~ Reflections on Growing Wiser and Learning from Our Setbacks~
I’ve often talked about growing in terms of new experiences or in learning something new, or making mistakes that teach us valuable lessons on how to move forward or alternatively how not to move forward (i.e. don’t try that again, type of thing). Whether they are good, tough or in between, these personal experiences are the best teachers to learn from and learn about ourselves… that is if we are paying attention to the lesson. If not, sometimes it can be frustrating, or tough having to learn again and again until the message becomes absolutely clear. Sometimes for me this has been the case of “What you are doing isn’t working” or “Try something else” or “Don’t going down that path again”. Whatever it happens always seems to be followed by some new form of knowledge, a tidbit about ourselves that we didn’t know before that allows us to go in a little more prepared than the last perhaps failed attempt.
But what if that doesn’t work and we end up making it quite a few times, all leading up to a humungous oops?!?
Well, this has been the case for me- a huge stage of every-kind-of-ward growing. Which I realize only after going through some of the toughest moments and emotions that it’s left me better than before. It seems our setbacks have the pretty powerful ability to transform us into stronger versions of ourselves, which is a pretty incredible. I’ve realized this myself and gradually am trying to become grateful for the lessons. Even though, the process that precedes this realization, and transformation was tough and sometimes just putting one foot in front of the other seemed to be asking a lot; it became a necessary step in moving forward and on with life.
The lesson I’ve learned is then this is what we must do if only to prove to ourselves that we can do it and for the process to begin. Despite it being tough and me having to rely on extra support I still managed to learn a lot about myself and how I am able to grow from my own experiences and mistakes. Getting through the thick of it has also made me realize how strong and resilient I am and that if I got through this difficult time then maybe it is possible to get through any other challenges that may come my way. On this note I shall end with a quote from the wonderful Cheryl Strayed:
“You’ll learn a lot from yourself if you stretch in the direction of goodness, of bigness, of kindness, of forgiveness, of emotional bravery.
Be a warrior of love.”~ Cheryl Strayed
Thank-you for listening,
Reflections on Changing Directions and Setting Goals!
I’ve really been thinking about the courage it takes to pursue something new or start a new project and how to move forward from there. You know the necessary steps it takes and the hard work involved that mainly seem to stump me up from the beginning. I’ve also realized that there’s a certain courage it often takes in the doing but firstly I believe it must come in deciding to do so and following through. Without that it’s as the quote says:
A Goal without a Plan is Just a Wish
So I admire others who were able to follow their plans while I still struggle in sorting mine out. Occasionally comparing my first ch
apter to their middle or end which is in how they’ve been able to pursue their passions or take those next few steps. While not giving credit to how far I’ve come and the progress I’ve made.
With that said, here is what I learned about creating and pursuing our goals:
- Sometimes the only way to figure out what works for us; what we can do and even what our goal might be is to try. It took me many attempts at writing before I figured out that blogging is for me, and I’m still learning from it and figuring out what specifically works. There’s a lot to be learned through trial and error. Even the simplest experiences are great guides in showing us what works for us, what doesn’t and what is most important. BUT it is only through these experiences that we gain valuable insights.
- Each new step to that point seems to be built upon the last. The more you put in and work towards that goal, the clearer it will become. You may also find what isn’t working for you anymore, but even those steps will bring you closer to what does.
- With each step there is room for further inquiries and also setbacks. Both allow us to reflect on our choices and adjust the direction of the sails. One important point is being gentle with ourselves if we come into tough times or make mistakes. It’s just a lesson that perhaps it’s time to reevaluate and reflect on where we went wrong and how to move in a better direction. Reflection is good, dwelling not so good.
It can be tricky feeling ready to take on change especially if we are uncertain how. Hopefully thinking of each decision simply a step or way to try something helps us be more open to it. It’s just a step for us to see where it may lead and it’s a way for us to move past the hypothetical “ifs” or “what ifs” we often get stuck on in between deciding whether it’s something we want to do or not. I’ve embraced many new experiences this past year and learned great new skills simply by deciding to go for them and seeing how it goes, figuring things out along the way. When you decide to try and see what happens the possibilities are endless. Who knows you might end up surprising yourself.
Best of Luck, and Great Steps,
The Three Things that has Helped Me and Hopefully Can Help You!
