How do you think a shift in your thinking happens? Naturally, organically, of it’s own accord? Does it need to be precipitated by an outside experience or event? How and when does your perception of a situation change? What causes a shift in your thinking? I often find that I get a new perspective from reading and I’m an obsessive reader. I love, love, love my books. Sometimes, it will be a movie that spurs a change of awareness, and often times it’s from a deep conversation with a kindred spirit.
I Am Not Your Guru
I’ve had many “a-ha” moments of sudden understanding or awareness in my life and I seem to be going through a phase where they’re occurring in increasing frequency. So, so many shifts in perception and my thinking. In fact, it’s one of these very moments that inspired me to write this blog, in this moment. I’m watching the Tony Robbins Documentary, I AM NOT YOUR GURU for the third time. It’s been probably a year or two since I last watched it and I’m amazed at things that I’d missed the first and second time, that are capturing my attention now.
You know that thing you’re struggling with right now? Probably just popped into your head, whatever that thing is for you. If it didn’t, you’re likely consciously avoiding letting yourself think about it. One might even go so far as to say that you’re in denial about it. 😉 Do yourself a favour and let it surface because there’s a serious shift in your thinking waiting for you in this.
Whatever you’re struggling with, I’m willing to bet that you’re blaming someone else for it and holding someone else accountable. It’s so much easier to blame them than take responsibility for it ourselves. If we take responsibility for it, we have to do something about it, or chose not to as the case may be. Here’s the kicker, you’re giving your power away to them, AND, they probably have no idea, nor do they care, that they’re seemingly holding the cards of your life right now.
I know it may suck to hear this, but I’ve lived this so I totally get it. I blamed my depression, anxiety and PTSD on some ill begotten friends of my brothers who made incredibly poor choices about how to behave with me as a 10 year old and proceeded to blame them until I was in my 40’s.
Like I said, I get it.
The Shift in Your Thinking
Here’s where the shift in your thinking happens. Whether your struggle is with your financial issues (that you may be blaming your parents for because they controlled the money and didn’t teach you how to have a relationship with it), or for the women-men issues (because you didn’t get the love you craved from your dad so you’ve spent much of your adult life placing that burden on your spouse), or for the men-perhaps the opposite, being mom issues (I can’t specifically speak to this one but it’s likely the same as the daddy issues we women tend to have), or the whole insecure, self worth, self esteem issue (that I blamed those boys for). Yes, those are all my real life issues I’ve worked through, aside from the mom-son dynamic obviously.
Whatever you’re blaming that one person (or group of people for), you also need to thank them for. Blame them for the good, but also blame them for the (perceived) bad. Because whatever you hated about that situation/struggle/experience/relationship, those same elements have caused you to be the opposite/look for the opposite/create the opposite in your life.
Stick with me here…
My financial issues stem from me not understanding money; it’s value, it’s worth, it’s place in my life. As a child, my dad worked and my mom stayed home and volunteered at the Y. In my limited awareness that a youngster has, I saw that my dad had the money and made the decisions. If I asked for something I wanted, such as the clothes that the cool kids were wearing (Beaver Canoe, Gender Benders, Tretorns, Roots, etc.) I was made to feel guilty for wanting those things, selfish for asking for those things, and ultimately that I didn’t deserve to have those things. Tell me that doesn’t mess you up to have those (unconscious) beliefs running in the background all your freakin’ life!
The Flip Side
The flip side of feeling negative about the lessons learned from my dad (like men control the money, and I’m not worthy of having money). The shift in thinking came when I realized that I learned positive lessons from his as well, like the fact that I have a great credit rating (because I’m good at paying my debts). The problem is that we tend to focus on the negative, like way too much, and flat out deny any good that came from the situation.
I mentioned the bit about my brother’s friends and without getting into all that here (my book is available on this website if you’re interested in the rest of the story). For years, and I mean years, they had power over me, first because I didn’t tell anyone until I was in my late 30’s, and secondly because I allowed them to have that power. Once I started working with a therapist, I was able to reframe those experiences and what they meant, but that’s in the book too.
My point here is that I blamed them for my low self esteem, fear of life in generally, fear of people, my shyness, low self worth, insecurities with males in general, I could go on. It was supremely beneficial for me to take back my power but also even more powerful to be able to blame them for the good. The early experiences shaped the person I am today and allow me to lead with compassion and empathy for people almost like it’s a default setting.
