8 life lessons that the year 2020 taught me

It was the beginning of January 2020 when my thoughts towards life were not that happy anymore. I was exhausted and at the climax of a long and hard post partum depression. After a life changing event, I started searching for a new way in which I could change my mindset, and so my transformation began.

The first lesson of my year was that,

  1. If you are not ok, neither will your loved ones

Why do I say that? Because when we are not ok with ourselves, we tend to take that out on everybody around us. For me, I was harsh with myself, with my husband, with my child, with my parents and friends. I was exhausted to be in a constant battle for happiness, for self love, for self appreciation.

Imagine that you have a glass. You can only give to others whatever spills out when the glass is full. In order to be able to give others the best version of yourself, you have to have your glass full, otherwise, when you give, you are depleted.

So if you want to be ok with yourself and with the ones you love, fill your glass. Only when you will have your basic needs covered, you will be able to reach your true potential.

  1. Gratitude is a game changer

Everybody wishes that their lives are filled with happiness and joy. Well, newsflash, happiness and joy are ecstatic states, and they can be reached only occasionally. Happiness and joy are not a measure of how great your life is.

What Positive Psychology taught me is the fact that human beings really search for well being, which is balance in life, being able to see the good and the bad, and being able to see that nothing is permanent, neither the good and the bad.

And well being starts with gratitude. Gratitude for the little things that make this life worth living. Awareness for a good meal, a good book, a great movie, the fact that your partner made you coffee just how you like it before leaving for work, the fact that your child laughed out loud when playing with something, a good massage, a great song.

We tend to linger SO MUCH over every small negative feeling and event, but when it comes to the good moments we only expect and appreciate the really big ones. Can you really appreciate the big things without appreciating the small ones? I came to realise that no, you cannot.

Because only when I was able to see the small things, I could really take in the big wins of my life. And I turned almost every little win, into a big one.

  1. Optimism is a skill

As a person who spent her life telling herself that she is a realist (or a pessimist), in order to not get hurt, I found out (thank you, Martin Seligman and your Positive Psychology ) that actually optimism is a skill that you can gain and constantly train for it.

If you are an optimist, it doesn’t mean that you spend your life blindly seeing only the bright side. It means that you are able to accept the challenges as stepping stones, and it means that you search for a way in which every experience can benefit you.

Studies show that optimist people can actually spot problems before they even appear, and that happens because optimist people have a broader perspective towards life. They are more open to solutions, they approach problems from different angles and in the end, if they cannot change something, their acceptance comes more easier for them.

Being an optimist means that you don’t struggle constantly to not get hurt, to be in control, because you understand that you cannot really control anything, not even yourself sometimes. And that is a really good place to be in, once you begin to let the guard down, and face whatever comes, when and if it comes.

  1. Self confidence is not a personality trait

We see these persons that talk very kind about themselves, that understand and appreciate their own efforts, and at first we think about them as arrogant, when deep down we wish that we’d have the courage to think that about ourselves.

Well, self confidence, not to mention self love, is something that I denied myself for my entire life. How could I love myself when I was looking in the mirror and all I saw was an ugly and stupid woman?

One that was good at nothing, didn’t have any kind of expertise, while the people around her were building up their lives and owning who they were.

Only when I became a mother, I realised that the fact that I was not being able to value myself, affected my ability to show up as the best version of myself for my child.

With the help of my coach and my therapist, I started to write down all the things that I was doing during a day, and slowly I started to realise that one person can only do so much.

I also began to notice my circumstances: how rested I am (or not), if my basic needs are fulfilled, and I started to see that I was doing more than enough giving the fact that I slept for 3-4 (interrupted) hours per night for more than a year at that moment, that I was not doing anything for myself, and still I somehow managed to survive, to be a decent parent, a decent wife and a decent friend.

And with all that I started to show myself a little more kindness, turning the kindness that I usually give other towards myself. Step by step, I became aware that my inner voice needs to be heard, seen and taken care of.

My awareness expanded and I started to notice all the good things that I was doing, not only the bad ones. When I felt guilty about doing something wrong, I started to tell myself all the good things that I’ve done before, and how that one bad thing does not erase all the good ones. I started to accept myself with the bad, but also with the good.

Because that is really the problem. That we internalise so much of the bad things, and we ignore so much of the good ones. There is no balance. And that lack of balance leads to lack of confidence and self love.

I started to force myself to have time for myself. 10 minutes of yoga daily, 5 minutes of meditation, 10 pages from a good book per day. I would literally lock myself in a room and forced myself to do these things, even if my child cried for me, I was sure that his dad could be there for him and handle him.

And when I started to do these things, I developed more self respect, more self love and ultimately, more self confidence. I am far away from being REAAAAAALLY self confident, but it’s more than I’ve ever been, so I will take that for now.

