Feeling Validated

A month ago, I looked at myself in the mirror and felt great about myself. Today, I look in the mirror and am having trouble processing the same image that I was looking at before.

What changed? I’m wearing the same clothes, doing the same things, and basically haven’t really changed.

I see myself differently. Nothing has changed except I may be more tired now that school has started. Our schedule is in transition which doesn’t allow for consistency yet. Our schedule is about to change again next week so I can imagine that things are going to feel out of whack for at least another few weeks to a month.

I know I’m not alone in questioning how I feel about myself. I’m sure that a lot of women are also trying to validate themselves. Self-acceptance isn’t an easy thing. Just when you think you have it down, there is a change and all of a sudden, you are questioning everything about yourself again.

What do we expect to see when we look in the mirror? We are definitely conditioned for perfection. I also thought as I got older, it would get easier to accept myself but it hasn’t. I have high expectations for myself and the older I get, I can’t seem to accept that I won’t always meet those expectations.

It’s funny. You’d think that it’s because after 2 kids, I’ve gained weight or have more gray hair or just look more tired. But if I look at a picture of myself 10 years ago, I wasn’t in as good shape as I am now and I was always tired then as well.

So is it possible that it’s only internal? Is it that our inner self is what needs to be validated? I know I personally have been struggling with the adjustment between being a stay-at-home mom and an ambitious woman.  Maybe it was easier to accept myself because I had other things that made me feel good about myself going on.

It’s an ongoing struggle. I don’t have answers as of now but I hope that someday I do.

 

My Child’s Big Transitions Hit Me Just As Hard

I always imagined myself to be tough. I have dealt with a lot of changes in stride, no matter what the challenge was. I’ve been through depression and loss and moves and employment changes. I’ve fallen and gotten up and fallen and gotten up.

I thought I had finally gotten to a point where a lot of every day stress was behind me since I am a stay-at-home mom now. I’m not technically working so the regular employment stresses are gone. I have a loving relationship and pretty good kids. I have a great family who is always there when I need them.

I thought that a lot of the issues I’d have now would be things like potty training and breaking up fights. I thought I’d be struggling with finding myself again and readjusting to a new normal.

So all of this turned out to be true. The biggest thing that hit me though in the last few weeks is that when my kids go through a big transition, I go through it too.

My children are both entering a new phase in their lives. It’ll be a little scary for them and completely new. I thought that I’d be the rock and help them get through it. I’d planned for it so we wouldn’t be overwhelmed with a lot at once and even spread a few activities out so the kids had time to adjust.

Then the nightmares started. The constant anxiety started. I have been feeling like I’ve been standing on the edge of a breakdown for weeks. The problem was that I couldn’t put my finger on why. There isn’t anything happening that we haven’t been preparing for. There isn’t anything happening that I have not researched and asked fellow parents and other teachers about. I’ve been getting the kids prepared as well so hopefully, there will be less tears all around.

I guess I needed the support too. I didn’t know that. No one talks about how it affects you as a parent when your kids have a big change. No one talks about how debilitating it is when the anxiety hits you. It’s already so much that you’re trying to protect your kids 24 hours a day with the most basic things like stairs and table corners and tree branches and dogs. Now, the worries start on how you will protect them when they aren’t with you.

I thought I had it but I don’t think I do. I think I feel a total loss of control to the point where I’ve imagined telling my husband that I’ll homeschool my kids even though I know that that isn’t a real possibility for me because it’s not the best option for any of us. I’ve always been a control freak so this is really much harder for me than I thought it would be. But I didn’t realize it until today.

It’s crazy how much affects you when it comes to your kids. There is a lot I can handle but anything regarding these children is amplified. I want to make sure that they are safe no matter what.

I think the biggest thing I’m learning from this (besides that I will figure out how to deal with all of it) is that I’m not alone in feeling this. And that validation helps tremendously.

Accomplish Something?

I’ve probably written about this before but it’s a topic I’m going to revisit because I have been thinking about it lately.

I think I’ve always been the type of person who validates myself through my accomplishments. I know I’m worth something but it’s hard to get my heart to agree to that.

