That's right- I'm calling myself out this week. I'm a big mean bully!
Fortunately, I know I'm not a big mean bully to others- just myself. However, what I've realized over the past couple of months is that this bullying is absolutely detrimental to my mental health.
Here's what I mean:
My mind spends most of its time focused on others. However, on the chance I allow myself to focus on me, a couple things often happen in almost rapid succession:
1) I have a negative thought about myself (don't worry- they're not always negative!)
2) I immediately start thinking of things to minimize or contradict that negative thought until it goes away
Not what you thought it'd be, huh? To be honest, most of my teenage years were spent in the true bullying zone- hating so many things about myself: from my appearance to my personality and everything in between. I feel like we all grapple with these feelings, especially during our teenage years, and being in our twenties and beyond is all about learning how to let this toxicity out of our mindset and learn how to love ourselves.
I thought the way to go about it was by contradicting my negative thoughts and showing myself how they weren't true. However, I've come to realize that's not the case. Instead, I just created another version of myself that, like the judgmental teenage version of myself, does more harm than good (though this version of myself's heart is in the right place at least). All the contradicting and essentially arguing with myself has just led to pure mental exhaustion- to the point where I feel beat down by myself and like I can't think about myself. Anyone else ever experience this? 😅
Well, regardless if this is your reality or you're stuck in a different self-hate phase, it's time to take a stand against your internal bully (I call mine Naggy Nancy) and learn to love yourself for who you are!
Here are the steps I'm taking to heal my relationship with myself:
*Note: I'm still a HUGE work in progress and am not perfect with these concepts by no means! Are we ever? 😅
1) Let Yourself Feel (Even If It's Bad)
This one is clearly a hard one for me. When you're part of the wellness & empowerment community, you want to practice what you preach and just love yourself fully. However, that may not be your reality. Tbh it's not mine either and that's entirely normal.
In those moments when you're not feeling yourself, allow yourself to feel those feelings. Instead of shutting them down- ask yourself why. Why are you feeling this way? Then, most importantly, accept that answer with no judgement. Don't try to fix it in that moment. Don't try to reason with yourself. Just allow yourself to feel.
2) Remember Who You Are
When you're not feeling your feelings, remember who you are and all the incredible things about you. Make a list in your head or on paper, play music that has you feeling yourself, wear an outfit that makes you feel beautiful- anything that reminds you of how incredible and unique you are.
3) Listen to Your Body
I know- I mention this one so much, but our bodies truly tell us a wealth of information about ourselves! When you start taking care of your body in the ways it's asking for, you'll start seeing the benefits in your body, but most importantly your mind. To illustrate, when I tan outside, I feel a warmth towards myself that I associate with soaking up the sun. Did my body change all that much from one tanning sesh? Nope, but my love towards myself was recharged! Which leads me to my final step...
4) Take Care of Yourself
You are deserving of all the self-care your heart desires in the world! Not only does caring for yourself refill your cup, but it help quell that big mean bully in your head by making you feel more radiant. The glow you get from self-care is palpable, which makes it real hard for your teenage critic to penetrate and minimizes the need for your Naggy Nancy to come out.
So, if you're struggling with the big mean twenty-something bully in your head that's trying to rationalize every negative thought you have about yourself while trying to quiet the harsh teenage critic in your head- you're not alone! It's a tough battle to be locked in, but the light at the end of the tunnel looks like the wise, loving, fulfilled version of you that so deserves to be let free. Love yourself for who you are and let her free ✨