A while back, I received an email inviting me to become an online author for a website called Success Stories. Naturally, I clicked on the link. The tagline for the website read:
“Learn from People who Already Made it”
Was this spam? Or was this a real live website? And if it was legit, why had they selected me to write for them?
What makes me successful in their eyes? Is it because I have a blog? Because I have the words Life Coach, Acupuncturist & Reiki Practitioner beneath my profile picture? Does my ability to write make me seem like I’ve made it?
If only they knew, I thought. I haven’t made it. Far from it. Then I promptly forgot all about it.
Until yesterday. When I received a follow-up email from the editor reminding me of the invitation. This time I replied, asking a few questions. What type of articles? How many words? Would I get paid?
The response I received didn’t make me want to write for them. But it did get me thinking about how I view myself.
I tend to forget about all the amazing things I’ve done. I downplay my achievements.
I compare myself to others, believing that they’re more successful, more confident, more able, more driven and ambitious. I don’t have what it takes, my inner bully insists.
Now however, I imagine how others might view me. How some people may not be able to understand why I sometimes feel afraid and insecure.
When all someone can see is a smiling picture and a job title at the top of a blog that’s been running for almost five years, they’re bound to think I’ve made some sort of a success of things.
And you know what, they’d be right. I have been creating this blog for almost five years. I set it up. I write the posts. I get myself through the experiences that inspire me. I learn from them. I grow. I share.
Yet I dwell on the parts of my life that I deem to be less than successful. But who’s to say what’s a success and what isn’t?
Some of the more difficult and less appealing things that have happened are actually the things that spurred me on to make important changes. To be brave. To be great.
Shouldn’t that be what success really means? So yeah, maybe I have made it.
Here are some things that have happened to me, for me and by me:
- I did an excellent Leaving Cert. I dropped out of college. Twice.
- I suffered from an eating disorder and depression. I took myself off antidepressants. I worked on myself. I still do. Every day. I’m happier than I’ve ever been.
- I lived in Spain and Munich. I backpacked through South and Central America. I inter-railed around Europe. I spent a summer on a Greek island.
- I married at 23 years of age. I got divorced. I’m single. I’m dating.
- I went back to college as a mature student. I’m qualified in many things. I usually get great results.
- I’ve worked lots of different jobs. I’ve left lots of different jobs.
- I have a great circle of friends.
- I set up my own business.
And you know what? I’m proud of myself. But I don’t think I’ll ever make it.
Because I’m still on a journey. And this journey can be as challenging and painful as it can be beautiful and rewarding.
I feel strong. I recognise all I’ve done to get to where I am. And I acknowledge all that I am.
I have empowered myself enough to be able to navigate my way in the world. I’m doing my best. I’m making it.
Compiling a list of all the things that you’ve been through and all that you’ve achieved is such a positive thing to do. Please make your own list. See how far you’ve come. You’re doing great.
Posted in Modern Society, Personal development, Positive Thinking
Tagged achievements, acupuncturist, ambition, antidepressants, anxiety, backpacking, beauty, beliefs, better than surviving, blog, blogging, bravery, business, challenges, college, confidence, courage, dating, depression, difficulties, divorce, doubts, drive, eating disorder, ego, empowerment, enterpreneur, erasmus, exams, fear, fears, friendship, greatness, grief, growth, happiness, inner critic, inner voice, interrailing, jobs, journey, languages, learning, leaving cert, leaving certificate, life, life coach, life coach kildare, life coaching newbridge, living, love, marriage, online dating, positivity, power, pride, qualified life coach kildare, reiki practitioner, relationships, renting, sadness, school, self-belief, self-development, self-esteem, self-pride, self-work, separation, sharon vogiatzi, Skype life coaching, strength, struggles, study, success, success story, travel, uncertainty, vulnerability, winston churchill, work, world, worry, writing
Recently, I’ve become aware that I am often rushing, running late, under pressure, behind. The questions I have to ask myself are: Behind what? Rushing where? All that exists is the present moment. Everything else is past or future. Whenever I don’t give myself enough time, I am refusing to accept the beauty of the present moment.
I curse as I get stuck behind a tractor. I can’t walk fast enough as I barrel down the street. However, when I feel I have time, I can enjoy the journey. I sing along to music. I appreciate the countryside; the shades and colours and patterns of the sky and fields and mountains. The shock of daffodils on the side of the road that announce the arrival of spring by simply being.
