I know you may not believe me when I say this, but please consider the following:
What happened to you was not your fault.
It wasn’t, it wasn’t, it wasn’t.
And you can fight me on this. I don’t know you and I don’t know what happened after all. But I do know why someone would want to name themselves as the culprit for their own pain.
I know because I do it, too.
It is a coping mechanism. It is far easier to cast stones in our own directions than to admit we are in far less control of our lives than we want to be. And that sometimes, the people we trust do not have our best interests in mind or that sometimes life is terribly and utterly unfair.
So, we go inward and point fingers at our reflections. We see our faces in the lineups. We truly believe that if we are able to blame ourselves for all of those terrible things that happened to us, we can then avoid that hurt from ever happening again. It is a means of trying to control both the narrative and the future all at once. But mostly, it’s a matter of self-protection.
And yet, this method is insufficient. Because the pain is still there, isn’t it? And maybe that is because we are taking accountability for what was never our fault in the first place.
Healing from the traumatic is difficult enough without blaming ourselves for it. The truth of the matter is that we deserve to heal from our trauma. We must stop carrying the blame on our tired shoulders. We need to remember that what we went through does not define us. We are not our worst moments, we are not our haunting, and we are not our shattered pieces.
We deserve to move on. We deserve to take our power back. We deserve to get better. We deserve to heal from our trauma.
I know that dealing with past trauma can be really tough. It’s hard when memories and feelings that you thought you had moved past come back up, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone in this. There are ways to manage your trauma and take care of yourself in the process.
First things first: it’s important to acknowledge and validate your feelings. Don’t try to suppress or ignore them. Allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling and know that it’s normal and okay. It’s a big step to recognize that you’re feeling overwhelmed and to take the time to process your emotions. When they come to the surface, when the tears are flowing, let them come. By doing this, you’ll be able to understand and identify your triggers better, which will help you in the long run.
Self-care is crucial too. Taking care of your physical and emotional well-being can make a big difference in how you feel. This could be as simple as going for a walk, eating nutritious food, getting enough sleep, or practicing mindfulness. Make time for activities that bring you joy and relaxation. And don’t hesitate to reach out to a trusted friend or family member for support. Talking to someone who cares can make a huge difference, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Working with a mental health professional can also be incredibly helpful. They can provide a safe and supportive environment to process your trauma and help you develop coping strategies. They can also offer tools to manage triggers and reduce the impact of your trauma on your life. A therapist can help you work through your feelings and experiences in a nonjudgmental and compassionate way, which can be incredibly healing.
It’s also important to be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for not being “over” your trauma yet. Treat yourself with the same compassion and understanding that you would offer to a friend. Remember that healing takes time and effort, and it’s okay to take it one day at a time.
Additionally, it’s important to understand that everyone’s healing journey is different and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Don’t compare yourself to others or feel like you need to be at a certain stage of healing by a certain time. Trust the process and be patient with yourself.
Finally, don’t forget to celebrate the small victories. Maybe you’ve made it through a trigger without panicking, or you’ve talked about your trauma for the first time with someone. These victories, big or small, are worth celebrating and can give you the motivation to keep going.
Dealing with past trauma can be challenging, but with self-compassion, self-care, therapy, and support from loved ones, it is possible to heal and move forward. Remember to be kind to yourself, take it one day at a time, and always reach out for support when you need it. You got this!
You are born alone, you live alone, and you die alone. Terrifying, right? But truthfully, you are the only person in this entire world who fully understands your experiences, knows your traumas and has heard the sound of your inner voice. At the end of your life, you will have been your own closest companion and the only being to truly have known you… Everyone else will simply have been a voyeur.
Even your most intimate relationships are just intersections, sometimes entanglements, but never complete convergences of you. Within them, you exist through a filter, so living for them is living inauthentically. Out of all matter, space, and lifeforms, you are the only one to have witnessed this world through your lens; your time alone on this planet is quite literally incredible. It is the only proof of your raw existence and the only instance of you that is not inherently a performance. It cannot be judged or validated or even perceived by anyone else. In essence, your alone time is the only time that you are fully you.
In complete solitude, you are so alive, having an experience that is incomparable to any other. Fundamentally, your time alone cannot be documented, preserved, or revisited; it exists in the present moment and then is lost forever. Value derives from rarity, and as time itself is fleeting and inimitable, being alone must be your most valuable asset.
You are the only permanent fixture of your reality—and all else is temporary. Consequently, your overall life satisfaction hinges on the quality of your alone time. Being with yourself is a more unique experience than the wildest documented adventure, so find fascination in it. Because any mundane moment alone is wholly yours, these instances should be seen as the pinnacles of your existence.
