Self-Actualization and Aspirations: Are You Where You Thought You’d be by Now?

The end of the year tends to spark a reflection process where we think about all of the experiences we had during the year, some moments much happier than others. Reflection is always a good practice because it helps us process and grow, but it is easy to turn reflection into destructive self-criticism, especially for those of us who are more susceptible to the topsy-turvy emotions and stress that the holiday season showers on us.

When our lives do not match up with what we envisioned we would have accomplished by now, our state of being can get bleak. Perhaps we pictured being our own boss by age forty, or purchasing a house and starting a family, moving to a bigger city with more opportunities, or traveling and experiencing other parts of the world. The list is endless because we all have our own specific aspirations that we have engrained in our minds, in some instances we created these visions decades ago. Our thoughts can be constant reminders of these desires and when they have yet to manifest we can jump into a destructive self-criticism mode.

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Authenticity as Self-Care

When we find ourselves in a complex situation that involves people whom we care about we can easily lose sight of our wants and needs.

Though it can be argued that selfishness is a common trait triggered by self-preservation, some of us have another dominant primal instinct: to nurture and protect.  This gender inclusive proclivity can be difficult to navigate.

If you identify as a protector or nurturer, then chances are that you have found yourself in a circumstance where you get wrapped up in emotionally providing for another person while oftentimes, without even realizing it, forgetting your needs. Worse than forgetting your needs, there are times when we become so concerned in trying to ensure another person’s comfort, or in providing what we think that they need from us, that we do not even take the time to reflect on what we need and how we feel. We don’t check in with ourselves and only realize this when the situation has become overwhelming for us.

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A Post for Veterans’ Day

Approximately 22 veterans commit suicide each day.

There are mystical moments when bonds form instantaneously upon meeting. After exchanging a couple of sentences, you feel the rapport. Maybe it’s because she thinks your nonsensical jokes are actually funny, or because you share the same netflix queues; whatever the reason, it becomes one of the easiest connections you’ve made and it grows quickly.

With him, a fit blue-eyed young veteran, it was the words he used, how he used them, and his eagerness to find the punchline in everything. We spoke the same language. There was a mutual understanding that fueled a sense of home and closeness. That security eventually led to an invitation to the space inside of us that we tend to keep closed off to the outside world.

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We Remain Living

Any type of change has the potential to be uncomfortable and even difficult, but a change in a relationship often triggers a suffering that is universal. We’ve all had romantic relationships that end in heartbreak, friendships that dissipate, loved ones whose lives end while we remain living.

We remain living.

During and after a loss of a relationship, life keeps on moving and sometimes we struggle to keep up. The grief of no longer having the person’s company, knowing that plans that you’d made before the loss will no longer manifest, the reality that someone in whom you found solace in is no longer available to you, these are all factors that you are left to confront.

I woke up several weeks ago to a couple of missed calls from a friend and a text that urged me to call back. When I did call back, though, my friend could not finish a complete sentence before tears consumed her. I managed to make out that her long-term relationship was over; he had left. She was in the middle of the rawness of loss and because she was miles and miles away in another country, I could not hold her. But, I could still support her, love her, and remind her.

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