2022, the year of big changes

This year has begun with me feeling nervous about what I want to do with my life. I was unhappy, despised being stuck in one place, and desired to see change happen.

I started by pushing myself to get my driver’s license, studying daily, and driving around town. I moved past my comfort zone, and my closest ones had no choice but to comply with my new conditions. I worked very hard to ensure that I didn’t cause any problems at work with my hours away while driving.

It took persistence and discipline, and sometimes I felt like drowning. I took this opportunity to improve. Instead of pouring my aspirations and ideas into people who didn’t exactly fit into my life’s purpose, I began writing them down, which proved to work wonders for my own development.

At the same time, I continued to take care of my health, getting several periodic checks and learning more about my body and the lifestyle I should lead to living a long and happy life.

I got to meet new people, but the majority turned out to be lessons rather than long-term relationships. I realized that not every new person you meet is your soulmate and that most of them are sent to wake you up to your destiny and get you closer to your goals.

Work proved to be a challenge, as I had predicted. I took on each new assignment and worked hard to do it as successfully as possible. My team has changed once again, and I’m now working with two incredible colleagues who share the same ideals and are as competitive and fierce as they can be.

The latter part of this year prompted me to prioritize my relationships. Unfortunately, I had to sever connections with people who were no longer bringing me joy. My current relationships are the ones that bloom every day, and fewer feel more valuable and worthwhile. I’ve given away a lot of items that I don’t need or use daily; I took them to the countryside, donated them, and renovated the flat. 

I’ve started reading and trying to understand myself and my past actions. I’ve learned to care for my inner child and to be the person I require the most in times of need.

If last year I discussed the art of giving without obtaining, this year has shown me how vital it is to receive and be appreciated for your efforts. The thing that woke me up was the realization that we can be so kind and provide our time and energy, but we must also be rewarded, whether at jobs or in relationships. If one’s own cup is empty, one cannot just pour into another’s.

Towards the end of this year, I realized that not all new knowledge is beneficial and that we must separate the amount of information we acquire, whether it’s in the form of books, podcasts, TV, or music.

I used to be preoccupied with knowing what would happen next, who would enter my life, and having total control over everything. Now that I’ve stopped the horoscope readings, I’m more at ease, knowing that God’s got this and that I don’t need to rewrite a story that the Almighty has written so wonderfully. I understood that God loves us so much that he sent his own Son to save us; who are we to fear if we are all being guided to our destiny and are constantly cared for?

What will 2023 look like?

I don’t know, but isn’t this the most exciting part?

(Image Source – Alvan Nee, Unsplash)

I will maintain the focus that I gained in 2022. I like this new strong self that can climb mountains, forgive, and live in the now. I will expand intellectually by reading books that pique my interest and grow emotionally. I will continue to be honest and capable, help more people, and get involved in volunteer work.

I want to breathe, be at peace, and be happy. I want to be with people who share the same values and emotions. I will keep praying and thank God for this miracle called life, be more thankful and appreciative of each new day, celebrate every milestone, bring my inner child home, and do the things I’m meant to do in this lifetime; to fulfill my destiny.

Bringing positivity into our lives

I was enjoying my coffee when I stood up and looked out the window. I noticed an overflow of negative thoughts invading my mind and polluting my soul as my body awakened from the effects of the strong drink. I tried to ignore them by planning my daily activities.

As I filled up my notepad, I realized that for every positive activity, a stream of 2-3 negative ideas tainted it and sought to persuade me to change my mind. What if it doesn’t work out? Are you sure that’s what you want? What happens if it doesn’t work? Will you have the time to complete all of that? And it just kept going.

“Negative thoughts come to us all. But when you speak them out loud, you give them life. That’s when they become a reality.”― Joel Osteen, „The Power of I Am”

I believe there is a habit, a strange pleasure that erodes our happiness and satisfaction. Unfortunately, because we all have past experiences, trauma, and generational baggage, not many people have been encouraged to have a positive outlook on life.

The media does not make matters any easier. The Covid pandemic is all over the news; we now have a war, and prices are increasing. We’re watching movies that depict awful events and listening to music with intense lyrics, driving us to relive our darkest moments.