When you can extract contentment from these moments, you give yourself the unshakeable peace that asceticism describes: omnipresent, joyous, and completely your own. Peace that, ostensibly, lasts until death. You are born alone, you live alone, you die alone. If you want to die happy, you have to master being alone. (Maybe.)
II. There is so much power in being alone…
…and it is fully under attack. Just by existing, you feed a system that actively suppresses your natural desire for self-relationship. In the West’s economy, it is nearly impossible to access your own power, because the state of capitalism effectively drowns out your capacity for critical thought. You are rarely alone anymore, as the data industry works to monetize every millisecond of your attention. Even in physical solitude, the internet is ubiquitous, working to sell you and sell to you.
You are rarely alone, and it is not your choice anymore; you are a product, plain and simple, and your time alone is antithetical to the system. Describing the emergence of late-stage capitalism, author Shoshana Zuboff writes, “It is no longer enough to automate information flows about us; the goal now is to automate us.” The environment has shifted your baseline into overstimulation, and your subsequent resistance to critical thought is exactly what sustains it.
By design, you are terrified to be alone. The anxiety of facing your feelings is a direct product of the industries that usurp your alone time, alienate you from yourself, and then convince you to fill that void with product. You are afraid of the unfamiliar, and every moment you spend in that fear benefits the same system that created it.
Critical thought moves us forward. When people are unwilling to accept the system as is, revolutions are catalyzed. Throughout history, regimes have violently suppressed activist voices, but capitalism has evolved a less brutal, more sinister approach. By shortening attention spans, inundating the population with stimuli, and eliminating time alone, it asphyxiates the very critical thoughts that could become revolutions.
You live in a dystopia that effectively eliminates your ability to question it. As your brain space is monetized further and further, you are separated from yourself more and more. Who benefits?
III. There is so much power in being alone…
Use it to heal. The time you spend caring for your inner child has greater ramifications than you can imagine–not just for you, but for all the generations to come after you. Because your relationships with others are simply projections of your relationship with self, the healing that occurs at a personal level translates to large-scale societal development. Humanity is all connected, and your unique experience is an integral piece of the puzzle.
Your brain exists to serve you: to recognize danger, to isolate negative patterns, and to formulate solutions. When you retreat from the system, you can provide the answers to your own stress, reactivity, and self-sabotage. In intentional alone-time, you build self-awareness and mental fortitude, cultivating a healthy relationship with your only forever companion.
By becoming familiar with yourself, you learn your traumas and stop holding yourself accountable for what has been done to you. You discover that your reactivity is derived from situations out of your control– ones that cannot define you. You learn why you made your last decision and that you are fully in charge of your next one. As these truths solidify, you lend grace to others and externalize that morality is relative. When you recognize that humans are simply products of their experiences, you become a more empathetic friend, lover, family member, and person. You become the change you want to see, and, slowly, the world evolves through you.
You are the only person you will ever fully know; you are the only person you can ever fully love. From that love, generational trauma ends and generational healing begins. When you reject the industry of overstimulation, you find inner peace, disrupt the system, and move society forward.
You are the composite result of millions of years of survival, strategy, and love. Your existence is proof that life finds a way, and that innovation and beauty are facets of nature. You are the most powerful tool in existence, so make remarkable use of yourself… by doing nothing. Seriously. You are underutilizing your most valuable asset because you don’t do nothing enough.
I have never been particularly good at letting go.
I remember it all, especially those things that ache. In fact, I recall those wounds the most. Call it a negativity bias, mental illness, a cry for help, or all of the above, the point is that I hold on to things far longer than I probably should.
I treat forgetting as a betrayal. I cling to memories, no matter how painful, as if those hazy, crystallized images are a lifeline. I white-knuckle relationships long past their expiration dates, and I hold on to mistakes as if gripping their edges will save me from making them again.
I replay last words in my head over and over again. I refer to my past the way an engineer refers to her blueprints. I can’t rebuild if I don’t know where I’ve been, right? I can’t dodge hurt if I don’t see it coming, right?
But I’m coming to realize that living in this way isn’t preventing the aching. If anything, holding on and on and on to the past is only prolonging the hurt and keeping me from the present and creating a better future.
But mostly, hanging on is keeping me from the healing I deserve.
