It’s been a roller-coaster few months, to say the least, and blogging has pretty much taken the back seat while I’ve been dealing with a lot of changes.
In fact, blogging is not the only thing that I’ve come to realise has been neglected and pushed aside.
I have neglected myself.
We are often so tangled up in the messy webs of our lives, that we rarely get a chance to check-up on ourselves, see how we’re doing. Not the superficial ‘I’m feeling tired today, can’t wait for the weekend’, but how we are doing on a deeper and more complex level. However, these moments of self-reflection usually only begin to happen when we are presented with unforeseen and unwanted circumstances.
Few people enjoy instability, so when undesired changes begin to manifest in our lives, we panic. We try to run from the internal uproar. Because some changes are not what we hoped for. Some changes can leave you feeling hopeless, worthless, and empty.
Often, it isn’t until we are thrown off our track that these moments of soul searching begin to take the wheel.
But why do we wait until these changes for a raw conversation with our inner selves to begin? And why do so many of us refuse to even consider deeper self-reflection, instead favouring the ‘I’ll ignore it until it goes away’ option?
Look, I’m all for whatever makes the pain easier: alcohol, ice-cream, sleep – you name it. But what I’m not okay with is pretending that these behaviours work for everyone, and that they are all a productive solution to dealing with change. There are only so many thoughts these external distractions can block out. At some point, we have to look within (how profound, I know).
Get drunk, post indirects, stuff your face with pizza, drunk call your ex at 2am, sleep past your alarm clock. Do all of those things if you wish. But there has to be a point where we stop the self-destruction, and we deal with the hardest part of change – acknowledgement.
Acknowledge that the change is real and that it’s happened. Then, acknowledge the inevitable pain that comes with this.
Acknowledge the anger. Acknowledge the loss of control. Acknowledge the aching.
Of course it’s easier to just take our mind off unwanted change in our lives – but what are the consequences of taking the easy route? What happens if similar issues and changes arise again in the future? Those feelings you buried a while ago will just crawl right back up to the surface, and you’ll be back to square 1.
Change is hard.
In fact, since I’m encouraging honesty, let’s get real frank here. Change is shit. But if change is what prompts the darkest corners of our minds to actually look inwards, then perhaps some change is a necessary exchange for personal self-growth. But how do we go about this new period of soul searching?
For me, soul searching goes beyond pinning relatable pinterest quotes, chatting to friends about your feelings, and dwelling on your anger.
Soul searching is uncomfortable. It’s raw.
It will cut deep into wounds that you didn’t even know existed. It will show us parts of ourselves which we did not want to know about. Soul searching hurts like hell. But that’s why we have to do it.
Many of us act in ways that perhaps deep-down somewhere we know are problematic or toxic. But until we truly accept that we are wholly flawed and take ownership of our faults, then we cannot begin to forgive ourselves, and begin the process of change and growth.
Maybe you’ve lost a friend, and you now realise that you were actually really horrible to them that time. Maybe you said something unpleasant behind someone’s back, and realise that actually that was an unnecessary and harmful thing to say. Maybe you lost a partner, and realise ‘damn, I should’ve actually spent more time with them.’
Whatever it was – you cannot let these realisations bring you down forever. As tumblr cliche as it is, we have no power whatsoever to change the past.
But we have the power to change the present and the future. Begin to forgive yourself for your mistakes, and allow these post-change-realisations to instead bring light during a time of darkness.
Allow this time to own up to yourself that perhaps you were wrong, and certainly allow time to feel sad about it. But do something good with the sadness. Work on change.
I wish I could tell you to just take a bubble bath, do some yoga, drink a green tea and get an early night and wake up with a smile on your face (of course feel free to do these things too). But these external actions alone won’t bring about positive change.
There aren’t any quick and easy life hacks to deal with change.
It’s about to get a bit lil’ bit spiritual up in here, but honestly, to deal with outside changes, we have to be comfortable with ourselves and our ability to grow and withstand hard times, which is a process that can only begin within.
The sooner we begin to face this, the better.
Learn about yourself. Are you still angry at a parent from all those years ago? Good. Write it down. Aware that what you said during an argument that time was actually really hurtful? Type it on a google doc. It’s time to deal with the repressed parts of yourself and get them into the open. Read books. Read books about religion, spirituality, self-help, even Harry Potter if you think it can make you learn something about yourself and your feelings. Google how you’re feeling. Literally whatever comes to mind, no matter how long tailed those feelings are – it’s 2017, there is bound to be someone online going through the exact same motions as you. Listen to self-healing podcasts. Listen to help and advice YouTube videos.
Cry. Cry a lot. Cry even when you’re doing those painful hiccup cries. Read about psychology. Learn about attachment theory (I swear to you, this will be one of the most revolutionary things you can do to discover why you act the way you do). Make a cringey-ass vision board on Pinterest and truly figure out your dreams and life goals. Where do you want to be 1 year from now? Make a plan that you can act on.
Baby steps. Listen to sad music. Stare out the window. If it feels like you’re going through a tragic scene in a movie, girl we gon’ damn be dramatic and ACT LIKE IT.
And most importantly: never stop doing these things (okay, hopefully less of the crying – but shit happens). Always try and critique where your thoughts and feelings are coming from.
Always grow. Always learn. Always reflect. Soul searching should be as ingrained in our lives as taking a shower. In fact, you can even soul search in the shower if that works for you.
If we don’t check in on how we’re feeling, how can we ever be truthful with ourselves? How can we ever adapt in challenging times?
Look, the self-improvement that comes from soul searching won’t be easy. It’s hard. It’s an almost-impossible battle with the mind.
But until we get into the habit of looking deeper within ourselves and working to improve who we are, then we’ll always be left to deal with the nitty-gritty uncomfortable stuff only during times of change, when by that time, we want to already be self-assured enough to deal with it healthily.
So put in the uncomfortable hard work now, and then when unwanted change does rear its ugly head, we can give ourselves a silent nod, and say to ourselves ‘bitch, we got this.’