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In a bustling world that is changing at a constant and rapid pace, it is easy to get caught up in the overwhelming rush and forget to take the time to slow down. I know I am certainly guilty of getting too caught up in life to take the time to relax and breathe. Over two years ago, I began a journey that would change my life for the better (here's hoping) by delving into a topic that has always fascinated me: the world of spirituality.
Disclaimer: Before I go any further, I have always been a believer in everything that makes up the fabric of the spiritual world and how the universe works with us to achieve our goals. If that is something that you are skeptical of, I invite you to read this as a stepping stone if you will, that might entice you to look further into this topic. Now something to keep in mind while exploring your own spirituality, like I have for the past two years, is that it requires a lot of energy, time, and it is extremely messy.
Over the last two years, I have struggled to cope at times with some of the issues that were leaving me feeling down. I have fluctuated from a bubbly happy young lady that was ready to take over the world to a young woman that struggled to get out of bed in the morning and was constantly feeling drained, hopeless who also became extremely unhappy doing things that would normally bring me intense joy. This has been an emotional, physical and mental rollercoaster ride. In the last two years, I have learned a lot about myself, in different ways. I will give a few examples of what I have discovered about myself.
1. Self-Perception vs. Outside Perception of Self
I think very lowly of myself because that is how I believe others perceive me. This is a thought pattern that has always been present in my life for as long as I can remember. A small part of it is due to what opinions and criticisms people have given me since I was a child. Mostly it is me holding myself back from making mistakes, taking risks and realizing my full potential because I project the opinions and criticisms of a few people onto everyone that I encounter.
How am I working to undo these patterns? One way that I am working on myself is by replacing the words ''I am good at nothing'' or ''I am a failure at life'' with, ''I am doing the best I can in this situation'' or ''I am succeeding right now.'' In conjunction with replacing self-deprecating thoughts, I am also recognizing what triggers those thoughts and acknowledging them. By doing this, I am preparing myself to think something positive about myself when a situation that would normally cause me to think negatively arises.
2. I create my own problems.
This one has been something that I have struggled with for a long time, mostly because I have been living in denial about the topic. However, in recent months I have realized that when something bad happens in my life I tend to push it aside and let my problems pile up until I cannot handle them on my own. Stress that has not been dealt with properly has caused me to make the environment around me match the environment inside my head. Cluttered and extremely messy to the point that I can no longer find my way out of it.
What steps am I taking to ensure that I can control what my environment looks like? For starters, when I feel like I am only surviving and not living, I actively clean until I feel like I am no longer struggling. Purging is a good way to clear a space to make room for positive energy. Reorganizing things is a way that I have found works well, when I move certain things in my space it feels like I have accomplished something that makes me feel good.
3. Self-Reflection and Accountability
I had to and am continuing to do some serious self-reflection. By looking inwards, I have been able to pinpoint different hurdles that I need to tackle so I can feel lighter. Most of that self-reflection so far has shown me that I struggle to ask for help because it makes me seem weak and not capable of managing my own issues. In addition to seeking help, this self-reflection has made me realize that I surround myself with a mix of people who either draw heavily on my maternal instincts to fix issues or people that will not necessarily tell me that they do not want me around because of pity. Both of these types of people drain my energy and make me question my self-worth by associating with them.
How have I stayed accountable for my self-reflection? One of the ways that I have remained accountable for my self-reflection is that I spend a lot of time alone, and I use that time to think back either at my day or an event that has been bothering me. By doing this, I can pinpoint patterns that have caused me to isolate myself from the situation or just make the situation worse in the end. Journaling is very helpful, if you are someone that needs to hold yourself accountable using pen and paper this option could work for you, I journal any negative thoughts that I have about myself so that I can recognize what I need to work on.
Here are some helpful tools that can help with reconnecting yourself to spirituality or even just reconnect yourself to the person that you want to be:
1. Treat yourself every once in a while.
Whether that is buying a new book, or watching that new movie you wanted to see. Treating yourself every once in a while can create a distraction in your life that maybe helps you slow down a little to center yourself.
2. Try something completely out of your comfort zone.
This could be as little as wearing a color that you would not normally wear or as big as going skydiving. Trying something new can be terrifying but it can also be a gratifying experience, sometimes when you try something that is different from what you would normally do it can become a new hobby! I was always interested in knitting when I was a child, and I ended up trying it again because I did not know how to knit the second row on a project. I stuck to it and four years later I am still knitting!
3. Spend time outside.
We spend most of our time indoors confined to televisions or our phones. Sometimes it is essential that we go outside to reconnect with our core being. Taking a walk, being barefoot in the grass, or simply enjoying being in the moment outdoors is the key to grounding ourselves and enjoying what life has to offer.
4. Try meditation, yoga, or Reiki.
If you are looking to find something that might help with anxiety, sometimes meditating or doing yoga is a fantastic way to release any remaining stress/anxiety. Through meditation, you have the opportunity to focus your attention on things that are bothering you and through your breathing, you can work through letting it go. By doing yoga, you can relax your mind and body while gently improving your flexibility. If you are looking to do a lot of clearing on the inside, Reiki is amazing. Get in contact with a Reiki master near you and you will be able to begin inner healing. Every Reiki master goes through a session differently, some use primarily crystals during their session, others might choose to focus their attention on aromatherapy using essential oils. All methods can be used together, depending on what you are looking to accomplish there are materials that can help you achieve your goals.
5. Remember to breathe.
In an ever-changing world sometimes we forget that we need to take a moment to just be in the moment. When you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, angry, sad, or any emotion, it is important to remember to release the breath that you might be holding in. I forget to simply take a breath sometimes, but when I do remember to do so I always feel a pressure being lifted off of my shoulders. A deep breath is able to change your day in an instant and it can help you re-center yourself to tackle any difficult situation. If there is one thing that you can rely on at all times, it is to rely on your breathing to keep you centered and grounded.
In sum, it is completely normal to feel disoriented or lost when you are going through some changes. Whether you are changing careers, a new relationship is developing, or you are entering a new chapter in life that terrifies you, embrace it and remember to just breathe because you can get through this. You have made it this far in life by breathing, let it bring you to new heights.