• personal growth journal prompts
    Self Love

    45 Personal Growth Journal Prompts To Be Your Best Self

    In this article, discover 45 personal growth journal prompts to connect with your innermost self and cultivate a deeper connection with the truest, most authentic you.

    45 Personal Growth Journal Prompts to Be Your Best Self
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    Your Journey to Your True Self

    Who is your truest, most authentic self? When you close your eyes and try to picture yourself, who do you see? What qualities would you use to describe yourself? How have past experiences shaped you into the person you are today?

    These are just some of the questions you can begin to ask yourself as you walk forward on your personal growth journey.

    But first, what exactly does that mean? “Your personal growth journey.”

    Personal growth entails getting in touch with your innermost self and looking into who you truly are: beyond appearances, beyond what’s expected of you, beyond even what you expect of yourself.

    When you get past labels and preconceived notions, who is your authentic self?

    It also requires you to ask important questions and respond with complete honesty. What does your heart really want? What limiting beliefs are preventing you from going after your dreams? What’s holding you back from living the life that was truly meant for you?

    And as you ask these questions of yourself, you must then go beyond just asking. You must do.

    What self-care practices will help you to align with your best self? Start those today.

    What positive habits will serve and support your mind, body, and spirit? Start adding them into your daily routine this month.

    What does your soul need? Let it in.

    Below, you’ll find 45 personal growth journal prompts to support you in your journey. As you go through these questions, you might find that some take up pages of writing, while others can be answered quickly. There’s no right or wrong amount of time or space to use for these questions. Just keep digging for the truth.

    And that’s the key, really: truth. Authenticity. Being honest with yourself.

    Don’t simply tell yourself what you want to hear; tell yourself what you need to hear. But do so with love and compassion. If you find yourself judging or criticizing yourself for your answers, step back and gently assert that criticism has no place here.

    Know that you are always, always worthy of kindness and compassion, even when you’re writing about your own perceived imperfections or mistakes you’ve made in the past.

    Know that all experiences have supported your growth and have led you to where you are right now.

    I hope these personal growth journal prompts support you in your journey and help you to align with the person you were always meant to be: the real and true you.

    Personal Growth Journal Prompts

    • Who is my truest, most authentic self?
    • In what ways am I aligned with my most authentic self in my daily life?
    • What causes me to become misaligned with my most authentic self?
    • What simple daily practices can I do to align with my truest self?
    • How have I grown in the past year?
    • How have I grown in the past five years?
    • What hardships have I experienced that have served my growth?
    • Where do I see myself in one year?
    • Where do I see myself in five years?
    • What weaknesses do I perceive in myself? In what ways could these perceived weaknesses actually be strengths?
    • What makes me feel the happiest? How can I incorporate this joy in my daily life?
    • What would I say to the person I was ten years ago?
    • What would I say to the person I will be ten years from now?
    • Am I able to ask for help and lean on others? Can I trust others?
    • Am I resourceful and able to count on myself? Can I trust myself?
    • Do I consider myself intuitive? Do I trust my intuition when making decisions?
    • How much do I use my logic and reason versus how much do I rely on my intuition and heart? Do I believe one is more important than the other? What’s my ideal balance between these sides of me?
    • When I’m feeling overwhelmed, what practices can I do for myself to feel centered, grounded, and stable?
    • What does my soul need in this moment, and how can I give myself what I need?
    • What limiting beliefs do I possess that keep me from going after my dreams?
    • How can I begin to release these limiting beliefs? Is it worth it for me to try to release them?
    • What does success mean to me?
    • If I could do anything with my life, what would it be?
    • What holds me back from living the life I imagine?
    • How can I cultivate more self-confidence and self-belief?
    • What positive habits do I currently practice in my daily life?
    • What positive habits do I want to add to my daily routine? How can I start adding these habits throughout the next month?
    • Are there any emotions I tend to avoid feeling? Why do I avoid feeling these emotions? What would happen if I allow myself to feel these emotions more often?
    • Am I still holding onto any negative energy from past experiences?
    • How can I begin to gently work through any negative energy I’m holding onto?
    • When I’m working on a project, do I get easily distracted? If so, how can I limit distractions that hinder my productivity?
    • What does anxiety feel like physically, mentally, and emotionally for me?
    • In what types of situations do I often experience anxiety?
    • What practices help me to alleviate anxiety? When I’m experiencing anxiety, what do my mind, body, and spirit need the most?
    • What’s the best compliment I’ve ever been given? Why is this compliment so special to me?
    • What compliment do I wish someone would give me? Can I give this compliment to myself, right now?
    • Am I holding onto any grudges from past experiences? What’s stopping me from releasing these grudges?
    • What does forgiveness mean to me? Am I able to forgive easily?
    • Do I criticize myself often? How does it feel when I criticize myself?
    • What does self-compassion mean to me? Do I have a difficult time showing myself compassion?
    • How can I cultivate more self-compassion in my daily life?
    • What does my self-care routine look like? What do I want my self-care routine to look like?
    • How can I make more space for self-care in my daily life?
    • Why am I always, always deserving of unconditional love?
    • What can I do every single day to show myself the love I deserve?

    Do you have a journaling practice? Share your best journaling tips in the comment box below!

    And for more resources on spirituality, meditation, manifestation, and all things self-love, be sure to connect with me on Instagram and Pinterest, where I’m posting positive affirmations and empowering messages daily.

    More Articles You May Like

    45 Personal Growth Journal Prompts to Be Your Best Self
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  • 30 Day Self-Care Challenge (Free Printable)
    Self Love

    30 Day Self-Care Challenge (Free Printable)

    Download your free 30-day self-care challenge and challenge tracker below, plus get tips for how to approach each activity to best serve your total well-being: mind, body, and soul.

    30 Day Self-Care Challenge (Free Printable)
    Pin this for later! 30 Day Self-Care Challenge (Free Printable)

    What Is Self-Care?

    Self-care refers to the combination of practices you engage in to serve and support your physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional well-being. When you stick to a sleep schedule, brush your teeth, schedule medical checkups, eat healthy foods, and take walks around your neighborhood, you’re practicing daily self-care.

    But self-care also goes a little deeper. Self-care means making space in your life for silence. Connecting with the innermost you. Asking your soul what it needs. And then, giving yourself that thing.

    And at an even deeper level, it means noticing the trending direction of your thoughts. Are you speaking to yourself with kindness? Do you constantly criticize yourself? Are your inner dialogues loving and compassionate or condescending and judgmental toward yourself?

    And when you notice that you’re being hard on yourself, you then have the option to choose differently – to be a little gentler, a little kinder. A little more understanding. (This is directly tied to mindfulness.)

    Self-care is a deeply personal practice. What looks and feels like self-care to you might not align with someone else’s definition of self-care. And that’s okay. What’s important is defining what self-care means to you – and then, prioritizing it not as an option but as an essential aspect of your health and well-being.

    To help you with this, I’ve created a 30-day self-care challenge filled with practices that you can personalize to your own needs. In many ways, this is also a self-love challenge. This challenge is designed to help cultivate a mindset of deep care, kindness, and compassion.

    As you begin your self-care challenge, I want you to remember that this is your challenge. So if there’s anything on this list that doesn’t resonate with what feels right to you, feel free to change it to something that feels better. You’re also empowered to define what each activity means to you. Below, I provide you with suggestions for how to approach each self-care practice, but if you have different ideas, please do what feels best to you.