Now, as a stay-at-home mom, what do you judge yourself by? Getting your laundry done? Feeding your family? Making sure everything is done on time? Honestly, I’m not sure. They don’t seem like big goals to achieve (although, sometimes, it is a lot to get done). They don’t even seem like important goals to achieve even though your family’s life does depend on it. It’s probably worth more than I’m assigning importance to.

I do realize that I should probably figure out a way to accept myself as is. I’m not sure how to do that though. I like striving for things. It helps me feel like I’m improving myself and achieving something. Otherwise, I’m just standing still.

Being still is really difficult. Being still gives me too much time to criticize myself on what I am unable to do. Being still makes me think I’m worthless.

How do you get to a place where you feel valuable? It’s not a quantifiable measure. It’s completely internal. I don’t want to reflect my value off of other people because I went through my 20s doing that and it really sucked.

Maybe it’ll take until my 40s to really be able to validate myself by who I truly am. Maybe I’ll be able to see my worth based on me and not my accomplishments. Maybe it’ll get easier to see myself.

Believe in Yourself

Validation. We all need it. But how do we get it?

A lot of us tend to seek it out from other people. It’s hard to value ourselves. It’s hard to be able to see our own self-worth. It’s hard to really trust that we are the best versions of who we can be. So we look to others and if they approve of us, we feel good about ourselves.

But what happens if we do something that people don’t approve of? What if we do something that is a good decision for us but isn’t what others think is the “right” thing to do?

How do we validate our decisions then? How do we feel good about ourselves when the rest of the world tells us we aren’t good?

I honestly don’t know the right answer to these questions.

I know that we should be able to validate ourselves. I know that if we are going to trust others, we should trust the people who have been there for us through everything. Why should we listen to people who don’t know us at our core? Why should we listen to those who don’t understand us or our feelings?

I think that sometimes, we just need to trust ourselves. I didn’t trust my emotions and myself throughout my entire 20s. I thought I was wrong in feeling the way I felt. I tried to change my mindset because I thought that I shouldn’t be feeling the way I did. I thought I wasn’t gracious enough and that I wasn’t good enough. I looked at myself through the lenses of the people around me. I didn’t like what I saw at all. I learned by my late 20s that the problem wasn’t me or the way I felt. My feelings were correct. I needed to change my life around.

So I started doing just that. As I entered my 30s, I learned to trust myself and the way I felt. Once I felt centered, I was able to make friends who really were people that I could really reflect off of. I was able to see myself for who I really was. And they saw me for who I really was.

It isn’t easy to always validate yourself. Once you start believing in yourself and who you are, it gets easier.

Passion or Validation?

Have you ever heard someone who talks about something they’re into and it is the most amazing thing they have ever experienced? And then they talk about something else and it’s just as amazing? Does it ever seem like some people are just really overly passionate about a few things?

I was wondering this the other day when I had heard a few people discussing different restaurants they had been to. Was it a real passion? If so, is it necessary to really emphasize what you feel or think about it?

I had always thought that if someone had a passion for something, it’d just show. You would notice by what they did or how they spoke about it. When people really get that over-excited about something, is it real or is it a show?

Maybe these people are really that enthusiastic about the things they talk about. Maybe passion about something just runs over and there’s no other words to describe it.

But maybe, sometimes, people are just a little too passionate because they want to sound like they really care about something. They want to validate that their opinions are important. Maybe if they sound passionate about something, other people will respect them more. It’s kind of like the whole idea of posting everything we think or do on a social media site just so we can count the likes and comments we receive.

When did we become so needy for others’ approval? Why do we have to be something we aren’t? Why can’t we just be satisfied in knowing we enjoy what we enjoy and not have to get validation for everything we do or say?

When Will I Be Normal Again?

This post is hard one for me to write. Especially when I hear other moms talking about how wonderful their lives are and how being a mom is all they ever wanted. Let me make sure one thing is clear. I love my child and couldn’t imagine my life without her. I’ve been waiting for her for a long time and am truly happy she is here. But I know I can’t be alone in feeling this way so here goes.

It’s been about two months since I’ve had my baby and yet I still don’t feel like myself. I know it takes time to get into a new groove and to really find yourself again but it’s hard waiting for that time to come.

