Growing up, I haven’t had the healthiest image of myself. By that, I mean both physically and mentally. I battled insecurities all throughout middle school, high school and probably my early years of college. I was in unhealthy relationships (both romantically and friendly) and basically accepted them because I thought it was the norm. I was smiling on the outside but nonetheless hurting on the inside.
I remember receiving an anonymous message on MySpace (I’m THAT old!). I say anonymous because well, there was no picture and I had no idea who this person was. Person X took some time out of his/her day to tell me I was too fat and too ugly to be on the cheer squad. Welp, I let it destroy the last bits of self-esteem I got. I mean looking back, I’d probably scorn and laugh, but back then words stabbed me and left me with invisible wounds. For the longest time, I replayed this message over and over in my head. During cheer practice, I would compare myself to the rest of the girls… to a point where I’d verbally self-destruct even more. I just consumed myself in this mind game that left me feeling isolated from everyone. I accused ex-boyfriends of doing so and so; I was a complete wreck with no sense of identity.
That all changed when I decided to take charge of my life. There is SO MUCH power in a choice… and upon said realization, I did the following –
1. Find a New Environment
When you’ve been in an environment for so long that isn’t yielding any positive results, the first step is really to evaluate and learn to take yourself out of that situation. It’s definitely easier said than done, but it is still very much doable. I’m not sure what changed all of that. Maybe it helped leaving that toxic environment? I wouldn’t say there was a specific toxic “place” though; I think it was more of a metaphor. I was in a dark place, and I unfortunately allowed negativity shadow the light inside of me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my fair share of bliss throughout high school and community college. I believe my transition started when I leaped at the chance to “redeem” myself and start over. I became active in student government, I sought out classes and activities that were unbeknownst to me before.
2. Break the Mold
I basically “broke the mold” and started carving out a new one. This supported my shift in my personal paradigm as I developed new relationships with others, grew inspired by others, started truly listening to myself more and simply getting to know myself. By that, I mean I truly started knowing what I liked and what I could not tolerate for my own well-being. The gym became my best friend as well as my all-time therapeutic go-to YOGA, which played a huge factor in (LINK)my lesson of enjoying some alone time.(LINK). I started penning out my thoughts daily in a journal or my previous tumblr etc. I shed this old layer of negativity and kept with me the lessons bestowed upon me from those experiences.
3. Discomfort is the NEW Comfort
As reiterated by my all-time favorite blogger Lauryn Evarts from TSC, I basically got uncomfortable to get comfortable. I must say I’ve done a lot to be intentionally uncomfortable. I traveled to DC alone for a conference (you know, the time I ended up in Virginia and had to uber my butt over to DC #thankyoueastcoast), went to NY for a United Nations conference not knowing anyone (any reason to go to NY, right? 😉 ), the list goes on. Basically, I sought opportunities for me to get OUTSIDE myself. While I had to go through a plethora of emotions prior to those events, I came out stronger, firmer in my autonomy. I started knowing ME because I learned from such “discomfort.”
4. It’s NOT a numbers game
Strength in numbers? Hmm, maybe. In this case, quality > quantity. Realize that support systems are meant to bring you UP. Don’t lose yourself in social media numbers. Don’t go around obsessing over followers and likes. Truly know who the people in your circle are because they are the ones who are going to be there throughout both your highs + lows.
The reason I’m writing this is because well, as you can see, I haven’t always been my usual positive upbeat self. People reach out to me every now and then to applaud me on my positivity and asked to share tips, but honestly, I can only do so much. These tips worked for ME and I wanted to share them.
It took a lot of self-love and healing for me to get where I am today. In fact, just like I’ve been reiterating multiple times before, it is always an ongoing journey. I know everyone has heard the term “self-love” one too many times, but I can’t help but reaffirm how important this is. It is during this pivotal time where I realized I had the CHOICE to be in an environment that I wanted to be in, the choice to feel what I want to feel, and the choice of how I want to perceive this world. It brings me back to the core of my blog. I started this as a way to have an outlet, to outline what I’ve gone through, and to project a beacon of light amongst others going through similar situations. While our battles may not always align, the lessons learned at the end of the day usually do.
Side note – If you’re dealing with some tough battles right now, just know that they won’t last. Time wasted on others is really time wasted on your own growth, so try to focus your energy on yourself, what you can control, and ultimately, what you really WANT to invest your time in. Tough times don’t define who you are; they merely morph you to become stronger in accepting who you are… and you’re worthy 🙂
And lastly, hope my blog helps 😉