17: 4 Healthy Habits for Continual Self-Growth
Monday December 15, 2014

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~The Simple Sophisticate podcast, episode #17

One of the popular maxims when it comes to life advice is that lessons repeat themselves until they are learned. And while I’ve heard this before, I always felt there was a negative tone to the reappearance of a life lesson that we had experienced before. As if to say, you failed, so let’s try it again. And when we look at any life situation through such a negative lens, it can be difficult to have confidence that we will be successful.

Over the past weekend, my yoga instructor framed this life truth in a different way. She began class with the statement that our lives are full of spirals, events, situations, lessons reoccurring for us to apply the knowledge we didn’t have the first time around. And I very much appreciated her reframing of this concept. After all, we can only do our best at the time the lesson presents itself. To ask for more would be impossible. But when we’ve had the opportunity to experience the lesson previously, we immediately gain new information which will enable us to do better the next time a similar situation arises.

Part of the reason my instructor began class with such an idea was to let us know that we would be revisiting poses throughout the class, and we should notice that with each consequent attempt, our bodies will be more comfortable, more at ease and better able to hold the pose or go deeper into the pose. She was right.

So I’d like to view this idea of lessons repeating themselves in a more positive light. I’d like to view them as opportunities to reap the benefits that we weren’t initially able to garner on the first go-round. In other words, rather than viewing the second or third attempt as a punishment, why not view it as an opportunity to earn the rewards we didn’t the first time?

And in order to live in this dynamic fashion, we must have certain healthy habits that will stimulate this continual progress which will constantly allow us to grow. Today, I’d like to share with you four habits that once ingrained in our way of living and responding to life will allow us to regularly grow, learn and most importantly, flourish.

1. Recognize the Lesson that Keeps Returning

The first key to growth is recognition. We must be able to recognize when a pattern is occurring in our lives. Whether lines of communication keep breaking down, or we feel we are butting our heads up against a wall at work, we must take responsibility and realize the lesson that is again in our lives, begging to be learned. Once we recognize it, we can fix it.

2. Reflect and Be Honest with Yourself

Now that we’ve recognized it, we need to find time to self-assess. Why do I choose unavailable people? Why do I procrastinate when it comes to tasks at work? When we finally sit down with ourselves and demand that we be honest, while initially uncomfortable, we will discover amazing aha moments.

3. Mind Shift

Perhaps a relationship in the past left a bad taste in your mouth and made you weary of opening up in current partnerships. Perhaps you, as a protective mechanism, assume the worst so as to protect yourself from ever being hurt again. While this may seem to make sense on the surface, it is actually sabotage. Why? Because, what we think, we create.

No, your new partner may not betray you as your past lover did, but your inability to trust may push them away before the relationship even has a chance to blossom. So instead, shift your mind – new person, new relationship, new mindset not to be dragged down by the past. Your future will thank you.

4. Don’t Take it Personally

As humans, our psychology is designed fundamentally to protect us, to prevent anything from causing pain. In other words, we, as humans, are preconditioned to take things personally. When we allow this innate reflex to run rampant without keeping it in check, we are letting fear run our lives. And when we refuse to be courageous and let fear rule, we are giving up the control that is ours.

So how do we not take hurtful comments or behavior personally? Two tricks. One: keep in mind that someone else’s behavior is revealing of who they are – their hurts, pains and past experiences and has nothing to do with us so long as we didn’t provoke them or respond with negativity. The more we know beyond our limited knowledge of that person’s history, the more aptly we can quickly discern that it truly has nothing to do with us. But unfortunately, we usually don’t have such sensitive intel about the person. Sometime in hindsight we discover why they were so hurtful, that is rare. In the meantime, recognize that their behavior is a mirror of who they are, not you.

Two: Beyond the fact that it is natural human behavior to take something personally, why else do certain comments, etc cause us to bristle more than others? Often, it is because we have our own open wounds that haven’t yet healed. And until we are honest about their existence, we will be sensitive to any behavior that dances next to or on our pain (much like pouring salt in a wound). But guess what? That particular person probably has no clue of our vulnerability.

It is our job to heal our wounds because when we can come to understand ourselves more fully, heal ourselves, we will be far better at not taking others’ words and actions personally, and will be better able to deal with them in a healthy and effective manner, or move on if necessary.

While these four habits on the surface may appear simple, they will indeed take targeted, conscious focus to become habituated into our daily routine. However, once they do, our spontaneous response will be positive, healthy and open up amazing opportunities that we hadn’t experienced the first time around.


~Your Fear is Speaking

~Change Your Thoughts, Change Your World

~Why Not . . . Choose to Learn the Lesson?

~TSLL Home Tour (note: house is no longer on the market)

Petit Plaisir:

Turnips and Their Greens Risotto

~adapted from Hugh Acheson’s recipe


  • 3 small hakurei turnips
  • dash of sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1/2 cup minced yellow onion or shallot 
  • 1 cup Caroline Gold Middland’s broken kernel rice (arborio rice)
  • 1/3 cup of dry white wine
  • 4 cups homemade chicken stock
  • 2 cups finely chopped turnip greens 
  • 1/2 cup finely grated (rasp) Parmagiano 
  • 2-4 tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • 1 tablespoon finely cut bias cut onion top for garnish 
  • optional – 1/4 cup of mascarpone cheese


  1. Very thinly slice the turnips. Drizzle with olive oil and sea salt and set aside. These will finish the risotto.
  2. Warm your chicken stock in a pot and place a ladle in it. Keep this on the back of the stove. Place a good pot on the stove over medium to medium high heat and add the remaining olive oil. Add the minced onion bulb and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon until the onion is translucent but not charred at all, about five minutes.
  3. Add the rice and lightly glaze the rice.
  4. Add the wine until it is absorbed (1-2 minutes).
  5. Start adding the stock, about a cup at a time and stir and cook until the stock is absorbed (5-7 minutes). Then add more. Repeat until all stock is gone.
  6. Let’s finish this up. Add the butter and the parmesan – and stir well to fold those beautiful finishes into the risotto. Then add the turnip greens to wilt them into the risotto. (Add the mascarpone cheese – optional). It’s done. When it gets in that bowl it will set up well. Spoon into shallow bowls and garnish with the raw turnips and some more Parmagiano Reggiano.
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes – 1 Hour
ServingsServes four as a lighter supper 
  • Serving size: 1/4 of recipe

buickrisotto ~Chef Hugh Acheson at Empire State South completing his cooking demonstration in fall 2012~


Image:  (2) Buick

Thesimplyluxuriouslife.com | The Simply Luxurious Life

5 thoughts on “17: 4 Healthy Habits for Continual Self-Growth

  1. Hi Shanon, Loved your podcast today. Very timely for my life.
    BTW…Hugh Acheson is Canadian and not from the South, though we are fortunate that he has adopted our region as his home. He did not move here until after years studying abroad and in California.

  2. Your post for today is right on time for my growing life. Has pre-marital counseling session today and this helps guide me to more steps of my journey. Thanks for sharing

  3. I was listening to this so intensely that when you said “Guess what?” at around 22:50 I actually went “hmm?” out loud hahaha. My 4 year old was confused!

    Love that Stitcher recommended you to me a few weeks ago!!! So enjoying your tips and wisdom.

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