Honestly Struggling

Today’s Thought: Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.

Right now I am struggling. Work is tough; we aren’t meeting our targets and my superiors are telling me it’s unacceptable. Because of this all the gremlins lurking in my mind on the look out for threat are in overdrive, telling me that I am unacceptable.

It is going to take all my strength to quieten the gremlins and goblins down. To tell them that it’s not me that’s unacceptable, it’s the situation and situations can change.

It’s going to take all my strength to convince others that we can change the situation if we really want to and that we certainly shouldn’t just accept defeat. We all need to continue to fight; we all need to believe we can win.

I need to believe I can win; that I have the skills and competency to lead my team to the finish line where a participant’s pack awaits us! We might not win gold, but we will finish the race and we will give every ounce of effort we have.

Over the past three weeks the murky mist of depression has been hovering, infiltrating the breaches in my armour. It’s a fearsome vapour, but I intend to be a vigorous opponent. When it whispers poison, I will shout back with the remedy. The remedy is knowing that I am enough, just as I am. I will not capitulate, because I am enough and no matter how grinding and gruelling the journey, I can make it. It doesn’t matter if I take a different route; it doesn’t matter if I have different equipment in my pack or a take a different mode of transport. It matters that I get there.

I am enough; you are enough. We all are enough, just as we are.

Fighting Fear with Honesty

Today’s Thought: I will have the moral courage to make my actions consistent with my knowledge of right and wrong.

The past two weeks I have been living in my lizard brain. I have allowed it to hijack me and infiltrate my thoughts and generate my feelings. It is sickeningly exhausting and I have resolved to stop it.

I now have a superior who scares me. Why is this? It’s because I am terrified she will expose me as a fraud; that she will see I am incapable of doing my job; that she will confirm what I fear most – I am a failure.

How am I going to change my thought pattern? I am stuck with this superior, so I have to find a way not to just live with them, but to thrive with them; I must find a way to believe in myself and my capabilities and I need to be as honest with myself as I am trying to be with others.

I am going to make a list of hard evidence that proves I am good at my job and then a list of the areas I need to improve in order to feel really confident at my job. I am going to use this list when working with my superior – if I feel it’s an area that I am competent in, then I am going to make sure I have the evidence to prove it to hand; if it’s an area I am fearful that I lack the skills with knowledge for, I am going to ask for advice and support.

For others to believe in me, I need to do so first. Honestly, it’s a tough ask – I rely on others for reassurance so much that it is going to be deeply uncomfortable to change, but change it I must.

My honesty journey is now taking me to unchartered territory – I must be positively honest with myself.

Honesty Unappreciated/Inappropriate.

Today’s Thought: We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions; that we’ll screw up royally sometimes. Understanding that failure is not the opposite of success – it’s part of success.

It’s hard to do this when so many aspects of yourself are in conflict!

I am hardwired to think I am only as good as my achievements or doing as well as other people think of me, therefore when things go awry, as they are naturally going to from time to time, I relentlessly beat myself up and wallow in the slime of shame.

This week, I messed up. I was too honest too soon. I met a new superior for the first time and they fired questions at me. I had failed to anticipate that this would happen and panicked. I couldn’t think straight; I stuttered, sounded unsure of myself and gave poor answers. I knew the answers were poor and apologised to my superior, saying ‘I’m so sorry, that was a terrible answer.’ They replied with a roll of the eyes and ‘Yes, it was.’

Shame crashed into the room like a tsunami, dragging with it the debris of every other embarrassing or humiliating moment of my life. The jagged edges tore through my composure, leaving it in tatters. I cried. More shame; I was engulfed.

I had shown my vulnerability and it was found to be unacceptable. ‘Do you usually cry?” they said, distain punctuating every word. I felt crushed, child-like and admonished. More shame.

On my road to a more honest existence, I had not anticipated the reality that not everyone wants to see the real me and that I actually have to be OK with that. I am struggling to accept that there are aspects of my daily life where I am going to have to put on a front; wear a shield and pretend. It’s hard for me as I feel this pretence is akin to not be accepted for who I am. What I have to do is consider that maybe it isn’t that at all; it’s simply that in some situations, it’s not acceptable to be the real me. It doesn’t me the person hasn’t accepted me, it means they want me to manage the situation differently.

In my job, I am required to present a particular image, give particular answers in particular ways. It’s how we ‘win’ in the ‘game’ we’ve been asked to play. I have always feared games; I lose games because I don’t always understand the rules. My role is something I fought hard to achieve – I thought it would make me happy and besides, I’d been told I would never achieve it so I felt I had to fight to prove to others that I could, that perhaps it would bring acceptance.

