Truth is the beginning of beautiful outcomes

With the year 2022 coming to an end, the reflection starts. Though an eventful year, it was a serendipitous reconnection with an old friend that sets the stage for the new year.

At this point, I have not seen my friend for a few years. two things become noticeable as he is catching me up on the important events of the past years in his life: a) he’d gone through a lot and b) this process had led him to newly-found clarity. Despite narrating difficulties in several areas of his life (social, work, self-esteem, and his relationship with his partner) he radiated happiness and had a refreshing confidence about him. I was very glad to see a friend doing well and intrigued to understand the inflection point. And I asked.

Through a series of events, he reached a breaking point in life. A change was necessary. And so, he came up with a plan to declutter and refocus. He made a list of all the areas that seemed to be important, both in the present and the past, including things like skills in sports, appearance, relationships with others, and career. For each of these areas, he assessed himself honestly and also phrased precisely his future expectations of himself for that area.

His description of the process was “humbling yet, illuminating”. Reflecting on his life’s state and comparing past and current needs enabled him to focus on what truly mattered.

Several unnecessary behaviors and obligations were cut loose. For instance, he realized that being overly athletic was not an area he excelled (he said 5/10) yet also not a top priority. It was a remnant of high school; an unfulfilled desire to be good at football and accepted by his classmates. Once he acknowledged this as a desire of the past, it was easy to remove any expectations. Instead of stressing about his athleticism and overall fitness, he accepted that he does not need to worry about it. The knock-on effect was he actually lost weight and was fitter since the last time I saw him. 

I thought of this exercise to be honest, wise, and powerful. It acted as a reminder that opting in is a choice and so is opting out. We can choose what we want to fight for and, just as importantly, what we don’t want to fight for. Battles that once made sense to us but no longer do, there is merely a reflection of an image long gone. 

The truth might sting. Then again, truth is the beginning of beautiful outcomes.

And so, at the overture of 2023, I wanted to share the questions I am asking myself: What do u care enough about to have expectations for yourself? What do you want to be good at? And, what is the weight you need to shed to move forward? 

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