Never Be A Victim Of Your Circumstances!

For a long time I did not love myself. And it affected EVERY aspect of my life.

It affected the successes (and mostly failures) of all my relationships – romantic and other – it destroyed my confidence and pretty much made me cower back from life. I simply existed; like a ghost not being part of the living.

When you live in fear of everything you do and the consequences of your existence, you do not truly live.

Every chance of happiness, I destroyed for being undeserving.

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Do You Discard Your Own Needs In Order To Please Others?

I’m an enormous people pleaser. And yet I didn’t realise until last week, that I am planning my entire wedding around what will satisfy the tastes of every one of my different guests. As last weeks’ events came to a head, I had to force myself to stop and think, “Is this actually what I want or am I just doing what will make everyone else happy? Do I recognise the difference?” Making people happy makes me happy, so how can I break this pattern and truly know what would satisfy me, away from others’ judgments?

I really dislike that I have this need to appeal to everyone’s expectations of me. It feeds my anxiety like miracle grow to a weed. Usually this habit is self-contained purely due to the small number of people coming together at one time. Keeping just one or two people happy is easy.

But Plan a wedding and you either have to learn that there is no way of organising something that appeals to everyone’s tastes; that inevitably there’ll be disappointments, raised eyebrows and the ‘well I wouldn’t have done it that way’ comments, or you will make yourself ill in trying to achieve the impossible ‘perfect’ wedding.

Like with all my emotions, I wanted to try to understand why I feel or behave in this way.

I have spoken before about my constant need for perfection in order to feel successful, and I think this links up in big way to my people pleasing nature. People’s reactions to me reflect the success or failure of whatever it is I have presented. It is feedback, and I use it as a barometer to how I am doing. If my wedding is perfect, if I am perfect, then that means there can be nothing to criticise. And surely it then follows that I have achieved perfection i.e. success.

If I am completely honest with myself, the thought of people being dissatisfied, or that I will be thought of in a negative way, heightens my anxiety. It is the worst thing about myself because my rational brain knows, that those who matter don’t care, and those who care don’t matter. 

But I don’t think it is as simple as that.

It seems that I strongly identify with how I make others feel, not with how they make me feel. When I make the people around me happy, I give myself permission to be happy also – I have succeeded. If they are disappointed, then I see that as failure and a need to try harder. But is there more to this than first thought?

From the day we are born, we are told by our parents that our successes, be it walking, talking or using the potty for the first time, ‘makes them feel happy’. We learn very early on that making our parents and others happy is what we should strive for.

I wonder; is there room in our society for imperfection and for that to be good enough so long as we’re happy? Do our parents, our teachers and our peers, somehow put pressure on us to satisfy their expectations of us, instead of looking at just achieving the goals we have set for ourselves?

How can we stop a lifetime of conditioning?

Are You Smarter Than You Were Ten Years Ago?

When approaching a new decade, in my case the big 3-0, you start to look back at your journey over the past 10 years.

My 20s have been an insane mix of highs, lows and everything in between. I would go as far as saying I will always remember my 20s as the decade I lost, and subsequently found myself. A bit of a blip in the tapestry of my existence that I am glad to leave behind, whilst incredible grateful to have come out the other side of, half as sane as I did!

So what would I tell the young, angst ridden 20 year old full of anxiety and fear about the future? The one who felt cursed and like a freak with no chance of leading a normal and happy life? (apart from how to dress and do her hair obviously).

I would tell her to stop worrying so much; that it will all work out as and when it needs to.

Doesn’t that then follow that I should follow my own advice now, so that I don’t look back in another 10 years and tell myself the same? Do I want to look back when I’m approaching 40, wishing I’d spent less time worrying and more time enjoying the awesomeness of every moment?

Because the here and now is all we have. Worrying about the future is completely pointless, because most of the time, the things that we are anxious about, don’t exist or don’t happen. It’s a lot of wasted energy that could be put into something that serves us in a much more positive and beneficial way. One that will make us look at the last 10 years and go ‘hell yeah, I owned that decade!’

What would you tell your younger self? Have you learnt from it, or are you still making the same mistakes, still worried about the same thing? Let me know 🙂

Young me

Me 10 Years Ago!

Do You Know What Will Make You Happy?

We all have out own personal goals, things we would like to achieve by a certain point in our lives. Inevitably there’s a huge sense of failure when we don’t get to where we believe we would have, at the ‘right’ age or time we should have.

Ask anyone around you, and the life objectives are almost all identical. Marriage, career and children. We usually want all these things before we even know ourselves sufficiently enough to think about whether this is our own dream, or that of our parents, our friends, or even that of society. We don’t even understand what these things really mean to us, only that we somehow know this will make us happy.

In the midst of our continuous and desperate efforts to become a well-oiled cog in our culture’s machine, we rarely stop to think if we even want to be part of it in the first place.

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Do You Take Things Personally?

How people behave reflect their issues. How you react reflect yours.

I can have quite a temper and sometimes I get reactive when I feel unfairly criticised or judged. But I also recognise that this is my problem, my responsibility, because it is my insecurity that makes me take something personally. It’s as though what someone has said just amplifies what I already fear to be true. I’m not fighting their criticism, but my own. But when you react negatively to what someone has said, you are projecting your own fears on to them. And that isn’t fair.

When I was little I was so shy, and not like anyone else, so I got bullied. Right up until a few years ago, if anyone tried to boss me about or tell me what to do, I’d overreact quite violently because of the lasting impact of constantly being put down had on me. I took a lot of stuff personally and would fight to defend myself in the way no one else ever had.

It’s taken a long time, and I still don’t always manage it, but I have learned that the best way to react to negative comments is to just ignore them. One persons opinion is just that – an opinion. To take it personally or view at as fact, is to give it power. And when that happens you risk turning the lie into your own truth.