Someone asked me recently what my greatest accomplishment was, and to be honest, I was completely stumped. I thought about my life and surveyed my experiences trying to determine what I was most proud of. As I tried to think of all of the things I had achieved in my life, I realized that what I was most proud of was not something I had done so much as it was who I had become.
For so much of my life, I lived in a place of self-doubt and self-criticism. I was so quick to ask myself “what if I can’t?” or “what if I fail?” I chose the paths that seemed to pose the least amount of risk; but by playing it safe, I was depriving myself of opportunities for true growth and ignoring the voice deep inside of me that was beckoning me to follow my heart, to pursue the things that made me feel most alive, and to create the life that I dreamt of.
Over time, I realized that telling myself that my dreams were too big and settling for a life that seemed "good enough" was not a path to happiness. I realized that, in order to find true fulfillment, I needed to be the architect of my own world, to develop my own unique vision of a full and happy life, and then work to create that every day. But before I could create the life that I wanted, I needed to do some internal spring-cleaning and clear out the clutter that had accumulated in my life. I needed to let go of the fear, the self-doubt, and the beliefs that were holding me back from living my bliss.
It is a never-ending process, and it requires a consistent, conscious effort, but as I began to clear away the thoughts and behaviors that were no longer serving me, I was surprised by the things that I found, things that were always there but had been buried under all of the negative self-talk and limiting beliefs. I found courage, not as something that magically appears out of nowhere, but as something that can be practiced and developed. I found faith, as I surrendered myself to a life of authenticity. The "what if"s no longer held so much weight as I found that choosing the things that feel right and true for me at my core will always lead me to where I should be. And as I began to make authenticity a way of life, I found a kind of happiness that I had never known before--a happiness that radiates from deep within me, one that doesn’t hinge upon the opinions of others or things going my way or measurable forms of success. The happiness that I found was the joyful experience of truly being myself and its has impacted my life in so many ways.
I am now more present, every day. I work harder at everything I do because I own the choices I make and choose to do the things that nourish my soul. I try to embrace every experience as an opportunity to learn and grow, and I bring more positivity into my relationships and the world around me because I have discovered a powerful source of love and light inside of myself, and I am absolutely certain that there is no accomplishment that could be greater than that.
“Whomever you truly are... honor that person. No dream was ever realized by disappearing into the shadows of self-deceit and doubt.” - Jaeda DeWalt
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