You know my name. Not my story.
It’s intimidating to share personal stories, but as I like to say: “In my twenties, I was learning to be strong. In my thirties, I am learning to be vulnerable.”
In my twenties, my romantic relationships were challenging. I thought that no one could truly love me because I could count so many negative statements about myself: I am an immigrant, I have chronic health conditions, I have an accent etc. All my insecurities were hidden deep inside as I tried to be a strong and sarcastic “tough cookie.” I had to do it because when I would mention the fact that my parents tragically passed away and I was all alone in this country, I would immediately see the fear of commitment and responsibility on the my dates’ faces. Sometimes I would sense pity- that’s even worse as it made me feel unequal. I was longing for depth and openness in relationships but did not know how to access it.
And then it all changed due to a simple daily meditation practice! True story! Back in 2012, around Thanksgiving Holidays, a guy briefly dated gave me a book telling me: “You have to work on yourself.” It was Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time, by neuropsychologist Rick Hanson. As I skimmed through the book around lonely Christmas Holidays, I found one chapter with a simple meditation that resonated with me: “Loving Your Inner Child”. Meditation prompts gathered in this book suppose to help with gradually changing your brain through what’s called experience-dependent neuroplasticity. As a part of my New Year Resolution, I started “re-parenting” myself in hopes to become more accepting of myself and others. I had been doing this meditation every day for three months and it worked! On March 1st, 2013 I went on a first date with my future husband. We had such a strong connection that we ended up flying to Las Vegas the same night! We engaged the same year and got married in 2014.
This simple daily practice helped me to rewire my relationship to love. I finally felt deserving love and able to give love. I realized that true strength was in being vulnerable and being seen. I got so interested in the power of meditation and neuroplasticity that eventually lead me to do Masters in Integrative Health Studies at CIIS and becoming an Integrative Health and Wellness Coach. It’s hard to believe that one simple daily practice changed my personal and professional life! As I am coaching others, I am committed to helping people to find their own little breakthrough practices!
What is a small habit that you can start today to improve your life?
It’s the little things that count!
Story by Regina Akhmadullina