Media Diet

Today was an interesting and empowering day at my job. I was scheduled to attend a university film screening titled ‘The Illusionists” which is about how the media has influenced many cultures about body image. The film was very well produced and showed the distortions that many cultures have adopted throughout decades. All over the world, we have people thinking that thinner, whiter, tanner, muscular, blonder, and nice facial features are the only ways to success.

All of this did not surprise me… Before I decided to do a media diet, I was a victim of media addiction and the damaging self-esteem traps that came with it. I always worried if I looked attractive enough, sexy enough, successful enough, and popular enough. It was always a recurring problem since the age of 15 (now I am 25). For 10 years I was in this trap of the media of me trying to prove something that I am now seeing it was unattainable. Maybe I did reach a level of sexiness, attractiveness, and successfulness. How could I have known? I couldn’t have known because I wanted more!

I won’t lie, I was hungry for attractiveness and trying to sexualize myself more with the sex appeal that I actually ended up in a gym shaping my physique. Again, I am not fit enough or muscular enough! It was not ending! More and more years of this trap and still nothing changed.

I would scroll down Facebook or Instagram and see the friends I used to hang out with posting pictures of their new cars, new careers, and new significant others, I would just feel depressed. I would feel so inadequate that I fell into the comparison trap. It was getting to the point that I lost myself and really didn’t know my true passions anymore.

My first post from this blog was about how I got off social media and the reasons for it. It has been almost three months since I have been on a media diet and it has been amazing! I really have not missed being on social media and I do not plan on going back soon. Part of it is because I am finding peace day by day as I live in the moment, and also part of it is fear. Coming back to social media platforms terrifies me now. I fear that I would fall into the trap again. I fear that all of my insecurities will go back to full panic mode all over again.

At the end of the film, we had a discussion with the producer/film writer via Skype. At the end, she asked the audience to share any experiences or share our struggles with our current media. I had the courage to stand up and share my experiences. I realized that my ex-bf was not the only reason why I needed to get away, but I realized more and more that I needed to cleanse from a lot of things. My self-esteem was really shot down that it needed repair, and it is still under construction.

As I was wrapping up my last words, I turned to the audience and I said: “I recommend you all to media diet if you feel anxious or sad about yourself, and if you are falling into the comparison traps.” I never imagined doing that publicly but I felt like in today’s societies, everyone needs to get away from the media. In reality, the majority of people are not being authentic and not truly living in the real world. Living in the moment means that you look up from your phone, and smile at the people who walk past you. Living in the moment means that you can sit down and have true conversations with people around you. Living in the moment means that now you have the energy and the courage to try something new because you are no longer occupied in the self-loathe of comparing yourself to the world around you. Living in the moment means that you are now capable of regaining your social skills again as taught as a child to stay true to your friends and actually make friends, not virtual ones.

I won’t lie, this experience has been teaching me a lot. Most have been good, but the downside of a media diet is that you feel a bit alone at times. However, I reflected on this idea or feeling of loneliness… In reality, if the “friends” on my social media profiles were really my friends, they would be in touch with me on most days or I would be seeing them regularly without them pressing the “like” button. I realized that my circle of 500 “friends” really came down to like 5. The transition hit me a bit hard, but I think it brought me to a harsh reality check.

If you are finding yourself in this path and this harsh reality, use it as a motivation to get out there. Make new experiences and live in the moment. Why try to base our happiness in a virtual world?

 

Thanks for reading!

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Mindfulness and Finding Closure

I was talking to a friend the other night while we were having dinner at a restaurant, and the topic came about closure. A closure is what I believe an important phase of any situation in order to be able to move on. For some people, it can mean a relationship or simply a period of time in their lives they wish to move on from.

The reason why this topic came up was that we were trying to analyze what happened to our friends that left us and even left to the other side of the country without letting us know. This triggered a lot of thought and conversation as to why people do the things they do.

For me, it was more or less about people I had a relationship with or with someone I deeply cared about. In my experiences, I was always left with no explanations for someone’s departure leaving me devastated. I thought I was crazy for not being able to cope with it and remain in mourning about it for months. It takes me a long time for me to move on from that person even if I don’t have any sort of contact with them. I thought I was a bit insane for that reason. My friend was able to share the same exact thought and feelings.

Til this day I don’t know why is it that the people I cared for deeply left me without a warning. I was left with assumptions about what could have been the reason they left, and not tell me. I learned that sometimes people are just afraid to confront you and decide to leave because it is the easiest way out. I can relate to being afraid because I myself prefers to avoid confrontation.

