Living in lockdown for so long makes you face every aspect of yourself. For so long we’ve either been living in nostalgia or wishing we were back to normality. Anything to get away from what our lives have become.
There was a time when I really disliked myself during lockdown. I was trapped between four walls and too many mirrors. All reflecting not only myself back at me but every choice I’d ever made. For a while, I forgot how to be kind to myself.
All the frustration and anger I had towards the pandemic I pushed back on me. I internalised every tiny mistake I made and felt myself getting ticked off by things that didn’t even matter anymore. It was probably the lowest I had ever been for a while.
That’s why it’s important to take care of yourself. You can’t rely on other people like a crutch, can’t expect everyone to be there for you when you’re not. Taking life by the wheel and understanding yourself on an emotional level is the best way to pave your way through life.
You need to forgive your past self for the mistakes they made. There’s that saying that everything happens for a reason, but people focus too hard on that reason. Really, sometimes there is no reason and something just happens because of sheer randomness.
Not every fault has blame and that’s okay.
So, let it go if you can. Release all the hostile emotions you’ve put on yourself to grow into yourself. All the good and the bad have shaped you into who you are. Other people might love that person, but you must too; you need to understand that you matter.
The way you speak to yourself matters. The way you think about yourself matters. The way you love yourself matters.
Do things that bring you joy; be kind to your mind. I know I’m a strong advocate for self-love, but it doesn’t mean I’m great at it either. We all have highs and lows with who we are. Trust me, there are days I look in a mirror and just grimace at how annoying I am.
Because my mind? She can really go to hell sometimes. I’m at war with myself at least once a day over something as stupid as stubbing my toe. There are nights I don’t sleep because I think about that one time I fell in front of everyone in the school cafeteria in my third year.
But I still managed to save my bacon roll.
See? There are bright sides to life, silver linings that keep us sane. It’s true, sometimes doing what’s best for you doesn’t feel like it’s the best. No one looks in a mirror and just gapes in awe at themselves every day; everyone has little insecurities that gnaw at their minds.
What’s important is that you don’t let them define you. Let me tell you now that nothing is permanent. These things you dislike about yourself? Those bad vibes won’t last forever. That doesn’t make it any easier, but just know there will be relief from it.
Spend time on the things that bring you joy, whether that be dancing in your underwear with music playing or putting together a jigsaw puzzle. Recently, I got all artsy and I’m really into photo collages. For some reason, they just really soothe me and it’s fun putting together fun memories to reflect on.
And that’s all that matters.
Have the strength to push by the things you dislike about yourself. Right now, I can’t imagine it’s easy for everyone. My mum always used to say this little motto to me: “It’s nice to be nice.” And it’s only recently I realised I have to be nice to myself too.
Trust me, I know. I’d never admit she was right to her face: I’d never hear the end of it.
However, maybe mothers know a thing or two every now and then. So, listen to my somewhat strangely wise mum and remind yourself to be nice to yourself. Show yourself mercy for all the dumb things you have done, and the stupid stuff you’ll definitely do.
After all, who are we if we’re not the ones paving the way for the generation behind us? To do that, we need to have some level of respect and kindness for ourselves.
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