Today I learned about something new. Well, it's not new in the world - just new in my world. It's a Japanese philosophy called Kaizen, which means "change for better". It can be translated closely to the English "improvement", but goes a bit deeper than that.
The notion here is to become the best version of ourselves possible. The. BEST. Version. Possible.
This philosophy means first and foremost, to give up bad habits, the ones that cause our bodies harm, such as junk food, smoking, and others like alcohol, etc. Or at least enjoy them in moderation.
Then, give up negative thinking; give up paranoia, past hurts, and assumptions that harm our minds and our souls. Meditate. Pray. Do yoga. Find whatever gets you to your deeper self. It's totally okay to talk with a therapist, they can be super helpful.
Then develop self-discipline. Learn to say no to what you don't need (or to whom you don't need to serve), and strive to stay true to your own convictions. Become a self-advocate for what you need, while balancing it with the needs of others. Don't be lazy in anything that you do, even if you're alone. Don't give in to temptations to take shortcuts.
Let go of people who suck you of your resources, and let go of things you cannot change. Keep a journal to make this process easier. Find what does & doesn't work for you. Establish healthy boundaries and spend time with other mentally healthy people, who are positive.
Learn to accept your shortcomings. All of them - these beautiful flaws are charming and what make you an awesome, perfectly imperfect human being. It's when we stop letting our self-doubts and fears of what others think, that we truly grow and flourish.
Read up on mindfulness meditation and growth mindsets - you'll be glad you did.
Now look to healthy habits for your body again - are you getting enough sleep? Make that a priority. Take 10 sips of water every 20 minutes to half an hour at work. Yes you will have to pee a lot for the first while, but then your body gets used to it.
Pre-make healthy meals at home on a Sunday evening, portion them into freezable containers and store them in your freezer for quick but healthy meals for every night of the week!
This Kaizen is a life-long process, with no set end date, and unsurprisingly, is adopted by high-end and incredibly successful businessmen in Japan. And very likely also adopted by athletes and priests and all of the revered people there.
Now here is the funny thing: I just recently read about this mindset and lifestyle, of developing into one's best self over time, and yet I feel it's already been happening in my life.
I was picked on as a child and, without going into a lot of detail about my personal life growing up, I had extremely low self esteem and a low sense of self-worth. I felt I had no real place in this world, and this feeling got carried well into my 20s (I'm now almost 30 years old). As a teen, I was already watching shows like Dr. Phil and occasionally seeing counsellors through school. This was soothing as well as fascinating, and I began researching cognitive behavioral therapy as a tool to help people with various mental illnesses, which led to research on neuroplasticity and well, I've been keeping personal journals for years, and this is leading to a LOT of self-improvement (Kaizen) without even knowing a name for it.
My confidence has increased, mainly because I understand myself and my neurology a lot better. I still enjoy watching Dr. Phil because he's tough but gentle, and explains people's brains on the show. Now I am better with personal boundaries and keeping a safe distance from those who overwhelm my emotions, so I don't end up drained. It feels good to blossom as a person, and find my place in this world, as:
An artist. A friend. A therapist (when needed). A writer, a thinker. A communicator.