As we move through life, it is natural to change and evolve. We will feel that change needs to take place when the way we navigated life isn’t working in our favor anymore. Changes can be abrupt and unexpected or subtle and predictable.
Our natural reaction may be to resist these changes and fight to preserve the consistency of who we know ourselves to be, as long as we can. This is who we are as humans. We like predictability because it gives us a sense of control. But resistance can cause more suffering, grief, frustration, anxiety, and panic, than the change itself. Simply tweaking a few things can work miracles, and before we know it, we feel skilled navigating this new season that wanted to unfold.
At other times, we are required to undergo a major shift in life: learn new skills, challenge old beliefs, and embrace new behaviors. How do you know if a change is knocking on your door?
Pay attention to: when things that once brought you joy don’t do so anymore, when activities you engage in don’t feel adventurous anymore, when you wake up every day dreading the day ahead, when relationships don’t feel fulfilling and supportive anymore, when you are dragging yourself through the day from one thing to the next, when there is something you keep dreaming about and wanting, but can’t make yourself do it.
You don’t need to have all the answers.
Welcoming change is not a final destination. It’s continuous learning, trial and error, letting go of the old, falling and getting up again, not having all the answers, and oftentimes just having a blind faith that the best is yet to come!
Breaking generational patterns is hard AND very possible.
Generational patterns are (unspoken and spoken) rules and norms within the family that are perpetuated from one generation to the next. This can include: relational dynamics, gender roles, poverty, abuse, thought and behavior patterns, education level, traumas, and physical illnesses, amongst others.
Breaking these cycles starts with one person believing they are worthy and deserving of more than just the status quo. It starts with one person daring to dream bigger and want more. Being the first one to challenge these long standing patterns takes courage, ambition, resilience, and an unwavering belief in oneself.
As a first-generation immigrant, college graduate, and professional, I've been through many practical and unique psychological obstacles fist-generation individuals face.
Growing up with limited possibilities tends to leave a deeper emotional wound that often permeates long after tangible ways of success are accomplished.
For example, even though you accomplished everything you set to, persisted through many obstacles and adversities, you might feel like you're faking your way through accomplishments, never truly feeling worthy of an abundant life. You might think that struggle and hardship is the only way to success. This deep seated belief is not always so obvious to us, but it can be recognized in self-sabotage, settling for less then what we want, and feeling guilty for success.
Chasing big dreams and being the first one in your family to start creating a different narrative requires continuous and intentional work.
At times, you might have to be your own cheerleader. People might not get you. Others will think it is impossible and unrealistic. But these are other people’s limitations and beliefs - you don’t have to take them on as your own beliefs.
The great thing about being the first one is that you get to create success on your own terms.
It doesn’t happen overnight and it starts with seemingly small things: Having a difficult conversation with your partner (although you’ve never witnessed your parents having one), going to therapy (although your family & friends thinks that’s for “crazy people”), asking for a raise (although you’ve been told you should be happy to even have a job), prioritizing your career (although you “should” be married already), deciding to be a stay-at-home parent (although you should be having a “real” job), believing in that crazy dream (even though people around you say you should settle).
You are creating a different future for yourself and for those who will come after you. You may not be exactly where you want to be, but you are well on your way!
Making decisions is one of the most important things that attributes to us feeling as a creator of our life. Even though a lot of us are not aware of it (mainly because we do it subconsciously and on autopilot) we make many decisions throughout the day. Many of these decisions do not feel empowering. The reason for that is that they don’t help us get to where we want to be, they don’t help us create experiences that feel joyful, and they don’t bring us close to our goals and desires. More often, the opposite is true – they make us feel us stuck, powerless, and lead us to recreating more of what we don’t want.
One decision is all it takes to get out of the rut, start creating momentum, and change the dynamics of what is currently not working. Anyone can start making better decisions. Ones that will make us the creator of our circumstances rather than a victim of them and ones that will bring us closer to our goals and towards embodying the person we want to be.
Traps to Watch Out For:
1. Swimming in Futile Questions
Notice whether you’re asking yourself questions that can’t possibly be answered in the present. For example:
-Will it be worth it?
