It’s Not All About Success Or Being The Best

Standard

I just read an article on the Scientific American blog that spoke deeply to me and gave me a better perspective on something I struggle with.

It’s something I’ve spoken about on here before.

Here’s the thing. I’m constantly working on my businesses, trying to make them successful. Sometimes I get so frustrated because it seems no matter what I do, it’s just not working out. I’m limited by finances, so can’t spend much, if any money on paid advertising. As most people know, organic content, marketing and advertising often doesn’t work well enough. It can be a dead zone. The saying “you have to spend money to make money” is pretty accurate. But still, I continue to try new things. Learning new ways to market and reach people.

Life rarely gives us what we want, and sometimes what we want isn’t actually what will make the most impact or difference to our lives. I’m proud of myself for continuing to work hard. I’m always learning. And even if I never reach the particular goals I have right now, I feel I’m not wasting my time by working on these things. Someday, somewhere down the line, it might just come in handy.

On another note, like most of you, and as the title of my blog says, I’m on a journey of healing from trauma and mental illness. This is extremely hard work, and most of the time it seems as though I’m not moving forward fast enough, or even at all. When we’re really struggling it’s difficult to see the progress and the little ways we have moved forward. During these times it seems as though everyone else has it all together and we’re left behind. But the fact that I’m still breathing and writing this right now is an achievement. It’s a result of not only fighting to survive, but to thrive as well. Life is hard, it’s messy, and sometimes even downright shit. But if we put in the personal work, if we strive to be our best selves (not who others want or expect us to be), we can better deal with whatever comes our way, and experience all the blessings that life has to offer as well.

Success isn’t everything. Striving to be the best can be exhausting, and most of the time, not even possible. There will always be someone out there who’s better. At the end of the day, I believe it’s the journey that counts. The end point is just an illusion.

You can read the article I mentioned here:
Working Hard Even If You Might Lose

Advertisements

Imperfection

Standard

I’ve been a fan of Evanescence since their beginning days. As the years have gone by though, they haven’t been on my radar as much. I’ll always have a soft spot for Amy and her band, as their music got me through many dark days and nights. One of the highlights of my life was attending one of their live shows. That was a powerful moment for me.

Today I was searching for a song on YouTube by another band I really like, and I saw Evanescence’s new song “Imperfection” on the playlist. While it’s a different sound, it’s the lyrics and the message of the song that really drew me in. So I did a little background search on the song, and found this:

John Legend sang about perfect imperfections in his 2013 hit “All Of Me.” Amy Lee of Evanescence picks up that theme on this track, where she makes the case that our quirks and peculiarities are what make us whole. Unlike Legend’s love song, which is devoted to Chrissy Teigen, Lee is far more urgent, addressing those who are in despair:

Don’t you dare surrender
Don’t leave me here without you

Said Lee: “For me, this is the most important song on the album. I struggled with the lyrics for a long time because there was a lifetime of work to live up to and I wasn’t sure what to say or how to be good enough. When it finally started pouring out of me, it was undeniable. I had no choice. It’s for all the people we’ve lost, all the people who we could lose, to suicide and depression. I’m singing from the perspective of the person left behind, the person in the waiting room. It’s a plea to fight for your life, to stay. Don’t give into the fear – I have to tell myself that every day. Nobody is perfect. We are all imperfect, and it’s precisely those imperfections that make us who we are, and we have to embrace them because there’s so much beauty in those differences. Life is worth fighting for. You are worth fighting for.”

The song starts off slow and soft, but don’t let that fool you. It turns into a powerhouse.

I’m glad I came across this song today, as it’s a message I really needed to hear. I hope it speaks to you too.

 

Anniversary Already?

Standard

Logging into WordPress on Wednesday, this popped up in my notifications:

Wordpress

Time has certainly flown by. I started this blog when I left my emotionally abusive partner of almost 4 years. I was moving from the city I had called “home” for those years, and driving to the city I’m now living in. It took me 3 days to get here, and two overnight stays at guest houses. It was during the second evening that I decided to start this blog.

I felt so alone during this time. Alone, scared and unsure about what lay ahead. This blog helped me process my feelings and thoughts, and it still does. I’ve never been one to express my emotions to others, or try to explain the thoughts in my head. So this blog has been really good for me. Just getting it all out there is therapeutic.

When I first started writing here, I didn’t think that I would even get one follower or reader, and now I have 324 of you! How did that happen? When I first started getting “likes”, comments and followers, I felt a little overwhelmed and frightened. It suddenly became very real. After all, I was revealing my soul to the world. I was exposed and vulnerable. I like to believe that part of my newfound ability to be more open in expressing myself, has come from writing these posts. Of course, therapy also played a big part in the “new” me.

