Life is too short to feel shit about yourself.
I look at that statement and I know it’s damn well true, but actually understanding it, living it and attempting to move the hell past it has proved to be something that has officially demanded a year of my time.
It was March 2017 when I lost myself and although growth is constantly happening, I think I can happily say March 2018 marks the time where I genuinely feel like I have turned my life around.
A year ago, if you had told me that I would have to sit through another 365 days of this shitty, miserable, seemingly unending pain… I would’ve crawled into a hole and wept until my eyes exploded out of their sockets because I didn’t think I could handle another second of it, let alone another year.
When I say I lost myself, I mean that I used to be confident, happy and self assured but one small event spiralled out of control to such an extent that I felt like a total failure and I was consumed by it. My self esteem hit rock bottom around November and anxiety coursed through me uncontrollably all the time.
If you told me two years ago that I’d ever see a therapist, I’d judge you and I would judge myself. Now I’ve come to the conclusion that we all carry emotional baggage from our childhoods and the majority of us should probably see a therapist. It was only through psychological therapy that I realised that the confident, happy, self assured person I thought I was, was actually a coping mechanism for the insecure, frightened child who trembled underneath it all.; scared of not fitting in, scared of being judged, scared of being compared and constantly having to prove herself to everyone around her.
I guess my biggest blocks came in the form of denial, followed by impatience. I spent so many nights crying and wondering when it would all go away. I know it’s not about that now.
The worst bit is that all this crap goes on behind the scenes. No one knew how fucking horrendous it all was. Not even those closest to me were aware of the extent of it because of the shame cloud that surrounded it.
Anyway, I started with a statement. One I’ve begun to live. One I’ve spent fuckloads of time, persistence, energy and money on learning to live.
Life is far too fucking short to feel shit about yourself.
If you’re reading this and relating, let me tell you something. There is no shame in feeling this way. And you are flawed, you’re nowhere near perfect and you make mistakes but you are fine just the way you are. God, it feels good to believe that.
With a shift in mindset, everything changes, the world opens up and the shackles break off and you become free. With that newfound freedom, I’ve done a whole bunch of fun stuff and now I’m running around chasing all the things I want.
I moved out of my parents’ house and got a flat of my own, overlooking a river. It made zero financial sense. I did it anyway. Why? Because life’s too short to be sensible all the time. So every morning and every night as I watch the way the light twinkles over the ever moving body of water below me I am washed over with a sense of complete joy and I’m pretty glad I paid for that.
I got a tattoo. I’ve told myself I’ll do it for six whole years. I then decided that you can go ahead and write a list of ten million reasons why something might not be a great idea… or you could follow your heart and do what makes you happy. It’s beautiful, by the way.
I’ve booked a solo holiday. I have an entire Pinterest list of free things to do in the place I’m going to and I love this place with all my heart. Having only myself for company stopped being scary when I moved past the fear and realised how fun and indulgent it is.
I started opening up in my relationship. About everything that scared me. Everything I judged myself about. This is one of the most terrifying and vulnerable things that a person can do. But you know what? Owning your own insecurities, saying them out loud and accepting them makes them lose their power. It stops them from having this eternal hold over you and each time I do it, it gets a little easier.
I’m still going to therapy. But it now feels less like I’m begging to be saved from my own hell and more like I’m just bettering myself as a person.
I’m on a mission to conquer my fear of the squat rack. I used to go to a gym with a ladies only section and I maxed out every weight there but I was too scared to go up to the mixed section to lift more. It has now struck me that when fear is stopping you from reaching your full potential you will be limited in all you can achieve. I no longer wish to be a part of that.
I set up my own wifi router and sorted my car’s MOT and servicing out. I’m not even joking: these are significant achievements for me.
Though the trajectory is more upward facing… I’m not naïve either. I know the darkness of the place I’ve come from and I know I could go there again. But this time I am armed with knowledge, pattern recognition, self awareness and most importantly a shitload of compassion. Next time life knocks me down… I won’t fall to the ground for 365 days. I’m convinced more than ever that I can love myself out of a place like that.
Life is just too short to feel shit about yourself. The good thing is… you can absolutely 100% turn it around.