On life

5 things I want to change about myself

I’m not someone who regrets anything or wishes she was different. I’m generally pretty happy with myself, but there’s always room for improvement! In today’s post I focus on five things I wish I could change about myself.

1. I wish I worried less

This is something I’ve been working on all year. In fact, this was my first and only New Year’s resolution this year: worry less, especially about things I can’t control. I’m a worrier: I worry about things all the time. About big things, like something terrible happening to someone I love, and little things like running out of gas or my car breaking down. By the way: most of the time these worries are completely irrational. They appear out of nowhere and can really control my mood during the day. When the day ends I realize that my worries were pointless and even made my day a little less fun. I’ve been trying very hard to let my irrational worries go and have more fun. It’s a work in progress!

2. I wish I had more ‘edge’

Allow me to explain this one. You know when you meet someone and say: “she’s nice, but I wouldn’t want to piss her off”. That’s what I’ve always wanted to be. I’m always classified as a ‘nice girl’ (yes I still see myself as a girl, not a woman!) and someone everyone gets along with. That’s great, but it’s also something people like to take advantage of. When I started my PhD I also started teaching; both small and large groups and I realized more than ever how much I wanted to have this ‘edge’. To be able to teach a fun, light lecture but still have the respect of your students as they know there’s an ‘edge’ to your niceness. It’s interesting to me that some people (both men and women) naturally have this ‘edge’ while others don’t. I can tell right when I meet someone whether or not they have this edge. I’ve tried many things to gain it – be stricter in my classes, pierce my ears and I even considered getting a tattoo (I know, whatever it takes!). I feel like as I get older this ‘edge’ is growing on me, but it might just be my imagination. Either way, it’s something I wish I had.

3. I wish I was braver

Next to being a huge worrier, I am also quite a fearful person (don’t I sound fun!). I really wish I knew how to be brave. Whenever I talk to people about whether or not I’m an ‘old’ or a ‘new’ soul, I always tell them I consider myself ‘new’ (if such a thing is possible). I have to be a new soul, because I am afraid of everything new. Things like learning to ride a bike, getting my driver’s license, moving out, going to university, getting my first job… Although these are new and scary for most people, I feel like they were a little more difficult for me. Learning to drive, for example, was a nightmare for me and I still get scared driving sometimes, especially if I have to drive somewhere new. On a positive note: I am very aware of this and purposely do the things that scare me. This is one of the reasons why I bought a car when I started my PhD (in another city) and didn’t take the train. I realized that if I bought a car and forced myself to drive every day I would get over my fear (and for a large part I did). Nevertheless, I am still afraid of the stupidest things and I really wish I was braver.

4. I wish I could let things go

I’m a control freak which means I like to live with the illusion that everything is under my control – even future events. For example, Im nowhere near pregnant but I already know in which hospital I want to give birth and that they offer epidural’s 24/7 (that’s not always the case here in the Netherlands). I am terrified of childbirth and I feel better knowing I already have this ‘figured out’. This makes me calm and feel in control. It’s an illusion, of course. Who knows what will happen if/when I get pregnant, but in my mind it’s reassuring to know these things. The problem is I’m not calm – I worry a lot and to take those worries away I like to feel in control. Not just in control of my life but other people’s lives too and that never really works out. I learned the hard way that you can’t control other people and in order to be happy you need to let certain things go (read this post if you want to know more). Letting go is very important for me and something I’m actively working on. I need to find more peace in my soul with the way other people choose to live their lives. I can only choose how to live mine and I’m pretty happy with that.

5. I wish I was more ‘mindful’

Finally, something I’m also actively working on: I wish I could live more in the present moment, so be more ‘mindful’. I’m convinced this makes people a lot calmer and happier; learning how to live in the now. Ever since I heard about ‘mindfulness’ (who hasn’t?) I realized that it’s something I am definitely not and definitely want to become. I wish I knew how to just be in the moment. A simple example: when I’m cooking dinner, my mind is constantly ‘in the future’. I am constantly thinking about what I still have to do. When I’m washing vegetables I’m thinking about unloading the dishwasher. When I’m unloading the dishwasher I am thinking about what spices to use. When I’m selecting spices, I am thinking about slicing the vegetables. It’s exhausting and doesn’t get the job done any faster. Another example: when I was in Ibiza we were lying on the beach on our last day (Sunday). We would be flying back home the next day at 7pm. The whole Sunday I was restless because we would be leaving the day after. And what’s the point? What makes that day any different from all the days before? Nothing: only your own perception, your knowledge of the fact that you’re leaving the next day. That’s it! Because that whole day could have been enjoyed had I not been so focused on my flight back the next day. It’s so pointless to live your life this way and I’m really trying to be more mindful and enjoy the present.

What would you change about yourself? If there’s anything you wish you could change about yourself, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Emmelyn X

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  • Reply
    July 7, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    Hi! I identify with some of your “change points”, let’s call them like that, and wanted to share mine, the one and only that has been hunting me lately and especially today. But before I do so, I think that you should stop trying to force mindfulness into your life. The way I see it, the number one pillar of mindfulness is introspection, and you already do quite a lot about that on your own! Mindfulness is like that thing that vanishes the minute we try to chase it. AND I’ll tell you one more thing: I am the happiest when I actually forget about all the mindfulness tips and lists and do’s an dont’s. I think all your points can be subsumed into the “don’t worry so much” one 🙂 Also, you’ll acquire the edge once you’re older! These little bastards underestimate how much you know and overestimate how much they know themselves 🙂 WORD!

    Ok and now onto my point to change: I need to listen more. I need to listen more actively in conversation and, the most important, LET PEOPLE TALK. There is an explanation in why I always interrupt everybody. I simply have a very short attention span and poor working memory skills, so when I have thought something important (e.g., an idea during a work meeting -today’s case) I need to abruptly drop it out there, and in reality I do that out of fear to forget. Because, believe me, I do forget ALL THE TIME! And I don’t like this because it makes me come across as stubborn or even slightly rude some times (aka, immature) but jeez, if I were to talk to you in Liz Gilbert’s style, it is as if my ideas have the longest legs I’ve ever seen and, oh boy, do they use them to run!

    Hope you have a lovely, worry-free day 😉

    • Reply
      July 7, 2016 at 5:25 pm

      Wow Ingrid thanks so much for your comment! Especially regarding mindfulness, it’s something I admittedly really struggle with. I also struggle with the idea of it, so definetely something I need to learn to let go. Perhaps I’m just not that ‘mindful’ and I shouldn’t spend my life trying to be.

      I am glad to read other people have these ‘improvement struggles’! Personally I don’t feel you interrupt people a lot & I kind of love to hear you talk! You have great energy! I guess we all have things we’d like to change or improve about ourselves… The key is also to be happy with everything we do like about ourselves right?X

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