I think we are all guilty of being too hard on ourselves at some point in our lives. For some like me, it is a constant struggle that can go unnoticed or forgotten as we are so consumed by live moving by awfully quickly. The stress of everyday life or important tasks can build up and there is also a lot of social pressure and competition that many people of all ages face. This means we can form such high expectations and eventually exhaust ourselves with the constant thinking and worrying if we will meet these expectations.
Depending on the context or circumstances there are a range of ways to handle yourself so that you are not too hard on yourself. I think what is most important for me and possibly a lot of other people is AWARENESS. I am referring to the ability to recognise the problem at hand, but also to acknowledge where we are at currently in our lives in comparison to where we have been. When you have been at rock bottom you know just how bad it can be. I have tried to use similiar negative experiences to this as a means of pushing myself forward. It makes me want to work hard so that I can grow and not be in bad places. If you are able to acknowledge the past like this but not dwell on it, then I think it is of incredible value to your self-growth.
I would like to think that the majority of people are striving for the best versions of themselves, but any kind of progress is progress really. If you are moving forward at your own pace then you are doing something right in my opinion. Make realistic goals for yourself so that you have an idea of what you are working towards but do not get too upset if things do not work out the way you had planned. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. There is time to adapt and change, there is time to grow.
Don’t think that you have to do EVERYTHING the ‘right way’. Be realistic and stay true to yourself. There are likely to be setbacks but you are incredibly strong and can do this in your own time. Focus on the most important things that will bring you immediate happiness so that you can get started on the right foot.
LIVE IN THE MOMENT. I mean, I always try to do this. But it does not come without difficulties. It is too easy to get tangled up in the past or to have two eyes on the future, what with all the pressure we face in our everyday lives. This year though, more than any I have started to realise the importance of just enjoying the present day. I guess part of this is due to the pandemic and the realisation that things are unpredictable and can change at any moment.
It is nice to have some kind of an eye on the future though, so you have a rough idea of where you are headed. But as plans change and your interests develop, we do not always know the path we will end up on. We can strive for a certain goal or path and in fact, end up taking off to a different destination. We cannot change the past, we cannot ALWAYS predict our future. I feel that the one thing we can do though is to make sure we enjoy our time right now.
It is a hard thing to do though I must admit when you feel or know that something can change. But if you are constantly waiting for that change, you are rapidly losing the time and moment. The best thing you can do in my opinion is to enjoy the things happening to you right now for what they are, as they may not last forever. Happiness is the key, and why let it wait?
For me, my plans have changed significantly due to COVID-19 but that does not have to be a bad thing. I never thought I would be studying abroad in my life and I certainly did not imagine being here so long. But the choice to do it and to stay in Sweden has paid off. I now get to experience a Swedish summer after braving the cold and windy months earlier in the year. This is just one example of living in the moment and trying to make the most of a different situation.
“Get off the mother flipping Xbox”. That is the first thing I can think of. In my younger years, I was very different from how I am now. I would game for many hours a day, now I haven’t played a console of my own for several years. It is is easy to have unhealthy obsessions like this in our young and potentially more naive years. That is okay for me as long as you are able to acknowledge it now and obtain healthier behaviours.
Maybe I am alone in this thought but I do not think that there is much that I would want to say if I could speak to my younger self. I try to look ahead to the future more than reflecting on the past. It would be far too easy for me to change a lot of things that went wrong. But I think things have to fall apart sometimes to make way for better things and to help you to learn and grow for sure. That being said, maybe one piece of advice I would have loved to hear is to work on my self-esteem so I can surround myself with better people.
I am a lot healthier mentally wise now than I have been in the past. I put that down to the self-growth, determination and fight that comes from not wanting to ‘relapse’ or return to a previous state of unhealthiness. When you have hit ‘rock bottom’ for whatever reason it may be, then you sure as heck do not want to go back. This is like being aware of your past and mistakes, but not allowing yourself to think about too much as it is gone and you cannot change it. I feel that it is important to recognise the past somewhat though, so I can realise how far I have come and to continue such progress.
I think my younger self would want to know what he is capable of as what I have achieved so far in my life. Our life is forever changing and it is important to move forward and not stagnate. He would want to know to hold out for meaningful friendships and to enjoy his time outside more.
Please share with me your feelings and what you would say to your younger self.