How seriously do you take yourself?
A look into how a common piece of advice can lead us to undermine ourselves
Hello, conscious thinkers! As always, this newsletter is crafted to serve as inspiration, and often a much needed reminder, to question the status quo and create a life on your own terms. I’m so happy to have you here.
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Hi friends, I just finished a month of traveling and am coming back with so many profound lessons.
Since travels inevitably include a lot of time in transit, and not always with wifi, Raaid (my partner in all things) and I spent this much-needed time to think and reflect. Excited to share some of these realizations with you. 🙂
During one of these transits, we discussed our non-negotiables in life. I want to share one of those with you today.
But first, a pause to send so much love and wishes for health and safety to folks dealing with outages and winter storms. You’re in my thoughts. 💜
A few years ago, Raaid and I made a commitment.
Despite receiving the common advice “don’t take yourself too seriously” for years, Raaid and I committed to do the opposite.
It became one of our non-negotiables: we must always take ourselves seriously.
After some serious reflection on the advice we got too used to hearing, we recognized that “taking other things very seriously” was being mistaken with taking ourselves too seriously.
And that confusion was causing detrimental effects in both of our lives.
For example, anyone that knew me in college, knows how seriously I took everything. I put immense pressure on myself to make every single $ I had taken out in loans to pay for tuition worth it.
I maximized the amount of classes I could take;
I met with every professor because I wanted each one to think highly of me;
I participated in as many activities as possible to ensure my resume represented a “well-rounded” experience;
I never said no to my bosses because I wanted to be their “go-to” person;
At the end of my 1st year of college, I remember meeting with the academic counselor for our mandatory “college planning meeting.” I remember telling my counselor alllll the things I wanted to do over the next three years—I was going to double major and start my own company and do two internships.
I’m sure she could sense how stressed I was, because her advice to me was:
“Shireen, don’t take yourself so seriously.”
I can absolutely appreciate the spirit of her words—she clearly sensed the pressure I was putting on myself and was concerned.
However, in that moment, she confused something:
taking myself seriously.
I was taking money, professors’ and bosses’ impressions of me, and the concept of a resume too seriously.
If I had been taking myself seriously, I would have taken a moment to figure out:
What do I want?
What helps me feel the best?
But I wasn’t asking those questions back then. Instead, I was taking societal expectations too seriously, and at the cost of my own needs. So when my counselor told me to not take myself seriously, I wish she had told me this instead:
Shireen, take yourself seriously. Why are you giving allll of these things so much importance? What about giving yourself importance? How do these things help you feel and be your best?
Over the years, Raaid and I’ve been told not to take ourselves too seriously over and over again. And this advice has usually been coupled with:
“We’re just tiny specks in the universe.”
“We’re gonna die one day anyway.”
While those things may be true, Raaid and I both recognize that each of us still gets to wake up every day and make a choice: What’s getting our attention and energy today?
And in reality:
Any time I’ve considered not taking myself too seriously, I’ve given everything else more attention than I give myself. Which almost always led me to neglect myself and not be my best.
So now, Raaid and I remind ourselves every day:
Take yourself seriously enough to understand how your body works—give it what it needs to feel good.
Take yourself seriously enough to invest in yourself—allocate the time and money.
Take yourself seriously enough to create an environment that fuels you.
Take yourself seriously enough to show up to things—value your presence and your ability to attract opportunities everywhere.
Take yourself seriously enough to take control—don’t just let life happen to you.
I share these reminders in hopes they serve you, too. 💜
If they do, please pay it forward:
As always, I’m only one email away. How do you think about “taking yourself seriously?” I’d love to know.
🎁 PARTING GIFTS
A round-up of hand-picked, highly recommended tools, and inspiration to help you live your best life.
Just discovered Fabulous, an app that aims to help you build healthy rituals into your life by creating positive associations for new habits. Developed by behavioral economist Dan Ariely, it’s free to explore (or $35/annual to use) and works on IOS and Android.
Take a minute and get grounded with Explore.Org’s Livecams of wild life around the world!
The Human Behind this Newsletter
I’m Shireen Jaffer. The Co-founder & CEO of Edvo. Big Empath. Life-long Learner. Builder. Committed Thinker. My mission is to build tools that empower anyone to learn how to think for themselves and navigate life with confidence.
❓ Got a question you want to unpack together? Tweet me, @shireenjaffer_.
🎤 Want to share your story? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org—I’d love to feature you in an upcoming newsletter.
💜 This newsletter was crafted for you while soaking up the warm Florida breeze on my balcony. Share with a friend who inspires you daily—and let them know it.