“I am the sole author of the dictionary that defines me.”- NW by Zadie Smith
At twenty-six, I feel like I’m finally coming into my own. From puberty to around 24 I felt that I was in an extended “awkward” period. I felt shaky and confused as to what I was doing and the biggest struggle was letting other people tell me who I was. In the midst of this awkward period I became a mother at 17 so discovering who I was as an adult and woman really felt very confusing and scary. I often felt more connected to the title of mother than woman and it has taken me a long time to really feel like I know myself intimately. These are a few things that have helped me consistently through this journey:
Spend time with yourself-
This has been really crucial for me, even if I can’t get a babysitter for my own coffee date…I take time for myself once I put my son to bed. I write, read, edit photos, take care of my plants and garden, meditate…these are just a few ideas. What these really allow is a sense of calm, I talk to myself and even work through some issues that have been giving me anxiety or are triggering.
Write a Personal Mission Statement
Writing a personal mission statement is empowering. It allows you to have control of who you want to be and who you currently are. Picking words that create your core values is apart of this too.I have five – ten words that I know are who I am. This is a great habit to form, you can update it as you grow and change, I try to do at least one a year. Words are incredibly powerful and what words you speak/write over you have an incredible effect on your cells.
Remove the timeline
We live in a world that glorifies finishing goals quickly, which is so hard. Having goals is good, but how quickly you reach them should not define you. This has been a difficult one for me to learn and this is one I still work through. But remembering this has helped my mental health and made me a better parent and human.
Pretend that you’re holding up a mirror when people start projecting
This has been so helpful. So often people will snap and start attacking your character and sometimes it really makes you ????. Obviously this isn’t the case with every confrontation, but there are specific people in your lives that are truly saying to you what they feel about themselves. This is clearly the case for the abusers and manipulators. These are a few things that have helped me consistently overcome and actually define myself. Learning to define, express and stand up for ourselves is such a challenge, but you can do it! No matter how long it takes to know yourself, you are always the author of what defines you.