    Don’t worry so much about being perfect. Rather, focus on what feels good and right to you.

    You can download your free 30-day self-care challenge and challenge tracker below. And if you complete this challenge, I’d love to hear about your experiences. Feel free to leave a comment in the comment box at the bottom of this article, tag me on social media, or send a note through the contact form.

    I hope you find value in this challenge and that it serves and supports your total well-being: mind, body, and soul.

    30 Day Self-Care Challenge (Free Printable)
    Click the image above to download your free printable!

    30-Day Self-Care Challenge

    Below, you’ll find some suggestions for how to approach each of the activities in this challenge. But remember, this is your self-care challenge. So if you have a different idea for how you want to proceed, or if you want to replace one of the challenge tasks altogether, go for it!

    And don’t forget to download your free 30-day self-care challenge here. No newsletter signup is required to access this free printable, but I do definitely encourage you to sign up for my newsletter, as every single time I create a new freebie like this one, I also send it to my newsletter subscribers. (Additionally, I also send a printable affirmation calendar to my subscribers at the beginning of each month.)

    Start A Gratitude Journal

    You can use a notebook, journal, or even your preferred notes app on your phone. Write down 3 things you’re grateful for. Then, for the rest of the challenge, keep writing 3 things you feel grateful for every day. If you need help, check out my list of 500 things to be grateful for today.

    Write Down 10 Things You Love About Yourself

    This one can also be done in a notebook, journal, or digital document. Pick 10 things you really love about yourself and write them down. These can be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual qualities – anything you want. If you’d like, you can add a “why” statement to each list item, diving deeper into why each of these things make you so incredible and unique. (Don’t hold back here!)

    Recite 1 Positive Affirmation Every Hour

    A positive affirmation is an uplifting statement designed to boost your confidence and self-belief. I have thousands of positive affirmations across this website, which you can find here. Recite at least one positive affirmation to yourself every hour today. If it helps, you can set phone reminders or write these affirmations on post-it notes.

    Set Phone Reminders With Uplifting Words

    Set phone notifications to go off throughout the day filled with words to uplift, inspire, and motivate you. You can be your own biggest cheerleader here, reminding yourself that you’ve got this, you’re worthy, you’re incredible, you’re more than enough – whatever you most need to hear throughout the day. Fill the screen with positive, loving words. You can also write affirmations or your favorite quotes here if you’d like.

    Compliment Yourself & Others Throughout The Day

    How often do you tell yourself what a good job you’re doing? How often do you spend time simply being proud of yourself? How often do you look in the mirror and smile into your own eyes? Compliment yourself throughout the day. Then, spread these good vibes and compliment the people you interact with. Make someone’s day today!

    Journal & Reflect On The Past Year

    In the busyness of daily life, we can often forget to spend time reflecting on how far we’ve come. Take some time today to reflect. Journal your thoughts and feelings. If you encountered difficult moments, make sure to honor your own resilience and strength. Acknowledge both the good and the bad. Be kind, honest, compassionate, and authentic.

    Do Something That Makes You Happy

    This one’s pretty broad. Simply do something that makes you happy! Does buying yourself a special coffee make you happy? Does reading a good book or watching your favorite movie make you happy? Does time spent in nature make you happy? You’re not limited to doing just one thing. If you can, you might try to do one thing that makes you happy in the morning, one things that makes you happy in the afternoon, and one thing that makes you happy in the evening.

    Follow A Guided Meditation

    If you already meditate, this one should be pretty straightforward. Don’t meditate? That’s okay! I personally use the Insight Timer app for guided meditations. There, you’ll find thousands of free meditations you can listen to. See if you can find one that appeals to you. You don’t have to sit in a special posture or try to clear your mind of thoughts. Just sit comfortably, close your eyes, and listen.

    Express Your Creativity

    Draw. Paint. Write. Play with chalk. Make paper snowflakes. Color in an adult coloring book. Or a children’s one. Whatever feels good to you.

    Spend Time In Nature

    This can be as simple as going out for a walk around your neighborhood. You might also go out on a hike in the foothills or spend some time near a lake or the ocean. Whatever you do, see if you can unplug for a bit. Notice the moment using all of your senses. Inhale peace. Exhale anything that doesn’t serve your mind, body, and soul.

    Cook A Special Meal For Yourself

    You can cook your favorite breakfast, lunch, or dinner. (Or all three!) You might also try cooking one of your favorite recipes from childhood. And if cooking sounds more like self-torture than self-care, order out from your favorite takeout spot!

    Practice Yoga Or Do Some Light Stretching

    If you don’t feel super comfortable with yoga but are willing to try, there are tons of great yoga routines for beginners on YouTube. You can also find a light stretching routine to try out!

    Write A Letter To Your Younger Self

    I’d definitely recommend doing this practice when you have some uninterrupted time to yourself. You can grab a notebook, lined paper, stationary, or open up a blank digital document. Visualize yourself at a certain age, whether it’s when you were 8, 11, 16 – whatever feels right to you. What do you want to say to this version of you? Is there something you think they really needed to hear? Write these things down. There’s a good chance your present-day self needs to hear these things, too.

    Read A Book You Genuinely Enjoy

    Do you have a favorite feel-good fiction book? Is non-fiction more your thing? Is there a new book you’ve been dying to read? Make time for some reading today. I’d recommend reading at least for an hour, but this is completely up to you.

    Spoil Yourself – You Choose How

    What does spoiling yourself mean to you? For some, spoiling themselves means buying a special coffee or meal. For others, spoiling themselves looks like candles and bubble baths. Try to find at least one way to spoil yourself today. (But it’s completely okay to pick more than one thing! Encouraged, even.)

    Try An Artistic Endeavor

    You don’t have to be a poet to write poetry, and you don’t have to be a painter to paint. Even if you’re a creative person already, see if you can try something you wouldn’t normally do. Don’t judge your work. Just have fun with it.

    Make A Music Playlist Of Old & New Favorites

    See if you can remember your favorite songs from childhood. Add in some of your current favorites. Fill your ears with sounds you love.

    Write Down 10 Self-Promises

    A self-promise is a commitment you’re willing to make to yourself about your life and your future. For help here, you can check out my article, 100 Wholehearted Promises To Make To Yourself Today.

    Write Down & Release 1 Limiting Belief

    A limiting belief is a deep-seated belief that holds you back from realizing your limitless potential and living the life that you know you’re truly meant to live. It’s the thing that’s preventing you from moving forward. Your fears. Your worries. Your doubts about your own potential. Take some time to identify what beliefs you carry that aren’t serving you. Write at least one down. Then, create a new, reframed belief. So if your limiting belief is that you don’t have what it takes to succeed in your chosen career path, you can create a new belief that you’re more than capable of succeeding and thriving.

    You can learn more about limiting beliefs (and how to release them) here.

    Unplug For At Least 2 Hours

    What makes you feel good when you’re not on your phone or devices? Do that thing.

    Brainstorm Ways You Can Destress Your Life

    What are the biggest stressors in your life? Write them down. Then, write down some ways you can remove some of your daily stress. Ideas include going to bed on a set schedule, meditating first thing in the morning, meal prepping at the beginning of the week, organizing your office, decluttering your email inbox, and anything else that might remove a little bit of the daily stress you often experience.

