I believe that where you stand with yourself and how you perceive yourself are big parts of mental health. Throughout my time of being in therapy and after going through a big breakup I have stepped back to look at myself. I realized that I don’t fully know who I am as a person. Therapy has helped me realize I can’t pretend my anxiety doesn’t exist anymore. I can’t keep hiding behind it or use it as an excuse for not doing things. I am learning that I need to accept myself, flaws and all. I recognize my anxiety, OCD, and skin picking disorder. I am accepting they are a part of who I am and they are things that I will have to continue to deal with and face. However, I still often find it hard to accept myself. I find it hard to admit that I am not perfect and that I struggle with myself sometimes. I do know what it is like to be in a bad place with myself because I have been there so many times. When I look back on those hard times, I realize there wasn’t much happiness, growth or productivity there. My mental health was lacking, and I didn’t have all the tools I needed to improve. I also tend to put others before myself, and I especially did so when I didn’t know how to improve my well being. I now understand it is okay to be a little selfish sometimes. I now know that I need to put myself first when it comes to mental health and emotional well being. I also figured out which tools to add to my toolkit to help me. I have therapy, medication, a blog, friends, and family. So what other actions have I taken to improve my mental well being?
I have decided to focus on myself. I am currently putting my needs first and doing what is best for me. I say no when I need to and I say yes when I like. I have also started pushing myself to step outside of my comfort zone. I guess, in a way, I am proving to myself that my anxiety does not completely define me and can’t hold me back from doing what I want. I have also started pushing myself to help boost my confidence and happiness. I am sure that some of the stuff I have done may be normal activities for some of you reading this but trust me; they were not normal activities for me. I have ridden on the back of a motorcycle, attended a boxing class, an aerial silks class, and I started this blog. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot but let me tell you how much this has already helped me. Riding on the motorcycle was my first small step in proving to myself that I can be brave. Despite how terrified I was I did it anyway, and it was an amazing and freeing feeling. When Kassie and I went to the boxing class, I thought “I am so skinny and have no power. There is no way I can be good at this.” I thought I was going to make a fool of myself. It ended up being fun, and I did pretty good for someone that had never boxed a day in her life. I was able to have fun and also get out some aggression. I walked away from that class feeling so surprised and proud of myself. The aerial silks have been my favorite so far. I was fascinated by the things the instructor taught me. I was able to do things I didn’t think I could or would do. I did flips, pulled myself up onto the silks, went upside down and suspended myself in the air. The feeling I had when I left was pure astonishment. I couldn’t believe I had done all that. I was so proud, and it boosted my confidence even more than the boxing did. This blog has also been a tremendous help with getting my thoughts and emotions in order. It has also given me a voice that I did not have before which feels amazing. Tomorrow I plan to add to my list of accomplishments by dyeing my hair and going to a Zumba class!
There are so many aspects of mental health, and I believe a person’s personal view of themselves plays a large role. I already see myself in a different and better light then I did before, and it is so amazing. I feel so happy, free and brave. I feel more confident and proud of myself. Don’t let anyone tell you that your opinion of yourself doesn’t matter because your opinion is the one that determines if you sink or swim. How you view yourself matters. I’ve learned it’s okay that I am not perfect. It’s okay for me to see and even point out my flaws. It is NOT okay for me to focus only on those flaws. I have to stop myself and follow up that list of flaws with a list of amazing and good things about myself. I felt stuck for a while, and I no longer feel that way because I see myself making progress. This journey of finding, accepting and being confident and happy with myself is a long process that I am working on every day. It’s not always easy, but it IS worth it.
Merry Christmas from my family to yours!!