There are toxic people in our lives who prefer to perpetuate negative thinking, and not be embarrassed to express it regularly. Our parents are glued to the television and prefer to believe and live by every word of the poison and terror that the TV speaks of. They continue to transmit negative news to us, and they do it with such zeal that it causes dread and sadness in us as well. 

People became too used to this pattern, developing negative ideas, complaining, gossiping, and distracting others and themselves from their true path.

The fact is that anything we think and affirm comes true. We don’t understand the power of the words we express to ourselves and our loved ones. We are conducted to think negatively, speak negatively, and eventually live the same way.

By engaging in these behaviors and sharing negative experiences with people around us, we are causing ourselves pain. Waking up to this reality is conflictual. Everyone is comfortable in this poisoned environment, at ease with being unenlightened.

“Don’t ever stop believing in your own transformation. It is still happening even on days you may not realize it or feel like it.”― Lalah Delia

Change comes from inside; we won’t enjoy this life if we are filled with negativity. When we struggle to cope with toxic thoughts, too exhausted to think positively, relax. Inviting and attaching unpleasant ideas to previous experiences and trauma will result in bad karma in the future. What we say to ourselves, we’re giving it the right to pass on; we are going to become what we are declaring.

A way to change the focus from negative thoughts is through positive affirmations. They can inspire us to act on our dreams, help us reach our goals, and, most importantly, break the negative cycle that has been running before us.

“I have a good life and the more I become aware of all that is good around me, the happier I feel.” — Gilly Pickup

Too kind

Today, I listened to my father speak about past events and how he felt about them. Going on and on about all the good he did for those individuals (problematic family members) and the time, energy, and resources he poured into them; the more he spoke about all those circumstances, the more he remembered. It was a never-ending loop that kept repeating itself, and I saw a pattern.

My father pitied those people, thinking they were impoverished and incapable of making a living and expressed how he was constantly forced to fend for them, like a brave hero in a movie. I later realized that this game requires two participants, and the truth was that he and my mother were painting the picture for those unfortunate relatives.

The problem was that they did too much, immersing mentally and physically to the point of exhaustion. Those relatives soon realized that they could rely on my parents and began to take them for granted, distancing themselves from their actual lives and living as adolescents rather than adults. When a negative event was to occur, my parents were the escape goat, while they sat comfortably in their place, receiving assistance.

“These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.” – Najwa Zebian

My family has had this savior complex, always being too nice, listening to everyone, being heart and soul in every case, and sometimes offering everything without receiving anything in return. The incident mentioned above is only one example of how their goodness was taken for granted. The bottom line is that they will never be able to awaken until they realize and respect themselves as the individuals that they are. People will continue to walk all over them and „educate” them until they see their value.

Thinking you know better isn’t a solution; it’s when you don’t. Furthermore, pitying individuals and claiming they are in a specific way will not benefit you or the other person. You attract what you think and say, so why not think and talk positively?

„Reminiscence is less an endowment than a disease…” – Thomas Hardy

Another behavior I’ve noticed in myself and others is revisiting the negative experiences from our past. The problem is that by remembering unfavorable memories and feeling negative emotions that once wounded us, we are producing mental health issues (depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder) and future unpleasant situations.

Not only are we stuck, but we are also unable to focus on the present or the future. Negative thinking creates a bad habit that is difficult to break; studies show that the more we relive our negative experiences, the more difficult it is to change our thinking and mental health.

Acknowledge what’s happening, understand why that thought is returning and what you can learn from it, establish a commitment plan, and resolve the concerns that keep you up at night; if it is too much to handle, you can always visit a psychologist and receive help. Give yourself time to relax, meditate, and find ways to distract yourself when negative thoughts arise (call your best friend, exercise, do what makes you happy).

Final thoughts

Recognizing the good in people, being kind, and offering assistance are all necessary; nevertheless, healthy barriers should be in place. Prioritizing your needs, fighting for yourself and your rights, and being the person you need is not selfish. We are all here to serve a purpose, and in order to do so, we must first love ourselves enough to say „NO” and let go when the time comes.

