~ 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,
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:
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,
My thoughts and experiences on it as a perpetual learner
If there is one thing I know for certain, it’s that we really should never stop learning. In fact, recently I’ve learned it can be quite dangerous to become complacenet in life or at least this is what it’s felt like for me.
The moment I discovered how stuck I was from not growing or moving forward in anyway I became dissatisified. Suddenly, the feeling that something had to change occurred and I took action. I needed a challenge that would feel good for me, not overwhelm or overly frustrate me but something I would enjoy being challenged at and could handle. Hence, I took an online course that reminded me of how much I enjoyed learning something new. It was a refreshing feeling to be moving forward again in a way that was comfortable yet challenging, in a subject that I am passionate about learning. When thinking about learning in this context, it seems that amongst this experience I was learning all along and all it took to find that answer was some reflection. Yes, indeed there is much to be learned outside of school and when you think about learning is taking many forms with different lessons, but to me the most important one is in learning about who we are and that’s what I’ve learned in the process of exploring the world, who I am and what I can handle.
There really is no time like the present to take hold of any opportunities that come our way and experience this first hand when we open our minds to the possibilities and make the “now” matter when we find ways to challenge ourselves, take up a new skill, or explore a new subject therefore making the most valuable time of life (so far) now. It’s like the saying goes “there is no time like the present that’s why they call it the present because it’s a gift”. Being determined to make the most of it I always try to either learn from each experience or embrace it, discovering what I can accomplish, where each possibility can take me, how I can learn from every single experience out there and tackle scenarios I wouldn’t have thought possible. The world is your classroom and has the potential to help you discover where your thoughts, dreams and curiousities can take you so why not make the most of what it has to offer!
Happy Learning, from the Perpetual Student and
Signs we might be a…BOOK ADDICT!
Do you ever wonder into bookstores and/or libraries, finding yourself ogling at what lays in front of you like a kid in the candy store? Or on casual visits, where you are convinced that you are “just there to browse” find yourself at the checkout with another two or three books in your hand? Even though, deep down you know there’s a bigger stack at home, still waiting to be read!
If so, you might be a book addict. Don’t worry, though, I believe or well I know I am one too. Reluctantly, I’ll admit that in the last little while I’ve gotten carried away with my book buying purchases and reading list. In fact, its happened several times while perusing the bookstores and library. It seems that us traditionalist-active-learners (or book addicts as loving family and friends may refer to us in an intervention-type manners) cannot help ourselves but be amazed at the very expansive array of information out there to be read, discovered and absorbed. For someone, who not only thoroughly enjoys the written word; is enticed by new ideas; but writes herself this can be a particularly dangerous outing for me. As I’ve developed a deep appreciation for those who have been able to pursue my craft and achieve my dream of getting published as an author. And I
suppose, that appreciation somehow made it’s then to their works the books themselves. For I am well aware of the time-consuming process that goes into crafting the perfect book or novel. As a writer I can appreciate the process, and as a reader the art of story telling. On that note you could consider it a sort of homage to those who walked before me or a justification for my own growing library and longing to be like them through reading. Which to justify further, by collecting these works one can choose to see it as one aspiring author-to-be supporting another.
To conclude, I’ll say that although the library is great for and certainly more convenient at times. I am a sucker for buying my own books, as is my preference for the bookstore. My wallet may not always agree or bookshelves packed with books, but in the end there is no beating that new book smell and feel.
So, to my fellow readers, writers and book addicts: You are not alone. Read on my friends, and know there is nothing better than the smell of books at night!
Images courtesy of: Google.com
How I found comfort and clarity on a swingset
I have found myself with a lot to think through recently and some unexpected insights to wrap my head. This has really brought up some interesting questions and experiences, of course one can’t get away scathe free from these insight… On one hand, with each new decision and day I am feeling more certain that there really is a great big world out there ready for me to conquer. On the other hand, there’s still much navigating left to do especially in terms of connections and friendships. As it seems, many elements remain behind unknown doors, and the learning… well it never ends. Which is good, but also quite challenging. There are times where I wished the answers were easy to decipher, having already come up with the questions myself, and finding that both take bravery, and great deal of it.
