Here’s the thing about social media: for all its (gazillion) cons, it’s always enticed us with the promise of a better life and self. In fact, for all the valid hate that social media has garnered over the years, it’s given us a platitude of self-help resources that have seemingly worked for the creme de la creme of successful people. However, with lots of information comes a whole lot of confusion of what the “best” life we want to strive for actually is.
While diets, exercise routines, journaling, self help apps, or template morning routines executed by CEOs (or worse, some spiritual leader) etc. can effectively support physical and emotional growth, how much do they really help? I remember being drawn into the rabbit hole and indulging in a spree of such ‘hacks’ (for lack of a better word): journaling, dream logging, meditating, exercise, etc. But even after engaging with these activities, I still found myself struggling with core aspects of me that just wouldn't change.
Can I really change at my core? Or Is this too idealistic and not for me? These are some of the questions that popped up in my head, no matter how many activities and situations I tried. Time and time again, I found myself spiralling with the same questions no matter how much I struggled to keep at it, leaving me with the feeling that nothing is or was changing.
Though these doubts and frustration aren’t fun, they served as a pit stop to take time to step back to evaluate what ‘really’ was going on and what ‘really’ needed to change.
While I sat and reevaluated my journey of self-work, I concluded that my thoughts and feelings were valid … I just needed to add more context. The thing about self-work is that when we are in the thick of it, we might not have the clarity on what we are really working on. We get stuck in the cycle of frustration - why am I not better? What am I doing wrong? How can I fix things? What is the next thing I need to try? The list goes on and on.
This cycle was my blinking red indicator that I might not be actually listening to myself and in the chaos of my thoughts, I may have wound up overlooking my needs.
It all sounds really easy when you look at it from a certain angle. The activity of ‘journaling’ is meant to help us create a space where we can reflect on various aspects of our lives. ‘Affirmations’ make a lot of sense when we recognise that we are trying to reprogram years of critical self-talk through reinforcing a belief in ourselves. ‘Exercise’ - no surprises there - helps you look after your body.
In real life, I wish things were this straightforward. I realised that just doing multiple things and activities and not feeling connected to any of them was not doing me any favours; it was like running an engine and not going anywhere. Which got me thinking: Did I forget to make these activities my own?
Instead of being fixated on how these activities are supposed to work or the progress we should be making based on others' experiences, it helped me turn my attention inward and truly listen to what was working and not working for me and what I was actually getting and overseeing from these activities.
Tiny reminders I keep telling myself, self-work is a deeply personal journey. While it's valuable to get inspiration and insights from others’ experiences; each of us is unique, with different needs, strengths, and preferences. What works for someone else may not necessarily work for us in the same way, and that's perfectly OKAY.
We will find that certain activities resonate deeply with our needs and bring about positive change, while others not so much. It's all about connecting with yourself, meeting yourself where you are at and being open to adjusting our approach along the way.
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