As the example shows, I come from a family that is way too giving, kind, and permissive. Over time, I grew into a woman who loved too much, struggled to learn to stand up for herself, and frequently found herself in negative situations that could have been avoided effortlessly.

A big part of me wishes this hadn’t happened, but without these experiences and memories, I wouldn’t be the person I am today, I wouldn’t have met these beautiful people I’m grateful to have in my life, and I wouldn’t be writing this article. I’m still discovering and growing, learning to be more optimistic with each passing day. Negative thoughts come and go, and I try to filter them as much as possible in order to attract pleasant events and great people into my life.

The journey to loving yourself is not simple, but it is also rewarding. It may come with rude awakenings, salty tears, and the removal of toxic people from your life. It helps you understand how significant you are, how much you matter, how much of a difference you make every day simply by being present and how powerful your inner light is.

New: Milestone achieved successfully

I began a new adventure of self-development and fear-overcoming a few months ago. I resolved to break the trauma bond and go straight to the real me, the bold and powerful me who doesn’t say „NO” to a true challenge.

One of my long-held aspirations was to learn how to drive. I wanted to see if this was something I could accomplish, and I desired to be free, able to move places, and be there for the people in my life, no matter the distance.

At the beginning of this year, I buckled up, went through the rigors of Romania’s statutory driving process, and began the driving journey. I didn’t know where to start in terms of bureaucracy, but the fire in my heart was so intense that day by day I came to discover new things about how it should be done.

I soon found a reliable driving school that helped me achieve my objective, Ovasal. After finishing the paperwork I began attending theoretical driving courses, studying intensively, and completing questionnaires. The next step was to find a professional driving instructor to provide practical training.

I heard a good friend mention a great instructor a few months ago, but to be honest, I didn’t pay much attention and merely nodded in approval. When I returned to the driving school and saw the instructor, I realized this was the person my colleague was referring to and that this was the appropriate path.

Adventure is worthwhile in itself

I can’t express how terrified and anxious I felt the first time I got into the driver’s seat. It’s one thing to read about it in books; it’s another to experience it directly. Quotes describe driving as „learning to dance with a chainsaw,” and my first hour felt like mine was on fire. I was frightened since I didn’t know how to manage it or ensure I was doing the correct thing. I’ve seen people get into vehicles and drive before, but I never imagined it would be that challenging.

I’ve made numerous mistakes, and my teacher was intrigued by my lack of direction and understanding of how to apply what I’d learned in theory. My first 10+ hours were a complete disaster; I felt humiliated for not being able to perform at my best and deliver. I’ve gone through every stage of dread and doubted myself several times.

My hours would often begin with me getting ready to drive and my instructor doing her best to apply discipline and guide me to wake up and stand up for myself in traffic. Nobody was operating this item we name a car, and here I was standing like a fool in a chair, set up with everything required to drive, yet letting fear get the best of me.

I’ve laughed at my demons, gathered my breath in time, and learned to grow gradually, sharpening my reflexes. Every driving class taught me something new, and every day was a chance to confront fear in its face and tell it to buzz off. I didn’t know much about driving at first, but I was confident in my vision and knew I was capable of realizing it, and that no dream is too difficult to fulfill if your heart believes in it.

A good teacher is like a candle—it consumes itself to light the way for others

(Image Source – Unsplash, Orkun Azap)

My instructor, Rodica Cusnir, was one of the people who helped make my dream a reality. I was irritated by the way she marked every blunder and made me feel bad about myself, but gradually, I improved my driving abilities and gained confidence. I understood she wasn’t furious with me but rather that she was trying to build a new person and perform her job. I’ve never seen somebody so committed to educating someone, so disciplined and professional, in my whole life.

This dawned on me today when I turned right while approaching the junction for my practical exam. The officer conducting the examination was silent, but in my head, I heard her instructions and felt her every attempt to make me pay attention to the road and follow the rules.

In the end…

Today was the last day, and I passed the practical exam. This experience wasn’t what I expected, it came out a thousand times better, and the adventure was well worth it. It taught me to be patient, disciplined, alert, and to live in the present moment, as well as a new ability that I will use for the rest of my life. I’m not saying I’m a skilled driver yet; I still have a long way to go, but I’m confident that with the assistance I’ve had so far, I’ll get to where I’m supposed to be and be of service to the people in my life.

