Lessons from 2020, microdosing and self-actualization
Updated: Mar 3, 2021
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“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from your past.” - Colin Powell
2021 is here and new energy is being built, new hopes are being imagined and maybe just like me, you are entertaining the possibility of everything going back to normal. Maybe, that’s a bit far-fetched, who knows, only time will tell.
But regardless of how 2020 was, at the end of every year I take a day/weekend to myself and do a Year-End Review. I go back to my journal and read the daily entries I did throughout the year. And it’s always surprising to me how my life unfolds for me.
Another part of the process is reviewing the vision board I’ve created for the year and write over it what ended up manifesting into reality and what stayed in the expectations space. In the end, I can see what was expected and what actually happened.
After spending half a day indulging in reminiscing and comparing the expectations I had at the beginning of 2020 and the reality of it, I make a list of lessons I’ve learned. As expected, this year’s list has been way longer than usual. And obviously, this is because 2020 unfolded in such unpredictable ways, and also because many of my preconceived ideas or control issues have surfaced and I had to face them.
I’d like to share some of the lessons I learned, some of the habits I implemented that helped me stay sane and positive, and the role that microdosing played in my personal growth this year.
Stepping into my potential was what was left for me to do.
When all the restrictions were set in place, and my full-time job was reduced to a part-time job, my usual distractions, such as going out with friends and shopping, were no longer possible. I was left with a lot of time. Time at home, by myself, or with my roommate.
It was hard at the beginning because I was used to stay socially active and busy to distract myself from stepping into my own creative potential. Meeting people and being active, was my excuse for not having time to sit down and work on my passion projects. All of a sudden, the excuses faded away and I had no choice, but to work on my dreams; the alternative was staying bored.
One of the dreams I had was starting my freelance venture and offer my branding and marketing services to small businesses. Since my full-time job was reduced to part-time, it was obvious to me that I would eventually be laid off, and finding another job during a pandemic lockdown would be impossible. So, working with multiple online businesses seemed like the next logical step.
But I was too afraid to even write a proposal. Thoughts like: “Who am I to even position myself as an expert?” or “I don’t have enough expertise” or “There are a lot more people who are more knowledgeable than me, nobody would pay me for the job” kept running through my head. Obviously, I was experiencing an impostor syndrome episode, and it was not allowing me to be in the present moment and work on my vision. During those times my microdosing practice saved me from myself, so to speak.
By February I had been microdosing for months and I knew my dose and how microdosing affected my mood, my emotional state and my energy level. So I decided to leverage that info (if you don’t know how to do that, find out here).
I had already found the perfect dose, I knew that microdosing would put me in a creative mental space and it would allow me to enter the flow states easier. Hence, the way I leveraged all that info was by creating a series of rituals for myself on the microdosing days:
The day before, I would create a loose itinerary for the microdosing day (wake up time, 10 min grounding, envision what success would look like at the end of the day, set an intention for the day, schedule work time, lunchtime, walk time)
The day before, I would also prepare my workspace to eliminate any meaningless decisions. I would also break down my project into smaller parts and decided beforehand what I was going to work on, whether it was the freelance proposal, or the budget, or the website wireframe, etc. I did that because taking decisions while microdosing is far more challenging. I didn’t want to spend my energy on the decision-making process instead of the actual making.
On the day of my microdosing journey, everything would be already prepared for me to take advantage of the flow state.
This allowed me to work intensively and focused on whatever I had decided to do. One month in, and I could already see the results.
Assertive and honest communication will save your friendships
Like most other people, the pandemic kept people confined into a small space for longer than usual periods of time. At the time I was living with my best friend and we obviously started spending more time inside and with each other. And while we love each other’s company, there were no real breaks from each other and obviously, problems arose: boundaries were crossed, frustrations were more intensified.
I want to specify that she is the person I love and respect a lot. She is my true best friend I ever had. So, the relationship didn’t have underlying or unaddressed problems. However, under the new situation, I think everything was intensified, and problems we didn’t think we had, surfaced.