However, I’m finally beginning to realize that the best healing is sometimes just letting some things go. The best healing is moving forward despite the fact I didn’t handle something perfectly or that someone else couldn’t love me back. The best healing is accepting that I won’t always receive the apology I deserve or be able to give the one I have dancing on the tip of my tongue.
The best healing is letting go, and then continuing to live despite all of the wreckage, despite the fray, and despite the heartbreak. Because the alternative isn’t working. I might as well try and trust the free fall and see what happens.
You are exactly where you need to be. Seriously. Don’t believe me? Imagine that you are looking at yourself from the moon.
Stepping out of your body is an unbelievable tool for self-awareness. Take that one step further and expand from basic objectivity to philosophy. Consider your existence from the perspective of the moon… so far removed from the day-to-day that the only thing that remains in sight is what is truly real: the grandeur of life.
I know it is hard to envision the world beyond yourself, but the concept of existence is truly so much greater than your reality. When you accept that there is so much more to the world than what you see, hear, touch, and experience every day, you give yourself the opportunity to be greater than yourself. You connect to all of existence and ultimately recognize that you are exactly where you need to be. Seriously.
When you see yourself from the moon, you also see every piece of context in existence: the struggles of the individual person, the struggles of the collective humanity, the struggles of the planet’s entirety. You are not isolated; you belong to something much bigger, more complicated, and more intertwined than you could ever imagine. Truthfully, the you from the moon is a remarkable thing—an amalgamation of time, space, and matter coming together to create a beautiful being that has achieved its only goal: survival.
Gaining this perspective will change the way you view your current status. Look back on your life and watch the story of you as a voyeur far away on the moon. As you go through it, recognize every moment that you swore you couldn’t come back from… and recognize that you are somehow still standing. The fact that you are reading this right now is proof that you have overcome everything so far. It is proof that life finds a way. Against all odds, you have survived. By looking at yourself through an objective lens, you realize that your story is not mediocre or mundane whatsoever—it is a story of survival and triumph. There are no mistakes, because every decision has led you to right here and right now.
Maybe you aren’t where you want to be right now, but you are somewhere on the journey towards it. Maybe you just haven’t achieved your goals because there are a few more “won’t come back from” points to get through. Maybe the reason you aren’t living your dream life is because you haven’t reached the perspective to realize that you already are. When you get to the moon and look back, it’s clear that there were only ever two options: either you could have fought to be exactly where you are right now or you could have not survived. You survived.
Every time you thought that you hit rock bottom, you have shown up for yourself, fighting your fears and proving that you have the answers. The struggles you endure make you more prepared for the next ones, so find peace in the fact that you have overcome before and you will overcome again. Everything is going to be alright, because you are exactly where you need to be right now, I promise. You could see it from the moon.
Perspective is everything. Astronaut Michael Collins said, “I really believe that if the political leaders of the world could see their planet from a distance of, let’s say 100,000 miles, their outlook would be fundamentally changed. The all-important border would be invisible, that noisy argument suddenly silenced.” Living solely in your day-to-day leaves you with tunnel vision, surrounded by all-important borders and noisy arguments, and in that state, you fail to recognize your true purpose. Instead, zoom out, differentiate between what is real and what is meaningless, and take pride in your existence so far—it is proof that you have always chosen the better option.
You are a part of the wonderful mystery of life, a small piece in a beautiful ecosystem that is characterized by one thing and one thing only: survival. What a wonder it is to be alive. What a wonder it is to be you.
Sometimes, life can just get so beyond busy that it is difficult to check off every single item off our to-do lists. There is often some sort of task looming in the back of our minds that we know we should really get around to doing (but are far too overwhelmed to actually face it).
However, not all hope is lost. One great way to get a handle everything is to make a monthly checklist. Essentially, this monthly checklist would contain all the things you should do at least once a month to take care yourself (and your life).
Here are eight things everyone should do for themselves at least once a month.
1. Reflect on the previous month
First, look back at the previous month and reflect on what worked, what didn’t work, and what you’d like to do moving into the next month. This works best if you make sure to write down your answers to these prompts.
Reflection is important because it turns off the auto-pilot and forces you to be more present and mindful. By addressing what isn’t going as planned, you can work towards better, more efficient ways to lead your life. And, by acknowledging what is going well, you’re able to keep up that momentum.
2. Schedule a “life admin” day
This is best done at the beginning of the month, but a life admin day is an entire day dedicated to doing those nagging to-do list items that fall under “life.” Think scheduling out important appointments, reviewing your budget, organizing your files (digital and otherwise), etc. By dedicating one day to “life admin” work, you’re able to stay on top of everything for the month ahead.
