Life Hack #6 – Look Back At It!

Every once in a while, it is important to take a step back, look at the life you have created for yourself, and your current reality, and count your blessings. They say, “never look back,” but sometimes looking back is alright, in moderation, of course!

Do not spend too much time lingering on the past, but sometimes it can truly be rewarding and exciting to take a look at how far you have come, even in the last few days. Every day, we should be growing, learning, and experiencing, and as a result, growing and learning from our experiences. Or, at least that is what I think.

Looking back can in a sense put a positive, motivating perspective and incentive in front of you, as you take a look back at how much the small steps to making changes are making a difference. You have incentives to continue growing when you look back, as we all want to keep growing and adapting to becoming the best versions of ourselves.

Looking back not only allows us to build incentives to continue growing, but it also provides us a sense of awareness. As you look back on things you may consider errors, or things you may have been successful at, or maybe things you want to change about yourself, you build a sense of awareness for not only yourself, but an awareness of others and your daily environments. Looking back on things can truly allow you to unlock your brain, allowing you to access your deepest thoughts. Two of the biggest things that scare individuals of all ages and genders is the past and the future. While looking back can be seen as not being mindful, I think that it is healthy to reminisce or not reminisce about things that have occurred in the past.

Once again, looking back for too long will not only strain your neck, but it can be damaging towards your personal well-being. You do not want to stay hung up on the same issues for years – you want to be able to move on and leave some baggage behind. I believe in a healthy moderation that looking back can allow you to truly access some repressed memories and feelings, and in return, allow you to move forward. Sometimes, in order to move forward, you must go backwards.

If you do not spend time addressing things that you are simply putting off, the burden of holding your emotions in and addressing the issue will build up inside of you. In turn, you will face some long-term consequences from this behavior. As much as we wish to simply silence our worries and fears for the future and the past, I have learned that this is simply impossible. This can mean taking two steps back when you were making progress, to even just simply speaking about the past. As humans, we will all face hardships in our pasts that we barely speak of and experience failures; these are inevitable parts of life. Allowing myself to personally access memories of the past that I have been repressing for years, was one of the most healthiest things I could ever do. Some people do not like talking about their past or their hardships, and I am one of those people. I spent many years repressing this information and my emotions, which in turn led to many self-destructive behaviors and a lack of stability within my life, as I had picked up negative coping mechanism skills. However, by falling back and looking back, I was able to move forward, continue growing, and continue challenging myself every day. Looking back at it can be challenging, but sometimes it is the only way to move forward.

Do not let your past haunt you, but be willing to speak about it to your nearest source of trust and learn to handle your past with care, and with a positive, motivating outlook. Taking a step back every once in a while to recognize your past and how much you have grown is an amazing feeling. Sometimes, the past may be filled with harsh, crude memories, but do not let it cloud your mind. Unlocking your past is one of the most proactive ways of moving forward, because as I said before, you need to look back, in order to move forward. Ignoring your past, which may or may not have included hardships, will lead to a life full of a lack of self-awareness, a lack of motivation, and will lead to behaviors that may become detrimental to your life. Do not dwell too long on your past, but spend time acknowledging it for however long feels necessary. This is important in the game of growth and personal happiness. Looking back serves more purpose than one.

I just took a full month to simply look back at how far I have come in the last few days, even the last six months, and the growth is exponential. I truly think the most rewarding part about thinking about the past is looking at my own personal growth, and not ignoring the things that I need to work on in different aspects of my life. I may need to work on a lot of things, as we are all human, however, I have more of a sense of the importance of getting in touch with my past. We all need something to compare ourselves to something, and while comparing ourselves to others is not a viable option, our past-version of ourselves is a great viable option.

Though you may not acknowledge it, even in the last 24-hours you have changed a little bit, just due to the fact that you have gained more experience just by living. The growth may not be exponential or noticeable, but humans are constantly changing, adapting and growing just simply by living out their daily routines. Sometimes, we like to compare our current version of ourselves to a version of ourselves from years ago, or even days ago. This is a good game you can play with yourself. Thoroughly examining your past during various points in your life, and asking yourself questions about what you used to be like, who your friends were, what your hobbies were, etc. allows you to gain a certain understanding about the kind of person you are, the kind of company you keep, what is important to you, what your skills are, etc. It truly allows you some time to think about your priorities, as well, among other positive things. In addition, it allows you to gauge what aspects of your life you have grown in, as well as, to acknowledge areas where improvement is needed or has not been made. Please, do not even bother trying to compare yourself with others. If you maybe see traits in others that you may respect or would like to work on, than that is different. When comparing yourself to a past version of yourself, a great tip is to think of the most ideal, or a loosely perfect, version of yourself. What do you see? Do you see a positive, outgoing person? A more secluded, happier version of yourself? Do you see a person constantly surrounded by people? What are traits you would like to exude and work on? These are all questions you can ask yourself. The more you examine yourself and continue to experience, the more answers you will get for yourself

Being self-aware allows for less surprises in the long-run, as certain behaviors or tendencies that may be negative or positive will soon become acknowledged, and hopefully allow for some room to change. This self-awareness extends onto others, as you become more self-aware about the way you make others feel. If you are constantly negative, acknowledging and changing that habit will not only make you feel better, but it will also make others feel better. I believe that being self-aware allows you to become the most comfortable, most confident version of yourself. This comfortability and confidence will exude onto others. Note that the sooner you are happier with yourself, the sooner you can begin making others exceedingly joyous.

