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How Do You Discover Your Purpose for This Life?

1 minute 43 second read

I can't tell you how many times people have told me, “I have absolutely no idea what my purpose is or what I’m meant to do in this life!”

To be honest, I don't know if there's just one answer to that burning question anyway. I mean, we are complex beings who are capable of having numerous gifts, abilities, and talents that could make us think “Oh, that's where I’ll find whatever it is that I’m supposed to be doing in the world!”

Further complicating the issue is that we are bombarded with life events and circumstances that can adversely affect our lives — or positively impact them, as well. Sometimes those events seem to lead us into something that we think we're meant to do, or a message that we're supposed to share.

In that case, we might find ourselves asking, "Is this my purpose? Is this my destiny? And if it is — or isn't — how will I know?"

If we have any chance at all of knowing the absolute truth about any of those questions, we won't know for sure until we're back in the spirit realm. Actually, we don't even know that there is a point or a purpose to our lives, although I choose to believe there is.

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In the meantime, I've come up with a sort of recipe to help people discover what it is they're meant to be doing during their time here on the planet. Or at least, what might be a good use of their time and skills if there isn't actually a purpose for any of this.

First, think about what you really love to do. What lights you up? If you could get up every day and not have to worry about money or anything else and could just do whatever you want, what would it be?

For some it's various kinds of creativity like art or dance or music. For others, it might be playing with numbers, or creating Sudoku puzzles (I cannot imagine...). Still others want to play with little children, work with homeless people, build bridges or see the world.

The next step is to think about what you're really good at doing. What are your natural abilities? You know, those things you can do that always amaze others even though you think they're no big deal because they're so easy for you. What is it that comes easily to you?

When you can bring these two elements of yourself together — what you love and what comes easily to you — this is where you will find your purpose. Or at least, one of them! You might discover several at that intersection.

I'd love to hear what you believe is your purpose. How are you lighting up the world in your own special way? Go ahead and share in the comments below.

Is anxiety keeping you stuck? Get your FREE copy of my “7 Quick Tips to Reduce Anxiety and Get Unstuck” by clicking on the photo, or the button below!

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Are You Stuck on the "Toxic People" Merry-Go-Round?

1 minute 52 second read

There are those people in life who are struggling, lost, or challenged in a way that adversely impacts not only their own lives, but the lives of those around them. It might have been due to a messy childhood or other unhappy circumstances. Or perhaps too many things caved in on top of them all at once and they've gone off the rails for a while. Some people just seem to live there and we never really know how they got there.

We love these people even if we don’t like their behaviour. They might say and do some terrible things to us, to themselves, and to others. They might shock us with how much hurt they can inflict, or just how plain mean and spiteful they can be.

Sometimes they're simply misguided...lost and seeking answers, seeking help, rescue, love. They might not even know what it is they are seeking. Rather than taking action regarding the circumstances they don't like, they live in constant "reaction". They make choices that usually involve a lot of emotional response with little (if any) rational thought or helpful decision-making ability.

We see the hurt. We see their pain. We may or may not understand it but we recognise it. We see their self-destructive choices, their Egos that are desperately trying to protect themselves from further damage but really they're just causing more by hurting everyone around them.

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They say they want help and that they just want to be happy. We offer our support and our love. We suggest and coax and encourage. But they keep throwing themselves off one figurative bridge after another, disregarding all efforts to help them and refusing to help themselves. And worse, they take a lot of prisoners with them, hurling insults or accusations about how no one cares about them, no one loves them, or no one ever wants to help them.

Perhaps they fear change. Maybe it just feels too hard and overwhelming. Or maybe it's because they're just so used to living in a state of crisis and drama that they really don't know how to be any other way.

Whatever the reason, their refusal to help themselves wreaks havoc on the lives of everyone around them. We get yanked along on the horrifying roller coaster of too many crises and too much chaos to the point where it adversely impacts our health and our happiness until we say, "ENOUGH."

It is absolutely true that you cannot help those who do not want (or try) to help themselves. It's one thing to support and assist loved ones who are obviously doing their part to try to turn their lives around. Does that mean they won't slip now and then? Of course not. But as long as they keep doing their best, it makes sense to continue to support them.