What I should have done was not fought; I should have taken the feedback of others less as a challenge; less as an assessment that I was unacceptable and more of an indication that my talents lay elsewhere. Right now, I feel I am in a constant battle to survive in my role; it makes me unhappy. I am unhappy because to be successful I have to hide my true self. Putting on a show feels dishonest and unnatural – it feels as though I am not being accepted, even though it isn’t really that at all. It’s just a role that needs fulfilling. I must learn to separate myself from the role and ultimately I must find another role more suited to my true self.

Whilst I endeavour to forgive myself for exposing my fragility to my superior, I must try to accept it as a step on the road to better things. I must remember that not everyone will appreciate an honest presentation of myself. I must accept that sometimes an honest presentation of myself is not appropriate. I must accept this, shield myself and move on.

I must choose courage over comfort (with thanks to Word Fandom http://wordfandom.wordpress.com).

Honesty Versus Fear.

Today’s Thought: With integrity you have nothing to fear, since you have nothing to hide. With integrity, you will do the right thing, so you will have no guilt.

This thought makes so much sense – it really does. However, a decades long struggle between honesty, integrity and fear still rages on. The immense effort it can take to pour water on the fire of fear in order to do the right thing can sometimes be exhausting. Sometimes the power of the fear is so strong that you don’t even realise it has won until the struggle is over and you are sat among the debris, realising that there is still a mess to tidy up because you made the wrong decision for the wrong reasons.

Over this past week, I have become more and more aware of the fear creeping back into my decision making. I hate it! I fear the fear! I feel sick at the sensation of the fear triumphing over rational thought; I live in terror of the fear masquerading as rational thought – in short, fear sucks!

I suppose I should be comforted, however, at the fact I know the fear is there. It’s shadowy tentacles lurk within me, still and silent, waiting for the perfect moment to either leap out and pounce on me or to insidiously wrap its poisonous limbs around my mind, injecting me with anxiety. I suppose I should be proud of my awareness of the fear; confident that I can recognise when it is at work and controlling my actions and thoughts. The problem is that I sometimes recognise it too late; after the decision is made and the deed is done!

I am getting better, though. I can recognise the unsettling sensation sooner; I am questioning my decisions faster and when I realise I have let fear win again, I am forgiving myself more quickly.

From a shaky start to the week where I could feel the fear driving my every move; feeding a migraine that didn’t dissipate until I had given freedom to the honesty, I ended the week having given voice to the honesty and having started to pack the fear away in its lair once again.

On my journey to a calm and honest life, I have to accept there will be times when I regress. Fear is a brawny beast so it makes sense that it is a fractious and obstreperous opponent. I must remain undaunted in my hunt for peace through honesty. Each day is a new opportunity to win the fight and I must accept that the fight will begin afresh each day. I must remind myself that honesty will save me, even if I fear it!

Honesty Cannot Pretend.

Today’s Thought: People of integrity do not hide their reactions or opinions. They do not manipulate others through deception and they do not pretend.

This week I pledge my integrity; that I will not pretend and that I will be courageously honest!

So I will start by admitting I am scared of failing, but I am not scared of learning the lessons from failure.

My anxiety is raging, but honesty calms its vexation.

Self-doubt is insidiously sliding into every cranny of my being, but honesty can clear those pathways for self-assuredness to take up residence.

This week’s reminders: I can do difficult things. Just because it’s difficult, doesn’t mean I can’t do it and having to work hard at something isn’t a failure; it’s a triumph! I can and I will!

Honesty Partnering Integrity

Today’s Thought: Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.

Soon I will have to do just this. I have been anxious for days, unsure as to why and grappling with the sensation that I am about to make a huge mistake. This week I hit upon the answer – I am letting fear influence my decisions once again; I am allowing myself to be manipulated because of my fear of someone’s reaction; because I have not been entirely transparent in my actions, because I wanted to keep someone who is seemingly powerful close. In short – I am trying to control my world again.

As soon as I consider a course of action that doesn’t involve pandering to the desires and wishes of this other person, I feel much calmer. I still fear their reaction, but I fear the consequences of making a decision based on the wrong reasons more; I think it will have far bigger consequences.

If I am to build a honest life; an honest organisation in which I work and an honest team who support one another, then I must watch my thoughts and actions closely. I must unwrap my courage and feed it and make a decision based on the needs of the many rather than the ambitions of one.

I can choose my words; I can choose my actions. I have power over whether I practice my values and we all know that practice eventually makes perfect!

A Great Life is Honesty…

Today’s Thought: Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience – this is the ideal life.

Life is an ornate closet. Newly delivered it is pristine, shines and takes pride of place within the home. As time passes, scratches attack and clutter weighs its surface. Inside its drawers, lost dreams and unsaid words huddle, trapped by fear and convention. In the end, it is carried out, tired and beaten, its secrets emptied and disposed of. Eternally second-hand, but never ever worthless.