    Write A Letter To Your Future Self

    Choose a specific age in the future: one year from now, five years from now, ten years from now – whatever feels best to you. Sit down and write a letter to this version of you. You can write about what’s happening in your life right now and share some funny or heartfelt stories that will make your future self smile. You can write about your hopes and dreams. You can write your favorite quotes and/or something you heard recently that’s especially meaningful to you. When you’re done, place your letter in an envelope, address it to yourself with a date on the front, and stash it somewhere for safekeeping.

    Write Down Your Goals For The Next Year

    I’d recommend writing down five to ten big and small goals. Then, pick a goal and write an action plan for it. What’s the next step you need to take to achieve this goal? You can write next steps and action plans for as many goals as you’d like.

    Treat Yourself – You Choose How

    This one’s just like the spoil yourself day – you get to define what treating yourself means to you. Maybe it means a spa day. Maybe it means treating yourself to a couple hours of uninterrupted you time. Maybe it’s buying your favorite dessert from a bakery or going to the bookstore and picking out some books. Whatever it is, just make sure it feels special and good to you.

    Make Space For Fun & Play

    What’s fun to you? What feels like play to you? Engage in activities that make you feel good. Play video games. Have a crafting day. Build a blanket fort. Create your own Lego masterpiece. Go to the beach. Dance like no one’s watching. Connect with your inner child and let yourself come alive in pure, unadulterated joy.

    Connect To The Earth & Nature

    My favorite way to connect to the earth is to stand with my bare feet against the dirt and close my eyes. You can also do this while watching the night sky. Gardening is also a profound way to connect to the earth. What can you do today to connect to the trees, sun, stars, ocean, wind, and all parts of nature?

    Compliment Yourself When You Look In The Mirror

    Every time you look in the mirror, look yourself in the eyes and say either internally or aloud something really kind to yourself. Offer yourself sincere compliments. Speak with loving kindness.

    Declutter Your Social Media Accounts

    Go through your most-used social media accounts and unfollow/unfriend anyone who may cause you to feel negative energy within. Keep the ones that uplift your spirit, inspire your dreams, and/or make you laugh. If they feel like positive energy, keep them on your list. If they feel like negative energy, send them love and gently distance yourself from them.

    Try 1 Thing You’ve Never Done Before

    It’s easy to get in a rut in your daily life, so this is a chance to do something new. It doesn’t have to be a really big thing like skydiving or traveling to a new country. Maybe there’s a restaurant you’ve never tried or a dish you’ve never cooked. Maybe there’s a crafting activity that’s been hanging out on your Pinterest boards for a while that you’ve been meaning to get to. Maybe there’s a park you’ve never been to that you can go visit. This can be as big or as small of an activity as you want.

    Repeat Your Favorite Activity From The Challenge

    This is the equivalent of the free space in bingo. What activity did you really love doing over the past 30 days? Do it again! You can also repeat multiple activities if you want. For instance, you can recite positive affirmations once per hour throughout the day while also making time in the evening to read a good book.


    If you complete the 30-day self-care challenge, be sure to share your experience in the comment box below!

    And for more resources on spirituality, meditation, manifestation, and all things self-love, connect with me on Instagram and Pinterest, where I’m posting positive affirmations and empowering messages daily.

    More Articles You May Like

    30 Day Self-Care Challenge (Free Printable)
    Pin this for later! 30 Day Self-Care Challenge (Free Printable)
  • journal prompts for self growth
    Self Love

    30 Journal Prompts For Self Growth (& Deeper Self-Love)

    In this article, discover 30 profound journal prompts for self growth and deeper self-love. Use these journal prompts to help you go within, peel back the layers of your innermost self, and unearth the truest, most authentic you. (Plus don’t forget to download your free printable journal prompts for self growth below!)

    journal prompts for self growth
    Pin this for later! 30 Journal Prompts For Self Growth (& Deeper Self-Love)

    The Art Of Self Growth

    One of my all-time favorite affirmations is this:

    “I love myself fully now as I continue to grow.”

    Growth is a never-ending process. For as long as you’re breathing, you’re continuing to transform, discover, and unearth the deepest parts of yourself. This means that if you wait until you’ve completed your journey of personal growth to finally show yourself the love and compassion you deserve, you’ll be waiting for the rest of your life.

    You are allowed to love yourself fully right now, exactly as you are. Even in your imperfections. Even when you make mistakes. Even when you’re not completely certain who you truly are. At every stage of your journey, you are worthy of deep, unconditional love.

    Embrace the journey. Love the journey. And also embrace and love yourself as you navigate through your inner and outer worlds.

    Below, you’ll find 30 journal prompts for self growth that will help you to go within and gently peel back the layers of your innermost self. As you answer these prompts, be sure to show yourself extra love and compassion. Don’t judge or criticize yourself for your answers. This journey of growth isn’t easy, and it’s something many of us avoid, so acknowledge the courage it takes to take this step.

    And for more self growth journal prompts, be sure to check out these journal prompts for anxiety as well as these spirituality journal prompts to connect to your deepest self. (Plus, be sure to download your free printable journal prompts below.)

    Journal Prompts For Self Growth

    • What would I do today if I knew I could not fail?
    • What limiting beliefs or fears are holding me back from pursuing my dreams?
    • How have I grown in the past year? What led me to experiencing this type of growth?
    • How have I grown in the past ten years? What positive changes am I most grateful for?
    • What are some hardships I’ve experienced, and in what ways have these hardships helped me to grow?
    • What risks have I taken in my life that I’m really glad I took?
    • What risks do I want to take this year, and what’s holding me back?
    • What are my guiding principles and truths? How do I live by my guiding principles in my daily life?
    • How can I be kinder and more compassionate to myself? When my inner bully comes out, what can I do to show myself more kindness and love?
    • In what situations do I hold back from speaking my truth? Are there any situations in which I withdraw, even when I have something to say? What can I do to feel more confident in these situations?
    • What are some of the people, experiences, and/or things in my life that I sometimes take for granted? How can I cultivate more gratitude and appreciation in my daily life?
    • What does it mean to me to be stable, secure, and grounded? When I’m feeling off-balance, what can I do to help myself feel more grounded and centered?
    • What do I need more of in my life? How can I bring more of this to my life?
    • What do I need to release in my life? How can I let go of these things/experiences/people/beliefs to make space for something new?
    • What does success mean to me? How might my idea of success be different from someone else’s idea of success?
    • What tasks do I tend to avoid doing? Why do I avoid these tasks? How can I support myself in approaching these tasks with confidence?
    • Do I have any unhealthy habits? What steps can I take to release my unhealthy habits and create new, more positive ones?
    • What does forgiveness mean to me? Am I able to forgive easily?
    • Do I criticize myself often? How does it feel when I criticize myself?
    • What does self-compassion mean to me? Do I have a difficult time showing myself compassion?
    • What does my comfort zone look like? In what ways does this comfort zone support me, and in what ways does it hinder my growth? How can I begin to step outside of my comfort zone over the next three months?
    • What’s something I’ve always dreamed of doing but haven’t done yet? Can I make this dream come true this year?
    • What’s on my lifelong bucket list? Which of these things could I do or accomplish over the next year?
    • What kind of person do I want to be? How do I want to be remembered?
    • If I could go back in time and tell my younger self anything, what would I say?
    • What self-care practices can I do for myself to nourish my whole self? How can I take care of my mind, body, and spirit?
    • How can I show myself unconditional love in my daily life?
    • When do I feel happiest? What brings me true joy? How can I incorporate more joy into my daily life?
    • How can I love myself a little more today?
    • What will I do today to help my personal growth?

    journal prompts for self growth click to download
    Click to download your free printable journal prompts for self growth! And be sure to subscribe to my newsletter so you can get every new freebie I offer on this website straight to your inbox.

