18 Oct Signs that you’re losing yourself
So let me start by saying, I know most of you are here for the stories. If I were you I would be too. Honestly, the only reason I have anything to share is because I’ve lived through these experiences; so, as promised, I will share with you some of the more private details of my relationship in order to completely convey the lessons I’ve learned. However, as I loosely stated in the “About” section (hopefully you’ve had the opportunity to read that too), this blog wasn’t created for entertainment purposes only. My desire is to bring perspective to women and men who may be dealing with similar situations; my goal is to teach the lessons that I learned too late, to someone else right on time.
So with that being said, please accept my advice entries with as much enthusiasm as my tell-all entries. I promise they come from experience and a very genuine place. Besides, I definitely have more stories/reflections coming your way…but for right now let’s deal with the signs that you may be losing yourself…
SIGNS THAT YOU’RE LOSING YOURSELF
There are so many things that can cause us to lose ourselves…careers, addictions, daily life…by now, you know that the culprit for me was my relationship (or rather the relationship I was trying to create). Losing yourself is usually the result of giving some undeserving person (or thing) too much importance in your life. We often go to desperate measures to protect that person (or thing) because we’ve somehow convinced ourselves that being with that person (or having that thing) is going to make us happy. Or even worse, we begin to value having that person/thing more than we value our own peace of mind.
Here are a few ways to recognize you’re losing yourself
1. You’re searching to fill a void: Sometimes when we feel like we’re missing something we try to find a way to fill that emptiness. Distractions are often better alternatives than dealing with the root cause of pain, and although they may be temporary, let’s be honest, emotional fillers feel really good. Alcohol, drugs, sex, partying, over-indulging in work, they’re all emotional fillers that are effective in the moment, but unfortunately those moments are fleeting. The problem with fillers is that, once they wear off, they usually leave you feeling emptier than before. Because of that, you keep running back chasing that “good feeling” regardless of what’s being compromised. This becomes a vicious cycle until eventually you’ve neglected everything else that makes you you, and can no longer recognize yourself.
I realized later that my filler was affection and I was motivated by the fear of being left alone…again. I had already lost the love of my life and in my head this was the last chance at love I was ever going to get. I was trying with all my might to hold onto it, and I wasn’t going to let anything stand in the way of that, not even him. So I modified my behaviors to accommodate him just so he would keep giving me the affection I was chasing after.
2. The people close to you are telling you you’re changing: If you have people in your life that you know love you, want the best for you, and always have your best interest at heart, do two things:
- Thank God because that’s a blessing
- TRUST THEM
The bible says there’s safety in having wise counsel. So use it! Your friends and family know the REAL you. Despite what we think, we don’t always know what’s best for us, which is why it’s good to be able to consult with people who love you. If the people who have been with you through different phases of life are saying that you’re changing (and not for the better), then I think it’s safe to assume there’s some validity to that statement and it’s at least worth a little self-reflection.
3. You no longer desire to do the things that you used to love: Somehow your hobbies, passions and goals have been back-burnered to accommodate someone or something else. You can no longer find time or energy for yourself because that time and energy is being monopolized elsewhere. Somehow in the midst of taking care of everyone and everything you consider important you forget that you’re important too! It’s not selfish to invest in yourself, it is necessary! Never allow yourself to be robbed of the opportunity to make you the priority every once in a while.
So have you lost yourself? Or do you feel like you’re losing grip on who you are? Get back into the habit of loving you again. Here are a few ways how:
- Say “no” to fillers. You’ve got to address those empty places head on and deal with the real issue. It won’t be easy, it might actually be miserable in the moment (which is what makes it scary) but you’ll be better for it later. Stop searching for things that mask the pain; eventually it will catch up to you (trust me; it always catches up to you). Usually what we dread most about tackling our problems directly is the fear that we will find out that we aren’t strong enough to handle them. You are! Don’t let anyone (including yourself) tell you otherwise.
- Have meaningful conversations with the people that have proven their love to you. Understand that it’s okay to seek help from trusted sources. It’s okay to not know the answers. That’s why God surrounds us with people that can offer guidance. Sometimes we don’t want to be around the people who love us because we know they will hold us accountable. But that’s exactly what we need! Don’t isolate yourself from everyone that loves you. Isolation is a tool of the enemy. The devil wants to get you alone so that he can plant bad seeds into your mind. Your defense will be the people that are praying for you.
- Develop a prayer life. It doesn’t have to be a formal prayer kneeling beside your bed with a bowed head and folded hands; sometimes it’s driving in the car telling God why you need Him. Sometimes it’s taking a break at work and having a chat with God in the bathroom stall. Sometimes it’s not really saying anything at all, but meditating on Him while you cry through some things. Whatever your method is, listen for His voice, and allow Him to speak to your pain.
- Do what you love! Get back into your healthy hobbies. Carve out some time each week to do something strictly for you. It’s admirable to want to take care of others, but it’s just as important to take care of yourself. If you fail to invest in yourself, you run the risk of having nothing left to invest into others. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup.