The Power in the way we Think

Posts tagged ‘perception’

Take Care of You!

You are worthy. Simply because you exist.

By definition, the fact that you are alive, that you breathe the air, that you walk this earth, is enough reason to justify your worthiness.

There are no conditions on this.

No “I can only be worthy if everyone likes me”

No “I can only be worthy if I please everyone in my life”

No “I can only be worthy if I work myself to the bone”

No “I can only be worthy if I take care of as many people as I can”

No “I can only be worthy if I do favours for other people”

No “I can only be worthy if …..” (insert any other idea your brain gives you)

When we put conditions on the way we love ourselves, we restrict so many things in our lives. You end up doing everything you can to please other people or working so many hours you never get time to yourself. Or taking care of everyone except yourself. Or doing things for other people to the extent that you never get time to do the things you enjoy. (Insert any other condition your brain conveniently provides).

Those conditions come about for a variety of reasons. Most of the time we receive certain messages and our beliefs about ourselves are formed by listening to them. They can be subtle or they can be said outright. We hear and interpret the words and we learn to say them to ourselves. We believe them.

Here are a couple of facts:

Those messages are always untrue. The words we use sound true. The emotions attached to the words feel true. However, they always lie. Always.

There is no justification.

The truth is indisputable.

You are worthy of being taken care of.

Simply because you are alive. Simply because you were born.

take care of you mindseteffect

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Fake It Until You Make It

The language we use can be very powerful. It can mean the difference between getting what we want and being disappointed, over and over again. It can be the difference between experiencing joy and gratitude, or sadness and despair. We can wonder why things never go the way we want them to, or we can do something about it by taking small steps each day that lead us closer to our goal. Our chosen path is very dependent upon our mindset; the words we have in our heads, the things we tell ourselves. 

Cassandra Webb is an author. Tomorrow she will be appearing at an event on the Gold Coast, signing copies of her very first book. It took her a lot of effort, grit and determination to get to this point. She didn’t always believe she could do it, but by taking small steps each day, she has created her dream and made it happen. She has used the power of language to support her. This is the story of how she made it happen. 

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Life is all about attitude and mindset right? Confidence and self-esteem. What about for a writer, sitting alone in their little (in my case messy) office? Not long ago I came across the saying, ‘Fake It Until You Make it’ and I’ve been trying to live by it ever since. This is how.

If writing was my ‘job’ I’d have a start time, a finish time, and a certain standard of work in order to not get fired. At present writing doesn’t pay enough of the bills for my husband to allow me to call it my ‘job’. But I have a “three thousand words a day” goal. I sit down and work my butt off to achieve this goal every day. I sacrifice meals and T.V., sleep and evenings out to get the job done. Because one day I will make it, and writing will be my ‘job’, until then I’m just going to fake it.

A professional [insert your desired field] has a certain way of presenting themselves. Even an amateur soccer player still runs onto the field in all the right gear. So even though I’m not a ‘professional’ writer, time and consideration is still required before I sit behind my little stall at the markets. Yes, I’m ‘faking it’, but I’m not going to sell any copies of my book sitting at the markets in my swimwear unless my book involves swimming. The same goes for a job interview with a law firm. If you turn up looking like a mechanic fresh from under a car you’re chances of success are pretty low.

‘Faking it’ means trying to be the best you can, even when you think the limits are beyond you at the moment. It doesn’t mean slipping into a mindset that allows you to believe you are already the best there is. It’s a hard distinction that involves being your own best friend and worst critic at the same time.

If you could peep through my window when I’m editing you’d probably think I’m insane. According to me I’ve written a masterpiece, but everyone gets rejection letters and I’ll be crying and laughing and patting myself on the back whilst I hack up my beautiful literary baby and try to make the masterpiece worthy of a publisher. You can’t ‘fake’ good writing, but the professional attitude of someone who can improve through criticism? Yes you can fake that.

I signed up for my first big event this year. It’s called Indie Authors Down Under and it will be held at the Gold Coast on the 22nd of March. http://www.indieauthorsdownunder.com/

When I put my name down and secured my little stall three months ago I didn’t even have a book in print. The printed version was available through Amazon, but I didn’t have any copies to physically sell myself! I was drowning just in the idea of have to talk to so many people and try to ‘sell’ them something.

There was nothing for it. I could have let the opportunity pass or I could ‘fake it’. With the help of my local writers group we got together and held a market stall over the Christmas period. I needed to do a test or dry run. The same way some couples do a pre-birth rush to the hospital to check they know the way and how long it will take etc. I was nervous, and for those of you who don’t know me I suffer from anxiety so nervous is an understatement. I had muscle spasms running across my back, and an ache from the tension in my jaw, my hands were noticeably shaking and all I wanted to do was get out of there.

There was only one thing for it; I had to ‘fake it’.

I squared my shoulders, mentally told myself to smile, and began shaking hands. It wasn’t easy, but it also didn’t kill me and amazingly two fantastic locals purchased my book.