    Do you have any favorite journal prompts for self growth and discovery? How do you balance personal growth with showing yourself unconditional love at all stages in your journey? Share your tips and experiences in the comment box below!

    And for more resources on spirituality, meditation, manifestation, and all things self-love, be sure to connect with me on Instagram and Pinterest, where I’m posting positive affirmations and empowering messages daily.


    journal prompts for self growth
    Pin this for later! 30 Journal Prompts For Self Growth (& Deeper Self-Love)
  • Personal Essay

    Journeying Through the Fog: A Lesson on Inner Strength

    In this post, discover a gentle lesson on finding your inner strength when you must rely on yourself to be your own hero.

    Journeying Through the Fog

    Trigger Warning: Mention of eating disorders and food control.

    I had spent the day in Boise shopping for Christmas presents and navigating the holiday traffic when finally, mentally and physically exhausted, I decided to drive home.

    It was December 2016, and I lived in Baker City, Oregon, a small town of about 10,000 people in eastern Oregon — 128 miles and a two-hour drive away from Boise, Idaho. I had moved to Baker City just two years earlier, but it had been a constant presence in my life growing up. It was the town my parents grew up in and where they met in high school, marrying soon after graduation. It was the town where my grandpa had lived in the same house for four decades, watching his children grow up and his loving wife pass from this world, and it was where I spent his final quiet morning with him in 2015.

    This was the town where each of my older siblings had touched down in at some point in their lives, a safe place to stay for a while as they figured out where they were supposed to go next, but it was never meant to be a permanent place to land. Eventually, they had all moved on in their journey.

    And now it was my turn.

    But there was a problem. Two years in, I had started to grow roots here. I had friends. A community. A good job. A home. On the surface, everything seemed perfect. And it was what I wanted, right? Growing up in a Coast Guard family, we had moved every couple years. I’d said hello and goodbye to a lot of houses and a lot of friends during my first two decades on earth, and I had often dreamed of growing up in exactly a town like this, where I could stay in the same house and have the same friends for the rest of my life.

    This was only supposed to be a brief stop on my journey — a bridge between the past I was releasing and the future I was stepping into — but something had happened along the way. This place was safe and comfortable, so I planted myself into my own pretty pot and convinced myself I could be content, maybe even happy, here.

    All the while, though, I felt like a foreign species. A flower that didn’t belong in this type of soil, trying desperately to make it work, even as my petals were wilting and my roots were becoming malnourished in this alien soil.

    December 2016, I was at a crossroads. Deep down, I knew I couldn’t stay much longer. I dreamed of moving to Boise, where my sister and my best friend and my closest cousin all lived, and where there was so much potential and possibilities. Something within me knew that Boise was where I was meant to be. And I trusted that inner voice. I knew it wouldn’t steer me wrong.

    But I wasn’t sure I was capable of saying goodbye to this place, and even more, I wasn’t sure I could say goodbye to the comfort and safety I had found here.

    When I had arrived in Baker City in 2014, I felt like a shell of the girl I’d once been. I had just spent eight months in Hawaii living with my brother’s family, and while that may sound like a dream, I had spent most of those eight months laying on my bed, staring at the ceiling. It had nothing to do with Hawaii itself. It was what had happened before the move across the ocean that caused me to run and hide.

    An earthquake had rumbled through my personal life, shattering everything I thought I knew.

    As a result of this metaphorical earthquake, I left my job and cut ties with almost everyone from my former life, something I knew I needed to do to save myself. I flew to Hawaii and lived under the shelter of my brother’s roof. I hid. I spent entire days not talking to a single soul. I starved myself in an attempt to gain some semblance of control of my life. I focused on making my body as small as I possibly could, because I think deep down, I wanted to disappear completely.

    Eventually, I traded one roof for another. I left the safety of my brother’s home in Hawaii to the safety of my parents’ in Oregon. In order to avoid thinking about things that I didn’t want to confront, I focused all my energy on exercise and controlling my food intake. I built spreadsheets where I calculated calories and macronutrient intake, scheduling all of my snacks and meals a week in advance. Any deviation from my spreadsheet gave me rampant anxiety. I dreaded eating out because I couldn’t stand the thought of not knowing the exact calorie and macronutrient count of every meal.

    After a few months, a job landed in my lap, and having no excuse not to take it, I accepted. A year later, I moved out from my parents’ home into my own place. I adopted two brother kittens, Yadi and Lou. Anytime there was a problem, I could call my parents, and they’d be there to save me in a moment’s notice. Just like my brother had saved me a couple years before. No matter how bad things got, it was the one thing I could always rely on: I always had a family member willing to save me when I didn’t know how to save myself.

    Back to December 2016: I had done that two-hour drive between Boise and Baker City a hundred times before. I knew the roads well, and I knew the parts that were more harrowing and caused what seemed like daily freeway shutdowns during the winter due to accidents. On this day, luckily, it wasn’t supposed to snow. The first hour of the drive went by quickly.

    But then something happened.

    As I passed the nearest small town onto a winding stretch of freeway with nowhere to exit for miles, a blanket of heavy fog descended upon the earth.

    It happened suddenly, before I could fully comprehend what I was driving into: a deep, thick cloud of white that made it impossible to see more than three feet ahead of me.

    My heart stopped.

    I slowed way down, turned off the radio, and tried every headlight setting to see which one would give me the best visibility. None helped. I turned on my emergency lights on the chance that if anyone came up behind me, they’d see the lights and slow down before hitting me. Deep down, I knew that if another car came up from behind, they’d hit me before they even knew I was there.

    My fingers tightened around the steering wheel, the skin around my knuckles becoming stark white from gripping so hard.

    What do I do? I couldn’t drive in this. I couldn’t even see. Do I pull over? I could try, but I couldn’t even see the side of the road. Chances were, I’d end up stopping right in the middle of the road, or I’d drive off it. My phone sat in the drink holder next to me. My parents were only an hour away. If they knew what I was experiencing, they’d leap to my rescue. I knew they would. It was ingrained in their DNA.

    For a brief second, I wondered if I could tear my fingers away from the steering wheel long enough to even reach for the phone.

    But then I realized all the holes in this plan to have my parents save me. Even if I could somehow figure out how to pull over to the side of the road to wait for them, they didn’t have x-ray vision. They wouldn’t be able to see through the fog any better than I could. One would have to drive their car home, and the other would have to drive mine. That meant I was putting them at a greater risk of an accident.

    I couldn’t pull over, and I couldn’t ask my parents to save me.

    I had to keep driving.

    I’m not sure how long I drove through nothing but white fog that night, but I’m sure it felt much longer than it actually was.

    Finally, the fog parted.

