Little By Little
Weekly advice column, Hosted by Sofia Sperling.
Sofia is a psychology student, and self love & women’s rights advocate. She has been sharing her own struggles with depression and anxiety openly on her platforms for years in order to remind people that they are not alone, and to fight stigmas of mental illness.
How do I learn to embrace and feel my emotions instead of just internalizing and repressing them?
It’s very admirable for you to recognize this part of you, especially since the first step is recognition. Learning to truly feel your emotions is something that will take practice, especially if you are used to repressing your feelings, but it will feel so good once you get there. I think the most important thing to know is never to get mad at yourself for feeling. Your emotional responses are completely valid, no matter what anyone says !
I think it’s important to explore your emotions as they come up, but that can be hard if you’re not used to feeling them fully, so maybe start by watching really sad movie and really engulfing yourself in it. I find that crying is a beautiful way to let your emotions out, whether that's sadness, happiness, or frustration, it’ll feel so good to get all the pent up emotions out.
Maybe slow your life down a little and reflect more. Dive into your heart and figure out how different things make you feel, and let yourself feel. Even if it’s somewhat muted at first, finding your feelings is a great way to start. If something happens, good or bad, and you start to feel a stirring inside you, stop for a moment and focus on the feeling that is coming, embrace it and let it engulf you. Let yourself express your emotions in the moments they come up, don’t feel bad at yourself for feeling them and tell yourself how natural and important it is to let your feelings out. You cannot control your emotions, and repressing them will only poison your soul and leave you feeling crazy inside. Write about your emotions, talk about your emotions, feel your emotions.
Do not fear feeling your emotions.
Do not be fear being vulnerable.
Do not fear crying.
How can I be 100% myself and have good relationships with friends and family at the same time?
I feel like always when I am around people I Behave like this or that so that they'll like me. I am different around different people. I just feel like myself when I am alone. How can I stay myself when I around people?
There is a common misconception that you are supposed to be the same around different people or else you are considered fake, but truly humans are multifaceted beings and shouldn’t be belittled to a single aspect of them self. Obviously, different people will bring out different parts of you and different situations will do the same, but you should never feel like you have to suppress who you are just to “fit in”. It’s not worth it and you will only feel worse about yourself if you are constantly molding yourself to be accepted by others. Of course, sometimes you’ll feel more energized or more fatigued and sometimes different people ignite different parts of you, but that’s still a part of YOU.
Figure out who you are and never change that for anyone else. It’s okay to be malleable, especially in more formal situations but if you’re changing who you are at your core for the acceptance of others, you need to reevaluate the people you are surrounding yourself with. Only surround yourself with those who empower, enlighten, and support you, only surround yourself with people that bring you positivity and love. With being yourself you will find that true relationships will occur because you will never feel judged for being yourself.
As a hormonal 16 year-old, I was wondering whats your best advice for mood swings and trying to stay positive? It's something I struggle with daily. I really want to work on myself this year, and changing my mindset seems like a good start.
Practicing a positive lifestyle entails exactly what it says - practice! Write yourself affirmations, repeat them to yourself daily, remind yourself that you are loved. Feed yourself well, treat yourself well and never get mad at yourself for getting off track of your new, positive lifestyle. Your mood is destined to change, as life is chaotic and has a tendency to throw shit your way, but embodying a positive mindset will help you to break free from your environmentally triggered emotions. Never get mad at yourself for feeling - being sad doesn’t mean you do not have a positive mindset, it merely means that you are feeling sad, and that’s okay !
Little things to remember that’ll help you to stay positive:
- Accept the chaos of life for is not your fault and it will happen no matter what
- Surround yourself with positive/supportive people
- Find yourself ! It is so much easier to stay positive when you're solid with who you are
- Don’t get upset at yourself for feeling
- Make time for yourself to relax or express yourself in a creative way
- Put your mental health first
I was just wondering how you deal with disordered eating thoughts that come up out of nowhere (if that happens to you at all). I've already been through therapy/recovery but sometimes i find myself wanting to eat less the day after I may have eaten more than usual (this really isn't often, but it happens sometimes). Thanks!!
I am still ridden by these thoughts as well, however I focus on the importance of my health and that helps me to feed myself properly. When those thoughts pop into your mind, tell them to fuck off. Tell them they are wrong and that your body is a temple that deserves to be nourished properly. The best way I have dealt with intrusive thoughts, is through fighting them. I talk to myself through everything. Every intrusive thought is met with sass and logic. The demon inside of you wants you to struggle, it wants you to feel pain, but you don’t deserve that and you are too strong to give in. Laugh at that voice inside your head and nourish yourself. A nourished body is a nourished soul.
Another thing that helped me to subside the demon inside me is to exercise and eat healthy. Exercising will give you another thing to shove in your demons face when it tells you to restrict yourself. You may have munched hard yesterday, but today you worked out and it’ll all balance out. Same with eating healthy! Just because you ate a lot doesn’t mean it’s bad, and even if you binged on some junk food just make an effort to eat healthier the next day and prove to yourself that you can be beautiful and fit and healthy all at the same time!
I constantly bombard myself with expectations and rules to love myself by (I will be happy if i lose 10 pounds, if I get good grades, etc). Any idea how I can start to dig myself out of this hole and like myself for the imperfect human I am :( ???
The thing about self love is that it has to be unconditional. You must love yourself for everything you are and the only expectations you should make for yourself are those that are realistic and motivating, not ones to tear you down. Perfection doesn’t exist and if it did it would be boring. Look at your “flaws” as indicators of your uniqueness instead of as flaws. Focus on loving yourself for being different and imperfect, it’s what makes you, you and that’s beautiful! Don’t base your happiness on something as superficial as your weight or grades, both of those things do not define you in any way.
Instead of putting yourself up to expectations, have goals and reward yourself for when you reach them. Be okay and happy with who you are now, but also push yourself to do better, and become your ideal self. Instead of saying “if, then” say “when.” That’ll give you the leeway of forever while also motivating you to do something. “When i get good grades I will treat myself to a new pair of shoes…” etc. Give yourself rewards for reaching your goals but also never get mad at yourself for doing lesser. Be realistic and honest with yourself. Love yourself for who you are in the moment because without that love you will never be able to get to where you want to be.
Be proud of yourself every step of the way when you reach a goal or even just get closer to it, by dismissing an intrusive thought, of even if you just get through your day without crying. Being your number one supporter and fan will help you to embody the love you deserve.
send in your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
***You have compete anonymity when sending questions to sofia, but if we hear that you are planing on hurting yourself or someone else, we are mandatory reporters. Please note that this advice column is not a substitute for professional help. If you are facing serious family, personal, or mental issues, seek direct help***
Dating Abuse & Domestic Violence – 1-866-331-9474
Depression & Suicide – 866-488-7386
Child Abuse – 1-800-422-4453
National Runaway Safeline – 1-800-786-2929
National Eating Disorders Helpline – (800) 931-2237.
LGBTQ+ Support Hotline – 1-888-843-4564
Free Therapy and Counseling – Click Here