freeing ourselves from others

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I’m sure that there are those out there who feel pressured and overwhelmed by the thoughts and opinions of others. Everyone has their say, and there are some out there who feel a particular strong need to impress it upon others… even if it means ignoring someone’s free will and individuality. This has been getting to me as of late.

Lately, I’ve been getting headaches. And I knew it’s all been psychological; our feelings can manifest in our bodies in this way (i.e., somatic symptoms). When we get anxious, we feel tense. When we’re depressed, our bodies feel zapped of all energy. Our body, mind and spirit are all connected.

With all the craziness that has been happening in my life, I spent a good hour meditating last night and soon realized why I was having so many headaches. Everyone’s voices have been in my head, mucking up my thoughts and consequently my being. Anna, do this. Anna, do that. Anna, you’re squandering your potential. Anna, [insert opinion on my life here]… on and on it goes, all the things people are telling me to do, telling me how to see it and how to be. Until my brain finally exploded in pain, screaming, shut up! I’m so sick of hearing all of you!

I just want to hear me. I just want to hear what I need, and what my Inner Voice says is best for me. Only I know what’s best for me, no one else. Who makes you think that you know what my potential is? What makes you think you know what’s right for my life? No one knows that, except for my Maker. So don’t act as if you have some authority over my life.

I know I am not alone in feeling bogged down sometimes by the opinions and feedback of others who think they know what you should do with your life. I hope these words can help someone else, as they are the reminders I need constantly. Only you know what’s best for you. Only you know who you can and want to be. This life is not for others to live, but yours. You’re the one who’ll have to face all of the consequences of your choices. Not them. So they don’t get to have any say in how you live your life.

One technique I’ve been doing that has been helping is mindfulness meditation. You can find apps or scripts online, but it helps train your mind to be rooted in the present and to let all thoughts and people’s voices in your head go. And specifically in this case, it also helps to let go of all those opinions and should-bes. Mindfulness is a practice that orients your mind to accept yourself and the world as it is in the present moment. It’ll clear out all the junk in your mind, and give you the clarity you need.

We need to learn to let go of other people’s opinions of us, to stop letting their thoughts control us. It’s the only way we’ll be able to be who we are, our true selves. What they say does not have to go, and does not have to hold significance we do not want it to. It’s a self-care and self-love practice, by not forcing ourselves into a mold or into a kind of thinking that is not truly us. Some people may be too dogmatic, too judgmental, too needy, and try to force you to be someone you’re not, but they are who they are. It has nothing to do with us. Just let it all go. Let it all pass without judgment. It is what it is, and people will be who they are.

And the same also applies to us… allow yourself to be who you are. And let the rest of it go.

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diary entry #2

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There are times when I’m in the thick of my emotions, and I need some external kick to bring me back to earth. For me, I’ve noticed that it helps to aid another person in their struggles during those times. I would still argue that it’s important for me, or anyone, to acknowledge and address their feelings, but sometimes there are moments when you want to be reminded that no matter how shitty you feel, there are people out there who value you and even need you. That despite all the shit that’s been tossed your way, it doesn’t define who you are. There are people in your life who you are important to and need you to be there for them, and that far outweighs all of the shit.

Earlier tonight, I was in one of those times, and I felt my past getting triggered in my current relationship. The logical part of me knew that nothing in my relationship is like the past, and if anything, it’s different in a good and healthy way. In actuality, it’s been a great reminder of my own progress and growth. With all of the self-work I’ve done, I have concrete evidence showing me that I’ve built the tools needed to enter into a healthy relationship.

But just like any other human being, I still struggle with things, and I have my emotional triggers. I’m realizing how much I still carry some of the pain of my past relationships, and how I need to work through some of those emotions. Tonight, those emotions rolled over and gripped at me. I felt as if I were being ignored, tossed aside and passed over yet again, even though nothing of the sort was logically occurring. But the fear and pain were chewing at me, until I wanted to retreat far away inside myself.

Just as I crouched on the floor and began to cry, a friend messaged me. He was going through a situation and he needed someone to talk to. Immediately I felt this jolt. Instead of spiraling down into my despair, his need stopped my spiral and grounded me. Anna, I know how triggered you feel, but someone needs you now.

So I got up and attended to my friend. And afterward, I felt a lot better. It struck me then how powerful it can be to be of help to another human being. And even more, it challenged my spiral; instead of soaking in thoughts of being unloved and not enough, in the very next moment, I was given proof that contrary to how I feel, I am loved and enough. There are people who see something in you and it’s about time that you start seeing that in yourself. That’s a fight I need to start taking on.

But the thing is, no matter how many people you help, your baggage doesn’t magically go away. You still need to attend to that, as well as yourself and your feelings. Even as I write this, I feel remnants of those heavy emotions and I know I’ll need to face them head on. But it’s good to surround yourself with good people, and good reminders of the honest to God truth, that we are worthy, lovable and enough just by being who we are… regardless of how people have treated us.