“In chaos, there is fertility.” ~Anaïs Nin
Are you a calm creature in your yoga class, then you get home and yell at your kids?
Do you ever read a really inspirational book or blog and think, “Yes! That makes total sense, and I’m going to start doing that!” Then life gets busy and it never quite happens?
Do you ever feel like you’re two different people living in the same body? Saying one thing, doing another?
For the past fifteen years I’ve been a self-development junkie.
I’ve read tons of books and I’ve attended courses and loads of amazing workshops. These covered everything from parenting to time management, relationships to getting organized, healthy eating to setting up a business, plus anything to do with spirituality and personal growth.
All of these have inspired me with an array of fantastic ideas—but often they remained just ideas, floating around in my head without any action plan behind them.
On the mat at my local yoga center I was the calm, peaceful, positive soul I craved to be. Yet, when I got home and re-entered my chaotic reality, it felt like just a temporary illusion.
I was straight back to my grumpy, irritable, impatient “other self.”
What was wrong with me? How could I be so Jekyll and Hyde?
How could I more consistently be the “me” I loved being around?
I was writing in my journal one day when I began to list the qualities I show when I’m being my best version of me.
I knew what brought out the best in me—yoga, inspiring workshops, running in nature, laughing with friends, dancing my socks off, getting stuck in an amazing book.
Then I listed what the poor version of me looks like.
- Mind spinning in overdrive!
I asked myself, “What brings out the poor version of me?”
- Feeling overwhelmed, with a lot on my plate
- Too much on my mind, trying to figure things out in my head
- Rushed, running late
- Not enough “me” time
And it occurred to me that, since I know what brings out the worst in me, why not look at each of these things and find ways to make them happen less often?
I realized that I needed to get a handle on the day-to-day “running the show” stuff.
To tackle overwhelm and having too much on my plate, I began to take a deep look at my time management. I learned how to say “no,” to delegate, and to structure my days better.
I began to prepare for success by meal planning, laying clothes out for myself and the kids the night before, and always thinking one step ahead about what I’d need to take with me before going out the door, so I could feel calm and confident that I wasn’t forgetting anything.
I began to feel less rushed. I was on time.
Then I got back into a regular journal writing habit. I also had weekly scheduled brain-dumps to get things out of my head and onto paper so I could figure things. I crafted step-by-step action plans to get organized and on top of everything that needed doing.
Instead of spending my evenings slumped in front of the TV or scrolling mindlessly on my phone, I started having regular candlelit baths and getting into bed earlier, curled up with a good book.
It was the “me” time I always craved but never thought I had space in my day for. And I was consistent with it. I was finally implementing a lot of the great things I’d read about (hurrah!), and I felt the best version of me coming out more often.
Once I got on top of the logistics, I felt less stressed and overwhelmed. It was easier to be more mindful and present. I began a daily practice of checking in with myself, asking, “How am I feeling?” listening to the answers and using them to guide me.
After a lifetime of telling myself “I’m not a morning person,” I began to wake fifteen minutes before the children and used this quiet time to write in a gratitude journal or meditate using an app on my phone.
It’s helped me stop being so cranky at breakfast and send my kids off to school peacefully, and with love.
It took recognizing what brings out the worst in me to turn things around. It didn’t happen overnight, but by taking baby steps in the right direction I got there.
Now I’m able to be my best version of me in my everyday life—not just on the yoga mat.
If you want to be your best version of you more often, write your answers to the following questions:
I feel like my best version of me when…
How I feel about myself when I’m the best version of me…
It’s easier to be my best version of me when…
I’m a poor version of me when…
What can I learn from these insights? What new habits can I create to make it easier to be my best version of me?
Inspired actions I will take this week:
Share in the comments below: What brings out your best and worst you? What can you do to bring out your best self more often?
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