Category Archives: Dreams and Inspiration

Lesson No. 35: Not Everything is About You

If you know me at all, you know how strongly I believe in the concept of self-awareness.

It’s one of the most important things for our wellbeing and for our ability to have something to offer the rest of the world. By seeing ourselves in a light of complete honesty, deeply understanding who we are, embracing all aspects of our self, and treating ourselves with genuine love and compassion.

This is essential.

But self-care of this nature should come with a disclaimer:

Lesson No. 35: Not Everything is About You.

See, it’s very easy to tip these scales too far in the direction of self-love and wind up in the realm of narcissism instead. It’s so easy, in fact, that we can hardly be blamed for it.

To begin with, we’re already locked into our own body and mind. Seeing the world from this one perspective our whole lives. True empathy takes practice.

Now add to this the conscious effort to pay even more attention to yourself. To notice how you’re feeling, what you’re thinking about, how you look, why you do the things you do, how you react to different people and life events. Constantly reflecting on all of this so that you can get to know yourself better and love yourself more completely.

It’s a wonder we’re not all full blown megalomaniacs!

But the truth is that there are far more important things happening in the world than whether we’re personally having a good self-esteem day.

I know that may sound harsh, but I believe that when we get too wrapped up in ourselves and our own lives we get stuck—like a form of mental claustrophobia. And it helps to remember that there is a whole universe on the other side of our bedroom walls, or bathroom (selfie) mirrors, or inner turmoil.

Yes, we matter. But we’re not all that matters. So break out of your cocoon from time to time and just forget about yourself—focus on something bigger than you.

with truth and elegance,

Vanessa

PS–To witness my journey on a daily basis (pictures included!), be sure to follow me on Instagram @Vanessa_Bork

Lesson No. 33: An Education is Utterly Invaluable

I’m counting the days—yes, we’re down to days now—until I officially become a student again. A grad student this time. Scary! Exciting! Amazing!

I love school. Those of us who truly embrace the spirit of the experience are always the better for it. In my opinion.

It’s where our minds are cracked wide open. Where we learn to think critically and question everything—even ourselves! Where we are constantly wondering and searching for answers. Where we trade judgement for compassion, and fear for curiosity.

We are endlessly curious.

So we hypothesize and debate and we’re entirely cool with the concept of being wrong. Because most of us are wrong a lot of the time—it’s not a fault, it’s human.

And it’s not the error that matters, it’s the correction.

We don’t care all that much what people think of us because we have bigger things on our mind, and we have no illusions about who we are. We’re flawed. We know it. If you don’t like that, oh well, you’re not perfect either.

At school we listen to each other. We try to empathize even when we disagree. Because we don’t believe in black and white or easy answers.

We push ourselves and challenge each other to keep growing. Keep learning. Always! We work together instead of tearing each other apart.

We embrace people who are different from us, because we value a fresh perspective. Where there is something we don’t understand, there is something waiting for us to learn.

We love that!

Or at least I do. I suppose I don’t speak for everyone, but these are the reasons I adore school. I wouldn’t trade my education for anything!

I understand that a formal university education isn’t for everyone. But the things that I take away from the experience every single day—compassion, curiosity, drive, discipline, dedication, respect, kindness, support, cooperation, love, etc —The world needs more of these things. A lot more of these things.

They’re what I’ve devoted my life to, and why I’m so psyched to become a student once again!

with truth and elegance,

Vanessa

PS–To witness my journey on a daily basis (pictures included!), be sure to follow me on Instagram @Vanessa_Bork

Lesson No. 32: Nothing Compares to Sisterhood

Today is my darling sister’s birthday! Which means that, while I adore her everyday, I get to be extra gushy today! Since you likely don’t know her personally (and she probably doesn’t know you), I won’t go into the specifics about what makes her the best chick I know. Instead, I’m going to tell you about the most special kind of relationship I think we can truly ever experience: sisterhood.

I know that not all women have sisters. And I fully appreciate that some women who do have sisters simply don’t have that special sister bond. It happens. In cases like these, I truly believe surrogate sisters can be created out of close friends, and that this form of sisterhood can be every bit as magical as it is with natural sisters (and sometimes even more so).

I, however, was lucky enough to find this magic in my biological sister. Blood or not, there is an extra special bond that comes from shared childhoods—same parents, same home, same experiences, same rules, same values, same expectations. You get things about each other instinctually. Can almost read each other’s minds because your minds were both shaped in such similar ways. My sister and I talk A LOT! And yet I swear that the majority of our communication is unspoken. I know she can read my mind!

I also know that my sister and I share an extra special bond. We’re not like other sisters. There are almost 12 years between us, so I helped raise her more than I played with her as a peer. As she grew up we became more and more like sisters. We’ve spent the majority of our time in each other’s company, and we are remarkably similar people. And now we are simply best friends—each other’s other half, as my sister says. But those three elements—pseudo-mother figure/pseudo-daughter figure, sisters, and best friends—are what make our sisterhood so unique. I am extremely aware of how lucky I am to have this! My heart fills with gratitude every single day!

But all sisterhoods are special. They are unlike any other relationship in our lives. Sisters always have your back. They don’t judge or criticize you, but they’ll tell you when you’re wrong. Not so they can be right, but so you can be better. They push you to grow, they encourage you, they stop you from making bad decisions. Or they join you in your hair brained adventures. They share your interests, values, and beliefs—but also broaden your horizons. They know all your strengths, weaknesses, and secrets. They know what it’s like to be a woman. They finish your sentences and read your mind—they were thinking the same thing too. They make you laugh, they make you cry, they know when to help and when to let you stand on your own. They love you completely, and are entirely confident that you love them too. This bond is secure. It’s iron strong! And, in most cases, permanent.

Lesson No. 32: Nothing Compares to Sisterhood.

Except maybe brotherhood. But that’s a whole other discussion on gender roles and such that is exactly the kind of conversation my sister and I would randomly start up and continue for hours—theorizing, philosophizing, analyzing. But this is neither the time nor place for that 😜

All I’m saying is treasure your sisters, darling—whoever they are! Never take them for granted. And relish in them to their full potential! There’s nothing like sisters!

with truth and elegance,
Vanessa

PS–To witness my journey on a daily basis (pictures included!), be sure to follow me on Instagram @Vanessa_Bork