“Room to Grow.”

Artwork credit: Leslie Molina, (IG: @oh_long_leslie )

“Finding yourself” is not really how it works. You aren’t a ten dollar bill, left behind, in last year’s winter coat pocket. You also are not lost. Your true self is, and always has been, right there – buried beneath cultural conditioning, other people’s opinions, and inaccurate conclusions you drew as a child, as well as an adult, that then became your beliefs about who you are.

“Finding yourself” is actually a returning to yourself. An unlearning, an excavation, a redirecting, a remembering of who you were before the world got its hands on you.

When we finally make it to this point in self improvement, we have a tendency to weed out the toxic people in our lives – the ones who make us feel sh*t about ourselves, who drain us of our energy, or encourage us to act in ways that are counterproductive to our authentic selves.

Once we identify who those negative people are – the gossipers, the complainers, the conflict mongers and attention seekers… we draw hard-lined boundaries around ourselves, or whatever else we feel needs to be done in order to make these friendships work for us. And, if we can’t find a way to make a friendship healthy for us, we wish that person well and we simply let them go.

In many ways, this is good and I wholeheartedly agree that it is a healthy thing to do… but part of the problem is that, for some people, the finger of blame is always being pointed outward and at the other person. In this scenario, the fix is external to us, but can our lives ever really be fixed only with external changes?

I’m not sure who needs to hear this today, but in case it’s you who needs to be reminded: There are no perfect people.

There are lots of people trying to better themselves and improve their lives, but none of them are perfect.

It’s important for us to remember that because sometimes, from the outside looking in, it’s easy to think otherwise.

“Compassion is the key to forgiveness. Everyone’s an asshole and everyone is awesome. We’re all of it. When we’re acting unconsciously and not at our highest level, it’s because we’re in pain and fear. Everyone is fighting his or her own inner battles. Do not define yourself and other people by our less-than-impressive behaviors. It’s the pain speaking, and you can find compassion for a person in pain. If you want to be free, make the choice to forgive.”

– Nicole Arcieri, LMFT

Each and every one of us struggles with something – perhaps even the very same things? Self-doubt, pride, ambition, fear… that’s just what life looks like. Trials, temptations, mistakes, regrets, always falling a little bit short… that’s what life looks for me, for you, and for everybody else.

I feel like, as children, we tend to need our friends. We haven’t yet developed our own selves – we don’t yet know who we are or what what we believe in. As adults, however, we’ve had time to grow. Our experiences in life mold us and shape us into the person whom we have become. If we’re especially sensitive to our influences, we have engaged in some form of therapy, self help, or mindfulness training and we realize that, no matter how old we are or how much life experience we have acquired, there is always room for us to grow.

The thing with mindfulness is that, without even trying to, we slowly begin to learn more about ourselves… and, the more we learn about ourselves, the more we begin to understand the behaviors of others. Gradually, we’re filled with unexpected insights that were hovering just below the surface, undiscovered for decades, if not our entire lives.

Sometimes it really is completely out of our hands. There’s only so much we can do to help other people, no matter how much we love them or how long we have been friends. In instances like that, do what you’ve got to do to in order to salvage the relationship or, if it truly becomes necessary, sever it – but don’t ever forget to keep working on YOU.

Over time, with intentional, mindful living, it is possible for us to accept all that we are, as well as everyone around us, without judgement and slowly begin to see and appreciate the incredible human beings that each of us are becoming.


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