This time of year can be hard for me. It is a pattern I was able to detect through therapy. I don’t do well when the dark and cold falls over the city like a weighted shadow. I don’t have a Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) diagnosis or anything, but I have noted more moments of sadness and lethargy that have a tendency to deplete my energy.
Staying true to the self-care practices (as best as I can) from the last post have been helpful. Also, being AWARE that my mood may be affected by the environment outside is useful because I understand myself and the mood swings better. I don’t feel so “crazy.” I can make sense of what is happening in my body and why.
One of the things that therapy has helped me the most with is providing me with the language to name patterns and dysfunctional behaviors. Once it has a name, it’s less scary. It doesn’t have all this power over me because I know what is happening and I can learn how to implement strategies and lifestyle changes that can make whatever I’m facing less debilitating.
This week I stopped for a good thirty seconds on the platform in between floors at school, turned my face up to the sunlight that was shining in through the windows and took three deep breaths. That small moment of warmth, light, and grounding made a huge difference in my day. I didn’t always have the awareness to think to do something like that.
Sunday service was amazing today. Worship was the best kind of surrender and Pastor Rich Villodas talked about jealousy. He discussed how to break free of the mindset that we can only succeed when others fail. The questions posed by the pastor today felt extremely relevant for the struggle I’ve been working through.
Here are three questions to ask yourself when you are trying to break free from _________________ (Insert whatever you are struggling with here.) This week for me, it was Imposter Syndrome, specifically in the area of my writing.
- “What is the story I’m telling myself?”
Often this is a story about our own inferiority and inadequacy. God tells us a different story and truth about who we are.
- “What’s the lie that you are believing?”
We scroll through social media and all we see is how happy everyone else is. No one is taking a selfie after a major life fail and smiling about how poorly it went. The truth is that every person we meet is struggling. Every relationship has had its struggles even if they are not currently going through them today.
- “What gifts do we need to acknowledge?”
We all have a specific God-given purpose to fulfill in this lifetime. It’s important to focus on the gifts that we do have as opposed to the gifts that we don’t. Some of my specific gifts are giving, serving and helping others. I may not be a NY Times best-selling author, but I know for a fact that the pieces I’ve written and content I’ve created has served to help others. This is a timely and necessary reminder I need to repeat to myself when I start comparing my work to the work of others.
Here are a few of the resources that have helped me in identifying and reflecting on my strengths and gifts:
Spiritual Gifts Test
Enneagram Quiz (in conjunction with the book “The Path Back to You” and The Enneagram Institute)
Everyone talks self-love, self-love, self-love. But before you can love yourself, you have to know yourself. All the parts of you, not just the appealing characteristics you want to show to the world as your best self. The resources I’m sharing have helped me better understand what drives me and what my purpose in life is.
Life has also taught me that there is no one way of getting somewhere. So feel free to drop any resources that have been helpful to you in the comment section. Also, if you take any of the quizzes, I’d love to hear about your results. Let’s keep growing, sharing and building together.