Saturday, May 3, 2014

On Self Improvement

Hello all!

Over the last year (or, y'know, my whole life...) I've been on a journey of self-improvement. I've posted about things like guilt and the opinions of others before on my blog, but I'm not sure if I've referenced the fact that these discoveries have had huge impacts upon me as part of my 'self-improvement' journey.

You see, I wasn't happy. I'm still not 100% happy, although I doubt that that is possible, especially at this young age. I wasn't happy because I was attempting to whittle myself down into a ridiculously-shaped mold (read: this ISN'T about weightloss...) to fit into a silly social paradigm that I will just never be a part of.

Self-improvement is a long, tough battle. It involves tears and hair-tearing moments of anger and anguish. But it does give back. As a mental journey the road the self-improvement presents huge obstacles, obstacles which involve those thoughts and feelings we have been indoctrinated into, FORCES us to deconstruct them and then kind of leaves us there, wondering 'um, what? I'm awful? I was being mean? But aren't I supposed to be a good person? Aren't I supposed to achieve this and that? WHAT IS AIR?'

It's confusing, it's mind-altering and it leaves you dizzy and gasping for breath (read: Panic attack).

The thing that I've found most poignant (well, most poignant THIS week) is that the journey of self-improvement begins with identifying our thoughts, and that can often be the point at which we feel we've hit rock-bottom and had the ladder dragged up, away and out of reach.

You see, we can't improve until we recognise our faults. Yet, recognising your faults sucks. Big time. It means you have to wake up, you HAVE to stop kidding yourself. You have to realise that you are NOT perfect, never have been, and that there are things about you that are probably pretty shit. That's not easy when every piece of media you inhale is telling you that without perfection you are nothing.

Let me let you in on a secret; that's not true.

There are people who will love you with that extra five kilos. There are people who will love you though you forget to wash up as often as them. There are people who will love you even when you are terrified and can't help looking so because you have no pokerface whatsoever. They exist. And those people who complain constantly about these things in reference to you? Cut them off or tell them what's up. Communication is key. These people either don't realise the effects they have on those around them, or they have so LITTLE going for them, going on in their boring, minute lives, that they will keep dramatising small situations no matter what. You don't need that shit in your life. It'll only serve to bring you down.

When we begin the journey of stepping inside our heads and questioning WHY we do things and whether they are okay it seems that we begin to notice more and more of our thoughts, and often feel more guilty about having had those random blips of thoughts like, 'what would it be like to punch-so-and-so in the face?', or 'Ugh, this person annoys me'. Despite the fact that it's almost impossible to like everyone and everything and not doing so doesn't make one a bad person.

It's funny, we can recognise that thought, still leftover from childhood, that is, 'uh-oh, there's a monster under my bed!' When we switch off the light as being foolish and nothing more than a remnant of an older mindset we have since discarded, that wasn't true in the first place, but we still miss the point in the metaphor which is:  How many more false monsters are lurking inside our heads?

source: Google (quote by Andrea Gibson)

I never used to believe in mantras, I really didn't. Although (and I recognise how wrong I was now) I did believe in saying things like, 'if you keep telling someone they're crazy they'll begin to believe it'. I fully and wholeheartedly now believe in mantras. They really work. Think of it like this, if you constantly berate yourself and tell yourself how much you suck, you'll feel like crap and probably act on these feelings. You'll believe it. Mantra works both ways. Thinking 'I'm not good enough' will set you up not to try.

I'm not telling you to believe you're brilliant at everything and act on it. Apply a little common sense. Just remember, positive affirmations - those reminding you that you are okay at this, good at this; that you were nice yesterday, that you spoke up in class that time, that you've been strong enough to do all these things that seem to be so hard today, in the past - all of this is a worthwhile practice, and one that really could help bring you out of a slump should you apply it to your life.

If you need more (and probably better) advice on this mindset check out AConnMan's video below and remember, you're not alone, other people feel this way too.