Tag Archives: unique

For a Reason

Three things I’m taking away from my Life Coaching session this morning:

1. I’m going to work with the “negative” voice that regularly pipes up with annoying statements like: “You’re not good enough.” 

I’m going to coach this voice. I’ll listen to it and be there with it and ask it how it feels to believe such a statement.

I understand that it’s there for a reason. It’s actually there for my good as it’s showing me what I need to look at in order to heal. And so I give it, I give myself, compassion.

2. I’m not going to make assumptions or take things personally (And even if I do, I’ll be aware that I’m doing it).

I can’t know why anyone does or doesn’t do something. I don’t know what’s going on in their heads or what issues they have in their lives.

3. I’m going to stop focussing on all the things I can’t do and all the things I’m not.

Instead, I concentrate on my uniqueness and on the wonderful talents that I’m bringing to the world around me. We’re all different. There’s beauty in that.

And a fourth one that didn’t arise from the coaching session but that has made itself known to me in a more obvious manner than ever before:

It’s all unfolding perfectly.

I simply have to get out of my head and drop into my heart. Let go of control. Release fear. Relax.

I am present. I am open. I trust. And I realise that everything I need is provided for me. I allow, accept and give gratitude.

Sometimes, what comes isn’t how I would have imagined it. It may even hurt as I attempt to resist it.

But the learning and growth that emerges from what does come makes me realise that everything happens for a reason. And the incredible people and gifts that appear are better than anything I ever could have planned.

favim.com

favim.com

Advertisements

Into the Wild

“We’re supposed to be different. Thank goodness.”

I posted these words on my Facebook page yesterday evening along with a quote from Susan Cain’s insightful book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

IMG_3812

In Quiet, Cain explores the differences between introverts and extroverts. In a society that seems to reward the confidence, charm and exuberant energy of extroversion, introverts often feel the need to step up, speak out and pick up the pace just so they too can succeed at life.

In the questionnaire at the beginning of the book, I scored a whopping 18 out of 20. This signifies that I’m more of an introvert. It means that I enjoy my own company. I need space and time alone. I recharge by spending evenings in with a book or a movie. I get energy from walks in nature and lying in the sun. And I like to sit in stillness and reflect on my feelings and the meaning of life.

I’m a thinker and a writer. And I’m sensitive. Sensitive to beauty, music and wonderfully worded pieces of prose. I’m sensitive to energy, people’s moods and violence on the television.

I feel deeply. I get depressed. An act of kindness can bring me to tears. I marvel at the many miracles of the universe. Spirituality is more important to me than material things. I’m passionate about life. But at times I feel like I’m drowning in it.

When I feel intimidated, I shut up. It can take me a while to feel comfortable around new people. On nights out, I’d rather not compete with the loud music and the din of chatty pub-goers. So I don’t. My voice just doesn’t seem to carry. If someone really wants to hear what I have to say, we have to lean in to one another.

However, when I’ve had a drink, none of that matters. Cain likens an alcoholic beverage to a glass of extroversion.

Most people aren’t exclusively introverts or extroverts. I love being around people and I lead a fairly busy social life. I enjoy meeting friends and trying out new hobbies but I much prefer participating in deep conversations with one or two people rather than chatting in large groups.

I recognise the benefits of team playing and brainstorming but I work best alone in a quiet room where I can retreat, silence my phone, and concentrate.

When something is bothering me, I tend to write, meditate, read and think. Then I discuss my problems, one-to-one, with someone I trust.

I end romantic relationships if they’re not right. I’d rather be alone than with someone who doesn’t help me flourish.

favim.com

favim.com

Last night, I watched Into the Wild for the second time. This true story is based on American adventurer Christopher McCandless. At twenty-four, Chris has fulfilled his parents’ dream of getting good grades and going to college. Then, instead of attending Harvard, he burns the remainder of his college fund, cuts up his social security and credit cards, and disappears, without a word, into the wild.

One of the reasons I love this film is because I feel it’s quite balanced in its storytelling. The different characters have different viewpoints, personalities and lifestyles.