I’m grateful to God for the passion within me, as well as for the people in my life who made this possible: to my teacher Rodica, for being the great amazing teacher and woman that she is, and to my partner for taking the time to share some long added driving experience, to my friends for their support, and to my workplace for understanding and allowing me to complete my dream.

(Image Source – Unsplash, Cristofer Maximilian)

2021 and the art of giving without expecting anything in return

There has been a tough year for everyone. We’ve been through so much and had our strength tested in ways we couldn’t even imagine.

I remember entering 2021 with good prospects, believing that this year will be better. In January, I had some ideas for self-improvement and made a long list of to-do activities. The interesting part is that I completed them all, and the exciting part is that life added some more.

It’s amazing how one can never predict what lies ahead and must instead ride life’s rollercoaster reluctantly. I was so focused on this project that I had no idea that a new position was just around the corner and that I would be chosen for it.

I was so excited and learned ahead of time, wishing to know everything that was to be known of that field and striving to be that great person that they needed. 

Unfortunately, I found out later that the role was not for me. It turns out that I’m not cut out to be a skilled salesperson; my poodle-like, pleasant nature doesn’t exactly attract new clients, and they needed a strong individual to do the job, a man.

During this process, I was able to assist the firm in understanding the customer needs and meet great people with whom I am still in contact. While the new opportunity did not work out for me, it did teach me valuable lessons, and I do not regret any of them.

I was stressed about what had occurred, my dreams had been partially shattered, but I was relieved to move on. Now I’m working on a new project, I’ve met new incredible people for whom I’m grateful, and I’ve got a fantastic team, learning new things every day and working together to accomplish the client’s objective.

I didn’t anticipate all of this to happen professionally; life simply carried me on this path, and I just followed my intuition. I’ve stepped outside of my comfort zone, taken on new challenges, and met new people.

God took care of sending the most wonderful people my way. I’ve had excellent friends along the way who have cheered for me – for which I will be eternally grateful – and who have listened to my sobs, offering their shoulder to weep on. I have my crazy noisy family to encourage me, and a nice partner to rely on.

Conclusions

The year 2021 taught me to break out of my comfort zone and broaden my horizons by being curious and eager to move forward. It taught me to give without asking anything in return, to be good support for others around me, and be more humble. 

Offering a smile to a sorrowful person, good support when required, happily cheering while everyone else is judging, and giving a penny to a homeless person. One random act of kindness at a time.

The year 2022 will have 2021 teachings in it. I will be more modest and loving, include others on my to-do lists, and just be grateful for the challenges of each day. Life isn’t about knowing what’s ahead and being flawless; it’s about adjusting, making mistakes, falling, and getting back up.

And rather than worrying about what other people thought of you during this process, think about how you made them feel. Make them remember you with their hearts. Be famous and unforgivable for your unconditional love. 

Hope in the dark

This week flew by like it was a dream. Another nightmare that sent me on a chaotic roller coaster and then held me back breathless. Even though it is Sunday and a new week of work awaits me in a few hours, I feel tempted to write again.

I believe I’ve become used to always rushing to complete tasks. Hurry to get out of bed in the morning, hurry to do some chores and get to work, hurry to respond to as many customers as possible in a timely, accurate, and courteous manner, hurry to take care of house chores, and then go back to sleep to begin another day.

When I realize this is happening, I try to take it gently and one task at a time, but the workaholic in me comes out and I end up doing more than I planned. Of course, I end the day drained, exhausted, with no appetite, and a mountain of negative thoughts.

I feel as if I’ve lost interest in performing these things because they keep repeating themselves in slow motion, and just when I believe they’re beginning to improve, I’m taught a new lesson. Furthermore, in my haste to always be on time, to be the perfect employee, partner, daughter, and friend, I lose sight of myself along the way.

