I never used to actively take on working through stuff about me that I didn’t like, or got in the way of me being happy. Over the past few years, I have been doing it constantly.
It’s not easy.
It’s like looking at yourself in the mirror, seeing a huge zit, realizing that it looks way worse to you than it does to the rest of the world, and then fighting yourself tooth and nail to not pick, poke or prod it. And then loving that damn zit with every ounce of might that you have until eventually you can’t quite make it out anymore.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not go there. Ever. But the more I try to tell myself that I don’t really want to tackle the bigger things that get in the way of me being all the way good with myself, the more they tend to creep in and color the way I look at life. I end up more anxious, or flat-lined, or restless, or sad for myself. And it gets harder to move through those things quickly.
Some things that I’ve learned when you’re wanting to turn over a new leaf:
1. Talk until you can hear your story
Share whatever is going on in your head. Share it with someone you trust. Preferably, share it with a lot of different people, like family and those that you consider friends. Even if it’s embarrassing, or upsetting, or you think they don’t want to hear. If they love you, they will. The point of sharing your thoughts is not necessarily to get advice or to have them give you sympathy. The point is to share until you can hear your own story about the situation. The emotional sting can lessen. The edge can soften. The hurt can dull. The more you share, the more it can get outside of yourself, and you can deal with it instead of being IN it.
2. Be willing to look at the stuff you don’t want to deal with
A friend of mine recently called me out on my adamant refusal to have kids, and wanted to know why that was beyond ‘I just don’t want them.’ I didn’t want to look at it. Absolutely didn’t want to touch that one. Why would I? I don’t want kids. She mentioned that it wasn’t so much that I didn’t want kids that she was curious about, but rather the level of intensity with which I protested. Turns out there’s quite a lot going on there with me. I didn’t even really know, and it’s kind of a blessing to be working it out, as much as it sucks. I couldn’t have tackled it, though, if I wasn’t willing to be curious about it.
3. Rome wasn’t built in a day. You won’t change overnight.
When people talk about transforming themselves, I think they think it means they will wake up a different person the moment they have an insight, or a breakthrough thought. You won’t. You’ll go back to being the same you pretty immediately. You’ll have to practice a new pattern of thought and behavior. I always get frustrated with myself – I should know better, I should be over this by now, what’s wrong with me? But I’m just being the me I’ve been for 27 years. That doesn’t just up and change. You have to work at it, slowly over time.
4. Give yourself a damn break.
Seriously, will you just get that you are a human being doing the best you can and love yourself a little bit, already?