It seems the challenging times are the ones that really shape us but also call for the most out of us. When in the midst of experiencing, working through and resolving inner, outer or both conflicts sometimes the best way to get through is simply hang tight and hope for a brighter outcome like waiting for the calm after the storm. If we have the motivation or support to help us be able to get through is a good first step, still it can take a lot of personal strength and courage to just putting one foot in front of the other when things seem uncertain or when we become uncertain of ourselves. Through my experiences I’ve learned that it’s not the easiest to go through but it is a process worth going through if only to come into a new awareness. Until then it can be a bumpy ride of sorting out but perhaps what I’ve kept in mind through my own challenging experiences can help you.
Be kind to yourself: It can be hard not to self criticize, dredge up past emotions or actions, analyze and overanalyze the situation until the cows come home but one thing I’ve learned from wrestling with these tendencies is that they are not always helpful. Sure it is important to reflect on the incident or occurrence to help us move forward and learn from our mistakes but this can also hold you back from moving forward positively and forgiving yourself. We all at one point in our lives fall prone to pitfalls and thoughts on self judgment that serve no purpose than no other to keep us down. These things are bound to happen, so be easy on yourself and know that part of hindsight comes from our errs or oversights, ones that we couldn’t have known.
Take Things Day by Day and Allow for the Process to Happen: From my own personal experience, there were many days where this is all I could in times of great stress and anxiety to get by and move forward in a positive way. If you can get through those first few days and allow yourself to take things slow by taking things day by day and for time to pass as it does, it’s a good step healthy step in keep those anxieties and self perpetuating thoughts at bay. Even if it takes longer than we would like to carry on as normal or to feel good again it is completely okay, and it’s okay if that’s all you can do. By accepting this it is another way of being kind and patient with ourselves and fears during this time. Sometimes we only have the courage of a mouse but it is still a form of courage and that’s good and worth noting. Do what you can do, and keep on, keepin’ on.
It does get easier day by day: This is probably the most overriding theme and message that I’ve realized from getting through times of tough growth or failure is that those first few days are the hardest part of rising strong but if we continue to move forward gradually it will get better. Things will look up and you’ll see that everything won’t be as hard as the first few days which can be the toughest. At one point, hopefully, you’ll realize that as time passed so has your biggest hurdles. This is where rising strong feels good and becomes easier because as the expression states: “the only way out is through”. Through the tough times, the fear, uncertainty and nervousness. There may be some days that will take a bit more of that courage while others less but either way each step forward will also lead to extra courage and ease, so don’t get discouraged and know that each will build towards progress in the end.
Stay strong and brave,
A Lesson on Self Compassion
This much I am learning about how I handle any new expectation or experience that may take some adjustment and a few tries. It won’t always go smoothly the first time yet I put these unreasonable expectations on myself to get everything done the perfectly the first time or figure out whatever this new thing is in the first few attempts. Which is unreasonable to expect of anyone, even if I am putting all that pressure on myself. In expecting to handle everything way up there I’ve far exceeded what anyone else could put on me. So I’ve begun to really look into “why” I’ve done that? where that could have come from? and how to move forward being gentler on myself- after all sometimes the ones in need of most forgiving are ourselves.
As having such high expectations for ourselves; set by ourselves are tough and aren’t always the most reasonable. I believe another thought too, is that often these are the ones most easily moved higher and higher. Sometimes no matter how hard you try or how much you’ve accomplished there’s the little critical voice inside us that taunts us to take on more- even if it may be too much-. When I’ve listened to this voice instead of my own intuition it (most of the time) has only ever set me up with disappointment, frustration and extra stress. Three things I didn’t need in my life at that moment. However what I often do need and to give myself is understanding, patience and self-compassion. Especially self-compassion.
Which I became hopeful for once realizing that a lot of my own harshness is tied to a sense of perfectionism in me. Coming from that part of my brain that feels relieved when everything is in it’s place at the end of the day or when my baking at first hasn’t turned out just like the picture. Since discovering this, and being humbly put in my place I am intent on learning how to let things go and worry less about having things go perfectly right. After all, there will always be things outside my control and for others to worry about so there’s no sense in worrying about these things myself and constantly stressing over what I can’t control. This is what I’ve slowly been working on let go that need for everything to work out perfectly or I guess my own concerns to only worry about whether I’m doing all I can. There’s things to be concerned about while others that aren’t worth the stress. Sometimes it’s best to just do what we can do, be gentle on ourselves and set those expectations a little lower in accepting this process over time because it’s been a gradual building up so it’s probably going to be a gradual letting go.
