There are a lot of articles, self-help books, Instagram quotes and the like about how to travel the world, meditate, and eat, pray, love to find your true self.
There are twice as many people willing to tell or sell you their testimony on how, once lost, they discovered themselves at the end of a grueling search. We, the people, love a good hide and seek tale about one's identity. As of late; however, I've been all about being proactive instead of reactive--focusing more on causes rather than effects, and from that focus came the question: How do we lose ourselves?
I began to think critically about the times (yep, plural) that I've felt disconnected from my spirit and found that these 5 things are how you lose yourself.
1. Being in relationships that drain you.
And no, I don't just mean those of the romantic sort. I am talking about those friends who only call to dump their bad days on you, but who disappear when you're in need. I mean that family member who has always mistreated you and who you forgive because “blood is thicker than water." Hell, I mean that girl who does your hair and makes you wait three hours after your scheduled appointment time because she has personal issues that keep her from being professional. And yes, I also mean that man or woman who keeps you up all night in tears, makes you question your self-worth, and can't see anything in you worth respecting---all in the name of “love." These are the relationships that deteriorate the most crucial connection you can have, the one with yourself.
2. Failing to practice gratitude.
Often times when we feel the most broken or down, it's because we are focusing on all of the things we do not have instead of the things we've already been blessed with. It is so easy to get caught up in the “what ifs" and the “when is it going to happen" that our present situation can feel anything but satisfying. We pick and prod over everything we are lacking in such great detail while barely noticing the multitude of wonders we have to offer.
3. Mistaking depression for anything other than depression.
Depression is tricky. It has the uncanny ability to distort your reality and make you believe that your job/friends/lover/dreams/self are all worthless. And it will try its best to convince you that it will be cured by losing weight, moving to a different city, having less or more lovers, praying a lot or not at all, secluding yourself or keeping so many people around you never have a moment to yourself---oh, depression is a real shapeshifter. And the truth of the matter is depression can only be dealt with after it is called by its name and treated as such. If you're suffering from depression, try your best to face it head on---you won't always win but you won't always lose either.
4. Placing your self-worth in your accomplishments (or failures!).
Here's the thing: sometimes life is absolutely amazing and other times, it is literally terrible. Ebbs and flows are a natural part of everyone's life--even those who seem to have it all. But what I've found is that if I can detach my feelings about myself from my feelings about wherever I am in my life, I can hold on to the same amount of peace and joy in the bad times as I have in the good times. This takes practice, a lot of it, but it is so worth it. When the way I viewed me was wrapped up in whether an article I wrote went viral or whether I booked the role I wanted, I was on a constant roller coaster of loving myself and then hating myself, and that spilled over into my relationships--both professional and personal. I was teaching people to love me with the same conditions, and people whose feelings about me depended on what I could do for them surrounded me.
5. Wallowing in self-pity.
This is a hard one to accept for many because it means taking a long, hard, critical look at yourself in the name of growth--and it can be uncomfortable. The truth of the matter is we as able-minded adults, those of us not suffering from mental illnesses that keep us from being able to think clearly, must be responsible for ourselves. It doesn't matter where we come from or what we've been through, there comes a time when those things cannot be called upon as excuses for our unhappiness.
We tell the universe to keep dumping bad things in our path because we like them. We convince ourselves that we are powerless; therefore, handing over the baton of our lives to whomever and whatever we come in contact with.
The bottom line is that you cannot cover yourself in gasoline and be mad when you are set on fire. The gasoline can be the refusal to separate yourself from toxic relationships, ingratitude, or even a career that zaps your goodness, but one thing is for sure--you won't dodge that fire for long. That fire can be consuming. Sure, there are those who are able to self-help book their way out of it before too much precious time is wasted, but there are others who spend their whole life trying to find their way back to themselves. That doesn't have to be your story!
Do you feel as though you've lost yourself? Let's chat in the comments
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
If you’ve ever wondered what type of mindset it takes to reach icon status like Oprah Winfrey, it’s probably best to start by knowing which one she’s managed to avoid over her long-standing career.
And let’s just say imposter syndrome didn’t make the cut.
While promoting her new book, Build the Life You Want: The Art and Science of Getting Happier, with her co-author Arthur C. Brooks, Oprah shared in an interview with People that when it comes to imposter syndrome, it’s one emotion she hasn’t experienced.
"I don't have any of that imposter feelings that so many people have," she says. "I didn't even understand it, I had to look it up."
According to the acclaimed talk-show host and media mogul, she attributes this to her early life experiences, specifically the impact of her father's influence as a child. "I remember as a young girl being a strong orator in the national competition for speaking and winning the local championships, then the state championships. And then placing, I think it was No. 3 or something, in the nationals," Winfrey shares.
"And I remember after every contest, the families whose kids were just in the contest were going to celebrate and their families were all excited. My father's thing was, 'Get your coat.'"
She continues, "I learned, in all these years, every exciting thing that would happen to me it was always, that's good, get your coat. Get your coat. I don't know if that was ingrained in my personality or I just learned that nobody's going to be excited about it, so you might as well just get your coat and go. I don't have high highs and I don't have low lows. Which is a good thing, because no matter what I'm going through, I know I'm going to come out of it and be okay."
Impostor syndrome, also known as impostor phenomenon, is a psychological perspective of persistent self-doubt and the feeling of being a fraud despite evidence of one's competence, skills, or accomplishments. People experiencing imposter syndrome often believe that their success is due to luck or external factors rather than their own abilities and fear that others will eventually discover that they are not as capable or knowledgeable as they appear to be.
With over 40 years of accolades and history-making impact, it’s clear that Winfrey doesn’t shy away from the fact that her success is due to her hard work and diligence, with everything in her life being that of what she earned — which she finds deep value in: “the ability to live in the space of true appreciation for a life, not just well lived, but well-earned."
From coming from the lineage of an enslaved great-grandfather who earned 80 acres of land in exchange for labor, to becoming the first Black woman billionaire in the world without the foundation of generational wealth, Winfrey beams proudly at her ability to shift her and her family’s legacy for the better.
"I didn't have a grandfather, a great-grandfather who could give me land. But now...I am able to have my own and to know that I work for it. And it wasn't a husband that did it. It wasn't a brother or an uncle, or whatever did it, but I did it," Winfrey says.
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Featured image by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images