As for the ones who just keep living in the midst of a nightmare and they want you to live there with them...as long as you choose to stay there, you're destroying your own life as much as they're destroying theirs.

Is anxiety making you feel stuck in life? Click on the button below for my FREE GUIDE - “7 Quick Tips to Reduce Anxiety and Get Unstuck!”

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Do You Honour Your Word?

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1 minute 47 second read

How many times have you made yourself a promise that you would do something and then put it off? Whether it's starting a diet, exercising more, being more organised, stopping smoking, eating less junk food, or anything else on the planet, how often have you made a plan and then not followed through on it?

If you're like many people, it's a lot.

Maybe you tell yourself you're just being patient, and although you desire a particular result from the change you say you'll make, you're prepared to wait just a little longer for it. You pride yourself on not feeling frustrated about your current weight of lack of fitness. You call it "self-acceptance" and you smile as you promise that you'll still make those changes but there's no great hurry to do it.

It's true, self-acceptance is important. However, it's also important to be clear about what's behind your lack of follow-through because it might just be self-sabotage more than anything else. It might be an underlying lack of self-love and self-respect that keep you stuck in unhealthy behaviours that validate how you really feel about yourself on a deeper level.

It's likely that the excuse of being "patient" is really just a nice word for procrastination. And so is the excuse that you didn't use the word "promise." It was just "something you said you'd do but you have the right to change your mind." Look, this is about following through and keeping your word, whether you called it a promise or not.

You might think it doesn't matter if you don't keep your word to yourself because no one knows about it but you. But if that's the case, you're not always keeping it in other areas of your life either. It shows a lack of integrity and others will notice it, even if you don't.

If you're not honouring your word to yourself, ask yourself why. What negative beliefs about yourself are you validating? What positive beliefs would you like to cultivate?

If negative self-beliefs are sabotaging your desires to improve yourself or your life in some way, you'll struggle to keep your promises. So instead of swearing you'll stick to that diet, or that you'll exercise more often, just make one promise to yourself: That you will honour your word - to yourself and to others.

Set yourself up for success by only making promises or declarations that you know you can keep. Be realistic in your expectations of yourself.

When you see that you're following through on everything you said you'd do, this will jack up your sense of self-worth and self-respect in a big way.

It will also help to boost self-confidence and once you see that you are honouring your word and you see how much better you're feeling about yourself, it will be easier for you to start making those changes you desire with diet, lifestyle or whatever else you choose.

Is anxiety making you feel stuck in life? Click on the button below for my FREE GUIDE - 7 Quick Tips to Reduce Anxiety and Get Unstuck!

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"Pain Is Inevitable; Suffering Is Optional..." (Quote by Haruki Murakami)

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(1 minute, 52 second read)

The Buddha taught that suffering arises when we have attachments to things that we desire. Whether this is in material objects, relationships, or various pleasure in life, the issue is that everything is transient and ultimately, loss is inevitable. We cannot always have the "thing" we want to buy, the trip we want to take, the person who doesn't love us back or that "not-good-for-us-but-wonderful-something" that we wish we could eat, drink, ingest or do.

Buddhism also teaches us that the only constant is change. As long as we draw breath, nothing about our lives is fixed or permanent. When you desire something, you are attempting to control it or make it happen

This is going against the forces of the universe and is a recipe for anxiety, depression, frustration, disappointment and other unpleasant emotions when you are not able to have or achieve that which you desire. This is the cause of suffering.

It is virtually impossible to completely eliminate desire. You can desire water when you're thirsty or food when you're hungry. The conundrum is that when you try to stop desiring something, you're still desiring to stop desiring.

What is most important is to eliminate attachment and desire as much as possible. This is how to end suffering and find true freedom from all anxieties, worries, and troubles.

When I first heard this idea, I thought, "How are we not supposed to feel attached to our children or other loved ones?" It took a while for me to realise that we can love without attachment because they're like comparing apples and frogs. They're not at all the same. We can love our children (and others) for who and what they are without feeling attached to a desire for those relationships to be a certain way.

