Depression and anxiety – I made a promise to myself that I would make my life meaningful from now on
‘Life begins at the end of your comfort zone’- Neale Walsh
We’ve all been there at some point, blaming the world and others for what has happened in our lives. Some of us have had to break to realise that really the only person that can shape our lives is us. We make choices every moment of everyday in how we act, behave, react and live and yet sometimes we forget that those choices create the very life we live. Life can be a series of meaningful realisations, learning and growth if we are open to it.
Why I had to stop and challenge myself to make some changes
As you may know from previous posts I have suffered from anxiety and depression over periods of my life. I began to question why some people seemed to be more adaptable, confident, passionate and engaged than I was. I wanted to feel differently about myself because I was just stuck in a rut of comparison and putting myself down. I was miserable and depressed, yet I always tried to show my cheery happy-go-lucky side. My relationships suffered and I felt more detached from myself and others than ever before. I continued with life, doing what I thought I ‘should’ do, what society tells us will make us happy; get a job, find a partner, buy a house, travel, but none of this made me ‘happy’.
What happened for me to start making changes?
It wasn’t until 5 years later when a friend introduced me to NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) that I began to have the tools and understanding to question my self-perception and the choices that were available to me. I learnt that beliefs and values were powerful tools that I didn’t even know I had, they were so unconscious that I hadn’t even known to question them. I learnt that I could put myself in a better state with just visualisation and associating using all the resources I already had within.
I realised that my internal dialogue with myself was less than flattering and showed up a whole heap of insecurities. I recognised that I was beating myself up on such an unconscious level that I had come to believe it myself. After all, what you focus on is what you get. It was time to change the language I used – instead of ‘I can’t do that’ to ‘who says I can’t?’ and ‘what can I do to make sure I do?’
I won’t tell you that I am perfect (as I have come to realise that is an endless pursuit), that I am free of feeling bad about myself sometimes or that I have perfect relationships (I’m continually adjusting and trialling and developing how I ‘do’ relationships) but I’m much quicker to spot my habit thoughts and I know how to get myself in a better place with yoga, meditation and focusing on making a difference. I now see it as an exciting journey where I learn something new everyday and continually change my perceptions, judgements and attitudes. I’m learning what really matters in life, what to focus on and where to turn my attention. I’m living intentionally, making deliberate choices about how I spent my time, energy and money.
What does healing have to do with personal growth?
‘Personal growth’ is the buzz word used to describe what it is to start to make different choices, reflect and learn to be the best version of ourselves. To grow sometimes we also need to heal and unpeel layer upon layer of beliefs about how it is that we ‘should’ behave or how to do relationships and what we believe about ourselves. As children, we absorb ideas of how to live through our parents and guardians. We often unquestionably believe that this is the only way to do things, and why wouldn’t we? It is not that we should blame parents as they too learn their ways from their parents. This is where we have to step up and take responsibility for our own lives. We have to pave our own way, stumble when we make mistakes and get back up to rebuild and create a new path. It’s not easy and it’s not meant to be, that’s what makes it all worthwhile.
It’s a unique path
This comes to some of us earlier on in life and others much later and really it doesn’t matter when, but what is important is why you decide to start to make changes. We have all led incredibly unique lives with their own challenges that cannot possibly mean we all should believe the same thing or that we should all live the same way.
Where to start?
Life’s most important things: Relationships, Personal Growth, Health, Contribution and Passion. Take time to cultivate growth in all of these areas of life; if we were to work on just one area, the others would suffer. For example, if we just worked on our health and spent no time with loved ones, our relationships would crumble or if we put all our energies into our passion/work we could easily become complacent in looking after ourselves.
Time to Re-Root
- There’s always something to learn
The biggest idea that has made a difference in my life is be curious and learn more through reading books, blogs, articles and listening to podcasts and TED talks. I can still remember the day when I decided that it was something that I wanted more of in my life. One of my biggest fears was to be boring to others. I knew deep down that I wasn’t but I felt it was hard to portray that to people, being an introvert. My general knowledge was pretty shocking and even now I will miss jokes (thankfully now I’m more comfortable with this) and the only way to improve that was to soak up information. The important thing was it had to be interesting to ME, not anyone else. I was doing this for me, so why would I read things that other people thought I should read (although obviously I am open to recommendations). Since then I have read more books in the last 2 years than I have my whole life before then. I naturally began to make connections between new and old information.
- Get to know the good, the bad and the ugly about yourself
If you never question ‘why?’ or ask yourself ‘what the heck am I doing this for?’, it’s meaningless. Ask these questions and it becomes meaningful. Get to know the real reasons you do things, sometimes it’s not pretty and sometimes it might just reveal what you really are passionate about. Question your own beliefs, patterns and thinking.
- Do things you thought you couldn’t
I didn’t think I could write. I was told I was ‘not much of a writer’ at school and of course I believed this for many years. I am certainly no expert but I have my own style and with editing support from Helen I am much better and I intend to improve. ‘How to write better’ by The Minimalists is an excellent resource for anyone who is interested in writing.
- Do things you thought you wouldn’t like
It’s easy to brush off the unknown, but whether you do or don’t like it, the thing that really matters is experiences and that you’ve learnt something new. Be open and receptive, do things that make you uncomfortable and challenge you; you never know what might come of it.
- Ask questions, remain curious
We assume so many things about people, we mindread and we judge; we’re human. However, if we can be curious and ask questions, this automatically places us in a more accepting state. I’ve often dismissed ideas and concepts that I don’t think fit with my values as I can be very black and white, but I’ve come to realise there is some value in everything as long as I am open to it.
- Spend time with people that inspire you and don’t be afraid to let some people go
I spent a long time holding onto friendships and relationships that weren’t really adding to my life and often were more draining than anything else. Seek out people who make you interested in life.
- Model people
Is there someone that does what you want to do, really well? Watch them, ask them questions, find out their beliefs, listen to them and begin to model some of their behaviour in your own life.
- Keep fit, eat well
Without health we have nothing. I eat well so that I feel good. Remember food is fuel, first and foremost; it is not entertainment. Don’t diet, just eat well and don’t totally deprive yourself of treats now and then. Exercise so that you feel that buzz, that achy feeling knowing you’ve worked hard and keep up those serotonin levels that keep us happy!
- Question the conventional- there is always another way
I spent a long time thinking that there are ‘right’ ways to do things but in reality, people do things very differently but get the same results and it means do what is right for you and not anyone else. Trust in your own instincts.
- Work on your priorities
We have limited time, so make that time count. That time should include down time and time to focus on your priorities. Our relationships, work, health and passion should all be a part of this. If we simplify our priorities, we can focus on them.
- Be creative
There is no point in growth if it is not utilised- get creative, use your right brain and your left brain equally. Marry them up and see what can be created.
Want some more inspiration?
Check this article out for 50 ways living life on your own terms.
Happy Re-Rooting people!