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Thoughts of a 19 Year Old

Updated: Nov 14, 2022

What kind of fears do you have?

Apart from the stereotypical fears of being afraid of snakes, spiders and sharks, I am definitely afraid of losing control. And this fear is interconnected with another fear: the fear of the unknown. I find it difficult to let go and trust the process and in an attempt to prevent mistakes or unfortunate outcomes, I tend to control everything to the maximum. Thus, I am afraid of losing control, seemingly allowing things to break down and lead to undesired outcomes. I fear the unknown: the future that I don’t know, the skills and experiences that I am yet to go through, and the mistakes that I will make along the way.

Do you stop yourself from taking action because you are afraid of making mistakes and/or dealing with the consequences?

Yes, more often that I would like to admit. I tend to be a perfectionist and constantly expect the very, very best from myself no matter what I do. On an exam or test I expect to get everything correct and somewhat criticise myself mentally if I get a grade lower than I wanted. When doing sports, I need to have perfect technique; when cooking, I need to make the meal or cake as delicious as possible; even when washing my hair, I expect myself to do so as smoothly as possible: with the right amount of shampoo and correct water temperature.

With time, I have realised that my perfectionism comes hand in hand with pleasing others. I need the best grades to get into the best university and make my family proud; I need to bake the most delicious cake so that other people will not be disappointed with my kitchen skills…I expect so much from myself that I often fear taking action or doing certain tasks out of fear of making a mistake.

Oftentimes, I refrain from doing certain tasks simply because I am afraid of not doing the job to my best ability. I have an inner conviction that making mistakes means not trying hard enough (e.g. getting a lower grade on an assignment meant for me that I did not study hard enough, did not concentrate well enough during the exam, etc.) so I fear coming face-to-face with this belief. This is something that has been present in my life for many years, but I have become mindful about it and am working to eliminate this toxic illusion of perfectionism. I am now allowing myself to make mistakes, for they are my greatest teachers, and, therefore, deal more proactively and calmly with any unexpected consequences that may arise from these mistakes. With acceptance, peace, and love for the process, rather than strict, heightened expectations and self-criticism.

What is better, to have tried and failed, or to never have tried at all?

Definitely to have tried and failed! I believe that life is way too short and way too fragile for us to hide from its actions. We have to try for the sake of trying and be part of the whole process. In the end, it does not always matter whether you failed or succeeded, because behind every great championship, invention, discovery, or success stand countless mistakes, failures, and losses. Life is indeed black-and-white, yin and yang, and we cannot have success without failure. Time races past way too quickly for us to be trapped inside our own fears, so despite my fear of making mistakes, I always try to fight through my comfort zone and just go for it. Every time I do so, regardless of whether I ‘failed’ or succeeded, I grow as a person because experience adds up to knowledge and mistakes add up to wisdom and new skills. I have also realised that in life, I have learnt more from my failures than I have from my successes, therefore, I will always rather try and fail than not try at all.

What negative inner beliefs dominate your life?

To be honest, I can’t really think of any. Even though I do tend to have negative beliefs in my mind (e.g. the one about making mistakes, as mentioned previously), I am glad to say that none of them actually dominate my life. I feel that the key beliefs that actually control my life are positive in their nature, and I am conscious of any negative ones, so they do not control my life.

In regards to negative aspects that impact my life in an undesirable way (without fully dominating it), I feel like I often compare myself to others in a way that makes me feel as if I am not good enough. When I do so, I simply try to ground myself back into my positive reality, be grateful for what I have and simply strive to become a better version of myself in the future!

…and if you let these negative beliefs go, what would happen?

Despite the fact that occasionally comparing oneself to others may be beneficial in some cases, if I were to completely let go of this habit, I feel like I would feel liberated and freed from the heavy load of negative emotions that may have accumulated over the past years. I worked as a catwalk model for three years from the ages of fifteen to eighteen and despite the valuable work and life experience and acquaintances I have gained during these years, I have also gained insecurities. The fashion industry is dictated by one’s appearance and I was told by my agent that my appearance is literally ‘not good enough.’ I was explicitly told to lose weight and change the appearance of my hair, nails and even eyebrows and this has really been tough on my self-esteem. I am not in any way blaming my agent, she was just doing her job as best as she could, but her words have still caused me to not accept my body and my appearance the way it is. If I were to let go of this belief/habit of feeling like I am not good enough, I will be finally dropping the heavy load of accumulated negative emotions that I was carrying all these years. I believe that I would be truly liberated and more in harmony with myself.

What positive inner beliefs dominate your life?