    The world appeared around me again: dark and vast with rolling hills stretching as far as the eye could see. I let out an audible sigh as the tension melted from my body. It took some time to unclench my fingers from the steering wheel, and I didn’t turn the radio back on the entire drive home.

    For the rest of the drive, I sat in silence, staring at the open road in front of me.

    I had done it, I realized.

    I had saved myself.

    When I think about that time in my life, I think about that fog. I think about the moment I realized I had the strength and power to take care of myself. That I could trust myself. As humans, we need other people to survive and thrive, and we need to know we can rely on others and how to ask for help, but at that time, that wasn’t the lesson I needed.

    The lesson I needed was that I possessed more strength and power than I even knew. Everything I was looking for, I could find within.

    Just over a month later, I gave my notice to my job that I’d be leaving, even though I had no plan or job lined up, and I had no idea what I was going to do. In a series of mini-miracles, I was offered the first job and apartment I applied for in Boise, all in less than two weeks. I moved my life to this new city with nothing but inner knowing and a lot of hope.

    And after some deep inner healing, I was able to recover from my eating disorder and cultivate a love for myself that knows no conditions.

    It’s not perfect. I’m not perfect. But even in my imperfections, I love myself completely, and I know I have the strength and resilience to handle any obstacle with faith and grace. And I believe in myself. Truly believe in myself. Even though I can’t see the entire road in front of me, I trust that I’m always exactly where I need to be, and in every moment, I’m headed in the right direction.

    I had only been driving through that fog for minutes, but I had been living through the fog for years: alone, scared, and lost. I didn’t know who I was anymore. I didn’t know my purpose.

    I realize now, looking back, that the physical fog that night may have obscured my vision for a short while, but it lifted a veil that helped me to see that I was meant for so much more in this life. The universe didn’t give me what I thought I wanted, but it gave me what I needed, and I realize now, what I needed was far better than what I wanted.

    I believe most of us, at some point in our lives, journey through that fog. Sometimes, it lasts weeks. Sometimes, months. Sometimes, years. Even if the fog only lasts minutes, those minutes often feel like forever. And often, we turn to outside sources to help us through the fog, and that’s okay, but know this: what you’re looking for isn’t out there.

    It’s within.

    Your fists may be clenched. Your shoulders may be tight. Your heart may feel like it’s stopped beating inside your chest.

    But within you exists a strength you may not yet have even fully comprehended. Not just strength: courage, power, resilience.

    If you’re walking through a heavy fog and have lost touch of your purpose and truth — if you’ve lost touch with who you are — know that you don’t have to force yourself to speed through it, and you don’t have to stop in fear, either. You have so much more strength than you realize. You can do hard things. It’s okay to be afraid, but don’t let fear stop you from living the life that’s meant for you. Because this fog you’re experiencing? Eventually, it will lift. And when it does, the world will look a little different. Not because it’s changed but because you have.

    And it will be beautiful.

    It will be real.

    It will be transformative, and it will be the truest thing you know.

    Often, when we’re immersed in the fog, we believe it’s obscuring our vision, blocking us from seeing the world in its entirety. But what if it’s really doing something else? What if it’s removing everything outside of you so that you’re forced to stop running from yourself? What if it’s a gentle guide, leading you home to yourself, revealing the strongest source of power that exists in the world: the power you possess within.


    For more words on love and daily affirmations to remind you of your unconditional worthiness, be sure to connect with me on Instagram and Pinterest.

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  • life lessons from running
    Self Love

    5 Powerful Life Lessons Learned from Running

    Below, I share five life lessons from running, some that took me many years to learn. These life lessons transcend running, so even if you’re not a runner, you can apply these universal life lessons to all areas of your life.

    life lessons from running
    5 Powerful Life Lessons from Running

    Running

    I never planned on writing a blog post about running. While it’s a big part of my life, I don’t fall under the category of “Health and Fitness” bloggers, and I don’t want “runner” to define me or detract from my overall message of self belief, self love, and following your dreams. “Runner” is not my title. “Just Run” is not my message.

    So why am I posting this blog post now?

    The idea hit me while I was, maybe not surprisingly, on a run. I was taking in the stunning scenery surrounding me and feeling extra grateful for the gorgeous weather that morning, and I thought about how much I enjoy just running. Running is my sanctuary. It’s my “me” time. It’s that sacred hour (sometimes less, sometimes more) when I don’t worry about to-do lists or any other nagging worries that might’ve been nipping at the edges of my mind prior to my run. Everything kind of just fades away.

    I don’t actually have to do anything when I’m running, except just be.

    As I thought about all of these things, it hit me that when I’m running, even though I might have a specific mileage goal in mind, it’s never really about the destination.

    It’s always the journey that I savor and appreciate.

    And that’s when it clicked. Over this past year, I’ve set an intention to just enjoy the journey in life. To be present. To embrace this moment right now and not get so hung up on where I’m going. And when I think about that intention in terms of running, it makes perfect sense. In fact, it even becomes easy.

    Of course the journey is the most important part.

    How had I missed that all these years?

    Running as a Metaphor

    But this wasn’t the first time I’d made a connection between running and bigger, more universal life lessons. There have been many times when I’ve been out on a run, and I’d take a lesson that I was currently in the midst of learning and connect it to running, and then suddenly, it would make sense. Running has allowed me to see things from a different perspective.

    When I use running as a metaphor for life, I suddenly can see everything more clearly.

    You don’t have to be a runner to understand these life lessons from running. Maybe you hate running, and that’s okay. I promise, this blog post is for you, too.

    Because while this is a blog post about life lessons from running, it’s not really a blog post about running at all.

    Life Lesson #1: Another person’s success can never take away from my own, just like someone else’s running success could never prevent me from reaching my own achievements.

    It doesn’t matter if a person runs faster than me. It doesn’t matter if a person runs farther than I run. It doesn’t matter if someone climbs an elevation that’s higher than what I climb. And it doesn’t matter if a person has more medals than me, or if they got theirs first.

    Never, under any circumstances, does another person’s ability to run take away from my own.

    I cross paths with other runners all the time. Sometimes, we’re going in different directions. Other times, another runner might come up and pass me from behind, or vice versa. Often, in any of these scenarios, we might smile and wave, and then we continue along our way, each focused on the individual path before us.

    You want to know what I’ve never, not once, thought on any of the hundreds (thousands?) of runs I’ve completed?

    • “Great, there’s another runner on the path. I guess I can’t run now.”
    • “Oh no. That girl is running, too. I better go faster because there’s only room for one of us.”
    • “If I’m the slowest, they’ll all beat me and then I’ll never be able to run again.”
    • “What if all these other runners shun me from the path?”

    This all sounds pretty ridiculous, doesn’t it?

    Yet, how many times in our lives do we have these kinds of thoughts about other things that matter to us? Have you ever felt a slight twinge of envy when you saw someone succeeding at something that you want? Have you ever thought that if someone else gets that job, that relationship, that pay raise, or anything else you desire, there will now be less to go around for you? Have you ever had a dream but decided not to even try because you figured there were already too many people doing that thing and that there wouldn’t be room for you?

    None of that’s true. None of it. If there’s a dream in your heart that you’re feeling called to, it’s there for a reason. And maybe others have similar dreams, but their paths will all be different from yours, and as long as you follow your inner knowing and choose love over fear, there will always be room for you. Your dream might change along the way. It might take different shapes. Maybe something in the distance will catch your eye and inspire you in a way you never dreamed before. Whatever happens, it’s your journey and your dream, and no one else can ever take what’s meant for you.

