9 Things I Learned in the 9 Months Since I Stopped Being a Shell of Myself

“For sticking it out is not a strength, when your life revolves around tip toeing around other people’s weakness,” — Ash Ambirge

If it’s not the Gary Vee’s of the world telling us to hustle 20 hours a day, it’s our bosses making us feel guilty for having a life when there’s still work to be done.

Every day we open our eyes to a mounting to-do list. The dishes are still in the sink because they’re at the end of a list that some how keeps getting bigger, despite spending 12 hours a day chipping away at it.

We are tired.

We are hopeless.

We wonder if we were really meant to just pay bills and die.

In 2016 I arrived at my personal disillusionment, when I realized I hated the job I worked so hard to get.

There I was, experiencing heart palpitations and chest pain at 28 years old and wondering if I was just destined for disappointment. If I was one of those women that was just never going to be satisfied.

But then I got to thinking. What would I rather be doing if it wasn’t busting my ass for the company I worked for? What if I was gifted a stack of cash and could quit my job?

There was freedom in the thought. Followed by quick and infuriating unknowing. I had no idea what I even liked doing. I didn’t have hobbies. I had no idea what I would do with myself if I was able to quit my life.

Herein lies the problem at hand. We have been so busy pursuing what we should be doing, that we never took the time to ask ourselves what we would like to do with our lives.

Our ONE PRECIOUS LIFE.

We are handed a stack of life-milestones — college, career, marriage, babies, retirement (hahahaha), death — and told to enjoy the ride. And in living out these milestones, we turn into shells of who we could be.

In 2016, I realized that I wasn’t willing to trade my days for money if that meant I was going to slowly lose my mind. I wasn’t willing to do work that made me want to smash my face on things.

So I did something out of the ordinary.

I politely flipped the bird to all the things I “should” be doing and stepped off the rat wheel.

I stopped hustling. I stopped grinding. I silenced that big, loud, high-pitched world, and got really quiet with myself.

I tuned in. I slowed down.

I stopped hustling for my side gig. I started questioning my career.

You might scoff and think that’s mighty indulgent of me, but I’d say it’s the most important thing I ever did.

In April 2017, I made the quiet decision to stay off social media, to start meditating and start getting really clear on what I wanted out of my life.

Looking back now it was the most important thing I could have done. Here’s the 9 things I’ve learned since deciding to tune the world out and tune into myself.

1. Silence is the answer in a noisy world

There is no better way to get to know your true self, to be able to hear your intuition, than to silence the rest of the world. When I am confused, when I am overwhelmed, when I can’t make up my mind, when I am anxious or stressed, I turn off my phone, I hide my laptop, and I do quiet things.

  • I meditate

  • I take a walk

  • I ask strangers questions

  • I ask myself questions (who happened to be a stranger all along)

  • I play cards

  • I get bored

  • I kiss my husband

  • I play with the dog

  • I listen to music, not podcasts

  • I read fiction

  • I do things with the sole intention to enjoy, instead of document

Too many choices, too many options, too much noise is the surest way to confuse yourself. Silence is usually the best cure.

2. Anything can be learned, even listening to your intuition

For a long time I thought I just wasn’t good at listening to myself. I thought I wasn’t one of those people with good intuitions. I didn’t have the tools to listen to my gut.

Surely me, the woman who woke up realizing she hated her career, and didn’t know a damn thing about herself, didn’t have “intuition.”

But, if I could teach myself something that I loath (like data management), then surely I could teach myself something important, like listening to my intuition.

So I did. I found the things that get me closer to my subconscious are also the things that get me closer to my intuition. So I meditated more, I started journaling, I started talking to my subconscious like I was talking to the Universe (or God, if you prefer).

By way of shutting up and listening to myself, I learned to listen to my gut instincts and intuition*.

*This is probably one of the most important things you can learn how to do.

3. Most things aren’t important

When you slow down, when you stop buying into the trap of “more is better, and hustling is the way to success” you start to realize that most things are not important. If you don’t attend that social event you’ve been dreading the world will not end. Those people you really don’t like are not going to slander your name. They probably won’t even notice your absence.

Most things are made to keep you busy, to keep you consuming. But when you stop it all, you realize that most things do not make your life better, and it’s usually the least celebrated things that do.