Sometimes it means letting go of people you love, even if it's your children or other family members. Staying attached to a relationship that isn't working will only bring distress and toxicity to your life.

 
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One significant game-changer in releasing attachment and suffering is in the stories we tell ourselves. A relationship breaks up and we say things like, "I'll never find someone so wonderful again." Or "I'll never be happy again." Or "I'll never get over this."

As long as you choose to think such negative thoughts, you're right, you'll never be happy or find that "someone wonderful." It is up to you to create positive thoughts and to focus on good possibilities and keep your vibration high so you can attract like-minded positive people and situations that will light up your life.

Let go of your negative thinking. Let go of the sad-sack stories. Focus on the good in your life and stop fretting about the past or worrying about the future, for neither exists. The only reality is this present moment, this one, right here, right now. You can choose to make it a happy, positive, blessed moment of gratitude in your life. Or you can suffer through it by dwelling on what's wrong, what you're lacking or will never have.

Do you struggle with Anxiety? Get your FREE copy of my “7 Quick Tips to Reduce Anxiety and Get Unstuck” by clicking on the photo, or the button below!

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When You Take that Leap of Faith, the Net Appears...

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1 minute 27 second read

There is nothing as paralysing as fear. Sometimes it hides behind the mask of indecision, or occasionally a worry about the wellbeing of someone else.

But at the end of the day, if you know you really want or need to move forward but something is holding you back, there's a good chance that somewhere under the excuses you're making is a big ol' pile of fear.

You might try to tell yourself that you won't/can't/shouldn't do it because you're protecting someone or they'd be happier if you didn't. You might say it's because you haven't a clue how to get where you want to go, or that you'd probably fail anyway so what's the point in trying.

But I'll bet if you dig a little deeper, you'll find a fear lurking there to stop you from expanding yourself and your life. And what is the point of this existence if it isn't expansion into something better?

I know what it feels like to take a swan dive off an enormous (figurative) cliff with jagged boulders all the way down the side and a raging river somewhere at the bottom. I know how it feels to be forced into that decision because there's something even more terrifying right behind me.

And I also know that it's true what they say...that when you take that leap of faith, the net appears.

How does that work? Well, once you've done it, once you've allowed yourself the freedom to expand, to try something new, or whatever "the thing" is, you will be open to incoming information that can help. You'll be more receptive to signs, people, open doors or whatever else is required for you to build that net and suddenly, the answers are right there in front of you.

As long as you stay stuck and refusing to move, to grow, to change, or to even try something new, the more stagnant you'll become. You'll always wonder "what if...?" You'll never know all the colours and magic that you could have created for the world to see.

You'll be destined to live a closed, small, grey life of regret and sameness. It might be safe, but it's not at all what you were meant to do.

Go on! Take that beautiful leap of faith. Believe in yourself and discover your purpose. The rest of us are waiting for you.



Do you struggle with Anxiety? Get your FREE copy of my “7 Quick Tips to Reduce Anxiety and Get Unstuck” by clicking on the photo, or the button below!

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Grounding: Great for Easing Anxiety

2-minute read

It's awful when anxiety lurks in the dark recesses of your mind, always waiting to grab you by the throat and make your life a living hell for a while. Whether it's a low level anxiety that keeps you constantly on edge, easily startled and nerves jangling, or you're dealing with full on anxiety attacks as a regular occurrence, it's a misery to be invaded by this bloody-minded monster.

I know it can feel like you have absolutely zero control when that happens, when it's got you in its grip, your heart racing and your mind suddenly paralyzed by fear.

Perhaps it's just that you're feeling extra stressed. Sometimes that can feel like anxiety, too, especially as tension increases.

There are many ways to reduce and/or eliminate anxiety permanently, without the use of drugs or other treatments. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, I did it and I've taught countless others to do it, too, so I can promise you it is absolutely possible.

And it's also possible to reduce or eliminate stress. Okay, I must be joking, right? Wrong. Stress isn't in the events and circumstances of your life. It's in your responses to those circumstances. Now, of course certain events are going to be difficult to manage, such as the death of a loved one, losing a job or getting a divorce. But even in these highly challenging situations, you can still do a lot to find ways to relax and find a place of inner calm, at least to some extent.

