Self-improvement

Thought of the day – self-improvement;

A common theme in my life has been self-improvement. I always strived to be a better version of myself because I don’t want to settle. That’s what I’ve told myself all my life. I’m afraid of not evolving and staying stagnant. But where does the line between not wanting to settle and not accepting who I am cross? The line seems very thin.

I have gone through different areas I didn’t like about myself in my life and worked on them. I had a binge eating disorder and instead of solving that I “lifehacked” myself out of it and became a high carb vegan = I am not overweight anymore. I worked on my discipline when it comes to working out and now I have it under control = I work out regularly, maybe five times a week and my main motivation is the feeling afterwards but it’s also fuelled by self-taunting. It sounds dark but it’s not really. I just know if I don’t, I get feelings of guilt. It’s not the most healthy way to think but It works. Running though, I do because I love the feeling. But going to the gym regularly that is mainly out of guilt. There are also certain bieffects from working out that motivate me. Superficial reasons motivate me, like wanting to be fit for a number of reasons. The beauty standard of womens body being slim, for my future business, for my body dysmorphia and for my self-confidence/worth. Etc.

Personality wise I worked on my introverted side. I hated the shy side of myself and wanted to be extroverted and liked by all because that’s what I thought I needed to be in order to receive love from other people. That thought has always been in the back of my mind and since growing older (and a tad bit wiser) I have gone from feeling resentment to my shyness to less and less. If I think about that today I can still feel that the longing is still there. But the longing i can pinpoint more clearly now. It’s not that I want to be extroverted and loud but it is more the feeling of freedom and not caring what people think. I think that is always what I wanted and still want but couldn’t put my finger on. I just knew I liked people who where themselves unapologetically and I thought I needed to copy that. I felt fascination towards someones personality and analyzed why. What did they have that i lacked? I think i subconciously thought if i knew everything they did and why they did it I could get myself to act like them. But I couldn’t, because it wasn’t me. It wasn’t genuine. But the dislike of being quiet and shy drove me to push myself to do things and move to different places. And for that, I am grateful.

These different changes ive done in my life felt like a way to work around the problems, even though semi-effective, they didn’t solve the issues.

The path of self-improvement is not a straight line. It’s easy to get caught in the idea that you need to do one thing then your problems will be fixed. That’s also the way consumerism work. Society brain washes us with marketing and it’s not odd that we feel that way. One more beauty product and then you will have that glass skin that will make you look young and fresh and boys will love you, girls will wanna be you. Buy a lash serum and you will have long lashes and people will adore you Etc. That’s no way to live your life. Always striving to get something, attain something, and then what. You will look outward again. And look at make up instead. Spend more money. Spend more time on bullshit. I have done that, it doesn’t work. It is useless and shallow and leads to nowhere. And on top of that, it fuels self-denial. You need something more then you will be enough. BULLSHIT. It’s a toxic negative cycle that makes us unhappy. Don’t buy in to it (literally) But that is a different topic all together. Back to the self-improvement though; the concept of self-help books have similarities with consumerism. Authors have a theory about how to be happy and they want to put it onto paper. How can they sell you on a lifetime of knowledge that they themselves have experienced, felt deep within, discovered different things and met different people at the right time for them, when they were ready, to expand as people. But now they are trying to bottle that up and sell a magic recipe so you don’t have to do the “work”. It doesn’t work that way I realized, ten years later. Don’t get me wrong, self-help books have given me a lot! But seeing the distinction between “having hope that this book/concept will fix all my problems” and “this is someone elses journey and you need to take from it what fits in your life right now” is important. There are so many times where I read a book in a few days and gotten so excited because I felt like “wow, this is it!” and a few days later I’m back to my normal patterns and relatively quickly I forgotten about it. Then in a few weeks I reach for a different book and a different approach from a new person. These books have given me a consciousness of why I react or do a certain thing which expands my mind, and that Is always the first step to break a negative pattern. But it’s not a quick fix.

