Pages From My Journal: Personal Growth
Updated: Aug 2
Rewind 7.5 years ago, I was 24 and just getting ready to move to Australia. Living the ‘London life’ since leaving University was great fun to start, but after a while the cramped living conditions, long commute and never ending work hours got to me. I needed change and decided that change was to move to the other side of the world.
I had faith that this leap out of my comfort zone would bring good things, and it did. I fell in love with Australia, its sunshine, happy people and laid back way of life. Going back to Sydney last week brought back a lot of emotions, remembering that young, brave, adventurous soul. As I wondered around the familiar streets, I was overwhelmed by the feeling of growth - at how far I’d come since being here last, and felt the need to get this down on paper. I know I said Pages From My Journal had finished, but here's one last bonus edition.
From my 20’s to 30’s there has been a shift in where I place my self-worth. During my 20’s it was all about productivity - how could I do the most, be the best at everything I put my mind to - this gave me a feeling of worth. Recently, I’ve realised that it’s ok not to be the best (phew!) - I acknowledge the unhealthy perfectionist spiral and the energy it took. It’s never been about competing with anyone else - but competing with myself, having to prove my self-worth in the form of achievements.
I now realise that who I am today is enough, I don’t need to prove anything to anyone or to myself. As long as I live my life with kindness and good intentions then all is well. I’ve realised that to avoid burnout it's necessary to be kind to myself and acknowledge when rest is needed. Not measuring self-worth by the amount I've achieved in a day and allowing time to re-charge without feeling guilty.
Do you gain self-worth from external factors? Bringing awareness to the areas of life which bring you self-worth is step one, start here. Then try to acknowledge that you are enough and worthy of love and happiness right here as you stand today. It's a journey - but it's so worth it.
This one has been hard, and still very much a work in progress. Being a people pleaser it’s easy to say yes to everything, but over the past few years I’ve got better at saying no, and being ok with that. The first step was to understand my values, and how I wanted to live my life, as sometimes we get swept up in others peoples dreams and plans, or we don't feel we can swerve too far from what everyone else is doing.
Once I knew my values I was then able to make informed decisions. I learnt the value of time, how precious it is, and in turn why boundaries are so important. Knowing that I can’t do it all was an eye opener, that the vicious cycle of burnout couldn’t keep going - and forming boundaries was the only way to make it stop.
A good example of a boundary I'm currently working on is my phone - I was having a conversation with a friend this morning about how the expectation of a reply is now instant. What happened to the good old days when you sent a letter and got a reply a week later, I’d like to be on my phone less so that I can be more present and not miss moments to pause because my mind is distracted by WhatsApp or Instagram. So the phone now goes on do not disturb mode between 9pm and 9am, it’s a start, still a way to go.
Boundaries can also come into play with work. I'm trying to be more intentional when working, and creating activities when I have finished work to help switch off e.g. whilst working form home creating a ‘commute’ around the housing estate, or calling a friend or family member.
Take a look at the areas of your life where boundaries are needed, start by making a list of things you want to do everyday, and a list of things which you'd like to do less of - awareness is the first step.
Throughout my 20's I was very used to putting my own needs at the bottom of the priority list. Often running out of time and cancelling on myself, but would never dream of cancelling on anyone else.
Different stages of life will have different priorities however I've learnt that you always have to treat yourself as a priority, because you cannot help others if you are operating from a place of burnout and overwhelm. By serving my needs first, I feel well and energised to help others - for example as a yoga teacher I'm giving out energy to students all the time, they benefit most when they see the happy and healthy version of me.
“Self-care is giving the world the best of you, not what’s left of you.” Katie Reed
I used to always feel that putting myself first was being selfish, however, if you aren’t happy then you aren’t making the people around you happy. Make sure you have at least an hour of your day dedicated to something that brings you joy. Maybe that’s walking the dogs, or having a coffee and reading your book, or going for lunch with a friend.
When your priorities change keep open communication with the people that maybe effected by this, so they still feel part of your life and understand why things are changing.
Have a think about one activity which you could add into your daily routine which will bring you joy, let that be a priority when planning your day.
If any of this resonated with you leave a comment below.