I turn 25 today, here’s what I learned this year

Last year, I wrote about my learnings of the year on my birthday. To continue the tradition, here’s are three things I learned this year.

What you eat is what you feel

We think feelings come from circumstance. I feel sad because she hurt me. I feel rejected because my boss fired me. What if, just what if, these feelings are the cheeseburger you ate last night? 

Now of course external situations matter. But there are many layers between what happens on the outside and what you feel on the inside. Whether a situation feels like an arrow that pierces your chest, or whether it feels like a bubble that gently pops on your body, is largely determined by your physiology. 

Nutrition is a big part of your physiology. Many people don’t realise that most of the leading causes of death are preventable through a healthy diet. From my research, a whole food plant based diet looks like the most effective for health and vitality. The book How Not to Die immensely helped shape my views on nutrition, and I recommend you give it a read. For an easier and quicker start, I suggest you listen to my podcast episode on nutrition and emotional intelligence.

The world is a friendly place

Last year I had the epiphany that social skills are as important as technical skills. For all of this year I have been working on my social skills. 

What I realise is that the biggest barrier to having good social skills is fear. I am afraid of people. We are afraid of people. Shyness. Social anxiety. Butterflies. They are all words pointing at fear.

As I’ve gathered courage to talk to friends and strangers alike, I realise that the world is a friendly place. The average person walking on street is not a threat. In fact, most people are warm, friendly, and respectful. When we watch news, or when parents tells children to be careful on the streets, while they mean well, it creates a misperception that strangers in general are threats. Not that some few people can be harmful, but that the world as a whole is not to be trusted. Not only is that untrue, but thinking that people are threats takes a toll on our mental healths.

I invite you, dear reader, to trust the world. It will serve you.

Worth comes from birth

We tie our self esteem to many things. For some, it’s money. For some, it’s attractiveness. For some, it’s getting into a good college. 

While these are fine pursuits, our worth as a human being has nothing to do with whether we attain them or not. Our capacity to grow, our capacity to love, our capacity to contribute are not conditioned on achievement. 

Yet the message we get from all around is the opposite. And we beat ourselves up if we fail to achieve. For instance, I’m amazed at how much I can turn against myself if I don’t have a good day of PhD work. In reality though, there are going to be good days, and there are bound to be days of illness, distraction, or distress. My aspiration is to approve of myself in all weathers.

I’ve made an entire episode on this topic, so I won’t elaborate much here. All I’ll say is, you’re fabulous, dear reader. 

And that was my year! Thanks for stopping by.