We are all like cakes, more specifically perhaps I should offer the perspective, we are all like recipes. The ingredients being the collective of our qualities, characteristics, habits, beliefs, behaviors, priorities, perspective, attributes, and past make up who we are today. Each of those parts of ourselves make up who we are, the outcome being the cake. See what I am getting at? The thing is, the outcome is always changing!
Perhaps a big part of your identity, your outcome, had to do with the fact that you were a smoker or very pessimistic or ran 6 miles every day. It is when we alter these ingredients and adjust the recipe that we get different outcomes. When you drop the habit of smoking, when you begin to look at things with a ‘glass half full attitude’, and you replace your 6 miles with weight training, you are no longer who you once were. You have stopped adding so much of that old ingredient and began to incorporate something different - and hopefully better. This can be a very powerful and yet simplistic realization, that if you want a different outcome you just need to alter the ingredients. Those qualities, characteristics, habits, beliefs, behaviors, priorities, perspectives, and attributes that collectively make you who you are can only be controlled by you; you are the only one responsible for how much pessimism or happiness you are adding to your recipe. Sure this may seem daunting and overwhelming at first, to hold so much responsibility in your hand, but it can also be so freeing and empowering...to know that:
you have the ability and power to add or remove any part of your recipe.
Some things I like having in my recipe are confidence, kindness, exercise, consciousness, healthy eating, laughter, wealth, adventure, and child-like wonder. Is it always easy to maintain the quality of my cake? Is it easy to always equally nurture or add in the proper amounts of each of those things? No. But the practice and awareness of incorporating them consciously makes it easier and easier to do...it is now a habit I have. I have the habit of tending to my recipe and that habit itself is part of my recipe.
The quantity of each ingredient you add, the amount of time in which you spend nurturing each habit, trait, belief, etc can be a direct indicator as to what your priorities are.
For example, you may have healthy eating and indulgence eating in your recipe but the amount of time you spend nurturing each of those two behaviors/habits shows which is more of a priority. If you spend more time eating healthily, eating healthy is more of a priority to you than indulgence. The quantities of the ingredients you put in are evident just by taking on the role of the observer and looking at your overall life. If you add a lot of the ingredient “healthy eating” it will show in your life in the form of a healthy body, you saying no to sweets, and you making sure you have quality foods in your fridge. If you add a lot of the ingredient “smoking” it will show in your life in the form of yellow nails, darkened teeth, a raspy voice, aged skin, and perhaps even lung cancer.
Perhaps you just want to test the waters, just being curious as to what the outcome would be if you took a little of ___ away and added a little of ____; guess what! YOU HAVE THAT ABILITY. You can add, take away, and re-add anything at any time. Perhaps you want to take away a few cigarettes per day and add in 3 one mile walks per week. Great! Do it, test it out. Nothing is permanent and so if you do not like your new recipe, change it back. Perhaps you stopped running 6 days per week and weight lifted instead but couldn't get into it, fine! Switch it back or try a combination of both.Perhaps you want to add into your morning routine standing in front of a mirror and complimenting yourself, I believe that to be an added ingredient we could all use, and one you won’t want to take out later ;]
What I am trying to get at here is that if you do not like your outcome, you don’t like the flavor of your life as it is right now, start changing the ingredients or the quantity of the ones that are already there. Add in some more self caring, self nurturing, ingredients and let go of the ones - that perhaps at one point in time served a purpose - that no longer add good flavor to your life. Even though there is no doubt that the combinations, quantities, and ingredients of your recipe will change throughout your lifetime, that doesn't mean you cant create a sturdy foundation and from that safe combination explore additives. First comes the cake itself but then you can add all sorts of frosting types and flavors, first comes the pie crust but the filling can always be changed and experimented with. Again, it may seem overwhelming for a moment but, only you can do this. No one else can bake your cake for you but YOU can create your cake and eat it too ;D (get it?)
Have fun with it, you never know how much more delicious your cake would be with just the minor-est of adjustments.
Because frankly, you deserve it,