Over the years, my anxiety and depression have seemingly increased and gotten worse, due to life just being as it is. Work, personal relationships, health, weight, social media; it all contributes to poor mental health.
But as it stands, I am starting to make some progress with how I view the world, and, more importantly, how I view myself. No one is more negative about me than I am, a sad but true fact.
I have started a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) again, this time on a one to one basis. And I can honestly say it gives me a great fresh perspective on my life that wasn’t there before. My therapist is great and is someone to introduce new and fresh ideas into how my thoughts effect my feelings, and vice versa.
CBT also helps me get a better understanding on how to deal with certain situations and certain people. Which is amazing because getting on with everyone has always been something I’ve strived for, and let’s face it, it’s a stupid goal. Because you’re not going to get on with everyone.
At school, college, uni, work, any social situations, you’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. And vice versa, there may be some people that you meet that just drive you up the wall! But that’s OK! That’s just a clear indication of how social interaction between complex and able minded human beings works.
It seems to me, that most people tend to not really like anyone, which is a hilarious thought because from where I’m standing most of the time, everyone gets on all the time. But human beings, especially females, in my personal experience, (obviously there are plenty of exceptions and I am NOT stereotyping whatsoever,) are so fickle and fake, that most of the stuff that comes out of their mouth is utter bollocks.
Amazingly, reminding yourself of that daily helps you feel better about yourself if someone else makes it clear that they don’t like you. Or try to make your life tough or miserable in some way.
When I was at school, girls would be nasty and say horrible things to me, which I didn’t understand as I hadn’t done anything to them to warrant such a reaction. However, as my mother always said, ‘some girls just pick on you because they can, they don’t always need a reason’ and as an adult, I’ve found there never really is a valid reason for someone seemingly picking on or victimising you. It’s just something they’ve decided to do. Sometimes it’s to make themselves feel better, or sometimes it’s out of jealousy or their own insecurities.
In the case of a working environment, colleagues, peers, or even your superiors often accuse you of something you’ve supposedly done or pester or moan at you for a certain behaviour you are not displaying, simply to take the flack away from them, as they are the ones who are displaying said behaviour instead.
When dealing with situations like this, the first thing I worry about is how other people perceive my behaviour, and whether or not it’s actually true. I replay every scenario I can that could have been misconstrued in some negative way, or if I’ve said something that might have offended someone or rubbed another person up the wrong way.
This is not the right way to think, because it leads to unnecessary anxiety and ruminating over a certain subject that is probably completely fabricated or exaggerated.
If my CBT has taught me nothing else, it’s that the best thing to do with an anxious or worried thought, is write it down. It’s a simple and effective way of airing your problems and getting it out of your mind. Not only that, but it helps you to take a step back and look at the problem from a more objective viewpoint, as if it wasn’t you in this situation but someone else you knew.
I always find that in any given situation, I am my own worst critic, I am super harsh on myself and expect way too much than what is actually achievable. So, when it comes to anxious thoughts and predictions, writing it down is a starting point to being kinder to yourself, which effectively what CBT is all about.
The way you think about yourself, or even talk about yourself sometimes (yes, I talk to myself, I admit it!) you wouldn’t even DREAM of saying such negative things about a friend or family member. I would be heartbroken if anyone I loved or cared about was so harsh on themselves as much as I am to myself. But we deem it acceptable and even justify it when we talk about ourselves in harsh or with negative connotations. Why? Because it’s not socially acceptable to love ourselves, or even like ourselves?
Self-love is something that most people struggle with daily, with things like social media and the endless amount of imagery that we are exposed to on a daily basis. Most of them without even choosing it ourselves! Never mind the amount of time humans spend looking at personal devices like phones laptops or tablets. We strive for perfection, when, in reality, the imperfections of this world is what makes everything and everyone in it so beautiful.
A lot of individuals confuse self-love with being arrogant and loving yourself. Trust me, there’s a BIG difference between self-love and just plain ‘I love me, who do you love’ bullshit that you see on programmes like Love Island or on Instagram. The key difference is loving yourself in a quiet way, looking after your mind, body and soul.
Taking up yoga, listening to classical music or just sitting by the sea listening to the birds. Actually, THINKING about the kind of things you put inside your body, and letting your body tell you when it’s hungry, when it’s full or when there’s something not quite right. Filling your mind with culture, nature and art. Or learning something new every day. It keeps us young and inspired and ultimately, more content.
The moral of this story is, we all have to live with ourselves every single day of our lives and will do until the day we die (sorry if that’s a bit morbid). So, if we spend the next 50, 60 years hating ourselves and treating ourselves like shit. Be that mentally, physically or even spiritually. Then, I consider that to be a waste of time, and a waste of a life.
I don’t know what the true meaning of life is, but I know that worrying about things constantly won’t make it any easier or any better. And besides, why suffer twice?
Look, I know all of this is easier said than done, and believe, me, this is something I have to fight with daily, the struggle of loving myself is very very real. But, ultimately, we only do the best we can do, and some days will undeniably be better than others, which is absolutely FINE.
The most important thing to remember, Cupcakers, is be as kind to yourself as you would to the people you love and cherish the most in this world, and the rest will follow naturally.