I believe I’ve just gotten used to looking after myself while helping others. For example, buying the right clothing for someone else and realizing I bought the incorrect size for myself, staying up late cooking, and waking up early to do housework. Or always completing the partner’s tasks and being understanding while he takes care of his work and studies, ensuring that he always has solid advice and steering him in the proper direction.

When I do get to take care of myself, I frequently feel bad about it. Guilty because I took the time to exercise or go out, but didn’t do any housework. Guilty because I wanted to leave an hour sooner, even though I covered that hour and one additional. I’m guilty of spending my salary on things I actually enjoy because I need to feel rewarded, and the list goes on.

You are enough

I just think we end up giving too much, and others around us become accustomed to our methods, so when we withdraw our energy for our own benefit, they are offended and make us feel uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy making good acts and giving my all, desiring to be everything for others around me, but being kind to ourselves should be a habit that is constantly recognized.

Toxic situations and individuals are ubiquitous, and at the end of the day, it’s important to set boundaries and communicate who you actually are and what you want from them if they want to stay around. Get your sleep in order, exercise, eat correctly and know when to say yes and when to say no.

It’s time to accept that certain people are only in your life for a season, and while they’ve been lovely and brought fantastic memories if their toxicity levels don’t drop, you shouldn’t kill yourself to be the ideal person that they need in their life. Maybe you aren’t, and that’s alright as long as you recognize it and begin to love yourself for who you are, investing the time and energy you do in others. 

In certain situations, whether they like it or not, we’ve outgrown the people around us. Don’t force yourself to be someone you’re not merely to please others. Be selective and assert your rights; those who stay are valuable, and those who leave weren’t supposed to be there in the first place.

Close your eyes now and ask yourself what you actually want for yourself and your future; is this what you expect from yourself? Are you pursuing your wildest dreams, doing what you love, and taking risks? or are you overburdened with responsibilities and negative behaviors? Remember that life is short and that there is no time for remorse.

Foggy season

The loud alarm wakes me up groggy from the previous night’s dreams, and I’m struggling to unplug the tangled headphones so that I can turn them off. I wake up to see the gloomy morning sky and the crows doing their peculiar dance while making strange noises. It’s 7:13 AM.

Every day is alike, with the same cat meowing for food in the morning, the same arabica coffee that has to be prepared, the same bed that needs to be put together, and the same dishes that need to be washed.

I’ve grown sick of yearning for new things and expecting miracles to arrive. I guess I’ve simply been delusory, believing that if I give it my all, all my energy, and all my true self, everything will fall into place just as effortlessly as I make it look.

It’s irritating because no matter how much I give, I get so little in return. For the time I offer, I get loneliness; for my true friendship, I get false people who gossip behind my back; and for my work, I get a monthly wage that goes toward expenses.

I’ve even lost the urge to go home and unwind since I’m constantly there and there’s always something to do. It’s simply another apartment with thin walls and loud neighbors, where I feel like going insane every day, getting angry and laughing, smiling, and then sobbing.

It’s not that bad

The issue is, I can’t even complain since it’s OK. It’s fine that I have a decent job, a family who cares for me, a pet, friends, and that’s it amid this epidemic. However, if everything is fine, why am I unhappy? Why can’t I find my place and feel as if everything around me is superficial, neatly packaged in a box with a gleaming ribbon on top?

I’m not sure whether I’m blind or if not conscious of what I have around me, but sometimes I feel trapped, going around in circles, trying to figure out what’s going on. I’ve worked on myself and ventured to clear the fog by surrounding myself with the right things and people.

The irony is that I now have no notion of what is right or wrong, and I’m living my life with my eyes closed, wishing to trust fate in the new route ahead of me. The problem is that I’m blindfolded and keep going in circles, stumbling on unforeseen circumstances and bumping into cold strangers.

I used to read somewhere that when you lose your way into the fog you end up in beautiful places. Though I worry about what awaits me in the next chapter of my life, I know I need to get lost so that I may eventually find my way and purpose.

Procrastinating

The act of procrastination is defined by the dictionary as the tendency to procrastinate until the power struggle solves it out.

For a long time, I’ve wanted to go back to writing. I kept pushing this impulse and telling myself that it was OK and that I will return to writing shortly. Tomorrow became next weekend, next weekend became the following week, and so on.