Things like softly falling snow, and the swirl of steam off a fresh cup of coffee. Things like your husband building up a fire in the stove, the smell of lavender escaping the cast-iron kettle. Things like laughter, and the quiet comfort of home.

4. The world will not end if you’re not tending to it

We feel so much obligation to things. Like if we’re not babysitting our employees, our families, our friends, our spouses, our home, our work, they will all implode as soon as we stop paying attention.

But here’s the thing: people will figure it out.

People can fend for themselves and most the time they’d rather have the authority to do so. It can be a little heartbreaking to realize you’re not needed every step of the way. But as it turns out, there’s a whole world of freedom when you let go.

5. You start to pay attention to the little ways people love you

I once read that the cruelest thing you can do to someone is delete their birthday off Facebook, so when their birthday comes around and they’re waiting for all the “happy birthday” posts to start rolling in, they won’t get any.

We get so caught up in social media likes. But when you decide to tune that stuff out, you direct your attention to real life, where people that love you do sweet gestures for you every day. Maybe he didn’t like your Instagram post, or leave a sweet comment, but did he make you dinner and do the dishes? Did he whisper ‘I love you so much’ when he thought you were asleep?

Maybe we’ve been measuring other people’s love by the wrong metrics all along.

6. You start to realize your self-worth

For a long time I was busy trying to start businesses that I thought would make me happy. I was always pushing, I was always starting over. I was always plugged into social media, watching what other people do, trying to do what they were doing.

Social media has been shown to increase feelings of anxiety and depression. For me, it made me feel like I was never doing enough to get my dream life. I was always missing the boat on starting my thing, I was always two steps behind everyone else.

Then I tuned out so I could get really clear on what I wanted from my life based on my intuition (not my emotional reactions to other people on social media). In doing so I realized my life, my story, as it is, right now, is exactly as it should be.

I don’t have to keep up with anyone anymore. I decided to start playing my own game, instead of showing up late to everyone else’s. That has made all the difference.

7. You find the experiences that bring you joy, things no one can take away from you

When we slow down in life, un-commit to unnecessary things, tune out everyone on social media, and tune into ourselves, we start to learn all the things that bring us joy.

Like reading in the sunshine, like writing it all out, like your coffee routine, and painting. There is a whole world of experiences out there that don’t revolve around our to-do lists, our social calendars or social media.

We often try so hard to keep up with other people that we forget the simple tenant: life is fleeting. It’s especially fleeting when we’re chasing after things that aren’t authentic to ourselves.

But when we slow down and enjoy life and tune into the small moments, life itself slows down, and hours uncurl and stretch out, just waiting to be enjoyed.

8. We get to face ourselves, and stop tripping on our baggage

Often times we keep ourselves busy and distracted as a way of running from hard emotions. But when we slow down, we’re forced to face ourselves head on.

Some of you might recoil at that statement, why in the world would I want to face everything I’ve been stuffing down?

Because your life moves forward when you deal with things. We get to level up. We get the quiet solace of unpacking hard emotions and events and putting them away, instead of tripping over the same baggage forever.

There will always be baggage. But we must clear out the old to make way for the new. That is the only way to truly make progress in your personal growth: to keep working through the baggage instead of shoving it into the corner.

9. Slowing down allows us to get to know ourselves

Without the constant rattle and incessant chatter of the outside world, we’re allowed the grace of getting to know ourselves.

How long has it been since you got to know the person staring back at you in the mirror? I turned away from myself in 8th grade, and it has only been within the last few years that I started to get curious about myself again.

Around the same time I realized I wasn’t happy with the life I had put together for myself, I got curious about the woman I am.

Realizing I had put together a life that was utterly inauthentic to myself made me crave the authenticity of who I was, behind it all.

I am so happy I got curious.

Conclusion

Life really does begin when we slow down long enough to tune into it. For years I was running in circles, chasing life milestones for no reason other than it was the next thing to do.

Someone once said the best day to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best day to plant a tree is today.

What can you do today to slow down, tune out the world and tune deeply into yourself? Take action 👇

Take Action!

Make massive change in your life by figuring out how you want it to FEEL every day. I created a 10 minute audio exercise to plug you into your authentic self, so you can start living the life you want today 👇

Click here to get the Feel > Do > Be exercise now!