Unlisted: The Next Step

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A few weeks ago in the newsletter, I asked you to come up with ten self-reflection points about yourself. You were to list the first five things you liked/loved about yourself and the first five things you disliked/wanted to change.

I shared my ten items in the following week’s newsletter. I haven’t spent much time thinking about the exercise, but that’s about to change. Since we’re shifting into May soon, now is the time to make a list (if you haven’t) or find it if you have. May is going to be a rough month because we’ll be tackling the subject of dealing with things we don’t like about ourselves.

The idea is this: when we self-reflect, we discover things about ourselves that we don’t like. Confronting what we don’t like helps us grow into the person we want to be because we address what might be stopping us. I think being a runner has shaped my thought process immensely: deal with the yuck first before focusing on the love. Gotta push ourselves on that hill before we get a downhill break.

If that doesn’t work for you, that’s okay! June will be about pushing through self-doubt that comes with the negative aspects and July will address the stuff we like/love about ourselves. Feel free to work backward because there is no right or wrong way to make positive life changes. Just that you are doing them.

As a refresher, and to help illustrate the point of today’s post, below are the ten items I came up with about myself.

Five things I like/love about myself

  1. I have a “go-getter” attitude most of the time. I come up with a goal and I work to achieve it.
  2. I have a great sense of humor, especially when it comes to handling dark topics (like my diagnosis). This keeps me in a healthy mindset.
  3. I am proud of all the running goals I’ve created and achieved. I never thought I would ever run, let alone be a fast runner.
  4. My growing compassionate attitude towards others and towards myself.
  5. My abilities as a cook & baker. It’s one of those areas in my life I do not feel bad bragging.

Five things I dislike about myself

  1. I am quick to anger and negative emotions without taking a moment to reflect.
  2. I procrastinate and avoid dealing with things that are “too overwhelming” – I get burnt out rather easily.
  3. How long it took for me to take the time to figure things out in my life. I wasted what I feel was twenty years languishing with some emotional/mental baggage that I should have dealt with before becoming an adult (this prevented me from achieving some goals).
  4. I am an extremely judgmental person. I see something I “disapprove” of and I have a judgmental thought or behave in a judgmental way.
  5. Having MS/chronic illness. I wish I didn’t have to have this diagnosis to make life changes and I wish it would just go away now that I’ve made important changes.

Uncovering Ugly Truths

When I consciously started my self-improvement journey almost two years ago, I knew I would hit a point where I would have to acknowledge parts of myself I didn’t like or was avoiding. My anger, my negative emotions, toxic relationships, my own role in toxic relationships. I’ve gotten rather good at avoiding yucky situations, I think that came from a self-defense mechanism.

If I don’t acknowledge it, it’s not happening. That sort of thing.

If I don’t acknowledge my faults, they must not exist? And yet I am miserable because I am not honest with myself. I am flawed, I do make errors. And that’s okay, it’s just what do I do with those faults.

Looking over my list of the top five things I would change about myself, I realized that they broke down into two categories: the internal and external. The internal are things I can change if I worked at it and made different choices, i.e. anger/negative emotions, procrastination/avoidance, and being judgmental. The external are things I am unable to change, i.e. the amount of time spent floundering and my MS.

Recognizing this helps me sift out what I can focus on. If I cannot rewind time or cure myself, what’s the point in dwelling on these aspects?

The internal things that I can change: anger, avoidance, and judgment, those are things worth focusing and working on. They are also what I would consider being ugly truths about myself and have avoided working on up until this point.

At this point, I am going to use unflattering language that will make any therapist cringe, but when we get deeper into this topic next month we’re going to start using vocabulary that serves to uplift us in this journey, not continue to bring us into a negative space.

Finding a Way to Love Yourself

For May, as we work through our yucky-muck, I will be referencing February a lot: self-compassion, self-compassion, self-compassion. You are taking this journey because deep down, at some level you want to love yourself more. Any form of personal wellness is your way of saying “I am worth loving myself.”

The reason is, we are going to need to engage in a lot of self-care this coming month. If you find that it gets a bit difficult or you hit a roadblock you can’t surmount at this point in time, engage in some loving kindness for yourself until you are ready to move forward.

But always move forward.

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Featured Photo Credit: Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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