I have realised that I have never really liked myself.
I have always had struggles with myself, my inner thoughts, my personal expectations of life and the set goals I want to reach. Most of all I have always struggled with my weight, and therefore never really valued my body and my health as being most important in life. This is a very strong and harsh statement, but I have realised that that’s actually the cruel reality. I have never really liked myself.
I guess in a society in which one is expected to function according to certain expectations it is easy to drown in constant self-doubt, self-criticism and unhealthy perfectionist lifestyles. As a consequence one does miss out on a lot on the search for perfection and attention from others. Why do we focus so much on things from outside and do not see what is really in front of us and happening to and with us, and most importantly within ourselves? Always struggling to reach something in the future, whatever that is, we lose focus of what is really important in life: the connection to our gut. I do, by no means, want to express this as a general truth but I am constantly wondering, am I the only one? I have felt lost, or rather confused, most of the time in my life, trying to cope and looking for something I still cannot define. I have always had the feeling that there must be something bigger to life, and that I need this journey, in some way, to find some answers. I expected it to become a journey of self-awareness and gut training and I am learning it the hard way.
I am only 3 weeks into my journey and I am learning a valuable but painful lesson about my body. I used to ignore most of the factors and soldier through pain, illness and whatever has come my way. I had to go through some pretty tough situations, but I have always managed with more or less healthy techniques, that was, at least, what I had always thought. Also I have never been the type of person to ask for help, so I have always tried to manage on my own. I have also tried to train myself, for many years, to become more spiritual and intuitive in order to pick up on what my body wants to tell me, but after some time this training was always killed by routine and stress, so that I have been tangled up in the same mess again and again.
Now, being away from home, from my friends and family, from all the usual distractions and the usual safety network, I have to learn to depend on myself and on my gut. Living in a different environment my body has had to adapt to the temperature, has had to struggle with all the mosquito bites, which I am allergic to, some stomach bug, fever, muscle aches and many other skin irritations. I am not a fan of conventional medicine, but I think I have never taken this much medicine in my life. I have never used as many different lotions or had as many ayurvedic treatments either. I am thankful for this in some way, because it means that I have never really been ill. I have never had to concentrate as much on my health, but I am also thankful for this situation because I now have to listen to my body’s calls. My health is the only factor that can define the ways my journey and ultimately my life will take. I have to respect my body’s limits, calls for recovery time and sleep. I have never really been as aware of that factor as I am now, even though I thought I knew exactly how bad, challenging and fatal health problems can be from experiences in my close circle of family and friends.
This realisation and this post may make me seem weak and messed-up, which I certainly sometimes am, but I feel a little stronger now as I may have acknowledged the situation in some way, and can start finding ways processing it, dealing with and learning from it. I am coping with and wanted to face my vulnerable side, which I have been neglecting forever and so I guess this is one of many valuable lessons I will have to learn and was kind of expecting to encounter on this journey:
Put yourself and your personal needs first, because only then you can have the strength to enjoy life and help others. By looking after yourself you express self-love and can accept the vulnerable side of yourself, which is not a part to neglect at all. The universe will always find a way to make you confront your weak sides and by neglecting them the lessons will only become more painful each time until you get the point.
P.S.: All of this mess has come to the fore because I have just finished reading an amazing book by Brené Brown entitled “The gifts of imperfection: Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are” – a very recommendable read.