“I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.”
Working on myself as a whole was never something I thought I needed to do before I had a baby. I’m at a crossroads now where I realize how incredibly important it is for me to feel the best about myself. I could easily put up blinders, play ignorant and move down the same path that has led me to these feelings of low self-worth. Recently, however, I’ve been choosing the other path. It’s a little brighter and a little scarier all at the same time, but it has been so important in building myself up from the inside out.
My first moment of awareness came right after having my son. With my pregnancy, I had packed on 50 pounds. I became depressed when it didn’t just fall off like I thought it would. I hated the new pudginess to my face and the way my belly still looked like I was 5 months pregnant. None of my clothes fit and I would use that as my excuse to not go out and be social. I was digging myself deeper and deeper into a pit of self-hate. This just intensified those little voices that were telling me “you’re not good enough”.
After living like this for several months I finally realized that if I wanted to make a change I had to work for it. So, physically speaking, I busted my butt for a year to lose the rest of the baby weight. This new healthy path I was on helped me regain the confidence I had been lacking, which was great, but now came the really hard part. I had to get down to the core of my insecurities. Because even after I lost those 50 pounds, I still questioned my worth.
How to build a ladder out of the pit:
Daily affirmations are key.
Make sure to wake up with a grateful heart — even when you’re feeling lousy.
Force a smile first thing in the morning. If you’re not a morning person starting the day off with a grin can help change that negative thought process.
Build yourself up. It all starts in your head. Instead of just focusing on your outer appearance…like having a good hair day (which can totally boost my mood) remind yourself that you are smart, you are capable, you are kind, and you are strong.
Take a break from social media. Instagram can be a self-esteem killer.
Call up a friend. Light-hearted talks with family and friends ease the soul. Judgment free zones and a little laughter can help lift those dark clouds.
Play! My new identity as mommy is just the best and science is right when they say being around your child increases dopamine levels in the brain.
Go for a walk or jog. Fresh air and a little sunshine play a big part in mental health and exercise can help you get out of your head.
Seek truth and strength within the Bible. I’m not an overly religious person, but scripture can be healing. My go-to is Jeremiah 29:11, “for I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”
While all of this seems so simple it’s easier said than done. It’s a constant struggle; a battle between the conscious and subconscious. Over time it will begin to feel more natural, but that doesn’t mean it won’t take effort. We are retraining our brains and our thought process. I have to remind myself daily that being the best mom I can be is equivalent to being the best me I can be. Now every day is a little brighter.