Happy Valentine’s Day! Here’s something important that I recently realized about self-love that’s completely changed the way I behave towards myself. These photos were taken for a friend’s Valentine’s Day event, and yup, that piece of chocolate I was holding def melted in my hand. :p
The relationship you have with yourself is like any other relationship — it must be maintained over time.
Are you in an abusive relationship with yourself? Do you make self-deprecating jokes in front of others and constantly put yourself down? Are you engaging in self-destructive behaviors, such as drinking too much, barely sleeping at night, or neglecting personal commitments? Do you constantly need others to validate that you’re not a complete piece of shit? Are you afraid to be by yourself? Do intrusive thoughts take over when you’re trying to solve problems — you’re unattractive, you’re awful, you’re worthless, you don’t deserve anything you have, everyone secretly hates you and you’re going nowhere in life?
Or are you happily
married to situated with yourself? Are you constantly checking in with yourself to see how you’re feeling? Do you prioritize your mental and physical health? Do you make sure to put healthy food in your body, drink plenty of water, and get enough sleep? When you have a shitty or “off” day, do you forgive yourself? Do affirmative thoughts occur when you’re solving problems — you’ll figure it out, you’re intelligent, you’re capable, you don’t have to go it alone, the people around you are willing to step up and help out?
A challenge was posed to me about a week ago: Could I get up at 5 AM, every single day, and start being productive right off the bat?
MY IMMEDIATE REACTION
What? No fucking way. I sometimes don’t even go to sleep until 5 AM. This “getting-up-at-freakish-hours” routine is one of those weird, dorky things that old people do.
MY SECONDARY REACTION
But I do have a full-time job, and hours aren’t flexible. I’m pretty tired when I come home from work. I don’t really have the energy in me to do stuff for the blog after I’ve been programming all day. I’ve been getting up at 6 AM to write my Morning Content Challenge articles — having that much shit done that early in the day is exhilarating. 5 AM is only one hour earlier, and let’s be real, staying out every night isn’t even that great. I should give this a try.
Imagine that you’re in an old-fashioned room filled with magic potions that have the power to take you wherever you want, or make you whoever you want to be.
One will make you adept at understanding yourself. Another will make you a master programmer. Yet another will make you an Instagram whiz who churns out photos that seem to magnetically draw likes to them. Feel like meeting a public figure you’ve always admired, or going on an adventure to a place far, far away from your boring surroundings? These drinks have got you. Down one and you’re set.
The potions are free of charge, but there’s a catch. If you drink one, you’ll have to give up a certain amount of your life. It’s not too bad — only a couple of hours or so. In return, you’ll be able to have skills you’ve never possessed before or experience things you’ve only daydreamed about.
Would you drink the potion?
“Honesty fuels every relationship worth keeping, worth saving. And it’s the one quality we can’t arrive at on our own. We can’t decide to be honest.”
– Erika Napoletano
With every new environment I enter, I go through what I’ve come to think of as the Fuck-It curve.
This curve represents how much BS I’m willing to take from people in said new environment. My tolerance is pretty high at first. For example, if I were at a new school and someone made a comment that I disagreed with, I would politely brush them off because hey, I was new, and I didn’t want to rock the boat quite yet.
Over time, that tolerance would slowly melt away until I reached the critical point where I’d crack, say “fuck it”, and stop pretending to be “nice”. I’d be loud and outspoken about things that excited me and things I couldn’t stand. I’d confront people and keep them accountable for their actions. I’d cause scenes in public if I had to.
Dress from Lilly Pulitzer
You know those things you do that have always bothered you in the back of your mind, that you don’t really do anything about?
Things like having a messy room, and continuing to squander around in the filth rather than taking a proper hour to clean everything up. It’s almost as if there’s a little voice in the corner of your mind that’s constantly pestering you — clean up your room! Clean up your room! Clean up your room!
Every single time I ignored that little voice, I felt a tiny bit bad about myself. Sometimes, that feeling would turn into an irritated mood that lasted all day. If I continued to do nothing, the stress would build up, and eventually I’d be extremely aggravated … for seemingly no reason at all.
One of the scarier things I’ve realized lately is how little time each individual has to make an impact on society.
It’s so easy to think that we’ll be our current young and vibrant selves forever, so we don’t treat our time with respect — we go shopping or play video games just to pass the time. We hang out with people we don’t really care about. We take substances because we’re bored. We spend hours on the Internet tagging our friends in memes and watching those pointless videos that pop up on our Facebook feed.
We do this stuff because it’s easier to be in a state of slight apathy than to make the leap to living fulfilling lives. Figuring out what you want in life, and then having to jump through every hoop to get there, can be both terrifying and exhausting. This is especially true if you have existing obligations — for example, if you work a demanding job for eight hours a day, you may be so tired when you get home that all you’ll want to do is chill out.
(and I don’t mean that I go out every weekend!)
Today is my half birthday! I’ve now been twenty-one years old for six months.
I’m totally going to go around correcting people when they say I’m twenty-one and be like, “um, I’m actually twenty-one and a half, thank you very much.” (Just kidding, I’m not an asshole.)
On my twenty-first birthday, I vowed that this age would “be the start of how I learn to live, not the end. I’ll make smart choices and bad decisions, be honest with both myself and others, stop being reserved about what I think, and ask enough “why” questions to make my [late] grandfather proud.”
I’d like to think that the past six months consisted of constantly keeping these promises. Here are some concrete ways that I changed since I turned twenty-one.
You know those things that you’ve always wanted to do, but always have a good reason for not doing?
Do them. Stop waiting for external permission, because you’re never going to get it. You have to give it to yourself.
Life is inherently unstructured. We can get up at whatever time we feel like it, do whatever we please during the day, live anyplace we’d like, and hang out with any person we want.  Sadly, many people don’t realize this because there are made-up systems all over the place. It’s easy to live the existence that somebody else has planned out for you, which generally goes “go to school, get a job, do that job for x amount of time, and die.” Sounds nihilistic, but that was the version of life that was explained to me as a kid. Chances are you received a similar explanation.
The fact that life is unstructured actually took me a while to figure out, and blew my mind when I realized its implications.
Everything is up to me. I’m the one who gets to say yes or no, not my parents or my significant other or my friends or society. I get to pick the skills I possess, the things I do to make a living, the people I surround myself with.
I have the power to get whatever I want and live in the exact circumstances I choose to live in.
So do you.
A friend of mine wondered recently why so many people at my school suffered from impostor syndrome, also known as the feeling that you secretly don’t know anything and that you’ve somehow been fooling everyone into believing that you’ve got your shit together.
Although I do attend a school where impostor syndrome seems to be quite prevalent, I think that it affects almost everybody at least some of the time. When I first took college-level economics courses, and later, when I started learning computer science theory and how to program, I struggled constantly with feelings of inadequacy and incompetence. Whenever those feelings come up now, I use one or a combination of the four methods below to make them go away. (more…)