Woo hoo! I graduated... but this might not be the type of graduation you're thinking of...
A couple of weeks ago, my therapist told me I graduated! I met my goal of learning how to live a happier life in the life I was living.
To be honest, I was kind of dumbfounded by her words even though I had been feeling accomplished a couple of weeks before she said this. Me? Graduated from therapy? Happy?! It didn't feel right, so when she asked if I wanted to continue with therapy, the answer was a resounding YES.
Sure, I had learned and grown a lot in this experience, but I knew there was a LOT more that still needed to be worked on. This experience made me realize that this process to becoming the best version of myself was going to have to happen in stages:
Learn how to be happy in the life that you're living- This includes learning how to safely process the good, bad, and ugly moments ✅
Define who you are as a person and what you want out of this life-> As my mom says frequently, "you only get one life, so you've got to live it doing what's going to make you happy & fulfilled!"
Visit each facet of your life (career, family, relationships, hobbies, etc.) and make sure they're aligned to your values. When they're not (because I definitely feel out of alignment in different places at different times), make a game plan for finding your alignment.
I know it's only three items on a list (your girl LOVES a checklist!), but it's a LOT! To everyone working on a similar checklist: I feel your pain. Your overwhelm. Your exhaustion.
But having been on this self-discovery journey for a few months, I can confidently say that every ounce of hard work is worth it. Having this discussion with my therapist really showed me what a colossal difference a few months could make for the mindset and overall life satisfaction.
If you're not on a journey like this quite yet, I implore you to get started ASAP! As we hear often in the self-growth community, "there's no more important work you can do than working on yourself."
Trust me, I understand not putting the work into yourself. I've lived many years of my life not working on who I wanted to be. I buried myself in school work and dance and numbing agents (like social media) until I couldn't see myself anymore. And I know firsthand that it's easier to live life this way instead of facing the fact that you're not happy in the life you're living, but is that truly what you want for your life? Just coasting through with contentment instead of truly experiencing the joys life has to bring? Because until you remove the layers surrounding your true self and let you be you, you won't experience true, lasting joy.
And I won't lie and say it's all rainbow and sunshine. First, doing the work to remove the layers hiding your true self and figuring out what to do to bring you to the best version of yourself is exhausting work. Then, once you've worked through the layers, there are still going to be times where you want to revert back and get comfortable in the contentment!
To illustrate, I'll admit this past week or so has been rough. I've been thoroughly overwhelmed with work & personal life and battling with the emotions that have been coming up since my grandma's passing. But I thought I graduated the happy phase of my therapy plan? That means I'll be some level of happy all the time, right? Wrong!
What it means is that I know how to process better, so instead of beating myself up and constantly trying to force myself to do work, I pulled back on everything that wasn't mandatory. This brought up another wave of work as I grappled with my mindset- letting myself know that it's OKAY to not do a million things in one day and that I'm more than deserving of rest, regardless of what I've accomplished or what's happening. And it worked... sometimes, but there have been times this week where the negative emotions and mindset won out and I just felt bad.
Do I think this cycle in my head will truly ever end? Nope. I think the moments will become fewer and farther between as I've already witnessed a slowing in these thoughts at time, but the work itself will always be present in my mind- as it will be present in yours against any mindset habits you work towards shifting.
The key here is to just keep fighting- fighting for that life you know deep down you deserve to live. Life can be tough, but it can also be so full of a level of love & joy you didn't know possible.
So, to all my friends on a self-growth journey (which I hope is every single person reading this), I see you, I love you, and I wish you all the strength on your road to your best self ✨