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Imagine... 2021 - How to create a vision with self-love

What a year 2020 was! If anything, I would say it was a wake-up call for humanity in more than one way. 

I watched David Attenborough’s documentary ‘Extinction’ the other night and I felt cast back to my youth. That’s right, as a teenager, I had not much hope that our planet would still be habitable in the year 2000. Back then, the threats were the cold war with nuclear bombs being stationed in my neighbourhood (remember, I grew up in Germany), there was water, air and soil pollution, and AIDS had just raised its ugly head. 

The prognosis for the year 2000 was bleak and natural habitat for wildlife was bulldozed in a rapid way to make room for money producing land. A lot of people took to the streets and we did achieve some major breakthroughs. However, even though governments agreed to certain guidelines, and we reached the year 2000, twenty years later in 2020, we can tell, it wasn’t enough. In the documentary, it was explained how the loss of wildlife habitat reduces the bigger predators which consequently allows for smaller mammals such as rodents and bats to increase in big numbers. These smaller animals are carriers of viruses that can transfer to humans. Ponder this for a moment.

Apart from our duty to look after our natural environment, the Covid-19 pandemic is also a crucial reminder how important human connection is. We tend to take a lot of things for granted until it is taken away from us. Not being able to see loved ones and family members whenever we wanted has been painful for many people around the globe. Anxiety, stress and loneliness have increased exponentially, because we are social creatures. When we don’t have enough human connection, our wellbeing suffers, and it becomes clear that social needs are basic human needs. Whilst modern technology is great, and we can still talk to each other and even see each other, the need for human connection goes beyond viewing a screen. Looking after our social connections and expanding our social connection are important responsibilities for 2021.

The third insight that 2020 gave us, is to look after ourselves. Being stuck in lockdown, the amount of our usual daily life distractions was reduced. Some replaced those with social media and TV. However, most would have felt a difference. I think that self-love is important in any year, but I was happy that I unknowingly chose a theme for the year 2020 that was so necessary. 2020 was a year that beckoned for introspection and deep exploration into what it means to love ourselves. Each month was dedicated to an aspect of self-love and explored on both my Instagram and Facebook pages. On the blog, I wrote in more detail about the various aspects of self-love and added suggestions how to delve deeper into the topics on your own.

Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others

Jonathan Swift

The final topic of the self-love theme is VISION. I like Jonathan Swift’s definition of VISION. Yes, vision is deeply personal in the context of self-love. It ties in with some of the other topics we explored throughout the year. Of course, there are more variations of vision such as a vision for a community, country, a company or even the world. However, for now, let’s look at our own personal vision.

Why do we need our own personal vision?

The reason is the same as the one about self-love. Self-love is not about being selfish or self-centred, it’s about having enough respect and appreciation for every aspect of ourselves to create a fulfilling life. Remember, the number one reason of regret of dying people is that they lived someone else’s life. Live your own life. You owe it to yourself, others and even the planet. Living a life that fulfills other people’s idea of who you should be and what roles you should play won’t make you happy and won’t contribute to other people’s lives in a meaningful way.

When it comes to creating a personal vision, there are a few steps to consider. Staying within your comfort zone is the biggest restriction that people typically fall into. This is only natural, as our mind likes to keep us safe, and – let’s face it, personal visions are often discouraged and labelled as daydreaming and futile. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Firstly, it’s important and beneficial to expand your thinking, i.e. your comfort zone, and secondly, creating a vision isn’t futile at all.

In fact, having a vision for the coming year is a very useful tool to help us live the life that we desire. It is related to goal setting, but it takes it up a level. First, we need to find our deepest desires for important areas of our lives. I like intuitive writing exercises, and that’s why I recommend this one to come up with your vision for 2021. It will help with relaxing the rational mind.

Create your personal vision in 9 easy steps

Set aside 20 to 30 minutes at a time that you are typically relaxed. It works great just before going to bed.

Grab your journal or a piece of paper and a pen (preferably one that writes nicely and doesn’t annoy you due to scratching the paper or running out of ink).

Write all your wishes for 2021 in a long list. Do not stop for at least 20 minutes. Do not censor yourself either. This is not about setting realistic goals; this is your wish list.

Once you’ve got that long list, read over it and circle wishes that come up repeatedly. Get some highlighters or coloured pens to colour code similar themes. For example, you could have many wishes related to seeing loved ones or spending time in nature. It’s easier to see what is deeply important to you when you look at your wishes coded in different colours.

Now, look at the themes and think about a symbolic representation. For example, you may wish that you had good times with family and friends. You could use a photo from a previous occasion or use one of the many royalty free stock photos that are available on the internet.

Make sure, these symbols are somewhat abstract (otherwise, you may get hung up on a certain version of your dream home), but still represent the essence of your deepest desires.

Put these symbolic images together in a collage and make a vision board. If you are not into visual stuff, you could write out your perfect day or record your own voice describing your perfect day. Since it’s your personal vision, the method of reminding yourself of your vision should work for you.

Practice your vision daily for at least 30 days. Depending on your preference, you could use the prompts that you created, the vision board, the perfect day script or audio, to spend some time visualising (anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes).

Review your vision after 30 days. If your mind has expanded, you may want to push the boundaries even further and add a few more outrageous wishes to the list. Happy visualising!

Here are my wishes for you (BTW, they are the same for myself 😊):

  • Wake up each morning with a smile
  • Spend time in nature as much as possible
  • Rest when needed
  • Become aware of feelings and know that they will pass
  • Become aware of thoughts and know that most of them are repeated thoughts from yesterday
  • Press pause often and become aware of what is going on instead of being on autopilot
  • Tell loved ones: “I love you”
  • Move and stretch the body every day
  • Spend money on experiences, not things
  • Feel safe and loved
  • Help others feel safe and loved
  • Put the mobile phone away when in the presence of family and friends
  • Assume positive intentions in others
  • Take deep breaths before bed, and express gratitude for the previous day

And, of course, I wish you a relaxing and peaceful holiday season and a fantastic New Year,

With love,

Eva

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