    Life Lesson #2: Small and consistent improvements over time are more important and valuable than trying to go from 0 to 100 in one week.

    My organized, spreadsheet-loving self loves training plans.

    It’s the first thing I do when I commit to running in a long-distance event. I count how many weeks I have until the event and decide how many weeks I need for training. Then I carefully build a training schedule in which I plan out every single run from now until the event, slowly increasing the total distances and overall weekly mileage.

    When I signed up for my first half marathon, my longest-ever run previously had been about 8 miles (12.9 km). I created a plan in which I ran four times a week with Sundays being my “long run” days. My first long-run day was 6 miles. Then, 6.5. The next week, it was 7, then 7.5, 8 . . . slowly increasing just a half of a mile every week until I reached 12. The day of the event was the first time I’d run a full 13.1 miles (21.08 km).

    I followed a similar strategy when I trained for my full marathon, steadily increasing the distance of my long runs as well as my overall weekly mileage until I finally ran the full 26.2 miles (42.16 km) the day of the race.

    So why am I going into the minute and kind of boring details about my training plans?

    To show that when I train for an event, I don’t get frustrated that I can’t run the full distance Week 1. I have no expectations of this. When I create a training plan for myself, my goal is to make small improvements over time. Maybe I can’t run 26.2 miles today, but in fourteen weeks, I can, and it’s all because of consistent effort and trusting the process.

    When I step back and look at other aspects of my life, though, I can see many times when I’ve tried rushing the process to get to the finish line faster. As a first-time novelist, I expected to finish my manuscript, get signed by a literary agent, land a million dollar publishing contract, and live happily ever after, all within a couple short months. I wanted these things so badly and always felt like I was in a hurry to get there. But do you know what happens when you’re an inexperienced fiction writer trying to rush through writing what’s supposed to be an epic fantasy novel?

    It, well, kind of sucks.

    But do you know what happens when I treat my writing process like a marathon training plan and focus on making small improvements over time without trying to force anything or rush to the finish line? When I accept that I’m not perfect and allow myself the time and grace to learn and grow my skills?

    Well, then my writing doesn’t suck. Then, it can actually be kind of good.

    I know how hard it is to wait for something you really want. I know how tempting it is to skip right past the period of learning and growing and building your skills so you can get to the finish line. And I know that “small and consistent improvements over time” isn’t exactly a phrase that’s going to ignite a fire in anyone’s heart.

    But if I had tried to run 26.2 miles that first week of training, I would’ve given up. The time would’ve passed anyway, and I wouldn’t have reached my dream. Now, I’m not saying reaching your dream has to take a long time. It really doesn’t. Fourteen weeks of training to run a full marathon really wasn’t that much time at all. If you trust the process, the time it takes to reach your dream will fly by faster than you can ever imagine.

    Life Lesson #3: Just because I’m not the best at something doesn’t have to stop me from doing it anyway.

    I am not a particularly fast runner. In fact, I’m pretty slow. My average mile is about 9 1/2 minutes. I finished my marathon in 4 hours 32 minutes. That’s an average of 10 minutes 23 seconds per mile.

    Not exactly breaking any speed records over here.

    And while 26.2 miles isn’t anything to sneeze at, there are people running longer distances that I will likely never reach.

    And that’s okay. I didn’t start running because I expected to be the best runner. Thank goodness, too, because you know what would’ve happened if I did?

    I would’ve quit.

    I’ll venture out to say that a majority of people who start running (or take up a different type of exercise), don’t ever expect to be the best. When I run, I’m not obsessively comparing my time to that person down the road. I don’t fret about who’s going faster or farther. None of that matters. Ever.

    Instead, I focus on my individual achievements. My goals. My improvements. My personal records. My experiences. Just because there are a ton of runners who can run faster and farther than me doesn’t mean I’m not worthy of running. It would be silly to use that as a reason not to run!

    But how many times have I stopped myself from doing something because I knew there were people out there who were better than me?

    The short answer: Too many.

    Have you ever not applied for a job that really called to you because you figured there were people more qualified than you? Have you ever not joined that class you really wanted to try because you worried everyone else would be better than you? Did you not start your blog or offer to teach that online class because you figured there were already thousands of blogs and online classes better than yours?

    For most of us, we’ll probably never be the best at everything. And actually, in many scenarios, the people who are the best aren’t always the most successful. You know who is successful?

    The people who start. The people who try. The people who set an intention and take inspired action. Those are the people who succeed.

    So don’t worry about being the best.

    Instead, be one of those people.

    Life Lesson #4: It’s about the journey, not the destination.

    My “why” for running is pretty simple: because I enjoy it and I know that I’m doing something good for my body. When I go outside and hit the pavement, I get to breathe in fresh air while surrounding myself with beautiful nature. My average run lately has been about 6 miles, which means I get a whole hour to myself. Sometimes, I listen to a podcast. Other times, I listen to music. Every once in a while, I listen to nothing but my own breathing. On any given run, I’m not thinking about how great it’ll feel when I’m finished. I’m just enjoying the present moment, one step at a time.

    The journey is always more important than the destination.

    I also learned this lesson on a different scale after training for my first half marathon.

    I had trained for that half marathon for 12 weeks. Every week, for four days a week, I committed hours of my time to running. Because most of my training was right in the middle of summer, I woke up early most days to get my run in. I had a goal and committed to that goal, and I never missed a single run.

    After I finished that half marathon, I remember feeling really proud of the fact that I had just accomplished this amazing feat. I’d just run 13.1 miles for the first time, and it felt really good. But I also remember having a funny realization that I hadn’t anticipated:

    As much as I was proud of accomplishing my goal, I was even more proud of the training that had gotten me there.

    I was proud of my commitment. I was proud that I continually showed up, day after day, even when I didn’t feel like it. I was proud of my perseverance. I was proud of all the good runs and the bad runs that led me to that moment.

    Of all these life lessons, this might be the biggest of them all.

    You have big goals and dreams for yourself. And one day, you’re going to reach those goals. You’re going to make your dream come true. And you’re going to feel really, really proud of yourself.

    But you know what you’ll be even more proud of? This moment, right now. For showing up, even when you didn’t feel like it. For sticking with it, even when it was hard. For not being deterred when you had a bad day. For continuing to push through.

    What you’re doing right now matters. So love this moment. Embrace it. You are on a beautiful journey, and it deserves to be celebrated.

    Life Lesson #5: If it’s something you really want, and you know it could be really good for you, then one bad experience should never stop you from going back out there and trying again.

    I’ve had a lot of bad runs.

    How do I define a bad run? It’s one in which I don’t feel good during or after. In fact, I usually will feel, well . . . pretty bad.

    I don’t have many of these anymore, but that’s only because I’ve learned from my mistakes. Historically, most of my bad runs have stemmed from a couple different contributors:

    • It was too hot (my old rule was I wouldn’t run if it was above 95℉/35℃ . . . which meant I was still running when it was at 95℉. Without shade. In the middle of the afternoon. *Facepalm*)
    • I hadn’t eaten enough and had little energy.
    • I wasn’t listening to my body and honoring its need for rest.

