4 Important Life Lessons Learned From A Balcony In Greece
A week ago, I returned from my summer vacation to the beautiful island of Crete for my parents 25th wedding anniversary. It was an amazing and eye opening week! We stayed at this wonderful seaside resort. We returned with golden tans, a large amount of souvenirs and many fun memories. I also returned with a clearer mind, tons of inspiration and a few lessons.
Travelling with your family, especially at the age of 24, can be a difficult experience. We’re all so close but we’re all so independent too, so living in each other’s pockets for a week proved hard at times. I found myself seeking solitude on my hotel room balcony, overlooking the Lasithi plateau, when I needed a little me time. I couldn’t have imagined a better view for reflection and introspection!
And on this balcony, with its beautiful mountain backdrop, the smell of sea salt and humidity in the air, the feel of the suns heat basking down on me and the sound of birds chirping in the distance, I got real with myself. I found myself travelling inward, way down into the root of my issues and blocks and soon everything unravelled around me.
I went to Greece to spend time with my family and to take a little break from my responsibilities, but I came back with a piece of myself that I didn’t even know was missing.
So, here are a few of the lessons that I learned from my balcony of self-reflection
1. Switching off is necessary for the soul.
Coming from someone who's phone is always glued to her hand, I surprised myself during this vacation. I barely used my phone at all! I may have checked a few emails here and there, sent one or two text messages, and updated social media briefly, but other than that, nothing. And, do you know what? It felt great! Who knew there was life outside of my phone screen?! Jokes, I'm not that bad. But in all seriousness, reducing my screen time while I was away was a breath of fresh air. It gave me the opportunity to take in every single experience. Experiences I probably wouldn't have had I been falling down an Instagram rabbit hole or transported into Candy Crush world.
By switching off, I don't just been in a technological sense. Switching off from work, responsibilities, and sometimes even life around you can do you the world of good. As well as a screen junkie, I am also a work-a-holic. I mean, you can't blame me, this business is everything to me. But, I do overdo it... a lot. I just never know when to stop! A few weeks before heading to Greece, I started to burn out. Fast. I felt exhausted, depleted and a failure. I was ready to give it all up. I realised that I needed a break, so I promised myself that I would do zero work while I was away. It was easier said than done. After just a day, I was itching to get back online. I felt as if I was letting myself down by sabotaging my own success.
I quickly realised on that balcony that the only way I could have let myself down was to do some work. I needed the time off, and I didn't realise that until I had it. We all deserve a break now and again, even if you don't feel as if you do. And, in my experience, if you don't feel like you deserve a break, then you definitely need a break. No good has ever come from running ourselves into the ground and allowing our heads to explode with stress, so why do it to ourselves? Make sure you take plenty of breaks, and when things get too much, switch off.
2. It's time to stop this fight for perfection.
To fight for perfection is a losing battle. You're setting yourself up for failure from the very start. You probably already know this, and deep down so did I, but it didn't stop me from trying anyway. I've always struggled with how I see myself, not just physically, but as a person too. I judge myself pretty harshly - too harshly at times - which has severely damaged my self-esteem and confidence. I was literally tearing myself down. When I'd compare myself to other people in my age group, I'd instantly feel like a failure. When I'd look at myself through the eyes of others, I wouldn't like what I saw.
So, I would try too hard to fit in, to please others, to come across as more successful than I was. When people would ask how my business was going, I'd say 'it's going perfectly', when in reality the uphill battle was getting steeper each day. I would agree to do things I really didn't have the time or energy for, just so people wouldn't hate me for being selfish. I found myself slapping on make-up just to pop down the road, in fear that someone would see me and realise that I'm a regular, non-perfect human being. As you can imagine, I lost a very large piece of myself this way. I became a shell of the girl that I once was.
I now realise that in pretending to be someone I'm not, I've lost myself along the way. Sitting on that balcony, overlooking the mountains, I realised that I don't even know who I am any more. But that's okay, because I know who I am not, and I look forward to the journey of finding the real me.
3. Never feel the need to have to explain ourselves to anyone.
This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the above lesson, and was a bitter pill to swallow. I’ve always felt it necessary to explain myself, whatever the circumstance. As if I owe it to myself and others to let them know what was going on in my life or why I was doing something. It's turned into a reflex reaction for me now, I don't even have to thing about doing it. This has been happening a lot recently, especially since I launched my business. You see, my family are pretty close-minded, they don't really understand the concept of working from home or running an online business, which is understandable. But because of this, they haven't necessarily been supportive about it. They see it as a hobby more than anything else, and have often discredited my ideas because they don't think I can pull it off. What they choose to not see is me busting my ass every day because this business is my dream, and hopefully my future.
Anyway, while we were away, my business came under scrutiny a few times and I found myself jumping to my own defence one too many times for my liking. I felt the need to explain what I was doing and why. Of course, it all fell on deaf ears, and I got a little frustrated, so I went to seek solitude on my little balcony. There I took some time to calm down and reflect on the conversation. I then realised that I approached it all wrong. Because I shouldn't have to explain myself for living my dream. I shouldn't have to explain myself at all. That's when I thought back to similar conversation, not just with my family, but with others, and I was shocked to realise just how often I've had to explain myself, not just for my career choice, but other topics too.
The moral of the story is, if what you're doing is the right thing for you and you're doing no harm to anyone else, then it shouldn't matter what anyone else thinks. Their opinion on the matter shouldn't affect you. We should all stop this defensive need to continuously explain ourselves and just choose to agree to disagree instead.
4. Where you are right now is exactly where you need to be.
This realisation has been a long time coming. I won't lie, it's been a struggle and I've been so close to giving up a few times. Like I said above, at times it's felt like an uphill climb that keeps getting steeper and steeper. It's been a year since Sacred Black Moon launched, and although it's brought a whole new meaning to my life, it hasn't been easy. I’m nowhere near where I wanted to be with it a year on, and it’s has left me feeling disappointed and frustrated with myself. Until now.
After reflecting on my achievements and the things I haven't yet achieved, I realised that there was a reason that I hadn't yet reached the success I was looking for. Because I wasn't ready for it. I'm still in the beginning phase of my journey, and I still have so much more to experience and learn before I can even thing about becoming a success story. I realised that, because I was so stressed over what I wasn't seeing, I was missing out on what I should have been seeing. My growth. Because that's the most important part of any journey - growth. I now know that in order to really experience everything and to really work towards my goals, I must take everything in my stride. To slow down, take a deep breath, and trust in the power of the Universe. Because I'm exactly where I need to be right now.
I felt like I got really deep and personal writing this post, and it almost turned into a rant at times, but it feels so damn good to get things of your chest! I really hope these little lessons resonated with you in some way or another, and can help you move forward with your life. What lessons have your learned from your vacations? Let me know in the comments below!
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