Plus! My Top 5 (so far) Favourite Podcasts and why they have helped me and can help you!
It seems inevitable that in life it’s not always going to be this fun, smooth, happy-go-lucky ride. There of course will be days where everything is going our way; the sun is out and shining; we’re well rested from a productive yet tiring day; our favourite outfit is clean and therefore ready to wear; and things are going well at work. On these days, it’s so much easier to take on the world and tackle challenges both big and small. Yet there are other days when we are feeling overwhelmed, things aren’t going our way and there is much more to take on.
Which means even the slightest little struggle or extra consideration can seem like too much. Be it criticism or an adjustment to routine which may prove possible to handle previously suddenly seems like too much at times. For me it is often this trifecta of circumstances both external and internal struggles that contribute to the feeling of being overwhelmed. Often habit is to look deeper into what has caused my distress, and may take some time to uncover the deeper issue but it’s also best to take a break from all that thinking sometimes and just relax. What I’ve found destressing or relaxing is simply putting on a good podcast to tune out those obsessive thoughts, get out of our own heads and gain a new perspective on ourselves. While reading can be effective too I’ve found some insights are better understood heard. I’ve gained so much just from listening in on the advice the Podcast hosts have given to others regarding similar questions I’ve asked myself or experiences I’ve had to make my way through wondering “if I was the only one”. Well friends, through some of the most relatable and wonderful podcasts that the answer has been found and it’s a resounding “No. Indeed we are not the only ones out there struggling”. These podcasts and their episodes are proof of just that.
So without further ado…
Here’s a list of my top 5 favourites (so far):
- Dear Sugar Radio (ft. Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond)
- Millennial Podcast (ft. Megan Tan and others)
- The Lavendaire Lifestyle (ft. Aileen Xu)
- Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert (ft. Elizabeth Gilbert and others)
- The Lively Show (ft. Jess Lively)
To check them out, search on your phones podcast function or I believe you can also find them online or under the iTunes store. Many of these I’ve found on Pinterest list pins under the Pins/Lists titled like “Best Podcasts for…” fill in the blank. So definitely check there if you are looking for more inspiration. Here’s also the links to their podcasts online:
Thoughts on travels, making the most of days off and planning adventures
For the longest time all I ever wanted to do was to escape any present or impending work week drabs by going off to some far away places and destinations, where my worries and stresses about life and any other concerns could be long forgotten. The travel bug had bitten again and I was falling for it. This was what the word “adventure” meant in my mind and therefore the only way to have an adventure or feel that sense of care-freeness a part of going away was to travel far.
Until I found someone (special) equally as curious, open and willing to explore as I am that taught me “adventures” can take many forms and that sometimes it doesn’t matter where you are or even what we are doing as much as it’s who you are with that helps make any day an adventure. Simply experiencing those things together and making our own adventures close to home has led to incredible days and inspiration for future adventures and projects. So for now I am happy helping to create and explore places closer to home with inspirations to go a bit further in broadening our horizons. All in all it really doesn’t matter because those days were made into adventures by us just spending time together and seeing where the day could day take us.
The final insight and a summing up: To remember wherever you chose it to be- as far or close as you like- it’s who you are with that matters most, from there adventure will follow and you’re bound to have a good time.
*Thank-you for showing me that we don’t need to travel far to find adventures, and that what makes adventures great is us.*
What I’ve learned from Creativity and Deciding!
If there is one thing I’ve learned about myself in the last year or so it’s that almost anything becomes possible once I set my mind to it and decide to go for it. I’ve taken on so many new experiences not only this year but in the last couple of years that have gotten me to where I am now. All have involved deciding to take on at the time something new. If I had not done so then who knows where or who I’d be, perhaps still me but a little more different, a little less brave/open. It’s not always so easy though, and realizing that much of the time what held me back is in agonzining over decisions, going back and forth between truly wanting to try and bowing out in hopes of gaining more information or clarity. I’ve driven myself crazy in this process- the hemming and hawing involved in making next steps; second guessing/going one way or the other then back again is exhausting; dwelling on the uncertainty looming in the air at times has seemed like an effort in futility.
What has proven valuable- despite uncertainty- is indubitable power in deciding to do something even if you’re unsure. If guessing at what’s unclear is no help then the one that does and can control is our own decisions, which can either mean being brave in the chance of uncertainty or sticking to what we know and is familiar. Which although is safe, doesn’t really allow you or I to grow. If I had stuck to the familiar and in giving an example say in creativity then I would have never learned how enjoyable baking, or knitting or even doing pastels would have been. By deciding, however, to at least try these experiences I’ve learned and grown so much all of which I wouldn’t have if I stayed in my room.
