This may seem early to do a review of the past year, but I use my Freedom Mastery Law of Attraction Planner July to July. I have spent quite a bit of time the past week, not only reflecting back but planning the year ahead which has given me much better clarity in terms of my goals.
I do feel like a different person, well, it’s not just a feeling, I am a different person. I have learned so much, in terms of personal growth. Listed below are the key things that I have learned or become aware of, and trust me I still have lots of work to do on them, many will be ongoing throughout my life.
I have learned the importance of:
1. Self Awareness
For the first time in my life, I feel I am getting to know the real me. We put on a persona to the outside world and it is easy to forget the real you. For the first time in my life, I am admitting my own faults to myself, this is amazing, I am trying my best not to judge myself, because we all have flaws. I hope with practice this will come more easily.
I have reflected and explored why I feel negative emotions at times, which cause me to behave in particular ways. I now have awareness of some of my flaws, although I still have some work to do, because I know I have many more, like a lot of people we tend to suppress or simply not admit to ourselves that we sometimes behave negatively. Now I have awareness I am going to do some work to change my behaviour, bring my flaws to the surface and hopefully change my perception of things, so that my negative emotions are reduced.
2. Self Acceptance
We are human, negative emotions like jealousy, envy, and hate serve a purpose, they are there to teach you something to help you grow, they should never be suppressed but brought to the surface for you to work with. Hence, I have discovered the concept of ‘Shadow Work’, first wrote about by Carl Jung, a Swiss Psychiatrist and psychoanalyst The concept goes like this, we all have a ‘shadow’ side to our personalities, a dark side, aspects of ourselves that we try to hide, even from ourselves by suppressing certain emotions we are ashamed of. Jung believes that in bringing these emotions to the surface by doing ‘shadow work’ to address them, help us fully accept the positive and negative aspects of ourselves. Shadow work may also help with any addictions you have.
Humans are fundamentally compassionate, most people feel empathy for others, if they see a person or animal suffering, they will often try to help. But, many do not as a rule, go out of their way to seek those that need help. Yet acts of altruism, whether through volunteering, donating or just small acts of kindness to people, animals or the planet are I believe fundamental to being fulfilled as a person. Remember the story of Scrooge, when he was a miser, did he look happy or fulfilled? But, when he became a generous kind hearted man, he looked extremely happy and fulfilled. Altruism doesn’t just help the recipient, it helps those being altruistic in so many ways, because they are being true to their compassionate humanistic nature.
The rewards for showing kindness are amazing. I started volunteering at Shetland Animal Rescue in January this year with horses, pigs, goats, cats, dogs, sheep, ducks, geese and chickens. The work is physically demanding, however, spending time with the animals has taught me just how special they are. I look at them like children, they are innocent, mostly trusting and just like children, they can be mischievous, want to play and many crave affection. After visiting the sanctuary, I feel spiritually cleansed, full of love and damn good about myself. This is what happens, when you volunteer, we all have good in us and I think many people would move towards a more fulfilling life if they ‘gave back to whatever cause is close to their hearts, no matter how small.
I did struggle with this at first, I write 5 things each day I am grateful for, but struggled at times to think of 5 things, especially when I had a crap day. Then, when I could think of 5 things, I struggled to actually ‘feel’ grateful, yet the ‘feeling’ is key in practising gratitude. Now, once I have wrote them all down, I read them and as I read I ‘feel’ the gratitude. A simple practice that I believe puts you in a state of abundance, which if you are familiar with the Law of Attraction, is a good state to be in.
This had to be one of the hardest things for me to ‘feel’ self love, but now I can ‘feel’ self love whenever I want to, I feel it in my heart and it is one of the nicest feelings. Again, like anything, it does take practice, especially if you have low self-esteem. I started with self-compassion meditations on You Tube.
If you have self-love in your heart, you give this off as energy and people pick up on it and give love back, those that don’t either have their own issues or are not awake enough to pick up on the positive energy of others.
6. Why My Goals Fail
I have learned over the past year, that I never seem to reach most of my goals. I have seen a repeated monthly pattern of my goal to ‘Get Fit and Healthy.’ Yet, until recently it was a meaningless goal, because my habits did not reflect the goal. So now I focus on my daily habits that will take me towards my goal. I have put certain personal rules in place to guide me with my habits, some of them I put on my habit tracker in my planner. Some of these rules are not eating after 7.00pm to give my digestive system a 12 hour rest period, this is also good because I tended to overeat late at night. I also snack on raw carrots and red grapes, add pomegranate seeds to my breakfast, as well as going to the gym at least 4 times a week.