I’ve always struggled to keep up with anything. I’d always start off excited about something, but then I either get bored, discouraged, or another idea or project would consume my mind. So this is a big achievement for me. I’ve managed to stick it out for a whole year! There have been a few days where I wanted to delete my entire blog and just disappear from the online world. But you guys have given me a reason to not give up on it. Knowing that a lot of you relate and find encouragement in my posts.

I want to thank all of you for the support, encouragement, and inspiration. I consider a lot of you friends and family. You give me the strength to carry on through the darkest days and nights.

I’m also thankful to my therapist for encouraging me to keep up with my blog, and for taking the time to read my posts.

Thank you.

All Around Me

Standard

Can I see the wind?
I can see it move through the trees, but I can’t see the essence of it.
I can feel it blow across my face.
The effect is there, all around me.

Can I see my growth?
I can see it in my life, but I can’t see the essence of it.
I can feel it in my heart.
The effect is there, all around me.

Making Progress Even When You Can’t See It

Standard

A few sessions ago, I told my therapist that I finally felt like I was making progress. That therapy is finally helping me. She jokingly asked me if I was saying that therapy hasn’t helped me before that? I told her that the seeds had been there all along, but I just hadn’t been aware of the growth until now.

Often, we don’t see the progress we have made. Hell, we may even feel like we’re just moving backward. And sometimes that’s the truth. We take a step forward, only to move two steps back. But that’s okay. That’s the thing with mental illness. There are no quick fixes. The road to recovery isn’t straight and easy. It takes a lot of work, and there will be relapses and set backs. It’s completely normal, even though it can be extremely frustrating.

When I do something different to how I would have done it in the past, Therapist will point it out and tell me to look at the growth I’ve made, and how far I’ve come. Most of the time I don’t even see what’s right in front of me, due to the negative way I tend to see myself. Other times when she points these things out to me, it fills me with a sense of pride. Because at that moment, I can see it. All the little things I do differently. All the ways in which I have improved. They’re there. I just need to open up my eyes.

If you feel like you’re not making any progress, take a look back, and you might be surprised to find that you have indeed made progress. Small steps in the right direction. When I’m in crisis, and I feel I’m getting worse or therapy isn’t working, and I just want to give up, I like using the DBT skills from the Distress Tolerance (Crisis Survival Skills) module. The Distract Skill, which is broken down into ACCEPTS as follows:

Activities – Find an activity you can get lost in.
Contribute – Help someone else. Contribute in any way you can, such as smiling at a stranger.
Compare – Compare your past self with your present self.
Emotions – Try to find a way to switch into a different emotion. Through music for example.
Pushing Away – If you can’t solve a problem right then and there, pick that problem up and imagine putting it into a box. Place it on a shelf until you’re in a better space to deal with it.
Thoughts – Name things around you. Or breathe in a word, and choose another word for the out breath.
Sensations – An ice cold shower, or lying on cold tiles seems to do the trick for me. Or if it’s raining, I stand in the rain until I’m shivering. Eat or drink something bitter or sweet. Anything that engages one or more of your senses is helpful.

I use the ‘Compare’ part quite often now. Looking at my past self, and comparing that to how I am now. It’s a very good way to see the little bits of progress I have made. It helps get me out of that crisis state, and into what Marsha Linehan (the creator of DBT) calls Wise Mind. Writing down all the improvements. It’s not easy in those moments of intensity, in the midst of the emotional storm, but once started, and written down, I usually find that storm start to slowly die down a little. Because then my mind is engaged in the current task. A positive task. Something that isn’t harming me.

Just as a side note. Using these skills in the heat of an emotional storm is difficult. Mostly because you won’t always remember them. At least that’s the case with me. So it’s important to write these skills down, along with a list of what you feel would help you in each of those ‘catagories’ during these difficult moments.

Right now, I’m treating myself to a delicious, creamy mug of hot chocolate to celebrate the ways in which I have grown over these past few months. It’s my special treat for a job well done. And even though I still have a long way to go, that doesn’t mean that I can’t celebrate the little steps I have already made.

So go on and treat yourself to something you enjoy, or that warms your heart. You deserve it.

Video: The Letter

Standard

I was inspired to make a video, thanks to my lovely friend, Summer (check out her blog here) who has made quite a few of her own already.

This is my first video, so it’s not perfect. But it’s good enough. Something I’m learning to be comfortable with, as I’m an extreme perfectionist.

I’m been really depressed and drained today. So this video is as much for me as it is for you.

I hope it can bring you some comfort today.

Note To Self

Standard

Life doesn’t own you.

You own life.

Stay alive. Don’t allow the darkness to win. Because if you do, your suffering might come to an end, but the suffering of those you love, and left behind, will only begin.

Be strong. Be brave. Just keep breathing.