Have you done this yet?

January 2019 is up! Perhaps you have already made headway on your new goals. Maybe you have forgotten about them. Perhaps you have resolved to not make resolutions ever again. 

Whatever the case, if you haven’t done what I call a JUST HONESTLY AUDIT, this is a good time to do so. A Just Honestly Audit is an honest personal reflection where you get REAL with yourself. No one else can do one for you. Plus reflections are key to one’s personal growth. 

So, here I share some mistakes made in 2018, in the hope that I shan’t be tempted to repeat them. Nothing like good old public shaming for a bit of repentance, they say? And it may pass on a few ideas for your personal audit.

2018 was a year of letting go, new beginnings and Travel with a capital T. I met so many strangers – who became friends. Even those who did not speak the same language; we found means for our hearts to connect. 

Visiting 21 cities and 13 counties in under 12 months and immersing in varying cultures and spaces only made me realise – how similar we all are. At the end of long days whilst chatting with people, there were always TWO recurrent themes.

Just TWO, despite all the differences in languages, cultures, food, perceptions, upbringing and everything else in between. Well, for me anyway. The two recurrent themes were… Relationships and Dreams. 

People spoke about love found, family, love lost, who they are working hard for, who they were grateful for, who they blamed for situations, or people around them. Relationships; all dealing with matters of the heart.

Then there were the dreams. Hopes for the future, ambitions, ideas of how to lead fulfilling lives. he hopes of travel or learning and growth. Or on the flip side, the dreams they have sacrificed or decided not to pursue.

Yes, Relationships and dreams kept popping up. Relationships and dreams to me sound pretty synonymous to love and imagination or should I say – the heart and the mind. This to me translates to MENTAL and EMOTIONAL WELLNESS.

Yet, we never really verbalise it that way, do we? Have you ever heard a friends say  “All I want is mental and emotional wellness”. Not quite. We talk about finding love, getting fit or getting out of a crappy job. But why do we want these things? Why do we want to find love or buy that bigger house or get that promotion or start a business. 

There is a sense of mental and emotional wellness that we believe we will get. 

So, based on these recurrent themes of mental and emotional wellness that us human beings seem to like to revolve around, here are some of my lessons from 2018 in mental and emotional wellness. 

1. Call for silent company.

Has this ever happened to you? You feel down and feel like having some company. But at the same time you don’t feel like talking. So we don’t call anyone but feel alone and maybe even sad.

I had a tough battle with chronic pain in 2018. There were many days that I just lay on my sofa with tears streaming down. My partner was away. I breathed and meditated through it. Yet, some days were much worse than others. 

Looking back, I wished I had called a friend for company, even if I didn’t feel like talking. I could have just said, “I need some silent company, would you be able to come over and just hang please?”. So this year, I alerted a good friend of mine that perhaps a call for some silent company may come from me! 

2. Beware the Vulnerability Hiccup.

Vulnerability is hard for most people. We have been conditioned to be seen as strong and having it all together. Yet as renowned researcher and author Brene Brown says, “nothing courageous was ever done without first being vulnerable”. 

Vulnerability was hard for me. Even my best friend of over 20 years had only seen me cry once. So, in 2018, I let loose. I spoke about my fears, ugly thoughts, challenges, mistakes and plans with unabashed shamelessness. It was liberating (even when it was not well received)! I was experimenting on how to exercise vulnerability.

The lesson? Be vulnerable anyway – just pick your people. Pick positive people; who won’t leave you feeling like there is a huge hole in your life or wallow in more negativity. Pick those that are resilient and tell you truths lovingly. There may be people who love you and you can get good advice from. Find those people, share your light and darkness with them. The others, you can share your light but keep your darkness until you have learned how to deal with it. You can tell those people after (if at all). 

2. Honour your healing process.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I suffered from it after a traumatic event the year before. Although most days I was calm, when I was home alone, I slept with a hammer under my pillow. I had nightmares from which I would wake up and think up of possible escape routes and self defense techniques. Once, I got so petrified once that I called the police. They came to find nothing wrong. 

Then I felt like a fake. I felt like I wasn’t practicing being present. I felt like I should know better and there is no threat in the present. But the truth is traumatic incidents take time to heal. I was healing from PTSD and I just needed this magnificent machine, the brain, to take some time and sort out the horrific event. To just heal.

This was probably one of my biggest lessons and test in the journey of self-healing. When life and family safety is threatened, a more primal survival instinct can take over. So this part is work in progress for me, but my lesson is clear. Focus on the present and on the healing (not the hurt).

4. Are you Procrastinating a health investment?

Health requires constant effort and choices. No two ways about it. Vigilance is required. Without health, life is very tough. I know because I saw my dad suffer from lung cancer and I suffered from chronic pain for too many years.  An investment in bettering health is never wasted. 

The best investment I made last year was in a personal trainer and a chiropractor . Only issue was waiting too late to do it. With all the travel, chronic pain and moving homes, I lost sight of my exercise routine. Plus travel meant I indulged more than usual. With more travel planned this year, I pledge to be vigilant and find healthier eating spots in my travels.

In November 2018, I engaged a chiropractor and a personal trainer. Best moves ever! My PT, Declan, keeps me motivated and accountable which makes me want to do more. My chiropractor, Jennifer, keeps check on my pain progress and gives me tips to move better.

So if you are procrastinating on a health goal, take the plunge. Make the investment. It is worth it.

5. Put yourself in uncomfortable rooms

This lesson was something done right but is so worth mentioning.

In 2018, I was in rooms with people in government leadership roles, highly tech savvy people, people with multiple doctorates or had higher academic qualifications, etc. To be honest, the first time, I was kind of nervous. I thought I was pretty confident already but I felt out of my league, especially when conversations about technology got intense. 

But I learned SO much that I am so comfortable now in using more apps and softwares for my business than ever before. So put yourself in rooms with people you perceive are smarter than you or know more about a subject you want to improve.

Those are my 5 lessons! I have plenty more lessons of course. I didn’t just make 5 mistakes in one year… no where close even.

But if there has not been Mistakes, it’s usually because there had not been any Efforts. 

Being ME = Being (ok) with Mistakes and Efforts 

Looking at both our mistakes and best efforts the same way requires practice. We tend to judge our mistakes harshly. But both mistakes and best effort are just loving lessons.

Wishing you clarity and joy.

PS: Some free resources are available on the home page on my website  www.usha.club. I do post frequent inspirations on my instagram usharaman8 and facebook page https://www.facebook.com/usharaman8/ so join me there!