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One of the simplest ways to reduce anxiety is to spend some time every day making sure that you're grounded. This is just a way to balance the way your mind spins out of control when you feel anxious or extra stressed.

An excellent way to bring yourself back into your body is to get yourself outside and into a natural setting. Even if all you can manage is to walk or sit on grass, that's better than staying indoors or being surrounded by concrete.

If possible, sit with your back against a tree trunk for a while or if you're not concerned about what others might think, face the tree, put your arms out and give it a lovely, long hug. You'll be amazed at the energy that you'll feel pouring up from the earth into the trunk and into you, too.

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If the weather isn't conducive to that kind of outing, see if you can find a garden center or even a hotel or office building with a lobby filled with plants. Go for a drive in the country. Anything that lets you enjoy nature as much as possible in your circumstances.

Or if you're stuck indoors, close your eyes and visualise deep roots growing out of your feet and extending hundreds of miles into the earth. Feel those roots firmly planted in the ground, where they gather nutrients and energy that then move back up the roots and into your body. Beginning and ending each day with a few minutes of this wonderful visualisation exercise can really help to keep you grounded. It can also become a quick and easy "go-to" answer when anxiety rears its ugly head throughout the day.

The more you do it, the better it works.

Do you struggle with Anxiety? Get your FREE copy of my “7 Quick Tips to Reduce Anxiety and Get Unstuck” by clicking on the photo, or the button below!



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You're Not Responsible for Anyone Else's Feelings

1 minute 45 second read

Yesterday, I wrote about the most powerful tool you’ve got, which is the power of choice. It raised another issue, but first I need to back up just a bit.

I was saying that sometimes we feel trapped, even when we aren't. We might feel like we don't have a choice in certain matters, but the truth is, we do. It just might not be a choice that we like because of the potential consequences and in particular, when those consequences involve others being unhappy or upset with us.

"I can't say no, it'll hurt her feelings!" "You make me so angry!" "He pushes my buttons!"

The truth is, you cannot "hurt her feelings." She gets to decide whether or not she'll be upset if you say no.

And no one can "make you angry." Whatever other people do, no matter how boneheaded their choices, no matter how nasty or mean-spirited, thoughtless or selfish, you get to decide whether or not you're going to feel angry, or annoyed, or nothing at all. You get to decide to just dump responsibility for their thoughtless actions back in their laps and not waste any time or energy feeling miserable.

And there is no such thing as having anyone "push your buttons." Now, before you throw rocks at my house, let me explain.

Let's say your jealous younger sister knows you're self-conscious about something. So she teases you and you blow your top. You've given her the response she wanted.

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Next time she wants to get you riled up, she teases you again. You might even be a little angrier this time. She feels quite satisfied because once again, you've reacted as she'd hoped.

The more this goes on, the more you feel like she's "pushing your buttons and making you angry."

But the truth is that you've simply taught her that if she says anything about that issue, you will become angry. If you want the cycle to stop, you have to stop giving her the reaction she wants. She can't "make you" angry. You get to decide whether or not you let her words or actions get to you.

You could just as easily act like it doesn't bother you in the least (even if it does, just don't let anyone see it!). When your bratty little sister sees that she's no longer getting the desired response, eventually she'll stop trying.

So you see, there is no such thing as "button pushing." You are simply teaching people that if they do "this," you will respond like "that." If you want them to stop, then YOU have to stop reacting the way you do.

Be prepared for them to try harder to make you react the way you used to do, but stay strong and don't let them see it. It won't be long, they'll get bored and quit.

Do you struggle with Anxiety? Get your FREE copy of my “7 Quick Tips to Reduce Anxiety and Get Unstuck” by clicking on the photo, or the button below!

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The Most Powerful Tool You Have is the Power of Choice

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2-minute read


There are many of us on the planet who are blessed to live in countries where there is great freedom. We have the freedom to pursue careers that we want, to be educated, to go shopping and buy whatever we want, to move about from place to place if we feel like it, uprooting ourselves and setting out on new adventures.

