It took three decades and a half for me to discover myself, learn to truly appreciate and understand who I was as a person. Growing up, I put myself under constant pressure, beating myself up with the false belief that I was imperfect. As a little girl, this haunted me and up to my twenties fuelling a need for me to find means to make up for this ‘flaw’. Every word uttered concerning me mattered, and it could make or break me. Truth is, I lacked confidence.
To fall in love with yourself is the first secret to happiness- Robert Morley
The day I realized where the problem lay became the moment when the shadow I had cast over myself began to fade, a journey to self-healing, discovery, and acceptance. One look in the mirror opened my eyes to what I had failed to see all these years. I was focused on the wrong aspect of things, contrary to what I believed; my outward appearance was never an issue.
Commonly it is said, ‘what you are inside shows on your outside’. This, I had heard a thousand times, and it began to make sense. Everything I perceived about myself, my outward appearance stemmed from the insecurities I harbored inside. It has been eating me up and feeding my mind with negative things. I was living a false life, influenced by individuals I found myself connected with at different moments. This was not me, it was just a version of me to suit the situation.
The next two steps to take after coming to that realization came easy:
1. The end of looking in the mirror and constantly judging myself had come.
2. Secondly, I needed to dig deep to discover what was going on within me.
Meditation. I know this may not be for everyone but thanks to a suggestion from a friend I decided to embark on a 48-hour reflection journey. At first, it was uncomfortable, definitely out of my comfort zone but show me a great achievement without a few hurdles? This process involved self-isolation while sitting doing nothing but breathing. Controlling the voice in my head and opening up about my feelings for an uninterrupted nine-hour period. No external interferences such as technical devices (television, phones, computers) or books were allowed. This gave me the time I needed to pause, ask myself questions, and look inside me, only then was I able to come to terms with who I truly was and what I had been doing wrong all these years.
What truths did this personal journey reveal?
I did not know how to be myself. It supersedes just being with myself or being comfortable with my own company. I was not in tune with my tempo. I set out to correct this. To begin, I had to relearn things about what makes ‘me…Me’. Things that brought a genuine smile to my face. Slowly my layers of insecurity and doubts began to peel off revealing a confident and contented person. Even my partner noticed the difference in the way I composed myself, each step I took, and the look in my eyes. This experience gave me the much-needed relief I yearned for, the escape from the cage I had put myself in, and a path in the direction of growth and acceptance of who I truly was as a person, who I had always been but failed to recognize.
How can you begin walking the path towards self-discovery and release as I did? Allow me to share these steps:
Understanding the value of my body was an important first step for me. Healthy habits such as drinking sufficient amounts of water to stay hydrated and cleansed, daily dental hygiene such as flossing, and spending time under the shower cannot be overemphasized. I made sure to give my body the care it deserves through these simple activities for at least thirty minutes every day.
Keep an optimistic mindset
Penning down my feelings through the art of creative writing has given me the outlet I need to channel positive energy and also keep my mind occupied with good thoughts. Reading, traveling, and exploring are other things I enjoy. Running is also another way I keep my body active and healthy. Ask yourself, what are things that make you feel fulfilled? No matter how small, something you love doing? Incorporating this into your daily routine is important to discover yourself.
Nurture a cheerful inner mind
A healthy mind reflects on our outer bodies. When you are at peace within then, you can truly say you are happy. Keeping myself surrounded by things that give me peace such as meditating was a way out for me, I also made sure to watch a few comedy films that would give me a good laugh. This serves as a healing balm to my soul, puts me at an elevated level, and reminds me that the world is saturated with hope and endless possibilities, giving me a younger perspective on things. Figure out what keeps your feet on the ground, what helps you achieve a true sense of relaxation and peace. It may be yoga, long quiet walks on the beach, or just getting your body to relax. You can always start small, taking gradual and deliberate steps towards reaching your goal.
Remember, discovering who you truly are within makes you beautiful. This will cause you to embrace yourself and live how you are meant to. To make this discovery, you need to set yourself apart and take time to breathe. Never let the opinions of others have power over how you perceive yourself, measuring your value with the yardstick of the world is not the answer, the only opinion that matters is yours. The goal is to love YOU! Only then can you spread this love. How do you see yourself in the mirror? What words do you tell yourself each day? The only person who can determine your beauty or importance in this end is YOU and no one else. The strength and will to do this stems from within you.
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