also, write down the characteristics you try to exhibit. Now, in a second column write down the opposite meanings of the first. For example:
Beautiful (what I want other’s to think) → Ugly (the opposite)
Is there a pattern? Do the opposite words trigger discomfort? Try saying the words out loud. How we choose to express ourselves is often the qualities we are running away from. Maybe there was a bully in your life that exhibited these ‘ugly’ qualities and you promised yourself you’d “never be like them”. Often it’s a quality of your mom or dad’s who you attempt to avoid becoming.
The true soul has no ego. It does not compare. It is. It just is.
Get closer to your true soul and free yourself from the chains of self-criticism. Finally, on a separate piece of paper write down as many words to describe this deep self. It may be only one or two words. Now put that paper on your night stand or bathroom mirror and every morning look at those words. Repeat them out loud and embody them. Empower your deep soul to free itself every day.
This year, instead of being bound by my age I am giving myself permission to celebrate my birthday selflessly and with love. I will celebrate 30 years of fearful but unstoppable passionate living. I will be free of judgment, criticism and comparison.
I am FREE. I am LOVE. And I will radiate it with every breath to celebrate LIVING.
Happy Birthday to me.