Gauging your past should be done with a trusted source, and also a person who can emotionally, physically, and mentally be present, who also is able to help. Some situations in our past are bigger than you, your friends, and even your parents. That is okay, though. There are resources out there that allow you to seek professional help, if that is what is needed. Also, seeing a therapist is something I would recommend to anyone, because who does not love blowing off some steam? I certainly do.

The real question now is why not look back @ it?

xo,

Aichan Tewahade

Naked & Afraid

“How does one be vulnerable?” I constantly ask myself this question every day.

According to Dictionary.com, vulnerable means to be “susceptible to physical or emotional attack of harm. It could also mean a person “in need of special care, support, or protection because of a abuse or neglect” (Dictionary.com).

Based simply off of the definitions associated with the word, one could take away that being vulnerable means being weak, helpless, and an emotional burden.

This is not the case, however.

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Being vulnerable allows those around you to truly understand you, get to know you better, and most importantly, allows more love into your life. Similarly, the more vulnerable you are with yourself and with others, the more you get to know and understand yourself.

The saying “wear your heart on your sleeve” can be directly associated with vulnerability, as those who wear their heart on their sleeve do not put up the emotional walls. These emotional walls and barriers do not allow you to be vulnerable or experience vulnerability.

Expressing yourself vulnerably allows truth and honesty to enter into your life. Truth and honesty is what our soul craves. To live a good, truthful, meaningful life, one must allow their vulnerable side to show.

It truly does not matter how many people you express your vulnerability to, as this does not dictate anything. Similarly, your intentions behind sharing your vulnerable side should always be taken accounted for. Some people only show their vulnerable side, when they need something or are in the works of manipulating someone emotionally. Sharing a part of yourself may make you susceptible to harm or attack, as people may use the information you disclosed privately as ammunition against you. Do not let that discourage you from showing what is beneath your skin.

How you choose to show it is up to yourself, but being vulnerable allows you to connect with people on a much deeper level. Levels of compassion and empathy will also increase with a more vulnerable take on life.

It is not all comfortable, however, as you may let pests into your vulnerable heart and end up getting hurt for being so honest and raw. In fact, being vulnerable at times can make you feel naked and afraid, but embracing the idea that humans as a whole need to let down their guards to find meaningfulness in their life.

When you are in touch with your vulnerable side, you feel inclined to share parts of the ugly, the raw, the happy, and the sad sides of your own life. Being vulnerable allows you to share with others things that allows others to understand why you are the person that you are today, and how you became this way. In fact, vulnerability is the only bridge to build connection with yourself and others.

There are intelligent ways of being vulnerable, as we are most vulnerable during times that we feel low, lost, and afraid. Especially when something monumental happens that changes the very circumstances of your life situation, or something or someone is taken from you, people often find themselves feeling vulnerable. Intelligent ways of being vulnerable include, disclosing information to others, crying, seeking and asking for assistance, filling your day with productive things, etc.

Actions, such as crying, yelling, screaming, or anything malicious and malignant, can be as a result of one who is going through a vulnerable time. They may feel stripped of everything, including their pride, joy, and feel as though they have nothing left.

Even when nothing bad has happened, individuals can still exude vulnerability. Vulnerability is not only shown when things are going south. Sometimes when things are going too well, we also feel vulnerable and uncomfortable.

Dr. Brené Brown says, “vulnerability is the core of shame, and fear, and our struggle for worthiness. But, it appears it’s also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, and of love.” Of course, there are always upsides and downsides of being vulnerable, as it can be extremely uncomfortable.

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It is very important for your own emotional well-being to become connected with the side of you that is not weak, but courageous. Being vulnerable shows that an individual is not only courageous, but it shows that one is aware of their current reality.

Small things, such as changing schools, graduating school, starting a new job, having a new school schedule with different classmates, moving to a new town, can force the vulnerable out of you, as these situations are morbidly uncomfortable. Things more extreme, such as death, abuse, etc. will also force the vulnerability out of you.

Allowing your vulnerable side to show may seem more frightening than the actual act of being in denial. In order to make connections, and raw, and real friendships, vulnerability is vital. At some point, after spending so many hours with a person, you show sides of yourself naturally being vulnerable, without even taking it into account.

Most often, we are completely unaware when we are being vulnerable, unless we are bawling uncontrollably. Unknowingly showing sides of yourself to others allows for an intermediate connection, as a person may disclose more vulnerable information as a result of you sharing vulnerable information. This is always a good feeling! In order to feel comfortable, both parties will feel the need to disclose more and more about their life once a sense of trust is built.

Living life vulnerably allows for more hurt, but tear down your emotional barriers and let yourself feel life, just as it is supposed to be felt. Do not be embarrassed, as there truly is nothing to be embarrassed about. Secrets do not make friends, and friends make secrets. It is very healthy to express vulnerability to those around you, as you will often feel a weight lifted off your shoulders.

Audre Lorde says, “…and that visibility that makes us most vulnerable is that which also is the source of our greatest strength.” You are no longer considered weak for being vulnerable, showing pain, etc., in fact, being vulnerable is the most empowering thing you can do for yourself.

Empower the courageous!

xo,

Aichan Tewahade