We learn of Chris’ perspective on life. He resents the control and expectations of society and his parents. He wants to roam free. He needs to be independent and true to himself. He’s happiest when he’s diving into lakes, climbing mountains, and living off the land.

When he enters Los Angeles, he regards the skyscrapers and city-dwellers with an expression of disappointment and despair. We can almost see his soul dimming as he trudges through the metropolis. He imagines how his life could have been and he doesn’t regret his decision to break away. He can’t even stay one night there.

We also hear his sister’s version of events. She understands Chris’ reasons for abandoning the family. Her parents desperately desire a particular way of life for their son. Their intentions are good. This is the only way they know how to guide and protect him. But they’ve also caused their children a lot of pain. Ultimately, we watch them suffer too.

This movie really got me thinking. Was Chris acting selfishly? Was he foolish and naive? Or was he right to go on his own journey, to figure out his meaning of life, to really live and experience and come to his own conclusions?

busaff.com

busaff.com

I’ve often felt different. I’ve struggled to fit in. I’ve felt stifled by society and I’ve agonised over the following:

What is being true to yourself? And what is running away? When do you stop living in the clouds and finally conform? When do you “settle down”?

Then there are the shoulds and norms of society. You should be responsible. That’s what being an adult is all about. You need a good job. You can’t live without money. You need your own home. When are you going to find a husband? Will you have enough time for children? For goodness’ sake, you won’t survive without a pension.

I got 525 points in my Leaving Certificate but secondary school may as well have been a battlefield for all the anxiety I experienced. I did well at swimming and athletics but competition didn’t sit well with me. I dropped out of college twice.

Truthfully, the only reason I went back to college as a mature student was because I felt I had to. How else would I become a functioning member of society?

I obtained a First Class Honours degree and received the Sunday World Cup for Best Student of Journalism with a Language. Though proud of my achievements and happy to gain approval from the people I care about, it added to the pressure I felt to do more with my life, to live up to my potential and to succeed.

And I don’t do well under pressure. So instead of applying for jobs in journalism, I threw myself into an alternative world of acupuncture, homeopathy, personal development and spirituality. And I’ve never been happier.

Of course, I still experience paralysing moments of fear. The voices in my head go something like this: What are you doing with your life? Grow up. Be normal.

So I tentatively move forwards with one eye clamped on everybody else in the world who’s doing things the “right” way. I compare, criticise and compete. I alter my behaviour and try to change who I am in the hope that I will prosper. I worry that I’m not adult enough for this big bad world of business and mortgages.

But what does “adult” mean? How “should” a 34-year-old woman live? Why must we all melt into one right way of doing things? We’re not all the same. That much is very clear.

Yes, there’s a reason why most of us follow the well-trodden path in life. There’s safety and security in the tried and tested route. Most people want to see life’s landmarks so they know where they are and what to expect around the corner.

But some of us thrive on change. The unknown excites us. Newness is revitalising. It’s what keeps that spark inside of us alight.

It’s a relief to realise that we don’t have to be the same as one another. We don’t have to compete because we each have unique gifts to bring to the world.

There’s no point trying to do things his way or attempting to be as good as her because you’re not them. You’re you.

Some of us want to climb the career and property ladders all the way to the top. And some of us are quite happy to keep our feet on the ground.

Whether we’re commuting to our permanent jobs, bringing our children to school or backpacking across the globe, we can be fully alive and true to the essence of who we really are.

Whether we’re writing fantasy novels, saving lives, cleaning the streets or designing websites, we can be the people we’re meant to be.

Whether we’re introverted or extroverted or a dollop of one and two tablespoons of the other, we are unique and perfect just as we are.

We’re different and brilliant in our all of our shade and all of our colour. We blend and we clash and we all come together in this stunning masterpiece of humanity.

We may think we know who we are. We stamp ourselves with neat and convenient labels so we can understand and make sense of the world around us. But life changes. We change. We grow and develop and we dip in and out of lots of different attributes and characteristics. Every colour of the rainbow is available to us to try on and see what suits us best.

