Hope you are all doing okay with being stuck inside another week. I have got some activity-based blogs coming soon so make sure to check those out! Also, I have created a survey asking you guys for your feedback on my blog so it would be great if you could fill that out!!
So… this is a very subjective post, but I am writing this to remind you, whether it is that you’re embarrassed about your faith, your mental illness or just generally you don’t feel comfortable with yourself, instead of hiding it, you can EMBRACE IT!
Personal Story Time:
I used to be super scared about opening up about my anxiety; I still am to some extent, but I have learnt that It’s not something that I should be embarrassed about. I guess for me, I wanted to be honest so that I could help other people and therefore this was my motivation. However, I totally understand why you may be scared to open up, especially to people close to you. The hardest part about mental health is people can’t see it, the way you can see a broken foot- it’s all internal. I guess it is like the ‘who will they believe’ challenge because we are the only ones who can talk for ourselves as no one else can see into our thoughts. Yes, of course people can help but at the end of the day it’s all up to you personally to know what’s going on in your head. I think that’s why it’s extremely hard for us to understand our feelings because we can’t see if there’s a bruise or an inconsistency -it’s all just muddled up in a place that is not visible. When I have a headache, I stress about all the possible illnesses I could have, and I look to Google to find my answer (as most of us probably do). However mental illness is a bit different because there isn’t a ‘one shoe fits all’ principle that applies because everyone has their own experience with mental health. I think that is also another reason why it’s scary to open up about mental health because people may think you have a certain condition when it’s actually something else. Anyway back to my story time… when I first starting having anxiety symptoms it was when I was still in school and for me, this was the worst place for me to talk about my life because, as I mentioned I was scared of embarrassing myself and that people would judge me and leave me out. I think what I was most scared about was telling people I couldn’t go to a certain event because of my mental health. True story I used to tell people it was because I was busy or a couldn’t get a lift and I know that it was bad for me to do this but I was just scared that if I told them, they would talk about me behind my back. Writing this right now, it seems crazy that I even thought this, but I promise you it’s actually how I felt. You know, to be honest it is hard for people to grasp mental illness unless they’ve been through it so I understand why people may not be able to adjust to the idea of anxiety or depression. Side note: with that being said, I think that schools/universities/colleges should have the most priority of resources being given for mental health. In my school, there wasn’t much help that was given to people with mental health; of course, there was a counsellor, like any other school but that was it!
Overall, I think the main reason why I was so scared to open up was because someone from the mental health charity ‘Mind’ came into my school for a talk and the majority of people in the assembly ignored it and talked through it. Yes, it wasn’t the most entertaining meeting in the world, but it was definitely informative, and I think seeing the way that half my year joked about it, made me feel like I should be embarrassed. However, I think that is when I learnt that I need to the person to start the ‘trend’ that mental health is not something to be embarrassed about. Don’t get me wrong, I was walking on eggshells after I posted about my mental health online but if anything, people actually messaged me and told me that they had too been affected by it. Basically, what I am trying to say is, from my own experience talking about what I’ve been through actually helped people and made them feel them less alone. You have to find what your motivator is, because when you’ve found that, you will honestly feel more confident to talk about what you’re going through as you feel like you have a purpose. We all love the feeling of knowing that we made an impact in some way and I think ‘speaking up’ is such a brilliant way to do this. I am not talking about making an extravagant announcement online; it could just be telling your friends or a family friend you trust.
Okay so I’ve talked about my own story, but what I really wanted to address in this blog is how you can embrace your true self. The first step is knowing who you truly are. I am literally the silliest person who can sometimes be really dumb, but I’ve learnt that I am not going to hide that, because that is my true identity and I don’t want to change to be someone I am not. The saddest thing about today’s society is that we are made to act and look a certain way. You see people your age and they’re wearing a particular style and going to certain events and you’re not and so you feel like you have change because that is “expected”. Trust me when I say this, when people are at concerts and festivals, guess what I am doing? I am inside watching a good film or series on Netflix! What I’ve learnt is that both choices are okay. It’s okay if you’re a coach potato like me, or you’re the social one who keeps up to date with all the trends. What I am trying to say though is, don’t change the sort of person you are so that you can look a certain way to others. That’s the key word here ‘others’ – we somehow think that another person’s opinion of us, are better than our own. I think this is why we get self-esteem issues because we can’t live up to a certain expectation. I’ll admit I do sometimes have days where I look at a person and think ‘I wish I was like them’ but I know it’s wrong. Deep-down everyone is struggling but we only see the parts of their life they want us to see. This is why I am emphasising the importance of ‘communication’ – once we start being ourselves other people will feel less scared to open up too. When I post about my mental health, my hope is that people will do the same because they are being reminded (by me) that it is okay. I think so many people are scared to ‘walk through the tunnel when there is no light ahead’ but when someone makes the first move, it’s a whole lot easier. Be the person who shares the light on someone else’s path. See what I did there haha!