What I also found interesting is fall-outs. We have all been there when we had a friend we were once close to but all of the sudden you start talking less until you no longer really speak or hang out again. I found those to be less hurtful or not hurtful at all. It’s as if the universe let it happen that way and it knew that the friendship was only meant to be temporary for a reason. I was explaining to my friend that I found it almost “ok” that it happens that way because you are already on the same page that you need to find other things. You no longer have the same interests and it is time to move on.

If you are like me where you experienced people leaving without a warning, you are definitely not alone. How do you overcome the pain of it? Well, like everyone says, “time heals everything”. In my opinion, that is partially true. What I find helpful is to let the feelings come and let the feelings go day by day. If you find yourself thinking of this person, let the thoughts roll in, but make sure you work on fading them out. Like a previous post, thoughts are like clouds in the sky. They show up, and then they fade away. You may also feel emotions along with these thoughts, which is completely natural. Feel the emotion, but tell yourself repeatedly that it will pass. It’s just a wave crashing onto the shore. Before you know it, you are practicing mindfulness!

For me, mindfulness is something that is very important in the healing process of any situation. It allows you to acknowledge your thoughts but teaches you the process of letting go. Remember, mindfulness is a practice! You have to keep practicing until you get better at it and soon you will heal. With this, you begin to gain closure. You may never receive an explanation for the things people do to you, but at least you find that inner peace that will let you move on.

Thanks for reading!

A Letter to Me

One night as I was battling with my own emotions and mind, I realized that I needed to take the time to really take care of me. It was not a “hey I need a massage” moment or a “hey let’s go spend money!” type of care. What I needed was something different that I don’t recall ever doing before. What I did was write a letter to myself. As corny as it sounds, I think it really helped me reflect and try look at my battles from a different perspective.

As I was writing the letter to myself, I saw how hard it was to really put feelings and thoughts about myself. I had to really get out of my comfort zone and really really really take care of myself as I was writing. I’m not even sure if having self-empathy is a thing, but it almost seems like I went there. It was as if I stepped out of my mind for a few minutes and just talked to myself. It was a very awkward but healing experience. It was as if an older me was talking to me as a child. It felt so good to just tell yourself what you need to hear that no one probably would ever know to say.

In this letter, I gave a life summary of a lot of events that left a scar on me, balanced by life events that made me better as a person. I also had the opportunity to write to myself the good things I have accomplished in my 25 years of life, and how amazing these accomplishments were. I think it was great to see that there is a lot of positive in my life that I sometimes take for granted. It was an eye-opening experience realizing that how sometimes negativity can really cloud your mind. This is when I realized that I need to work on viewing things more in a positive light. I thought to myself that if things are negative, try to look at the silver lining in these experiences to be able to move on.

I realized that I hold on to so much with sometimes not even realizing it. Holding and suppressing your emotions is unhealthy and it can lead to many imbalances. I have always wondered where my depression stemmed from, and I was able to dig deeper into all of my wounds. I discovered that my problems come from not expressing and letting every situation take ahold of me. So much that I lost myself multiple times throughout my lifetime.

Another thing I came across when reflecting on this letter I wrote to myself was the vulnerability I put myself through. We always become vulnerable when we open to other people, but what I didn’t fully realize was that you can also be vulnerable to yourself. I think this is when it gets difficult. I personally do not like to revisit certain experiences that left a trauma or revisit certain feelings because they are caused by something deeper that may scare me. I learned that sometimes you just have to go through that in order to heal and cleanse yourself from the inside out. Since I am taking on this cleansing journey, that is exactly what I needed. I needed to be real to myself and heal from the inside out.

I will share a piece of my letter below just to hopefully inspire you to do the same for yourself.

“Dear me,

I know your heart aches a lot. You always have a lot on your mind but just know that you are worthy. I know you had a lot of troubles at such a young age, but you managed to grow up and hold it together. Despite the ache you carried at a young age, you managed to push yourself through elementary, middle, and high school. Then you pushed yourself to finish college! Wow! I am so proud of you!

I know that right after high school, you faced a huge challenge and it caused you a lot of pain. You finally accepted and learned your truth, your identity. A lot of tears rolled down your cheek and a lot of sleepless nights but you made it through!”

 

Of course, I went on for pages writing more things to myself. But, it was great doing that for myself!

