It took me a while to write again here and even more to finally decide to write this article. I felt like I was not legitimate enough to say what I have to say and that this platform was not big enough to write something so personal. But then I realized this platform was mine and I don’t have to prove anything to anyone but myself. A few days ago was mental health awareness day. And it hit me how this topic had been left on the side for way too long. I believe everyone is legitimate to talk about mental health and about their experience because we all face the same issues, the same doubts and fears and we should all be able to talk about it.
It has always seemed to me that if I had no legitimate reason to be sad or to feel bad, I could not show my feelings. I’ve been lucky enough to always get what I needed and to have been loved by my family and friends. I’ve certainly met people who hurt me but I always had my family to support me in every decision and it was the best thing I could have wished for. From a young age, I’ve been a lonely person. I love people but struggled to find the right people to surround myself with so most of the times, I preferred to stay alone than go out. And I was completely fine with my choices! Until I got on social medias.
And I realized my life had nothing amazing compared to what I saw online. At least, that’s what I thought. I was following accounts of people doing amazing stuff all the time, travelling, and always surrounded and it made me feel bad about my life. I somehow forgot that it was my choice to not be surrounded all the time and to not be busy every week-end going out. Comparing myself to other people online made me feel really bad and self conscious. From a young age I had been taught not to care about others and I was doing the exact opposite as I was growing as an adult. And slowly, my mental health was getting really bad.
Since a few months, mental health is becoming a real topic online and the people I was comparing myself to, now share about their experience and their lows. They use their platform to talk about their tears and tough times and share some self love tips. I wanna share my part as I have come up with some solutions to feel better about myself and enjoy my life and my experience for what it is! I am still working on it but I feel much better now that I follow a few simple rules which make everything easier and better!
TALK ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS
The most important thing for me is to not be ashamed of feeling low. It literally happens to everyone! You may not think you have any reason to feel bad or sad but you don’t need a reason to feel like that and you may not even know what’s going on, you just feel sad and that’s ok. What you should do is try not to cover what you feel and keep it deep inside you. Talk about it, write about it, express it however you want but these feelings need to get out. That’s why it is so important to surround yourself with people you can rely on. You need friends to have fun with but if you can’t tell them about your lows, what’s the point? Talk to the ones around you with your heart open and if they love you, they’ll listen. Writing is also an amazing way to release feelings. Whether you keep a journal, write poetry or just put on paper what’s on your mind and heart, it can be a great therapy. However you decide to deal with your feelings and express them, never be ashamed of talking about your mental health and about how you feel.
LEARN TO BE GOOD WITH YOURSELF
This part is much more complicated. I believe most of us think they are fine by themselves but I think that until you spend real time on your own, you don’t understand the power of your own company. It’s so much easier to surround yourself all the time, to plan a lot of things during the week-ends and holidays just to not have too much time on your own. But at some point, you’ll have to face yourself. You are the only person who’s gonna be there until the end and in every single thing you go through so it seems quite obvious that you need to feel good with yourself. As I said, I’ve always been quite lonely but it doesn’t mean I’ve always been good with my own company. I am now learning to not need anyone, especially when it comes to love. I take myself to dates, go to the movies, to the restaurant and go for walks on my own and I feel whole and happy about it because this is a choice I make for the long term and for my mental health.
FIND SOMETHING THAT MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD
Related to learning to be good with your own company, you should find something that makes you feel happy. Any activity will do. You can start meditation, do some yoga, run, any physical activity. It can also be learning a new skill, a new language or to play an instrument. Painting, singing, taking part in a charity, any activity that makes you feel good. It’s sometimes too easy to live for work and for the comfort of a routine. But I believe we all need something that makes us thrive. Going to work and living in a comfort zone should not be a solution or an option. There are plenty of things to explore and discover and live can be a real struggle when you stick to the work-home rhythm. Try to find something that makes you wake up happy in the morning. It’s important that you commit everyday to do something just for yourself, with the only purpose of feeling good. On the long term, it can be a passion; but it can also be small treats that you allow yourself for no particular reason.
DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS
Last but definitely not least: stop comparing yourself to others, especially the people you follow online. As I said, we all have lows. Even the person who always travels and seems happy sometimes wonder what this is all about. Even if we know it, it’s important to remember that everyone share online only the nice things. Do yourself and your mental health a favor and stop comparing yourself. My trick has been to unfollow all the accounts which didn’t inspire me in a positive way and which triggered my insecurities. I spend enough time wondering about life and myself, I don’t need to feel bad every time I go on social media. This works with people in your real life as well. Jealousy is a terrible feeling and it comes from fear and insecurities about you not being enough. There is no miracle to not feel jealousy anymore, the only solutions is to work on removing fears and insecurities. I’ll share more about that later because it deserves a full article. In the meantime, remember that you are enough and that we all face low times and no one’s life is 100% perfect. It’s a matter of perspective and you can make your life perfect if you decide to follow a few rules!
Love yourself, you are enough. ◊