We have the freedom to vote for the government we prefer, to dress as we please, and to travel and explore as much or as little of the world as we want.

Yet in spite of all of this freedom, it is astonishing how easy it can be for some of us to feel trapped, helpless and powerless. We might feel forced or pressured into careers, relationships, financial decisions, or parenthood. We feel like we have "no choice" because of the needs, expectations and demands of others who want what they want from us, and their happiness seems to be the only kind that matters.

Some of us will stand up to that sort of pressure, say "Not happenin'!" and run the other direction.

But far too many of us will feel like we don't have the right to do that. "I couldn't! He/She would be furious!" "He can't do it for himself (usually means "won't" do it...). "I have to do it. They're expecting it." "I hate it but they'll be so disappointed if I don't!"

And on and on and on.

I do understand how that feels. I lived there for a very long time. Too long, in fact. Like many others, I was brought up to believe my needs and feelings weren't important. I was not allowed to stand up for myself, to say what I wanted, or to say "No." Because of this conditioning, even into adulthood I was easily manipulated into making decisions that were about the happiness of others while ignoring my feelings.

Consequently, I didn't feel like I had any choice but to make decisions that felt completely wrong even though I tried desperately to make them feel right. I got into the wrong marriages or other situations that left me feeling trapped and like a hostage.

I take full ownership of that...I'm not pointing fingers. At the time, I couldn’t see that my upbringing and other factors contributed to it and ultimately, I was the one who made those decisions.

But all I could see was that I felt trapped, helpless and powerless.

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The thing is -- and it took me years to figure this out -- I wasn't trapped, nor was I helpless or powerless. I just felt that way.

If you're feeling trapped, it's probably got something to do with obligations, demands and expectations that others are placing on you. But you don't owe anyone your happiness. It's your right and your responsibility to make the most of your life, whatever that means to you, and whether or not anyone else approves. If we can just recognise that, it can help to keep us from making choices that are not in our best interests.

And there's the key phrase..."making choices." This is truly the most powerful tool you've got - the ability to make choices.

Don't waste it on people who pressure you to use it for their benefit and not yours.

Do you struggle with Anxiety? Get your FREE copy of my “7 Quick Tips to Reduce Anxiety and Get Unstuck” by clicking on the photo, or the button below!

 

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the Art of Trusting Your Intuition: Sharon Sayler Interviews Liberty Forrest

Each week, Sharon Sayler, host of The Autoimmune Show, brings you top-notch experts and fantastic 'thrivers' interviews, chats and positive thoughts to empower you to live well regardless of your diagnosis. Honestly, it's the info she wants to hear... because she's an autoimmune thriver too!

In this episode, Sharon interviews Liberty to discuss the importance of listening to your intuition, and in particular, listening to your body’s wisdom to improve your overall health and wellbeing.

Did you know there are over 100 conditions that people are suffering from every day that compromise their immune systems and if it’s not one of the “big ones” like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis you might be told 'it’s all in your head,' or 'people your age…'

Your host for The Autoimmune Show, Sharon Sayler knows the pain and suffering of autoimmune disease. Her struggles to find the right answers to her decades-long autoimmune disease experience created what friends call an “irrational-passion” to encourage and inspire others to live well, whole and complete… 

With that, The Autoimmune Show  was born… the premier location for information to empower you to live well, thrive and create a happy, healthy, wealthy life regardless of your diagnosis. The Autoimmune Show, the #1 listened to show on OMTimes Radio has new shows every Friday night at 7 PM ET on OMTimes Radio. 

You can watch video selections, full interviews, positive thoughts and meditations on our YouTube channel.  And grab the podcast at all the great podcast places like Spotify, Spreaker, Blog Talk, Podbean, SoundCloud and many other popular places plus on iTunes at iTun.es/i6Y95hR 

Be sure and join the Courage Club for The Autoimmune Show! They have most shows in transcript PDF available at no-cost at www.understandingautoimmune.com/TranscribeTribe plus more goodies like videos and downloadable meditations....

