In the midst of one of the lowest points of this year (yes, there were a few of them, but they were all storms I had to endure), I visited a very dear, very wise friend of mine.
After pouring out my fears, anxieties, and resentments she asked,
“So how long have you felt like this? Ten years? Fifteen? When did you really feel like yourself?”
I had to stop and think about this one.
“It probably started kicking in when I was about seven,” I replied.
“Then be your pre-seven self!”
“What were you like before you let the anxiety and fear to inhibit your true self? What did you enjoy doing? What were you really interested in? Do that.”
I didn’t say much, but I did think about it. I guess she knew.
“Make a list,” she encouraged, “and put it somewhere you’ll see it every day, and every time you think of something new, add it to the list. Keep the list as a reminder of who you really are and become your pre-seven self.”
That day, I went home and wrote a list in the front of my journal (well, one of them) and added several things over the next few days and weeks. I didn’t look at it every day, but I made sure I revisited it a few times a week. I am a big believer in visuals (or at least, I know they work for me) and having this visual reminder of what I was aiming for worked wonders. The greatest part of this exercise, however, was knowing exactly what I was aiming for. It’s hard to shoot a straight arrow when you can’t see the bullseye.
Months later, I am much better at being me. I am less fearful of doing the things I love because they don’t fit into a neat little box, and I am continuing to grow into my pre-seven self. Who knew that in order to move forwards, I had to grow backwards?