From the moment we are born, a big clock starts ticking. As difficult as it is for a lot of us to accept, we are all going to face death. However, most religions teach us that we are everlasting. Hindus believe in reincarnation. Christians and Muslims believe in an eternal afterlife in Heaven or Hell. Therefore, for want of a better phrase, we have all the time in the world. This doesn’t mean we can afford to waste our time on earth. We are here for a special reason and so, we should make the most of every precious moment. And if you believe that when we die, we die, that’s it, nothing more, then you’d want to make the most of what time you have left. For religious folk and atheists alike, all that exists is the present moment anyway. Right here. Right now. Now… Now… Now… And now.
Of course, if we wish to participate in mainstream society – if we want to work, take classes, keep appointments – we are choosing to follow the structure of time that we have constructed. However, when we believe that time is all there is, this is when problems arise. We are stressed because we don’t think we have enough time to get everything done. We get depressed because something we perceive as negative is taking too much time to go away. We feel guilty because we haven’t exercised as many times this week as we should have. We become frustrated because it’s been so long since we’ve gone on a date or a holiday or had time to ourselves. We judge our situation and our feelings with regard to time. If there was no such thing as time, we would be more at peace, more relaxed.
Alan Watts writes:
“Fictions are useful so long as they are taken as fictions. They are then simply ways of “figuring” the world which we agree to follow so that we can act in cooperation, as we agree about inches and hours, numbers and words, mathematical systems and languages… But the troubles begin when the fictions are taken as facts. Thus in 1752 the British government instituted a calendar reform which required that September 2 of that year be dated September 14, with the result that many people imagined that eleven days had been taken off their lives, and rushed to Westminster screaming, ‘Give us back our eleven days!'”
How can we get away from time when we have to be in work or at a class, when we have to pay our bills and study for upcoming exams? We can give ourselves time off. We can take ourselves on a break away from the constraints of time, where we can enjoy lengthy breakfasts on the balcony, sunbathe on the beach, and read until our eyes become heavy. We can give ourselves more time. This sounds paradoxical but it can be done by managing our time and figuring out what’s really important and what we want, as opposed to what we think we should be doing or falling into the trap of wasting time doing very little. Instead of losing too much time on Facebook or watching the soaps or on the phone listening to someone complaining about this and that, we can give ourselves time to stand under the shower and feel the warm water cascading along our bodies. We can go for long walks in nature. We can sit beneath a large tree and inhale the fresh air and scents of flowers and freshly cut grass and recent rainfall. We can turn off the TV and open a book. We can log off Facebook Chat and meet up with loved ones. We can meditate.
Meditation is one of the best ways to simply be. There should be no time. No stress. No ego. The word “meditation” comes from the Latin “meditare”, which means “to heal”. You can meditate in silence or by repeating a mantra. You can meditate with prayer or by sitting in nature or by watching the flickering flame of a candle. Initially, it can be difficult to switch off the incessant thoughts, the constant checking of the watch, the negative thinking, and the internal planner who sits there deciding what to have for dinner and how to complete that project. You don’t have to banish these thoughts. Simply observe them and let them go. And after a bit of practise, you’ll notice your mind becoming clearer. Focus on your breathing. Feel the connection with everything around you. Simply be. With the present moment. Now. And now. And now.
Posted in Health, Spirituality
Tagged alan watts, atheist, christianity, constraints, eternity, everlasting, exams, forever, god, health, heaven, hell, hinduism, holiday, meditation, muslim, nature, peace, present moment, pressure, reincarnation, relaxation, religion, soul, spirituality, study, time, work
Today’s post is inspired by this year’s dose of The Late Late Toy Show because it got me thinking about a plethora of other pleasures, in which I regularly (albeit guiltily) indulge…
Starbucks… Red wine…
Lady Gaga videos… One Direction…
I won't divulge why I like them. For legal reasons...
Reruns of The Holiday and Bridget Jones’ Diary…
Gazing at cupcakes that are too pretty to eat… Eating them.
Sun holidays – I know I could be sight-seeing but even applying sun lotion is EFFORT…
Skipping class and taking my little sister to the seaside instead…
Reality TV… Duvet days…
Losing myself in a novel when I really should be studying…
Blabbing about all this even though I’m A) embarrassing myself on an international public forum and B) denying myself some much-needed beauty sleep… So come on, make a girl feel better and fill us in on some of your guilty pleasures…
Wasting the day googling random images is another one...
Images: http://www.graphicshunt.com/wallpapers/images/hearts-7037.htm; http://favim.com/image/218958/; http://thegloss.com/tag/cupcakes/; http://weheartit.com/entry/18685599; www.flickr.com; piccsy.com
Posted in Modern Society, Random
Tagged beach, beauty, bridget jones' diary, coffee, college, eating, googling, guilt, guilty pleasures, holidays, inspiration, lady gaga, novel, one direction, photography, reading, reality tv, saturday, school, seaside, sister, skipping class, starbucks, study, sunscreen, sunshine, the holiday, the late late toy show, university, wine