Be your own return on investment.

“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

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The best advice I was ever given was to work on myself first, then everything else. As I get older, I have come to realize that this really is the best and most sincere advice I could have ever received. Working on ourselves is no doubt the hardest thing we will ever do. We are our own worst critic and our own worst enemy. But, if you persevere, I promise it will be the most beautiful journey you have ever come to travel.

To give you a more vivid picture of how I came to work on myself, let me take you back to memory lane. About eight years ago, I was clinically diagnosed with depression at 18 and was given medication to overcome it. Of course, I threw the pills down the toilet and never visited a doctor again to discuss this matter. I would not let a doctor determine my well being. It was true, however, that I was going through a severe case of depression. It was also true that I treated it on my own.

The dark alleys and never-ending doomed tunnels that crossed my path are no strange walkways to me. I have gone down them many times. I never once thought of surrendering to the so-called “illness”. I also never acknowledged it as a real diagnosis. I just knew that it was there, haunting me, day in and day out and it had to leave. I did not have room for unwanted guests in my head. Anyway, I knew I had to do something about it or it would continue to survive. The beginning was the hardest. There were some mornings where I did not want to leave my bed, too afraid something bad would happen. And it did, again and again. The more negative I was, the worse things got. Then, I decided I needed to stop. I just woke up one morning and decided I could not bare this any longer, so I didn’t.

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I decided to take up meditation, yoga, and spend a lot of time alone. This is the time when Tony Robbins and Robin Sharma became my best friends. The most visited website on my laptop and phone was YouTube. I would listen to motivational speeches time and time again. I found some online books to read on self-motivation, getting out of the rut and moving forward. I came to really understand what I was feeling, why I was feeling it and what I needed to do to fix it. Did I fall back to my old self at times? Sure I did. Rome was not built in one day. It takes time, persistence, perseverance, and patience. I did not take these “p” words out of an inspirational video from Arnold Schwarzenegger. I had to go through them on my own to understand the meaning. And it doesn’t end there. In order to be on top of your game at all times, you have to continue doing these things at all times.

Ergo, step by step, page by page, minute by minute, I succeeded in leaving the rut. The days and nights spent secluding myself and hiding from the world taught me a great many things. For one, I am not the extrovert many make me to be. I am actually an ambivert, leaning more towards an introvert. Maybe I was an extrovert at twenty, but I am no longer that person. Ambiverts are individuals who like to be socially active, but only for a limited amount of time. We tend to tire out quickly and look for a safe shelter to hide.

Going through this great transformation, I have also come to realize that I am the biggest empath I know. Empaths are highly sensitive people, who absorb everyone’s emotions and feel them like our own. We are the people everyone goes to when they have experienced a bad break up, a job loss, an emotional turmoil-type phase in life, etc. The list goes on and on. Don’t get me wrong – I love to listen to people’s stories. Nothing excites me more than to hear that I made someone’s day, cheered them up with a bad joke or simply listened and understood their story. I even think that this is my calling in life – to help others. However, being the ultra-sensitive soul I am, it absorbs me entirely. I become so wrapped up with what I hear and feel from others, it consumes me; so much so that I am no longer capable of doing anything else until I recharge. This is why I cherish my alone time. It is my sacred time to release all the energies that have been bottling up and recharge so I can go on the next day. Otherwise, I burn out. Quickly.

Although I hate shopping, I do love buying new things. Is there a new dress I got my eye on online? Buying it! That new perfume in that catalog? Got it! And yet, I still do not feel fulfilled. Only after buying countless things for no apparent reason did I come to realize that I was filling an empty void. This not only hurt my ego, interior and psychological health, it make a dent in my wallet. After countless hours of contemplating, I came to the conclusion that spending money on things I did not need was doing me no good. Instead, I decided that investing in smarter things was my solution. Hence, I began investing in myself. I started reading more books, articles, psychology journals and watching inspirational shows.

One should never be content about anything. I believe our minds are the most incredible organs that we possess. Feeding the brain with useful information will only make it want more. As Dorothy Parker once said, “the cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” Always be asking, wondering and searching. We have an endless supply of information that we can easily select to suit our liking. Never stop wondering, never stop asking.

Whenever you are stuck on something, ask. If you don’t know how to build that bird house, google it. Are your kids hungry for some innovative recipes? Buy the cookbook. I am sick and tired of people telling me they are bored, jobless or uninspired. There are countless inspirational things to do out there. You just have to go out and find them. One bad story does not equate to a bad life. Be inspired. Every. Single. Fucking. D

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