Who am I? That’s the question I’ve asked myself a few times throughout my life. These moments have always seemed to coincide with the ending of a relationship where I suddenly wondered what the heck happened to me. Coincidence? I think not. I seemed to just wake up one day and not recognize myself anymore. How I acted and reacted to things. How I treated myself, felt sorry for myself, felt week… This is not me!
How Did This Happen?
It’s important to reflect on the past only long enough to figure out how you got where you are now. Not to rehash all the dirt and beat yourself up, but with an analytical approach to determine the triggers and habits you’ve cultivated throughout your life that have enabled you to lose sight of who you are.
Some things I realized about myself:
- Other people’s opinions of me mattered more than they should.
- I allowed how others felt or acted to determine my mood.
- I allowed other people’s opinions and words determine my self-worth.
- I felt the need to change to accommodate others based on their opinions or criticisms of me.
- I allowed my self-worth to be so low that I needed validation from others to feel happy.
- I eventually felt suffocated, miserable, shackled, and worthless. Like I could never do enough or be enough to please others.
- I felt like I was in a no-win situation… and I was.
Who Do I Want to Be?
So, I went on a journey to discover the answer to that question.
Some of the things I did during this time:
- I read books (a lot). I didn’t always have much time for reading so I would listen to books on audible. I highly recommend it. Don’t let lack of time to be your excuse. Instead of going home after work and plopping down on the couch, stick some earbuds in your ear and listen to a book. You can get a lot accomplished while you’re listening to your book too. Do some housework or organize your cupboards. Clean the toilet lol. It will give you a sense of accomplishment.
- I listened to Podcasts (a lot). Like The Joy Junkie podcast. As I was sitting here thinking about all the Podcasts I listen to, I can definitely say this is my #1 recommendation for rediscovering yourself. Amy will teach you everything you need and give you the tools to reclaim you.
- I created a vision board. It wasn’t the prettiest vision board, as you can see above. It was highly inspiring and motivating, to wake up every morning and see that vision board and be reminded about who I wanted to be. Just the whole process of creating it was so very therapeutic.
- I journaled. This is where mind dumps came in real handy. Just sit down and get all the crap that’s inside your head out. Just write. Get out all the emotion, the anger, the hurt, and the sadness. It is very healing.
- I meditated. I didn’t always do this in the traditional sense. Many times, I would just take a lawn chair out to the river and sit on the bank watching the water flow. Sometimes I would journal. Sometimes I would just listen to music (binaural beats mostly), or I would draw, or do nothing at all. Having quiet times where you can just sit and reflect in a quiet, peaceful place I think is super important.
- I set goals and made a life plan. Without a plan you have no direction.
- I focused on me. I put the time and energy into this endeavor because it was important to me. What we need to realize is that we are always important. We should always take care of ourselves first.
I wanted to feel comfortable and confident in my own skin again. I wanted peace in my life, happiness with myself, and the freedom to be me.
How Do I Become the Person I Want to Be?
The most important thing to remember is that change takes time. It should be a never ending life-long journey of growth and self-discovery. Change takes work.
Change can be scary. We allow fear to dictate the actions we do or don’t take. To take control of our lives, we must first realize that we need to confront our fears.
F**k you fear. That is what I would say every time I felt fearful about standing up for myself or creating boundaries that were necessary in my life. I found by doing this that the fears I had where 100% of the time misplaced. The world did not end. In fact, most of the time things got better and change always became easier.
How Do I Keep Myself on Track?
This is something I’m still trying to figure out. It’s easy to fall back into our old habits if we aren’t careful. Some things that I have found that help is to get into the habit of monthly assessments of your life. Just pick a day each month where you can evaluate how you’re doing. Sometimes you just need a reminder.
The key here I think, is the need to be continually vigilant in your pursuit of personal growth and questioning where you’re at. Never become complacent.
I never would have started my journey to grow and become the person I want to be if I hadn’t first gotten to that point where I felt I didn’t know who I was. So it was a good thing.
Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.Henry David Thoreau
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