Self Reflection

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“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” ~ Confucius

So, I have been thinking a lot about things lately, from family to friends & everything else that falls in between. How our relationships shape and form us through each experience they create. As I have said before it is up to us to decide how these things will affect us in the long run. We can choose to allow negative influences to tear us down and break us OR we can grow, learn, and heal from them.  Not all of our experiences in life are happy or pleasant ones, some of us were dealt with a rather crappy hand when it came to the cards. But fear not my friends, even those of us who were dealt those awful hands in life can move past it!

It takes a strong individual to turn that proverbial mirror around and face the self in front of them, self-reflection isn’t often kind when we take a long hard look at ourselves. However, sometimes it is a very necessary tool in life to help us move on and heal. Not everyone can take that step and face themselves for who they really are. It becomes too overwhelming for some people, they can not face the hurt and pain that they have endured in their life. Self-reflection for those who can muster up the courage to do so is a wonderful tool that can be useful in all aspects of your life… if you allow it to work… if you allow yourself to face and confront those fears.

Let us take a small look at some steps that can help you to see who you are, your worth and your dreams.

Healing:

For healing, self-reflection can be a very useful tool.

Most of us fixate on things that feel bad. Our minds are wired for protection. When we get hurt, they tend to focus on the pain because we’re trying to figure out how to avoid it in the future. The emotions we don’t or can’t process get stored in the body. They create limiting beliefs—feelings of unworthiness or unlovability. When we don’t feel whole, we seek approval outside ourselves. When we don’t get that approval it hurts because it perpetuates our limiting beliefs. ~ Michelle D’Avella

To heal ourselves from pain, if it is a bad relationship or even a physical event that has occurred, we must first learn one of the most important things in life. To love ourselves, which makes the step after healing that much easier to work on. We not only have to heal from words said or actions taken against us, but words and actions that we do to our own selves.  This is important to learn because we can not always rely on the validation of others and the approval from them either, we have to learn to look inward and listen to ourselves. For if we do not learn to love ourselves first then it makes all our other relationships in life more complicated.

For instance, when I was a teenager I often would stand in the mirror and judge every single part of my body, from my eyes down to my toes. I felt that I did not and would not ever be considered a societal standard of beauty and just like most teenage girls, this was a horrible feeling for me to experience.  It would take me years before I healed from the names I called myself in my own head, years to move past this judgment that I had inflicted upon myself. Years before I would find some comfort in my own skin. Sometimes, I think the words inside my own head and heart were far worse than anything that others had ever said to me out loud.  Though, there were some terrible things that were said to me by teenage girls and boys over the years. High school was not a fun time for me, I was bullied until I found my voice.

Once I found my voice and began to heal from their unkind words and actions, I began to use that same voice to tell myself this… “You are better than this, you are beautiful and you are special in your own way! Never ever stop believing in yourself, you are a fighter, you are strong, you can do this!”  This voice could not have come to me at a better time, I found my voice at a time when I thought all had been lost when I was at one of my lowest points. It started as a small little voice creeping up from inside of me and slowly built up over the years into a loud booming one that is a force to be reckoned with.

I refused to be anyone’s doormat as I grew older and wiser, and while I still struggle with it at times, I have learned to be more comfortable with my inner voice and allow it to help me heal through all things in life.

Love:

Love is important not only to love those around you but to share that love with yourself too. Self-love is not something you should discount at all.

Fighting to love yourself in a vacuum is a first step — useless on its own — because we do not live in a vacuum. We live in a series of imbalanced power structures, of which we are all a part. Radical self-love embodies an awareness of these systems of power. ~Maya Gittelman

Self-love is kind of self-explanatory but in case you do not know for sure what it means, here you go:

self-love
/ˈˌself ˈləv/
noun
  1. regard for one’s own well-being and happiness (chiefly considered as a desirable rather than narcissistic characteristic).

There is nothing wrong with achieving self-love or love of one’s own happiness and joy, in fact, it can help you achieve a much healthier outlook on not only life itself but with your other relationships, you encounter too.  For if we choose to love ourselves without conditions, then others find it easier to love us in that same unconditional manner.