And whether we’re paying into our pensions or collecting the dole, none of us can really know what to expect next. Nothing is certain.

The weather is unpredictable. And the terrain is constantly changing. We may want to know the exact directions to a predetermined destination. But we are all, in fact, walking into the unknown. We are all on a journey into the wild.

favim.com

favim.com

Putting the You into Unique

We spend enough time being the worker/parent/student/householder. So why spend the rest of our time torturing ourselves? Doing the things we think we should be doing. Being the person we think we should be. It’s time to throw the shoulds out with the dirty bath water and embrace the coulds and want tos and feel likes.

How many of you hide parts of yourself from the outside world because you’re afraid of being rejected, ridiculed, written off for being crazy?

It’s okay to be weird. To stray from what’s supposed to be normal. And the sooner we admit our quirks to ourselves, the sooner we can bravely show off our authentic selves to the outside world. It just takes one of us to begin flashing our true colours loudly and unashamedly. Soon enough, those around us will become fed up of falseness and find freedom much more exciting.

"I don't suffer from insanity. I enjoy every minute of it."

Your neighbour doesn’t call to your house when she’s in the middle of a no-makeup, Sex & The City marathon, duvet day. Your co-worker doesn’t shuffle out of his suit to show you the David Bowie tattoo on his backside. The townsfolk don’t come to the pub when they’re greasy-haired and spotty. And if they do, GOOD FOR THEM!

Most people face the world with their best (more controlled) side out. That’s why when we feel shitty, we presume that we’re the only ones who cry into our cereal, who want to stay indoors all weekend, who clap along to the X Factor, who fantasise about punching our exes in the face. And those who do engage the outside world, with their flaws evident, are often seen as mad. Think of human beings as T-shirts. Most of us are cool or colourful or at least freshly ironed. But the ones who are brutally honest and admit to feeling lousy or who shout at passers-by as they smack themselves across the head are T-shirts too. They’re just inside out.

When I’m anxious, I bite the skin on my lips and fingertips but I try not to do it  in public because someone once said it made me look retarded. I wailed on the stairs when my ex left me but I held it together when I met my best friend for coffee later that afternoon. I stuff more Pringles than I’m hungry for into my face when I’m alone but I resist a second chocolate biccie when I’m in company.

Of course, most people want to be seen as disciplined, energetic, intelligent, forgiving. So we mask the silly side and the shallow side and the angry side and the depressed side. Well, I think that’s boring.

Just be yourself. Your whole, wonderful, wacky self. Because when you allow yourself to be just that, you can finally open up to the right friends and potential partners for you. And you will be giving license to those around you to unleash their inner uniqueness too.

So, here goes. This is me in all my glory. Sometimes, I like to meditate. Other times, I’d rather shout along to my newest downloads. Sometimes, I think logically and can see the bigger picture. Other times, I imagine breaking cups in frustration as I cry big baby tears of hurt and sadness. Sometimes, I decide to watch documentaries on the economic crisis. Other times, I’d rather escape my reality by losing myself in reality TV. Sometimes, I’m sociable. Other times, I feel fat and ugly and tired and lazy so I don’t even get dressed. Sometimes, I read books on spirituality. Other times, I simply curl up with a cup of tea and the latest Jodi Picoult novel.

You don’t have to be Either/Or. You can be everything and anything all at once. You are you and there is no other you out there. You are fabulously confusing, glitteringly fascinating, mesmerisingly unique. Be you. Do you. Reveal the masterpiece that is you. Because you’re spectacular. And I am too. We all are. We’re just not the same. And thank God for that.

"In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different." Coco Chanel

Images:

http://ziptivity.wordpress.com/2011/06/30/head-to-sharon-ma-for-the-best-fireworks-display-south-of-boston/

http://crfellowshipnwa.blogspot.com/2011/07/life-crazy-right-now.html

http://www.searchquotes.com/quotes/author/Coco_Chanel/