I’ve spent the past 20 years feeling like I was never enough. Everything I did felt forced, uncomfortable, and even scary. I was forcing myself through school, sports, extracurriculars, friendships, relationships, parties: everything. I spent every waking moment worrying about what everyone else thought about me. What I never stopped to consider is how I felt about me.
This past year, I moved to a new state leaving friends and family behind. This has been the loneliest and most difficult year of my life. After months of feeling unworthy and alone though, I have come to realize I am never alone. I always have myself and as long as I continue to care for myself and grow both spiritually and emotionally, I am doing the most important work of all. Becoming my own best friend. The day you realize this is all you really need is the first day of the rest of your life. Free, happy, and open to new experiences I begin this journey. Thank you to those who are following along. I hope everyone begins to see the benefit of growing to love yourself. Once you love yourself unconditionally, the rest comes easy. Good luck to all those other souls on their journey to happiness.
I have spent the last few years of my life struggling with an, at times, crippling eating disorder. Like millions of other men and women, when I look in the mirror, I don't like what I see. I criticize every piece of my body and then try to create a plan to fix it. I restrict greatly in both the types and amount of foods I eat on a daily basis. I also exercise unnecessarily often because it truly is my best stress reliever and happy hobby. Last summer, I have started smoking pot. At first, it was just recreationally but quite soon it was medicinally (I'll talk about that in a later article). It helps me in so many ways and one important one, it helps me to stop feeling shame around the subject of eating. When I'm not high, I feel like every time I'm eating I'm giving up. I'm letting myself go so to speak. I see so many other girls who either had or have lingering body dysmorphia and I ache so badly for girls who suffer with these eating disorders. Shopping is always a touchy subject as many already know for themselves. With an eating disorder, it can be downright traumatic. Crying, feelings of guilt and shame, feelings unworthiness and loss of control are all common. Today at American eagle I saw something small and sweet on the mirror. Just a little message but I know for me at least, it brightened my day.
One of the biggest mistake I’ve noticed in myself and others as I am starting to spend some time on self development is approaching it as if it was just another step on the list. A. Wake up B. Meditate C. Brush your teeth D. Change E. Write in gratitude journal (the list goes on). This is not a normal project, its not something that you are ever going to be finished doing. There is never going to be a moment where you feel like you are exactly who you want to be doing exactly what you want to be and thats amazing. If that happened we would have no more room for growth and, as humans, we are ever-growing and evolving beings. Because of this, there is no reason to feel a pressure to rush through the process. This is what I’ve noticed I’ve been doing wrong; stressing myself out during the day to try to cram the greatest amount of self-development material as I can. That kind of defeats the purpose doesn’t it, we are all doing this with a goal to feel better not worse. Because of this, I feel that approaching self development has to be done a little bit differently than normal projects.
A. QUALITY OVER QUANTITY:
There is unfortunately only a certain amount of time during the day and because we all can’t pause our lives for self-discovery, we need to integrate it into our lives. It’s much better to do 30 minutes of something that gets you closer to your goal everyday than to do it for 4 hours a few times a month. The first reason is that mindfulness is a habit, its a skill, and as that its something that needs to be developed. Just like running, doing it a few times a month for a long period isn’t going to lead to much change. 30 minutes everyday though, that can make some serious changes. The other reason is that there is just only so much we can absorb everyday. If you listen to 5 podcasts and do 6 guided meditations and watch a few videos and read part of a self-development book, how much of all of that do you really remember? Better yet, how much of it do you actually spend time thinking about and playing with in your head. Sometimes a short statement is all thats needed to get your thinking heading in the right direction, don’t forget that.
B. DON’T ACCEPT INFORMATION JUST BECAUSE OF THE SOURCE:
Self-development and self-discovery (or any better word anyone has, I personally think they both are a little lacking haha) is completely personal. Because of that, there is no reason to find a new mentor and base your daily plans and thoughts on how they approached this process. We all have different thinking patterns and also, different lives. Some people have the ability to meditate for 2 hours in the morning, some only have 5 minutes. There is no reason to belittle your progress because it doesn’t look like someone else’s. Make sure to take only the parts that resonate with you away from any source and leave the rest (a Jess Lively thought!).
