This year, I had an amazing birthday.
I had the pleasure of spending it with family. We had a beautiful lunch together, followed by a dinner date night with my husband.
As I was about to make a wish while blowing out the candles on my cake, one thing immediately came to mind: WOW, a lot has changed in me since last year.
I had experienced some challenges, and have been applying (or at least trying to!) all the beautiful, nourishing mindfulness, resilience and self-care tools including:
- trying to get 8 hours of sleep per night
- eating nutritious meals
- exercising at least 5 days per week
- meditating daily
- doing yoga (even if 10 minutes per day)
- connecting with loved ones and asking for support when I need it
- connecting with nature
- letting my feelings flow through me rather than resisting or judging them, no matter how uncomfortable they are
There have been times of peace and triumph.
But there have also been times of turbulence, unease, fear and shame that I am not handling a situation in a more “zen” or “detached” way (sound familiar?).
So, as I was blowing out my candles and making my wish, the following well-known quote (inspired by a quote from Epictetus, a Greek Stoic philosopher) came to mind:
We cannot change our circumstances, but we can change how we react to them.
The only constant in our lives is change. As we cannot control the external environment, why not make conscious choices of how we respond to changes, our surroundings, and other people?
Wishing for an external goal or prize is transient and will always lead to disappointment.
Desiring only external goals places our happiness in the hands of others or chance.
Instead, imagine wishing for something that is within you, that is completely up to you. How proud and happy would you be if you achieved this internal goal? What would this lead to externally?
Setting internal goals instills the accountability and ownership over our happiness, health and success. If we actively work on nourishing and supporting our mind, body and soul, we have a direct influence in our overall wellbeing and joy.
While I will refrain from sharing too much, I will share that my birthday wish was about something I wanted to achieve on the inside – and it is the first time my wish has not focused on an external result.
It wasn’t about getting ahead professionally, having material possessions, taking a vacation, or getting a project launched. Nor was it about specific people, or places. It was about what I can do to further my development from within.
Now, this doesn’t mean that I do not wish for my projects to succeed, or that I don’t wish to excel in my medical profession by taking the best care of my patients, continue to grow and learn, and nurture my relationships with myself, my family and friends. This is exactly what I want.
But in order to achieve all of that, I must start from myself.
I am committed to this journey and will let you know about my progress: both successes and failures.
I know that the success of this goal is only up to me.
I am excited and feel empowered.
Now, I would love to hear from you. What are your birthday wishes? What are your goals for self-development? How are you working on making them come true?