So, reading books on how to improve different areas in your life should, in my opinion, be looked at with curiosity! I have a few things I’ve discovered.

My tips for how to read self-help books:

  • Make a list of the things you would like to improve about yourself. Take a moment – Look at them a day later and break it down, what is really the core issue here? Is it lack of self-love or is it lack of motivation? Is it that you know you need to work on your self-compassion then look at different books in that area. There are so many books and knowing what you keep coming back to as a reoccurring issue then maybe address that first? For me: My main issues seem to be not feeling good enough and lack of self-compassion.
  • Remembering that changing your way of thinking is like a muscle you work out at the gym. You need to be at it or else the muscle weakens.. I read that somewhere and it’s so true. If you thought a certain way for x number of years, one book that takes you say maybe a week to read won’t change your way of thinking. That feel obvious when you read it like that but it’s good to remind ourselves. We need to keep at it. Keep being motivated to work on ourselves. For me: It comes in waves. Sometimes I have weeks where I don’t read any books or do any work on myself then it comes a point where I realize I have to. I need it. I always come back. And thats not just reading – it can be any relaxing mindful practice, like yoga or meditation for example
  • Read a book slowly and really think about the words. What do they really mean? It’s not a race. If you catch yourself speed-reading ask yourself why am I really reading this? What’s the purpose? And sit with that for a second. Be honest with yourself. Maybe questioning your true motivation for reading will help steer the motivation For me: I have had many of these thought when I read on autopilot and everytime I realize I try to attain something. It’s good to remind yourself.
  • Read a chapter and write down notes on what stood out to you. Take a pause after the chapter and let that be it. Read back your notes on different occasions. For me: I try to do this often. Me and a friend have a book club were we read a book and talk about it every other week. We take notes as we read if something stood out to us then we discuss the content with each other. It’ a great way to digest what the book is actually trying to say and it’s also a good way to connect with a friend.
  • Reread the book. If it’s a book I really liked I will reread it in a few months time. Helps process the information better and repetition is key. For me: I have reread a few books but still have a lot I want to reread. So many books so little time 😉

Books are great to stimulate thoughts and get a reality check. It offers insight into yourself and a better understanding. Understanding is important to strengthen the relationship you have with yourself but understanding life is also not the most important thing. Too much in your head is not good. We need to live life too; in order to feel a connection to earth and to other living beings. Connection is love and humans thrieve on love. We are social animals.

THREE KEY POINTS: 1. question the area you don’t like and you want to improve – why do you want to change? For what reason? What would happen if this changed?

2. Remind yourself that you are not trying to attain something. Selfimprovement should be called and thought of as self-curiousity 😀

3. not taking life too seriously!! The journey is the destination ❤

In conclusion, with self-improvement (self-curiousity) have patients with yourself and cut yourself some slack ❤

