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Coming full circle



Closing the Guide to self-development (Part 12)


Photographs: Unsplash / Aina Masood

Text: Aina Masood


If you were to put the topic of this article in a google search, you would find that it means returning to a past position or situation. You would also see that it means you go through a series of developments that lead back to the original source or the starting point. For me, this article screams full circle because of two main reasons. Firstly, I want to bring your attention to the first article I wrote for this magazine. Secondly, I would like to complete my 12-step self-development guide by sharing how it has helped me throughout the year and announcing that this will be my last article. I have decided to step back and make more time and space for myself by applying these learnings to my life.


I started writing for The International Denmark in December 2020. It has been two years of immense growth, learning and connection with the team and the readers. The first ever article I wrote was about winter depression, and I would like to bring your attention to it again. Life as an expat can be highly distracting and demanding. Therefore, I wish to remind you of my article on winter depression, where you can read more on how to deal with it.


At the beginning of this year, I set out on a unique project of researching self-development, and as I urged you all to apply it in your life, I also used it in mine.


"Life as an expat can be highly distracting and demanding."


Some of the good that has come out of this experience for me is:

  1. I am more compassionate with myself.

  2. I have made progress in identifying my patterns and asking for help.

  3. I have taken note of my core values and why they mean so much to me.

  4. I have built new habits and am working on some. For example, I read for at least 15 minutes before I sleep every night.

  5. I have worked on relationships that fulfil me and bring joy to my life.

  6. I am improving my emotional vocabulary and identifying my feelings. My biggest challenge is to distinguish boredom from sadness.

  7. I invest in my mental health by going to therapy and practising saying “No” shamelessly and unapologetically.

  8. I take good care of my body by moving my body every day. I enjoy yoga and taking long walks. I have also added using the stairs instead of elevators.

  9. I respect my body’s need to slow down and have taken up knitting.

  10. I celebrate my achievements with people I love and, sometimes, by myself. These celebrations come in different shapes, forms, and sizes. They can look like making food for my husband and enjoying it together or calling my family back home and sharing the joy virtually.


I urge you to reflect on your learnings throughout the year or something you might have found inspirational in my articles, and please share it with me. It brings immense pleasure to me to read messages, comments, and feedback from my readers. I love connecting with people, and you can reach out to me on LinkedIn or through my email. I will not be writing actively for the magazine for a while, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t reach out to me.


I look forward to staying connected with you all. I hope you continue growing, learning and being kind to yourself and others.

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