self love, Thoughts On...

Thoughts On… A Week Of Self Love

I knew when I was starting out with this blog that I’d fall into a slump at some point. I knew it the most when the writing was flowing out of my pen and everything was new. I thought: it won’t always be like this. For a creative process to be perpetually smooth sailing – impossible. I’ve been in a creative slump many times; although, this time there is a major difference. This time I am not immediately interpreting this slump as hard evidence for my inadequacy and incompetence. I’m not taking this as an opportunity for self-denigration and black-and-white thinking. And for that I am grateful. And proud. It is not defeating me in the way it once did. I still embarked on this week’s blog post with a faint feeling of dread but I didn’t call myself useless. This shifting in thinking and behaviour has come from my dedication to self-esteem growth that I’m sharing with you. It has come from implementing different changes and perspectives every two weeks and having the enthusiasm to continue even when I don’t have a particularly encouraging or blog-worthy week to write about.

Despite this feeling of stagnation that has been permeating my days this past week, I still stood in front of the mirror every morning and recited my affirmations. I verbalised my love for myself, bare face and all, and gave myself a daily reminder that despite the dip in creativity, I still honoured and loved myself. I’ve been trying to have more gratitude lately and another one of my affirmations  – “I am living in abundance” – definitely helped me to feel more grateful and grounded. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not in love with my living situation. But I’ve been trying to acknowledge that some people could only dream of this level of security and comfort. Sadly, Edinburgh has a homelessness problem. The amount of homeless people that I see whenever I take a trip to the city centre is really sobering. There was one day when I gave money to pretty much every homeless person that I saw but reluctantly concluded by the end of the day that it simply wasn’t financially viable to keep doing so. But I imagined how grateful and happy every one of them would be to be in my living situation and it made me realise how lucky I really am to have a roof over my head in a nice area. Another affirmation that helped me to cultivate gratitude was “I am surrounded by inspiring people”. There is a line in the poem Desiderata by Max Ehrmann that goes like this:

“Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit.”

In a nutshell, that sums up a few of the people that I live with: loud and aggressive. There is also a lot of arguments and friction between two particular people in the household that regularly leaves a sour atmosphere in the air. The affirmation – “I am surrounded by inspiring people” – is something I’ve interpreted in two ways. Firstly, to take others’ unsavoury and aggressive behaviour as inspiration for what not to be like; and secondly, to look beyond the behaviours which rub you the wrong way and to see the best in people. One particular housemate actually trusted me enough to show me their vulnerable side last week which I appreciated enormously. It was a nice reminder that humans are complex and multi-faceted and to take first impressions with a pinch of salt. An affirmation which was kind of bittersweet for me was: “I am worthy of feeling healthy”. If you read my first post, An introduction, you’ll know that this year I was diagnosed with a chronic illness. I’m okay and it’s not life threatening but since I’ve moved to Edinburgh I’ve had a couple of pretty persistent flare-ups. Not only that but last week I was put on a daily medication program which I will be on for a minimum of four months. Maybe six months. Maybe a year. It brought home to me how much this illness is really disrupting my life. I felt sad telling myself that I was worthy of feeling healthy because, at the end of the day, it hasn’t made a difference. But maybe it will, over time. It’s hard to stay positive but I am going to keep up with all of these affirmations every day. I’m not going to let myself be defeated. Although these affirmations perhaps aren’t directly linked to self love, the act of taking time out of your day to say things which are uplifting and help you to cultivate a positive mindset in your life is very loving. I’m certainly less sceptical about them than I used to be.

Another intention I set for my week of self love was to write a note of gratitude to myself. I’ve written out a list of positive things about myself a few times but the note of gratitude was less superficial i.e. not about my physical appearance and more about my character, my strengths and my growth. A couple of things I wrote were: “I’m grateful that I’m devoted to self-advancement” and “I’m grateful that I’ve held on long enough to see myself grow stronger, more capable and more wise.” It really made me reflect on how far I’ve come in recent years and I felt that with this note I was applauding my efforts and perseverance in life. I have experienced depression four times and I’ve come out of it and clung onto faith and hope four times. I’m very grateful for that.

Somewhere I slipped up this week was with removing negative comparisons. I didn’t visualise the intention well enough. In hindsight, I should’ve spent less time on social media and focused on my positive traits. But it was a difficult intention to carry out. It’s less tangible than other intentions I’ve set and followed through with because – as I mentioned in my last post – comparisons are often subconscious. I guess by continuing to focus on becoming the best and most confident version of myself, the comparisons will gradually become more infrequent and less troubling.

Whilst I don’t feel completely on top of the world at the moment, I know I would be feeling much worse had I not been focusing on self love this week. Twice this past week I took a break from studying and stressing about this and that to just chill out and watch a film with some popcorn. I think I’m getting better at finding activities which complement low mood and incorporating them into my life when I need them. This week is a new opportunity to feel more alive and vibrant and I’m embracing that with the knowledge that if I don’t feel that way, that’s okay, too.

My next post will be another creativity and productivity update. It won’t be as positive as my last one but I want to be transparent about the ups and downs of the creative process. I hope some people could relate to the feeling of being in a slump and can possibly take inspiration from my intentions to get through it without too much worry. 🙂 Thanks so much for reading!

– SMUT. xxx ❤

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