It has been exactly these kinds of thoughts that left my head spinning and my emotions frazzled along with shot nerves. Exhausted from the tremultous back and forth, on one of my walks I found myself seeking out an old strategy from my past. As a child, I spent hours here, going back and forth trying to calm myself through whatever had jarred me of the day. At the time, this was one of the few ways that helped me coping with a very overwhelming world- at the time-. Since then, I’ve tried a few other strategies, a bit more complex or in need of more practice but none did the trick as simply or easily as the swing set. Magically, my thinking would be clearer and nerves in tack after trying many less successful strategies. Funny, isn’t it that the things we found self-soothing in the past always seem to work well then and now. For me, this has been the swings. There is something about the up and down momentum that helps calm my nerves; and leads to clearer thinking. Perhaps it’s the altitude, periodical
ly feeling like I’m elevated from all that plagues me on ground level or the repetitiveness of going back and forth acts as a form of meditative activity to bring upon a focused mind. Whatever works I guess, and that it gave me some of the clarity I was searching for.
This is what works for me. I’m curious as to what you’ve tried/what strategies work for you? Feel free to add in the comments below.
“Sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees.”
Consider the forest to be what you’ll feel like down the road, in the bigger scheme of life. What things might be like if you chose one way or another, and the moment has passed what it will look like and feel like overall. Not now, or perhaps even a few days from now but months and potentially years down the road. Will you be happy with the outcome of what you decided then versus how you are now? Or would you want to go back and chose again? Which would be great if possible, but since not it most likely means living with and accepting that decision. If it’s something we didn’t or did do that feels icky once the strong emotions have stopped. We could be living in guilt or regret because we couldn’t see ourselves further along from that one moment, and made a big mistake, often wishing it was one to take back. I know it can be tough to learn at first, as I have learned so much from it already. Hopefully these insights help.
When we are focusing on the current moment, how you feel, what you’re thinking, and experiencing now. When things get so rough and just making it through another day seems like a big unworthwhile effort. All there seems to be is trees, with no hope of moving past that point. Building the strength to carry on can seem like an undoable task and it can be extremely difficult to see ourselves at better places as we continue to dwell deeper into the unhappy situation. As we are only seeing the trees, it can be difficult to see the forest.
The Good News:
If you’re struggling to see this for yourself then there are always others who can help you find the forest when you’ve lost sight of it. They are the support system gently encouraging you to continue on, that know if you’ve gotten through other tough times then it’s possible to get through now. And most importantly, will realize that if you give up now, you might really regret it in the future. They know that this time in your life is only one period and at one point or another it will pass and the frustrations, difficulty, set backs or mistakes will fade away for brighter days. These are the people to have close by and seek out in times of need. So you are making an informed decision from the right place which is realizing the forest is amongst the trees.
Once you realize this is exactly what happened, with the help of others you can NEVER unknow it. That awareness is there and there for you to use. If only we chose to put it in place before it’s too late. It may take some time, in fact it may take a lot of time but this is where we’ll have to be gentle on ourselves and patient while we are learning and applying this useful information. We may fall a couple times but each time you’ll get up, dust yourself off and know better next time. There is no going back, there’s only going forward from here and hoping this lesson carrys on with you as go back out there and give whatever it is another shot.
Hope this helps,
Much hope and expanding,
How to embrace new experiences and set our expectations for fun!
So here is my theory. I believe when we challenge ourselves to step outside of our comfort zones, and into new experiences then there is a much to be enjoyed and learned from it, as long as we aren’t setting our expectations too high or not giving it the benefit of the doubt. Also by being open to these new experiences we’re also opening ourselves up to a more enriching lives with every opportunity that comes our way. And allowing it to be anything and everything, as it is. From there, there’s no knowing where it will lead or what will come next. You may find new ways to spend your time or find out something you might have thought wasn’t for you actually is. Just give it a chance to surprise you. No matter what we are currently experiencing or doing there is something to be learned from it if we are open to it, so why not embrace that as well and throw fun in their just for fun’s sake! An especially valid point for really new experiences.
I’ll admit looking back, I didn’t always believe this to be true. A younger version of me would have shyed away from such activities simply because they sounded too new to me. Immediately, my mind would fill with doubt as I pictured the worst case scenario happening to each outside my comfort zone. I would also set expectations too high and be
victim to disappointment or disappointing myself if it didn’t turn out just so. What I now realize is by closing myself off to these opportunities I wasn’t allowing the opportunity to be fun and enjoyable. By being open to more experiences now-a-days that have surprised me and where I’ve had a blast, really been able to be present in that moment, felt pride for at least trying and most importantly HAD FUN!
Here are just a few: baking then cooking, doing crafts, travelling- that was a big one, but highly rewarding, drumming and dancing. At one point, or other they all seemed foreign and undoable to me now the more I try them or in different ways the more open I am to try them again!
To sum up- here is my simpler list of ways to set FUN as the expectation:
- Sometimes we have to be gentler on ourselves for not quite getting the moves right, or getting anything right the first time. Ask yourself: “Am I having Fun?” and if the answer is “Yes!” then you’re doing great!
