This guest feature will bring calming vibes to your day, all thanks to Heenal (you can find her on Instagram by clicking here). She talks about how mindfulness, which is a form of meditation, has proven beneficial in allowing her to process emotions and feelings rather than feigning positivity 24/7.
My favourite part of the feature is where she says: “Acceptance, for me, brings peace. And peace is the most beautiful, ethereal type of positivity.” – continue reading to see it for yourself!
“Weak was becoming my identity”
I’ve felt quite ‘lost’ for a lot of my life. As if I’m floating. Constantly questioning; why am I here, what is my purpose? I know I’m not alone in this feeling.
From the outside, I was a warm, smiley, happy-go-lucky, positive person; I was also extremely sarcastic, a cynic and occasional misanthrope. Whilst I believed in people, in kindness and could see the beauty in the world around me, I also felt peoples’ pain. I felt anger when I saw heinous crimes on the news, political and social corruption and injustice and kept seeing the failure of the world to learn from history.
The world feels broken at times and we collectively share this pain. Pain that feels like anger, guilt and depression. Then there’s individual pain. We all have that too.
My mum introduced me to meditation as a teenager. I liked it, but it was a struggle. Many emotions that I didn’t even know I had slowly started to surface. But I didn’t want people to see me sad or crying, or a ‘mess’. I barely cried. After all, I was the smiley, happy-go-lucky positive person, right? And I definitely did not want to be a hypocrite. I put so much importance upon being ‘a positive person’.
My PMDD (think PMS but physically and mentally disabling) got worse when I was at university. My world was shifting; there was an increase in social pressures and insecurities (many thanks to social media) that I’d luckily missed out on as a teenager. Losing hair felt indescribable in a world that put so much importance in women’s hair being part of their identity. I couldn’t put on weight or sleep. I felt physically weak.
So, then I identified as mentally weak. Weak was becoming my identity.
What meditation taught me
Medication did help with certain aspects, but it did also worsen others. I would love to say there was one moment – one turning point where things changed for me. But it didn’t really happen like that. It took time.
Getting to a point where I allowed my condition to become my identity was the kindling. I started to make more of an effort to exercise and eat well. Meditation became part of my life. I experimented with different types until I found that mindfulness suited me. I went to talks. I read books. I read positive affirmations. I started an Instagram account. I spent days and weekends at monasteries, doing silent retreats.
It took years.
Meditation genuinely taught to me to love myself. I learnt to look at my emotions – to feel them, invite them in so I could process them. I increased my tolerance to things.
My most important lesson was acceptance. I said earlier that we all have individual pain; death and loss, heartbreak and failure are something we all experience and will continue to. We will only be at peace when we realise that things that happen have nothing to do with the emotions we feel. Acceptance is being able to sit with uncomfortable emotions and understanding where they have come from – the beliefs and expectations we hold that something ‘should’ or ‘must’ be a certain way.
Acceptance, for me, brings peace. And peace is the most beautiful, ethereal type of positivity.
I have unconditional love for myself and that gives me strength. But I also accept that sometimes I falter – I won’t always be positive and happy all the time, and I don’t need to be. I won’t be able to control every aspect of my life or the lives of others.
I am now studying Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT), a psychotherapy that deals with the present moment and has inspiration from Stoic philosophy. The therapy involves challenging your thoughts and identifying irrational beliefs in order to dispute them to essentially improve your quality of life.
I still struggle with sitting with my emotions and sharing them, I still care what people think, and I’m still trying to maintain my unconditional love for myself; but hey, I acknowledge and accept that I am still on my journey and I don’t worry too much about the destination anymore.
Thank you Heenal, for sharing your story about how meditation has helped you learn to love yourself! Readers can connect with Heenal by following her on Instagram.
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