Empty Full or Nourished – A guest post from Nat James
We have made it to yet another year, another 365 days. Already, we’re three months in!
For most of us, these days will be filled with predictability, routine and the comfort of the lifestyle we know well and have lived the past year(s). But there are also those of us who are ready to welcome a multitude of change for self, place and purpose. Often we can plod along through each year, wishing for something to end or to come – both which prevent us from focusing on the ‘now’ and can highlight a much larger issue at hand.
Social obligation to work and earn money in order to fund our necessitates and wants in life can easily muffle our sense of self, instead instilling focus on materialistic desires we believe will make ourselves happy. In todays society we are either constantly striving for something or just find ourselves trying to get by. Some of us are hell bent on finding success – in business, life, love and will work hard to achieve what they believe will result in such. Some of us are frequently trying to make change and set new goals – dying your hair, losing 10kg or promising you won’t eat chocolate for the rest of the year….but always starting Monday. On the opposite side of the fence there are those who have worked the same job for twenty years, buy a PowerBall ticket every Thursday and go camping with the extended family every Easter. Whilst each of us have different opinions and viewpoints on what makes a happy life, and have the freedom to choose to do whatever we desire.
It is important to understand the actions we take and whether or not they are leaving us empty, just ‘full’ or truly nourished as people.
With 2016 having commenced, I thought the discussion of the concept of ‘self’ to be a timely one. We are all familiar with the saying ‘new year, new me’ and undoubtedly I am sure that all of you reading this have goals you’ve thought about achieving this new year (heck, I do too!) and whilst this a great thing, it is important to give recognition to the underlying reasons sparking these desires, the awareness of the processes in which you are undertaking to achieve them and figure out whether not they are allowing you to digest, enjoy and be satisfied with yourself, your actions and the lifestyle you live.
The moment that provoked this thought in my mind was when one morning at a cafe. I decided to order a short stack of red velvet pancakes instead of my usual, predictable and responsible breakfast choice of avocado on toast (treat yo’ self). I had thought to myself, ‘you always eat healthy, go for it’ and felt excited about this uncharacteristic and rebellious move. The first few bites were delicious, my taste buds having a party and my endorphins peaking, however as I dug my way through the mountain of sugar I began to feel dizzy, a little bit crazy and sickly full, yet extremely unsatisfied. This process of instant appeal, initial pleasure and later disappointment is a trend we are all familiar with in one circumstance or another. Whether it be eating unhealthily, attempting to break bad habits, social expectation or superficial goal setting.
In society today, we are made to believe there are shortcuts or ‘easy’ ways to achieve things that in truth will only be realized through hard work.
The processes we employ to change ourselves and our lifestyles, whether it be juice cleansing, the celebrity 3 minute body blitz workout, or taking out loans to buy a nice car and a flat screen TV, leave us not thinking for ourselves but instead complying with and giving in to the social need for instant gratification. With the constantly evolving and competitive world in which we live, It has become second place for us as humans to lose touch with our natural instincts, needs and desires as the things we believe will make us happy in reality leave us unfulfilled, lonely and depressed as they only enrich us momentarily. We know time is precious, yet constantly are looking for the work day to end, the diet to end, the winter months to end and before we know it years have passed and we have been in one constant state of ‘waiting’ and unhappiness. We are all guilty and aware of this, with the common knowledge that ‘things are easier said than done’ however if we start to turn away from striving for improvement and change, we can stop limiting ourselves from who we are and what we have to work with in the current moment we find ourselves in.
Acceptance of your self in any psychical and mental state is a critical part of making change successful, and not attaining this is what I believe to be the biggest pitfall in peoples endeavors to achieve their desires. Many of us have grandiose goals, yet either struggle to put them into action or begin, but then fail or give up in their quests and this may be because the desires you seek are created on a superficial level. We all have different perceptions of what we believe will bring us happiness. Reality TV stars, fashion models, and Instagram celebrities to many are role models due to their aesthetics, riches or fame and thus can be an influence for peoples desire for change. This raises an important issue of identity, individuality and fulfillment. Why do we believe others always have better lives than us? Are luckier than us? Why do we believe we are the only ones who hate our job or are suffering alone in a mental illness? We live in a society where each of us believes we are worse off, and It is because the stakes we have set ourselves for happiness and success are often unrealistic because of the way we have portrayed them to each other through media and various other sources.
We have to understand that it is OK to not be OK, that in the end we are all exactly the same, all have bad hair days and that we each have opportunity and a contribution to this world regardless of the social belief that we are just a statistic.
Yes, having goals to better yourself and your life are positive, however the key to your success lies within one very basic, yet often overlooked concept. Loving yourself (stop rolling your eyes). If you truly start to think and act in loving ways toward yourself, you will cultivate our own personal form of ideal perfectionism that is made up of self appreciation, care, awareness and most importantly, belief. If you start to truly love yourself as a person, you will only do good for yourself. If your desire is to lose weight, you will nourish your body with healthy foods and your mind with occasional treats and you won’t harm yourself with starvation or ‘waist-training’. If your desire is to have a successful career you will apply yourself willingly because of the belief you can achieve and are worthy of successes.
Anything you put your mind to I promise you can achieve, but without loving yourself through the highs and lows, you will not only struggle to attain your desires but will feel like I felt after those red velvet pancakes – full, yet discontented and lost. It is all too easy for us to become misguided, and it is only human for us to experience crises in our lives. It takes courage to commit to lasting change and to think of ourselves in a friendly light as we are often not taught the importance of self love and instead find ourselves in constant comparison to others. I’m here now telling you that you need to be your biggest fan. That if you know you are feeling empty right now you have the power within you to bypass the feeling of being just ‘full’ and can become truly nourished in every way possible with a little self administered TLC. And if you’re currently doing a juice cleanse, you can stop that nonsense and get on with your life in a much more exciting and proactive way.
Thanks so much Nat for sharing this little bit of self love, honesty and point of view about mindset when it comes to eating – not just to look good, but to feel good!
About our Guest Author, Nat James: Nat is studying psychology in Melbourne, Victoria. She has an interest in the power of the mind and it’s connection with our feelings and action for change. You can follow her on instagram @natjames