That’s when I was faced with my own communication style and my own shortcomings. I learned about myself that I often brush off uncomfortable feelings to avoid conflict. I also, don’t always communicate my boundaries in a healthy assertive way. When my boundaries are crossed, I withdraw, I get moody and stop talking.
One of the things I learned is that in order to speak assertively and from a higher self, I need to allow and accept wherever feelings I have. The next step is to breathe into them and name the feelings. And the next step is to transform my complaint into a request.
Now, how has microdosing helped me with communicating from a higher self? During microdosing, I noticed that unprocessed (brushed over) feelings would come up easier. So, I’ve decided to take advantage of that. During my microdosing days, I would lay down on the floor and go back to the situation that upset me. I would immerse myself fully into the feelings, allowing them to surface without judgment. After all, why feel ashamed of them? They are part of me. Might as well let them come up.
The next thing I did was saying them out loud. I would cry admitting to myself some of the feelings I had. But I would continue saying it: “I feel…” Then I would ask myself “What do I need to feel the opposite to what I felt?”
The final and most challenging step was always to sit down and express all those insights with my best friend. The real growth came from communicating with the person that hurt me and finding a solution together. It took a lot of awareness, courage and an open mind, from both sides, to stay in a collaborative conversation and not feel attacked or attack back.
Knowing myself was holding me back from stepping into my potential
I know, we all walk around with a well-defined sense of self, and in fact, not knowing what we want, who we are is frowned upon. It’s asked of us to define our goals, our long-term dreams, to know how we feel at any given moment, to be decisive in our actions and make something out of our lives. And while that is true, it’s not the whole truth.
This year I’ve learned that holding on too tight to an idea of who I am (my interests, my desires, my needs, my reactions, and what I am supposed to achieve in my life) can be limiting and a source of stress. In the light of the new events, this year showed us how little control we have over our circumstances and life asks of us to be flexible in our identities in order to move forward and not feel overwhelmed.
In 2020 it was shown to me that under pressure and adversity I can react and behave in unpredictable ways that go against who I know myself to be. And there is no need for extra pressure that comes with denying those parts of myself. This attitude allowed me to navigate 2020 a bit easier and I’ve learned that all I can do is aligning myself with people, activities that resonate with me the most right here and right now; and keeping an open mind for what I can become or how my life can change is necessary.
Knowing myself is only beneficial when I use it to make decisions at the present moment, but using it to plan for the future will always limit me. Because our future resides in the land of infinite possibilities, where our true potential can expand and unfold if only we let go of rigid ideas of who we should be.
This year, while microdosing, I have moved my focus within and connected to what made me feel more alive and excited about life. In my meditation practice, I entertained various possibilities, envisioned parallel lives, and got curious about the unknown in my life. At the periphery of my known self, I found excitement and a new self.
This year, I worked on a few passion projects, one of them being the microdosing journal, Odin. The only reason this project was born was because I followed the excitement I had for improving my own microdosing experience through systematic note-taking and reflection. I never thought that I would be an educator, a writer for WOOP, or that I would even publish the journal.
What I knew about myself at the beginning of this year proved itself to be wrong. Because the way I defined myself didn’t include me being someone that speaks their mind, or takes risks or puts their time and energy into projects that won’t pay off for sure in the end, or someone that asks for help and works collaboratively on a project. During this journey, I took a lot of leaps of faith and I let go of who I thought myself to be and started living in an undefined self-image that opened me up to more possibilities.
This year, the list of lessons was long and heavy, but these three were the most transformative and I feel that sharing them with you, will inspire you to take a leap into your potential and live a life by design. Microdosing and all the other practices I brought into my life helped me get out of my own way and build a life I love.
So, if you are ready to design your own life and leverage microdosing to your benefit, I am starting a 30-day Microdosing Challenge on February 1, 2021. Sign up here and join WOOP and all the other wonderful people.