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"Practical, Action-Oriented Contentment and Compassion" by Leo Babauta

Leo Babauta has inspired millions through his writing on Zen Habits, where he's shared his experiences in building up great habits, cutting clutter and junkfood from his life, learning about great parenting and building a wonderful family, eliminating debt, increasing his income and productivity, and living a life that's more happy through and through.

Leo is now graciously participating in GiveGetWin with a practical class on "action-oriented contentment", and he sat down with Sebastian Marshall to share his thoughts on what motivates him, around what contentment is, on trusting yourself, on being compassionate and compassion as an impetus for action, on self-compassion and treating yourself well, and happiness in general. Enjoy:

"Practical, Action-Oriented Contentment and Compassion" by Leo Babauta, as told to Sebastian Marshall



Everyone always told me "just be yourself." For some reason, I found it hard to do this. I recently realized that I did not know how to be myself, only because I wasn't sure of who I truly was just yet. Being in high school puts a lot of pressure on most of us, we always have to fit in with the cool kids and what not. Also being home with parents around I never found the chance to express myself truthfully. Not to mention all the silly high school rules about our appearance or the way we are supposed to act.

I have always lived in suburban areas where everyone wore the same thing and if you weren't then you couldn't be cool. As sad as it is, I think this is because people are scared in a way of those who are different. Since moving to Toronto, I have been able to explore the extremely multicultural aspect of the city, as well as the openness towards bizarre trends and types of people of the city. I also believe that going to University has allowed me to express myself better through my art and more flexibly with my personality and appearance.

At this point in my life, I am finally at peace with who I truly am. I wouldn't say that this was done over night. It definitely took me some time to adjust and understand that I do not have to be like everybody else and fit perfectly into the mould. This, I think, also applies to other issues in our society which I won't get into right now but might be addressed in a later post.

Back to my original thought; I did not accomplish this overnight. Meditation has definitely helped me in accomplishing these things. Also living in a more mindful way and seeing things from a different perspective, having my own opinions and ideas has enabled me to be more comfortable with who I am and want to be. But most importantly, I have given myself some time to just be on my own. I am much more confident and I am able to express myself through art more comfortably and meaningfully.

All of this to say, be yourself.

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