Self-Doubt

I recently wrote a post with the question of whether or not I am a toxic person.

Logically, I know that I am trying to be the best person I can be even though it doesn’t always show. What I didn’t know is that my self-doubt would increase tremendously since I lost the friend that forced me to confront this question. I didn’t realize how much it would affect me. I can understand it and realize that it happened and there’s not much I can do what happened in the past but I didn’t realize that it would follow me for months.

It’s not the first time I’ve been through a loss of some sort. It’s happened before and crushed everything I knew about myself. I remember feeling like I disappeared for a while. I had to really work hard to find myself. I went through therapy and really worked on myself and I became someone I liked and respected. After I entered my 30s, I thought I knew who I was. I had read enough books and really took a look at my life. I found things and people I loved and believed that I had settled into who I was supposed to be. I had accomplished some pretty cool things that I was proud of and moved forward.

There’s been a lot of changes since that point. It’s been almost 8 years since I turned 30. And somehow, I’m back in the middle of a bunch of questions. I have constantly been meeting new people through my kids’ schools and classes and through the dance classes we teach. And through it all, I thought I knew myself and had accepted the fact that not everyone would be my best friend. That was okay. I knew who my tribe was. I knew the strength of the bonds I had formed.

But now, I’m questioning the basic core of myself. Am I someone that people want to be around? Am I someone that my kids like? Am I someone that I can respect?

I have fallen back into the trap of questioning myself after every social engagement. I worry that I said the wrong thing or did something that offended someone. The logical grown-up in me knows that whatever happens happens and it’s okay as long as I tried my best to be a good person but the emotional anxiety in me has risen up immensely.

Do I have to go through the same work again to be comfortable with myself? How do I learn to trust myself again? What if no one ever likes me? (Oh man, that thought makes me feel like a teenager again.) How do I know that this won’t happen with other people?How do I know if I’m disappointing or hurting someone else enough that they will decide to stop being my friend as well?

How do I manage this self-doubt?

 

Facing The Way You Feel

Analyzing yourself is hard. Really looking inward and trying to understand why you are the way you are and feel the way you feel is hard.

I’ve looked head on into my feelings a few times before but it usually happened during a breakdown after years of suppressing them. I would get to this point where I would just explode because I had tried to be so strong while ignoring the way I felt. It’d be a lot to clean up after because after my real feelings came through, all that was left of myself was a broken down mess.

I realized after I had done this a few times about a few major parts of my life that I needed to find a better way to deal with everything. It’s so easy to fall into complacency and build this strong shield around yourself to function on a daily basis.

Recently, I have started feeling like if I don’t maintain that shield, I will break down again. This time is different because I’m mostly just struggling with parenting my kids. I love them and I know that this is what I need to be doing right now but sometimes, it’s just so hard. I also know that this part of my life will just take some time to even out.

I also know that if I really try to look inwards, it’s going to be somewhat of a mess in there. So for now, I try to find ways to cope and survive. I find the small joys in my days and take those for what they are.

I know that I’ll have to address my feelings head on at some point but I don’t think that the time is now for me. It’s partially true that I’m doing this for my kids but it’s also partially true that I’m a little scared to see what’s in there.

I hope your journey into addressing your feelings is more successful and that you are able to find what you really need.

Mental Health

Mental health. It’s such a big part of our day to day lives but it is the thing we take the least care of. It’s an interesting thought. We will workout, eat right, and go to the doctor to keep our physical bodies healthy but what do we do keep ourselves mentally healthy?

It’s hard to recognize that your mental health is important, especially if you’re Indian. As a society, we don’t acknowledge that our mental health is something that can be positively or negatively affected. We weren’t raised in families where we talked about the way we felt (although I do feel things are changing now).

It is important though. It’s important to talk about and address what we feel and how it affects our lives.

For example, as a stay at home mom, I go through difficult periods due to all of the changes that happen. Just as I finally got used to managing my life as a mom to my first kid and became comfortable with my life, I had a second kid and everything got thrown off again. Now I have to get used to a new norm and balance. I felt like I lost a little part of me when I had my first kid. It just doubles with a second because now there are 2 people who are relying on you for everything. And as much as I love my kids, I also need to find a way to love and feel good about myself. If I am not strong for myself, how can I be strong for my kids?

