Expectation vs. Reality

Most everyone goes through a time in their life where everything just shifts; life begins to make more sense and we live happily ever after – or quite the opposite! Regardless of the route we go down, changes need to be made in order to adjust or we fall into the rabbit hole (easier said than done!). However, these challenges, whether they are mental, physical, emotional or spiritual, create who we are. All of which are learning experiences that teach us more about ourselves and our truest desires.

I haven’t always made the best choices, or trusted my skills to become the person I want to be, or spoken up when faced with adversity; unfortunately these have created huge reality checks. People who I thought were great assets have turned to be hindrances; jobs that offered more than I could imagine earning at my age turn out to be nothing like their description... Jumping into a whole new career, head first, and realizing I just wasn’t ready left me feeling bruised and obsolete. In each case, these experiences made me think, “what else am I not being honest to myself about? Am I setting myself up for another eyeopener?

This last week has been just that. I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried something I normally would talk myself out of doing and I realized, “I’m in over my head.

Two years ago I began a journey to self healing. I struggled with my health, self-worth and motivation. I was overweight, unhappy and on the verge of doing something I would regret forever... Not to mention I was tired constantly. I couldn’t get myself to do anything, not even paint. Finally, one day I decided I couldn’t live like this anymore, I needed to change something to get myself out of that rut. I decided I would try yoga. I’ve followed the yoga industry on social media and loved (and still love!) everything about it. I tried my hardest to not talk myself out of practicing, especially because it really did become a therapy for me. It helped clear my head and redirected my focus to the movements; the way my body tried to resist it – but ultimately cooperated and eventually became more flexible. I started watching more videos and tutorials, reading books and followed more amazingly inspiring yogis on Instagram.

Fast forward to six months ago: I am still actively practicing and loving everything about it; I am healthier, happier, and more balanced in every way. It helped me on the path to become my best self, so much so that I decided I should try to build a career in the fitness industry. The change in my life provided by moving to the countryside was the perfect opportunity to dive in deep into my passions: art and yoga. What do I have to lose, right?

When I had the opportunity to train to become a teacher, I was overjoyed. I thought, “holy sh*t, this is really happening!” I love everything about yoga – the peace it can bring, the community behind it, and the art and beauty of it. But there was one factor I hid from myself: I am not the type of person to be in the spotlight. I don’t do well in front of crowds, let alone confidently teach people what I know (not yet at least). I let my excitement get ahead of the reality – that I am simply not ready to face those fears – and that’s okay! I learned such an amazing thing about myself. Not only am I still open to learning this new trade after a slight misstep, but I was honest enough with myself to say I’m not ready to take the next step. I still have so much more to learn and to overcome, as I’m sure many others do... but fortunately I have learned to be honest with myself as I move forward and try to become the best version of me.

You may be asking “how do I do this”?

Start out by observing your actions, feelings, and thoughts. Write down facts about your accomplishments and goals; this will help you really understand who you are and are not, as compared with who you want to be. Try making a list of goals you would like to achieve in your lifetime (think of at least ten) then out of these, choose three that are most important to you, but still attainable. Do little if any work on the rest until you have finished these three, and, more importantly, do not let self-doubt deter you. Work past it by being aware of the doubtful voice in your head, and find the part of you that loves you for you. Be honest with yourself even if it’s hard – that is, try to THINK about how you THINK. Practice writing. Log your progress through mindfulness and leave encouraging notes around to remind yourself that you are good enough, smart enough, confident enough and beautiful enough to achieve your goals. TRUST yourself to take risks but be honest with yourself. Figure out a path to get yourself where you want to go and don’t deviate from that path until you get there – or, like in my case, realize it is not where you want to be just yet. Confidence is key but it is possible to be too headstrong. Learn to break down your fears and just trust yourself enough to know when you are ready.

I truly believe there will always be something to learn about yourself, big or small, and it’s in your hands how you handle it. This life is too short to let that go to waste by hiding behind fear and internal judgment. Challenge yourself. Learn to love the journey. You will be amazed with the outcome.