My Grandma once told me that if I wanted to move past all the hurtful things in life that I had to learn to love, that it worked best to kill them with kindness. I am sure that is a saying you have heard before, possibly from your parents or even your own grandparents. It was not until much later in life did that actually really hit me with its full meaning.

The kinder I was to those who did not like me, the more they decided to leave me alone, and I was okay with this. I became fully aware that not everyone in life is going to love me or like me for that matter, and that is perfectly okay.

I for one, know I am not everyone’s cup of tea. I am loud, oversharing, crass, raw, I have a witty and sometimes dirty sense of humor, I can be foul-mouthed, and I am strong willed. But you know what? I love who I am and would not change a thing about my personality just to get a handful of people to like me.  I have worked very hard over the years to become the woman that I am today, I have fought for her, and I love who she is/I am.

There are many things you can do to embody self-love which also include some of the other steps below that we will get into in a few moments.

Here are a few things were taken from psychology today:

Seven-Step Prescription for Self-Love.

  1. Become mindful. People who have more self-love tend to know what they think, feel and want. They are mindful of who they are and act on this knowledge, rather than on what others want for them.
  2. Act on what you need rather than what you want. You love yourself when you can turn away from something that feels good and exciting to what you need to stay strong, centered, and moving forward in your life, instead. By staying focused on what you need, you turn away from automatic behavior patterns that get you into trouble, keep you stuck in the past, and lessen self-love.
  3. Practice good self-care. You will love yourself more when you take better care of your basic needs. People high in self-love nourish themselves daily through healthy activities, like sound nutrition, exercise, proper sleepintimacy, and healthy social interactions.
  4. Set boundaries. You’ll love yourself more when you set limits or say no to work, love, or activities that deplete or harm you physically, emotionally and spiritually, or express poorly who you are.
  5. Protect yourself. Bring the right people into your life. I love the term frenemies that I learned from my younger clients. It describes so well the type of “friends” who take pleasure in your pain and loss rather than in your happiness and success. My suggestion to you here: Get rid of them! There isn’t enough time in your life to waste on people who want to take away the shine on your face that says, “I genuinely love myself and life”. You will love and respect yourself more.
  6. Forgive yourself. We humans can be so hard on ourselves. The downside of taking responsibility for our actions is punishing ourselves too much for mistakes in learning and growing. You have to accept your humanness (the fact that you are not perfect), before you can truly love yourself. Practice being less hard on yourself when you make a mistake. Remember, there are no failures if you have learned and grown from your mistakes; there are only lessons learned.
  7. Live intentionally. You will accept and love yourself more, whatever is happening in your life when you live with purpose and design. Your purpose doesn’t have to be crystal clear to you. If your intention is to live a meaningful and healthy life, you will make decisions that support this intention, and feel good about yourself when you succeed in this purpose. You will love yourself more if you see yourself accomplishing what you set out to do. You need to establish your living intentions, to do this.

I am including the link to the article here, in case you would like to read more about it:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/get-hardy/201203/seven-step-prescription-self-love

 

Live your life:

“He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away.” ~Raymond Hull

This one can be super hard, you cannot live your life according to how you think others might want you to live it, period! There comes a point in everyone’s life where you have to learn that you cannot possibly please everyone. This goes for friends and families alike, not everyone will always be thrilled about the decisions and choices that you make. And that is okay! Just because they may not agree with you or are happy with your choice does not mean that it is the wrong choice for you. Only you know what is right for you specifically… Sometimes they work out for the best and sometimes we will fall flat on our faces, and that is perfectly okay too. We have to learn to work through the failures and push through them to find what works.

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” ~ Samuel Beckett 

This was taken from another excellent article on psychology today:

When you remove your own preconceptions and expectations, you can do the same to others. Living the life you love is liberating — you don’t feel the pressure to please others. Similarly, you won’t need to impose your will on others either.

When you take ownership of your life, people feel empowered to follow suit.

Expectations are an illusion — they add useless pressure to everyone. Let’s recover the joy of living. Remember when you were a kid. You probably didn’t have time for expectations — you were busy enjoying life one-minute at-a-time.

