Words of wisdom & lessons I have learned wrapped up in four simple life-changing questions …
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” – Aristotle
As I move into my 39th year, I have reflected on the lessons that have impacted me in my thirties. Living through the Covid-19 pandemic has also fast-tracked some serious nuggets that I would like to share with you – not as pieces of advice but critical questions that I have used to challenge myself and get me through some seriously tough times. As Tim Ferriss says ‘All that stands between you and what you want is a better set of questions’.
Related: 12 Tips To Self-Love And Compassion
Hindsight is amazing as you can look back and join the dots to understand that life didn’t happen to you but for you. When you are the dot and don’t have the perspective at the moment, use these life-changing questions to steer you through it:
How can I be kind to myself today?
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” – Sharon Salzberg
There is no-one or no-thing that can energise you; you have to be responsible to fill your own tank. Your tank is fuelled by daily acts of kindness to yourself. It is the currency of unconditional self-love and self-acceptance. Kindness isn’t only about self-indulgence or splurging on material possessions. It is about ceasing to empower your inner critic, silencing the destructive self-talk and stop placing impossibly high standards on yourself.
In the words of Julia Cameron ‘take yourself for an artist’s date’ – go somewhere special to write and celebrate the awful first drafts. Give yourself permission to spend time on a manuscript when you have no idea where it will take you. Give yourself the freedom to invest time in the little things that may not have a direct outcome other than fueling your soul and bringing you joy.
I’m sure Paulo Coehlo didn’t second guess himself when he wrote his books and question ‘is this just a waste of my time?’. I’m by no means comparing myself to his work but that analogy always makes me smile and encourages me on my writing journey.
When you are feeling like your battery is in the red, take a step back and reflect on how you have been treating yourself – both in words and actions. If you haven’t been showing up enough in your calendar or if you are but not on the activities you truly want to explore, then give yourself permission.
What do I want to do today?
“Either you must control your thoughts or the outside forces will control them and be warned that the outside forces usually consist of fears, worries and doubts.” – Maddy Malhotra
You are probably wondering how this is advice. Let me tell you, this one is crucial to your happiness. You often fall into the trap of allowing ‘mind sneakers’ to creep into your vocabulary. You know what I’m talking about – words like ‘ought to, should, have to’.
These words create instant anxiety because you immediately think ‘what if it’s the wrong decision? What if I miss out on another opportunity?’ When you operate from this space, you are signalling self-doubt. And the more you buy into this story, the more you begin to question if you can trust yourself and ultimately hold back.
When you begin your day asking yourself ‘what do I want to do today?’ you start to show up to your creative self and more importantly not your perfect self. Words like want, can, choose – these tap into the energy of love. The intention becomes about something that brings your authentic self along for the ride and this is where you really flourish.