Big Self
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Big Self

The Year We Upgraded Our Consciousness

What our collective mind looks like at the dawn of 2021

Photo by Timon Wanner on Unsplash

Welcome back after the holidays! First, I want to wish you a happy New Year. May 2021 bring you closer to your dreams, goals, full potential — or whatever it is you’re currently chasing.

Second, I wonder about your reflections on 2020 (post them in the comments if you like!). The time around the New Year is usually a chance to gain some perspective about what happened in the past 12 months. And last year, certainly a lot has happened.

Even though we tend to think about it as “the tough year” or “the unprecedented time” — which it certainly was! — 2020 also brought a positive shift in our collective consciousness. For many, it was a wake-up call. Sure, not exactly a gentle, “time-to-get-out-of-bed-darling” kind of a wake-up. To most people, it rather felt like a bucket of ice-cold water poured over their heads.

However difficult, the change in the collective consciousness feels real. It finally got to us that the world is bigger than our backyard. That caring only for ourselves and our families while turning back on the rest of our community may not be enough. That not everyone is equally privileged — and, that those inequalities demand to be acknowledged in our actions.

As I see it, 2020 was the year we started shifting focus from self-interest towards relationships and community. This doesn’t mean we won’t need to take care of ourselves in 2021. But we may be starting to see that, without other people, caring for ourselves doesn’t mean much.

In the spirit of celebrating relationships and togetherness, here are the best reads we published at Big Self over the Christmas break.

Any leader wants — and needs — to be respected by their team. In her piece, Jessica Donahue explains how this can happen through sharing a story of her boss implementing a seemingly absurd decision of the company’s CEO:

“[W]hether you agree with the decision an executive makes or not, the fact remains that they’re in that job for a reason and their decisions hold weight. We can respect their decisions without agreeing with them if we know we’ve been heard. We can disagree and commit.

And, as a leader, when you’ve extended your team the respect of leading with transparency, they are far more likely to return the favor to you by getting on board.”

Jessica's article offers a fresh perspective on what’s possible in the relationship between the leader and their team. She explains how transparency and honesty can take us far by cultivating respect.

Read the full story here:

How to Gain Your Team’s Respect by Jessica Donahue, PHR

Charisma is one of those traits most people don’t think can be developed. Either you’re born with it or not. There’s not much you can do about it.

Clément Bourcart explains that this is simply not true. Being charismatic is largely about how others perceive you, but also, about how you perceive yourself. therefore, it’s subject to change.

“The impact you can have on others and the world is so much greater when you are perceived as a charismatic person.

Don’t let your natural shyness or reservedness lead you to think you cannot be charismatic, and rob you of this gift.

Introverts may have an advantage over their more expressive, louder counterparts. If you have an expertise or special ability that makes a difference to others, you will be respected and trusted.”

If you want to make an impact on your team or your community, charisma is a useful trait. To learn more about practical ways to develop it, read Clément’s article:

3 Ways to Become More Charismatic — Even if You’re an Introvert by Clément Bourcart

Maria is one of the most dedicated Big Self writers who’s been exploring the topic of anxiety in great detail. This article is the first of a 5-Part series about habits that perpetuate, rather than help us deal with anxiety.

What does it have to do with celebrating relationships and connection? Well, the relationship with yourself is usually the blueprint for how you relate to others.

Nevertheless, we tend to be harsher on ourselves than on anyone else.

“Usually, we are more realistic and compassionate toward other people than ourselves. Everybody has a hard time, so don’t disdain yourself for feeling bad. Imagine you are comforting your inner child or someone you love. Get used to giving yourself TLC and encouragement. Change your self-talk. Start from today.”

It’s tricky to show up as your Big Self in relationships if you can’t see yourself as strong and worthy. Anxiety rarely helps us acknowledge ourselves for all that we are.

That’s why Maria comes to our rescue with some great advice:

Toxic Habits: How You Are Causing Yourself Anxiety and Ways to Fix It by Maria Milojković, MA

I hope that 2021 will bring you lots of connection and fulfillment in your relationships and community. This is an important part of our mission at Big Self, too:

To nurture the community in which personal challenges become more manageable.

As Fred Rogers said, “Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable.” So let’s share ourselves with others. Let’s mention our successes, as well as our struggles.

Let’s make life in 2021 more manageable — and also, more fun!

Marta, editor of the Big Self



Community-sourced writings on emotional wellbeing, mental health, and soulful work.

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