3. Pick one habit to implement (or one habit to kick)
We are our habits. Each month, pick one habit you want to start implementing or choose another habit you want to stop doing. By only focusing on one habit at a time, you’re more likely to be successful in your efforts.
4. Dedicate at least one day for doing absolutely nothing
Rest isn’t lazy; it is absolutely imperative. Make sure you’re taking at least one day to do pretty much nothing at all. You deserve a break. You deserve rest. You deserve to take some time to yourself.
5. Get together with a loved one you’ve been meaning to see (and haven’t)
Your relationships are important. Each month, take the initiative to see at least one person in your life you’ve been meaning to get together with but haven’t. Not only will this make your relationships stronger, but making time for connection is one of the best ways to recenter yourself and feel more grounded.
6. Backup your digital life
When is that last time you backed up your digital life? Exactly. This should be done once monthly.
7. Deep clean your home
This can be done during life admin day, but make sure you are taking one day per month to do a good deep clean of your home. In addition to regular cleaning activities, use this deep clean as an opportunity to get around to those tasks such as wiping down the inside of the microwave, cleaning the oven, getting around to the baseboards, etc.
8. Do that one thing you’ve been putting off that will take 30 seconds
Yes, that one thing you’re thinking of as you read this. Do it right now. And then the following month, do the next thing you’ve been neglecting.
It’s a new year and already I feel the anxious energy starting to build. If you’re feeling stressed out and overwhelmed, it might be time to try meditation. No, it’s not just for hippies, yogis, and some millennial influencers on TikTok – meditation is a practice that involves focusing the mind on a specific object, thought, or activity to train attention and awareness. It’s been around for centuries and is a key part of many different cultures and spiritual traditions.
So why should you bother with meditation? Here are some benefits to consider:
Reduced stress: Meditation can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression by calming the mind and body. Imagine being able to let go of all that stress and just chill out for a bit. Sounds pretty great, right?
Improved focus and concentration: Regular meditation can help improve focus and concentration, making it easier to complete tasks and make decisions. No more getting sidetracked or forgetting what you were doing – bring on the productivity!
Better sleep: If you’re having trouble sleeping, meditation might be able to help with that too. It can improve sleep quality by calming the mind and body, leading to a deeper and more restful sleep. So if you’re tossing and turning all night, try adding some meditation to your bedtime routine.
Increased self-awareness: Meditation can help increase self-awareness and personal growth. It’s like having a therapy session with yourself – without the awkward small talk and high price tag.
Physical health benefits: Meditation has been linked to a number of physical health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, improving heart health, and boosting the immune system. Who knew just sitting still and breathing could be so good for you?
There are lots of different ways to meditate, so you can find what works best for you. Some people prefer to meditate in a quiet space, while others find it helpful to use guided meditations or listen to calming music. The most important thing is to make it a regular part of your routine. Whether you have just a few minutes or an hour to spare, meditation can be a powerful tool for improving your mental and physical well-being. So put that phone down, step away from your laptop, give it a try and see how it works for you – you might just find yourself feeling a little more zen.
It’s a new year, and nobody has time to be stressed.
I can promise you the page will always turn. Each chapter will roll into the next one, with words still undiscovered lying ahead. The implication for us is that our story always promises change.
The routines that strap us into security will always untie, freeing us into a new space. The idea of freedom is one so many of us crave. But sometimes, once it arrives, we can feel freighted by the sheer scale of it. It’s like being launched into the great unknown, ejected from our warm little spaceship to float in an unmapped abyss. Seemingly untethered. Completely suspended from the familiarity of what we once knew. Though that can feel exciting, this chance to do the things you’ve always wanted, it can equally be overwhelming. What if you don’t know what move is next? What if the next star you really shoot for, you miss? What if nothing ever feels as safe, as known, as what you’re leaving behind?
As we move forward, we can experience growing pains. These almost muscular aches stem from a fear of letting go, met with the fear of what’s lying ahead. Tied together, they knot in our stomachs. The instinctive reply is to press our heels deeper in the ground. To lock ourselves in where we are. Elbows in and chin tucked, we hook back into the known, never to discover all the wonders just a page-turn away.
Suspended in the in-between, the space between those two worlds of the old and the new, there’s an opportunity to be bold. To see those uncharted corners of your life as a realm of unbelievable sights, the likes of which you’ve never seen. Rekindle the curiosity that once led us to run between tall grass and towering trees just to see more. Scraped knees long forgotten as we’d find a stick fit for a sword or flowers perfect for a crown.
