This month we’re celebrating the upcoming launch of Tiny Buddha’s Guide to Loving Yourself, a book about taming your inner critic that features 40 stories from Tiny Buddha contributors.
Throughout September, you’ll have a chance to meet some of them through daily interviews here on the blog.
Today’s featured contributor is Kayla Albert, a Social Media Specialist by day and a personal growth blogger by night.
In her contribution for the book, she shares her experiences with jealousy, along with a few tips to let it go and celebrate our own greatness.
A little more about Kayla…
1. Tell us a little about yourself and your self-love journey.
My relationship with self-love is a work in progress for me. I will embrace her when I am in tune with my greater purpose and tapped in to my journey, and turn her away when I’m entertaining those pesky feelings of inadequacy.
Luckily, the latter stopped coming around as often once I established a habit of meditating and checking in with myself on a daily basis.
2. Have you ever felt there’s “something wrong with you”? If so, why, and what’s helped you change your perception?
Throughout most of my childhood and up through my teenage years, I always felt as if I was on the periphery of every group. Surface ties said that I belonged, and I had several close friends, but I never fully felt comfortable in my own skin.
I managed to go through the motions of what other kids my age were doing, but I felt things too deeply and was constantly consumed by my own thoughts. In my mind I was “different” and would never feel quite right around anyone.
As I got older, I stopped fighting what it was that made me “different,” learned to nurture my spirituality, quiet my spinning mind, and insert myself into groups of people that already spoke my language. It turns out I wasn’t the “wrong” person; I was just in the wrong place.
3. Have you ever thought something was a flaw only to realize that other people actually appreciate that about you? What was the “flaw”?
I’ve always been largely opinionated and passionate about sharing. My family knows how boisterous I can be, but I went through a period where I rarely voiced my opinion—especially if it was amongst people that were already opinionated, or whose opinions I thought would differ from my own.
I toned down my voice—or turned it off completely—because I thought people appreciated silent agreement more than anything else.
Throughout the years I’ve learned that my opinions offer a snapshot of who I am and where I’ve come from, and people embrace those who are willing to speak their truth, even when it’s not popular.
4. What was your biggest mistake (that you’re willing to share), and what helped you forgive yourself?
I believe that the forgiveness would need to be given for feeling as if something was a mistake in the first place.
Every decision I’ve made and relationship I’ve participated in was a reflection of where I was at the time, mentally, physically and emotionally. I cannot judge anything I have done in the past with the knowledge and experience I have today.
I am not privy to the larger picture that is my past, present, and future; I can only have faith that everything is working together in a way that is more powerful than any regret I may have.
5. Complete this sentence: When other people don’t like me, I…
…wonder what I spark in them that is pushing them feel to that way.
Anytime someone doesn’t like me, I know that it’s about that person—their past experiences, beliefs, relationships, not me. I’m just acting as the mirror they’re looking through.
6. What are some areas in your life where you’ve compared yourself to other people, and what’s helped you let go of these comparisons?
I’ve always had a deep struggle with comparing where I am in my life with where my peers are. This has led me to feel behind in every area, no matter the fantastic strides I have been able to make.
Through this struggle, I’ve learned to remind myself that we have all set off from different starting points, we will all encounter different obstacles along the way, and we all have different life lessons to learn. The only productive comparison I can make is between myself today and myself yesterday.
7. What’s one thing you would tell your younger self about looking to other people to complete you?
You will always be disappointed.
The universe has a way of steering us off this path of outside fulfillment, repeatedly, if need be, so there will never be a happy ending as you imagine it. You are on this journey to become whole and no person can permanently fill any hole that needs filling. They have their own journey to tend to.
8. Have you ever felt afraid to show people your “real” self? Why—and what’s helped you move beyond that?
This was the theme of my adolescence. I would spend years socializing with the same group of people but feel as if they never really knew who I was at my core.
The biggest change came when I learned to accept and embrace the time I spent alone. I didn’t use relationships as time fillers; instead, I opened myself to the possibility of positive, new relationships with people that I could connect with on a much deeper level.
The relationships I found allowed me to express who I really was and, in turn, present that person to the rest of the world.
9. What are the top three things you personally need to do to take good of yourself, mentally and emotionally?
- Surround myself with love
- Meditate (even if it just leads to a nap)
I recognize that my mind and body are connected in ways that I may not even be aware of. For this reason I need to care for both my body (with exercise) and mind (with meditation).
Surrounding myself with friends and family reminds me to express gratitude and gives me hope for what my future may hold.
10. What’s something you do regularly that makes you feel proud of the difference you’re making in the world?
We are all struggling with different challenges on a daily basis. I feel proud when I’m able to offer insight to someone that might lighten their load, change their perspective, or give them hope that there’s a larger plan they might not be seeing at the moment.
*Note: I edited this post to remove info about the pre-order promotion, which ended on October 8, 2013. You can learn more about Tiny Buddha’s Guide to Loving Yourself here.