Another thing I wanted to point out in this blog was faith. As I have talked about a few times on this blog, I am Christian. It used to be an area of my life that I wanted to hide, for a similar reason to my mental health – that I didn’t want to be judged for it. I am not going to talk all about how I found my confidence in it because it is something that is personal to each person and I can’t really explain it, but I wanted to point out that faith isn’t this crazy thing. I think people have a false representation of Christianity, and so fellow Christians are embarrassed to tell people what they believe because they are worried that people will judge them for believing in something that is crazy. That’s why I encourage you to be the one to speak up and tell people around you what you believe so that they are informed. What I do is show people how I communicate with god in my everyday life to display that it doesn’t have to be this super spiritual thing. In conclusion, by embracing who you are, you will not only will be able to find your true friends but honestly, it’s such a weight off your shoulder because you don’t have to put on a fake smile in front of someone, just to look a certain way. When I post about my faith, I am aware that some people may switch off but to me, it’s a part of my life, so I am not going to reject it. The same goes for my mental health and my weaknesses – the thing is I might try and hide them but they’re still there!
I know this blog is a bit messy, but I wanted to show you how important it is to be yourself. Ironically, this is what this post is displaying – my writing isn’t perfect, and it’s not paragraphed in the most orderly way, but it is showcasing my thoughts and beliefs.
Anyway, I wanted to end this post by stating some of the tips that were summarised in this blog but also some other things you can do to embrace your true self.
- Find a motivator – something that can push you to speak up; for example, if you’re scared about opening up about your faith, think about someone who could transformed by hearing God’s word if you post about it on social media.
- Complete the enneagram test to discover what your main qualities are (I am type 6 which is the loyalist – comment below what you are once you’ve done the test!)
- Be the one who stands out -I understand that this is scary, but I have met so many creative people who just showcase their personality in everything they do, and I love them because they’re not afraid to go beyond the norm. Like I was saying earlier, in today’s society we are expected to look and act a certain way and I don’t believe in this. I am not saying you have to be different but what I am saying is it’s okay if you’re different. If other people don’t want to get to know you because of this, it doesn’t matter because that’s who you are, and you will meet people who will totally understand you. I used to be scared to post a certain thing on my social media because I was worried of how it would be seen by others but then I was like ‘what’s the point in showing a life that isn’t mine’ – I don’t always look the best and have the best Instagram pictures but I am going to showcase this, not a fake reality, because that’s who I am.
- Give yourself daily compliments – one of my favourite quotes comes from Friends which is “I am curvy and I like it”, said by the amazing Joey Tribbiani. I love the quote because Joey is embracing that he loves food. In the same way, tell yourself it’s okay to do something, even if it’s judged upon by someone else. I know I need to tell myself “it’s okay if I stay in my PJs all day or it’s okay that I binge a ton of shows”. The way we learn to embrace ourselves is through loving ourselves because if we don’t love who we are, of course we can’t be our true selves.
- Don’t surround yourself with people who try and change you – if the people around are trying to make you think, act or perform a certain way, you are not able to express who you really are. Find friends who encourage you to embrace who you are – don’t let anyone make you change. Sadly, we’ve all gone through times where a person has made us act a certain way and for that reason, we’ve continued on believing this is the right way to act. Be reminded that the only person’s opinion that matters most is God’s because he was the one gifted you with the talents you have.
- Hone in on your skills and hobbies – once you discover what you were created to do in life, you are more likely to embrace that side of you. I believe that God has given all of us a unique talent and we are asked to use that talent for good; for example, singing worship songs or singing to help someone in need. I believe that when we know what it is, we can embody it.
Thank you all so much for reading.