1. Not having a 5-year plan.
The idea that any of us know where we will be years down the road is an illusion – a comforting illusion. It is better to focus on one step at a time than getting overly-attached to a path you may not want to be on when the time arrives.
2. Spending a whole day by yourself.
In solitude, you find self-awareness. When you don’t have to be anything to anyone else – you see what it means to be yourself.
3. Doing “nothing.”
Hyper-productivity is gratifying in small doses, but it is in doing what we often brush off as “nothing” that we find the true joys of life: reading a novel, having coffee and breathing in the morning air, relaxing on the couch, laughing with friends and having no further agenda.
4. Admitting when you’re wrong.
As the adage goes: would you like to be right, or would you like to be good?
5. Not justifying your actions.
We do not justify our actions to convince other people we’ve done the right thing, we justify them to convince ourselves.
6. Feeling anxious for no reason.
Instead of projecting the feeling you don’t understand onto something measurable or concrete in your life, just allowing yourself to feel tense or agitated for no discernible reason – though scary – is what allows it to pass. Counting calories, saving money or changing your hair won’t heal a problem that isn’t food, money or looks.
7. Honoring your coping mechanisms.
Rather than condemn yourself for what you had to do to survive, appreciate that you got through what life handed you. Once you do that, you can figure out what you need to do to thrive.
8. Applying your judgments of other people to yourself.
Judgements are projections from wounds, and there are few things that can tell us what we are unwilling to heal ourselves than what we point out needs to be healed in others.
9. Having something to talk about other than your opinions about others’ lives.
It is easy to connect over mutual dislike, but it is a toxic practice. Work on talking about books, or ideas, or travel, or anything else you find even mildly interesting.
10. Letting truths coexist.
What was true 5 years ago may not be true now, and yet, both were true for you at some point in time. Embracing the paradoxes of life – that often, conflicting ideas can both be true in their own ways – will save you a lot of stress.
11. Knowing that too much indecision is a decision.
If you have to think about something too much, the answer is probably no. That which is meant for us flows naturally without us having to consciously choose. Indecision is a decision we have not yet come to terms with.
12. Being willing to receive.
Feminine energy tells us what we want, masculine energy tells us how we can get it. When we have an overabundance of the latter, we can close ourselves off to receptivity, intuition, and wonder. Often, this leads to us feeling lost and disconnected. The willingness to receive is the true beginning of healing.
13. Allowing anger.
Anger is such an informative emotion. It tells us what we believe in, what we need to change, and what we are passionate about. Allowing ourselves to feel it actually lets us channel it, whereas suppressing it actually makes it come out in destructive ways.
14. Feeling healthy shame when you know you’ve done something wrong.
Shame becomes toxic when we are self-punishing despite having not done anything wrong. Shame is a healthy and crucial part of our emotional capacity that serves to show us when we know we can do better, and should.
15. Doing things slowly, but well.
Cooking to cook, rather than just eat. Working to create, rather than just finish. Walking to see, rather than just arrive.
16. Breathing fully and deeply.
It is through breath that we process emotion. People who are resistant to how they feel often cannot take deep, easy breaths, or they will try to either distract themselves or fill their bodies up with something that stops the processing (like food, or drink). However, if you learn to breathe fully, and allow what comes up, you can get through it – and no longer have to live with the beast in your belly.