  1. Creativity doesn’t belong only to those in performing arts

I cannot stress this enough! I always thought that being creative meant to have a talent in the arts area. And needless to say, I am a horrific painter, a horrific singer and a definitely a horrific designer. I hate giving gifts because I lack the imagination and I am SOOOOO bad at wrapping them.

But I was surprised to discover that I was creative in a lot of other ways. I always loved to put information together, I always loved to research and bring different perspectives at one place and building something from there.

I thought that anybody can do that, but I realised that this is somehow one of my superpowers, and no , not everybody can do that.

I realised that my ideas flow better when I write them, and the more I write, the more ideas I create. And people appreciate my writing, therefore my ideas, so I guess I’m doing something good.

I discovered that transformational coaching is my purpose in life, that my goal is to help people, to make their lives better, to serve them from my own experience. I am good with people, I can read them, I can feel them, I can understand what they say, but most of all, what they don’t say.

I am not here to teach anybody anything, I am here to learn and to help. And when it comes to coaching, creativity just sparks for me. I always find new ways in which I can approach my client’s dreams in order for them to perform better, so I create as I speak.

Creativity comes in many different forms and shapes, you just need to find what flows for you, how you express your creativity in the best way for yourself and for your purposes.

  1. We need a BIGGER PURPOSE in life, in order to have meaning

We are not alone and we were not designed to be alone in this world. We are better when we come together, when we serve each other, when we co create.

Each and every one of us can give this world something. It maybe not be something completely new, because one cannot reinvent the wheel, but it’s our own way of doing things that it’s unique.

In the beginning of my coaching journey I fought very hard with the imposter syndrome. Why would people let me coach them? I don’t have so much of life experience, I don’t have any big breakthroughs, I certainly don’t have an exciting life story. I have some good stories, but that’s that.

And then my own coach said something to me that put things in a very different perspective:

“The right people will come to you. The people that need YOU, will come to you. The people who will resonate with YOU, will come to you. Everybody is coachable, just not by you. Do not stress over the people that are not a good match for you, because you have your own niche, your own piece of the cake. You don’t need EVERYBODY to come to you, only the right ones”. And boy, was she right about this.

With time I started to appreciate when certain people would NOT come to me, because we didn’t have the chemistry. You cannot coach at a deeper level without chemistry. There is no way in which you can connect if you don’t have chemistry. So yes, we all have our own piece of the cake.

Having a bigger purpose brought me the drive, that hunger that never goes away. Each time a client says “thank you, you changed my life” is a reminder of why I am doing this and why I love this. Being a beacon of light in someone’s life is a feeling I cannot describe. Being able to touch someone’s life in this way, is something that is worth almost everything.

Having a bigger purpose in life brought me the need to grow constantly, to improve myself each and every day, to show up as the best version of myself. Even if that sometimes means to take a step back and take a break.

  1. GIVING YOURSELF A BREAK is something we all need to do in order to remain sane.

No one can function 24/7 for months or years. The breakdown WILL come, it’s just a matter of WHEN not IF. So in order to avoid burn out, we need to know our own limits.

We need to know when we should push ourselves beyond the comfort zone, and when to say “stop”.

The ability to say “stop” comes in different forms for each and every one of us. For me it started with learning to say “no”. Even to myself. “No”, that pile of laundry doesn’t have to be taken care of right now, when I am exhausted. I better sit down on this couch, have a coffee and read something. “No”, I am not a bad mother for raising the tone at my child, after I haven’t slept in 2 years, and told him the same thing for the hundredth time.

Saying “stop” when I was kicking myself for whatever reason, or when I expected so much more from me just to prove myself that I am enough.

Well, you are enough even when you take a break. All the good things that you’ve done before, all of your wins are still there. They aren’t going anywhere when you take a break.

Because in order for you to move on, you have to gather yourself, things in your mind have to settle down, you have to find a place for everything that you’ve learned.

Breaks have their own important role in growing, so don’t skip them.

  1. Just be

We are constantly ruminating about something that happened in the past, or something that will (not) happen in the future. In this constant race of baggage and goals, we forget to be. Now. Here. We forget to be grateful for what we have, for this moment, where the past and the future do not exist.

We forget to just breathe and take in everything that is. The good, the bad, the balance. To just feel. Without struggle, just feel. The fear, the joy, the disapointment, the anything.

Everything that we feel is a part of life.

We constantly fight the negative emotions, putting them aside or fighting against them. But how many of us know that if we just allow ourselves to feel the emotion, to let it consume itself without fighting it, it will go?

Because we are like an ocean, and feelings are like waves. They come, and go. But this chase for constant happiness and joy is stealing away the reality and has us run after ghosts.

Because real life happens now. With what we have and what we don’t have in this very moment.

If you look at your life right now, how do you feel? Now. Take a breath and let it sink in. Take another one, and settle more into yourself. What’s there?


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