My Story

How do you solve a problem like… Self Esteem

I’ve been cooking this post up in my head for days and I know it’s going to be personal, but here goes.

Something you need to know about me first off is outwardly, I am a confident person. What I believe people see of me is someone with a good level of body confidence, a passable sense of fashion, at times a good wit and a forthcoming and funny conversationalist. I don’t know if that IS exactly how other people see me, but that is an exterior which I have cultivated very carefully and how I hope people see me. When in reality, at times, it feels more like the shell of a hollow bunny. A strong nibble at my ears or cheek and you could break through it, throw it at a wall hard enough and the whole thing could crumble.

The point of sharing this is that I know that most of us wear a polished to perfection moulded shiny chocolate exterior, and our insides are usually a lot more complicated, battling and scared than we let on.

My battle with my personal confidence often feels I’m in a wooden row boat out at sea. Invariably the row boat isn’t built strong enough to handle such rough seas and is leaking. I am constantly bailing out water to stay afloat, sometimes I feel like I can just about make it, sometimes I feel like I could sink at any moment. But I am constantly bailing, never able to rest because the moment I do the water comes pouring in.

In realistic terms, this adds up to I am always talking to myself about how I feel about… well myself! I’ve explained this before as saying that I have to give myself regular pep talks. Like, it’s okay if you’re feel less than confident about yourself today, it happens to everybody. Or, It’s okay if you’re not feeling exactly friendly today, people have bad days. Essentially it boils down to telling myself that I don’t have to always wear that polished shiny exterior, I’m human and faulty just like every one around me.

You can see how this could get exhausting. My natural inclination when I am feeling low is not to work harder, it’s to dig my head under the duvet and watch crappy TV or read books until I completely forget who I am and can live quite happily in a daze of unreality for long periods of time. But I know this isn’t healthy, so this becomes another one of those things I have to pep talk myself out of, and then I’m pooped again. It’s cyclical.

I have this book, the Artists Way, which I’ve mentioned here before. I still stand by that I believe this helps people, a friend of mine has completed it and loved it, they really felt like it clarified a lot for them. My copy, however is dog-eared about 4 chapters (equates to 4 weeks) in and hasn’t been touched in about a year. This is something that I could pick up and actively do! Actively do to take a stand in my self-esteem battle. I haven’t yet because I’m defeatist and the first thing I wrote here is I hope I will one day. Instead, I’m going to change that to. I WILL DO IT.

I’d like to open up conversation with this because I really really don’t know how to solve a problem like Self Esteem. Sometimes I think I’ve cracked it, then I’m knocked a bit and it becomes a lot harder, I give up for a while, wallow, get sick of wallowing then work for a bit until I’m knocked again. I want to know more about other peoples inner battles, how other people find their balance. If there is one thing I’ve learned over this last year is that it doesn’t need to be perfect, it’s just needs to be good and it needs to fit. That is all I am looking for.

So, tell me; How do You solve a problem like Self Esteem? Comment Below.

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My Story, Uncategorized

Jigsaw Puzzles and Questions | Starting to accept the Positive

Here we are, some time later, ready to enter the surgery phase. Otherwise known as the tear it all apart only to put it back together phase.  This is mind surgery people, this is dissection at its deepest and most emotional.

You could also describe it as similar to cleaning out the attic, you are up there all ready to go. First thing you notice, there is a bunch of stuff just to heavy to lift alone, so who do you trust in your attic? Keep looking and you notice there are broken pieces and jagged splits in a lot of the most precious and important keepsakes in the attic, how on earth will you put these back together? What tools do you need? You also notice that some of the most beautiful pictures are dust-covered and mite ridden and need to be cleaned up, will it just take a spit-shine or do you need some professional cleaners to restore your pieces to their former glory.  Finally, there are all those cobwebs, slowing the whole process down, making it all look so much darker than it really is, the cobwebs only you can clean up, with a lot of elbow grease, dedication and love to keep everything else in tact.

This attic, can take weeks, months or even years to clean out properly. Each corner needs care and attention, every little thing broken needs dedication and detail to fix, most importantly – the attic needs time. To remember what light feels like, to appreciate the feeling of the cleansing. To bask in the glorious release of the hateful airs that have been circulating for, what seems like, forever.

