My Stress-Busting Mantra: It’s Me, Not You

By Minji

“It’s me, not you,” is now my new stress-busting mantra.  Every time I find myself obsessing over a stressful situation, I try to shift the energy to myself instead of blaming others.  Even if “they” are at fault, it’s always better to give yourself your energy instead of wasting it on things you can't change!"

They say stress is a cause of over 90% of health problems, which includes skincare issues. For this and other obvious reasons, I try to manage my stress levels and avoid overly stressful situations.  Avoiding stressful situations get tricky when they involve something desirable and exciting. For example, Black Friday shopping might stress you out with the early times, crowds and overwhelming stuff on sale, but if you love shopping, you might still willingly partake and experience related stress.

For me recently, with the new launch of our skincare line Soffli, I found myself in this sort of pickle.  In the midst of something I had been hoping and dreaming of for so many years, I discovered that my stress levels were higher than they had been in a while.

Starting your own business is a high stakes game – your monetary investment, time, effort, heart and passion…huge amounts of resources are dedicated to the unknown.  On top of that, you’re coordinating with others, such as suppliers, shipping companies, photographers, marketing experts, designers, etc.  Even with a decent partner and solid contract, many things are outside of your control which can also add to your stress pile.         

In the midst of all this, I found myself stressing out over the smallest things.  I was irritated by third parties who kept missing deadlines. I couldn’t let go of that casual but hurtful comment I got from a friend, despite the fact that deep down inside, I knew it wasn’t targeted towards me. I wondered why my marketing expert couldn’t be more proactive…and the list goes on.

The more I focused on outside people and outside factors, my stress levels increased and intensified.  How dare “you” say this or do this…this type of thought pattern would circle in my mind (and heart too for that matter) for hours, days and stress me out.

For example, going back to that reckless comment made by a friend – that situation kept replaying in my head and my resentment towards my friend and stress levels kept rising with every replay.  As small as it was, it came to the point where I had to take a time out and just sit with my difficult emotions and thoughts. My stress only started subsiding once I started shifting the focus from external elements to myself.  

As I silently reflected on this incident, it became clear to me that the core of the problem was not the friend, but my fear.  The comment made me question whether I was doing the right thing, and immediately, the fear of failing and tackling something new kicked in. Going one level deeper, I was able to also realize that this fear was the good type of fear I should embrace – not fear triggered by a truly dangerous situation to be avoided, but fear arising as the natural reaction to a growth opportunity to be embraced.  

I wish I could tell you with this little exercise, my stress was gone and I was back to my happy self.  Unfortunately, that was not the case and my stress lingered for a while longer, even after this breakthrough. 

However, shifting the focus off of external sources I can't change and instead confronting my inner demons head on has hugely helped lessen the stress. This mindset doesn’t change the reality of my situation, but it does give me back a sense of control, which can make all the difference with the most challenging situations.

“It’s me, not you,” is now my new stress-busting mantra.  Every time I find myself obsessing over a stressful situation, I try to shift the energy to myself instead of blaming others.  Even if “they” are at fault, if you can’t change them or the situation, it’s always better to give yourself your energy instead of wasting it on things you can't change.