 

For more of the article you can follow through on the link below:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-adaptive-mind/201810/live-your-life-you-not-please-expectations

 

Dream your dreams:

Do not be afraid to dream, dreams are our way of making fantasy become real life. Set goals for yourself to help achieve your dreams. There is nothing that you cannot do if you put your mind to it, now that is another thing my grandma told me rather frequently. It falls into the realm of self-love and having hope, you have to have both of these to achieve the things you want/desire in your life.  If you dream of a better life, better house, job, or whatever the case may be, you can do it.

  • Make and goals for yourself to reach these dreams.
  • Make a plan to reach these goals.
  • Follow through with your plans!
  • Journal or mark your progress along the way.
  • Never give up on your dreams, even though you may get derailed or discouraged at times. Do not give up on the dream.
  • Your dreams are what make life worth living
  • Following and achieving your dreams can often make you an inspiration for others.
  • No one else is going to follow your dreams for you, you have to make the conscious decision to do it for yourself.
  • Achieving your dreams will bring you a sense of accomplishment and make you proud of who you are, by doing this, others who care about you will be proud of you too.

Hope:

Always have hope! No matter what life throws your way, remember this, there is always hope that the new dawning day will be brighter and better than your darkest of days. Hope comes in many forms for everyone, some find hope in faith, and others find hope within themselves. Whatever way you find that peace and hope in your life, stick to it, hold on to it and never let it go.

Move on:

Move on from those pasts hurts and things in life that have brought you sorrow, if you live in the past you cannot move forward. If you cannot move forward then you cannot heal or find the will to love yourself, follow your dreams, live your life, or even hope to succeed.  Moving on can be hard, not only is it hard to learn how to do in a healthy manner, but it sometimes is often a step we all get hung up on. For some they often get sucked back into the past, even when they are trying to move forward, they get pulled back under and feel as though the past is drowning them all over again. If you do not manage to break this cycle and learn from it you will repeatedly get trapped in it over and over again.

For instance, I have stated before in another one of my posts about how everyone grieves differently, I will link the post in the comments below if you choose to reread it at a later time. In that post I mention how some people get caught up on things like death dates, they wallow in the tragedy that life has handed to them and allow their soul to be crushed each and every year with the pain. For some, this is how they work through it, how they work through the grief and pain, for some, this is how they attempt to heal, however, if they continue to do this year after year, they are never fully moving on from the event. They are stuck in that painful sorrow. In cases like this is it often hard to reach these people, they push you away, they forget that you too hurt, just as they do. If you try to offer a healthier way to move on they often meet you with anger, but this is not that they are really ANGRY with you per se. It is they are angry at the fact that you have healed before they are ready to move on from it.  Grief can turn even some of the best, most loving people into someone who we would never recognize. And if they cannot move on and help themselves then you have but one choice for your own health and well being, you have to move on and wait for them to be ready for you. If that is your choice.

Sometimes, moving on also means leaving behind relationships that are toxic or are not growing with you. Sometimes, it is a sad thing when we outgrow relationships that we once held dear and close to our hearts. We have to step back when it comes to these kinds of relationships and think long and hard. Here are some things you should ask yourself when you are assessing these relationships:

  1. How is the relationship affecting me?
  2. How is this for my health, is it an unhealthy toxic relationship?
  3. How is this weighing on my heart?
  4. Is this relationship growing with me as a person or is it stunted?
  5. Do they truly want what is best for me as I do for them?
  6. Are they only in this for what benefits them?

If you come to the conclusion after asking yourself those questions, that the answers affect you in a negative manner, then it is probably best for you to start planning to move on from them.

Succeed:

Follow your heart to the pathway of success, both in love and life. If you take the time to listen to yourself, love your self, follow your dreams, live your life, and move on from the things that cause you pain, you will succeed in everything that you attempt to do. And if you do not succeed at first, fall back on hope and know that you can do it!  If you hold onto that hope you can make those dreams come true! The three keys mentioned below in the photo also bring you back to the points listed above, take note and follow your heart my lovelies <3

I hope this article has been helpful for someone out there!

And as always, Until next time

U.M.

 

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