I believe in miracles, love, and in life always taking me to the right path, even if it may not seem like it at first. I believe that everything happens for a reason, so I try to attain life experience from unpleasant situations and feel deeply grateful for happy moments. I believe that love can heal a wounded soul and that life should be savoured in the present moment.

What thoughts inspire you?

I am greatly inspired by thoughts about nature, health and wellbeing. I become easily inspired to create and thrive when thinking about nature’s cycles: the seasons, the phases of the moon, and the changing weather. These elements are so fundamental to our existence and life on earth in general that we often forget about their significance. Yet nature provides us with an infinite source of wisdom and an understanding of the world.

For example, one of nature’s laws that is applicable to modern life is that you need to get rid of the old and worn out parts or aspects of something in order to let new ones in: a rose bush needs to have its dry leaves removed before new juicy-green ones will grow; trees need to lose their leaves in autumn and winter for new ones to grow in spring. By getting rid of things that ‘no longer serve us’ we can let new things into our lives. Sometimes letting go of a toxic relationship or belief is all that is needed to allow new people, new experiences and positivity to enter our lives. To let positivity in, we need to get rid of the negativity that no longer has any benefit to us. Similarly, nature teaches us about another universal theme: the idea of duality, yin and yang. We cannot have day without night and we cannot have summer without winter.

The universe is made up of opposing forces: dark matter and photons, rain and sun, earth and sky, solid and liquid. And we need a balanced portion of each side in order to thrive and live. For a new life to be born, two opposites need to come together (male and female), for a plant to grow in a healthy way, it needs to receive opposite elements (rain water for hydration and sunlight for energy). To understand what happiness is, we need to know what sadness and despair is.

What would you like to change in the world?

I want to help make our planet cleaner and nature healthier. I am both disgusted and in despair at the things that are happening to our precious planet right now: plastic contaminates our oceans and animals are dying at record rates. Space companies are coming up with ‘Plan Bs’ for human settlements and plan to colonise mars in case Earth becomes uninhabitable, but such things scare me even more. I want Earth to be lush with life. I want life to be plentiful in the form of healthy plants and happy animals. This is why I started a garbage-collecting organisation in my local community earlier this year. I organise clean ups in which we meet up with people from our area and collect garbage together, cleaning up the nature around us and bonding in the process (I live near a forest, but due to a nearby highway, garbage constantly piles up around and inside it). Solving such a serious issue in the world is definitely not an easy task, but I am taking small yet consistent steps to make things better, and I have no doubt that I will make a positive impact on our nature one way or another.

…and what actions do you take towards making these changes?

Apart from organising the clean ups as I mentioned above, I practice other basic habits, such as sorting out household garbage into glass, paper/cardboard, metal, etc. and always recycle parts that can be recycled. I minimise my consumption of plastic (I buy less things in plastic packaging) and always try to use paper or fabric bags rather than plastic ones. As a rule of thumb, I do not buy anything in plastic bottles and always carry around a stainless steel water bottle. I also minimise car use by using my electric scooter or walking my foot when possible. I am also open to discussing the topic of environmentalism with other people, thus raising awareness about these topics and supporting people in their ways of taking care of nature.

What is your biggest dream?

If you asked me this question when I was twelve to thirteen, I would give a concrete answer. I dreamt of being a Grammy-winning singer-songwriter and a best-selling author at once, and was pursuing this dream. I had completed novels wanting to be published and original songs waiting to be recorded, but as I matured, I realised that I have a different set of priorities. I am still extremely passionate about music and literature, but I believe that life is too short to prioritise around materialistic possessions. Yes, achieving materialistic dreams is also very important, yet in the end, everything comes down to the small details: inner peace, family, love, health, and safety. My biggest dream at the moment is to become the woman I was born to be: someone who enjoys life to the fullest while simultaneously pursuing her goals. Someone who is surrounded by a healthy and happy family, in a safe country, and with the ability to explore the world through travel, new experiences, new meetings, and growth.

What are you grateful for?

To be honest, I am grateful for absolutely everything that I have. Even though I do sometimes still feel insecure or not good enough, I know how to feel truly thankful. I am grateful for my family, my health, my home, the safe and peaceful country I live in, the food on the table, the opportunity to be free, the freedom to make decisions, and the ability to savour life and all the ups and downs that come with it. :)

About the author:

I am a 19-year old girl living on the sunny island of Cyprus! I am currently on a gap year and work in digital marketing. I love everything that has to do with the social sciences and the environment; I organize community clean ups each week and will be studying economics and/or psychology in college!



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