- Putting expectations on it to go perfectly or for us to be perfect at it. Is too much to ask, and will only get us stuck in our heads and out of being present in the moment. You can’t expect to be perfect at something you’ve never tried folks! So, why set yourselves up for failure or disappointment?
- Also it’s impossible to go into any new situation positively when doubt and pessism cloud your thoughts. What that means is we’re closing off the experience to be what it is by already picturing what it won’t be or putting negative energy towards its’ outcome. Try going in open-minded, and embracing it for however it turns out!
- And finally…be proud of yourself for taking that first step and going through with it! Sometimes, it’s as simple as saying “Heck! Yes!” even if you aren’t entirely sure what it will entail. Savour the experience and how you feel by being open, positive, having fun and feeling pride just for trying it out!
When I started setting these expectations for myself then it was definitely easier for me to say “Yes” to more new experiences, enjoy them more and have fun!
Images: Courtesy of Google
Often we are taught that many expectations begin in the mind, and start out as some ideal vision of what we hope the situation/experience to become. From there, they guide us and let us know how well or not we are doing in creating the perfect scenario. Most of the time we are aware of this and can best figure out how to work with them. But there are the select few cases that are a fair bit more trickier to figure out how to navigate our own expectations or perhaps it is finding a way to release them when out of our control. This from my experience is particularly true of the ones where we are required to put our hearts out there for others to embrace and in forming connections with that person. Essentially, ones where it’s not just you involved.
The reality of the experience often tends to be slightly different from expectations, and can create a contrast and confusion over what we perceive is real versus inside our heads. As our expectations often try to trick us into thinking that it is not enough or it’s something we hope to be more than it is. As we get our hopes up, though, our hearts grow with fancy full possibilities of that something now becoming grand. Well sometimes these hopes work out for the better, certain ones can lead to heartbreak and disappointment when your expectations differ from the other persons. Regardless, though, we must try to be brave and open allowing another to see our true selves. In these moments, our hearts can grow fonder or fuller of possibilities as all it seems to take is one positive moment for this to begin as the possibilities to appear and expectations to come in from no where.
This is why I believe it can be hard to lower or let go of certain expectations because as it is common for our hearts and minds to conflict over particular situations- like whether to take a job or not, where to travel, or what to do in your life it can be really challenging when the dilemma directly involves the heart and a fondness for another person. In what should be the hearts territory we often have to consult our minds to be sure and feel safest doing so, making the battle that much more confusing and tougher to release our greatest hopes from. This is why
it takes being able to do that in the heart as well to truly let go, for one to be okay doing that, work through the process of letting go and accepting what is right in front of us as it is.
This is just my humble opinion though, I’d be interested to see how you deal with your expectations? And do you believe it’s possible to lower them without totally breaking our own hearts?
Receptive and Heartfelt,
An Message on Perspective and Staying True
It seems over the past little while I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on my writing, the journey it’s taken me on and how I’m planning to continue on with it. Yeah… some deep thinking here. Anyways, I’ve come into the conclusion that as a blogger it can be tricky at times to write what best reflects this particular blogger but also try to make it relatable to others or hope it is on some level. Perhaps others have felt this too from time to time, that as much as it can be about your experiences there are others experiences and perspectives out there to be considered. To me, this means trying to be as authentic as one can be ,in my own experiences while being aware- even though I may not write about it- that others may not experience things the same as I do or have those same experiences to relate to as easy. I suppose the best one can do is write what’s true to you, meaning writing for yourself first and others second. Acknowledging that your perspective may not be the only one out there but can hope there’s some part of it others may find helpful along the way. I also make the conscious choice to keep things as positive as possible. With so much negativity out there in the world I chose to add positivity to our collective consciousness rather than more negative/bad vibes. This is how I chose to create my impact: add good vibes out there. It doesn’t mean I’m not aware of what else is happening, I just don’t want to add to it.
For me, there is no other way to write than what it true, and often positive or ending on a positive note. So I’m going to accept this fact. It might not always come easily but as long as I try to understand it then I think all will be well and helpful in times of conflicting feelings. After all, this experience is as much about me as it is for you. I’m writing my own insights- whether they are relatable or not-, and experiences to help me continue to grow and be inspired. There may be times when it’s message is just a simple reminder for me to get out there or there may be others that we can all learn more from. What’s important is that I stay true to my experience and authentic in my voice.That’s my goal, and believe what I’ll work on carrying through with this project.
Thanks all for continuing to tune in.