The moment I realised that my sadness could be positive felt like the first ray of sunshine after weeks of grey rain. Yes it still hurt, but realising that this whole experience could really be a precursor to positive change made all of it seem worth while, made the sadness and the pain feel inconsequential, in short – it was a revelation!

In that strange way the universe has of placing opportunity at your feet, I was able remove some of the worst toxins from my life. Whole situations, personalities and responsibilities that had stopped being good for me, were out the window.  I removed myself from anything that didn’t fit right, that didn’t sit well with how I wanted my life to be. This upheaval was and continues to be huge, as complete Life-U-Turns tend to be!

First thing I had to do was get out of my Netflix phase. Even though I was still in the middle of some excellent television series’, I had to try to limit my escapism and attempt to face my issues head on. For each of us this process is going to be different, for some a round of golf gives you the head-space you need to think things through, a long walk through the woods or a long drive. For me, art and writing have always been a way for me to explore my thoughts and express some of my angst. I was definitely one of those teenagers writing angsty poetry about how beautiful some boy or that was, about how painful and confusing my very existence was.  I recall there were definitely some lines about my “life going down the drain” and “hello pain, my old friend.” etc!  Sometimes I read some of it back, it wasn’t all terrible but I was definitely writing about a lot of things I didn’t understand.  Interesting how 10 years later I had come full circle, the realm of my understanding changed, the pain had changed, the confusion and the questions were much much different – and yet it all felt somehow the same. A lot of questions about existence, purpose and life were circling around my head then and now! I would pessimistically say that I must not have answered my questions then, so how do I know I’ve answered my questions now? I think, these are not necessarily questions that need answers – they need to exist and the questions need to be lived, à la Rilke;

…I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.

Rainer Maria Rilke, 1903
From Letters to a Young Poet

I was recommended a book called “The Artists Way” by Julia Cameron.  It was written based on a college course she teaches to help artists, whether they be writers, painters, singer/songerwriters to unblock and release their creative potential. It has since grown into a tool for sufferers of depression and anxiety to unlock some of the questions we have and play around with them, explore, expand and embrace through creative activities.  You don’t necessarily have to want to become a writer or an artist, the activities are designed to really pull truth, emotion and feeling out of you and onto some form of medium.  It does not require skill or artistic talent, it taught me that we as humans generally don’t allow for a  release of the more difficult emotions and questions we have. The Artists Way simply gives you basic activities which outlet a lot of these pent up feelings.

It was at this time that I decided to start this blog. I didn’t start writing right away, I brainstormed, spent some time just writing small paragraphs and reading them over and over.  What was most interesting about this practice is that a lot of where my pain came from was linked to how I initially approached writing this blog.

With Fear.

I had lived a large part of my life with a constant inner dialogue saying; “I should, I would, if only something would happen, why don’t good things ever happen to me? Why aren’t I lucky enough? This person was just at the right place at the right time, that never happens to me.”

It was all words and no action, all desire and no initiative, all negative and nothing positive.  If I actually came up with a viable path to start working towards any of my goals, there would always be some huge hurdle – a mountain made out of a mole hill. Finances wouldn’t allow, how can I find the time, I’m happier living in my fantasy world. (Random side note, It was at this time that I decided that somewhere in my family I must have a royal connection and everything would be fixed when they discovered I was alive and available to inherit some title. I haven’t completely dispelled this idea, it’s a nice dream to hang on to.)

Even if I had Royalty in my family, what had I done to try to get discovered? It’s a funny little dream, but even something silly like that, couldn’t happen unless you are out there. Being “Out There”  sounds like advice girls give their girlfriends when trying to find a new relationship. “You have to be out there, you know, available, open to the possibility of love.” Well, the same goes for life, how do you expect the universe to recognise that you are ready for a relationship if you are hiding away in your jammies on your couch watching hours and hours of Game of Thrones re-runs, as fun as that is it’s not exactly us at our best.  Much like I said in my last post, only you cure you and only you can show the world you are ready to live the questions.  I didn’t know what would happen if I started sharing my deepest darkest emotions in a blog, I initially shared more on here than I ever did in conversations with my friends. I didn’t know what would happen when I started digging deeper and deeper into those questions – but I had to go without fear.  If you trust it, the universe will provide.

 

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