Hello, friends I have been awol for almost 6 months since I wrote my last blog post. I have no excuse, except that I have fallen victim to feeling inadequate. I don't have anybody else to blame but myself because after my diagnosis (Cadasil, which I wrote about in my last blog post, How To Find Opportunities In Difficult Situations), something clicked, or shall I say unclicked in my brain.
I started to feel the need to do everything better because I felt that my brain wasn't working properly so I turned to social media to look for inspiration, but instead I started to compare my life to others. I couldn't stop scrolling and feeling like crap about my self-image and my work.
This rare genetic disease, Cadasil, started to become an excuse that stopped me from either creating new artwork or writing new blog posts. Yes, I feel headaches almost every day, yes I can't sleep soundly every night, but that shouldn't have been an excuse. The times that I did create something made me feel worse because it simply didn't fulfill my own expectations.
Expectations, that's the problem; to have expectations instead of standards of myself. Perfectionism, which appears to be aimed at having your own high standards actually becomes the number one enemy. Wanting to be better doesn't mean being perfect. Wanting to do perfect work made me trash every piece I created. It made me delete every post I wrote, making me feel even worse, like the most inadequate human being on the face of the earth.
This self-torture caused me to isolate myself from everybody around me. I became irritable and extremely short-tempered ( One of the Cadasil side effects is mood swings). Sometimes I didn't even recognize myself, and I started to eat a lot. Even though all of it was whole, non-processed foods, still that need for self-comfort through food skyrocketed my weight gain, which, in turn, affected my self-esteem. :(
Recently, I reassessed my life after a camping trip to Bald Mountain in Vermont my 13 year old son and I went on with friends since we had no cellphone service there and therefore there was nothing to distract me.
I realized that instead of being grateful for all the blessings that i have in my life, I was finding something to complain about all the time.
It freaked me out to see how much time I lost by practicing that horrible habit; the root cause of all bad habits.
That life assessment brought me to the realization that I was in a huge rut (which I'm still trying to get out of) and gave me an idea. To activate the screen downtime on my cellphone. It was a simple fix that I wish I had thought of months ago. I guess that is the mystery of the human Body - Brain connection. The need for self-comfort when we encounter awful news, problems, illnesses, etc... creates a barrier that keeps us lost in ourselves. When we lose ourselves, we don't think about anybody else. We self-pity and become selfish. Therefore, we get cornered into our closed-off mind jail cell where anxiety, despair, loneliness, depression, and all sorts of foul emotions are born. Those yucky emotions create disgusting actions, and those actions create a personality (sort of a monster that takes over). Such a personality creates a terrible reality, even though the actual reality is amazing, or as good as it can be. As a result, life becomes unbearable.
Fortunately we humans have the awesome capacity for self-reflection and deep thought which takes us to our subconscious minds. Looking inward, in this case, sounds counterintuitive since the idea is to escape one self, but hear me out. When we disconnect from outside distractions and go deep inside our thoughts and feelings with the intention to clear our interior, not to perfect it, just clear every hard, ugly, judgemental, pitiful thought and emotion, it makes us aware. This awareness or knowledge of our inner situation will immediately give us clues of what changes we need to make to find our real selves again. That's when the screen downtime feature on my cell phone came into play.
I discovered this feature when reading my screen time notification. I saw how much time I've been wasting by indiscriminately scrolling, and there it was, the mother of useful smartphone features.
By turning on the screen downtime from 7:00 pm to 9:00 am, not only had my mind cleared, but my attitude had changed. I have been paying actual attention to my dear husband and son, we have been having real conversations, with laughter and connection. I've stopped thinking of all the self-invented negative narratives and instead, I've been noticing all the beauty and awesomeness that surrounds me. I'd become happier, and in turn, I'd become a better person to be around, or at least that's what my family says :)
I'm no longer complaining because I don't look a certain way, or I don't have the material objects that we think are important but really are not.
I'm grateful for what I already have, and that makes me feel great.
I have low expectations about my business now, but I'll try my best to do better without the need for self-comfort through external distractions and validation.
Writing this post came to me naturally and it might not be perfect, but still, I'm posting it without any judgment; I'm just letting it flow with the intention of helping anyone who is going through a tough time.
We all have to struggle in some way or another, but the way we think is definitely a huge part of our ability to either soar or go to the abyss. The choice is ours.
Let's choose to be grateful for our blessings, even if we are depressed or unhappy. We can still be grateful for the tiniest of things. This will automatically change our outlook on life.
If you find yourself continuously scrolling on your cell phone, but can't delete the social media apps for business, or any other reason, don't hesitate to set up the screen downtime feature. It truly helps because of the fact that the phone's apps aren't available right when we wake up it gives us the chance to be without distractions so we can focus on what is truly important to us first thing in the morning. Similarly if the phone or the social media apps are off, we can create a calming night time routine to set us up for a good night so we can be energized to create the kind of life we want to live, a lifestyle worth living!
Thank you for stopping by.