There’s also a quote I’ve seen and have around my desk that reads:
“If it excites you and scares you at the same time, it might be a good thing to try”.
I find it a great inspiration to help in continuing to be brave and open to new experiences and decisions- both those with great certainty and uncertainty. I think of it every time I’m attempting to write something new; explore a new insight; try something new and especially in sharing my experiences or thoughts with someone else. All of which can seem exciting or scary to me at any given moment depending on how I chose to look at it but by taking I’ve been able to stop worrying and figure out how to move forward. *In full admittance* this is a work in progress for me that has been both inspiring and un-nerving at times but knowing there is only one way to go from where I stand and that’s forward with patience and courage has helped- also the quote mentioned above works well too.
Be brave, bold and determined,
An Introduction and Thoughts on the Subject:
I begin looking at this topic a while ago with the modest mindset of how others it seemed were more able to show an openness towards sharing themselves and their experiences which got me thinking that it seemed like a pretty courageous thing to do. I’ve always been in awe of that for others while striving to do the same myself. There is something about letting your true self be shown that is rather intimidating for me and so I’ve often admired it in others while simultaneously trying to work on it myself. With that I’ve began the process really looking at the when and where of sharing while building my own quiet courage which has taken some mustering.
My progress so far: a) Is that it takes time to get there but in order to get there we must keep moving forward and b) by doing so it becomes a process of starting somewhere (usually with sharing small thoughts/experiences/interests and moving into bigger topics BUT as mentioned above you must keep moving forward. As hard and perhaps uncertain at times as it may be the alternative to that is getting stuck in a particular spot and not contribute to your own growth or growing the connection. I’ve learned through mine and other experiences that it can take some time too, but if we’re really lucky the person we are connecting with will be patient at the times where our courage is less or what we share is in small doses. It’s important to realize this for ourselves but also in terms of how others may work through opening up and sharing, the uniqueness of it for each person is what makes sharing experiences unique and perhaps to add on another important lesson we can learn from others- especially if they are more open it can encourage us to be more open too. So to conclude is we must keep moving forward, at your own pace of course, but forward. It seems to be the only way to make connections grow and to form trust.
Really what it mostly comes down to for me and might help you is a steadfastness in showing up, and being who I truly am. I’ve also taken the perspective that just by doing that I’m already half way there. Next as follows is the little pep talks I give myself to just say one thing/share one thing about yourself and see how it goes. The voice inside me would say, and you’ll feel prouder for doing it.
For now, Introverted Butterfly
A look inside creativity as a helpful outlet
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about creativity and how it’s helped make the everyday routines, structures and schedules of life more interesting, especially as I’ve been taking a gentle hiatus from writing and focused on other creative endeavours. Whether it’s been more baking, or in learning to knit or most recently in pastel work I’ve come into great insights on how pursuing these interests has helped add something to look forward to in day-to-day life and how each endeavour is it’s own creative adventure.
There are two main thoughts that each experience seemed to have in common for it to be helpful and worth continually pursuing. The first is it simply has to inspire me, and somehow aid in my curiosity to learn and explore as a outlet but with that said it also has to work for my own individual purposes and makes sense to me. Which varies depending on how I chosen to approach it. These are the initial thoughts I had going into each new month and being open to what it’s brought. Upon closer look I’ve discovered that diving in these creative projects there’s a third bonus and that is taking up any of these; whether it be knitting, planning next baking days or finding my confidence in using pastels; has not only given me new ways to be creative but acted as incentive to get through the week. I can go into work knowing that my reward for getting through is awaiting me at home. Almost like my own version of saving and planning for future trips, only instead of trips it’s projects to look forward to and plan.
This creative adventure has led me to some wonderful pastimes and ways to cope when things get long, tough or tiring without going far from home. I’ve gotten a new lease on my life and found excitement in what I do everyday to help make it more exciting when at the moment I’ve felt unprepared to travel far again. Keep in mind, that it doesn’t have to be creative adventures for you that’s just what worked for me. It could be anything you are involved in whether once a week, or twice, everyday or every few weeks that helps make where you or I are at more interesting, manageable or fun while we wish and dream for grander adventures far away.
That’s it for now,
The Curious Creative and Introverted Butterfly (P.S. It’s good to be back!)