Focusing on my daily habits feels like a lighter load than focusing on my goals and I know if I am consistent, I will reach my health and fitness goals. The times when I don’t feel motivated to go to the gym or even when I am at the gym, I ask myself “do you want to be fit, toned and strong?” of course my answer is “yes and this is what it takes to get me there”, it really seems to help my motivation to focus on why I am doing it.
7. Media is Unhealthy
Now I am not saying all media is unhealthy, but I have learned to avoid most of social media. For me personally it serves very little purpose, sometimes it is cringeworthy, so now I am very selective about the media I watch. I only watch documentaries that I want to watch, I don’t care about ‘Love Island’ or the Kardashians, what could I learn from them? Nothing whatsoever of any real value. If you are guided only by money, fame or appearances, then you are missing out on the real beauty in this world and those in it. A millionaire who buys into this 3D world is worthless, those who see beyond the 3D are priceless and an absolute asset to animals, people and this planet, they ‘SEE’ whilst many are blind. Now, I know many young people love social media, they grew up with it, I just hope they ask themselves this question, does this ‘serve’ my purpose in life?
8. Acceptance of Life Events
Like pretty much everyone, I have always struggled when someone close to me dies. Losing my dog last year had a great impact on me, more than it should have. It’s been 10 months and I still get upset when I think and talk about him. Now and then, I succeed to take a more spiritual approach to his death, believing he is still with me or that I will be with him again. I do want to keep practicing this approach because I know it is better for me than my instinctive one of loss. I placed a lot of value on my dog, I repeatedly told people my dog was the best thing to happen to me and he was, this sounds sad, but he had the greatest impact on my life, more than any person ever did. He made me truly happy and comforted, he changed my perspective on life for the better.
It’s took me a while but I feel like I am starting to accept that he has gone, I am asking less and less ‘why give me something so special then take him away from me.’ I am trying to accept it, because I want to get to a stage where I can look back with fond memories and be grateful that he was with me for nearly 4 years and those 4 years were some of the best of my life.
I have also felt guilty that people lose people they love and I am crying over a dog, I try not to think this way because it’s all relative, it’s the value you place on your loss and it is ‘your’ loss. I am learning to accept that ‘bad’ things happen in life and instead of asking ‘why me?’ try to take a more spiritual approach that ‘loss’ can teach you lessons and help you grow as a person. With life, comes death and no-one is immune.
Self-awareness is a valuable state for personal growth. I think one of the best practices for doing this is journalling. I combine my journalling with my gratitude list, but have to admit, I don’t always journal daily. I am trying to make this a daily habit, with a monthly reflection on it to see if there are any patterns in my emotions or behaviours.
When I was younger I was an avid reader, somehow I stopped reading, I am not sure why, maybe life got in the way. I have now rediscovered reading, I try to read a little each day, mostly self development books or anything that I have a particular interest in.
I have a list of books I wish to read over the next 12 months and will schedule them in as a monthly goal.
I have included 15 minutes reading in my daily routine and use my habit tracker in my planner as a prompt. It also helps to see a row of unbroken ticks in my tracker, it really helps me stick to my book a month reading goal. The 15 minutes is a minimum reading time, if I am in the mood or have more time, I will read longer.
I haven’t read a novel in a while, but I may do that in the future, a good book takes you to another world, your worries disappear, a really good book will make you feel the experiences of the main character, pure escapism!
11. Put Learning into Practice
This is linked to number 6. ‘Why My Goals Fail’, and it is the importance of practicing what you learn, it is no good reading lots of self development books if you don’t apply the things you want, you may of well not have read the book. For example, you want to fully master meditation, so you get a book on the subject, read it and learn lots of tips to meditate, but you don’t meditate, what? I mean what’s is the point? This is me, I have in the past read books and loved them and applied things to my life either for a short period of time or not at all.
For the year ahead, I have pretty much narrowed down my annual goals down, so I can focus on changes I want to make or things I want to incorporate into my life. I will focus on my daily habits, the actual ‘doing’ instead of just ‘learning’ about stuff.
Well, this is me reflecting back on my year, it is the first time I have ever done this and I have to admit, I found it extremely useful. I feel quite proud of some of the learning and changes I have made, even if some of my goals fell by the wayside.
I will be doing a post soon on what I plan to do next year, what habits I want to continue or create, what self-development I want to do and some of my goals.