For the longest time, I had the poorest relationship with myself. I sought external validation while my inner dialogue was critical, harsh and negative. I suffered very badly from the famous “imposter syndrome”. I didn’t even know who I was under all the layers of guilt, expectation, and anxiety I had built up around me. It didn’t help that I had shifted bases so many times in the past, it was like I was constantly “settling in’.
This is not a new story, so many people are like me, going through life disconnected from our inner self. Always looking for something else (or someone else) to complete us. Some people get unlucky and look in the wrong places.
Like any relationship, the one we have with ourselves requires time, commitment and effort to build.
I’ve had a much better quality of life (permit me to brag a bit but my skin even glows now and I don’t drink a lot of water) since I started paying more attention to myself and I think myself really lucky to have made so much progress. Here are some things I’ve found helpful.
Feel all the feelings.
Allow yourself to feel all the feelings. Have the courage to go through difficult or uncomfortable emotions and fears. Does it hurt? let the pain sink to the bottom of your belly and cry it out.
We often push on and cover up how we feel in an attempt to hold things together. In doing so, we refuse to address issues and you find eventually you’re existing in a daze. Be compassionate with yourself. It’s okay to breakdown if that’s how you feel.
Create a morning ritual
Especially for people who go to work, the hustle of Lagos is crazy. You’ve probably snoozed your alarm twice and now you’ll have to pay extra for the bus that’ll also now take another 20 minutes to find. Hopefully, you won’t have to fight your way into it.
You Just Don’t Have The Time!
The best way to begin my morning is to tune into myself before I begin my day. Make it a regular practice to check in with yourself each morning and spend time doing something that is good for you. 5 minutes of meditations and affirmation and you’ll be amazed at the changes you’ll see.
Check-in with yourself regularly
A periodic self-audit is essential for tracking progress. If you do not then you may not realize that things are changing or getting out of control. Checking in with yourself allows you the opportunity to evaluate where you are in your recovery. You may discover that your current coping mechanisms are bad for you or you’re becoming toxic.
If you have had low times in the past you understand how hard it can be to get out of those places. Learning yourself and becoming aware of your mental health condition will help you re-evaluate your life and get a sense of what is important to you. Making a list of accomplishments that you have achieved is a good resource to turn back to when you are feeling low.
Your time is extremely essential and the things we pay the most attention to eventually become our reality. If you’re not mindful of the quality of your thoughts you might run into problems.
Notice where and when thoughts of self-criticism, judgment, and condemnation pop into your head. Don’t place any judgment on these thoughts but consciously choose to let them go. If there are people or places that trigger those thoughts avoid them or build a shield around yourself.
There’s no ultimate method for improving the quality of life but little drops make the ocean.