Happy new year kids ♡
This one is a special post. I first tried writing it back in August but as we all know, life sometimes gets in the way and things like this are set aside. However I'm here now, scrambling to finish writing it in time for NYE, because I love you all ;) For me, this is the most fitting way to end the year. So excuse the delay due to a mixture of approximately 5% schedule madness and 95% laziness...haha sorry guys love u long time!!
The last few months were hectic for me not so much in a work-sense but in a self-sense (I don't think this is an actual phrase but let's make it one). I finally had time to stop and have a good look at myself and where I am in terms of personal wellbeing– something people often forget to do– and what I found was not so perfect; a mini self-crisis that many people go through regularly but tend to overlook in the midst of life (I touched on this in my most recent Instagram post.)
Overlooking works for a while but it becomes tiresome, and once you stop and realise exactly what is going on with you, fragility prevails and you crumble like a really good chocolate chip cookie that's been half-eaten and left to wonder why it isn't whole anymore. Cookies probably don't think about it this way (or think at all) but the analogy works...moving on!!!
This particular cookie analogy is a good way to explain my last few months. A lot of the time, when things are going well, it is assumed that the internal will mirror the external and you will be well on the inside, too. I am one very blessed human being and will never fail to acknowledge that. However sometimes, no matter how great the outside world is, the inside world can become a little detached and thus, damaged. The key is in remembering that the inside is just as important as the outside.
There are a myriad of issues that could be going on inside one's head, each and every one of equal importance. For as long as I can remember, my own issue has been self-acceptance, or self-love.
-- This next part is a lil bit lengthy bear with me!!
As human beings we are subject to flaws both simple and complex. Regardless of your own life situation, you are a candidate for these flaws and will undoubtedly fall short on how to approach them. The approach, however, need not be in how to tackle them, but rather how to live with them. To clarify; when I speak about flaws in this context I am not referring to character flaws such as narcissism or bigotry or the other thousands of flaws that can and should be tackled, I am referring to proposed societal flaws that in another universe, may not be referred to as flaws at all. We can call these flaws comparative flaws; whether you wish you were smarter, wish you were more talented, wish you looked differently– in all their simple glory, these are the bases upon which self-image exists.
As simple and sometimes material as self-image may seem, it stands undeniably at the backbone of insecurity. As the perpetual elephant in the room, it continues to ram us (rather loudly) into a wall of criticisms that do their best to squash us into something that by the end, can no longer be described as ourselves. The first step in acknowledging insecurity is understanding it. Self-image in the form it is today is essentially a social construct. What is considered attractive now is completely different to what was considered attractive fifty years ago. This is because we are not stagnant entities; we are ever-changing, ever-evolving. Thus, we must learn how to love ourselves despite socially constructed guidelines.
Lengthy-and-somewhat-formal-but-necessary intro aside, the point of this post is to take what I have learned (and am learning) about how to deal with all of the above and share it with anyone and everyone who needs it.
Taking time to focus on yourself isn't selfish, my friends!
So here, a list of things to consider/do when you are learning how to love:
Take a break
This sounds so simple and many of you are probably thinking 'wala akong oras!!!!' However this one is vital in becoming self aware. A few hours with you and your thoughts alone can be both scary and refreshing. You will learn a lot about where your head is at when you aren't thinking about work/school/whatever else is in that 'lil cloud in your head.
Understand that it's okay to be only semi okay
A lot of the time people discount their mental struggles because it's believed that if your life is physically and materially sound, then the mental state should follow. Like I said before, this isn't always the case and that is 100% okay. I often remind myself that people have actual, tangible, serious problems to deal with, and this is a fact that everyone should remind themselves of. With that said though, the problems of others do not make less of your own. There are varying levels of severity, but there are no varying levels of importance. Everyone is important and everyone deserves to be okay.
