The lesson in this quote can be incredibly difficult to learn, but it goes along with #1, above.
Honest self-expression encompasses your needs, of course, but also your thoughts, emotions, and personal preferences.
This could mean anything from actually voicing opinions of yours that are different from your peers or family members, to dressing in a way that you actually love, instead of how you think you “should” dress.
Some people prefer to go with the flow because they’re afraid they’ll be mocked, criticized, or even hated for being true to themselves.
Others repress their emotions because they don’t want to upset another person.
Many of us might be so conditioned to repress our Truth in favor of maintaining the status quo that we don’t even truly know who we are anymore.
In cases like this, a journal with daily prompts and questions can be incredibly helpful.
There are ways to express yourself authentically in every situation, though some environments might need a little bit of adaptation.
(…like wearing really fabulous rainbow sequin underwear beneath your business suit. Or similar. You get the idea.)
When you express yourself honestly, you drop your protective walls.
You don’t have to be guarded, trying to keep your mask in place.
This allows you to be much more comfortable in your social interactions, because you’re being the best, most awesome flavor of YOU that there is.
And that’s spectacular!
4. Space To Heal
Most people are expected to be “on” and positive and outgoing literally all the time.
A person who goes back to work a couple of days after a divorce or a close family member’s death is lauded for their dedication…
…as though being able to brush off intense emotions is a huge mark of their morality and character.
That doesn’t really mean that they’re in a good place, does it?
Most of the time, it just means that they’ve put all their difficult emotions in a box and crammed it into a dark closet to be sorted out later.
The most important thing we can grant ourselves during this time is space to process everything we experience, so we can heal.
An injury or a bad cut needs to be tended to in order for it to heal properly, right?
It’s also vital to allow yourself time and gentle care to heal from emotional and psychological wounds as you would for physical ones.
When it comes to taking space to heal, express your needs to those who are close to you.
The people who truly care about you will understand, and be as supportive as possible.
Just make sure to express the boundaries that you need to maintain for your own well-being.
People might be overly eager to help you feel better, and as such, behave in a manner that makes them feel better, rather than adhering to your unique preferences.
Be honest and real, and take whatever time you need.
If you have more than one passion, that’s great! Just determine which one is the greater priority, and figure out how much time you have to dedicate to each. Then you can schedule time for all of them accordingly.
This could be anything from miniature painting to animal rehabilitation, or rose gardening, or CrossFit.
Whatever it is, if you love it, make it happen.
8. Time To Just BE
I am a human being, not a human doing. – Kurt Vonnegut
Most of us are in constant output mode, with countless obligations draining us at every turn.
From the moment we wake up to the second we collapse into sleep, we have constant stresses and responsibilities hounding us.
Very few of us really take the time to replenish that energy, which is another reason why anxiety and nervous breakdowns are rampant.
If there’s one thing I’ve noticed in my many years of food gardening, it’s the need to replenish soil, and allow it to lie fallow now and then.
Seeds that are planted in new, nutrient-rich soil tend to thrive. They’ll grow into tall, strong plants that produce healthy, nutritious fruits.
If I keep planting seeds without replenishing that soil, they’ll eventually fail to germinate at all. The soil will just be crumbly and dry – utterly spent.
People are like that too. We can’t just give and give without taking time to recharge, and just “be.”
Try to take regular breaks: away from social responsibilities, electronics, and social media.
Catherine Winter is a writer, art director, and herbalist-in-training based in Quebec's Outaouais region. She has been known to subsist on coffee and soup for days at a time, and when she isn't writing or tending her garden, she can be found wrestling with various knitting projects and befriending local wildlife.