My mother always told me, “the only constant in life is the knowledge that change is inevitable.” Trying to keep things the same is as pointless as trying to grasp the sunset in your hands. When we feel like our only option is to control something, rather than let it ride out, it’s probably best to let go. We can organize, manage, and try to direct situations and people, but we will never be able to stop them from moving in their natural direction.
I know how difficult this lesson of letting go can be to learn. We all, at some point in our lives, have attempted to hold onto something we knew no longer served us; whether it be miles run on damaged knees or a toxic personal relationship past its expiration date, we all have our own version of this story.
It’s often in moments of transition and emotional shifting that we realize something is no longer serving us. Transitional experiences, although trying, can be most rewarding. My own adult life has been riddled with a cross-country move, from the most northeastern tip of the USA to the non-continental west, every change of place adding an understanding of my true self. It wasn’t always easy, but I knew I needed to take a step back, let go of control, and let what was going to happen, happen. I would have never had access to this knowledge unless I trusted the concept that change is constant, adding spice to our lives and opportunities for personal growth. Here are seven lessons I learned during my journey of finding my true self.
1. Independence v. Asking for Help
My first big move taught me independence, but being independent doesn’t mean that you can’t ask for help when needed. Accepting a helping hand sometimes takes more courage than going it alone. It also opens you up to empathetically lend a hand when someone else has a need you can fulfill. This compassion is invaluable and can be applied to many relationships and situations.
The second lesson taught me that love is worth taking the leap. Love helps us to overcome obstacles, both physical and emotional, and it’s more important than fear, pride, or risk of heart break. Always give love to yourself as much as you give it to others. When you learn to love yourself, it will be easier to share that love, and accept love from others. Never underestimate the value of love.
3. Moving Past Fear
The third lesson taught me that walking with fear can either forge unbreakable courage or a lifetime of living in trepidation. The greatest part is you get to choose how much you let your fear control you. You have the choice of whether to tremble in fear's hold or move past it knowing your true strength. Bravery and courage are only discovered by first feeling afraid.
4&5. Self-worth and How to Say No
The fourth and fifth lessons build on each other. Personally, I had to learn the value of my self-worth before I learned how to say “no.” Saying “no” was such an important concept for me to learn because without it I would still be saying “yes” to everything! I would literally say “yes” to whatever was asked of me, no matter what impact it had on my health or happiness. I had no respect for myself and so, as a result, I would sacrifice everything. This leaves no energy for self-care or personal development, and I started to lose myself as an individual. I was a mother. I was a wife. But I wasn’t anything else because I was giving every ounce of myself up to help others.
To combat this, I started setting aside thirty-minute sessions, five times a week to care for myself. I want to raise my daughter to recognize and respect strong women that know their worth. This had to start at home. So, I dug out the joggers, laced up my sneakers, and hit the pavement. She would sit in her little cubby drinking from her sippy cup, reading a book while I increased my cardio health and, step-by-step, proved that I could work for any goal I set. I found out that I was stronger than I thought and discovered a sense of self-worth grander than I had ever dreamed. I lost over 60 pounds in the process, and gained the ability squash self-doubt.
6. Find Your Passion
The sixth lesson came around the time I was introduced to yoga. I found my passion in the form of men’s yoga DVDs my husband brought home to combat old military injuries. Yoga has a way of coming into our lives at just the right time. I needed something that added structure to my desire for mindful movement and meditation. I found what I was looking for in yoga. Whatever our passion is, it’s worth the commitment. To find your purpose and deny it is a true tragedy.
7. Unearthing Your Tribe
This move is still young and I have much to learn. I’ve made an extra effort this time around to connect with people. I tend to be introverted, but I long for a community that values truth, acceptance, and celebrates diversity. No matter the size of your town or city, there’s always a pocket-full of people ready to join forces. Go find them. I’m not sure how long we’ll be here or where we’re going next, but I’m open to whatever lessons this universe has in store for me. I hope our paths cross along the journey.
Emily Hills, Inner Fire Luminary