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
Do you ever feel lost? Unsure of your next step? Hesitant about which direction you’re going to take?
Will you move house, emigrate or travel the world? Would it be more sensible to start your own business or remain an employee? Should you go after this guy or that girl or concentrate on your own growth?
Well, I’m feeling pretty lost right now. I’m all over the place. And I’m angry with myself for thinking so hard and not being present.
I’m impatient too. I want to find all the answers immediately. I need to make decisions. And I worry that I don’t have the luxury of time.
But I’m afraid. Should I take the risks and trust that it’ll all work out? That it’s already unfolding exactly as it’s meant to? That I’m okay just as I am?
Today, I opened up to a friend about all this. She reminded me to tell myself that even though I don’t know what to do, I love and accept myself. Even though I feel shame and embarrassment, fear and anxiety, anger and annoyance, sadness and grief, I deeply and completely love and accept myself. She got me to tap on the feelings that arose as I spoke these words. As I tapped, I remembered this quote:
“Wherever you go, there you are.”
I can find beauty and despair anywhere. It doesn’t matter if I’m in Ireland or Greece, Thailand or Australia, if I’m in my current flat or a quiet house in the countryside, if I’m loved up or single (I can be loved up and single too of course).
All I have to work on is myself. Once I feel inner peace, everything else will fall into place. I must raise my own energy and the right path will beckon.
Right now, I feel vulnerable. Shaky. Part of me is too proud to admit this. To show my weaknesses and risk disapproval. But I’m doing it anyway.
Here I am in all my naked glory. I’m not perfect. I feel scared and uncertain. And that’s okay.
I could ask friends and family for advice. I could make an appointment with a life coach. I could listen to my acupuncturist’s words of wisdom. And I’m tempted to do all of those things. But I know that I have the answers. I need to take time out, switch off my phone, be in nature, sit in stillness and listen…
I still don’t feel good. But these emotions, events, deadlines and ultimatums are mirrors that are reflecting back to me the things I need to look at. They’re presenting me with an opportunity to make changes for the better. And I’m grateful for that.
It might seem like doors are closing but that shouldn’t limit me if I see the world as my playground. So instead of shutting down and resisting, I’m unlocking and allowing.
I have cracked open and that doesn’t feel safe. But it feels right.
Posted in Modern Society, Personal development
Tagged acceptance, acupuncture, adventure, advice, allowing, anaïs nin, anger, answers, anxiety, approval, beauty, bereavement, business, challenges, change, choice, codependency, comfort zone, courage, death, despair, doubt, eft, ego, emigration, emotional freedom technique, emotions, energy, fear, feelings, friendship, gratitude, grief, imperfection, inner peace, life, life coaching, living, loss, love, meditation, mindfulness, mirrors, nature, now, open, opportunity, patience, peace, presence, pride, relationships, resistance, risk, sadness, safety, self-acceptance, self-development, self-employment, self-love, shame, single, stillness, tapping, the tapping solution, time, travel, uncertainty, vibration, vulnerability, weakness, wherever you go there you are, work, world
In his movie The Shift, Dr Wayne W. Dyer speaks about the first nine months of our lives. He points out that, in utero, everything is taken care of for us. We don’t worry about how we’re going to look or what we’re going to do when we leave the womb. We simply are. We are in total surrender.
Dr Dyer then puts forward this theory: If everything is looked after for us while we are in our mothers’ bellies, who’s to say that the same doesn’t hold true throughout the rest of our lives? So, when you’re worried about money, your career, health, children or love life, take a step back and let go of control. Release your ego’s expectations of how you think things should happen. Everything is unfolding exactly as it should. This does not mean that you give up. It is the opposite of giving up. It is trusting that all is well.
I came across this quote recently by an unknown author: “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” And Florence Scovel Shinn wrote: “Replace fear with faith.” I remind myself regularly of these two quotes. Some people think that faith and surrender are too passive, even stupid, that we have free will and need to take action in order to survive. I believe that once we, as Florence Scovel Shinn put it, replace fear with faith, we become more aligned with our true potential and purpose. Grievances, hardships, mistakes and disappointments no longer have such a strong hold over us. We have faith that we are loved and that all is well. Thus, we are stronger and more confident in our quest to live life fully and to fulfil our destiny.
