I don’t think that there’s anything all that radical about the idea about self-love, but I found the self-love manifesto Gala Darling posted on her website a few days ago incredibly inspiring (so much so that I printed a copy and stuck it in the self-love journal I’ve started).
This month I have decided I need to force myself out of my comfort zone; so I’m going to do something that usually scares the shit out of me: hang out with myself more – in public.
I’m not too sure what it is about being alone in public that makes me nervous, but it makes me pretty anxious. Hell, I couldn’t even go Christmas shopping alone until a few years ago, which gets a bit tricky/awkward when your friends aren’t around and you need to buy presents for your family…
I guess for me, it comes down to feeling watched and or/judged. Hanging out at the library has been fine, I guess that’s cause there are people there by themselves all the time, and it’s easy to fade away in to the background with a book, but I’ve always felt like I’ve been glared at while I’ve been at cafes by myself – this is something I need to get over. Who cares what other people think? Obviously I do, a bit too much sometimes, but I shouldn’t.
So, this month it’s all about me, getting used to being alone by myself in places that I would usually feel completely uncomfortable and out of place alone in. Here’s my list so far:
- Go to a cafe and have brunch – did this today, I didn’t feel as weird or as out of place as I thought I was going to, and my eggs benedict was delicious.
- Go to a movie – there are so many things that I want to see at the moment, but just never get around to watching anything
- Go for walks to parks and play on the swings, cause swings are awesome!
Depression: Living With A Black Dog
The title of this blog post is reference to one of the best books I’ve read on depression: I Had A Black Dog; it’s short, to the point, and pretty much sums up exactly how I’ve felt when I’ve been depressed: It is exactly like having a Black Dog you wish would just piss off, but continues to linger around.
Depression. You either get it or you don’t – not literally get it – just understand it.
The thing is, I have heard the phrases “it’s all in your head” and “everyone feels a bit down sometimes, it’s just how life is” more times that I can count, and while both statements are true neither are helpful.
Sure it is literally all ‘in my head‘, but it’s MY head; I’m the one that has to live there – no one else. I am also more than aware that feeling down is a part of life. Hell, I feel down sometimes too, but for me there is a huge difference between feeling down and being depressed.
Down I can live with; it’s easy to pick myself out of down, I can look at failblog (or any of those other *faceplam* type sites for that matter) and it will without-a-doubt make me laugh, I can also usually figure out straight away why I’m feeling a little shit.
Feeling depressed is something completely different though: everything is dark, everything just seems like a huge task, most of the time there isn’t an ‘real‘ reason for feeling so low, and the things that usually make me happy, or pick me up? Meh, I just can’t be bothered.
Depression for me, for lack of better wording is like being stuck in Groundhog day; everything is the same, and while having routine is a good thing as it helps me function, there is this underlying feeling that I’m merely existing, not really living and that gets real old real fast.
I’ve been feeling pretty depressed lately, probably the worst I have in a while. I’ve been going through extremes of wanting to cry all the time (at nothing in particular, and it seems even the littlest thing can set me off) and getting incredibly ragey at everything – no matter how small (like when the pizza delivery place forgot that I had asked to have the pineapple removed). When I get like this it’s really important that I remember the things that are going great in my life, as well as put steps in to place that will help me get out of the headspace I’m stuck in.
For me Those are:
Talking to someone – not everyone ‘gets it’, so it has taken a while to find someone I feel comfortable talking to. Luckily my mum has started working in the mental health sector and understands depression a lot more than she used to, I have found the most amazing counsellor (down side to that is that he is about an hour away and I hardly ever get to take the time off work to see him).
Writing daily gratitude lists: Sometimes doing this can be a mammoth task, and it seems like there is nothing worth being thankful for. If I try hard enough though, I can usually always find something to be grateful about (having food while people are starving, a roof over my head, internet access – it’s all about the little things).
Doing things for me - sometimes it’s okay to be a little bit selfish, to say ‘no’ to doing things for other people and do things for myself (because I’m worth it). It’s times like this that I really need it.
Shopping - the ‘up’ from buying things only lasts a little while, but I end up with something pretty in the end at least.
But most of all: Knowing I’ve been there before, knowing I’ve gotten out of it, and knowing that there are people around me who love me and want to make sure that I’m okay.
Letting Go and Becoming The Person You Want To Be
I’ve spent a lot of time today reading articles on the Oprah website (don’t judge me), and something that really stood out for me was the ‘I’m Making It‘ challenge, which I have decided to take on. So far there are 18 weeks worth of daily activities (I haven’t read them all yet), and instead of doing the challenges day by day I am going to try do them throughout October (I know that I have set personal challenges before and then nothing about it, but there is something about this one. I also think it will be incredibly helpful in my mission to be happier and more loving toward myself). Anyway, here is a list of what I have so far:
- Make a ‘make it happen‘ journal: I know that I can’t create a journal daily, but it’s important, as I will be writing my thoughts, feelings, ideas; goals and resolutions in it. I’m also going to be using this journal as my self-love bible and have renamed it ‘SELF love: Making IT happen‘.
