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My Inner Growth Journey

I created Inner Growth™ because throughout my life, I have truly witnessed the power of evolving my relationship to myself. From losing my sense of self and doing things to please or impress others, to doing the inner work and learning to love both my light and my shadow, my journey has been filled by ups and downs, and I am grateful I get to share some of that journey with you on this post. Let's dive into it.

Losing My Sense of Self as a Teenager

From 13 to 21, my internal world was chaos and I lacked a sense of stability in my life.

At 13 years old, I moved from São Paulo, Brazil to the midwest suburbs of Chicago -- AKA I moved countries right after becoming a teen. Constantly moving and on the go, having to acclimate to new friends, schools and environments made me like a chameleon: while it did help me become adaptable and flexible, it also diluted my sense of self. I desperately wanted to fit in and be liked.

Over time, I became very disconnected from my true self and my sense of self worth became dependent on external validation. As the oldest sister, I was the straight A perfectionistic student, always wanting to be the best in order to receive affirmation for my achievements. As a woman, I wanted to receive compliments for 'looking pretty' and felt like I had to change what I looked like for guys to like me.

Going into college at 18 years old, I was in the depths of my eating disorder. I was so restrictive, hated myself, and it got to a point where I didn’t even recognize myself by the end of first semester. I wasn’t showing up as my best self, so the situations, people and opportunities I was attracting were aligned with THAT version of me.

I had a low sense of self worth, derived my sense of self from external validation, felt like I needed other people to like me, and was disconnected from my body and my mind.

From HITTING Rock Bottom to Awakening SpiritualLY

In March 2020, I hit my rock bottom -- but little did I know, that was the beginning of a transformative awakening (a moment of becoming suddenly aware of something). In a spur of events that involved reading the Power of Now, doing a 21 day meditation challenge and starting weekly therapy, I began to truly look within for the first time. I started doing the inner work, spending a lot of time alone and diving deeper into myself.

As I began to see myself fully, with honesty, I started being able to work on the negative beliefs I had about my body, food and my worth.

I learned about the power of personal responsibility -- the practice of being totally honest about how I was contributing to situations in my life instead of blaming things outside of me for why things were the way they were.

As I started to do this inner work, I saw how out of alignment I was with who I wanted to be, and that awareness was what enabled me to transform. I began to make changes that helped me align with the version of myself I wanted to be - confident, grounded, creative, true to myself, healthy, glowing, honest.

Since then, I've experienced the most growth I ever have. And it didn’t come from seeking anything outside of me, but rather, looking INSIDE -- focusing on my emotional health, rewiring my subconscious mind’s beliefs, and creating habits from a place of commitment to and love for myself.

The Power of Releasing Perfectionism

Perfectionism has been a pattern in my life for many, many years. As I mentioned before, I used to think that projecting this perfect version of myself to the world was what would cause people to like me -- but instead, what it caused was a ton of self-judgement, setting unreachable standards for myself, and never feeling like I was good enough.

Perfectionism led me to living life on extremes. I tried so hard to do everything 'perfectly', working out every day, being productive 24/7 and always doing the most, but if I made what I deemed a 'mistake', I would judge myself DEEPLY, and fall into a shame and guilt spiral. With so many restrictions and rules in my life, I constantly felt like I was drowning yet never doing enough.

Consciously working on my perfectionism has been extremely important for my growth. I've become aware of how it plays a role in my life and learned that I don’t have to be perfect to be worthy, liked, or enough. That’s been a big belief I have had to UNLEARN.

I was holding on for dear life and trying to be so perfect, but at the cost of not looking at myself with compassion.

finding balance: a Healthy In-Between

Throughout this journey, I've really learned the power of BALANCE. How can I release a 0-100 mindset and instead find a healthy middle ground that nourishes me? How can I embrace a way of living that feels good and empowering yet is also free of self-judgement, rules and restrictions?

Get this: if you take a pendulum and swing it all the way to one side, it will swing the exact same distance to the other side, and it will keep swinging to each extreme until it returns to the middle.

To me: balance isn't necessarily about staying stuck and stagnant, exactly in the middle. Rather, it's about allowing yourself to swing to either side in smaller, healthier increments.

In real life, this can look like:

  • Having a regular workout routine but allowing myself to also take rest days and get enough sleep

  • Eating whole foods and nourishing my body with home cooked meals, but also leaving space to try new restaurants

  • Loving nourish bowls but also loving croissants and bagels

  • Having my lattes with almond milk but also loving a whole milk froth when I get a cappuccino at a café

  • Going out with friends and having a few drinks, but also having wholesome and restful weekends

Balance, to me, is also about releasing the self-judgement spiral that I used to go down on ALL THE TIME. It's about releasing the notion that I have to do everything right or I am failing.

In short:

The more I have improved my relationship with myself, released perfection, and embodied more balance in my life, the more amazing and soul-expansive opportunities and relationships I've attracted.

We often seek answers and control from outside of ourselves - in advice from others, diet plans, strict routines, or copying what other people are doing - when truly, the answers are already inside of you.

When you look INWARDS, when you CHOOSE to tune into yourself, to get to know yourself and to do the work of feeling like you are ENOUGH and imperfect at the same time, you unlock the most powerful and abundant life ever.

If this post resonates with you or you see yourself in any part of my story, just know that you're not alone. Every single experience you have is a key part of your personal evolution, and it can teach you something powerful if you choose to see it as a learning lesson.

Just know that I am here for you and you belong at the Inner Growth™ Collective!


xx Carolina

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