These honest blogs always feel good to write but scary to post, but I belive that by being honest about who we are and how we feel scary as it may be it gives others the freedom to do the same.
How to take the pressure off is something I'm still learning and that goes against the habit of a lifetime.
Some habits are deeply ingrained and one of mine is to pile the pressure on myself to be better.
I like being busy, I always have. I also like to give everything my absolute best but the problem here is that I don't give myself much room for error or relaxation and the stress from this can lead me down a path that's destination is anxiety then overwhelm and a feeling of hopelessness and depression.
It's not a nice place to be and its somewhere I have visited throughout my life since I was a teenager, I was a good student but would sometimes just stop going to school, as an adult I'd often waking on Sunday mornings filled with an unexplained sadness- but the time I stayed longest in that place was after I competed as a bikini competitor in 2014 & the stress of any weight gain made me anxious, feel like I was failing and in the end so exhausted by my own thoughts I wanted to end it all.
Since beginning my experiment in Feb 2015 they are feelings that I began to experience much less as I learnt to be kinder to myself, to focus more on the now and introduced gratitude & other joy triggers into my life.
But old habits die hard and, although I had let go of the pressure on myself to reach a goal of physical perfection and no longer controlled my anxiety by controlling food...I began to feel like I wasn't reaching my expectations of success.
Now from the outside this may seem absolutely crazy -I have two beautiful children,have been with the love of my life for 20 years, have good friends and a lovely family, twenty months ago I could barely leave my house, had chronic anxiety since then and the beginning of my experiment I have overcome an eating disorder by myself, I'm self employed have several personal training clients and love my job as a running coach and on top of that this year I became a published author as my story was featured in the book 20 Beautiful Women 3, have the amazing opportunity of being a contributor to the Huffington Post, I have been in loads of newspapers and had several radio interviews. Have been asked to speak at several events, schools and also to write guest blogs. This month I also got offered two different jobs.
I've also been working on putting together a book proposal for literary agents and on ways to grow my speaking & possibly coaching career.
Wow. Who on earth could have all that going on and find themselves awake crying at night, feeling like their not good enough and wanting to dissappear ? Me.
Because my habit of setting standards of success so high for myself is still there and I now know that it's something I have to work on changing.
When I trained and dieted for years to step on stage in a bikini gaining one or two pounds was all it took to make me feel out of control & like a failure.
With the body pressure off myself without realising I switched that pressure to being a success in my business and to me that meant financial success, so when bills started to mount up that same pattern returned stress became anxiety that seemed to be constantly bubbling under the surface which then again can very quickly turn to overwhelm & depression.
Yesterday I ran 10k with some of the amazing members of my runclub. As I ran it felt so good to be enjoying it, following my own advice of "run for yourself without the pressure of beating a time". When I went home I felt amazing -the way you feel when you've been with people that and doing what brings you joy. But by the evening anxiety about financial stresses mixed in with tiredness and the seemingly neverending list of "to do's" in my diary meant I went to bed with a feeling of my brain overheating and a sense of hopelessness.
We all have our own reasons for piling pressure onto ourselves in many different ways. What sends one person into panic might not even be noticed by another.
I'm learning so much about myself on this joy hunting journey and sometimes the lessons are painful & hard. I know now though that life throws all sorts at us, that we aren't in control and as a quote my Mum sent me reads "that the only way to feel secure is to learn to live with insecurity" and it's something I know I'm going to work on.
We're never in control of anything (despite what we tell ourselves) except who we are and the way we live our lives.
And who we are is amazing, we can't be anything but because we're born amazing.
From childhood on life dumps all sorts on us that make us forget that we're amazing, we do things,that make us feel guilty and we start to look outside of ourselves for the success that will make it come back.
Amazing is already there and it's up to us to remind ourselves.
Yes I want to have money because it brings with it freedom, choices & opportunites that everyone deserves, and I know it feels better to be able to pay bills than not...but...success isn't in money,achievements, how we look or what we have but in how we make others feel and how we feel about ourselves right now.
I've always been an all or nothing person and with a family history rich in mental instability have always equated slowing down or taking a break to breaking down(for me if someone else told me they were taking time out to de stress I'd encourage it!)
Writing this I feel better and I'm going to commit to focusing on all makes my life a worthwhile success right now and to start changing the habit of piling on pressure & instead taking it off.