My spiritual journey

life is long and so is this – My spiritual journey – age 0-27

I started out as a creative and free child. My mom always said that I led the other kids at day care and that the teachers would love to have me around because I would entertain the other kids. I was a happy child. A positive chid. As the years went by I started getting a bit more self-aware as you do when you start school. You become aware of your appearance and to fit in becomes priority. At the same time, I moved around a lot. My father was very focused on getting his career going so my family (of four) had to move wherever he got a new opportunity. I changed schools like four times in a year during first grade. That, you can imagine, has an impact on a child. I became more and more self-conscious and retreated into myself. I learned not to draw attention to myself to blend in. I was constantly the new kid. I even got teased at one of the schools for not knowing English very well (Not my native language) when we moved to the US for half a year. The years went by and I started to detest that I was shy. It was like I was inside of a box and couldn’t break free. I felt trapped in my own mind. When I reached my teenage years my father started working from home more. He is a very hot-headed opinionated man who likes things his way. I, being almost only raised by my mother until this point, was not accustomed to his presence. We clashed. A LOT. He was mean and I was mean back. And it got worse. He called me all sorts of things. I pretended I didn’t care but the fact was that it ruined me. It ruined every once of selflove I could have ever gathered at that age. I was shy in school and had two friends. As my problems at home grew and now affected my whole family’s dynamic, I started to skip school more. I developed social anxiety. My best friend got tired of my absences in class and stopped being my friend (who could’ve blame her..) I manage to finish high school with an extra year added so I could complete all my courses. That extra year I focused only on myself and I read every selfhelp book I could get my hands on. It was at this time I first read “the power of now” by Eckhart Tolle. It was the first glimpse into spirituality I experienced. It resonated with me but I couldn’t yet apply the content to myself since I hadn’t yet lived in the real world. I was still stuck in my anxiety filled mind. All about me me me. Everyone is looking at me and thinking of me – that I’m ugly or why I’m looking or doing this and that etc. I had such hatred for myself and for my appearance it is kind of insane when I think back to it. I spent all the money I got at that time on buying makeup and products to try and find my “look”. To explore and try to reach a level of beauty that I thought would make people accept me. So toxic, oh so toxic. I hoped and longed for a guy to come save me. I thought getting a boyfriend would solve all my issues with myself. Oh so toxic. I did not know a lot about life back then..

I moved to London at the age of 19. I thought moving away from my country would solve all my problems. The idea I had, that I would be someone else on the other side of the fence, where the grass is greener, motivated me to push myself to actually move. Me and a friend got an apartment there. I got my first job working behind the scenes at a clothing store. I was so nervous when I went on a job-hunt with my resumes in hand. At one place they said to come back when I’d been in London for a few months, when I toughened up. Ha-ha. But the clothing store, they gave me a chance. I remembered the manager that I spoke to. She’d looked entertained when I approached her, all nervous, and asked if they needed staff. I was so happy when I got the phone call afterwards. I felt my first little jump of confidence in myself. Later I realized that they hired basically anyone just to get workforce because the pay was shit but oh well. It still did loads for my confidence. After a year there I grew. Met my first boyfriend. Met new people. I had also became a vegan this year. It felt like an answer to me. All my teenage years I’ve struggled with diet. I had a binge disorder and I was a bit chubby. I didn’t know what to eat and I couldn’t get myself to exercise. Veganism felt like the answer to me. So this year was also a lot about exploring that world. Learning not to fear food.

After that year I wanted to do something else, jobwise. The salary was shit so I applied for another job. I got a job as a customer support representative for a company that sold home appliances. My younger social anxiety teenage self could’ve never imagine I’d have a job answering phone calls. I couldn’t even call to order a pizza before. Now I talked to 50 + people a day. Growth!

Eventually thing ended with the first boyfriend, I felt like something was missing so I mustered up the courage, which was one of the hardest things I’ve done up to that point and broke things of. As you can imagine I was a needy girlfriend. I needed attention and acceptance. Cutting that out was hard. But I knew I didn’t want to settle and we had different goals in life. We continued seeing each other which was kind of dysfunctional but I was never good at cutting people completely out of my life all at once. After living in London for two years I moved to Barcelona. I needed a change after my break up and I knew I wanted better weather. By a coincidence, my roommate at the time had a friend that wanted to move to London from Barcelona so she took my part of the rent and I moved there. Alone this time.

