I came across this photo recently, it was Easter 2015 , and I was spending the long weekend at the coast with close friends. From the outside I looked calm and happy but the inside told a very different story. I was a complete shell of my authentic myself.
The smile you see here is a false one, because at that precise moment, as the camera clicked, I was feeling completely anxious and overwhelmed. I had just started a new relationship and like many of my relationships, I started out worried I was going to lose it, mess it up or be rejected. Back then I had no tools to deal with those emotions, so I would just over analyse, talk non stop about a problem and block myself from enjoying the present moment. I missed so many fun times by not being present, by giving into fear and not choosing myself.
People used to tell me to “relax”, “stop worrying” or “you take things so seriously”. Good advice? What do you think? I know in my heart their intentions were good, but I used to take those words and berate myself with them. “What is wrong with me” or “Why am I so different” , “I am unlovable” became my daily mantras. I assumed blame and responsibility for everything, including my anxious thoughts. I didn’t understand myself either. It is only recently that I acknowledged that I have suffered with anxiety for years. I didn’t realise it, I wasn’t diagnosed with it, but I lived with crippling fear, racing thoughts and overwhelm right through my teens up to quite recently. It still shows up now and again, like for us all, anxiety, low mood, overwhelm shows up for everyone in different ways. We are human afterall and life can throw us quite a few curveballs, sometimes we dodge them and sometimes they hit us right between the eyes.
“The smile you see here is a false one, because at that precise moment, when the camera clicked, I was feeling completely anxious and overwhelmed”
The photo was taken exactly 4 months before my wake up call, the passing of my mother. After her funeral, I began to search for meaning to my life, and knew deep down something had to change. I needed to learn to love myself, accept myself and take care of myself. People often roll their eyes when we talk about self-love, but ask yourself this “𝙒𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙩𝙖𝙡𝙠 𝙩𝙤 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙘𝙝𝙞𝙡𝙙, 𝙥𝙖𝙧𝙩𝙣𝙚𝙧 𝙤𝙧 𝙛𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙣𝙙 𝙡𝙞𝙠𝙚 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙩𝙖𝙡𝙠 𝙩𝙤 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧𝙨𝙚𝙡𝙛 𝙨𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙩𝙞𝙢𝙚𝙨?” We scare the sh*t out of ourselves with fearful thoughts and can be so cruel with our self talk when we feel the lowest we have ever felt. Looking back at that photo, I was abandoning myself with my thoughts and I had no resilience to navigate through the anxiety, so I was stuck in it and I acted out from it, a harmful thing to do.
In her book “It’s Not the End of the World”, Joan Borysenko, Ph.D, talks about living our lives with vision and purpose. She says “Resilient people don’t wait passively for the future to happen to them, they become the future by conscisously creating it”. I have spent the last 5 years on a deep personal development journey seeking to conscioulsy create more peace and harmony in my life, and most importantly to become resilient, this is what self-love means to me. I had a deep desire to just be happy and feel content no matter what situation arose, because becoming resilient does not happen by avoiding the pain, it happens by pushing through it. Author Glennon Doyle gave many wonderful insights in her book ‘Love Warrior’, on what feeling pain is, how we can fear it, avoid it and cover it up, because it’s so risky to us.
“You are not supposed to be happy all the time. Life hurts and it’s hard. Not because you’re doing it wrong, but because it hurts for everybody. Don’t avoid the pain. You need it. It’s meant for you. Be still with it, let it come, let it go, let it leave you with the fuel you’ll burn to get your work done on this earth.”
Glennon Doyle, Love Warrior
My self-love journey has been about learning to move through the difficult times, be present for the good times and just love the sh*t out of myself along the way. It has not meant that I have not endured really sad and difficult times in the last 5 years, nor does it mean I am positive and happy all the time. People get so confused about what wellness or positive thinking is, its not about finally finding some sort of secret utopia and living there, but it is about creating that utopia within and connecting with it in the good and the bad times. Today I can say, in all honesty, that my inside now matches my outside, most of the time. as I continue to work and grow daily.
I have many, many photos I could share with you of me beaming with a smile on the outside but feeling broken on the inside, I am sure you have many of them too. The story I share, the truth behind my smile, is not unique to me, I know you have felt that way too. Some of us are born more resilient than others, some of us have endured childhood trauma that have resulted in the creation of beliefs and behavioural patterns that do not serve us well, and some of us are so disconnected from ourselves that we believe that we are not worthy of better than what we currently have. This is why this week I launched my Group Coaching program, sharing all my tools & techniques, to help you to feel good from the inside out.
If you are not sure this program is for you, then ask yourself this
Q. What do you say to yourself when you don’t get that job, when your relationship ends, when the weighing scale is up not down or when you look at your bank balance, or perhaps when you feel nothing is working out for you?
Choose an answer from the list below:
- Put your arms around yourself and say “WE GOT THIS”
- Get irritated with yourself, berate yourself and assume blame and responsibility for things not working out
- Go into full “fix mode”. Work harder, longer and push yourself to the point of physical and mental fatigue
My strategy for many years has been a blend of answer 2 & 3 and you know what the funny thing is (I am actually not laughing) … those ‘go to’ strategies brought me so far away from my goals that I lost my peace, I lost time and I lost myself. Don’t let that happen to you.
Wellness 101 = If its not bringing you closer to happiness, if it’s not supporting your peace, then its not the right choice for you and you deserve so much better than that.
I became a Health & Wellness Coach to support others in finding the inner peace that I have found, because when you do and when you learn to manage your emotional state and consciously create the life you have always envisioned, then life becomes what it was always meant to be, a happier more fulfilling experience where you grow along the way.
So join me this Autumn for my 6 week coaching program, if you wish to smile from the inside out.
Click link below for full details