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What 2020 has taught me so far?

How many times did you ask this question to yourself this year?

While reflecting on 2020, I asked the same question to my followers on Instagram and received so many inspiring and valuable messages.

Before leaving 2020 behind, I wanted to write a brief article where I am highlighting their lessons learned and my interpretations of them.

Here we go: 

ღ The hard times are the best motivation for self-developement.

Most of the time we suffer when we encounter something that changes our lives drastically. To adapt ourselves to the change or to the new reality seems terrific at first glance. However, changes are inevitable, and we don’t have any other choice but to learn how to deal with them.

No doubt the pain you feel is an absolute fact, but don’t forget suffering is your choice of reaction. While some people ‘choose’ to feel miserable and helpless in any challenging situation, some people literally consider it as an opportunity to transform their lives and experience their greatest potential.  

Personally, I am a big fan of the famous Persian poet Rumi, and he describes the state of suffering as a “wound”. Sharing one of my favorite quotes of him saying:  “A wound is a doorway to a higher state of consciousness, towards enlightenment; it is indeed the very point where ‘light’ can gush into our lives”

I admit this mindset is indeed very difficult to obtain. However, once you obtain this mindset you will enrich your life and expand your mind.

rumi quote

ღ You cannot control everything.

Don’t feel like a victim toward the situations that happens to what you don’t have control over. Focusing on your strengths and your attitude towards the situations definitely will be a game-changer in your life.

At the very beginning of this year, when the lockdown was announced for the first time, I somehow immersed myself into my philosophy books which I had left untouched and dusted on my bookshelf. I become more and more intrigued by the philosophy of stoicism which serves different perspectives on how to perceive our life

One of the famous Stoic philosophers Epictetus wrote “Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle: Some things are within our control, and some things not. The chief task in life is simply this: To identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control”

ღ Everyone feels and thinks in different ways.

Recently, I’ve been reading a book called “Conversations with God” written by Neale Donald Walsh. He is bringing upfront one of the most controversial messages saying there is no absolute right and no absolute wrong in God’s universe. Right and Wrong are just two products that change according to time and place. 

“I do not love hot more than I love cold, high more than low, left more than right. It is all relative. It is all part of what is.”

ღ Appreciate what you already own.

“Don’t try to be happy. We’re programmed to be dissatisfied” – Frank T McAndrew

According to research that I have recently read says that happiness is something that is about to happen. In fact, dopamine increases just before we get what we want and drops right away when we get what we want. 

This explains one of the reasons why we suddenly immersed ourselves in online shopping even though we were hardly going out. We all get trapped in chasing the instant feel-good rush by buying more and more. However, since we developed an understanding of “I will be happy if I get that!”, each of us has become more and more hungry and unsatisfied individuals. In fact, the world today faces humanity that is more dissatisfied than ever before. 

So personally, I tried my best to get rid of those intrusive consumer-focused ads (I mean, you can never completely get rid of them, that’s for sure) and unfollowed many of those influencers telling me that my life could be better if I buy this or that. Oh, such a big relief! You know what, focusing on the present moment and practicing the act of appreciation makes life easier, happier, and healthier. 

ღ Let go of negative people

Among all the self-development quotes I read so far, none  of them impacted my life more than this: “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with” – Jim Rohn

The people we surround ourselves with determine the way we are perceiving the world and ourselves. You are very likely to think and behave like them at a certain point. “According to research by social psychologist Dr. David McClelland of Harvard, [the people you habitually associate with] determine as much as 95 percent of your success or failure in life.” That’s a big percentage, right? So don’t surround yourself with negative, unhappy, and constantly complaining people. Some people literally choose to be unhappy, helpless, and depressed which causes you to feel exactly the same. One of the best things to do for ourselves is to allow people to let go and free ourselves.

ღ Never take things for granted.

Again, we always think that things that are about to happen will bring joy and happiness. We have this tendency of thinking the future will be better than our present.

Together with this quarantine, I started to appreciate even the simplest things in my life. Appreciate and be grateful for the existence of the people I love, for their health, for my health…I mean I had never been grateful for being able to walk in the park close to our home. Unfortunately, most of the time we start recognizing and valuing things, once we lose them. That’s why I am practicing to be more and more present and enjoying the actual moment. Otherwise, moments just keep passing by, right?

ღ Limit Your Social Media

We are constantly invaded either by the news that gives this certain illusion of everything in this world is going tremendously bad and you are in the midst of chaos, or either you get lost in this loop of social media thinking everyone’s life rocks and you clearly falling behind in life.

Well… I’ve been there. I didn’t know how constantly being exposed to the invasive ads could harm my mental health until I literally fell ill from my increased levels of cortisone and anxiety. So, I decided to cut diligently the excess distractions of my life which later helped me focus on things that really matter and on what really makes me happy.

You gotta be conscious! Be aware of how you use digital/social media and most importantly how it uses you!

ღ Just do it! Don’t wait too much!

I always wanted to have a blog for myself where I could freely articulate my thoughts. But, I had a hard time deciding the best time to launch my website or starting to create posts on my new social media account.  Obviously, there were so many serious things going on in the world so nobody would give a shit to what I am saying.  

Elizabeth Gilbert “A plan executed imperfectly now, is better than a plan executed meticulously never” 

The truth is, whether we want to admit it or not,  there is no perfect moment to start something new. You know what, that moment never arrives! At the end of the day, you are going to be the one who decides for yourself that the time is right, without depending on the outside circumstances.

Buddha Quote

What are your lessons learned of 2020?

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