We were born as human beings onto this planet and we are an integral part of this magnificent universe. However, soon after our birth, we began to doubt our perfection. We started to question our self-worth by filling our minds with fears, worries and insecurities. We have removed ourselves from the present moment and insist on living out of the past and the future. We don’t believe that we will be okay, that we are okay. Yet, we trust that the animals, trees, plants and flowers are okay. They grow and feed and reproduce without worrying. They have all that they need when they need it. And when they lose their leaves or wilt or even die, we trust that it’s part of the natural process. New leaves and flowers appear. Saplings bounce out of the earth. Why should we doubt that this does not apply to us as humans?
We are a perfect creation of God. We were born out of pure love. We are pure love. What we call evil or sin is just a movement away from God, away from love. And God loves us regardless. It is this unconditional love that we need to accept. This trust that all is well. This surrender to the wisdom, beauty and omnipotence of the Universe. For once we surrender, we can truly appreciate and enjoy each and every moment.
Posted in Spirituality
Tagged acceptance, beauty, birth, career, children, confidence, death, destiny, doubt, dr wayne w dyer, earth, ego, faith, fear, florence scovel-shinn, god, health, humanity, insecurities, life, love, money, nature, omnipotence, perfection, potential, present moment, purpose, relationships, self-worth, surrender, the shift, trust, uncertainty, unconditional love, universe, wisdom, worry
Wrapped in a brightly coloured towel, I eye the Atlantic apprehensively. The wind whips around me, its haunting voice taunting me about my probable madness at wanting to swim in this weather. My skin is raised in the goose bumps that ingeniously serve to trap air between my body hairs in order to keep me insulated and warm. But I don’t feel warm. I’m bloody freezing.
Impulsively, I throw down the towel and hurry towards the ocean. I know from experience that inching my way in will only prolong the suffering so I submerge myself quickly and front crawl vigorously towards the horizon. It takes a while for the numbness to subside but, when it does, I thoroughly enjoy the feeling of my body bobbing in the ocean, my fingers threading through the soft water, the view of the rich, green fields, chiselled cliffs, the brilliant white of the spitting waves, and the knowing that, even if my phone rings, I won’t hear it from out here in the centre of a pollock hole. I tilt my head back in the golden path of sunlight that dapples over the surface of the water.
A child in goggles gazes at the world below. His kicking feet splash me slightly. An elderly man dives in and swims determinedly in my direction. As he passes, the small waves he has generated elbow me gently across the jaw. I keep going. I am swimming through the ripples created by other people, by the wind, by the ocean, and by myself. I am in the ocean and I am part of it. I remember that a significant amount of the human body is made up of water. I am in it and it is in me. And we are all part of the same.
Afterwards, I am so grateful that I went for that swim despite my hesitation. It reminds me of the time I almost hadn’t gone to the cinema with a couple of people I barely knew. Since then, I have had lots of fun with one of those people, who has become one of my best friends. I look back at that moment of doubt whenever I consider not doing something just because I’d rather the safe option.
Later, as I settle down to read Gregory David Roberts’ Shantaram, I come across these words of Johnny Cigar, an Indian slum dweller:
“Our life, it probably began inside of the ocean about four thousand million years before now… Then, a few hundred million years ago… just a little while, really, in the big history of the Earth – the living things began to be living on the land, as well. But in a way you can say that after leaving the sea… we took the ocean with us. When a woman makes a baby, she gives it water, inside her body, to grow in. That water inside her body is almost exactly the same as the water of the sea. It is salty, by just the same amount. She makes a little ocean, in her body. And not only this: Our blood and our sweating, they are both salty, almost exactly like the water from the sea is salty. We carry oceans inside of us, in our blood and in our sweat. And we are crying the oceans, in our tears.”
And so, this is life. What we fear and dread outside of ourselves is just as much inside of us. And while that scary thing that we must plunge into, without thinking too much about the possible consequences and unpleasantness, can be difficult and painful, it can also be beautiful, rewarding and so worthwhile. And that too comes from within.
Image: Author’s own
Posted in Spirituality
Tagged atlantic, beauty, connection, danger, doubt, gregory david roberts, hesitation, johnny cigar, life, living, nature, ocean, pollock holes, reward, risk, safety, scary, sea, shantaram, swimming, uncertainty, water