"Do what makes you happy!”
This looks like a simple statement, but for someone, it might be quite tricky. I am one of these people, or better, I used to be. Not so long ago, I realised that there was something wrong with me as I was struggling to relax and take good care of myself. Most of the time I was just over-criticising myself, focusing on the negative side of every situation, not recognising my achievements and always comparing myself to others. At some point, I realised that whatever I was trying to do to improve the situation, it was not working. I was struggling to go to work every day, I started having big anxiety issues and depression, I was no longer able to hang out with my friends and enjoy my favourite activities, and I even started noticing self-destructive behaviours. Feeling quite helpless, this is when I decided to go to therapy.
That was one of the best decisions of my life.
Probably the first step towards self-love and respect I have ever made. During this journey, I learnt so many things about myself, became truly self-aware and understood why I was having these issues. I realised how I treated others better than I treated myself. I would never be as harsh on someone as I was with myself. This epiphany was essential for the change! Of course, it was not quick, but this was the first step.I understood that I should be less critical and start accepting myself for who I am. I took the daunting(but rewarding) journey of personal growth, involving reading papers and books(besides therapy). I also pushed myself to try new experiences. This last element was crucial to my self-development, especially from the self-love and acceptance point of view. Among the new things I tried, two of them were instrumental: Zumba teaching and yoga practice. Both these activities played an essential role in revealing to me my true potential. I am now able to enjoy doing something, even teaching something, without doing it perfectly. Before I was merely focused on the final result of everything I did and if it wasn't what I expected I was frustrated and stressed.
Now, I finally learned that it's not the final result that counts, but the process. For example, now I can focus on how my mind and body feel while trying a new yoga pose and I can feel great despite being far from perfect. Also, I love to check the smile on my students' face when I mess up a step during a Zumba class and I start laughing. That’s exactly the point, I finally learned that enjoying the process should be the real target of everything we do, particularly things we do to relax and amuse ourselves. How can we relax and have fun if we are just focused on the final result? We would always highlight the mistakes and easily fall into the circle of self-blame and self-criticism. Let me tell you that all this is pretty useless! We only end up hurting ourselves. The best thing to do is to appreciate that we are human beings with positive and negative aspects and all of these aspects are part of us. They make us lovable, special and unique. Never forget that!
I'd love to connect with you! Please feel free to reach out to me on my Instagram @annalisazumbaandfitness