-What should I do?
-What’s the right decision?
-Will it turn out the way I want?
These kinds of questions at first may seem like they are productive, but they are not. They will keep you spinning in circles, they lead to nowhere, and will take up a substantial amount of energy and time. Swimming in useless questions will create thoughts and feelings of overwhelm, worry, fear, and powerlessness, and will not give you any answers because they are not designed to bring you answers.
2. Being Attached to the Outcome
When making decisions, we are wanting a specific outcome. But when we are overly attached to the outcome, there is a tendency to overanalyze all the options and become paralyzed in non-decision. Many times it is not because we simply want a specific outcome but because we feel like we NEED it. Needing something (attachment to the outcome) happens when we identify our worth as a person with an external accomplishment - we make the result mean something about who we are as people. We turn our result into supporting evidence for a general statement about ourselves. For example, “I need this to happen, because if it doesn’t, it will mean I am not capable,” versus “I would love for this to happen, but regardless of the result, it has nothing to do with who I am as a person.”
Better Questions to Ask Yourself:
-Does this decision support my best self?
-If I could be happy regardless of my decision, what would I choose?
3. Focusing on Certainty Instead of Probability
No matter how logical and sensible you are in your decision making, no one can guarantee you a certain outcome. And while there is no certainty of an outcome, there is a high probability of what might happen. For example, if you decide to invest in yourself by going back to school because you want a better job, no one can guarantee you will actually get a better job, but there is a high probability that you will have more opportunities then if you don’t take any action.
Better Question to Ask Yourself:
-If I chose this, what might be the best case scenario in a year, two, three?
-What’s the best case scenario if I don’t make a decision?
-What decision might I regret not making?
4. Labeling an Undesirable Outcome as a Mistake
Any outcome is simply information. If things don’t turn out the way you hoped or you keep getting stuck over and over on the same thing, this is an invitation to evaluate what needs to be changed. Oftentimes, what we label as a mistake, leads us towards something else, many times, towards something better.
Better Questions to Ask Yourself:
-What would I choose if I’m not scared of making a mistake?
-What would a person who love themselves do?
5. Urgency to Decide
This happens when we are scared to fail, so we make decisions wanting not to fail versus to succeed, which leads to attempts to minimize the risk and make a “safe” decision. By asking yourself what is the intention behind your decision, you can notice whether it is coming from a place of fear versus authenticity. Mind you, there is nothing wrong in making the “safe” decision, because as long as you are consciously choosing it, it is an authentic decision.
Better Question to Ask Yourself:
-Will this decision help me become more of myself?
-If I was the person I long to be (courageous, authentic, compassionate, ambitious, peaceful, etc.) what would I do?
-Is this decision coming from a place of fear or authenticity?
Keep in mind that these questions don’t need to be utilized only when faced with big, lifechanging decisions. They are perfect for tackling daily decisions. The more you practice asking yourself why are you doing what you’re doing, the more you are practicing conscious, authentic living that’s based in the present. Notice if you get into any of these traps and challenge yourself to come up with your own “better” questions.
You are allowed to change your mind. You are allowed to want something and not explain yourself. You are allowed to be grateful AND desire more.
If a specific aspect of your life keeps being a source of stress, guilt, fear, anxiety, or anything that feels constricting, you have the freedom (and responsibility) to change it.
First, it is important to understand and be honest with where you are currently. Imagine setting an intended address into your GPS but not knowing where you are starting. It then cannot take you where you want to go.
Remember that nothing will magically shift and change unless you give it time, effort, and commitment.
📝 Take the time to slow down, observe, and re-evaluate without judgement:
1. What kind of thoughts take up my mind daily?
2. What am I focusing on / daydreaming about most of the time?
3. Who do I admire and why?
4. What do I spend most of my time on?
5. What am I telling myself I “should” do? Do I truly want to?
6. What drains / fulfills me?
7. What feeling do I wish to experience more often?
This exercise can help you gain more clarity on what area of your life needs a bit of fine-tuning, and it will help you reveal where your priorities are. Notice if you like what you realized and what could you be doing differently to move towards being, having, doing more of what feels aligned with you.