I have been exceptionally naive about a lot of things in my life. For example, I used to wholeheartedly believe that swallowing a watermelon seed would result in an entire watermelon growing in my stomach. Similarly, I believed an apple seed would result in the growth of an apple in my stomach, and an orange seed the growth of an orange. Basically, I was terrified of fruit for the majority of my adolescence.
Then there was the time that I broke my wrist and, in order to play in soccer games, had to wrap my cast in bubble wrap to make it softer. I naively believed my older brother when he told me that the only way I could test to see if the cast would pass referee inspection was to hit myself in the face with it as hard as I could. To this day, I still remember his laughter and my pounding head, not to mention my wounded pride.
Recently, I discovered that though I may have outgrown my fear of fruit, and the willingness to believe everything my brother tells me, I have not outgrown naivety altogether. This realization came after acknowledging the time, not so long ago, that I started a self-love journey under the false assumption that it would only have to be a one time thing: a start-then-finish, once-then-done, think-about-it-for-a-little-then-get-on-with-life type of adventure. Naive, indeed.
The past few months have been an extreme mental and emotional struggle, but it took me a while to actually accept that fact. I was so hesitant to admit to feeling lost because I knew how far I had grown in positivity and healthy self image, and I didn’t like the idea that I may have fallen from that peak. After all, I knew how hard I had worked to get there, and no one wants their work to be in vain. But what happened? Why did I keep slipping back into old, negative habits?
Well, after months of working hard and challenging myself to grow, I got to a place emotionally where I felt good. Really good. I felt healthy, which was a big deal. But then I developed a lackadaisical attitude, thinking I had reached a point in my journey where active and forward movement was no longer necessary and I could simply float by based on the work that I had already done. I ceased pursuing self-love at all, believing I could maintain positivity without effort. But the foundation wasn’t strong enough to stand on it’s own.
After painstakingly learning to rewire my brain and accept only positive thoughts, the opposite was now happening: I started gaining unhealthy habits back, no longer rejecting negative thoughts or ideas. Eventually, I was swimming in negative feelings and emotions until, inevitably, I started turning those negative feelings inward towards myself.
I wasn’t in a place where I was ready to address what was happening, but the lightbulb finally came on when I was confronted with strong negativity coming at me from someone else. I’ve learned that two things happen when someone verbally tears you down: your unconscious either disagrees with them and starts to build you back up, or it agrees with them and uses it as ammo to bring you down even more.
I had succumb to negativity to the point that, when I heard someone else speak a negative comment about me, I could no longer disagree with it. When I turned to my inner self for truth, I had nothing. Instead of refuting the outside voice, my inner voice agreed with it, and that was my wakeup call: that person was wrong about me, and so were the thoughts that my mind was now accepting as truth, I just needed to find a way to start believing in myself once again. In other words, I needed to re-rewire my brain.
As frustrating as it is to feel like i’m starting over, I at least know what I have to do. I know myself well, and I understand what works for me and what doesn’t. I am confident that by continuing to challenge myself to try new things, while paying close attention to my thought process, I can get back to where I once was. And then, most importantly, after I’m there, I will keep going. I now know that this is going to be a life-long journey, not just a trip with an end destination. But I fully accept the challenge and am ready to work as before; I know from experience that it can only lead to good things. And that is what makes it so exciting . . . and so very worth it.
If you are on your own journey, I hope you keep finding the inspiration you need to move forward daily. You will always have my unending support!