Tag: emotional baggage

Have you lost your self identity?

Did you know that there are so many people who lack self-identity, particularly in this day and age where so many individuals are so consumed with being liked by other people? People even use Facebook and Instagram to seek validation. These individuals are so busy comparing themselves to others through their friendship circles or social media. The truth is, you will never be fulfilled when you compare yourself to others. This pattern of behaviour only creates indecisiveness, self-doubt, trust issues and low esteem. When you are unaware of your real identity, when you consciously or subconsciously look for constant validation from others, you will feel unfilled and insecure.

This pattern of behaviour can become almost addictive if it’s not managed. You will never really be sure of who you are if you consistently want others to confirm that for you. I am conscious that it may seem odd to know who you are, but how can someone truly love or like or treat you the way you deserved to be addressed if you don’t know yourself? How can you live life to your full potential if you lack self-identity or awareness? Try not defining yourself by who people think you are. Individuals who lack self-identity often identify themselves by their past, status, career or self-image.

Here are some simple ways to reclaim your identity if you believe that you have lost it.

When did you lose your identity?

It’s compulsory to identify when you lost a sense of yourself. This process will enable you to know how to reclaim your identity. For instance, if you grow up in an environment where you were not allowed to feel your emotions or no one spoke about their feelings, then it’s hard to connect with your inner child. It means that you may have a wounded child that is still playing up within the adult. It means you may have learnt not to be in tune with your emotions and often find ways or things to distract yourself, as feeling your emotions may be too painful, confusing or even uncomfortable. When you have identified the cause, then you can begin to start the journey of understanding who you are. In addition to accepting who you are (the good, bad and ugly) after all, no one is perfect.

Journal writing

Keeping a journal account of your emotions and awareness of yourself will help you to understand your thoughts and learnt behaviour that may be preventing you from your personal best such as, low self-esteem or self-sabotaging behaviour. For instance, if you believe that you are not good enough based on childhood experiences or past experiences, then you could transfer this learnt behaviour into all areas of your life, including work and personal relationships. Consequently, having people-pleasing tendencies or continually looking for validation prevents you from your inner power and you end up giving it away to others. Understanding yourself will contribute to a higher esteem, and you will became less emotionally dependent on others to make you happy, like or love you.

Understanding your personal qualities

It’s important to take time to understand, appreciate and value who you are, since you certainly can’t expect someone to understand or value you if you don’t. Conduct a self-assessment by creating a list of your natural gifts and talents to gain a deeper awareness of yourself. Ensure that you carry this exercise completely on your own instead of asking others, as the whole concept of this exercise is for you to understand yourself as opposed to what others think of you.

Breaking the negative cycle

When you are indecisive, it causes self-doubts. Self-doubt creates distrust, and this could contribute to low self-esteem. The more you understand yourself, the happier you will be and have less self-conflicting thoughts. When it comes to developing yourself, you are the only person that is responsible for your development. Any word that begins with “self” means that you’re accountable for that area of work, so getting others to build your esteem or identity would always be non-effective. So no matter how challenging this could be, you have to recognise that the results will be highly rewarding and it will help your decision making and help you take more control of your life.

Learn to enjoy your own company

If you don’t like or appreciate your company, how do you expect other people to like or enjoy your company? Start off by writing a list of things that you enjoy doing. Creating a list of hobbies will help you to be more fulfilled and enjoy your company. Having time with family and friends is highly essential and useful for your emotional wellbeing. However, it’s equally important to create time alone and enjoy your hobbies. You will never really appreciate how much you enjoy an activity on your own unless you try.

Avoid distractions

Too much distraction can be a hindrance to yourself, since continuously distracting yourself blinds you from developing areas such as your awareness and esteem, as you may be consciously or subconsciously avoiding having a relationship with yourself or numbing your emotions by:

  • Using drugs and alcohol.
  • Being overly busy, engaging in non-productive activities.
  • Working long hours.
  • Being too sexually active with multiple partners.
  • Overeating.
  • Oversleeping.
  • Choosing partners that are emotionally damaged so you can fix them.
  • Continuously having one relationship after another, and not having time to pause.

Learn to be emotionally available to yourself so that you understand and identify your emotions by frequently understanding the reasons why you feel the way you are feeling, such as “why do I feel sad, why do I feel vulnerable?”

Unforgiveness and your health

Unforgiveness is when you are unwilling or unable to forgive someone for hurting, betraying, breaking your trust or causing you intense emotional pain. Forgiving is highly recommended, as there are various researches that have been carried out which shows that unforgiveness causes health issues including:

  • Cancer – 61% of cancer patients have forgiveness issues
  • Suppressed anger – people often get angry for any reason have issues associated with forgiveness
  • Low self-esteem – lack of self-love stem from not forgiving your self or self-acceptance
  • Bitterness – increases the risk of depression
  • Constant worrying increases of the risk sleep deprivation and anxiety
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease

When someone has hurt or disappointed you, the logical response would be to think that you’re hurting them by not forgiving them and holding a grudge. The harsh truth is that you’re actually causing yourself more pain by holding on to the anger, and the person that you wish not to forgive has the subconscious power to control you. However, you can get disconnected from the power of control when you forgive.

How to learn to forgive

Decide

When you feel that you have been hurt intensely by someone close to you, it’s very hard to even begin to consider forgiving them, as you want them to feel the pain. However, the first step is to release the emotional pain by making a conscious decision to forgive and let go. This process may take time, due to different emotions that you have to process.

Letting go of the baggage

True forgiveness is when you forgive and forget. However, we are imperfect human beings and although we may forgive we may not always forget as there may be incidents where we are triggered or remaindered of past events. Even if it is a struggle to forget, it’s very important to forgive by letting go of the emotional pain that has been caused.

Take responsibility for that part that you played

You can never control anyone, the only person that you can control is yourself. Taking responsibility for how you allowed someone to hurt you, enables you to set boundaries so you don’t put yourself in the same situation again.

Forgive yourself

It’s easier to forgive others when you learn to forgive yourself. No one can truly hurt you deeply unless you allow them. Sometimes it’s easier to blame others for causing you pain. However, the depth of the pain depends on the boundaries that you set within all your relationships. Forgive yourself for allowing others to treat you with disrespect or emotional pain

Awareness

Be aware of the negative emotions that you feel towards the other person including anger, bitterness, hurt, hatred, and jealousy. Awareness will help you to acknowledge the need to forgive. Holding on to the negative emotions is highly toxic and not good for your health.

Acceptance

You don’t need to make excuses for the person that hurt you. Even if you don’t want them back in your life, it’s essential to accept how you feel and the fact that you can’t change the past.

Learn from the experience

Sometimes we have to go through negative and painful experiences to learn some life lessons, which helps to develop ourselves. In every negative experience, it’s very important to ask yourself, what lessons you have learnt? This will enable you to avoid repeating the same thing over and over again. If you keep doing the same thing and don’t learn from the painful experiences then you will experience the same thing (pain) in your life. Life is like a classroom and people are teachers, and they come into our lives to teach certain things about ourselves. So take the time to learn the lessons regardless of how painful it may be.

Talk about it

When you feel ready to forgive, make arrangements to contact the person that has hurt you and express yourself. Talking things over helps you to let go.

Closure

If you have decided that you no longer want to have the person that has hurt you back in your life, then that is fine. You can write a letter to that person and bin or burn the letter. Writing helps to get rid of any negative suppressed emotions.