My time there was a roller coaster. I looooooved the lifestyle I had there. I had a callcenter job there as well which was fine. I loved the people I worked with. The people I met. The weather. The fact that drinks were relatively cheap so you could go out for drinks and socialize in the sun multiple times a week. I loved the beach and the buildings. The openness of the people and the liveliness of the town. There was always something going on. I met a guy there as well. On tinder this time. It was a train wreck. I was not sure about him from the start and we broke up maybe twenty times over a year and a halves time. One thing though was that he made me more open as a person. He taught me a lot about life and how to live. For that I am grateful. But he manipulated me like no other. The back and forth even has me exhausted now trying to think of all the ups and downs we had so I’ll save you the details. Bottomline was that it was a big mess. Cut to my last year in Barcelona where I realized I needed guidance in my spiritual journey. While living in both countries, I had continued reading books about selfhelp and a few about spirituality but I felt that I had lost touch with that part of my life. I had been so distracted with external things like different jobs, friends and boyfriends, moving, everything being so fast paced, repressed anxiety with just forcing myself to do stuff. I never really got treated for my anxious thoughts.. So I felt like I knew what I needed but I hadn’t prioritized it. It’s funny, how it’s often like that.. We know what would solve our problems or make us happier but yet we don’t do it.. Huh.

Anyway, I accidently scrolled past a post from a woman that offered zen coaching. I never heard the term before but kept on reading. I knew of the word zen. I heard that before. As I kept reading I felt intrigued. I felt hope. It felt like what I was looking for. So I messaged her and she responded by giving me her cellphone number. To my surprise the number was not a Spanish number but one from my home country. It felt like a sign. We decided to do a test session. I came to her apartment and we sat down together. We started with a quiet minute where we landed in ourselves. Then we started to explore different aspects of how I felt. Different issues or limitations I experienced in everyday life. Anything that would come up basically in that hour. The time went by so quick. I remember afterwards being in shock. It felt like time literally didn’t exist. I never experienced that before. I was excited and recorded my thoughts afterwards on my phone. I kept doing that. Going to her every week and afterwards documenting my insights. I had a lot of them. She helped me so much. I explored my inner child. I realized I needed more self-compassion and could work on it with the help of trying to create a relationship to my inner child. I realized I stress about time. That I want to be productive because if I’m not I don’t feel good enough. We touched on so many different topics that since then have now become a part of how I think in everyday life. It was like those were the introduction to a new way of thinking. It brought light to my old reactionary thought patterns and helped unravelled them; I questioned them and tried to redirect my thoughts on a new wiser path. I had bought ten sessions with her. The last ones we did over Zoom since I decided to move back to my country to start studying nutrition. My interest in veganism had grown and I felt that I wanted to get a degree to not only learn everything on a university level but also get credibility to start my own lifecoaching/nutrition-planning business. I wanted to help people who struggled with binge eating and give them veganism as the answer. Plantbased foods are often lower in calories (whole veggies and fruit mostly) so you can eat a lot (“binge”) and still don’t gain weight. It had helped me. I had lost twenty kilos. I was now for the first time ever kind of okay with my body. I felt like it was a secret I had to spread.

After those ten sessions I didn’t feel like continuing. I had a lot of school and blamed it on economy; now a poor student so I couldn’t justify renewing my sessions and kept my time focusing on school instead. I had also broken up with the boyfriend in Barcelona and was heartbroken and kind of destroyed from it. I felt like the growth and insights I got from the zen coaching couldn’t apply fully to my normal self since my environment was so unstable with the relationship I had then. The coming three years of my school I kept on studying nutrition and reading selfhelp/spiritual books. Then I met a guy, again.. hehe. This time a good one. And it wasn’t until then. When we got together at the start of my second university year that I began to heal. I for the first time felt appreciated and accepted for me. I didn’t have a relationship with jealously and doubts. Playing games every day. This felt healthy and right. In hindsight I’ve realized that I probably needed the guy in Barcelona to be able to appreciate the guy I’m with now fully. Even though the time with the barcelona guy feels like bad memory I do feel grateful as well (everything happens for a reason.. <3) The new (right) guy was completely different from my normal type. My first boyfriend was the funny guy. The second was the extroverted and charismatic. And this guy was calm and collected. Very handsome and secure but also introverted. And as I’m introverted as well I’m usually attracted to the opposite. But I gave this guy a chance since my friend encouraged me to go out with him in order to forget about my toxic ex and I’m very happy she did. We have now been together for almost two years. He taught me soooo much about life. He is not about stressing; he likes to take his sweet time. He doesn’t want to learn how to multitask; he rather do one thing with his full attention so it’s done correctly. He loves how things used to be; he likes the seventies. He is a minimalist; he has a van haha. And we have now been van-lifing for two summers in a row. It’s a very special thing, van life. I’ll make another post about it eventually but the fact that you can go wherever you want with your house hahah. The freedom. That everything isn’t as comfortable like it is in an apartment makes everything take time and you have patience and appreciate everything more. It’s spontaneous. It’s fun. The hippies knew what was up.

