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Rediscovering the person I could’ve been 10 years ago

Rediscovering the person I could’ve been 10 years ago

For the majority of my life, I’d always stayed under someone’s wing — my parents, my grandma, my friends, my ex.

While this has helped me worry less in life and focus more on practical things (e.g. learning at school, staying in good shape, building household skills), it also stopped me from growing up.

I didn’t know how to travel on an airplane by myself.

I had no idea how much my phone bill cost (everything’s on auto-pay).

I didn’t know how to fend for myself if someone blamed me for something I didn’t do wrong.

I couldn’t tell which friend genuinely wanted to help me and which friend wanted to take advantage of me.

I didn’t even know how to talk to guys.

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But of them all, my greatest concern was not knowing what I wanted in life.

What career did I want as my future source of income? What skills did I want to master? What countries did I want to explore? What hobbies did I want to do to fulfill my day? 

Not knowing the answers to these questions scared me. More so than getting lost in a strange, remote place where no one speaks my language.

And I kind of hated myself for becoming this naive, little girl who depended on others for answers. For following the suggestions of those who “knew” how my life should be instead of pursuing what I wanted.

Until two years ago.

Unleashing a new me

reflection of girl

    What’s your expertise and what can you do that no one else can do for our company? 

    Content marketing, with a special focus on steering traffic to a company’s website — particularly from Medium. After running dozens of marketing experiments, I know which ones drive the most relevant users to a site and get them engaged with the business. The key? Providing value and building trust. Everything else (e.g. the money, the widespread exposure) comes after.

    What do you want to learn? 

    How to shuffle dance or move like those Kpop stars!.

    Chinese — speaking the language, reading off the menus, understanding what people say.

    Cooking. I still follow a recipe but want to make unique fusion foods, using just my nose and taste buds to put everything together.

    What kind of guy do you want in your life? 

    I want a guy I can share my life stories with, without being judged or feeling awkward. I want him to appreciate what I’ve given him and not take me for granted. I want him by my side — not in front of me, not behind, but right next to me. That way I can hold his hand and know we’re both facing life together from the same way (the good and the bad). Most importantly, I want him to give me space, so I can pursue my own hobbies and accomplish greater goals.

    I probably wouldn’t have been able to answer any of these questions during my post-college years. But now I can.

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    Because in the last two years, I’ve finally kicked my bad habit of letting people steer my life. Instead of going along with their suggestions, I stick with my own agenda.

    That means breaking out of my comfort zone, multiple times (e.g. mingling with strangers, saying “no” to people, exposing myself to a new environment). I admit, it was pretty nerve-racking or embarrassing at times, but gradually, I became more confident in who I was. I knew what I wanted, who mattered to me, and what I needed to do to build the future “me.”

    It was all through trying new things that made me learn more about myself than the 10 years I’ve spent following others.

    Krav Maga taught me how practical self-defense can be, especially if I get stuck in a sticky situation. To be honest, I think it’s a more useful skill to acquire than to master the gun.

    People from Meetups have much more interesting stories to share than all the people I’ve met through dating apps.

    Yoga is fun and relaxing, but too slow for my taste. I like activities that pump adrenaline into my blood!

    I took my first sip of alcohol when I was 7. I took my first glass at 27. And I still hate the taste.

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    Mopeds are the most thrilling things you can drive on the road. I only wish things weren’t so far apart in the U.S. so I can drive it everywhere (especially during rush hour).

    Now I know why women love getting manicures — it looks good. It feels good. It drives men crazy.

    I never knew my hair would actually look good with highlights. I thought plain black was the only color that matched me best.

    Airbnb > hotels. It’s cheaper, you feel more at home, and is super convenient — especially if you’re working remotely.

    What I’d learned in 3 months from my 9–5 job, I’d learned in 1 at my startup. You get so much hands-on experience working at a startup that you become a much greater asset than average people.

    My last words: When sheltered, break out

    If you’re feeling comfortable living under the wings of another, break out — NOW. Sure, it’s a more stress-free life, but when you don’t take on life on your own, you won’t ever grow to your greatest potential or discover what you’re capable of being.

    Explore more. Do more. Be more.

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    Featured photo credit: Christopher Campbell via unsplash.com

    More by this author

    Tiffany Sun

    Aspiring Writer

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    Last Updated on January 3, 2020

    The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

    The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

    Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

    The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

    1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

    Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

     I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

    To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

    And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

     2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

    Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

    3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

    Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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    4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

    The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

    5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

    Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

    6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

    Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

    7. Positive people smile a lot!

    When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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    8. People who are positive are great communicators.

    They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

    9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

    One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

    10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

    Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

    How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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    I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

    Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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