The first step is always recognizing that you aren’t at a good balance mentally. Then, you can decide on what you need to do to figure yourself out again. Sometimes, it just takes some time and focus on yourself. Sometimes, it requires help from outside.

There is no shame in admitting that you need help with your mental health. If anything, I believe that it makes you a stronger person because you recognize that you do need help.

So be strong. Know yourself.

Babies: Serious Relationship-Testers

One thing I learned pretty quickly once I had kids is that I was lucky I married my best friend. I was lucky our relationship was strong. I’ve heard stories where people thought that a child would save their already rocky relationship. Maybe that did happen for some but honestly, I don’t think that would have ever worked for me.

There is nothing like having children to really challenge every aspect of your relationship. The pure exhaustion of having to keep up with your kids  plus keep up with your life and your job every day can cause resentment very easily. When our first kid was born, I remember being jealous of my husband because he was able to go to work and converse with adults for a part of the day. I would forget that then he would have to come home and take care of his child (and me, to some degree) as well.

In order to be able to see the other person’s point of view, you have to be able to love them, to be in love with them. You have to want them to be happy. And you have to be able to remember that when one of your kids is crying at 2 am for 3 hours straight because being tired makes you think crazy thoughts (thoughts such as you just want to sleep and if you can’t sleep, neither can your husband).

No matter how much you guys love each other, this phase is going to be challenging.

So make sure that you marry the person that can go through this with you. Make sure that you have open communication. Make sure that both of you can recognize what the other one needs and what is best for each other.

Like I said, I’m lucky I married my best friend because when I need him, he is there.

 

 

Yes I’m Vain….But It Keeps Me Healthy

When I was 15, my metabolism quit. Like it got up and said “F*** you” and left. Prior to that, I was a super skinny kid and didn’t really worry about what I ate. After that, it’s like everything I ate just stayed on me. I ended up at around 130 pounds at the time. For a 5’2″ girl, there’s nowhere for that weight to really go that will look attractive. I wasn’t consistently athletic at the time so it wasn’t even muscle weight.

Now take a look around you. Take a look at yourself. Are you in shape? Are you taking care of yourself? Are you being healthy?

If the answer (the honest answer) is no, join the club. There are way too many of us out there that aren’t taking care of ourselves. The American Heart Association recommends walking around 10,000 steps or 5 miles per day. This is hard. I bought myself a Fitbit because I thought I must be easily hitting this number daily chasing my kid around plus working out once a day but nope. I still have to take another walk and really push my activity levels to hit this number. I rarely ever reach 5 miles. It’s frustrating.

After my metabolism quit, it took me another 6 years to come out of denial that I couldn’t just eat what I want and not work out and look like how I wanted. I always wanted to have the perfect body. I’ve always been a perfectionist. And somehow I thought that it would just come to me without me having to work for it.

One day, I looked at a picture of myself and saw how I looked in a shirt I really liked. It felt awful. I realized that I wasn’t just going to magically get into shape. It was, at the moment, I decided that I didn’t want to feel like that again. I joined a gym and started counting calories. I lost a ton of weight and not only was working out regularly but had joined a professional dance team so I was dancing regularly. I felt stronger and healthier.

I’m writing this because when I look around me and see so many people who don’t seem care, it’s frustrating and scary to me. My metabolism quit early and it took me 6 years to figure out what to do about it. But, mine quit earlier than it does for a lot of others. For those of us who are entering our 30s and inching towards our 40s, there are things that won’t work as well as they did before. We are at higher risk for health problems if we don’t start taking care of ourselves as soon as possible.

I’m sure a lot of you are thinking that you like the way you look or you’ve accepted your bodies for what it is. I applaud that. Here’s the thing. We don’t have to have the perfect bodies but we shouldn’t be treating our bodies like trash cans either. We don’t have to not enjoy food but we shouldn’t ignore the consequences of what we are eating as well. The point is that we aren’t eating healthier and exercising to look like supermodels. We are doing it so we feel better about ourselves. We are doing it so we can be there in the future to take care of our children. We are doing it so we don’t miss out on something just because we thought it was too much work when we were younger and couldn’t be bothered.

