Practicing what I preach

Last week I wrote about how I am trying to be kinder to myself, to even try to like myself. The word ‘trying’ is key here – I am not very good at it. But that’s okay (look, being kinder to myself already!). It’s not a change I can undergo overnight, it takes time, there will be good days and bad days, there will be things that set me back, but also things that propel me forwards in this little self acceptance mission.

I felt like I needed to follow up last week’s post, as I’ve been being a little bit unkind to myself since then. I felt disappointed with myself for not writing more of the feature screenplay I am working on. Yet not only had I started writing something that could have been really daunting and full of pressure, but I have also hit my writing targets for both that week and this week, so it didn’t even make sense to be annoyed with myself! If anything, I should be happy with my progress, and just enjoy writing and feel thankful that I am not struggling to write, which I am pleased to say is now my frame of mind.

But that’s the thing. We often know we are being irrational when we are hard on ourselves like this, yet it can be so hard to counteract those anxious thoughts. I am not very good at practicing what I preach when it comes to myself, as I touched on last week. Despite how much I believe in various values, and will always encourage them in others, I mostly fail at treating myself in the same way.

But I think I am improving. I’ve been thinking back over the past year, and how I really did set myself on this course of trying to be more true to myself. Last year I had a key realisation that in one aspect of my life in particular, I wasn’t always practicing the values I believe in.

I believe I am a brave person, I like to push myself, and I never want to settle for an easy option if a more challenging path and rewarding outcome is there. Yet in this area of my life I was completely stuck on the easy path, afraid to veer from it. I wasn’t acting on certain feelings because they would disrupt so much and cause pain; it was easier to just carry on. But it wasn’t right, it wasn’t fair, and it wasn’t honest. It wasn’t as fulfilling or making me that happy anymore, and I finally realised that it was time to change this. So I took control, made a leap and chose a different path.

When I told friends of my realisation, many weren’t surprised, for they had seen it coming before I had. Perhaps that’s because I wasn’t reflecting the values I would speak of, and I hadn’t talked about it with the enthusiasm I should have for a while, and so they saw how it wasn’t right for me and that I needed to make a change.

Now I’ve made this change, I feel like I am rediscovering myself. I’ve been exploring my independence and freedom, and I am happier. It’s amazing how you might not even realise that you’re unhappy until you suddenly change things and the alternative offers so many other possibilities, and it’s liberating!

It’s a long, probably never ending path, but I think I might be finding out more about who I am, what is important to me, and what values I really believe in and want to share and uphold. I mean, I knew this, but I wasn’t really living by some of them, not truly. I don’t believe in taking the easy choice, and yet I was. I don’t believe in sticking with something if it isn’t truly good or making you happy, and yet I was. I would raise an eyebrow at someone doing what I was doing, and yet I carried on.

But now, having made changes that were truly right for me, I can really consider what is important to me, what I want, and examine my values now I have aligned my life a little closer to them. My path to self acceptance is clearer now I am being true to myself, and now my life reflects me more. Of course I still have a lot of work to do, I still make mistakes, and I am still somewhat of a mess, but I’m a much happier mess. And a happy mess sounds pretty good to me. So I shall focus on trying to be kind to myself and to accept myself more, as I wrote about last week, and will continue to write about, as this is a long journey after all.

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