Confessions of a Twenty-Something: How to Reap the Benefits of Growing a Bond With Yourself
🚨 Spoiler Alert: This journey is not easy and isn't one size fits all- even for different versions of yourself! 🚨
Have you been walking through life without feeling much? Never truly able to tap into the simple joys that life has in store for you?
Have you also been hung up with a case of the Negative Nancies- not able to move past all the negativity that comes into your field on a day to day basis?
Trust me- I've been there for longer than I'd like to admit...
Something I've worked my entire 24+ years to experience is true happiness and security within myself. Don't get me wrong- I haven't been walking around super sad all the time, but I've been used to living in apathy, just working to achieve achieve achieve without taking time to feel through any feelings- which has allowed the bond between me, myself, and I to become nearly severed.
That's exactly why we're here together- I've worked the past couple of months to literally move mountains with myself and strengthen that bond and I hope to turn around and help you do the same thing.
Open Your Heart
"What?! Why do you think my heart isn't open?!"
I know- it's a big claim to make, but hear me out. If you're reading this, it's likely that you've held back before for whatever reason, success, saving others' feelings, etc. If that's the case, then you've effectively closed your heart off to the emotions that need to naturally flow through you. You see- in order to experience the positive- the happiness & peace you so crave- you HAVE to be open to experiencing the negative.
Trust me, this experience may not always be pleasant, but it's SO worth it. I'll be the first to admit that I allowed myself to become a minimizer. I didn't let myself feel my feelings, let alone tell other people about them. Going to therapy made me realize just how big of a problem this was. Previously, I thought I was doing life "right" because I kept on going and didn't bother people with what was going on in my mind, but I lost myself in the process- which wasn't worth it in the slightest.
So, if you're feeling the same way- like you're trying to force the waters to be still for the sake of everyone around you and your success- then it's time to tap into those feelings. It may take a while to get them back, but they're waiting to come home to you. 💛
A few ways you can work to connect with yourself again include...
Journaling whatever comes to mind (either in the present moment or when it comes to an event you're trying to place your emotions to)
Meditating/carving out space to sit and just be with yourself
Moving through your emotions (my favorite is putting on a song that I relate to at the moment and jamming my heart out)
I know these things seem small reading them on a screen, but I promise that with consistency these habits can reopen the doors on your closed-off heart.
If you read above and didn't feel like you knew any of the parts of yourself, it's time to face the real you- not the one you allow to run on autopilot all day to get through what you need to do- but the core being inside your body.
If you're not sure how to start, I highly recommend you take a look at the link above to learn a little about the Internal Family Systems and work to conjugate some of the members of your internal family. I did this exercise a few months ago and it was so helpful in learning more about what made me- me.
Here are the family members I was able to come up with for myself...
Kimberly the Happy, Inquisitive Child
Kimberly the Caregiver
Kimberly the Ambivert
Kimberly the Empath
Kimberly the Comedian
Kimberly the Controller
Kimberly the Righteous
Kimberly the Well
Resonate with any of these? Take note of them and make them your own!
Comfort & Encourage Yourself
This habit may seem a little woo woo, but when you actually give it a chance, it has the opportunity to infuse your headspace with an abundant amount of positivity- which directly translates into your feelings and how you carry yourself.
Of course after hearing about the affirmation trends, I was skeptical, and I'll admit that it didn't work for a couple of years. No matter how many times I told myself that I was beautiful, smart, enough, etc., the thoughts never sunk in my head. It wasn't until I started truly believing these things and got over all the fear and negativity that I allowed to cloud my system that I could not just develop an affirmation practice, but truly be there for myself.
I truly believe that there are SO many different pieces that make up who we are. I was able to verbalize this when I came across the Internal Families System, which describes our personality as a conglomeration of many different "family members" in our brains- including our inner child and inner teen (Good Therapy). I share this because there are many parts of ourselves that need to be comforted and encouraged. When they're not- they lash out in ways that you may not recognize.
To illustrate, the most persistent personality in my head for the past few years has been my inner manager. This part of my personality gets. ish. DONE. It's why I've been able to accomplish so much in my life and I am incredibly grateful for that part of my personality.
However, she is not very nice when she feels like I haven't been doing enough... Feelings of failure & worthlessness creep their way into my system until I force myself to work until the point of burnout.
Instead of letting her run rampant, I've now learned to connect with that part of myself in a way that helps her feel supported- I remind her of everything we're doing, how we're absolutely doing enough to be successful (even if we're not reaching new heights every single day), and that I won't let us completely lose all the progress we've made thus far.
In full transparency, I feel compelled to tell you that I've been struggling with this exact part of my brain recently. I share this to show that, again, these steps are not a permanent fix that'll allow us to go to la la land for the rest of our lives. I will always have an inner manager, and she won't always be the most positive thing for me. However, since learning how to work with her instead of allowing it to be her against my human body (I'm not a robot!), I've burnt out way less, still been able to work towards my goals, found a healthier work-life balance, and experience more joy on a day to day basis.
Find Gratitude in the Small Things
While doing all this incredible work to learn who you are and provide yourself with the supports you've lacked for so long, one thing you can do to externally keep this work going is finding gratitude in the small things. By reminding yourself of everything you have to be grateful for, you infuse your headspace with more general positivity and will often find ways to connect these gratitudes back to you- thereby strengthening the positive feelings you have towards yourself.
It wasn't until I started doing all this inner work that my gratitude practice started to make a huge difference. I'm currently on a 2+ year streak of writing down 5 things I've grateful for every day and it helped a bit in the beginning, but now has so much more significance as I'm able to let this gratitude shine through my mind's eye.
Let's get started right now (yes- it's really that easy)! What's one thing- big or small- that you're grateful for right now? Drop it in the comments below to begin your journey towards self-connection ⬇️