We are all on a journey here in life, pulled in different directions and choosing different paths but nevertheless on a potential journey to deep and profound self-exploration and conscious awareness of ourselves in connection with the world around us. Different people have different degrees and ways to push through their own limitations and personal boundaries.
On this journey we will be tested many ways, our beliefs may be challenged but we must always pursue optimal health and quality of life. There is no need to settle for a status less than that, no need to submit to the self-pity, fear, or depression of a diseased state, and no reason to accept a state of wellness and forgo opportunities to stretch beyond what we think we are capable of. Optimal health may never be achieved. It is not a checklist of components nor testable with biomarkers. Optimal health is a way of living uninhibited by self-imposed limitations. Optimal living is knowing that you stand in truth, stripped down to your true essence and are humbled to your fragility and weaknesses. There is nothing to fear and nothing to hide from. Optimal is an undulating, dynamic and exciting way to live.
Finding yourself with an illness can be very shocking, especially if there were no warning signs before (or maybe you just missed or underestimated them). If you truly desire to recover, you must never allow yourself to be defined by the disease. Know that you and your sickness are different, you are separate, and the one is not the other.
As you ready yourself to change your ways, seek help and adjust your lifestyle, you must love yourself enough to believe you are worth healing. You must love yourself enough to believe that you can and should carry on and pursue the path to an optimally healthy lifestyle. Do not revert to childish antics and start whining about change being difficult, stay focused and hang in there.
Unhealthy habits can be a challenge to identify. We may subconsciously not want to realize we have to make an effort to clean out the skeletons in our closets. Seeing yourself in true light takes courage, it is not easy to acknowledge the flawed behaviors and habits we perpetuate, especially if they have been ongoing for years. When you find yourself seeing the falseness, pettiness, vanity and other darkness clouding over you, do not forget the kind and loving soul that is also there. There is light at the end of the tunnel, my friend. You choose who you want to be and how you want to act.
Gaining self-awareness is not easily searched on google. This ambiguous concept takes time, dedication, and patience.
These are some questions I think about when I feel the need to turn the lens inward.
Can I live without a mask? This means do I live without hiding behind some false persona? Do I change personalities or put up an appearance for work, for my parents or friends? Hair styles and fashion choices all play a role a performance before others. Being attached to appearance and the ways we present ourselves will build a façade over our true self. This false identity makes a layer between who we really are and who we think we are. Think about the common phrase “to get ready” as in “getting ready to go out”, to a certain extent implies that a person is not presentable enough for wherever they are going. Women, can you leave the house without make-up and jewelry? Why is it such a common stereotype that woman need to “get ready” before going anywhere? What are we changing about ourselves that is unacceptable? Why are we not already “ready” in our natural state? Why do we allow social and cultural pressures to cause us to feel a fear of rejection or inadequacy? Who is really judging?
Can I be naked? Am I okay with feeling exposed? Am I comfortable by myself? Can I love myself as I am? Do I accept my body with physical imperfections as well as mental and emotional weaknesses? Am I humble to the fact that my existence is a fragile one?
Can I be silent? Can I be quiet when I am alone? Do I need the TV, podcasts or music to be constantly playing as a distraction from finding peace in my own breath and facing thoughts that try to whirl around in my head? When I am with others, can I control the compulsion to speak when I have nothing to say?
Parents, schooling, propaganda and media trends influence the layers of perception and socially acceptable ways of being. What if these do not actually matter? What if we are better off living as we were genuinely created to be?
Only when we stop performing for others, when we stop seeking exterior approval can we begin to feel free.
We should be comfortable with ourselves, regardless of who is watching. Only then will we be able to experience anything that might be considered optimal and make true and effective change within ourselves and the world around us.
Love the journey you are on.
Love the people in your life.
Love the ones that critique you.
Love the ones that support you.
Love the undefined feeling inside that urges you to seek a better life.
Love yourself in moments of weakness.
Love yourself as you are today and for who you can be tomorrow.
Love yourself as you were created and love yourself for who you are meant to be.