Who Am I At My Core?

Ask yourself, “Who am I at my core?” Who am I without my friends, family, school, work, and social media? What does my inner voice say to me when I am alone? What are my passions and desires?

For so long, I used to feel stuck. I was stuck on a revolving door of dark emotions that overwhelmed and consumed every part of my being. I constantly needed validation, assurance, love, and affection. I sought others to make me feel whole when I needed to be whole on my own. This darkness loomed for years, and I couldn’t shake the feelings of hopelessness. I told myself my twenties would be filled with bliss and adventure, but instead, I felt like I was wasting it sitting at home unable to let go of past mistakes.

Life has a way of teaching you lessons and pushing you in the direction you need to be, not necessarily the path you expected. Reflection on my late teens and twenties is teaching me that I need to be gentle with myself. Love ME more. Forgive ME more. I need to extend the same empathy and understanding that I do to others to myself.

I want to live so densely. lush. and slow in the next few years, that a year becomes ten years, and my past becomes only a page in the book of my life.
— Nayyirah Waheed

Over time, I developed self-awareness about who I was in the past, who I am in the present, and who I want to be in the future. I know the things about myself that I need to appreciate and celebrate, as well as the things I need to change.

My therapist told me a way that can help move beyond my depression is actually doing something. I almost felt offended. This simple, yet deafening, statement made sense. When you’re feeling stuck and lost in life, remember all of the reasons why and how you made it to where you are now. Remember who you are at the core. If you don’t like where you are, find an accountability partner and make a plan.

Talking and complaining are easy. However, I had to remember that life isn’t a straight shot from point A to point B. In fact, point A and B don’t even exist. Life is constantly evolving and what you thought you wanted for yourself last week could certainly change next month. A cliché, yet real statement is, “it’s not about how you start, but how you finish.”

Be patient with yourself.

I still feel unworthy sometimes, but now I constantly remind myself that I am deserving of happiness and everything good in this life. This journey of self-love began when I asked myself, “who am I at my core?”

Here are some daily acts of self-love you can incorporate when you’re feeling stuck in life:

  1. Therapy - I’m always going to say therapy is worth giving a shot. A licensed professional can point out your thought patterns and self-sabotaging behavior that you often don’t see in yourself. (Resources: Therapy for Black Girls and Psychology Today)

  2. Journal - Write, write, and write some more until you find some clarity and realize the detrimental, recurring thought patterns that are blocking your greatness.

  3. Exercise - A good workout can always make you feel better about yourself and clear your head.

  4. Healthy eating habits - Unhealthy eating habits can often make you feel sluggish and unmotivated. Eat foods that FUEL your body. (Resource: Food Heaven Made Easy)

  5. Meditation - Meditation can clear your mind, align your inner being, and reduce stress. (Resources: Pacifica and Insight Timer)

  6. Organizing your space - A cluttered room can lead to cluttered thoughts. My room is often a reflection of how I feel. When I clean my space, I think clearer.

  7. Friends - Your friends should be your supporters and want the best for you. If they don’t, then you need to reevaluate your group. Motivate each other and check in on them.

  8. Spirituality - A relationship with the Creator will never lead you astray.

  9. Create a schedule - I feel lost when I don’t have a schedule laid out for the day, week, and month. If it’s not written down, it doesn’t exist. Plan your days and you’ll feel more productive. I use my iCal, a hard-cover planner, and color-code everything. I’m super type A, so this works for me. I’ve been using planners since probably the 2nd grade.

  10. Vision Board - Create a vision board with your friends, hang it on the wall, and remind yourself daily why you do what you do and who you are at the core. I have my vision board hanging above my desk.

  11. Social Media Fast - Sometimes you just need to detach because the enemy of comparison can make you lose sight of your own greatness.

This isn’t a cure-all, but the journey starts by taking one seemingly inconsequential step, and then slowly putting one foot in front of another to make the necessary changes you want to see in your life. Start writing down those goals, find your team, and take the leap.