C. IT IS NOT ALWAYS FUN:
When I started this journey, I had one goal. To be unapologetically happy. Now, what I didn’t really think about was what these steps in between were going to be. As I’ve gotten deeper and deeper into my self-reflection and daily practices (sometimes every other day) I’ve noticed that it doesn’t always feel very good. There are very sharp spots in your emotions and memories that you will find throughout your growth. The important part is not to beat yourself up over them. THE GOAL IS NOT TO BE PERFECT, LET ME REPEAT, THE GOAL IS NOT TO BE PERFECT! The goal is only to learn how to grapple with life’s imperfections in the best way possible. It’s learning how to be confident enough to trust your own judgement. Its learning the importance of boundaries and how to set them compassionately. As I like to say it to myself when I’m feeling a little down: its learning to be as happy as a child, as peaceful as a monk, as passionate as the people you admire, and as loving as possible. Whether unfortunately or fortunately, this is a marathon not a sprint.
D. THERE ARE CERTAIN THINGS THAT YOU MUST REALIZE BEFORE MAKING REAL PROGRESS:
A. Authenticity- acting according to your goals and desires without needing acknowledgement or praise for it. Even though as your in the midst of self-development it may feel like your having massive breakthroughs, even the people that love you don’t need a play-by-play. Let your actions and attitudes act as an inspiration rather than your words. Words are cheap.
B. Patience is necessary in all aspect of life to lead a peaceful life. There will always be parts of life that make us unhappy. Like traffic, being on hold, being in line, listening to someone we don’t particularly like talking…. There is no way to feel peaceful consistently if we let the mundane parts of life get in the way of our inner peace, true inner peace is almost impossible.
C. Please don’t get so lost inside your head that you forget why you started or what your are working toward. Don’t wallow in your shortcomings and waste your time living in the past.
D. To be happy, you must live in the present. Living in the past leads to only regret and depression because we can change nothing and we can’t go back. Living in the future means we live with anxiety and may not act as we need to in the present to make our dreams a reality.
E. You are not above anyone because your are learning to be more aware. You are not better than anyone. The great part about that though is that no one is better than you.
I just spent the earlier part of today with my fiance looking to buy a quad that he has wanted for the past few years. This has not been the easiest week. I’m having to go through a sort of ego death I guess you can call it. For those that don’t know what it is or how I’m using it here, ego death is a phase of self surrender.
Just to give a little backstory, for the past year I’ve lived up in Massachusetts with my fiance, I moved up there with him and left an environment I was miserable in. This year hasn’t been all peaches and cream but at least we had a place and I had a car. Now, we are living with my fiances parents so we can save up the money to get a nicer place in a few months than we are able to afford right now. My mom, also after some debate, decided she was taking back my car as well. So now I have no car and am living with my fiances parents. I am also looking for a job but don’t currently have one (unfortunately they don’t just appear overnight although with the amount of care.com and indeed searching you think they would). I have always been very self-sufficent and self-reliant. I have always been able to care for myself fully, now not only am I needing to accept help from others, I have very little to offer in return. I am having to give up the parts of myself where I based a lot of my confidence in order to become the happier, less judgemental, and less anxious version of myself I know I have the capability to be.
Now, done with the backstory, today my fiance and I and his two friends went to a dealership to look for a quad. They all know a lot about quads and ride all the time. They entire time we were at the dealership, all they were talking about was places they were going to go. I was very excited for my fiance, I know that this has been a hard year, but I also deep down felt terrified. If he is always riding on the weekends, when will I get to spend time with him? What am I going to do all the time by myself, without a car? Where will I go? Whats the point to all this then?
The questions were filling my head. He also was very distant with me as he was trying to pick a quad and happy to be with his friends. I felt out and out un-included. I also felt overwhelming feelings of abandonment creeping up as well. What was I going to do?I spent the car ride in silence letting my mind get the best of me. I slowly started to feel more and more isolated and alone. By the time that we got home, I burst into tears. My fiance couldn’t understand why I was so upset when he had just gotten that quad, we had wanted it to ride forever. At first I started telling him I was upset because I knew I wasn’t going to see him on the weekends. I could sense him getting frustrated that I wasn’t happy after all this work. I wasn’t trying to selfish though. Slowly but surely I came to realize that this is something I always do, assume I’m going to be left behind. I think that abandonment and my abandonment problems are a tender area I really need to work on. And let the research begin….