Unfortunately, I see way more people around me who don’t care than do. I hope they realize that change starts when you take the action to change. I’m hoping that most people understand that those who are physically fit really work hard at it. It doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Even for those people who are naturally thin, they have to watch what they eat and work out so they don’t end up with other health issues. In the end, we should all feel better about ourselves not only physically but emotionally.

Exercising and eating right does wonders for your mind and soul as much as your physical body. For me, it’s a coping mechanism. It helps my stress levels stay down and for me to deal with whatever problems happen in my life. It also boosts my confidence levels regardless of what I look like or how I’m feeling at the moment. There are plenty of times I’ve gone into a dance practice or work out feeling down or mad and 3o minutes later, I will feel really good about everything because I just needed to take a break from my mind and focus on my physical activity instead.

There are plenty of groups and articles to help you learn how to take care of yourself if that is where you are stuck. This is something I really believe in (even if I slip up every so often and eat a bag of jelly beans myself or have more alcohol than I probably should have). I hope you will be inspired to take the step to treat yourself with the respect you deserve.

I Have Insecurities…Do You?

I know this is something none of us want to admit in public but most of us have insecurities. We put up this front, this cover so that no one will ever see the madness or the struggles that happen inside of our heads. 

I know I definitely do this. It’s surprising to me when I hear that people tell me that I seem so strong and confident because I know that on the inside, I feel anything but. 

Everyone goes through this. Again, I think it’s something we don’t talk about. There are very few people who don’t feel insecurity at some point. If you don’t, I’d love to know your secret so I can be in the same place. 

A lot of us feel it with regards to our significant other. How can we guarantee that that person will always love us unconditionally? A lot of us feel it about our careers, our friends, our place in the world. There are so many aspects and to always be sure of yourself in this ever-changing world is difficult. 

I think a sign of security is when you know and understand that things will change and are able to accept it. We can’t control much in the world but we can control our reactions and our strength to deal with it. I have to remind myself all of the time that I have been through a lot of hard times and somehow, I keep going. And even though it doesn’t always feel like it, things have come out for the better. 

At this moment, I am going through a lot of insecurity due to a lot of transitional phases in my life happening all at once. But I just keep thinking that eventually, it will all make sense and I will feel that I am right where I am supposed to be. That’s where I always was. 

Culture and Women

I had to deal with someone a few days ago that ended up sending me a very demeaning email. I’m not sure what this person’s perspective was for writing it other than his ego was hurt. After talking to a few people about it, the general consensus was that he had a hard time with women who were in a position of authority over him. Now, this person wasn’t the same culture as I am but he was from another culture with a similar background. 

I wanted to touch on this for a second because I still see this. I can see where the women are treated as an accessory and not as a partner. 

I went to an engagement party quite a few months ago. It was interesting because all the men that I saw left their wives by themselves and hung out with their friends and you didn’t really see them talk more than the required amount of social interaction. I remember specifically that one of the wives was talking to me and said “I lose my husband to his boys at these events”. And then she watched my husband come over and check on me and be with me whenever he wasn’t required somewhere else. I felt bad for her. It must suck to feel like you’re not important enough for your husband to pay attention to you at all when you’re at a public event. I understand that some couples have their understanding and that’s how they are but I saw the look on this girl’s face (a really nice girl, by the way, since she really did make me feel welcome as an outsider) when my husband didn’t abandon me. 

One time, my sisters and I had an Indian astrologer tell us if we had been men, we would have ruled the world. I don’t know what he was thinking but I wasn’t planning on my gender dictate what I did with my life. 

So what is this about? Why aren’t women considered equals? The guy from my first example called me stupid in the email. On one hand, he said that I was trying to control everything and, on the other hand, I wasn’t smart enough. 

I’m not going to lie. It’s nice to be taken care of. But it’s also nice to know that you don’t have to ask anyone for permission to do something, to spend something. The women I am lucky to be friends with are strong and independent and really know how to handle the world. They haven’t taken their gender into consideration for anything they have wanted to do. 

My personal opinion is that the weakest guys are the ones who need to keep women weaker than them. If a man is strong, he isn’t intimidated by a strong woman. Instead, he finds that this person matches him in everything and really knows how to use this to progress in life. 

To all my strong, independent women out there. Don’t ever let someone else tell you who you are.