I want to teach my daughter to have confidence in herself and really learn how to carry herself in a way where she knows who she is. It’s a hard thing to teach when your own confidence is so low. This time period is one where we, as new moms, are still recovering physically, we are a mess emotionally, and we are sleep deprived. It’s no wonder that having confidence in yourself is a struggle.

I want to feel good about myself but am having a hard time doing so. My body is still returning back to normal and I’m still not cleared to exercise. I don’t recognize myself physically. And this results in me feeling unattractive and like I don’t even warrant a second look. We all want to feel validated on how we look even though rationally we know that we did just put our body through something major and it’ll take time to get back to what we remember.

A lot of validation for me also comes through in what I have accomplished. Lately, my accomplishments only come in the form of whether I got my baby to sleep through the night. It’s hard when you see others still going out and doing things that seems amazing or further their career and you don’t get the chance.

I know that these feelings are temporary and I am proud that I’m raising a child. I think about whether I want to go to work right now but I couldn’t even imagine being away from her for a minute.

I’m hoping that catching up on sleep and my life slowly returning to something I remotely recognize will help boost my confidence back to where it used to be. No one said being a new mom was easy but no one mentioned all of these changes that you feel as a woman.

i know this time period is dedicated to my child but, at the same time, I want to feel good about myself so I can show her what a strong woman looks like. It’s important to me to be able to show her the confidence I have in myself so she will know how to develop that same confidence one day.

Emotional Abuse….Let’s Talk About It

Emotional abuse. Does that phrase even have meaning in the Indian culture? 

Emotional abuse is a form of assault that is deliberate and manipulative and used as a method of control.” We know what this one means. It means that someone is abusive through their words or how they say something. 

I got the following list from this link: http://www.goodtherapy.org/therapy-for-emotional-abuse.html

“A few indicators of emotional abuse might include the following:

  • The behavior in question doesn’t stop or even pause when the recipient begins crying or asks for time to cool down. In fact, abuse may escalate as the abused person becomes more and more vulnerable, demeaned, afraid, and upset
  • The behavior is frequent – several times a week or month, as opposed to very rare (once every few years, for instance.)
  • Vulgar language, completely baseless accusations
  • Insulting or demeaning words in front of other people
  • “Arguments” are very one-sided; one person does all the talking, never listening, and is not kind to the other.
  • Threats of violence
  • Blatant cruelty
  • The abuser does not apologize
  • The abuser will not recognize the validity of anything his or her victim says”

I want to talk about this last one. This is the one that really affected my life. Obviously, there are many forms of emotional abuse as mentioned above but I think this last one is one that is so subtle sometimes that it’s not recognized as emotional abuse as often as it should be. 

Have you ever said something to someone about how you’re feeling only to have them tell you that it’s your fault for feeling that way? Or they will tell you that what you’re feeling is wrong and you should feel this way instead?

Our feelings are our own. No one has the right to tell us that what we are feeling is wrong. No one has the right to make us feel bad about what we feel. No one has the right to make themselves more important than your feelings. 

I’ve noticed two types of people (I’m sure there are more but these are the two that I have come across). The first type believes that what they think or say or feel is right and there really isn’t any other way. There is only a right way and a wrong way. The second type understands that there are many types of people in the world and every single one of them is going to have their own thoughts and own opinions and sometimes, we have to be able to see something from someone else’s point of view. 

I’ve found the first type of person to be the type that tends to disregard something someone else says if it doesn’t agree with their own view. This is the person that will ignore the feelings of someone else if it doesn’t align with what they think. 

Invalidation of feelings leads to other issues. You start questioning yourself and your thoughts. You start thinking that maybe your feelings are wrong and that you should be reacting a different way. You lose trust in yourself and who you are as a person. You become a victim. 

That sounds like emotional abuse to me. 

I think this is an issue in the Indian culture that has been left unaddressed so far. We are just starting to understand that there are ideas beyond duty and responsibility. We’ve stumbled on freedom and happiness. I think it’ll be a while before we fully get to giving the problems of emotional abuse the attention they deserve. 

If you or someone you know is dealing with emotional abuse, please ask someone for help. Most people are ready to help you. Most people will help you get into a better situation than the one you are in. Just take the first step and ask.