If you ever decide to write something to yourself, I hope it brings some great reflection and healing to you. It can be difficult to go through many events in your life that may have left a scar, but sometimes we just need to let go of the past in order to look at our present and our futures in a better light. Sometimes we hold on to many things that hurt us that we no longer are ourselves and we lose ourselves with all the negativity. If you are like me, sometimes you get so sucked into it that as time goes on you don’t even realize that you are still holding on to it. Making peace with yourself and your past can be a challenge, but it also a very liberating feeling.

I encourage everyone who is reading this to write and pamper themselves with a letter. Write what you feel is what you need to hear that no one else would tell you. Once you end your letter, save it and when you feel the time is right, open it! Who knows… You may discover how much you have grown as a person and how much you have healed since you wrote it.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

The Battles of Cleansing The Mind

Towards the end of 2017, I decided that I would get away from all social media and deactivate my social media accounts. It was a very spur of the moment decision but I had a reason. No, it’s not a new years resolution telling myself that I need to get off social media due to a social media addiction. In fact, it was much deeper than that.

A lot was happening at once! More than what my suppose adult brain could wrap around. I had to move to my father’s house which is not the ideal situation. Considering he is a hard person to deal with, it made my move very emotional. He has problems with homosexuality and he is also very religious.

Once I was done packing on my last night, I was given the news that my ex jumped into a new relationship. Mind you, we were only broken up for 4 months, and we dated for a year. I was shattered! I was so angry because he promised he would still be around. We had an emotional breakup and we tried to make things civil. I still cared for him and wanted him in my life as a friend. Well, he went from a friend to a complete stranger the next day. He didn’t even tell me he was seeing someone at least to let me know our friendship would no longer be available. That is what upset me the most! I wanted closure. I wanted him to tell me “Hey, I know we decided to be friends. But, I started seeing someone and I want to make it work. We can’t be friends.” type of talk. Of course, it would still hurt but at least I would know I can no longer see him as a friend and I can move on from that.

So, he went on and publicized everything on social media like a total asshole of their camping trip and already calling him “my guy” *throws up*. Seriously? Who does that? Clearly, he wanted to get back at me somehow. Or that’s what part of my mind says. The other constantly says “let it go. Its ok, you’re fine. He was not for you.” which is hard to go by. My other mind just wanted to go and key his car or slash his tires. Better yet, go and yell at him. Since I am not about that, I decided to just try to stay grounded as much as possible.

That’s when both my minds got in sync and said: “get off social media, now!”. Without hesitation, I decided to click on “deactivate” on all social media platforms. No explanation to anyone. Just gone!

That was my first motive to do it. After crying all night about my asshole ex, that is when reflection hit. No one has noticed I am gone. No one reached out and asked if I was ok because I am gone from social media. That’s when I realized who really cared for me and who didn’t. However, this was not a seeking attention stunt. It was something I noticed throughout my time off social media.

What is hard about all this is that I am not keeping up with people I care about on social media. Thankfully, I shoot them a text and we catch up in person which is so much better. However, sometimes I feel like the norm is being on social media. Sometimes it makes me feel lonelier and forgotten because I am not on social media. My good mind says: “Don’t worry. This is good for you. You need this! It will only hurt more if you’re on there.” I just listen and let life take its course.

The upside of this whole entire mind cleanse is that I have built up courage to join a gay social group that does activities on the weekends. So far the social events have been great! Being off social media has also taught me to be more present and in the moment. Although I was always against texting or using social media when socializing, I felt even more in the moment when socializing with these new people. I’ve been getting out of my comfort zone and boosting myself up to try new things. So far I have noticed more confidence! Last weekend on our trip to Julian California, I was laughing and having a good time. I was feeling like me again.

Although it sounds like I am ending on a positive note, currently I feel like shit. At least in this blog post. A lot is bothering me again. I just keep reminding myself to stay strong and remember the journey of cleansing the mind is going to be a process. That it’s going to have its great days, and their bad days. To embrace the lonely hours, and that it will pass. Like my therapist once told me: “Thoughts are like clouds in the sky… They will pop up, and they will fade away. It is just a thought… Emotions are like the waves of the ocean crashing onto the rocks/shore. They come in waves, but they settle and roll back into the ocean.” This stuck with me and I keep reminding myself that things come and go.

If you are on a mind cleansing, life cleansing, or even just body cleansing journey, just remember to stay strong. It is a battle, but a battle that is not impossible to beat!

May your journeys bring you lots of happiness in the end!

Thanks for reading!