Honestly Scared.

Today’s Thought: Depression is being colour-blind and constantly told how colourful the world is.

For a long time I have been fighting the truth, but now I have to face it and say it out loud. I have depression. It’s official. The doctor said so. I feel so guilty.

I feel guilty, because I don’t believe I have anything so terrible in my life that I should be depressed: I have a home, a job, a loving husband and just about enough money coming in to cover the bills. I am healthy and I have plenty to eat; I have friends and luxuries like books and TV.

It’s a strange sensation, waking up each morning and feeling devoid of purpose. Things I would normally fight for seem unworthy of the battle; activities I would normally derive joy from seem blank and a chore.

I feel that I have nothing to offer any more.

Today I must submit my prescription for medication and embark on this long journey to rediscover myself and I am frightened. I am terrified that I will lose myself further in this deep pit filled with confusion, loathing and fear.

Today my sole aim will be to look upwards from the pit and find one way to feel purpose; one act of kindness where I feel as though I have made a difference. Through this dense fog, I must put one foot in front of the other until I can be me once again.

Here goes – the first step.

Growing Honesty

Today’s Thought: Honesty has a power that few people can handle.

This week I grew my level of honesty. I was honest with someone who scared me, because of their biting responses to stress or challenge. Instead of shrinking back into myself and ignoring their passive aggressive comments, I told them I didn’t like the way they were speaking to me and I wanted them to change it. It was a scary thing to do and it has had an impact on our relationship dynamic – hopefully in the longer term a positive one, but I certainly feel better for having told them the truth. Now their responses and behaviour can no longer have power over me, because I know that I have the right to request that it changes.

Remember:

You have the right to be heard (but not always the right to have your own way)!

You have the right to be spoken to civilly (and should also speak civilly in return).

Take a deep breath and speak your truth. No matter what follows, you can be comforted by the fact that you were honest, kind and civil.

Always Kind…Honestly?

Today’s Thought: We rise by lifting others.

One of my honesty goals was to ensure that I always spoke kindly and honestly to others and about others. I wanted to stop the cycle of negative talk about other people – I lived in fear about them finding out and it always made me feel guilty. I have certainly improved in this aspect of my life, but I still think I can do better. There are times when people I work with annoy me so much, that I find myself joining in with negative talk about them. There are also times when I find myself afraid of a colleague and I use negative gossip as a way to ingratiate myself with them – this is the habit I need to break the most.

I dislike this behaviour in myself – it is neither kind, nor honest and I can do better. I found this excellent advice about how to avoid joining in with negative talk on ‘behappier.com:

1. Go silent and give yourself big points for restraining yourself from being judgmental and critical.

2. Put on some lip balm or take a sip of a drink – it keeps your lips busy, so you will be less tempted to join in with the conversation!

3. Close your eyes and take 5 deep breaths. With each one, imagine you’re erasing all your gossipy, small-minded, nit-picking thoughts.

4. Revel in the positivity and peace of mind that comes from knowing you won’t have anything to feel guilty about later on when you replay the conversation in your mind. You won’t have anything to feel anxious about in terms of them finding out what you said about them.

5. Think of 3 positive things about the person being talked about.

6. If you can’t think of 3 positive things, try thinking of 3 compassionate reasons to explain why the person being discussed could be a little annoying.

7. If you can’t do that, try radical compassion – remember that everyone is fighting a hard battle we know nothing about, therefore it is important to always be kind!

8. Remember that no one is perfect, including yourself. Think of all the ways people could and probably do talk about you behind your back – it doesn’t feel good, so why would you do it to someone else.

9. Be mindful of what it feels like to resist a negative urge (gossiping) and how relatively easy it is to replace it with a positive one (kindness).

10. Remember how good kindness and honesty feel!

I am going to make use of this good advice this week and perhaps share it with the person I am most likely to fall into the trap of negative talk with – maybe we can fight the urge together; maybe I can help them realise how destructive their habit is.

