- Please note that regardless of my issues with anyone mentioned, I love them, have the most respect for them, and a lot of issues are based on culture. I write these posts to share my struggles as well share how I’ve grown. Any negative comments about those mentioned will not be tolerated.
Hey guys! Happy Sunday!
I’ve been a little meh the past couple of weeks, and today I decided to share with you all a little bit more about me and 5 tips to be more positive when you’re feeling down! If you don’t know, May is Mental Health Awareness month and mental health is very important me. I got my Master’s in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marital and Family Therapy and have been working on my 3,000 hours in order to get licensed. It’s an extremely gratifying field and I love it with a passion. I believe I was brought onto this earth to make a difference and my heart really commits to being there for those who need someone to just listen.
Therapy and mental health in general are very taboo subjects in many countries, even in America. The problem here is that people abuse the mental health field in many ways. I have seen it a lot with parents wanting their child to be “fixed” and then when the child isn’t “perfect” to them, they tend to medicate for the wrong reasons. I can’t go into detail as I don’t want to call out any clients or give minimize peoples own beliefs, however, I think it’s so important to realize that therapy is a process. Every individual has their own journey and however they choose to go about it, is up to them. No matter where you live, your feelings and your struggles are nothing to be ashamed of.
I myself, have had a lot of issues with self-confidence and defining my sense of self. I live in what seems to be a nice nuclear household. Nuclear households are typically a pair of parents and children. My ethnicity is Turkish and I’m first generation American. I struggled with a lot growing up because my family would say that certain things were wrong, yet I would see so much of that “wrong” happening. I did have a lot of phases where I went from surfer girl, to punk rocker (even pierced my septum and dyed my hair black) to just finally trying to do ME.
Doing ME was a problem. I was not like most societal Turkish women. I liked to wear ripped jeans, black, I liked things that were a bit edgier. Realistically, these things aren’t an issue, but you’d be surprised how something as simple as wearing what you want can cause damage. Unfortunately, as soon as I started evolving into myself, my mother couldn’t tolerate it. Even to this day, I struggle with her.
There was a point in my life where I felt truly happy and more like myself than ever. This was during the Master’s program. I was learning, utilizing what I’ve learned, I had a great support group and I felt on top of the world. It’s funny because I have all that now as well, and I definitely feel more like myself than I did 2 years ago, but of course, until I can break the pattern with my mother, I’ll still have to fight for who I am but at least I am aware of the obstacles and have new tools to help me get through them.
I went through a really hard breakup (the only one that ever affected me and shook me to my core) and it put me into a serious depression where I stopped blogging, stopped caring, and basically felt as though someone died. Grief is different to everyone and for me, it was extremely hard. He was, at the time, the love of my life, and if I had to say God had created someone perfectly for me, he was that person. If you believe in soulmates, well, he was one of them. I honestly never imagined what pain and suffering was until this had happened. I remember thinking, I would rather be shot FIFTY TIMES because at least the physical pain would subside eventually.
I don’t want to get too much into detail because, out of respect, less is more.
Heartbreak is a bitch. Emotional and mental pain and suffering is absolutely something you can’t measure. It’s different for everyone. I eventually moved on from the grieving and accepted the loss, but my depression continued. I tried to figure why I wasn’t better! It drove me absolutely bananas.
Imagine waking up and feeling completely useless? Feeling like everything is dark and no matter what you do, it’s not good enough. I realized it wasn’t ME who felt that about myself, it was my mother. Her voice was so drilled into my head that the past 14 years of her constant negativity and degradation of me was now my identity. When I was going through my breakup I realized my mother blamed me for it, telling me how I was this and that. And even after I was able to move forward and build my life back, I was still being told that I wasn’t good enough.
I started blogging again, I started my own business, I was seeing clients and making a difference. But, every single day, I was verbally and emotionally abused by her. 14 years of this can easily wear someone down. The hardest for me was being at rock bottom at the end of my breakup AND having this thrown on top of it. Every morning I was greeted with a “You look so terrible, I can’t believe you would leave the house like that” or “Nobody will ever treat you with respect because you look ugly”. Not easy.
I teach my clients who have toxic familial relationships to change the way they interact. For every negative comment, I suggested to say 5 positive things. I tried EVERY technique in the book, but unfortunately, nothing changed. I then realized, I had to change. I did the following steps daily and they significantly improved my mood and even though I still get criticized on the daily (don’t worry guys, I’m saving to move out!), I’m able to differentiate the difference between what’s real and what’s my mother.
I don’t want to bore with you all the dirty details and I don’t want to be super disrespectful of my mother by writing too much, but my biggest suggestion to anyone who feels depressed or anxious or sad, or down is to journal. Sometimes we get so overwhelmed with emotion that we break. It’s then hard to pinpoint what exactly we are feeling and why. Aside from journaling here are 5 tips to help bring the positivity back into your life if you’re having a hard time getting inspired or feeling a lack of confidence.
Real quick, let me just say, never ever ever APOLOGIZE or FEEL BAD or feel GUILTY for feeling the way you do ever. Sometimes we convince ourselves that “it’s stupid I feel like this”. If that’s how you feel, it’s totally valid and OK. It’s important to acknowledge your feelings so you can understand them better.
- For every negative comment you tell yourself, tell yourself 5 positive things. For example, sometimes I’ll get down and tell myself that I should just give up and not go through with something. It’s easy to discourage yourself sometimes and that’s okay! We’re allowed to wallow once in awhile.
- Do something for YOU every day. Whether it’s taking a 5 minute walk, watching a T.V show, or getting your nails done, whatever it is, you need to make time for yourself. Doing things that make you feel good are essential to your overall well-being. They help inspire us to keep going and it minimizes the potential of burning out.
- Smile. It sounds so simple. “Trick” your mind into feeling a bit better by smiling, even if you feel like you have nothing to smile about. It will send the message to your internal self. Also, smile at others. Sometimes, you’ll get a smile back, and then you’ll have a real reason to smile.
- Do something generous: I do this every week. I go to a coffee shop, get my latte, hand the barista a $20 and tell them to use the change to pay for the people behind me. You’d be surprised how shocked people get that a stranger would buy them a cup of coffee, but seeing them be grateful, is an instant boost. However, doing something generous should be something we all do daily. Whether it’s opening a door, or helping someone with their groceries or even something as small as giving a compliment. I always say, project positivity, receive positivity.
- Surround yourself with people who make you happy. It may be obvious, but sometimes we allow ourselves to get caught up in negative situations or around negative people. Learning to say “no” and excuse yourself from a situation or person who doesn’t inspire you or has negative energy is crucial. Negativity as well as positivity is contagious!
I hope these 5 tips to be more positive plus my story was not too boring to read, but I felt the urge to really open up and share my personal experiences and struggles and also share what has worked for me. Thank you guys so much for being so awesome and supportive.
I love you all!