Over the past few months, I’ve been realising more and more that the person you can rely on the most in life is yourself. Friends drift, relationships change and your family can’t be there forever. It’s probably one of my most daunting realisations, but I think it is also really rewarding. As a result, I’ve decided to start putting myself first more often and decided that I want to focus on becoming a better person, not for anyone else, but for myself. I would not describe myself as a ‘self-loving’ person, but I hope that a few months down the line, I’ll be able to change that, and be truly happier in myself.
The first, and probably hardest, step for me is changing my mentality. I’ve always been a people pleaser and absolutely hate the thought of someone disliking me. However, I think I let this take control of me too much, and in certain situations it leads to me being walked over and ultimately I think I let the external environment control me too much. I realise that so often I let things I cannot control take over my emotions and moods, that I end up creating these ‘problems’ myself. Instead, I’m going to try to asses situations better and if something has not been caused by me nor does it requires solving by me, I’m not going to let it develop into a problem it shouldn’t be. This way, I hope to live much more peacefully and have less unnecessary conflict in my life.
Another thing I’d like to change about my mentality, is how I strive to achieve my goals, and also how I react in the process. I’m going to start setting mental goals for myself, only small, reachable things, but something that will make me proud of myself. For example, it might be to do three kind deeds in the week, cook a meal for my family, or get outside everyday. This way, if I’m feeling down about myself as a person, I will always have something I can remind myself of to be proud of. Similarly, by setting these personal goals, I won’t require anyone else’s validation. Previously, I’ve often made open goals or aims, which has led to me often going to others for their approval or hoping someone may notice the hard-work I’ve been putting in. Although it is lovely to get others involved, I need to learn to rely less on the approval of others, and instead the approval of myself.
The second step for me, is reaching my peak happiness as a being (i.e my physical health and well-being.) I find working on your health and well-being so rewarding for self-love, as you can appreciate the amazing things your body is capable of. It’s sounds silly, but earlier today I was working on my upper-body strength, and was surprised by some of the exercises I ended up being capable of. It made me appreciate the unknown capability I had, and was a great reminder of what my body can achieve, and most importantly made me want to work harder and see what I may be able to push myself to. I think working on fitness is a bonus for working on yourself. You show that you are looking after yourself physically, which will in turn push you to look after yourself mentally. There is also nothing more pleasing than knowing whilst others may be relaxing and indulging, you are out there working hard on your best self.
Another big part of the process for me, is learning how to implement work into my plan. Unfortunately, as I’m sure many of you might find, work is one of the biggest causes of stress, self-loathing, and sadness for me. I think it’s the pressure, repetition and mundanity that makes something that is supposed to be so engaging and exciting turn on it’s head. One of the biggest changes I’m trying to make in my working mentality, is focussing on the ‘whys’. Why am I doing this? Why do I need to work hard? Why shouldn’t I give up? We all have aspirations in life, and at the end of the day, you sometimes just have to remind yourself that it takes time and effort to get there, and securing a successful education is just one of those small steps. Something that I think should be emphasised more is the importance of a work/life balance. Although many of us are always working as hard as we can, it’s important to allow yourself time to rest and refresh, as continually putting yourself under immense pressure will only deter you away from succeeding to the best of your ability. Remind yourself of just how much effort you put in, and reflect upon everything you have achieved so far, so that you don’t let work affect your self-image or esteem.
As a person, I feel I’ve become more reserved lately, as I’ve taken a step back to work on myself. I’ve never had this feeling before, but as of now, I feel I can say I am focussed on myself. I still have many special people in my life, but there is no one who brings me stress or conflict- I’m lucky enough to have positive and loving people around me. Therefore, if I do need to focus on someone else, it will only be for a positive reason. You can probably tell I’m quite motivated at the moment, but it’s important to remember I could be back at square one next week. Self-love isn’t a linear process, but it’s something so important that we should all strive to find it. Another paramount part of self-love, is remembering that it isn’t a state of complete and eternal ecstasy. There will be times you feel sad, angry, frustrated, even every emotion possible, but that’s part of being human. Loving yourself doesn’t deny you to feel the things you normally do, it’s simply the way you deal with them and the mentality you hold that change.