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.

 

The Art of Being Still

I have this itch to do something. I’ve had this itch for a long time, probably around the time I became a stay-at-home mom to 2 kids. There is an intense feeling that I should be out in the world doing something, accomplishing something.

I read this quote today and it resonated with me:

“Crazy-busy is a great armor, it’s a great way for numbing. What a lot of us do is that we stay so busy, and so out in front of our life, that the truth of how we’re feeling and what we really need can’t catch up with us.” – Brene Brown

It got me wondering if that’s what I’m doing. Am I trying to do something so I stay ahead of what I’m feeling? Do I need to accomplish something so that I feel validated as a person? I feel like I have been numb for a while. I haven’t felt the ups and downs like a regular person would. It might be that I’m protecting myself from feeling at all.

What if I were to stop trying to force the issue for a bit? What if I were to just stay still and really figure out what’s going on with me? What if I were to let the armor down?

It’s a scary thought.

I also wonder if I’m the only one. How many other people are trying to stay super busy so they don’t have to think, to feel? What if we slowed down for a minute? Would it allow us to see who we truly are?

Being South Asian Indian, we are especially regularly busy. We have so many social events that we plan our events months or even years in advance. Is it a good thing to have that community or does it just add the busyness? Is there a balance you can achieve where you have the space to discover yourself but enough people around you to have the support you need?

The next thing I wonder about is if will it be disappointing to see myself at a stand still.  What if I don’t like who I am without the cover of busyness? Will it even reveal something? It feels overwhelming to just stop. How do you discover who you are and what you’re feeling? How do you handle what you find out? What is okay? What will I find okay?

I’m up for the challenge because I’ve been trying to forcing myself to find something to accomplish for a while now. I want to slow down and let the universe reveal the path I’m supposed to take. It might be easier even if I have to face things about myself I don’t like.

Let me know your stories if you have ever tried this before. I’d love to know.

 

 

 

 

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.

How Important Am I Really?

With today’s social media, it is really easy to start believing that we are important. It’s easy to believe that people really care what we say or what we do. It’s easy to proclaim that we know a lot of people and that they really are interested in what we have to say. Here is my question: Are we really that important?

Wouldn’t someone who really wanted to know what is going on with you get in touch with your personally? Wouldn’t experiences be shared in person rather than just online? Do we really need to record every moment and post it for everyone to see?

Sometimes, my tweets will literally read, “I wonder if anyone cares about what I’m saying right now.” I honestly don’t think most people do. I know I scroll through a lot of things. What could I possibly say that would make everyone jump for joy at my words?

Honestly, I think most people are more involved in their own lives than looking at everyone else’s life. That’s how it should be. We should be living in our moments rather than paying attention to everyone else. Sharing isn’t a bad thing but when are we oversharing? When are we starting to believe that what we do on a daily basis really makes an impact on the world?

I understand the irony of sharing this article via social media and hoping to get people to read it when I’m discussing how we give ourselves a false sense of self-importance. What can I say? We all need some attention.

I Was Invisible

I was invisible. I was invisible to the people I hung around. I was invisible at work. I was invisible to the dance groups I was in. Nothing I did was good enough. Nothing I did was special enough. Nothing I did was worth noticing.

I didn’t exist. I truly and honestly didn’t exist. I spent every single day, trying to find myself, to see myself. I couldn’t. I didn’t know how to become visible. I was doing everything right (at least I thought). I was in a relationship, I went out partying with people, I was in one of the more popular dance groups in the city, I was always on top of my stuff at work. I did whatever I could to make my life complete. I tried to feel fulfilled. But I couldn’t. It was never enough. Whatever I did wasn’t enough. I was still invisible.

Why couldn’t people see me? I look at my journals back then and see pages and pages filled up of misery and demands for attention. I see pages of self-loathing and pain. I sit and wonder if there ever was any happiness. Or was the happiness all just an act for the benefit of the world around me? How did I survive that way for almost an entire decade? How was did I allow myself to feel that bad?

And whose fault was it? Was it mine for expecting that people should see me? What is theirs for not opening their eyes enough to be able to see me? Was it my significant other’s job to see me or was it mine to make him see me? Was I not worth seeing? Should I have done something differently? Should I have looked at myself differently? Was it because I questioned if I deserved anything better? Was it because I blamed myself for being invisible, as if I didn’t matter?