Look at the people in your life
Very important!!! It is in our basic human nature to feed off of other people (not literally, ew) through emotions, vibes...whatever you want to call it. Look at the people around you and consider the following– are they positive people? Are they moral people? Are they doing okay? Each of these considerations has an impact on the way you are influenced. Positivity promotes positivity. Morality (hopefully) promotes morality. As for the latter, if someone isn't doing so well, be there for them. However, don't feel as though you are abandoning them when you choose to focus on yourself. People are much more equipped to aid others when they themselves have a grasp on positivity. To put it simply; you cannot help someone else without helping yourself first.
Keep a journal
This doesn't always work for everyone, but it is a helpful tip (credits to my parents). Often, writing down the way you feel and seeing it in a physical form on paper can have a large impact on the way you see yourself and whatever you are going through. Almost as though writing it– just like saying it out loud, makes it feel a little more real. It allows you to take ownership of your struggle. Plus, if you keep at it regularly, reading back on your progress can be a healthy way to motivate yourself and remind yourself that you are on your way to becoming a whole chocolate chip cookie, every crumb intact (sorry if this analogy sucks but I like it).
Figure out what you believe in
This does't necessarily mean religion– it can be anything. This particular point is something that took me a while to work on, but I am much more refined in what I believe in now, and I owe a lot of my personal development and progress to that. Knowing what you believe in comes in many forms. For a lot of people including myself, it comes in the form of faith. This isn't the case for everyone nor does it have to be, as long as you figure out what resonates with you. Knowing what you believe in and what values you stand for provides so much comfort and lifts so much weight.
This one makes me sound like an adult going on about millennials and technology, but bear with me. It is so easy to become consumed in the ever-inviting world of social media (I know this because it happens to me often). This is okay! It is the way the world is now, and the key is in acknowledging it and dealing with it. Switching off for even a few hours can provide a kind of cleanse for the mind; you forget about all the likes and the retweets, and you begin to think about about the stuff a little further from the surface. Take a little break and you'll be more in touch with yourself. Social media is great though and I will love it forever heh
Find something non-work related that you like to do
It can be anything; reading, writing, painting, running, dancing...anything. For example, exercise is a wonderful way to release endorphins and get you into feel good mode. Doing something creative (if you're the creative type) stimulates the brain and promotes productivity; a big plus!! Finding something to do in your spare time that isn't related to work or social media is a refreshing way to stimulate your mind in a healthy, rejuvenating kind of way.
Love yourself (not a reference to my beloved bangtan boys BUT SHOUTOUT TO MY BELOVED BANGTAN BOYS)
This last one can take a while, and that's okay. I myself view self-love as a lifetime achievement. It's one of the hardest things to grasp. I don't mean loving yourself in the sense that you're in love with yourself, but truly, wholeheartedly accepting yourself and your flaws. We are all multifaceted. All made up of tiny fragments both perfect and flawed (the all-encompassing cookie analogy applies here).
In order to relate, I'll get a little bit personal; self-love is one of (if not my biggest) struggle. From a young age, as I'm sure most little girls did, I compared myself to all my friends and could never understand why I was always on the chubbier side. Part of this is definitely because I ate a lot as a kid, but the other part is 100% genetics; I'm naturally short and curvy. This is a reality that I am still trying to grasp. You'll read this post and probably end up thinking I have the whole happiness thing down to an art form, but I struggle just as much as anyone in this area.
Physical appearance aside, I'm intensely critical of my abilities. Will I ever be able to sing well live? Will I ever be able to speak Tagalog confidently? Can I even make it in an industry that I'm so new to? Will I ever be able to support myself completely independent of my parents? Being very real with you right now, these are the insecurities that threaten my happiness every day. From that comes guilt, because I end up punishing myself for worrying about issues like that when other people have much bigger things to deal with. An unnecessary cycle.
The point of telling you this isn't to ask for sympathy, though. Sharing my own personal experience with learning to accept and love myself will (I hope) encourage others to spare a moment for self-care.
So with that, I wish you all a happy and blessed new year and I hope that 2018 makes you smile a very big smile. We all deserve it!!
Lots and lots of love,