As we get older, I think it is important to constantly redefine and challenge your identity. Who we think we are based on cultural conditioning or past experiences may be completely deviant from who we strive to become. For me, I defined my identity based on being nurturing, caring, and selfless.
I am the friend people turn to when they need advice, I am the daughter that is there for my parents when they need support emotionally, and I am the person that people rely on to be “there”. This idea of who I am has become so strong that I have let it be the most important definition of my identity in the expense of my own well-being. I put others in front of me because, fixing other people’s mess is easier than dealing with my own. I take care of everyone else empathizing with their situation and internalizing their pain. What I want to do or what I need to do is an afterthought that I save for when I have time. Being in tune with my emotion always comes secondary to those around me who rely on me for advice, love or support.
As much as I love being this nurturing person and I consider it a gift, excess of something is never good. It needs balance like everything else. I cannot internalize everyone else’s pain to the point that I cannot feel my own feelings. I cannot focus my life on “saving” others or improving their life that my own life goes astray. I need to respect myself to honor my own time. Being “selfish” seems to be viewed as something completely negative but, respecting your own time is self-honoring rather than selfish.
So, I encourage you to constantly redefine who you are to keep yourself balanced. Some values are important to us that we hold on to forever. I will always be the caring, nurturing, and a giving person. It is something that I am proud of but, I will also hold myself accountable when I find the balance tipping. I will prioritize myself to be able to care for others so, I don’t become resentful, angry or bitter. I will walk my own path and create identities that are more than just these limited value systems.
Is this the end of the year that is causing this feeling or is it just me? I have a strong inclination to change my life. Everything feels too familiar, comfortable, and close. I feel the need to be stripped away from who I am right now and start all over again. I feel the desire to get away from home, the same routine, the same job, and start fresh. Something feels missing. Something feels like it needs to be pulled away and ripped away from deep inside of me. Maybe it is sadness, maybe it is heartbreak, maybe it is old habits….whatever it is, I want to purge it out of my system. I want to escape somewhere new. I want to change my life. I want to get to a point where I feel free…and liberated and maybe even happy? I tell myself I am happy all the time. I am happy. I am grateful for what I have but, I cannot fight this need I feel for a new start. I imagine going home tonight after work and it makes me feel disgusted….not because there is anything wrong with my home. I love my home and my family but, just going to the same place makes me feel like my raw skin is exposed to the world. I feel like I cannot escape this sameness of everyday.
I looked for some ways I can change. Some new habits I can implement. I am writing it here so, maybe I will be inspired to do these things in the coming months.
- Meditate: every self-help book, every motivational speaker, every corner of the internet has told me to meditate. I am so scared to be left alone with my thoughts that I avoid meditating. I am scared of my pain. I am getting more comfortable with this so, I will try to meditate at least 5 minutes per day. Even if I suck in the beginning – I will make it a habit.
- Work out: I have been really good at working out and it has made my mental health much better. I will continue this trend and try to work out at least 15 – 20 days a month. Every other day.
- Read: Reading has given me so many tools this year. I have really become a better person by just reading so, I will continue to read every day for 30 minutes.
- Travel: This is a big one. It is so cliché but, I have been dying to travel. I think I need an escape and I know travelling has always soothed my soul. I have an intense desire to get away from it all. Go somewhere far way. I will travel at least 3 times. I will travel alone.
- Gratitude: I will practice gratitude each day after work.
- Work hard: Yes….changing your life requires hard work. I took the first step and signed up for a coding bootcamp this year so, I can finally transition out of my current job. I will practice coding every day for 3 hours for 6 months. 3 hours every single day with no excuses.
- Less YouTube / Less Netflix: I will stop watching YouTube and Netflix mindlessly. I tracked my time on YouTube this week and by Thursday, I had spent 22 hours watching YouTube videos. That is almost an entire day. Granted, I listen to things on the background while I do work but, I could listen to positive things. Instead, I watch mind numbing negative content.
- Stop Numbing Myself: Numbing comes in many forms…. For me, it is constant stimulation to the point that I cannot be alone. I need music, background noise, social media at all times to feel “okay”. I use all these to numb myself from how I am feeling. To completely disregard my emotions and thoughts. I need to STOP numbing. How can I do that? I am not really sure yet but, I think less time with mindless content and more time just being silent will help.
- Mindful with Shopping: I have been spending A LOT of money. I think I use it as an escape. I think I use it to distract myself. I get a high whenever I get an Amazon prime delivery. My goal is to NOT spend any money on frivolous things for 3 months. That includes make-up, personal care items, and even books. I will buy a journal but, that is about it. No more spending sprees on Amazon. No more buying things when I am sad. No more spending money just because.
- Move: Last one….I have an inclination to move. I hope it happens soon. I don’t know how or where….but, I want to MOVE away for at least a year.
Have you changed your life? If so, how did you do it?