With any change, the thing that roots you and makes sure you never feel lost is that even in the vastness of space, you are surrounded by stars. Scattered lights, some near and some far, that lift the darkness as you go. We aren’t anchored to things or places. Even if you feel it, you will never be completely untethered. Because our true ties go much deeper. We’re connected to the ones we love, the ones who love us. We hold onto the hands that have held us. We lean on every past version of ourselves who did so well to get us here.
The path behind you can serve as a reminder, a promise, that you’ve done this before. You can do it again. True reassurance emerges from looking at yourself, your strengths, your values, the places you’ve walked before. True comfort comes from knowing that if there is love, you will be okay. No path will lead you astray; no turn will take you too far. You will always be found.
So, lean into the spaces undiscovered. Wade through waters untouched, wander through landscapes unseen. Notice how the sun rises differently here, how the light catches in new ways. Feel life flesh out its texture, becoming richer in the discovery of all its potential.
A new year is a right time for making wishes because it’s like the very first page of a new book. So, I won’t wish for you to find love or to make more money. I won’t wish for you to find a new job, pursue your master’s degree, or get married, because maybe those things won’t make you feel fulfilled. I won’t wish you all the happiness in the world either, because sadness can be beautiful too.
For this next year and years ahead, I wish for you to feel alive.
I hope this year, you will start to see yourself as a gift. I hope you will stop blaming yourself for the way you feel things deeply. I hope you will welcome every emotion that comes along instead of denying it. You were born to feel, to grow empathy and love from within, and to be the example of someone who was born with a big heart and humility. You are not a burden. You are not a set of mistakes. You are not broken. You are a collection of stories, lessons, and limitless wisdom. You are always a work of art even when you see yourself as a work in progress. You are not flawless, but you are still worthy of receiving genuine love from others. Allow yourself to let go of the perfection that you seek. You are allowed to try and fail. To fall and to rise again. To start and end things as you wish. To grieve and to live with the pain. To outgrow people and build new connections. To outgrow yourself and build the new you.
I hope you will start to live your life based on what you want and need. Instead of seeking people’s approval and validation, try to seek new experiences that you will cherish forever. Stop saying “yes” to the things you don’t want to do because you are allowed to reject and disagree. You are allowed to speak your mind and to believe in what you say. You are allowed to be heard. You are allowed to be bold and to go against the mainstream. Allow yourself to learn beyond what you’ve been taught in school. Discuss the taboo things and listen to countless opinions from the people around you. Enrich your mind with different people’s backgrounds and values. Remember your core beliefs, yet understand that you are allowed to change your mind and shift your perspective anytime. Don’t ever settle for just one way of seeing things. You are allowed to explore as many ideas as you possibly can.
This year, allow yourself to put down that heavy burden of people’s expectations from your shoulders. Allow yourself to live. Allow yourself to breathe deeply. To surrender and trust whatever life has to offer. I hope you will understand that there will be many things that are beyond your control and believe that it’s okay if things fall apart sometimes. You’re not supposed to figure out everything overnight. Life is supposed to be confusing, and it’s not a puzzle to solve. It’s okay if you can’t understand everything, because sometimes things just don’t make sense. I hope this year, you allow yourself to let things be. I hope you’ll understand and always know the right time to start or to stop. To stay or to leave. To make efforts or to let go. I hope that this year, you’ll understand how to set boundaries with people and things.
And most of all, I hope that this year, you’ll allow yourself to live. To sing like nobody’s listening. To dance in the middle of the crowd shamelessly. To ask questions and seek help courageously. To heal and to start understanding yourself deeply. To feel every emotion and to cry out of joy and sorrow. To be confused and have mixed feelings. To take new chances and to let yourself learn new things. To rest your body and mind without guilt. To chase your dream no matter how impossible it is. I hope that this year, you’ll understand what truly matters to you. I hope you won’t waste your time loving someone who doesn’t understand how to love you properly. I hope you won’t feel small in front of anyone. I hope you won’t stay in a place where you don’t feel like you belong. I hope you’ll find the courage to move on. To start anew. Stop defining your future by your past. To fully embrace your potential and to set an intention that you’ll take care of yourself properly this time. I hope that this year, you’ll understand what it feels like to be fully human.
For the next years ahead, please always remember that you are allowed to be here. You are allowed to love and be loved. You are here to connect, exchange stories, support, and leave a legacy of your kindness behind. Never see yourself as someone useless. You are here for a reason because, after all this time, your existence matters. You matter.
My wish is that this year, you will always find hope no matter how dark the world will be.