A friend sent me a list of questions on personal development and the very first one was “What are 5 things you have had to unlearn?”
- Accepting everyone’s expectations of the course of my life. This would often be phrased with questions like ‘aren’t you supposed to be married by now?’ or ‘shouldn’t you be driving a car or having kids?’
- Going out of my way to please people. In my line of work when I engage with communities and the government, this often comes in form of trying to get people to work together in peace- and I realized that there is a fine line between cooperation and extreme compromise- and often I would go out of my way to make things right at the cost of my health and well-being.
- Being obsessed with body image. Yes, the number of times I have taken up workouts just to sculpt my body into what I think is desirable and then failing or being demotivated two days in- are more than I could count the strands on my hair.
- Answering calls 24/7. This is exhausting! So, I made sure to let everyone I engage with that I wouldn’t accept phone calls or respond to work calls and emails past 7:30pm, this way I have more time to reflect on the events of the day, prepare for the next day and get rest. Besides I love going to bed very early.
- Trying to offer solutions to people’s problems. Yes, this I learned the hard way because I had a friend whom I would advise and she would do the exact opposite until one day I asked her why she shares her problems with me and she said, ‘because you listen and it’s good to just talk to you about them,’ and since then I learned that it is possible to listen to problems without offering a solution.