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How to save yourself when caught in the undertow of life.
We all take walks in the back alley of our minds sometimes—consumed by the darkness we find there.
Occasionally, sadness sweeps over us, and we are unable to pull ourselves up out of the pit of despair. Insecurities run rampant, and we beat ourselves up over every little thing.
It doesn’t matter how we find ourselves in that place as long as we recognize it for what it is—and fight our way out of it.
As spirited as I appear, this happens to me more than I’d like to admit. It seems like the more I put myself out there, the more negative attention I attract. As a sensitive person, it always catches me off guard.
I still expect other people to regard me with the same kindness that I give them, but sadly that’s not always the case. When this happens, I suddenly forget all my strengths and find myself filled with self-doubt.
Life is hard, and people can be cruel. It is challenging to keep the negativity we attract from seeping inside us, and hurtful comments can gnaw away at our self-esteem—if we let them.
Sometimes, others’ unintentional actions leave us feeling rejected or unworthy, but no one else gets to tell us how we should feel about ourselves. Most of the time, their behavior isn’t even about us.
Everyone is going through things that we may know nothing about, and people often project their stuff onto others. This seems to be happening more and more, especially in the digital world. A lot of people are struggling right now, in many different ways, and some are quick to lash out without a second thought.
Some are struggling financially, and others are dealing with exacerbated mental health issues. Many are just trying to adapt to all the changes over the past year.
As an extrovert, I struggle with this new home-bound way of life that includes very little socialization. I’ve adjusted, but I miss people. I miss going out, having fun, and not being afraid of contracting or spreading a deadly virus everywhere I go. I understand where my emotions come from, and I give them their space.
Not everyone is adept at processing their feelings or the reason behind them. Unfortunately, anger is an easier emotion than sadness. Grief over the loss of their old way of life manifests as anger. And angry people sprinkle that sh*t everywhere, like glitter.
Now, more than ever, what the world needs is more empathy and kindness. Kindness toward each other, and ourselves. We need to be able to give ourselves a little bit of grace too.
We are all only human, and we make mistakes. It is okay; that is what we are here to do. That is how we learn and how we grow. Although it can be difficult, try not to take it personally when someone lashes out at you.
A different version of you exists in the minds of everyone you know. The only person who truly knows you is you. If someone else doesn’t see you the way you see yourself, that’s their perception—that doesn’t make it your reality.
Everything begins and ends in your mind. No one else can make you feel like you’re not good enough unless you let them. So, don’t let them. That’s your power. Take it back!
The things that other people say and do usually have nothing to do with you anyway. We are all just trying to find our way, crossing our fingers, and hoping to get it right. No one is lying awake at night feeling bad about what they did or said to you. So, why are you? Knock it off.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever feel bad or experience any negativity—that’s not realistic. It is important to feel all of your emotions, but try to rise above the ones that bring you down.
Think about what you can learn from the situation. Is it something that will help you grow? If so, focus on delving deeper into that. If not, then try to let it go.
Remind yourself who you are, and stop allowing other people to determine your worth. Remember, most people don’t even like themselves.
At times, the way forward can be unclear. However, the tiniest step in a different direction can be all that is needed. Start by focusing on one thing you like about yourself. It could be something completely insignificant but hold onto that one good thought.
Focus on it and repeat it to yourself as many times as you need to. Then add another good thing. And another one, until you build a ladder of good thoughts to help you climb out of that sinkhole.
I know it is easier said than done. This isn’t always a quick process. It can take weeks or months—even years. Life will knock you down over and over again, but it doesn’t matter as long as you get back up.
Wounds take time to heal, and some damage never truly goes away. Eventually, some of those scars fade so well that you can’t even tell they were ever there.
It takes a lot of deep, inner work and scary, emotionally-draining honesty. It requires acceptance, forgiveness, and love—all directed back at yourself, my friends.
The most important thing to remember when the waves of life bash us against the rocks is that, eventually, the storm will pass. Nothing lasts forever.
Try to find the beauty in the middle of the storm instead of waiting for the rainbow.
Learn to move with the wind rather than against it.
Realize that it’s who you become inside the storm that allows you to truly appreciate everything that follows.