There’s been so many things that people have said to me over my life which i’ve remembered, from the primary school teacher who told me that by reading I could conquer the world (Thanks Mr Pike) to the secondary school teacher who despite terrifying me when I was at BHS, when I bumped into her after i’d left was a) as nice as pie and b) said i’d always really impressed her and her harshness was to push me forward more……who’d have thunk it eh? But I’m not sure if those things have really pushed me.
I suppose that the main thing I have learnt from what I have been told about myself is to try and be more compassionate, towards myself. I’m really compassionate towards others but I have always been really harsh on myself.
Over my life i have struggled with an extreme lack of self esteem and confidence. I don’t know why but i can remember being really young, hearing people rowing and thinking “this is your fault”, the first time I can remember trying to run away I was about 7, I think. I don’t know why but I just thought if i wasn’t around people would be happier.
It has changed over the years to just me feeling less sure about the person I am and the way I behave. I don’t really understand why I have such good friends, or why people do become my friend….I mean, I can’t see the draw myself. But after a really rough period a few years ago, I finally had some therapy which actually made a change in my mental processes.
There’s a lot to be said for therapy, I know it’s not for everyone, and I went through a hell of a lot of different medications and doctors but I’ve decided its a bit like Pasta, throw it against the wall & some will stick but you should never punish yourself if it doesn’t. That’s another thing I learnt, just because one doctor says XYZ, doesn’t always make it true for you, you might need something else, and that means you have to be willing to try different things.
The doctor I had at the time noted that I was always happy to give people a break, to cut them some slack but i’ve never been able to do that to myself. I never saw it as possible or even as right that I should hold myself to the same standards as everyone else, I seemed to expect so much more from me, despite being the same as everyone else, I have flaws, I make mistakes and its more about how you view yourself when that happens, do you punish yourself, make however bad you’re feeling 10 times worse, or are you compassionate and allow yourself to learn and develop from it. It’s not always easy or fun but it will make you a better person.
It’s still a long road ahead of me, and I know it wont all be easy. or for that matter good but I have made the decision to be present, to be a part of this world, for both the joy and the pain. I’ve learned to be more accepting of flaws, and forgiving, which hopefully makes me a better person, even if it is just to myself.
Some ways to show yourself compassion:
- For the negative voices, I have been told a great way to look at it is as a radio in the background, you don’t have to ignore it completely as sometimes nice music happens, but over time, as you feel more confident in yourself, the volume can be turned down, and therefore it becomes less important to listen.
- A happy thoughts jar. Now I know I keep banging on about these to people but I just think it’s amazing. Write down all the things that make you smile throughout the year (a great joke, some beautiful view, a letter from a friend, getting a bargain) and then when you’re feeling down, have a look at a handful….then at the end of the year, re read them all. It’s amazing what you forget happens in a year and also how bad thoughts can mitigate the good. this helps
- Find time for you, maybe write some ideas down of things you want to do, and then go about making them happen. They don’t need to be earth shattering, or for that matter any “use” but if you achieve things, it makes you feel better. Now I like challenges and am proud to say that when I decide i’m going to do something, for better or worse, it gets done. So far i’ve walked on hot coals, ran in a colour run, jumped out of a plane, zip wired…..they don;t have to be mega or massive, just things that make you realise how amazing you as a person are.
- Do things that make you happy. If when you’re down you want to sit in pjs, alone, watching crap (ok, my normal sunday ;P) and eating masses of food, then do it. Make yourself happy. We aren’t here for a long time and so many people get to the end saying “i’ve done what i was expected to do” as opposed to what they “wanted” to do. Dont live up to others expectation,s live to your own. Be happy cos this life is too short and full of sadness to not try and enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy life, change it up. Spend time making you happy, not what makes your family/friends/boss/partner happy – by that I dont mean make them unhappy, but if you want to do something…..DO IT. If people really do care about you they will be happy that youre happy.
I could of course be completely wrong with all of the above, but if it helps someone, then thats a massive bonus.