SO! Today then.. haha.. this will be a long post. But now I’m almost done with my school and my priorities have changed. Food doesn’t feel like the most important anymore. I wan’t to go deeper than that. I want to connect with people and be apart of someones journey. I’m going to start with zen coaching sessions again over the summer. I will do it again but with a stabile mindset. And during the summer i got a job in a health boutique. After the summer me and the boyfriend have plans on either moving to Indonesia for a year while studying or working OR depending on how the situation is with corona if it’s easier to travel inside Europe we want to take the van to either Portugal or Greece. Either or we have plans on moving abroad. That year will be a year of living life together and experiencing new things. After we feel done with that (and who knows what life has planned.. anything could happen) I’m thinking of taking a course to become a zen teacher myself. In the meantime I want to:

  • Continue with the blog. Write posts about different topics!
  • Eventually start a youtube channel. I would love to vlog about our life in the van or our trip to Indonesia. I want to document and share our experience 😊
  • Continue with routines that make me feel good like – yoga, meditation, taking slow walks, reading spiritual books, watching youtube etc
  • Continue growing with other people. Practising on being aware with others to deeper connect.

I don’t know exactly what will happen this fall but I know i have to be flexible and adapt. And while doing that I will keep writing here :3

I’m starting a blog.

Why?

Because I love to write. I love the feeling of having my laptop in front of me and hearing my fingertips hit the keys. I love that I can convey my thoughts onto something that gives them life outside of myself. Since I know I want to write a book some day and I have a strong love for understanding and expanding myself I thought a blog would be perfect. I want to write about; my spiritual journey and my struggles with the subject. About girl stuff; natural haircare and makeup. About selflove and confidence. About boys. About priorities in life and simplicity. About my thoughts on living in society today. About literally anything. I feel like sharing my thoughts feels important and of purpose. If someone reads and can relate; I connect with that person. I can practise being vulnerable and as I do this I meditate on the subject I’m writing on. It is the perfect mix. Eventually I want to do Youtube as well. I’ve been watching Youtube since I was fifteen years old. I’m now twenty-seven.

Youtube shaped me. I have a lot of love for that platform. But sitting in front of a camera and speaking my mind is a huge step. A huge step for most people but also considering I have had social anxiety and i’m still a bit shy, it’s a distant goal still. Not a reality I can force myself to do at this moment. I’m practising though. I bought a nice camera and have confronted my fear. It’s difficult, it really is. I’m super critical of myself and it’s a process to be yourself and not try being what everyone else is on Youtube. I want to always feel authentic to myself. What makes me feel most uncomfortable in life is when I feel fake. I despise the feeling so much. So, how do I feel natural in front of the camera? What I gathered from watching different videos on ”how to be yourself on camera” it all comes down to practise. So that’s what I’ll do. In the future though. it is definitely a goal. I feel like my life purpose is to be myself and spread love. I want to be a part of people’s journey. That feels so meaningful to me. I’ll do another post about my life journey and get more into dept about my plans for the future and so on, but this is a good way to put my thoughts out there and have them saved as well. I want to imagine a future where I have a client base, when I’m a zen coach and redirect them to this blog so that they can read and perhaps relate to my journey. That’s a nice thought..

So! In conclusion – BLOGGING :d Yay! Let’s go!!