I do feel a little cliched (& late to the party!) posting the decade comparison image above, but it’s a message I’d really like to share, perhaps the most impactful one I could write. The photo on the left is from May 2010, the photo on the right is from November 2019, I’d say they are fairly representative of the changes in the lifestyle choices I make & I how I feel.
Before I get into it, I do want to say that this isn’t about making alcohol wrong, that’s not my intention, I very much believe that each one of us should make the choices that are right for us. For me, back in 2010, alcohol was a drug I used as a quick fix that was fun in the moment, but one that didn’t serve my deeper values, in fact it tended to do the opposite. What it did do, was allow me to lose the inhibitions that came as a result of the unhelpful thinking patterns I unknowingly operated from at the time. Without understanding of the power of my thoughts, my self talk was negatively impacting both my behaviour & my freedom to express myself, alcohol allowed me to escape the internal chatter & that gave me freedom at the time.
The result was there were a lot of fun times partying in my twenties, I’m not going to pretend otherwise. However, those experiences were temporary, short lived moments, they gave me fleeting moments of happiness but they didn’t make me feel deeply fulfilled. In other words, when the fun stopped, without alignment to my deepest values, there was a sense of emptiness within & I lacked deep rooted self love as a result.
Again, I was oblivious to it at the time, but without self-love I was fixated on tailoring my behaviour to try to impress others, rather than impressing my deeper self. I wasn’t proud of the person I was, & with that I had no real option but to chase the quick wins that at least gave me moments of happiness. In fact, I didn’t know my highest values (I’m not sure most people do) so what hope did I have of ever living in tune with them?
The interesting part to this is that if my body didn’t talk to me (by giving me the challenge I experienced around sex) I’m not sure I would have ever gone through change, I could easily have just continued to follow society in ticking the happiness boxes. At the time society was telling me I was doing well, I was safe with my home, friends, money, etc, I could continue to hide the emptiness within. However, around the age of 30 I became fed up with the lack of sexual fulfilment & found help in the form of a life coach. I was excited about the prospect of learning new sex secrets that would solve my issue and make me a God in the bedroom, the reality was she was reprogramming my mind & helping me align to my values. Alas, there were to be no new sex tricks, but I was learning to behave in a way that served me more deeply at long last.
10 years on & i’ve been accused of having a breakdown, being weird & probably all sorts of other interesting stuff! The truth is changed my perspective from looking for happiness externally & began to change my behaviour accordingly. From there I learned how to love both myself & others, & to live with an authentic smile on my face, with or without alcohol. I swapped instant gratification for things that made me proud – that’s what I now feel as fulfilment. For me, happiness is a temporary emotion, fulfilment is deep rooted & more permanent. The beauty in all this, find fulfilment & we experience happiness for no reason.
Now we are all different, it’s our own responsibility to connect to our own deepest values & align our behaviour accordingly. Society teaches us that it’s better to look good than to feel good, my message here is to flip that psyche. Change often isn’t the easy path, some people will judge us, & our ego prefers us to stay as we are, but internally I now feel inspired & alive – I’ll take that over societies validation forever more. The relationship we have with ourselves is the most important relationship we can ever have, learn your deepest values & align your behaviour accordingly.