For those of you out there right now who are struggling with life in general I want to send you my love – I truly mean that.
I know what it’s like to suffer, especially in my own head. Over the years I’ve had some really tough times, and had bouts of depression which have left me feeling flat, tired, and drained both mentally and physically. When you feel so unsettled in your own mind it’s extremely uncomfortable, and only those who’ve experienced this type of feeling know what i’m talking about.
Judging a book by its cover…
They say “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” but we do, it’s a natural human instinct.
It’s easy to look at other people and judge them, it’s automatic, we don’t always have time to get to know somebody…
We see a homeless person on the street, begging for “spare change” and automatically think that the money we give them will be spent on drugs or booze.
We judge the overweight person who walks past us in the street and think “how did they get so fat?” – why don’t they just eat less and move more?
We see a successful person, with a good career, lots of money, happy family, but who’s depressed and think…”what are you depressed for? you have it all!”
What we fail to see is the story behind the person whom we’re judging. You see we all have scars, some are visible, but most of the time they are invisible, and hidden, and somebodies behaviour is just an expression of the deep rooted pain that lies within them.
This pain is often (but not always) from childhood…
neglect from a parent.
lack of love.
loss of a family member.
Now the things that affect us don’t always have to be as severe as the above, in fact they can be minor, it could just be a passing comment from a family member or teacher…
I remember once being in primary school (I was around 6 years old) and we had to paint a picture of something that made us happy. Most of the class drew pictures of flowers, animals and family members (stick pictures obviously! lol!)…me however… I drew a picture of a surf board! lol!
When it came to me showing the class everybody laughed at me, and the teacher said in a patronising voice “that looks nothing like a surf board!” and then laughed too.
I remember being distraught and going bright red in front of the entire class. I just wanted a hole to open up in the ground and swallow me up. I was devastated, yes I moved on, I was 6 years old for crying out load, I didn’t really process what happened – just a feeling of not being good enough I guess and looking like an idiot!
Back then I was just a little kid and had no idea about ‘emotions’ and ‘self awareness’ like I do now. Although I moved on… that moment was stored in my subconscious, and I never wanted to feel that pain again.
This meant that I would stay away from the spotlight, I would be sick for school presentation, and anything that required judgement I would avoid. In my head I rationalised…If I don’t put myself in the spotlight I won’t be noticed and judged. If avoided these situations I wouldn’t experience that pain again.
Imagine how this mentality affected my life going forward…
One of the best things you can do to get over your pain is to be honest with yourself. Don’t hide or run from it, because it will catch up with you.
Most people don’t want to admit that they are vulnerable, and they think that having mental health issues…is a problem. They think it’s weakness.
Nothing could be further from the truth, in fact quite opposite.
If you are struggling it will come out, you may not think so, but it will. It will come out in the form of mood swings, illness, disease, food binging, alcohol abuse, depression, low self esteem, addictions and a whole host of other ways.
Looks can be deceiving…
Lots of people who you see on a day to day basis are wearing a mask, how they appear is not really who they are, it’s a mask of how they think they need to be to fit in order to fit in with society, or an ego identity which is a character played by the person to get respect, love, admiration, acceptance, etc.
You look at somebody on social media and think “wow they’ve got the perfect life and my life sucks!” – look at all these happy people, smiling on profile pictures, getting lots of ‘likes’ and ‘attention’, always on holiday, looking good, and just generally leading an amazing life. Then there’s you at home, in a job you don’t like, eating comfort food, comparing yourself to others, and coming to the realisation that your life sucks!
Trust me, most of us have been there to some extent! So don’t worry.
No matter who you are, how good looking, how rich, how famous, how successful, etc – we all have doubts, fears and insecurities.
The reality is that the people you are looking up at in admiration have similar struggles to you, just on a different level. The famous person who you look up to with a million followers, maybe insecure too and feeling in adequate compared to the person whom they look up to and follow, who has 30 million followers!
It’s all relative. There’s always going to be somebody out there with more, if you compete with others you are in for a rocky ride. If you try to fit in, you wont because you’re not living a life that you want, instead you’re creating a life to please other people. It’s a rollercoaster ride you want to get off! It’s acceptance from yourself you need to look for, not acceptance from others.
The shift happens when you take off the mask and start to truly realise who you are and work on yourself. It can be a long and lengthy process, and at times very painful.
You’ve got to focus on looking inwards, not outwards to achieve your own personal happiness.
Focus on your own inner journey.
Some People Don’t Make It…
Unfortunately some people don’t make it, homeless people die on the freezing cold streets, a drug addict takes an overdose, a person sees no way out and commits suicide – unfortunately when a person genuinely sees no light at the end of the tunnel and the internal pain is so unbearable that they just can’t go on any longer.
BUT i’m here to tell you that there is light at the end of the tunnel, it may not feel like it, but there’s always a way through.
From my experience your darkest hours end up being followed by an amazing transformation, it’s like shedding a layer of baggage once you’ve worked through it and you feel lighter, like a blockage has been removed and you are one step closer to your true authentic self.
For the last 10 years or so i’ve worked through lots of the issues holding me back, i’ve read hundreds of self development books, hired coaches, and spent hours listening to audiobooks and podcasts and i’m in the best place of my life. Don’t get me wrong I still have my bad days (but they are far less often, don’t last as long, and I know what to do when they arrive).
Lots of people who overcome their own personal issues and traumas actually end up becoming a therapist and helping others to overcome their own heartaches and set backs. As you heal yourself, you can also start to help others.
Working on Yourself…
The key is learning to love yourself, obviously not in an arrogant way (arrogant people are actually insecure – it’s a projection of confidence, which actually masks their weakness). NO…instead learning to love yourself for who you are, and what you’ve been through. It’s about building a relationship with yourself, your thoughts and your emotions and getting to know and love the real you.
You will have to make changes, changes to the way you think, changes to the people in your life, and changes across the board. It’s scary as hell and sometimes it feels easier to stick with the same life, even though it sucks, at least you know what you’re getting and strangely there’s an element of security and safety when you stay the same.
But pain is where the growth lies.
Also, don’t be afraid to reach out for help, whether that’s a friend who you trust, a family member, a self development book, or visiting websites such as regain.us – which provide free guidance and therapy resources to help you improve your mental health.
Your Darkest Moments Lead You Towards The Light. You just have to believe that you will get through the things holding you back and you have to go to work on yourself. Nobody can make you happy but yourself, it’s down to you to become your own best friend and start loving yourself for the amazing human being that you are.
Thanks for reading, sending my love to those of you out there who are trying to create a happier life for yourself. Keep going and never give up.