But also, and perhaps even more amazing, is that those experiences taught me to treat people better. To never want to put someone in a difficult situation, make anyone feel uncomfortable, or take advantage of anyone. I thank them for making me an advocate for mental health issues, respectful treatment of each other and empowering women, and men, to make better choices. It taught me to seek out and create a marriage that is kind, respectful and nurturing, where there is a balance of power and no one is over powering the other.
I’m so much better of a person now than I would’ve ever been had those (traumatic at the time) experiences not ever happened to me.
A shift in your thinking, looking for the positive lessons that you’ve learned from those you blame for the negative, will change your life. It will create space to breathe where there was restriction before. It will allow lightness where there was heaviness, and will open you to new levels of healing, of love and forgiveness that you never thought was possible.
I would not have the drive, the compassion or the perseverance I have today if it weren’t for my life experiences when I was younger, and for that, I am eternally grateful. I happily “blame” my dad, my brother’s friends, and every other seemingly negative experience I’ve ever had for making me who I am today.
Five years ago I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder (it was MAJOR, and it was DEPRESSING and I was completely OUT OF ORDER), generalized anxiety disorder (yes, I was a little high strung…ok a lot…and…a lot of the time…and about pretty much everything), social anxiety disorder (so much for always blaming it on my introversion), PTSD (that one is a real bitch to deal with) and as if that wasn’t all bad enough, I was also gifted with something called PMDD premenstrual dysmorphic disorder (because PMS wasn’t enough, I apparently needed to super size it.) For some, receiving that info may have been devastating, but for me it was validation for why I’d endured a lifetime of low self worth, low self esteem and no self confidence….and REALLY hated parties and social gatherings of any and all types. Normal for introverts but this was extreme.
I can make fun of it now, but that’s because I have enough distance from it to see it from a different perspective. A perspective that was absolutely notavailable to me during the better part of my life while I was deep into the quagmire of mental health issues.
I deeply respect and fully appreciate the struggle of those who are going through any mental health issues/challenges/battles now and will absolutely hold space for any soul that reaches out to me. I get it. I’ve been there and done that. I looked into the abyss and if it weren’t for the two beautiful humans that I birthed into this world, I wouldn’t be here today. As much as I wanted the incessant torment and inner turmoil to end, I just could not leave them.
The diagnosis served as acknowledgement from a mental health professional (a psychiatrist) and an explanation of why I always felt like I was inherently and hopelessly flawed. It all tracked back to a difficult childhood that I’d kept to myself until I was in my late 30’s. I had vehemently decided I’d take it to my grave rather than ever tell anyone. Little did I know, the memories that I’d buried so deeply started to bubble to the surface and demanded to be seen, felt, heard, relived and ultimately faced and released.
Thus began the real journey… I’d been on and off antidepressants over the years (I’m med free and doing beautifully), I wrote and self published a book about my journey, I walked away from jobs – most recently my career highlight and most-money-I’ve-ever-made job (because ironically it didn’t fulfill me) with nothing other than a steadfast commitment to following my bliss – and I decided to start a coaching business from scratch. I left my job December 1, and have been busy building my business ever since.
How I desire to be of service is this:
I’ve learned to do things that I once thought were impossible. I want to help others do the same.
Depression and anxiety do not have to be life sentences, we’ve just been conditioned to think they do.
An unfulfilling job doesn’t have to hold you hostage, we just think it does.
You can’t make money by just being you. Why not?? I’m out to prove this one wrong right now.
I’m of the mindset that when I hear “you can’t do that”, whether it’s from someone else or my own mind talking trash, my automatic response now is, “Oh ya? Watch me.”
“When the voice on the inside becomes louder and clearer than the voices on the outside, that’s when you know you’re onto something good.” Dr. John Demartini.
Greetings all! So this is the fourth and final week of my month long sabbatical from work.You may or may not have noticed that there was no week 3 post. Week 3 was kind of a blur for me, complete with ups, downs, tears, laughter and a dance with dear old depression….but what I learned in week 3 changed my life.
When I decided to take the break from work, my goal was to pursue writing a second book, and to get all (each and every one) of the things done that I never seem to have time to do (clean closets, clean house, change my name from my wedding TWO years ago, paper work for my husband’s company, etc, etc.)
I also took on a huge clothing order for the fire department that I volunteer for. (I had NO idea what a job that was going to turn out to be.)
Having said that, you can likely already see what may have led to my week 3 meltdown.
