There’s something incredibly sweet about growing older – the simple, quiet assurance in who you are and comfort in being that person. I had always thought I was a confident and self-assured person, and to some extent I was. However there also always seemed to be cracks in it all. Cracks that would catch me offguard and rock my boat a little too hard at the slightest hint of trouble.

So when I learned that I was going to be a mother, I promised myself that I would spend the 9 months in the lead up to meeting my child getting ready. While others looked into nurseries, impossibly cute baby clothes and what pram to buy, I focused on “becoming”. The fierce sense of love and protectiveness I felt for my unborn child spurred me to ask of myself: am I being all those things for myself?

You are allowed to exist, take up space, and are worthy of any and everything by mere virtue of your existence.

I am proud of the work I have done in learning to be kind and gentle with myself. I am even prouder of the courage to show up each day to live in the new truth that this is continual work, and each day is an opportunity to have a makeover. The voices in our heads can be the most uplifting, or we can use them to tear ourselves down with constant criticism or fear-mongering. I have learned that I deserve the former.

With the benefit of hindsight, what are the things I wish I had known in my early years that would have meant I was gentle on myself? Here’s a few at the top of my head. I hope they inspire you to come up with your list of truths to a more gentler living.

Finances

  • Work on your financial freedom and guard it diligently. You will need that freedom later on to make career decisions that support your passion, ambition and values.
  • Diversify your income stream. A professional career is great, but there’s more to you that you should explore.

Personal worth

  • You will figure yourself out, lose yourself, find yourself, only to lose yourself all over again. And then rediscover yourself. There’s no such thing as having made it; ease up on the pressure you put on yourself.

Happiness and fulfilment

  • Happiness is an intricate inside job. No amount of achievement or adoration will fully sustain your happiness. Work on romancing the ordinary and do the work to be whole as you are, your accolades and laurels quite aside.
  • You are allowed to exist, take up space, and are worthy of any and everything by mere virtue of your existence. You are not to prove your worth to people. The love you are due is not measured by how useful or helpful you are. You are enough.

Interpersonal relationships

  • Interrogate the perceptions you hold about key aspects of life that affect the qualify of relationships around you. You don’t owe your past hurt and trauma your current or future life. You do not get to ruin your life attempting to fix the past, or what you perceive as other people’s mistakes.

Purpose

  • Painful ends pave way for far greater things. Just you wait and see. In the meantime, keep your heart soft, don’t let life’s hardships harden your view and turn you into a pessimist.
  • Hold on to your clarity of purpose. Only you know the true essence of who you are, and that will stead you well when things get a little challenging. Never try to fit in to make life comfortable for others.

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