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This is actually my first story that I have decided to write. Nothing better than to write about mental health!
Since I can remember, my thoughts were always anxious, catastrophic and sad. I was a really lonely child and had difficulties starting friendships and playing with the other girls my age. After many years and so much suffering, I have learned and decided to take practical steps to make my life happier and lighter. Hope these tips can you as well:
- It's OK to be who you are. I know this sounds so cliche and so basic, but yes, we have difficulty understanding and respecting our feelings. Until two years ago, I couldn't accept myself as an introvert, and I used to force myself to go parties, social events and even friend's gatherings just to be "accepted" and even to accept myself. The funny thing about that is that I used to do it because I thought that would make me feel better, and usually, it was completely the opposite way. I used to feel exhausted emotionally and physically, and sometimes it would even take a day to recover. From the moment that I accepted myself as an introvert and admitted to friends and people that I would rather not to go out to make friends or to go to socializing things, it started to get lighter for me. Of course, this would take us to the next point, pleasing people.
- You don't need to please everyone, and it's fine to say no. From the moment that I accepted myself as an introvert and started to hang more at home, I knew that my number of "friends" would be reduced and even close friends would get upset with me for not hanging out as much with them. This is a really difficult process, to learn that you actually don't need to please people, if this means putting yourself in a miserable place. I know I am putting these points together telling my story, but believe me, even if you're the complete opposite of me, I still believe this is valid and important to keep in mind. Be real with yourself and don't put grieve yourself only to please someone's will. People who actually love or respect you will not move away from you because of your choices, and to be very honest, they don't need to be pleased all the time, especially knowing that the situation would put you under stress.
- Be kind to yourself. This is a very important point that my therapist made sure to repeat to me every time and I have to keep practicing everyday. Sometimes we are so hard on ourselves that we can even catch ourselves calling ourselves "stupid" when we drop something on the floor! Remembering to be kind, not just to others, but to myself, changed my mind.
- Loving and being good, firstly for yourself, then for your loved ones and finally to everything and everyone else. I know it sounds very hippie (nothing against hippies BTW, haha) but this was another simple, powerful tool very connected to the point above: kindness towards yourself. I am a stronger believer of Christian principles, and I believe that there is no way for you to love others if you can't love yourself first. There's an evolution to that though; sometimes we end up doing this wrong, trying so hard to love others and suffering so badly because we are not being kind and good to ourselves first. I caught myself in this kind of situation so many times, trying so hard to be good and ending so hurt and stressed that I ended up being horrible, not just to myself, but to others! When I started to keep this in mind and be kind, loving and gentle towards myself, it ended up being so much easier to do it to the ones that I love. Then, I know that when this is mastered it will be even easier to practice this to other people and things. ❤
- Practice GRATITUDE. This is the biggest point of my mood change! To be grateful is something so powerful, it can completely change and rewire your brain. I keep a journal with me where I have started to log what I am grateful for, and actually, for these last 2 months, I've stopped to write in it and honestly I can see the difference. We can return to our miserable mindset of complaints and misery so easily. Try for 2 weeks to be grateful everyday for at least 3 different things you saw, had or did on that day; it doesn't need to be big, it can even be something very common like your mother, house etc; try to find small beautiful stuff to be grateful for, and I promise you will see a big difference!
Hope these words can help other people and please let me know any other concerns or thoughts you would like to talk about.
From an introvert,