I think when you feel both the happiest and the saddest and the most scared and the most surprised and the most frustrated and the most hopeful you have after years of being numb you should relish in it. Remember what it felt like to feel nothing, how absolutely isolated and alone you may have felt. Remember what it felt like when nothing made you happy anymore so every action felt futile and hopeless. Remember the times you should have felt pain and instead you felt nothing so you lived in a dissociated state of limbo between luke warm and uncomfortable. Remember why you started to feel again and make sure you appreciate it because life is a long, scary, windy, uncertain, desperate road without the guidance of emotion. Learn to understand it and use it to guide your daily actions and you can change your world.
I feel like the version of self care that is usually discussed isn't an accurate description of what it really means at its core. Although bubble baths and massages are amazing, self care doesn't always look luxurious. Many times, it's admitting what you really need even when you don't want to. It's making difficult decisions for your wellbeing as a complete person and a lot of times it isn't all that pretty.
Sometimes it means cutting off friends and family members that are toxic to you even if you love and care about them. This person doesn't have to be physically hurting you to be toxic. That's only one way that a person can be toxic. They may belittle your dreams and make your hopes feel unrealistic or even undesirable. They may make you feel self-conscious and unsure of yourself. They may be constantly taking from the relationship without giving. They may have a substance problem or some other vice that is unhealthy for you to be around.
Toxic presents itself in many ways and sadly, sometimes the people we care about most are the most toxic. This does not mean you need to speak badly of a person because they are toxic from you. Sometimes you just need to keep some distance from them while they figure out what they need.
Yet another post from The Lively Show. I love Jess Lively’s weekly show but I particularly love her interviews. When I listen to her interview figures that I’m not familiar I always leave with a new little bit of excitement. Almost like a spark that propels me further in my search for contentment.
This podcast specifically spoke to me because of the fact that James Williams is married and spends almost all of his time with his wife Emily Williams (they even work in the same field in a shared business). James tells Jess about how he finds balance in this relationship and how he maintains his independence. I recommend this podcast to everyone!! Whether you are in a relationship or not, this can improve all of the current relationships you have in your life and also improve any future relationships you will have.
I can’t cover everyone in this post because I listen to the podcasts mostly in the car so I’m not always able to write everything down that I want to remember. But here are the points that I remember.
There is a very important spectrum in a relationship that describes whether a relationship is healthy or not. This ranges from co-dependant to independent. Co-dependant basically means when a couple loses their individuality in the blob that is the couple. Independent means when the two maintain almost complete autonomy from each other throughout the relationship. Interdependent means when the two maintain their individual personalities and essences while sharing their life with each other and relying on each other for support and love. This is the healthiest way to have a relationship because it allows both to come to every situation as their best selves while also allowing each person in the couple to feel comfort.
Don’t shrink each other. This basically means that throughout a relationship you make sure you are helping to propel each other forward rather than holding each other back for any reason. This also means avoiding mirroring your fears onto the other person.
If you always put the other person agenda first resentment will build up so honesty is necessary to prevent this. Venting each night followed by a list of the things your are grateful for is a great way to promote sharing while preventing either person from feeling attacked.
Make sure to serve from a full cup. We need to care for ourselves to be able to help each other.
A man having a “Mr. Fix It” hat or feeling as though they have to earn more money than their partner in order to support the woman is demeaning and usually makes a woman feel more insecure and less powerful.
Female guilt about either not having a career or leaving a more successful career to care for children or take up a career they prefer is a very common idea. Many woman then begin to question whether they deserve to buy things for themselves or take time for themselves. Yet again SERVE FROM A FULL CUP
Here is the link for anyone who wants to listen. I definitely will be listening to this again and having my partner give it a listen: (copy and paste)