When you and your last partner moved in together, it mayn’t have been the picture of marital bliss you had in mind. Perhaps you went your separate ways as soon as the lease was up. It was the correct decision, but you may still be feeling adrift when it comes to being on your own. Does this sound familiar to you?
Maybe you’re wondering who you are after so much of your (capital-S) Self has been wrapped up in someone else. Or maybe you’ve experienced being engulfed by being someone’s caregiver for a year and don’t remember what it feels like to look after yourself. But what is it like, how to focus on yourself? Where do we start?
There is a method to get out of that situation and rediscover your Self again. It all boils down to making new habits.
8 ways : how to focus on yourself
When you’re a youngster, you begin learning self-reliance skills. It’s a lifelong process that allows you to be confident in your abilities, take action as your authentic self, and genuinely feel all of life’s pleasures and disappointments.
But as we become older and have more complex connections, it’s possible that things may get a little hazy.
“Often, people tend to build a codependency in their relationship allowing their significant others’ perspective or love define them,” says Imani Wilform, a licensed therapist with Empower Your Mind Therapy.
Here are some methods to (re)discover how to make yourself a priority in order to achieve happiness as an individual.
1. Fall (back) in love with your own favorites
Are you still ordering pepperoni pizza with mushrooms because that’s what your ex preferred? Do you find yourself avoiding a show on TV because you adopted someone else’s negative opinion of it? It’s time to take control of your own life again.
Consider what you enjoy doing and how much joy it brings to your life when you’re not obliged to satisfy other people’s tastes. What books, films, or hobbies do you get interested in when no one is looking?
2. School yourself
If you have the desire, availability, and willpower to take a course that appeals to you, go for it. If not, don’t worry — there are always new learning possibilities all around you.
Get out and explore the world, meet new people, learn something new. “Learning new things may boost cognitive capacity while mastering unique talents enhances self-esteem,” according to Wilform. Get out there and adventure! Learn a new language or take up a hobby.
3. Uncover and confront the fear
There’s certainly a solid rationale for having several sources of worry after learning to live in a pandemic. You may have lost your daringness. Perhaps being confined with others for so long damaged your sense of independence.
Avoiding new experiences out of fear can stunt your connection to your true self. Talk to a friend or therapist about your apprehension around trying new things. Talking it through can help either dispel the fearful charge or get perspective on what the actual risks are.
4. Take it outside
Perhaps a lot of the codependent characteristics you’ve acquired were formed due to your spending so much time in one location, environment, or within the presence of another person.
Nobody wants to feel cooped up inside, but most of us need some form of escape. Spending 15 minutes outside has a long history in improving stress levels and emotional well-being. Try spending 15 minutes outside to see if your mood improves or if you gain new perspective while getting some fresh air.
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5. Break out the journal
It’s time to give your own feelings a little QT now that you’ve been focusing on others’ feelings for so long.
Second, writing about what you’re going through and your emotions might assist in two ways. The act of putting ideas down on paper helps you to process emotions since it forces you to think them through. Second, you may look back to previous journal entries to see how you’ve dealt with those sentiments previously.
If you don’t enjoy writing, consider drawing or assembling a collage. There are no rules when it comes to expressing oneself.
It is not necessary to master meditation before you can apply and profit from it. It’s all about spending some time alone with your thoughts. The best news? You may do it at any time, anywhere, and in any manner that suits you. “This simple practice improves overall mental health, helps you sleep better, be more productive, and be kinder to those around you,” Wilform says.
7. Maximize self-care
Self-care could be one of those words that has a broad meaning all over the world, but a very particular meaning for each person. Keeping it simple: self-care is whatever recharges your batteries, celebrates your real, magnificent self, and makes you feel great both mentally and physically.
Taking care of yourself also aids in the formation of better connections with others once you understand how you get your happiness.
8. Practice self-compassion
Didn’t we just go over this? Self-compassion is not the same as self-care. Giving yourself kind words and soothing treatments would be similar to what you’d do for a buddy who’s going through a tough time. It isn’t either encouraging yourself to feel like you need someone else.
As you transition from “I’m doing it all” to prioritizing yourself, there may be a sense of selfishness in a negative light, which can lead to feelings of self-coldness. Allow yourself time and space to figure things out.
How can these practices become lifestyle tools?
If you believe that a connection has broken down or that you have been single for a time, taking an altered viewpoint may assist. Focusing on oneself is a wonderful and valid approach to grow in your own life, whether you’re coupled or not.
Without affecting your sense of self, individuals may enter and depart from your life if you know what your own personal values are and place them first. “We need to change our thinking. You are in control of your own happiness. Aside from ourselves, no one has been assigned with the duty of making us happy,” Wilform adds.
To be in command of their own happiness throughout life, apply the suggestions below as often as possible, and ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I really love and how can I experience more of it?
- What am I curious about and where can I start learning?
- If I let my thoughts spill out, what themes emerge?
- Do I talk to myself the way I would talk to someone I care about?
When to speak with a professional
When you want to better understand yourself or acquire more tools to get through a difficult period, professional help is usually not an awful idea. When it comes to therapy, particularly if you’re recovering from domestic violence or entering into numerous miserable relationships, it’s critical. “Therapy can help you recognize and understand the patterns behind the trauma you’ve experienced,” Wilform says. “You have the opportunity to gain clarity and closure to ultimately heal from the trauma and embrace who you are and what you deserve.”
A few self-focus resources
Are you looking for a place to begin? These tools can assist you in putting our ideas into action and re-center your attention on yourself:
- Go down a rabbit hole with Brain Pickings.
- Discover your next obsession.
- Learn more about self-compassion from the leader in research on the topic.
- Explore a million ways to meditate with Insight Timer.
- Learn about the health benefits of forest bathing (but also know you can get your outdoor time on an urban bench or anywhere else in the open air.
- Kickstart your journal with prompts for self-discovery.
Bottom line of how to focus on yourself
There are a slew of reasons why you may lose touch with yourself, such as the death of a loved one or termination of a relationship that has defined your life for a long time. You can take steps to refocus on reconnecting with your own identity.
Setting firm self-care practices can help you maintain a healthy sense of self regardless of what’s going on in your life. And professional therapy might be an excellent instrument during times of personal change or difficult transitions.