What I learned from saying goodbye: 5 reminders for a better me

A hand that gives a small withe flower to another hand

This week was dominated by saying goodbye. As I’m not only going away to travel, but also leave this city, I have been saying goodbye to acquaintances, colleagues and friends. And I realized that goodbyes are one of those moments, in which people tell you how they think of you. About the memories they have, things they’ve learned and the things they admire about you.

During the third goodbye I couldn’t ignore it any longer. Apparently I had been way too critical about myself. What I had been worrying about and what people told me didn’t match at all. This might be stating the obvious, but for me it was one of those aha-moments. Suddenly I realized that I’d spend way too much time worrying about unimportant stuff. Like what others were thinking about me, whether I was meeting expectations or if I should have done better. Wasting not only a lot of time, but also energy.

Too bad that I only realize this now that I’m going away. But well, in order to remind myself I decided it would make a perfect topic to write a blog about. After all those goodbyes, five things stuck with me. Five things that I want to change. Not only to become a better me, but also to try and change the way I interact with others. (Yes, I’ll admit I’m a firm believer of the principle to treat others as you would like them to treat you.)

A hand giving another persons hand a small with flower

Stop comparing yourself to others

The grass always seems greener at the other side of the fence. And I (still) can get a bit jealous when friends tell me about their weekends or when I’m scrolling through photo’s on social media. But I’m finally starting to realize that these things only show a very tiny bit of someone’s life. We all have our own struggle and insecurities to deal with. No-one has a perfect life. So rather than comparing myself to others, I should just focus on my life. On making sure that I do the things I can to enjoy my own life as much as possible.

Stop with the negative self-talk

Whenever I complete a task, I can always list at least three things that should have been better. Which isn’t helped by my streak of perfectionism. Listing all the good things is a lot harder. Though if you’ve done the best you can and people are satisfied, shouldn’t that be enough? Why would I always need to criticize myself? To change this, I’m going to list a positive thing for every negative thing I come up with. Hopefully this will balance things out.

Kindness matters

Kindness really does matter, whether you’re somewhere outside, at work or at home. And the good thing is that kindness, doesn’t require big gestures. It can be as simple as really listing to someone, smiling, or showing an interest. I’ve realized that I’ve vastly underestimated the impact that kindness can have. Sometimes we just don’t know about the struggles that people have to face and by a small act of kindness we just might change someone’s day.

Live your truth

Kindness matters, but that doesn’t mean that you have to go beyond your limits. That being said, I still struggle with this one. I like helping and accommodating others, even when it’s at my own expense. Which is completely wrong. I even learned that people can feel really hurt when they find out that you’ve been helping them at your own expense. (Which makes sense in hindsight, as I would hate this myself as well). So live your truth and you’ll even save some energy.

Show your appreciation

Now that I’ve heard so many kind things, I would almost recommend leaving to everyone. But we shouldn’t have to leave, to realize how others see us. Which is why I’ve decided to show my appreciation more. To tell people whenever I appreciate something, learn something or get motivated by something they do. Who knows, maybe that’ll inspire others as well and we can all think a little more kindly about ourselves.

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