Write: ‘Five things about ourselves that we love.’
Lets be honest, this one is challenging for multiple reasons: I don’t want to ‘blow my own trumpet’ or appear as big-headed and secondly I do struggle to accept things / find positives about myself (especially when my mind decides it’s in toxic mode.) However – I realised that when going for interviews, or meeting with professionals I am perfectly able to identify things that I am good at – whether this is skills based, or more innate characteristics, so… I’m gunna develop these into five solid things that are undoubtedly positives about me. And, I’m not gunna allow for me to convince myself that these five things are pointless and false – I (much like many others) am very good at talking myself out of being positive, diminishing my self-esteem pretty much on a daily basis. Also I’m great at forgetting that I am actually 100% human, I do make mistakes, but I am also ace at stuff.
I am great at listening to others.
Though this one is kinda demonstrates how I like to focus on others before myself I still think I should give myself credit for this! There are times when I get easily carried away or distracted, yet when I am needed by others I try my damn hardest to be there for them. Whether this stems from the knowledge that at times we really do need to lean on friends, or colleagues or even people we don’t really know all that well – we all need to talk to others and seek advise at times. Whether that’s to try and escape (or make sense of) the demons in our minds, or if it’s just to vent. I joke, a lot, that I offer a sort of ‘drop-in session’ when I am at university (studying or working) – but truthfully I am genuinely touched and humbled that others feel comfortable in sharing things with me – and though at times I may not offer them the advise they were after I really do try to be as honest and supportive as possible. This leads me to my second point…
I am as open as possible about my mental health.
Some people may not see this one as a positive, but I certainly do. I don’t go around shouting from the rooftops about my PTSD or other stuff I’m dealing with, but I try to answer questions when I’m asked, and I try to keep the conversation going when it comes to mental health. This is for two key reasons, the first – it is important to my health and to my personal strength that I share my issues with those I trust – I’ve really struggled in the past to seek advice or a safe and comfortable place to discuss my thoughts, and it’s taken me a long time and a lot of trust-building to feel safe enough to open up (and acknowledge that I’m not a burden.) And secondly, I know how important it is to share stories of mental health and to help keep the conversation going. Mental health stigma does exist and it sucks. I first realised this when I noticed how terrified I was to start talking about certain aspects of my struggle – and I had to come to terms with the fact that I constantly felt I was broken or defected, or simply stupid for struggling with PTSD. Well I most certainly am not. We all deal with things in different ways, and trust me if I could get rid of this bloody PTSD I would happily wave goodbye to the constant flashbacks, self-hate, panic, hyperarousal, irritability, anxiety, guilt and all the physical symptoms: headaches, pains and all that jazz.
I share my struggles (as honestly as possible) to help me make sense of them, to help articulate what I am dealing with and the hope that it may inspire someone to share their story – or to even know that they are not alone – mental health issues are common, and they are real and they do suck. I want to say mental health issues are bearable – but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished I wasn’t me, or that I could just escape my mind – but what gives me hope is reading books or memoirs from others who have dealt with similar issues, who have felt the same way and who have miraculously managed to get through the darkness.
I dabble at cat-taming.
I guess the standard of ‘positivity’ (and relevance) has fallen here – but one positive thing that I love about myself is my love for cats hahaha. (100% cat lady). But, I wanted to acknowledge one of the simpler, smaller and 100% innate characteristics/skills that I possess – and that make me a happy gal. I love cats haha, no matter how bloody feisty they are. I see this as a positive as there are times when I want to avoid every human in the world, but my cat (the little bugger) always manages to cheer me up haha! And also, I somehow manage to get cats to like me – and as much as people take the mick out of me for this secretly I love it haha!
I feel like some sort of Steve Irwin of cats… and I ain’t gunna change that any time soon.
I can sing (and quite well!)
This is one thing I never seem to like to admit to myself and to others, yet singing is my aaaaaall time favourite thing to do in the world and it is my main passion. I’ve grown up in a world of creative stuff, attending professional singing lessons at two different institutions and singing a lot during school etc. I don’t have a lack of confidence in singing I just have a lack of confidence in admitting to others, or revealing to others that it is the one thing that I wouldn’t change about myself and that it is the one thing that I think defines me. Whether this is some sort of way to hide myself from others, or one way to punish myself for actually truly loving something, and ignoring one of the things that makes me truly happy (and sad, and angry and sassy, etc.) Singing is such a huge part of my life and I shouldn’t hide this from people – especially when I’m so open about everything else haha! It seems strange that people don’t know how much music and singing means to me, and it seems strange that they don’t see me as a singer, when in my eyes I don’t seem to do anything else. Ask my parents – all my life I’ve grown up singing me head off around the house, in the garden, on holiday, in the car, in shops, in school, in church, walking down the road, on the bus, on the train… everywhere. Singing pretty much defines me and makes me who I am – yet it is my best kept secret!
I love nature, the outdoors and feeling like I am Katniss Everdeen.
I’m calling this one a positive as I think this exercise (though I don’t think I’m doing it right) is a bloody brilliant self-actualizing exercise. Admitting what you are passionate about is quite fulfilling in a strange way – it’s almost like a ticket to self-acceptance (something which probably should have happened years ago, but oh well – at least it’s happening!)
So yeah, I love the outdoors, I love water, I love grass, I love plants, I love animals, I love the sky, I love clouds, I love mountains, I love camping, I love the sea, I love beaches, etc. I love being adventurous and feeling like I am an awesome world-changing, sassy, revolutionary human being – doing things right from the basic, such as climbing trees (and being Katniss Everdeen). I of course know this is complete rubbish – I mean Katniss Everdeen isn’t real (but I am… just saying). Hahaha.
Nature cheers me up, and nature is just pretty ace – and I think it’s great for your mental wellbeing, and I think it’s great to know whether or not you love stuff like this – so when the horrendous, soul-destroying dark clouds of PTSD (or whatever you are struggling with) encapsulate your mind and your being you then have something to think of, to hold on to and something to help ground you.
Adios amigos, x
(P.S: Just gunna leave this here…)