Here we are, another month into 2016 and the process of self-growth and self-healing continues. From the start of this year, my goal was to be a better version of myself: the Nkem who did what she said she would do and achieve the goals that she set for herself in the continued search of self-fulfillment. As the year has progressed, it has become more and more clear to me that this isn’t going to be as easy as I thought it was. Simply saying “Yes I will make a change in my life” isn’t going to be enough.
Throughout this journey, I’ve tried to face my fears and get a better understanding of my true self. It’s forced me to ask the questions, “Who Am I? What do I want in life? And what is holding me back?” We are now more than halfway through the year and I still find myself asking those same questions without a clear answer, but for the past few months, I’ve been on a quest to find what happiness really means to me and on a mission to find the answers to all these questions; not only trying to understand myself, but to also learn to love myself without the validation of others.
Low self-esteem has been a lifelong struggle for me. No matter how much I’m told “You’re beautiful, smart, creative, driven, strong” or “You just have what it takes,” I can never see those qualities within me. It begs the question when will you start to believe? When will you start to see what others see in you? It has made me realize that I will never know what happiness or success looks like if I don’t understand or get to know my true self but the question of understanding one’s true self isn’t something that can be answered overnight; it takes time to really dig deep within yourself and connect within on another level.
Some of my unhappiness comes from being a nice person. I truly do want the best for people, but it has come at a cost of putting others ahead of myself. I get wrapped up in not offending anyone, biting my tongue as a result and not speaking my mind. I look for outside vices to make me feel happy or loved, never looking from within to feel that way.
So how do I move forward? How do I make a change? Starting this month, I have taken a vow to devote more time to myself and really learn who I am. I’m going to stop overthinking, over consuming, over analyzing, or worrying about what tomorrow may bring and learn to live in the moment. This is how I’m going to connect with myself and find joy, happiness, and love from within.
To help me achieve this, I’ve started an exercise in hand lettering: 30 Days of Gratitude. Not only does this give me continuous practice with hand lettering, it also gives me the opportunity to be thankful for what I have in life. No matter how small or silly it is, I want to take the time to appreciate what I do have in life versus looking at all the negatives.
I’ve also started doing yoga alongside with my Insanity workout. Working in a stressful work environment and behind a desk all day, my body always aches and I’m constantly surrounded by a never ending cycle of negativity. Yoga will be a way for me to connect with myself, the Earth, and be more aware, while also giving my body the good it needs. In addition to yoga, I’ve implemented meditation into my life. So far I’m starting with baby steps: 5 mins a day during my lunch break and slowly building on this over time.
Lastly, I’m cutting ties with my phone. Too often I pick it up for no reason, constantly scrolling from Instagram to Twitter or Pinterest for no reason other than to simply pass the time and fill my head with noise. If I’m truly going to get a deeper understanding of self, I have to remove all meaningless distractions from my life. To my friends: yes that means hours will go by that I won’t return your texts or calls. For once I’m doing something for me and not focused on how it affects others.
You may be asking what brought on all this need for change and why now? To be honest, this year has been one revelation after another for me. I’m getting older yet don’t feel that I’ve done enough growth in my life and I’m just unhappy. I’m almost 30 and still battling insecurities, always worrying about tomorrow and what others think, and never appreciating the present. I’ve watched a lot of Ted talks, listening to inspiring speakers who have given me the wake-up call I have needed. It has forced me to reevaluate my thinking and the decisions I’ve made in my life thus far.
In this world of wanting to be a full-time blogger amongst the masses of people doing the same thing, I have to stay true to myself. In order to be true, one has to know who they are. I have to be able to validate myself and see the value in my work. I have to be able to accept success and failure, whichever comes first. Most importantly, I need to know my self-worth without seeking the approval of others.