Over the years I’ve developed something of a love/hate relationship with social media, but one feature on my Facebook and Instagram accounts that I’ve always loved is seeing the posts I made in prior years in the Memories feature (on Instagram it’s under Archive, but same deal). I started my Facebook account in 2007 and so some of the earlier posts make me cringe a little bit at times, but I also like seeing how much I’ve grown as a person and looking back on fun times with people I love.
Just such a memory came up last week. It was a photo of me and two of my Zumba friends. It was taken on a cold, clear January Saturday in 2013, when we decided to meet up and walk laps on the track at a local school to get some exercise. I remember that day vividly and it’s a really happy memory for me – not just of a fun time with friends, but of how I felt that day. I was on top of my game and the strong, self-assured look on my face in the photo very accurately reflects how I felt about myself. I was in the best shape of my life, I was full of self-confidence, and overall just felt really good about myself.
It’s been a long time since I last felt that way. The stress of the last few years has taken a toll on me, and I’ve struggled a lot with my mental health. I made some strides in 2022 with therapy, and overall I am feeling better, but there’s a lot more work to do. I want to fall back in love with myself, to give myself the very best care and to find my best self again.
One of the things I’ve learned in therapy is that a lot of my anxiety disorder originates from my need to be perfect at all times. Allowing myself to be imperfect – to make mistakes, to be tired, to get it wrong, to not have the perfect response to every situation – would very likely help me to feel a lot more worthy of love and a lot more confident. I struggle so much with giving myself the same grace that I give others, and constantly reprimanding myself is exhausting. I do genuinely try to do the right thing and to be a good person, and at some point that has to be enough. I can’t ever be truly happy if I’m constantly in fear that I’ll somehow fail someone or at something.
I’ve been pretty open about my therapy journey, and one of the amazing things that’s happened as a result is that others have become more comfortable sharing their own stories with me. It made me realize that some of the people I admire most in the world have also experienced mental health issues, and that having an anxiety disorder and experiencing depression don’t mean that I can’t be (or that I’m not already) an aspirational person myself.
And so, I am committing to reinventing myself in 2023. This will be my year to focus on falling in love with myself and my life again, to embrace my imperfections and give myself grace, to get back to the healthiest version of myself both physically and mentally.