Be positive, be kind, be honest and feel the freedom wash over you.

An Honest Heart

Today’s Thought: The cost of not following your heart is spending the rest of your life wishing you had.

To improve my level of honesty with myself and with others, I am setting myself the goal of following my heart each day: Live from your heart, within your boundaries. For the most part, this feels comfortable and true to myself, but there have been a few times where I have sucked up the anxiety of another person and then doubted myself. I have found, however, the following techniques useful in keeping myself grounded and acting from my heart:

Daily affirmations to challenge the negative thought patterns: I am kind, I am smart, I am loveable, I am good enough, I am enough, I make good decisions. I say them out loud to myself on my drive to work. It’s a strange thing to do and you feel a bit silly, but it really does work in changing your mindset! As soon as a negative thought pops up, I note it and then challenge it with a positive one.

Daily meditation and breathing exercises: I am just making time to meditate and breath. I am doing 7/11 breathing – you breath in for the count of 7 and out for the count of 11. Because of the counting, you are focused in the moment on your breathing and it really does help to relax you and provide you with time out from your anxiety. I am using a meditation that works on my heart chakra – it’s only 3 minutes, but it’s 3 minutes of sending my body love and care and it is changing my mindset and level of anxiety. I just do this lying in bed and it’s helping me to get to sleep so much more quickly.

Last week was the first really positive week I have had for some time – I felt stronger and more confident than I have for a long while and these practices are having a profound effect on me living my life the way I believe I should – within my boundaries; my boundaries of what support and compassion look like; my boundaries of honesty and my boundaries of balance between work and life. It is empowering, but I am under no illusion that it won’t have to be worked at. It will. It has taken me three weeks of persistent breathing practice and meditation to have my first good week; it’s not a quick fix, but it is a worthwhile practice that will support a healthy mindset towards the challenges of life that those of us who are more sensitive than others need. I am coming to realise that there is no shame in my sensitivity; that is is actually a great power within me – now what I need to do is harness my power of sensitivity and use it with confidence to make the changes I wish to make to my life.

Don’t be afraid to listen to your heart.

Fighting To Be True

Today’s Thought: Don’t let someone who has a bad attitude give it to you.

Right now I am stuck in a cycle where I am consumed with self-doubt and lack of confidence. I feel that some of this is being created by the difficult personality of a co-worker. A few weeks ago I felt as though I was losing my true self to this co-worker and bending to their every will in fear of their reaction should I disagree with them or not complete something I knew they wanted done. I even found myself behaving in a way that was the total opposite to my core values and beliefs.

If this sounds familiar to you, don’t give in to it!

I am not going to. I am going to ‘fight back’ and rebuild myself:

I am planning tasks that the other person is not involved in, so I can judge my impact without their involvement. I do this with the aim of rebuilding my self-belief. I am going to catch my negative thoughts and replace them with a positive one. I am even going to say the positive affirmations out loud! I am going to practice asserting myself with this person – if I feel they are overstepping the mark, I am going to tell them.

I know this won’t be easy – last week I had three days where I felt good and two where I felt crushed. That’s the nature of anxiety and depression; they’re sneaky and like to jump out and shout ‘boo!’ when you least expect it. I just know I want to find myself and be my true self instead of what this other person wants or expects. Being honestly me is my right. Being honestly you is your right. No one can be you as well as you can and don’t you forget it!

Creating Positivity

Today’s Thought: The less you respond to negative people, the more peaceful you’re life will become.

This week I set myself the challenge of choosing to align my energy with love. I set out to blow any negative energy back to the person it belonged to and to ensure that any feelings I had were mine and not someone else’s.

For three days, I felt so in control and like I was winning the fight with the emotional vampires and suddenly on day four the fear crept in and gave a gleeful wave.

To be honest, I have to keep fighting to live in a way that is true to myself; that I see true to my heart and my values. This is challenging. Is will take more than just daily meditation and visualisation of my goals and protective shields. It will also take courage.

