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BY MARIA GARRIDO - 2 MINUTE READ
Reflections on five decades of living.
WHO'S THAT GIRL?
Earlier this year, I was rummaging through a drawer in the cupboard when I stumbled upon my journal from my Uni days. I spent the next couple of hours sitting on the floor of my walk-in-wardrobe, reading every single entry in excruciating detail and feeling strangely disconnected from that awkward 20 yr old girl. As I sifted through the memories, I didn't recognize myself in her. She was highly insecure, a confusing mess of chaotic emotions, and soooo desperate for boys to like her. I felt vulnerable and uneasy reading my intimate thoughts at that tender age; it completely destabilized me.
In the weeks that followed, I plunged into a deep hole of harsh judgment and heavy self-criticism. I thought "How could I have been such a stupid girl?" My lack of self-acceptance, my rambling imagination that served as a protection mechanism when people hurt me, my discomfort in my own skin, my blindness to the kindness around me, my pursuit of unhealthy relationships...all of this felt embarassing to read and worse, relive. It felt raw; as if I had pulled the scabs off the long-healed scars of my youth and they were bleeding again. It took me a long time to work through it all.
ENCOUNTERS OF THE STRANGE KIND
This encounter with my journal triggered a series of strange events in the following months, all related to memories from that time in my life. A few weeks after the journal rediscovery, while attending the Grammy's on the other side of the world, I ran into an old Uni friend I hadn't seen in 28 years. The following day at the airport, another college friend crossed my path. As the spring rolled in, yet another long lost friend contacted me and told me she'd be swinging through Europe so we arranged to meet for lunch, reminiscing about our younger years and catching up after nearly three decades of life lived.
And then, another friend I kept in touch with through social media passed away suddenly, which triggered a whole other set of rekindled connections with friends that were part of our university social circle.
It was bittersweet to reconnect with all of these people and in the conversations that ensued, no one remembered me the way I remembered myself. While reminiscing, they described a girl who seemed a lot more like me today: vibrant, positive and full of hope. Through these encounters, I realized that the turmoil and lack of confidence I felt in my youth were completely normal. I also understood that now like then, I was too harsh on myself, not treating myself with the love and kindness I deserved.
LOVING LESSONS TO MYSELF
In an effort to show my 20 year old self that she wasn't stupid and that I do care deeply for her, I decided to share some of the wisdom I've gained in five decades of living. I hope this helps the insecure young person in me and in you.
Life is a journey, not a destination, so enjoy the path, even when it's curvy.
Fraulein Maria was right "Whenever the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window".
Say thank you more often and express your gratitude fully and freely.
Your greatest joy will come from experiences, not things.
What really matters in people is not ambition or status, but kindness and generosity of heart. When you find these people, keep them close.
Swallow your pride and learn to say you're sorry. It takes courage but it will always help you grow.
Sometimes, the walls have to crumble to let the light in.
When people compliment you, don't deflect or crack a self-deprecating joke. Accept their kind words, smile and believe them!
Don't EVER dim your light or walk in someone else's shadow. You deserve so much more.
Listen to the whisper in your soul; it is ALWAYS right.
Compliment friends, family, perfect strangers when the feeling arises. You will brighten their day and yours.
You are not given a dream that you do not have the capacity to fulfill, so go for it!
Even in your darkest moments, know that you will shine again. It doesn't matter when but be certain that the universe has your back.
You are already you, an amazing teen, full of hope and light and you will be bursting with pride at the amazing adult you will become.
Oh, and you don't know it yet, but you'll leave all those silly boys in the dust!😉
SELF CARE TIP
Embrace your younger awkward self. Think about what you would say to encourage the young person in you, to show them you care. Practice self-love and write a loving lessons letter to them, sharing the knowledge and wisdom that age and experience have gifted you. ❤️
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