Throughout this time, I began writing and deleting, writing and deleting, without ever uploading anything. I’ve been having these dark thoughts and kept telling myself, „What if they don’t like what I say? What if I’m being unfairly criticized for my actions?”

I continued postponing and running away from what I wanted, looking for excuses and telling myself that I needed to accomplish this first, then that. I basically lied to myself and became lost in a pile of excuses running in circles. At the end of the day, it all came back to writing, and I couldn’t get away from it.

I’m not sure how writing helps you, but for me, it always provides a solution to my difficulties and reminds me of my life’s purpose. So, when I take a lengthy vacation from writing and just immerse myself in the daily routine of problems and various duties, I gradually lose interest in what I do and feel that something is missing.

Do whatever you want to do now. There are only so many tomorrows.

Procrastination is a bad habit in our lives. We have a tendency to be fearful and avoid what lies ahead by creating excuses. We have no idea that life has other plans than we had envisioned, and that while we are busy making plans and prioritizing action after action, we are unwillingly being pushed to our next level.

We’re basically piling on more responsibilities, sometimes more than we can do, and most of them are unnecessary. We can’t even accomplish the things we planned to do first because we keep thinking about the one we put off. It’s like two voices singing out of tune, neither sounding good. Instead of fretting about diverse tasks that aren’t working well, start with the one you want to procrastinate on. The one that doesn’t disturb you but leaves you with the lingering longing of „What if?”

It’s okay if it’s taking longer than expected. Success is not obtained overnight. It comes in installments; you get a little bit today, a little bit tomorrow until the whole package is given out. The day you procrastinate, you lose that day’s success.

Remember that someday is not a week of the day, and no matter how hard you try to avoid what is destined to happen, it will still happen one day. It’s time to surrender control and, rather than putting off things, embrace them for what they are and how they make you feel.

Back to blogging: Past swings

It’s funny how I’m always moving on with my life and then retreat to blogging when life seems to challenge me again. After the previous occurring, I kept telling myself that things will work out for the better and that I will find my way eventually.

I am grateful for everything that has happened in the last month. I was given a week off and was able to visit my parents in the countryside to assist them with renovations and other housework. I missed them, and, incredibly, we were able to spend some quality time together after the lockdown.

Work-wise, I was assigned to this new exciting project, and I now have new colleagues and the opportunity to work with great people, apply what I learned at my previous job, and grow.

I’ve also managed to take care of my health by visiting a nutritionist once in a while, exercising whenever I can, and a few days ago, I faced my fears by having surgery to remove my wisdom tooth. This had been a source of concern in my life for several months, and I knew it had to be addressed.

A new path ahead?

Now that all of these issues have been resolved, I have the distinct impression that something from my past is attempting to resurface. It makes no sense to me because nothing has happened in reality yet. It’s just that I keep having these strange dreams in which I have to part ways and take a new path.

I’ve tried to ignore them and focus on the present, but they keep repeating, and my heart prefers to stay there for some strange reason. Aside from that, I’ve been chatting with my friends, and it’s as if incidents from the past keep showing up, and when I reexamine them, I have new resolutions that seem different.

The more I try to disregard them, the more they appear, making me doubt my sanity. I’ve also spoken with a few other people, and they’ve mentioned that this happened to them as well, albeit with minor differences.

According to the horoscope, this is a new turn of fate and it is meant to happen. I’m not sure what new path awaits me and the people I spoke with or what new challenges await us, but all I want is the strength and wisdom to face whatever comes our way.

Resolutions

I’m aware that the new journey is a big step, and it feels regretful to leave everything we’ve built behind and embark on a new, hazy path. It’s essential to be patient and honest to ourselves in the face of any new route that comes your way.

If there is one thing I have learned from this crazy life, it is that we must take risks and move forward, even if this means making mistakes along the way. That is how we grow and become stronger.

We should stop being too serious, curious, and fearful in front of the unknown and instead have fun like a child who keeps swinging into what new challenges lie ahead. And if past encounters keep coming back to haunt us, perhaps it’s just time to face our stupid fears and enjoy life and what God has in store for us.