Read the inspiring story of Sima
Sima A., NJ
What would being your healthiest self look like?
My healthiest self looks like owning my commitments to myself and others. It means making time for what matters most to me and helps me be my most authentic self. I feel great when I honor myself and when I do not beat myself up for mistakes because it is a constant reminder to myself that to make mistakes is to be human and that no one is perfect.
Tell us a time where you felt like you stepped into your authentic voice or authentic power. What does authenticity look like for you?
For the past 3-4 years, I have been in talk therapy. I am so proud of the voice I've earned and worked for during that time. It is still a struggle for me to speak my truth. I always worry if I am going to hurt someone's feelings or I am nervous about causing tension. I have tried to follow strategies and skills to speak more authentically and I feel like I am learning to be okay with being a flawed individual who doesn't have all the answers. It is sometimes hard to use my new empowered voice, especially at an older age because I have this preconceived notion that people only see me one way, but it is important for me to still work at my authenticity.
Tell us about a time where you overcame a big hurdle. What got you to the other side? What would you say to someone going through something hard?
I have carried a lot of internalized shame a lot of my life. Whether it is with body image or relationships. I am proud of the relationship I've learned to have with my body. Most of my life, I would yo-yo diet and I have finally learned to live in the gray. I would tell someone who is experiencing similar issues that your body is just a shell and while you should honor it and nourish it, you cannot compare it to others. I have learned to love exercise. I have found workouts that make me happy and feel joyful. I also love walking. I often leave voice notes for my loved ones on walks or listen to podcasts that bring me joy.
Why is mental health important to you?
Mental health is SO important to me. I am a School Counselor and I often advocate for mental wellness. I also know how important it is to take mental health from behind the shadows and normalize it to others. I feel so empowered talking about my mental health journey with others and I am so proud of the work I've done. I have seen a vast improvement in all areas in my life because of my value on mental health. This is not to say I always have good days. Some days are harder than others, but knowing I have tools in my toolbox to help me reflect and overcome the bad days are invaluable.
When you think about living your best, boldest life, what does that look like for you?
I am currently doing it! I am challenging myself daily. I am celebrating my wins (big and small). I am working on relationships with my family and loved ones to be a more healthy one that includes boundaries. I love the person I am now and becoming. I am currently working on getting a drivers license and while that is small potatoes to others, it's HUGE to me. For the longest time I would say in therapy there are three things I want to work on: My health, my relationships, and driving and I feel so close to accomplishing all of those things.
Tell us something that most people get wrong about you.
It's so funny this question is here, because while I feel seen by others, sometimes I feel like it's not my full self at times. I feel like especially because I am still going through my life metamorphosis that I sometimes feel misunderstood or that certain people have seen me at one point in my life and may have a preconceived notion of that version of myself. However, I think a lot of this is in my own head and I tell myself to keep being true and authentic with myself.
What do you think your life's purpose (or your soul's purpose) is? When did you realize this?
I feel so blessed to be doing my life's purpose. My favorite quote (as cliche as it may be) is to be the change you want to see in the world. I work with children and I often feel fulfilled when they walk away from a conversation or interaction with me with a smile or feeling lighter. I feel so honored to be doing work that I see reflected in young people. I try my hardest to express to my young ones to just be yourself. I know it's simple, but I wish I heard this more when I was younger. I often tell them people will love you for just being you. That when you are truly just being yourself you shine bright and attract those types of energy back to you.
What do you love most about yourself?
I love that I am still trying new things that challenge me. It is still a struggle for me, but I am trying to say yes to things that scare me or make me nervous. I love that I am sensitive and wear my heart on my sleeve. For so long I saw it as a hindrance that I was so sensitive, but it's actually my super power.
What is a piece of advice you would want this reader to know
My one piece of advice is to literally take it one step at a time. Sometimes seeing a task or something that gives you anxiety as insurmountable can feel daunting. However, I promise you if you do small and manageable steps towards your goal you will get there and you will feel proud of making those small steps to a larger goal! Also, having a trusted person to gently hold you accountable is invaluable!