By Nina Rubin
No matter how much hipster font is used, how many hashtags I see, I still can’t help but feel left out.
Like most people who wake up and check social media, I’m bombarded with well-designed memes, inspirational stories, personal words of affirmation, Deepak Chopra’s exquisite mantras and other social media trends such as Man Crush Monday, Transformation Tuesday, Woman Crush Wednesday, Throwback Thursday, Flashback Friday, Sunday Funday.
Some days, all this positivity just gets on my nerves.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a pretty happy person. I wake up cheerful and upbeat 90% of the time, but seeing these “reminders” actually cause me feelings of self-doubt, sometimes.
I love seeing funny anecdotes on Instagram and my pictures of my friends’ dogs, food, flowers and workouts (and yes, I post this stuff, too), but the memes sometimes get crazy. Last year was one of my most challenging years and I grasped onto anything available that would make me feel good, or even normal.
I suffered like this when I was 29 and could not picture life at age 30 as an unmarried woman. In my mind I envisioned a cliff—seriously. However, when my birthday arrived, I didn’t fall off Mt. Baldy. Rather, it was just another day. In fact, many, many more days passed and I was fine being unmarried.
I feel better than my old self. I feel really upbeat again.
It’s not from reading memes, watching Upworthy and BuzzFeed videos, or attending self-help conventions. It’s from connecting deeply with a few of my closest friends, looking inward, and letting go of how I thought things were supposed to be. I’ve also started a meditation practice and have been reminded of the Buddhist practice of impermanence.
I can’t believe silent, quiet meditation actually works, but so far, so good.
I don’t really feel like I’m a good meditator yet (clearly I’m still casting self-judgment if I label my practice in any way), but I feel like I’m developing new pathways to be more gentle on myself. I’m letting go of the tightly wound beliefs that certain things have to end up a specific way.
I don’t actually know how anything is going to end up. I only know who and how I am today.
I know I’m more than a colorful square with black block print telling me to believe in myself.
I know that my thoughts, feelings, perceptions and stories can change on a dime, and that when I loosen my hands on the outcome, it usually turns out in a manageable way. I still feel deep sadness and some regret for some of the events I experienced in 2014, but now I’m not clinging to them.
It’s really awesome to wake up and feel confident again, rather than lost and panicked.
Today, I’m moving forward, whatever that means. I’m speaking up for what I need and living more gently. It feels great.
Today—just today—I’m having a human experience and accepting my flaws. I’m noticing my challenges, being honest with myself about them and moving on.
I’m just letting the ideas go as quickly as they came in.
How? I guess I do it with steady, deep breathing, a gaze on the periphery as much as on the road ahead, and a relaxed posture when I’m still or moving. I feel lighter and move lithely. I can’t believe it myself, but this letting go thing is working.
Nina Rubin, M.A., is a native New Mexican living in Southern California. Coming from a long line of entrepreneurs, she runs her own Gestalt Life Coaching practice and is starting a food company called The Gourmet Therapist.
Originally trained as a Gestalt Psychotherapist, Nina practices as a Gestalt Life Coach working relationally with clients in the present moment. Helping clients gain insight and awareness, identify their needs and create action plans to achieve their goals is her primary focus.
An avid cook and baker, she is constantly trying new recipes and looks forward to hosting a breakfast pop-up restaurant. Having flirted with the idea of writing for many years, Nina writes for her blog, Afterdefeat. She is always trying something new or connecting with dear friends and can be found at Sunday meditation sanghas, yoga classes, playing scrabble, and hosting dinner parties.
Editor: Alicia Wozniak
- No Coincidences: Beginning the Journey into Iyengar Yoga - January 3, 2018
- Dear Yoga Teacher: Can You Turn Down (or off) the Music? - May 30, 2017
- Ask Nina: My Husband Passed Away, How Do I Move On? - September 10, 2016