    Here’s the thing: I can have bad runs, and that’s okay. Expected, really. But I have never and will never let one bad run stop me from tying up my shoelaces and going back out there the next time.

    Why?

    • Because I am not my mistakes.
    • Because the good days far outweigh the bad.
    • And because I treat bad runs as learning experiences, not as failures.
    • Also because I know there’s a much higher likelihood that I’ll regret not going back out there and trying again than vice versa.
    • And finally, because I love to run, and a bad day doesn’t detract from that.

    These truths are so obvious to me when it comes to running, but in other areas of my life? I wish I could say the same. Let’s use writing as an example. Since I was seven, I’ve dreamed of being a writer. I started writing my first novel in college. I remember sending query letters to agents, feeling so much enthusiasm and excitement, knowing I’d get a big, fat “yes” on my first one. Sure, I read that sometimes it takes writers sending hundreds of query letters before they’re signed, but I was convinced I was going to be one of the special ones. I was going to rise right to the top.

    Then, I got my first rejection. And then my second. And my third. I’m not sure how many I sent, but it wasn’t much more after that.

    I quit after a couple bad experiences.

    I don’t regret any part of the path that’s brought me here as it’s allowed me to learn some important lessons along the way. And running really simplified this one for me:

    If you have a passion and feel called to do something, then bad experiences are not meant to make you just give up and quit.

    They’re meant to help you learn and grow.

    None of us get everything right the first time. I still make mistakes daily. But instead of letting those moments discourage me, I allow myself the grace of being beautifully imperfect, and I search for the lesson. If I fall twice on a run, I’m not going to hang up my running shoes and refuse to run again. I’m going to look both within and around me until I find the source of my falling, and then I’m going to learn and adjust so I don’t fall a third time.

    We were made for resilience. And when we learn to embrace and trust our resilience, then the “bad days” and “negative experiences” become a lot less scary, because we know that we have the ability to overcome anything.


    What life lessons have you learned from hobbies, workouts, personal achievements, and/or sports? Do you have any of your own personal life lessons learned from running? In what areas of your life can you clearly see that the journey has been more rewarding than the destination? Feel free to post in the comments below to share your own lessons and stories!

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    life lessons from running
    5 Powerful Life Lessons from Running
  • life lessons from meditation
    Meditation

    10 Beautiful Life Lessons from Meditation

    Do you meditate? While my meditation practice started only a few years ago, the lessons I’ve learned from meditation are ones that resonate for an entire lifetime. In this post, I list my ten most beautiful life lessons learned from meditation.

    life lessons from meditation
    10 Beautiful Life Lessons from Meditation

    Meditation

    About three years ago, I meditated for the first time.

    If you aren’t familiar with meditation, you probably have some preconceived ideas about what meditation is and how it works. I know I did. I thought that meditation was only for really exceptional people—people who knew how to turn off their thoughts and had this special superpower to transform their minds into perfectly blank slates. That sounded impossible, so I never really gave any serious thought to trying to meditate. 

    But a few years ago, I started noticing people talk more and more about meditation and all of its benefits, so I decided to give it a shot. I downloaded a meditation app and tried a few of the beginner meditations. For a while, I meditated off and on, sometimes meditating every day for weeks while other times not meditating at all for months. Finally, though, I decided to carve out dedicated time to meditating every day. I knew it’d be a positive thing, and I told myself it didn’t have to be a big ordeal. Just ten minutes a day was all I had to do.

    Well, after “just ten minutes a day,” meditation has given me more than I ever could’ve possibly dreamed. I was going to type that my life has completely transformed since I started meditating, but I realized that would be wrong. From the outside, my daily life hasn’t actually changed all that much. I still do a lot of the same things: I work, I write, I run, I read, I eat cookies and binge watch shows on Hulu with my boyfriend in the evenings. In some ways, my life hasn’t changed at all, and in other ways, everything is different now: the way I see myself, the way I see the world, my relationships, my goals, my dreams.

    While I’ve only been meditating for a couple years now, the lessons I’ve learned in this short time will stick with me forever. Below, I list my ten greatest life lessons from meditation.

    I accept love. I receive love.
    10 Beautiful Life Lessons from Meditation

    Lesson #1: I’ve learned how to accept and receive love.

    This has been the lesson that’s taken me the longest to learn, and it’s something I have to work on every single day. I’ve always been a perfectionist, and I don’t say that with pride. For my entire life, perfectionism has smothered and suffocated me. It’s kept me from going after my dreams for fear of failing. It’s kept me afraid and small. And it’s this perfectionism that’s kept me from really accepting love from others.

    I thought the only way I could be loved was if I looked and acted perfectly. I thought that failure and making mistakes gave people an excuse to no longer love me. These deeply ingrained beliefs held me captive for almost my entire life. But as I started to meditate, I found myself challenging these beliefs for the first time.

    I wish I could say I just woke up one day and decided to let myself be loved, but the truth is, it’s been really hard. It’s hard to let go of something you’ve believed about yourself your entire life. When I first started on this journey to self love, I’d spend entire days with my chest feeling hot and tight and heavy from anxiety. I found my brain going back to its old bullying tactics over and over again.

    The real transformation came when I stopped fighting it. I let myself feel the anxiety; I allowed the bully to speak.

    And then I would gently set my hands out in front of me with my palms facing the sky, and I’d quietly say, “I accept love. I receive love.” Dozens of times a day, over and over again, the bully came out, and I’d just keep telling myself that I accept love. I receive love. I am loved.

    The bully still exists, but she’s much quieter now, and when does she come out, she no longer has any control over me.

    Lesson #2: I’ve learned to recognize when my inner critic is trying to protect me—and to gently let her go.

    Like a lot of people, I’m my own worst critic. Historically, whenever I have a positive thought about myself, my brain follows it up with at least five negative ones:

    Yeah, you did that one smart thing, but just don’t forget that you’re fearful and awkward in social situations and that you’re not good at reaching out to people and you should probably volunteer more and you have no self control around chocolate and don’t get me started on your nose.

    Ugh.

    It makes me cringe when I think about how badly I’ve bullied myself throughout my life, but I’m not going to suppress that inner critic or pretend she doesn’t exist. I’ve seen her and met her in the darkest places inside of me, and after sitting with her for a while, I learned that she’s trying to protect me. And once I learned how to accept and receive love, that critic became a smaller and smaller voice. She still comes up a lot in my daily life, but I’ve learned to recognize when she shows up. Instead of feeling bad about myself, I very gently and kindly tell her that her service isn’t needed, and I allow myself to let her go.

    My happiness comes from within.
    10 Beautiful Life Lessons from Meditation

    Lesson #3: I’ve learned that happiness comes from within.

    I’ve heard this my entire life, but I’ve never really felt it until recently. Have you seen the graphic where one person goes up to another and asks where he got his happiness, and the second person says he made it himself? It’s taken me a long time, but I finally get it.

    The best way I can illustrate what I’ve learned is this: My whole life, I’ve wanted to be a writer. I daydream about the day I’m signed to a publishing deal. I imagine what it’ll be like to hold my first hardcover novel in my hands. I imagine that I’ll be so happy. It’ll be the best day of my life, right? But do I really have to wait until that moment to start to feel happy? And when that day comes, do I want to rely on that single moment to sustain my happiness for the rest of my life? What if I could just be really, really happy today? And tomorrow? And all the days after that?

