Every few weeks for voice class, we write a self-reflective paper on things we discovered about ourselves(habits, perspectives, etc), issues, and future plans to develop ourselves further. Upon writing my 2nd progress report, I realized how journal-esque the exercise was and wanted to share this with you all immediately! It’s gotten me to reflect on how I can better myself, and ironically, it involves taking a step back. Here’s what I wrote, word for word:
I discovered that I feel like I have to prove myself worthy; prove that I am working hard enough. I try hard to excel in every task. In fact, I try so hard in my everyday life that it exhausts me. Sometimes it takes the life out of me just to get up from bed in the morning. I’m fatigued. I felt so emotionally and physically drained once that I broke down in movement class, and that was really embarrassing and dare I say, a little bit pathetic.
I read somewhere that “hustlers” possess a mind of scarcity—which is what makes them push so hard to obtain more. But ultimately, a mind of scarcity means nothing is ever enough, and they always want more and never appreciate what they currently have. This is me. I feel like I can’t settle for less—I can always be more entertaining, I can always jump higher, aim higher, go harder, make more money, get more things done. On the other hand, a mind of abundance allows me to give more of myself freely in life and in doing so, I actually feel like I have more in life because I have enough resources to give it out. It’s quite ironic the way that works, because logically, by giving more, I have less, but actually, somehow, I receive more the more I give.
I also notice that I go first a lot in class. I do this because I want to get it over with so I can relax. I feel like if I don’t, I’ll be holding in my breath just waiting to exhale the entire time; and I can’t until the task is done. I can’t relax until I cross it off my to-do list. I’m not complete unless my to-do list is complete.
I’m always pushing, pushing, pushing. Even in my fitness game.
All my life I feel like I’ve measured my self-worth based on results. Produce good results? Good. Produce no results? Bad. Failure. Waste of time. Waste of space. I think I am this way because my father has always said, “Prove it to me”, and “If you don’t succeed, society will eliminate you.” I think this comes from his own childhood. He often tells me stories of how he was the only boy in his city that made it into university and didn’t become a poor farmer like his parents. His sisters all went to colleges and he studied by candlelight. He wanted to make his parents proud, and I have a feeling he expects me to do the same for him and mom. I think I’m a failure in their eyes because I am not the daughter they wanted me to be. I don’t want to live my life in debt to them; I want to live my own life and pursue my own path in the arts, health coaching and entrepreneurship. To this day, he still doesn’t have faith in me. Somehow, I’ve embedded their belief that I’m not good enough into myself. As if I need to be my own self-doubter; as if my own father wasn’t discouraging enough! A little girl inside of me often goes looking for those nurturing qualities of mothers and fathers in other people that I meet. I hate feeling small, and yet, I secretly yearn for somebody to take care of me, to rejoice when I rejoice, to my cry when I am hurt. I’ve learned to take care of myself for really long time. I’ve been alone for a really long time, and that gets hard sometimes.
I feel like I’m only half-alive, the way I go about my daily routine. Why? I’ve operated on this robotic system for a long time and I know it’s not healthy. At the end of the day, what is life? If I’m not happy doing the things I love, am I really living? I want to change, but I don’t at the same time because this mind of scarcity has gotten me so far. It’s gotten me to achieve great things; to pay for rent, to finish projects, to make it into ______ acting conservatory. People look up to me because of how hard I hustle, because of the passion and discipline I put into my work. It’s become my identity, so who am I if I don’t have these qualities? It’s scary to think about changing my habits and at the same time, it could be wonderful too. My current cognitive function keeps me trapped in a vicious cycle that constantly produces stress and panic attacks.
I have to surrender. My gut is telling me I need to take a period off just to be with nature, sleep in a little longer, and stop hustling so much. I should focus on what I do have rather than what I don’t and approach my day with gratitude. It’s scary to think about rest. I want to get lots of things done while I’m still young; I want to whip out a doppelganger and have her do all the work while I rest and relax–if only life worked like that so I could have the best of both worlds.
Little steps, right? I’m not going to go cold-turkey and rest all day or quit my job; I think that would drive me crazy. I’ll start with smaller goals, like buying less things. I tend to overindulge a lot on materials to get more bang for my buck. For example, if I’m making a shopping trip, to save myself time from making a second trip next week, I often stock up this week and overbuy lots of food; much more than I need. At the back of my mind I know that I am being excessive, but I feel like I must maximize the situation to gain the most out of it because the opportunity is somehow scarce, otherwise, I’m wasting my effort. Again—mindset of scarcity. In reality, I think I’d be much happier just buying what I need. Now that I think about it, I don’t need to buy anything. I have everything I could possibly need and more. The fridge is stocked. I have enough pairs of leggings to last me all winter. And do I really need that closet organizer from Walmart? I also see my maximizing attitude in the way I multitask to make sure I get done more things in less time. Scarcity mindset again—the fear of not having/doing enough is driving me to pursue all these tasks excessively.
In a way, I sort of see it as gluttony. If I only do what I need to in that period of time, things will be more peaceful; I’ll calculate less, stress less and have less decision paralysis. I’ll live in simplicity by becoming a minimalist. I’ll stop researching what’s on sale at grocery stores (aka looking at flyers) so I that buy only what I need.
Also, I’ll listen to podcasts with undivided attention (which means I’m not also cooking while listening to the podcast). So, less multita.
I’ll plan only 1 major task a day that I need to get done (not a 20-thing checklist). I’ll take a 1-hour nap if I feel tired instead of muscling through the afternoon just because “it’s not bedtime yet”. I need to work on being more intuitive and honouring what my gut is telling me instead of reasoning with my body reasons why it shouldn’t feel that way. At the end of the day, no matter how much I try to negotiate, my body will feel the way it does whether I like it or not.
I often plan my days out in advance.
I am abundant. I am good enough, just as I am. I don’t have to prove or justify myself.
And who says I always need to always go first for presentations? I’ll sit in the discomfort while actively breathing (not holding my breath until it’s my turn). I think this step in particular will be one of the easier ones for myself to handle.
Gosh, writing all of this down has helped me realize a lot about myself. I’m a very practical person, so I’m very excited and anxious to implement the new goals I made for myself. I love taking new actions towards better self-development. I’m just nervous about executing them perfectly.
Do you have a mindset of abundance or mindset of scarcity? How often do you write self-reflective journals?