Presence. As a recovering perfection-seeking, people-pleasing over-achiever, I did everything quickly so I could check it off the list and move on to the next thing. I wasn't fully present with myself, my life, or the people in it. I numbed my feelings by over-consuming food, purchases, and sometimes alcohol. Though I was trying to numb the pain, I ended up numbing feelings of joy and love instead.
A huge lesson I needed to learn was that in order to feel fully alive and really enjoy life, I needed to become more present. For me, that meant learning to slow down and moving at my own pace. I chose to completely cut out alcohol for awhile, I'm learning to eat from a place of awareness rather than emotion, and I stopped binge shopping. I'm learning to be more present with myself, too. When I chose to stop numbing, I started experiencing a lot of strong emotions. Now when they emerge, rather than trying to escape them, I let myself feel them and inquire into their source. I explore what I truly need in that moment to support myself. I'm turning to healthy self care practices such as journaling, meditation, and nature. I pay attention to the little things, noticing even the smallest sources of delight.
This has been a huge shift in how I approach my life. Going through the process of unlearning and relearning, most things felt harder and took longer. Change is hard and personal transformation can feel downright terrifying. Along the way, I often felt lost, confused, and alone. But by sticking with it and allowing myself to evolve, I'm releasing that which no longer serves me, including old beliefs, fears, and patterns of behavior. I'm stepping into my true essence and am allowing the blessings of true joy into my life. I now feel deep gratitude for even the most difficult life lessons because going through each one taught me more about myself and made me stronger, preparing me for all the good that's yet to come.