What drives you?
What gets you up in the morning?
Why do you do what you do each day?
These are the questions I’ve been asking myself regularly over the last year. Working to optimize my life, my schedule, my long, winding to-do lists. I wanted to be as productive as possible, for as long as possible.
I have to work hard. I have to accomplish something substantial every single day. I have to continue fighting for what I want to achieve. Right?
But as I sit on my yoga mat typing this, I wonder if I’ve had it wrong…
“If it’s going to be, it’s up to me.” — Robert H. Schuller
Initially, I struggled with the idea that a lot of what’s gone wrong in my life is my fault. But when I sat down and thought of the various shitty events I’ve faced, I was able to trace many of them back to a decision that I took.
We all make bad decisions and mistakes. After the fact, we have a choice between blaming someone else or taking responsibility, learning the lesson, and moving on.
Taking responsibility empowers you. It means you’re accepting, not succumbing, to your…
I live in Morocco, a developing country with one of the worst educational systems in the world. In 2016–17, Morocco ranked at 119 out of 138 countries for “quality of the educational system.”
Unlike most Moroccans, however, I was lucky to be placed in a private American school. I was privileged enough to enjoy an American education in Morocco.
However, as fellow Americans will know, the U.S. educational system is quite flawed as well, although definitely not as much as the Moroccan one. For comparison, the U.S. came in at 17 for educational quality in the aforementioned report.
Being self-aware is a superpower.
It makes you see the things that others miss. It pushes you to reconsider your actions.
Being self-aware isn’t easy or straightforward. Cultivating self-awareness takes years of practice.
After all, how many of us can say that we’ve mastered our minds? I know I can’t.
But I’m definitely much more self-aware than I was two years ago. The following are the seven things I learned to stop doing.
The Moroccan word for blame means “to stick.” …
“To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow — this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.”
— Elizabeth Gilbert
A romantic relationship can either be a raging storm or a calm, gentle rain.
In a stormy relationship, the people involved are simply incompatible. Every day feels like a struggle, arguments are served with the morning coffee, and there’s usually a bare hint of a sex life left to speak of.
The calm relationships are like clockwork. There’s balance, respect, and love that hold the two people together, despite what shakes them.
I know a…
“People shouldn’t have everything they want. No one is entitled to their every desire.
To live in balance, we must willingly decide not to take all that we can from the world, and from others.”
— F.C. Yee, The Shadow of Kyoshi
The world does not owe you anything.
I grew up thinking that I deserved to do well in school and told that I was “special.” This type of thinking is detrimental.
There seems to be a widespread belief that everyone deserves the best things the world has to offer. I’ve noticed that it’s quite rampant amongst today’s youth.
“Your inner voice is subtle, positive, consistent, and peaceful; it springs to life when you pay attention to it, when you show gratitude and trust what’s coming through.” ― Kris Franken
You know you need to leave your job sooner rather than later, that a relationship just isn’t working, or that it’s time to re-invent yourself.
You feel it in your gut, but damn, the logical side of you is not letting you go.
It’s telling you to stay put, that you need to save more money, that you aren’t ready yet, that you need to be patient, rather than…
“I avoid looking down at my body, not so much because it’s shameful or immodest but because I don’t want to see it.
I don’t want to look at something that determines me so completely.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
I am a second-class citizen.
I struggled while watching “The Handmaid’s Tale” because I knew, first-hand, that the heavy shame and ideologies presented in this fictional account exist.
Initially, I thought that the feeling of shame had sprouted within me when I got my period at 11.
But, looking back, I realized that shame was ingrained deeply within the…
We’re experts in compassion for our friends and family but novices in self-compassion.
This reminded me of a practice Jack Canfield mentioned in his Super Soul Sunday conversation with Oprah a few years ago.
He looks in the mirror at least once a day and says "I love you" to himself. At first, I found this a bit silly, but I understood what he meant when I tried to do it and struggled. I couldn't be compassionate towards myself!
We're gentle with others and find it easy to tell a partner we love them, but are so cruel to ourselves.
I'm still working on self-compassion, but I think a sign of success in this area could be the ability to say you love yourself without rolling your eyes.
Great piece and tips. Thanks for sharing!
I love that you were aware of this! No matter where you go or how far you are from home, you're still you. Your worries, fears, and insecurities will always be with you.
I think many of us (including myself) fall into the trap of thinking that leaving where we are physically will somehow mend our emotional and mental wounds.
Over the last few years, I've found that it is possible to be happy exactly where you are if you're willing to do the work and face what is troubling you. Running away just isn't the solution.
On the other hand, traveling is a beautiful way to get a different perspective and can show you what you need to do to heal yourself. It's clear your adventure inspired and helped you reconnect with yourself.
This was such a beautiful read, Begüm! Thank you for sharing!