And other great opportunities to be part of their community: 

www.understandingautoimmune.com/Facebook www.understandingautoimmune.com/iTuneswww.understandingautoimmune.com/OMTimes www.understandingautoimmune.com/YouTubewww.understandingautoimmune.com/Google+ Instagram: autoimmunehour Twitter: @autoimmunehour

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Pat Duckworth interviews Liberty Forrest

Pat Duckworth author of Hot Women Rock: How to Discover Your Midlife Entrepreneurial Mojo, in conversation with Liberty Forrest. Listen in as we chat about Liberty's entrepreneurial journey, her creativity and her passion.

Visit patduckworth.com for more about this remarkable woman, international speaker and bestselling author, hypnotherapist, and so much more...

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Speak Up, Speak Out

The post below is by a guest who wishes to remain anonymous. It's an important topic and I'd love it if you'd please share on your social media or other platforms. I have recently been driven and inspired to share my story with you all in hopes of giving courage to anyone out there who might be having a similar experience. 

Thank you,
Liberty

About 9 months ago, I achieved just one of my dreams. I landed my dream job of being a designer. I had been struggling for so long to gain this, but it looked like my hard work and dedication had paid off! Like anybody else, I was brimming with enthusiasm and was looking forward to the adventure of starting my new job and relocating from a city to a town.

Months passed, and I loved my days, designing for international and national brands. Life and work were good. It was only a few months into my role that things took an unexpected turn. Although, as a teenager I had experienced bullying on some level, I never thought for one second that I would experience it as an adult - and from other adults!

On a number of occasions, I experienced comments regarding being teetotal and my lacto- vegetarian diet. Some I took on the chin as lighthearted humour, but when it continued I knew something wasn't right.

It became even more questionable that it was not right when people laughed and I didn’t join in! Comments such as the following arose: “We will have to change that about you," “That has a whole egg in it you know," “Come on, you don’t drink, you're vegetarian...what do you do then?" Following these comments, the instigator would always laugh whilst others joined in.

However, on a much more serious level I also experienced direct racial comments. I was called "Brown [my name]" directly to my face by a fellow colleague, following a number of inappropriate words taking the mick out of my Indian culture.

I was totally numb and shocked! Had this really happened to me? It took a few hours for me to even register what I had experienced.

I sought out much advice from family and friends. Half of them urged me to leave my job, and the other half told me this was direct racial discrimination and I should tell somebody in a position of leadership.

After much deliberation, I had to go with my own gut feeling and what my heart was telling me.

Eventually, I built up the courage to tell my manager. I thought I could trust her and usually as you do find in life, there is always one person with whom you feel most comfortable, right?

I told her what the fellow colleague had said to me whilst she was away from the studio, and she was as shocked as I had been. I felt a big weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

But I was to learn later that this really wasn’t the case.

Once I had told my manager she went and informed the HR manager. When she came back, her opinion of the matter had changed. She seemed more inclined to the idea it was not as serious as I was making it out to be. In my head, I was thinking perhaps the HR manager or someone else had influenced her.

Nevertheless, I was told that the HR manager would have a talk with this colleague and it would go on her record.

A few days later, the colleague who had made the comments apologised to me. She said it was a joke to which I responded that I didn’t find it funny! She made a few other excuses, but I accepted the apology in hopes that things would change and I could move forward.

Later, I was to find out this was just the beginning of everything getting worse.

A day or so after the apology, I saw and heard the colleague who made the remarks to me telling other workers around the business. Following on from her unprofessional behaviour I received further comments like “Brown” as I walked through to the office from another worker and other inappropriate remarks relating to the fact that I had told the HR manager.

Upon receiving these backlash comments, I felt both intimidated and anxious at work. My trust with my manager had been broken and I didn’t feel I could trust anyone in my workplace. At this point, I had been logging and writing down what comments had been made to me.

I would wake up every morning feeling sick. I was restless throughout the day. Eventually, my work and health suffered; I could no longer focus. Weeks at work seemed like months, and I always had the anxiety of being bullied about my colour, culture and life choices.