Now that the fear is tapping on the door of my dreams, I must work hard to keep the door closed. I must learn to trust my instincts and the messages my heart I set giving me – not easy when I feel vulnerable. However, if I want my life to change for the better, I must face my vulnerability, accept it and still walk the path my heart tells me to.

This week, I am undertaking an exercise – I am going to imagine where I am in 10 years time and write myself a letter, letting myself know what my life I should like there. I want to see what things will be like if I hold true to my honest values and live a courageous life.

If you are feeling lost and as though things might not change, why not look inside your heart and ask yourself where you want to be; what you want to be different and what it will be like if things we’re to change. Make that your goal, perhaps. If it sparks joy, take a step towards it.

Create The True You

Today’s Thought: Find yourself and be that.

At the end of last year I was feeling very lost. I felt as though I was not being my true self; that I was bending to the will of domineering characters around me and being who they wanted me to be just so I could control the way they made me feel. The silly thing is, it made me feel ill and miserable.

What I needed to do was relocate my core values in order to remind myself of who I wanted to be. I made some time and space to work on this. A book that has really helped me is: The Happy Empath’s Workbook by Stephanie Jameson. It’s a little bit ‘out there’ but has masses of practical and sensible advice that has helped me to understand why I feel so oppressed by those around me and how I should manage the overwhelming sensations I experience. I have started to meditate daily, visualising who I want to be and how I want to behave and it is helping me to feel less anxious and more motivated and strong. It is making me realise that I am not some kind of weird failure who should change everything I am. For the first time in a long while, I feel empowered to be me. I am even starting to like me!

Over the holiday period, a gif popped up on my Facebook feed – what would you do if you weren’t afraid? I had been feeling so afraid leading up to the holiday time – afraid I wasn’t good enough; afraid of how people make me feel; afraid of letting people down; afraid that I was turning into someone I didn’t want to be. So much fear, it was starting to cripple me. At around the same time as that gif appeared, I started to see promotions for Life Coaching courses and that was when I had my epiphany. The coaching and mentoring part of my job is the part I enjoy most. I love it when I have helped people achieve a goal or helped them to improve the way they feel about themselves. I realised that I was constantly trying to meet people’s expectations in areas that I don’t enjoy and wasn’t giving enough time to the aspects of my role that I do enjoy and that I am strongest at; the aspects of my job that I feel have true purpose.

I needed to take action if I wanted to change my life; if I wanted to get rid of the fear in the long term. I think I may have found my purpose – to help people change their lives. This is what I should be doing; this is what will give me joy and purpose. I have signed up to an online course and am loving it. I have adjusted how I am behaving at work so I can focus on my areas of strengths. I still have to do the other parts of my job, but I am less worried because I know my strengths now and I know that I am practising these more so I can ultimately change my life in the long term. To achieve my final goal and change my job will take time – I cannot afford to just resign and run. However, I know what it is I was born to do now and I can take steps towards this every day for as long as it takes because now I know what I am on this earth to do.

Am I still scared? Yes, but I am also excited. Do I still lie awake at night, anxious about the next day? Yes, but I can now use my meditation strategy to ease the racing heart and feed my over-active brain the positive messages about small steps towards my purpose. Overall, life feels less scary and uncertain – at the moment. I am not under any illusion that because I know my true purpose, my anxiety will suddenly vanish. I am certain that the fear will continue to be a spectre in the background of every day, but now I can counteract it with the much brighter spirit of hope and love. I can push those energies out into the universe and feel their power come back to me.

Ask yourself what you would do if you weren’t so afraid. Ask the universe what your true purpose is. Look for the signs around you that communicate joy and a sense of belonging to you – this is the universe communicating your purpose. Take small steps in the direction of hope, love and joy. Accept that you will be challenged along the way and plan for those moments. Just don’t lose sight of your true self; your honest self. It will start to set you free.