    I’m not going to pretend I’m the human equivalent of a cup of rainbow sprinkles, but I believe my life is as good or as bad as I choose to see it. I can be happy now. It’s my choice. My life isn’t a sum of all the things that happen to me that I think I have no control over. My life is a sum of the way I choose to see it. And I choose joy.

    Lesson #4: I’ve learned the power of gratitude.

    This is the real secret of my joy. After hearing my teachers speak of gratitude in the app I use for guided meditations, I became more aware of acknowledging all the positive things in my life. It started with a conscious effort to write down a few things I’m grateful for every single morning. Then I added a practice where I thought about the three things I was grateful for that day before I went to sleep every night. When I went out on a run, I tried to consciously find things to appreciate: my legs, my lungs, my heart, the trees, the person who smiled and waved on the other side of the street, the sunshine, the guy who lifted his fist up in the air through his car’s sunroof to cheer me on.

    When things are going badly, it can sometimes be really hard to find things to be thankful for. In these moments, if all I can be grateful for is the air in my lungs, that’s okay. But those days don’t happen very often anymore, as it seems as though the more grateful I feel, the more positive things show up in my life to feel grateful for.

    Post-mountain bike crash – smiling through the pain!

    Lesson #5: I’ve learned how to slow down.

    This is another one that’s taken me a long time to learn. I’m a fast mover. You may not see it because I’m a pretty quiet and gentle person, but I’ve always had kind of a difficult relationship with time. I despise being late, so I’m always in a rush to get out the door to get to my destination early. When I’m hiking or running, I’m always trying to move faster. To go quicker. The destination has always been more important than the journey.

    One of the best things that’s ever happened to me was my mountain bike crash that sent me to the ER on the very first day of a trip to Moab, Utah last October. I couldn’t ride a bike the rest of the trip, and it took me several weeks before I could even walk at a somewhat normal pace. All of our plans for the trip had to be adjusted. Instead of long and arduous hikes, I could only go on very leisurely strolls and scenic drives. And you know what?

    It was okay.

    Better than okay, actually.

    It was incredible.

    At a slower pace, I really opened my eyes and looked out at the world, and I reveled in the beauty that surrounded me. I realized that if I’d been moving at my normal pace, I would’ve missed all of these wondrous sights. I started to lose sight of this lesson over the holidays, but meditation has brought it back to me. Now, sometimes when I’m out running, I’ll purposely find moments to stop and just walk for a few minutes and soak up the beauty of the moment.

    Lesson #6: I’ve learned that contrast is beautiful.

    In theory, I would’ve loved to go my whole life never injuring myself on a mountain bike and having to go to the ER on the first day of vacation. But now in hindsight, I’m kind of glad it happened.

    Experiencing several weeks where my body was limited and in pain helped me to appreciate my healthy body even more.

    Overdrafting my bank account during (and after) college makes me more grateful for any money I do have now.

    Having bad bosses has really made me appreciate the good ones.

    Losing friendships makes me cherish my forever friends even more.

    And experiencing rejection has made success even sweeter.

    As meditation has helped me to shift my default perspective to one of gratitude, I’ve become more and more appreciative of all the times things haven’t worked out the way I planned.

    I am worthy.
    10 Beautiful Life Lessons from Meditation

    Lesson #7: I’ve learned that affirmations are powerful.

    I’ve known about affirmations for a long time, but it wasn’t until they started showing up in my guided meditations that I really began to embrace them. I’m not sure if I can really articulate just how much affirmations mean to me and how much they’ve helped me. Like my journey with gratitude, they started out as something I had to stop and consciously think about. Somewhere along the way, though, they became a part of me. They became real. Now, instead of my mind wandering to negative thoughts, I have this constant soundtrack of positive affirmations echoing through the back of my mind. I’ve become and embraced the very things I’m affirming.

    I am worthy. I am powerful. I am abundant. I am loved. I am beautiful. I am joyful. I am exactly where I need to be. All is really well.

    (If you’d like to add some inspiration to your day, check out my free ebook, 400 Powerful Affirmations Designed to Uplift, Inspire, and Empower Your Highest Self. I’m also always adding new affirmation tools to my Resources page!)

    Lesson #8: I’ve learned that I am worthy and deserving of my dreams.

    This has really come from a combination of affirmations, self-compassion, gratitude, and love—the whole toolkit. The words “worthy” and “deserve” have been roadblocks in my journey that I’ve really had to spend a lot of time with to discover why I’ve had so much trouble with them. Saying that I’m worthy of something or that I deserve something has always sounded so wrong. I should be humble, right? I shouldn’t just go around saying I deserve something. Nobody does that!

    But as I’ve slowly and gently removed some of these protective layers, I’ve learned that saying I deserve or that I’m worthy of something has nothing to do with not being humble. To help me find peace with these words, I started to picture people I love. Do I believe my best friend is worthy and deserving of her dreams? Unequivocally yes! Are my nieces and nephews worthy? Do they deserve immense joy? Heck yes. What about my parents? My siblings? My boyfriend? Yes, yes, and yes. So if all of these people are worthy and deserving, what makes me the exception? I’m not. I am just as deserving as I believe everyone else to be.

    Somebody else's success cannot take away from my own.
    10 Beautiful Life Lessons from Meditation

    Lesson #9: I’ve learned that someone else’s success doesn’t take away from my own.

    I hesitated including this because it reveals one of the uglier things that’s lived inside me. For years, I had a hard time coming to terms with the success of others in the writing community because I felt like they were all getting the thing I dreamed about most. A voice in my head told me I wasn’t good enough, and over many years, I let that voice get louder and louder. I steered clear of the writing community because I didn’t want to watch everyone else succeed when I felt like a failure.

    Deep down, this had nothing to do with anyone else and everything to do with my own insecurities and self-doubt.

    Again, I’m grateful for the contrast now, because I’ve learned that it feels a lot better to be happy for people and cheer them on. If you’ve ever experienced similar negative feelings regarding other people’s success, I can say this with absolute certainty: Nobody else’s success can ever take away from your own. Just because someone else is abundant and thriving doesn’t mean there’s less for you. There is room and space for all of us, and there is an infinite amount of success, happiness, love, creativity, kindness, generosity, and abundance out there. I promise.

    Lesson #10: I’ve learned how to have self-compassion.

    I haven’t had a whole lot of self-compassion throughout my life. And even as I started learning all these different lessons through meditation, I’ve still struggled with self-compassion. Because everything I just listed? I’m not perfect at it all. I’ve had ugly moments. I’ve had moments where I still try to move too fast. I’ve felt crippling anxiety. And to make things worse, I’ve then reprimanded myself for allowing negativity to seep into my life:

    You’re not supposed to be sad right now! Remember, happiness comes from within. You know all the “right” things you’re supposed to do. You have the tools to be happy. What’s wrong with you?

    It’s taken a lot of time and work to learn to have compassion for myself in these down moments. I’ve had to remind myself that I don’t have to be “on” all the time to be loved. I don’t have to accomplish anything to be loved. Even if I never do anything in my life except walk and sit and breathe and think, I get to be loved and love myself every single day.


    Has meditation helped you to uncover any deep inner fears or stories you’ve told yourself? What life lessons from meditation have you learned? Leave a note in the comments below to share your experience!

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    10 Beautiful Life Lessons from Meditation