I read and re-read these pages to make myself remember how far I have come. I do believe I am visible now but it took a lot for me to see myself at first. I had to see who I was instead of trying to see who I wanted to be. I was never going to be someone I wasn’t and maybe that’s why I never showed up on anyone’s radar. Once I accepted I was who I am, I started showing up slowly. Day by day, month by month, year by year, I saw myself more clearly.

And now, I can not only see myself but I know others see me. I know that I have some value. It took a long time to get here and sometimes, I do feel as if I disappear again. And then, the search begins again to find myself.

If you feel invisible, just remember that the first person who can find you is you. Once you are visible to yourself, you will become visible to other people. It will always be work to see yourself clearly. You will change. Your visibility will change. But once you do find yourself again, it will be easier not to feel so invisible.

Small Talk

We’re Indian. Which means that even if we don’t know someone, we kind of sort of know them. So when we run into them at social events, we have to make small talk. It’s how we socialize. It’s how we get to know people. And it’s how we make sure that it’s not awkward when we see them again.

I spent a 30 minute ride home with a family friend who I’ve known my whole life in almost complete silence. Her daughters are really good friends of mine so I asked how they were doing. And that was the end of our conversation. We just had nothing to talk about. I couldn’t even think of what to say so I just sat in silence until I reached home.

There are times I will run into people that I have met before and be at a complete loss of what to say to them. Other than the standard “how are you doing” and “what are you up to”, I have nothing to say. I know small talk comes easily to some people but I’m not sure how.

I have a cousin who once told me that she manages to start conversations by just asking people about themselves. She found that people love talking about themselves and this helped her jump start any conversation. Is it that I’m not that interested in people? Or maybe it’s just that I’m too scared to start talking about anything. Maybe I’m worried what’ll people will think of me.

It’s interesting to me that that insecurity is still around. I’m at a place that I’ve established myself. I know who I am. And if I say something that everyone doesn’t like, should I even worry that much about it? I am well aware that everyone might not like me at this stage in life.

Maybe it’s just that I’ve done my job making new friends over my whole life and now, it’s harder. Now, we really have to make an effort to know someone else. Now, we have to try to find common ground that isn’t just provided to us. Before, we made friends of circumstance. We went to school with someone, they lived near us, we were in the same social group outside of school. It takes a lot to pass the insecurity we might have in order to make new friends.

Now, we have to work at it, especially if it’s a situation where you are truly there just to make friends. You have to put yourself out there. You have to find a way to make the small talk so that you can really get to know the people that you meet.

Small talk. Fun, huh?

Raising A Child Is Hard. Figuring Yourself Out Is Even Harder.

For some people, being a mom, especially one that doesn’t have to go to work everyday, has got to be the greatest job ever. Even though it’s hard at times, the good parts make everything else worth it. Especially after you pass the first month or two of having a new baby and get used to everything.

The mom part is definitely a challenge but the thing I’ve found even harder is becoming someone new. I’m no longer just a friend, girlfriend, wife. I’m a mom. That means that even though I had to learn compromise as a wife, I’ve had to learn compromise even more so as a mom. I no longer get to put myself first. My whole life is planned around my child. What she needs, when she needs it.

This means that I will never again be who I was. My whole definition of self has changed. And I don’t know about anything else but I’m not very good at changing. I’m struggling to reconcile the person I was before child to the person I am after child. So far, I’m not doing a very good job of it. I am trying to figure out how to evaluate my self-worth in a way that I can believe. It’s like I have to become this new person that I don’t recognize at all. In the meantime, I’ve been trying to become who I was prior to having a child.

A realization I finally came to (even though I’ve had a few friends tell me this several times) is that you don’t return to who you were prior to having a child. You have to become someone new. I don’t know if others have had a different experience but so far, I haven’t found another option.

And maybe I’m not supposed to. Maybe I am supposed to become this person I don’t know and don’t recognize. And like getting to know any new person, it’s going to take a while. Eventually, I hope I know this person well. I hope I know what her strengths and weaknesses are. I hope I feel comfortable enough with her that I can take her out and show her off proudly.

This new person has to learn to relate with everyone as well. I have a new relationship with my husband, my siblings, my friends, my parents. We all have to figure out what the dynamic is all over again. That has also been a struggle because this new person still has to learn how to communicate when everything has changed. This isn’t even accounting for the changes that those other people have gone through as well.

There have been a few times in my life that have really caused me to reevaluate myself and grow as a result. Here is one more time I have to do this. I just hope I can figure out who I am supposed to be and learn how to really be happy with that new person because that new person is the one who will be having relationships and really raising the child.

That new person is the one who will be teaching her children about life and showing them how to live it.