I set the bar so high for myself, I completely set myself up for failure. I couldn’t possibly achieve all of the things I intended to in the time I had off, which left me feeling like a failure. The bigger question though was what on earth motivated me to do that?
After much contemplation, I realized the following about myself:
I have always lived my life from a place of fear and insecurity. Even when things were going well for me, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. Maybe not consciously, but it was always there in the background, as all limiting beliefs about ourselves are.
Due to my insecurity, I became a people pleaser in an effort to fill up what I thought was a fault in my personality. I tried too hard and often gave too much in an effort to prove myself, my worth, my value.
I chased after certain jobs thinking that they were the key to my happiness. I thought a “career in a certain field” was the missing piece of the puzzle, that the right job would define me and what I’m capable of, and without it, I would always feel incomplete.
I always longed to feel comfortable in my own skin. That was never going to happen when I was always trying so hard to be who I thought other people wanted me to be.
I then realized the following about life:
Nothing external will EVER, ever, ever fill that void within you. You can only fill it from the inside.
If you are not completely happy with who you are right now, in this moment, you will never be happy or fulfilled with anything outside of you, be it the right job, the right house, the right spouse. It’s like trying to fill a sieve.
Your pain and suffering is an ego thing. Only the ego feels the need to justify itself. You think you need certain things to be happy, but if you interrupt the incessant voice in your head telling you that you’re not enough as you are, and tune into what’s in your heart, you’ll begin to hear the still, quiet voice telling you that you ARE ENOUGH, you ARE WORTHY, you are LOVED exactly as you are.
We are all unique and therefore all have something unique to bring to the world that no one else can. There’s no need to compare yourself to, or compete with, anyone. Comparing and competing is your ego talking again.
No two paths are alike. Honour your uniqueness, follow YOUR path.
The key to happiness is being present in the moment, no matter what you are doing in that moment. You will drive yourself crazy and miss all the important moments right in front of you if you’re always thinking about wanting to be somewhere else.
I now look to my dogs for guidance. When they sleep, they sleep like they mean it; they snore. When someone says “walk”, they’re at the door and ready to go, when they’re hungry, they eat. They live completely in the moment and they love their humans with all their heart.
I had a “relapse” of sorts this week. I’ve been off medication for depression since January and thought I was motoring along really well – that is, until the wheels fell completely off my wagon a few days ago. There was a boatload of tears, waves of frustration, anger and sadness all jumbled into one, and a couple of days spent laying in bed with a killer headache.
There were a couple of factors that contributed to my meltdown. There was some stress at work, but the underlying trigger was my monthly cycle. Yes, that cycle. Otherwise known as PMS. So why on earth am I sharing this on my blog? Because I’m sure there are other women out there that struggle with this too, and there’s always great comfort in knowing that you’re not alone.
My fall off the “I don’t have depression anymore” wagon was Wednesday, and I landed hard. My husband was the one to point out that it might be PMS related. Thursday I saw my naturopathic doctor and she explained that even though I manage fine the rest of the time, serotonin levels (the “feel good” chemical in the brain) fluctuate with hormonal changes and the drop allows the depression to sneak back in. Apparently it’s common in women that have a history of depression.
I was frustrated with the lack of control I had over the situation, but optimistic that the doctor had options for me that would make it manageable. She suggested a naturopathic supplement called “Brain Mood” to regulate the serotonin levels during this particular time in my cycle, and a vitamin B complex and evening primrose oil to regulate the hormones and keep my brain happy.
I still have a lingering headache that I’ve had since Thursday, but I don’t need the ice pack so far today. Whether it’s stress or hormonal, there’s a clear message in all of this. It’s important to pay attention to your health and the signs of stress in your body.
It’s also equally important to realize that we all have struggles and to take it easy. Sometimes we’re on top of things and everything’s fine and other times we feel like we’re swimming upstream. When we feel like we’re in “hamster on a wheel” mode, it’s time to take a break. Whether that means taking a day off or just taking a walk to clear your head and give yourself some room to breathe, it’s time to get some distance.
Progress takes time and we need to remember to be gentle and patient with ourselves. Don’t beat yourself up when you’re feeling stressed and don’t try to just muscle on through. That’ll only land you where it landed me – even if you happen to be a male or a woman that doesn’t suffer from pms – stress alone will catch up with you sooner or later.
Remember to do the things that make you happy. For me that’s usually reading or writing, but for my husband it might be watching movies. Whatever it is for you, make time for it and DON’T feel guilty about it. The happier and more relaxed you are, the nicer you are to be around.