- Write a list of things I believe in paying close attention to themes and patterns: Don’t censor myself, pay close attention to themes and patterns and use the list as a way of working out what matters to me.
- Make nice to myself: To me this means doing nice things for myself that make me feel good as well as making a conscious effort to be kind to myself when something goes wrong or I’m stressed.
- Find quotes that inspire: I am going to print/write these out and post them in prominent places so I will see them all the time (in my journal, on my monitor at work, on my printer at work, basically anywhere I will be sure to see them on a regular basis – words have power!).
- Make time to rest: This is a biggie for me, because I never rest when I’m tired or need to take a break, and I always end up getting incredibly frustrated/frazzled.
- Make a list of what my prefect day would look like and make the effort to live it: I know that nothing is perfect and my perfect day won’t go exactly the way I plan, but I can make an effort to do at least some of the things on the list and have the best day possible (this weekend for example was up there).
- Make a toast to myself: I’m going to do this daily as part of my morning routine while I’m getting ready for work. I’m not too sure what my toast is going to bet yet, but t it will be something along the lines of ‘you’re fucking awesome, have a great day and by the way I LOVE YOU!‘
- List everything I would love to do but ‘don’t have the time’ for.
- Make a picture of how I spend my time, then do at least one of the things from the list above: I mean if I’m going to be honest, I spent a lot time doing shit that doesn’t really matter/I don’t care about. Time to prioritise my life!
- Spend 30 minutes organising your space: Because I have been rather down lately my room was an absolute mess, so I decided that this was one of the first things do, and I’m already feeling a lot better.
- Make a list of ‘things I know for sure‘.
- Make a list of things that make me smile: I did something similar to this a few years ago called ’100 things that make me happy – money aside’, and it’s probably one of the things I’m most excited about. I’ll be sure to post my list as soon as I’m done, it will be EPIC TILT!
- Make a list of things that make me sad and work out ways to turn sadness into gladness
- Read through more of the activities this week and post more things I am going to do this month.
Ways I can start loving myself right now:
- Start the day off with positive self affirmations – This is a case of ‘fake it till yo make you it’, and even if I don’t believe the stuff at the beginning of the month hopefully I’ll believe it at the end! If need be print some out or write them on post-it notes and stick them all over the bathroom mirror, so I will have to look at them on a daily basis. At the very least, put them in my wallet or on my monitor at work.
- Write a list of at least 20 things that I love about myself – pull it out and read it when I’m having a ‘I’m not good enough and no one loves me’ type of day.
- Learn how to take a compliment and write down (and keep) the compliments I receive – God, I am such a bad compliment taker, most of the time someone says something nice I want to laugh because I don’t believe it. I also tend to forget the times people tell me how amazing, intelligent and beautiful I am because my sense of self-doubt is (a lot) stronger than my sense of self-love.
- Know that I am good enough ALL THE TIME - if I don’t believe it read the poem @Liletina wrote me.
- Listen to this song – ‘I’m not your average girl from your video, and I ain’t built like a supermodel, but I learned to love myself unconditionally because I am a queen’
- Make a radical self-love bible and answer these questions – God knows I’m a sucker for a good workbook, and I’ll post the answers to the questions in about a week, so excited!
The key is that we believe that we are lovable and capable no matter what and we have an acceptance of who we truly are, defined by us, not by others.
I need to be kinder to myself, A LOT kinder.
The thing is, even though I deep down I know that I’m awesome, intelligent, beautiful; and have a lot to offer, most of the time I just feel like I’m not good enough and I never will be.
Anyway, as part of Operation: Bubbly Bubbles I have decided to set myself a ‘self-love challenge’, to see if being kinder to myself and changing the way I feel about/view myself will help change the way others see me/I see others. I’m going to kick this whole self love thing off by posting a poem my sister @Liletina wrote – God I love her.
From sister to sister
I look up to you in awe
Your face holds so much beauty
Is it that you do not think so?
You are a friend one would be lucky to have
Yet are you aware?
I see you through me eyes and see amazement
But I take a look through the glasses you wear
and view you differently
I see a magnificent lady
worried of bad appearance, worried of being unloved
afraid of growing old and having nothing to live for
I force the squared frames from my eyes
For what i have just seen through the frames of those glasses
I know to be untrue
You are someone I love to hug
Love to talk to
Love to hang out with
You are my friend
it is a skill to see who you are through glasses of truth
learn this skill
You are truly amazing
I sincerely love you