A New Year, a New Inner You
Every new year we are all trying to set new goals; get a fresh start, make changes, work on our bodies, quit drinking, smoking, change careers, start a business.
In this game called life, the more you accomplish, and the more we show it, the closer we look to our goals. These goals are often harder things we gave up on the year before; some people do it, some people try really hard and fall off the resolution train, and some don’t even get past a vision board.
I couldn’t help but wonder: what do our goals and resolutions have in common? They all have physical achievements. I will eat better, I will take care of my body and lose weight, I will change careers and be smarter about investments, I will start a podcast and start generating additional income, I will fit in my pre-baby clothes because this body is gonna be slim and tight… all are things that we can see, touch, show off; things that bring us a feeling of success and accomplishment, and therefore happiness.
While I am all for healthy living, healthy eating, and setting goals and fulfilling your ambitions, we rarely say we will change things about our inner selves, that inner person and energy that the naked eye can’t see. We sometimes do yoga and meditate to get in touch with those things, or we sometimes get too busy accomplishing things we can show we achieved while the inner energy is dormant, left til the end, if we have time, to squeeze into a three minute meditation by the end of the a busy workday.
I’m a person who tries to move her body for at least 30 minutes a day, tries to do yoga at least twice a week, and for some reason I still couldn’t get my inner self right. I was exhausted, anxious, and depressed as soon as the high from the exercise or the yoga wore off.
We all carry things inside that were never addressed, talked about, or even felt. We suppress thoughts and feelings to protect ourselves from going there, because going there hurts. If I hurt, if I allow myself to go all there, I will crumble, I will cry, I will shut down, it will affect my job performance, my mothering and partnering performance. We fall into this hamster wheel of doing what we have to do to check the boxes off of our lists, and put off dealing with that inner self until the next day, and the next day, and the next day. Most of your empath friends are so positive, so helpful, put on the biggest smile on their faces and are there for you everyday, seldom doing the same things for themselves.
Being a woman of color, and coming from a culture that repressed any emotional or mental “shortcomings”, or “struggles”, it has certainly made it harder to even acknowledge when I am struggling mentally.
The mind is a very powerful thing; it will go in any direction you allow it to. The day mine went to a scary place, so scary It couldn’t be suppressed, I am so glad I immediately decided to open up to a doctor I was having a routine visit with. We had a relationship, and she was my doctor throughout my pregnancy and postpartum. She has seen me struggle after giving birth and refusing help, deciding to do all on my own, exercise and mediation. “I got this”. Well I did, until I didn’t. She knew what to say, she knew what to ask to break that hard bubble I had built to ignore when my inner self was screaming for help, and my mind finally sent me a scary signal to let go and open up. I have been listening to Dr. Imani’s podcast, who is a doctor in psychology, and she said something that resonated with me. “When people can’t sleep they need melatonin, when people can’t be happy they need serotonin.” If life becomes hard for you, it’s ok to accept help, accept supplements, or medicine because you need it. It’s not just a phase, it’s a chemical imbalance; that imbalance will kill you if you don’t address it. People often talk about side effects of medicine, and I say that there is a way more serious side effect we should worry about when it comes to depression. We all know what it can lead to.
Take time to address your inner self, listen to it, connect with it. It’s not a box you need to check, it’s a part of you that needs a lot of attention. It’s all we have; to make the changes, to reach the goals, your inner self has to be right.
In the words of Lauryn Hill, “How you gonna win when you ain’t right within?”