Today’s post is all about mental clarity, and the steps that I took to get into the right headspace to start healing my relationship with myself and being happy with who I am. If you can relate to the feeling of being insecure and angry at not being the person you want to be, then this post is for you.
I want to start off by saying that while these changes are simple, they are by no means easy. Take everything a day at a time, and don’t get mad at yourself if you don’t do everything right every day. Some days are just plain harder than others, and that’s okay. These are habits that develop over time, which means they will get easier to do as time goes on. However, it will take a lot of conscious thought and effort for the habits to develop. Be persistent and know that the effort will pay off in the end.
I’ll also include a little bit about how I was able to start incorporating these habits into my life, just to give you an idea of where to start. These steps were helpful for me, but that doesn’t mean they’ll work for everyone. Trust your instincts and do what works for you!
1. Put Yourself First
This is by far the most important step to take when trying to get in control of your life. Constantly putting others needs ahead of your own is so bad for your self-esteem because it gets you into the habit of thinking your needs aren’t important; if your needs aren’t being met, then you aren’t living the happiest life you could be living. The other issue is that people can sense if you don’t value yourself and your time, and they will take advantage of that; respect from others will only come if you respect yourself.
A simple step you can start with is saying “No” to people when they ask you to do something you don’t want to do. I know this sounds silly and small, but think about it; every time you say “yes” to doing a favor for someone, whether it’s staying late at work or walking their dog or picking up coffee for them, you are putting their needs ahead of your own. I’m not saying to never do things for people, but just remember that your time is valuable, and it’s okay to say no sometimes, especially when it begins to feel like a burden.
Another way to prioritize yourself is by scheduling time every day to do something you enjoy, even if it’s only for 30 minutes. For me, I go on a morning walk; it helps me to set a good mood for the day and I just enjoy the feeling of the crisp morning air. It will probably be something different for you, and that is totally fine; the important thing is that you are putting yourself first by doing something only for you.
2. Limit Social Media to Only 1 Hour A Day
This step is going to help you when it comes to setting realistic goals for yourself. Social media is a highlight reel, and that can have a harmful effect when you are looking at your own life. Setting goals and making plans for your future is how make progress and become a better person, but when you are constantly comparing yourself to someone else’s life, it can be discouraging to your progress; the issue is that you are only seeing the successes of their lives, not their struggles, and this makes it frustrating when you do struggle, because they make it look so easy.
I am not suggesting not ever going on social media, but when you do, limit it to only a few minutes at a time. Don’t follow accounts of people that you envy, but rather, follow accounts of people that keep it real. If their account is always them smiling, or their kids laughing, and every photo looks photo shopped, or in the same kind of filter, then it’s not someone you want to follow; it’s just going to make you frustrated when you see that your life isn’t like theirs. Your focus will go from meeting your goals to wishing you were more like them, which will keep you from progressing and you’ll end up back to square one.
The other issue with social media is the comparison factor. For example, say your goal is to lose weight, and you’ve seen a couple other people from high school try this one workout plan that worked wonders for them, so you decide you’re going to try it. You do the whole six-week workout plan, and you see some results, but nothing like what your friends have posted. Immediately, you begin to feel frustrated and jealous, because you did the exact same thing they did, for the same amount of time, but it didn’t work for you. Do you continue for another six weeks, or do you feel like your time has been wasted and you give up? Most people give up, not considering that everyone is different, and just because one thing worked for someone, it does not mean it is going to work for you the exact same way. If you weren’t comparing yourself to someone else’s results, it’s possible you’d continue the workout plan for another six weeks and you’d see the results you wanted; or maybe you would try something new and see results with that program. Comparing yourself to others makes it harder to be able to just focus on you and what you need, which is why it’s not a good idea to follow what someone else does exactly; try listening to yourself and your body, and find what works for you.
Once you are confident in knowing yourself and your body and your brain, and you know that when you go on social media that you won’t immediately start comparing yourself to others, that’s when it’s okay to go on their as much as you’d like. The thing is though, once you do find that confidence in yourself, the power social media has over you is gone, and you won’t have an urge to go on nearly as much as before.
3. Stop Talking Negatively About Yourself
Words are incredibly powerful; there have been studies done that showed speaking certain words to plants affected how they grew. The ones who had negative words like “stupid” and “hopeless” had their growth stunted, while positive words like “love” and “fulfillment” caused the plants to flourish. I like to use that as a reminder when I feel the urge to talk about myself negatively; our brains believe everything we tell them, which means the things you tell yourself change who you are. If you tell yourself you are stupid and ugly, you will be stupid and ugly. And if you tell yourself you are confident and smart, you will be confident and smart.
It’s a hard habit to break, but it is possible. Start with something simple, like complimenting yourself when you look in the mirror in the morning. Just find one thing you like and tell yourself out loud what you like about it. It will feel weird at first, but just keep doing it every day. When a negative thought pops in your head, don’t let yourself just think it and be okay with it; acknowledge it, and then tell yourself why that thought is not true. Another big help is complimenting other people; finding attributes in others that you admire makes it easier to find those qualities within yourself.
Remember that there is no one else you can be but you, and there is no sense in being stuck with someone you don’t like. If you keep telling yourself all the things you don’t like about yourself, you’re going to start forgetting the things you do like. And to be honest, you shouldn’t have anything about yourself you don’t like, because you have the ability to be exactly the person you want to be. Being satisfied with who you are will make it possible to build healthy relationships and be truly happy with your life. It all starts with what you tell yourself.
I really hope you enjoyed this post, and that these tips help you as much as they helped me. When I think back to my life before I started implementing these habits, I was insecure and unhappy with myself, and it made it hard to have a healthy relationship with anyone because I was constantly taking out my dissatisfaction on my friends and family. I didn’t like myself, and it made it hard for others to like me. I feel like a different person now; there are still days that are challenging, but even those days are easier to get through when I’m not constantly down on myself. I feel like others enjoy being around me more, and I feel more confident in myself and who I want to be, which makes it a lot easier to disregard other people’s opinions about me and how I live my life.
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Featured image is by Cerys Lowe on Unsplash