When you're vulnerable with others and open with your experiences, you can create meaningful, deep rooted connections to others. The kind of connections that make change happen when you realize that beyond the individual, there is a systematic, cultural force in play - we are taught to find fault with our bodies from a very young age. This is how things are now, but is this how it should be?
I hope this blog can lift you up on your worst days, remind you on your better days, and at best, give you the courage to look at yourself with love.
❝ Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished. The person you are right now is as transient, as fleeting and as temporary as all the people you’re ever been. The one constant in our lives is change. ❞
❝ Cakes have gotten a bad rep. People equate virtue with turning down dessert. There is always one person at the table who holds up her hand when I serve the cake. No, really, I couldn’t, she says, and then gives her flat stomach a conspiratorial little pat. Everyone who is pressing a fork into that first tender layer looks at the person who declined the plate, and they all think, That person is better than I am. That person has discipline. But that isn’t a person with discipline; that is a person who has completely lost touch with joy. A slice of cake never made anybody fat. You don’t eat the whole cake. You don’t eat a cake every day of your life. You take the cake when it is offered because the cake is delicious. You have a slice of cake and what it reminds you of is someplace that’s safe, uncomplicated, without stress. A cake is a party, a birthday, a wedding. A cake is what’s served on the happiest days of your life. This is a story of how my life was saved by cake, so, of course, if sides are to be taken, I will always take the side of cake. ❞
The issue isn’t whether you should go to law school (or get an advanced degree in another field). It’s really about your vision of how you can contribute to the human endeavor and be happy about your role and existence as a member of the global society. Our generation, shaped by war and poverty, had a simpler mandate—do everything we can to earn a living and put our children in a better economic footing. You have a much bigger mandate—save the world from its own excesses, ease the suffering of its inhabitants and make innovations to improve our state of being. It’s an ominous task! Once you figure out how you can help fulfill that mandate, the rest is easy…
One quick side-note, you mustn’t define a profession by dollars and cents or by a cost-benefit analysis. A janitor who is committed to his/her job can do more to advance the mandate than a medical researcher who lacks passion or ethics. You make a living by what you take, but you make a life by what you give. It’s not the degree, but what you do with it that counts.
—— An email from my uncle who’s part-lawyer, part-genius, part-gandalf, part-dumbledore, part-careercounselor, part-wonderfulhumanbeing
❝ All power is within you; you can do anything and everything. Believe in that, do not believe that you are weak; do not believe that you are half-crazy lunatics, as most of us do nowadays. You can do anything and everything, without even the guidance of anyone. Stand up and express the divinity within you. ❞
Embrace the uncertainty. Your future is full of potential and opportunities for wonderful things to happen. Having no set plans does not mean you’re set up for failure.
Thank your body. Yes, you have fat. Yes, you have acne. Yes, you could make a long list of imperfections you wish would disappear. But even still, your body is incredible and beautiful. Take time to appreciate it when you feel most vulnerable.
Confidence is not the absence of insecurity. Don’t trick yourself into thinking that once you overcome your insecurities, once you magically rid yourself of every doubt or fear you hold, that you will somehow Beyonce yourself into confidence. Being confident is about channeling all of your energy into seeing yourself as the wonderful human being that you are. To trust yourself, to forgive yourself, to appreciate your quirks and strange habits, to use your mind only to the extent that it will work for you, not against you. Confidence is not unattainable. The more you get to know yourself, the more you confident you will be. The more willing you are to experience failure, the braver you will be. The more vulnerable you are, the stronger you will be. Life is full of ironies and repeated paradoxes. Welcome it.
Take care of your health. Drinking and smoking are cliched responses to stress. As much as you want a quick fix, this is no way to honor your health or your body. Yoga and meditation have helped you overcome body image issues, depression, and anxiety. Why let all that go? What you do physically can affect what happens mentally — no more excuses!
Feed the positive. Now is not the time to say, “I can’t, I’m not, I don’t, I’m not able, I’m not good enough.” This is not the time to doubt yourself. This is the time to be your own champion. When you’re stressed or insecure, you need to be going full force on that self love. It’s much easier to change how you think, than how you feel. If you’re feeling bad, that’s fine. You don’t have to be happy go lucky all the freaking time. That’s insane. Accept your emotions as they come and go, but don’t feed into the negative ones. That downward spiral of negativity? Yeah, don’t let it happen. No reason to beat yourself up. Accept the highs and lows, but stay positive. Your life is in YOUR hands. You have control over your life. You have the power to shape your life and who you are. Believe it.
If you haven’t heard this yet today, you should know that you are an incredible person. You may be rolling your eyes because truthfully, that’s what I would do.
But the other day, after a moment of self pity and negative self talk, I said to myself, “No. Stop. You would never tolerate a friend who spoke to you this way. You’re awesome. You are an amazing person and you need to stop being so hard on yourself. You deserve to love yourself.” People say talking to yourself makes you crazy, but if crazy can make you feel good about yourself, then I’ll take it.
So I want to extend the same to you — to remind you that you are awesome. We may be insecure, unconfident, uncertain at times, but this is not indicative of the kind of people we are or what we are capable of becoming.
And with that, I’d like to add that you don’t have to be happy all the time. Despite what five year old John Lennon said, life isn’t about being happy 24/7. If that were the case, we would not have all the beautiful art, music, literature, stories, connections, and moments that exist in our culture and history today. Life is not about the pursuit of happiness. It’s not about being confident and perfect all the time. It’s about feeling whole and complete, at peace with yourself and others. Feeling whole means accepting the good and the bad, the successes and failures, the ups and downs, all of which are part of life. That’s something you can do now, not after you’ve landed your ideal job, found your significant other, or achieved your perfect body (all things we associate with happiness or success).
Make peace with your insecurities, shortcomings, or failures. Those don’t define you at all. You’re awesome regardless of these things.
❝ It is helpful to remember that negative people are suffering. If it sucks being around a negative person, imagine how much it would suck being a negative person. Their unhappiness contributes to their negative mindset. ❞
❝ If there is peace in your mind you will find peace with everybody. If your mind is agitated you will find agitation everywhere. So first find peace within and you will see this inner peace reflected everywhere else. You are this peace. You are happiness, find out. Where else will you find peace if not within you? ❞
❝ I am beautiful. I see myself as more beautiful every day. Every day I come closer to the actual full realization that my weight has no bearing on myself, my life, my dreams, my goals, or my success. I am beautiful. ❞