You might be wondering, why I didn’t tell anyone? Honestly, I believe it’s because of the fear the bullies had put in me. My confidence vanished and hence I had to do something about it. Clearly, I could not carry on like this. I had to make one of the hardest decisions. I handed in my notice.

On my last day, I did inform my manager and HR manager of all the incidents that had happened. They suggested it was banter and that I was getting mixed up, but clearly it was much more than that, especially as I didn’t start any of this, nor did I join in or laugh with them.

Ultimately, they didn’t want to take responsibility for their behaviour. Even though not many people understood, I was proud of myself for speaking up, even if it was my last day.

I guess the main point I am trying to make to anyone who is reading this who might be experiencing a similar thing is you must speak up and out. Don’t leave it until it begins to affect your health and performance. If the people you tell break confidentiality or trust, as happened in my case, there is always someone higher.

Try managing directors, Citizen's Advice Bureau, or great anti bullying organisations.Good people and advice are out there; don’t suffer in silence.

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Feelings. Better Out Than In.

Far too often, most of us choke on our feelings. We feel tears welling up with that awful, aching lump in the throat, and we take several deep breaths, forcing the emotions back down where they can do all kinds of damage. They make us sick or depressed, give us physical pain and discomfort, sometimes with the weirdest symptoms that doctors simply cannot explain.

We fear being seen as weak. For some reason, our culture thinks a display of emotion means we're out of control. But there are only two occasions on which emotions can hurt us.

One is when we stuff them and do not acknowledge them. The other is when we make hasty decisions purely because of our feelings, without thinking them through, and end up hurting ourselves - or others - as the result of our poor choices.

But there is nothing wrong with having painful or difficult feelings, and there is nothing wrong with expressing them (appropriately). Having them makes us human. Expressing them helps to get rid of them and it connects us with others, many of whom will offer support and comfort, thereby strengthening our bonds with one another.

The best way to get rid of unwanted feelings is to immerse yourself in them. Take a little time and allow yourself to really feel every bit of whatever it is that hurts. If you want to cry, cry. Lots. Until you can't cry any more. You'll feel a whole lot better for it. If you're frightened, feel the fear. Ask for some hand-holding. And remind yourself that you are strong enough to get through anything.

Do whatever you need to do when bothersome feelings are standing in the way of you and your happiness, and let them out. Get it over and done - once and for all.

Think of it as housecleaning. Gathering all the rubbish and putting it out on the drive to be collected on trash day. If you keep digging, eventually you'll find less and less “stuff” that needs removing and turfing.

This doesn't mean it's a good thing to sit around and feel miserable every waking minute either. You must strike a balance. But certainly, choking back unhappy feelings is not any better for you than spending 24/7 whining about your miseries for days, weeks and months on end. Once the crying jag is behind you, take some time to look at the positives in your life. Set some goals and take a step or two (even if they're teeny) toward achieving them.

Just don't be afraid of your feelings. Allow them to be heard. You can't fix what you don't acknowledge, as the good Dr Phil says. Give your feelings a chance to speak up so you know just what's on your plate. Chances are, the more you do this, the quicker the issue will dissolve or will find a resolution in your heart.

You wouldn't let an infection fester below the surface or in your blood. You'd be off to the doc, figuring out how to fix it because you know that infections left untended can kill you. Well, negative emotions can do it, too. Quietly and insidiously by giving you cancer, heart disease or a million other ailments, or a little more overtly by making you say and do some very hurtful things to yourself and/or to others.

Expressing your emotions is the great equaliser. It makes you the same as everyone else. It levels the playing field. It shows your strength. It shows your vulnerability, your softness.

It helps people get to know you because they see just what affects you on a deep level, which then connects you with everyone else on the planet because really, we are all pretty much the same in many ways. We are unique in our personalities and in our perceptions of our life experiences, of course, but everyone hurts, everyone needs, everyone feels some version of the same emotions. How we do all of this and how we express these aspects of ourselves is what separates us from one another.

But we're really not so different in terms of our emotions. So go on. Stop hiding behind a wall that you think keeps you separate and sets you apart from everyone else. Because I can assure you, you're not fooling anyone. We know you hurt, too.

And we'll be here for you when you're brave enough to tell us about it.

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