We all have a different idea of what exactly ‘making it’ means. Some successful writers have million dollar bank balances, others have the luxury of a household name or movie deals. And maybe all of the above would be nice, but even those writers who have ‘made it’ still feel like lounging around the house in their old socks with their hair undone some days and on those day’s even they have to fake it.

I’ll be ‘faking it’ on the Gold Coast on the 22nd of March, and if you happen to come along to the Indie Authors Down Under event I’d love to see you.

This is the event: http://www.indieauthorsdownunder.com/

And this is me: http://www.cassandrawebb.com/

 

The Realities of BPD

Following the focus this week on Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Tegan Churchill has kindly put together her own experiences living with this illness. She explains how it has impacted on her life and now how she copes with a young family. Very brave and resilient woman!

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 I remember the first time I knew that a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder was on the cards. I was sitting in the waiting room of my small town doctor, my chart on my lap because there was no computer system yet. Curiosity got the better of me and I flicked through the pages. Nestled in the back was a letter from the psychologist I was seeing at the time, in bold letters were the words Borderline Personality Disorder. I was confused, on the borderline of what? I committed the term to memory so that I could look it up on the internet when I got home.

I didn’t like what I saw, the checklist of symptoms read like a list of ‘how to suck at life’. I knew that I ticked most of those boxes and I was ashamed. I was 15 at the time but a definite diagnosis was not made until I was 18. Doctors decided that I had, had enough time to grow into my personality and this was how it was going to be for the rest of my life.

I sought out support in online forums, losing myself in an online world. All around me my life was falling to pieces. I dropped out of university, I was living with my grandmother and spending most of my days in bed. My GP told me that I was a 9 year old trapped in an adult’s body. I was horrified at the time, unable to process the comment. Looking back now, it’s true.

BPD

I was on a destructive path. A suicide attempt lead to my mother moving with me to a larger center with more mental health services. It didn’t matter, I was hell bent on destroying myself. I was reckless and failed to see the consequences. After ending up in jail for 2 months, my mother moved back to our hometown. I stayed in the city and moved into single’s accommodation for women. I had everything I wanted; I lived in a large town where nobody knew me.

I didn’t know what to do with my thoughts. They were all consuming, every emotion felt like a thousand knives were piercing my skin. I didn’t know how to express my feelings. I lashed out at anyone who tried to help me. I was like a stubborn child. The professionals who were supposed to help me wrote me off as an attention seeker. Therapy was stopped after another suicide attempt and I found myself floating through a system that seemed hell bent on keeping me unwell.

Having Borderline makes making and maintaining relationships difficult. I find myself going between loving a person more than anything and hating them with everything in my being. I often turn people off without a second thought to repair the relationship. I find myself in screaming matches with people who I love, feeling a rage that is so all consuming that I worry that my veins will burst through my skin. I turn into the hulk and it takes me days to calm down.

For years I turned to self-harm to help fight the feelings. I self-harmed to make me feel and to stop feeling too much. Each time I cut it had to be deeper than the last time. I didn’t want to die; I just wanted to destroy myself, to punish myself for the perceived wrongs that I had committed.

bpd 3rd deg burns

Now I have a child to consider. He is counting on me to be there, and he is the reason that I looked into better therapy. I let my moods and my coping skills get a lot worse again before I admitted I needed help. I had put on a mask, hidden behind a wall and didn’t let my feelings out anymore. I was afraid that I would lose my son. The mask was so good that my current psychologist was skeptical that I had Borderline at all.

I have recently completed a course of Dialectal Behavioural Therapy (DBT) and found it immensely helpful. It was a relief to have someone take me seriously, who saw that I was someone worthy of treatment and had the time to spend working on my issues.

I’m a different person to when I first received the diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. I still struggle to express my feelings, and to interpret others’ intentions but I am making progress. I still catch myself wandering down the destructive path, but I know that I have so much more to live for. I still feel like I’m walking around with no skin, taking in every slight, every glance, every word but I am getting better at processing the thoughts.

Borderline may be something that I will always struggle with but I am happy that I am filling my toolbox so the good days begin to outweigh the bad.

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tegan churchillBlurb: Tegan can be found at http://www.musingsofthemisguided.com where she talks about mental illness, parenting and everything in between. She hopes that by sharing her story and knowledge that she can do her part to help rid the world of stigma. Joining her on the journey is her partner Paul, a 4 year old bundle of energy and a puppy with an attitude.

Working with shame.

shame

You’ve been unfriended: 5 tips for unpacking shame.

I read this article on the Rebelle Society website today and found it very helpful. I often use these tips with my clients. Bring the feelings closer to you, don’t fight with them, monitor them, bring them closer to you, breathe, look for the positive and put things in perspective.

There are some great great tips here. Have a read. If you have some comments or questions please feel free to voice them, I would love to hear them.

🙂

Letting go of Guilt

everything i do makes me feel guilty

 

I get a lot of people in my office who tell me they feel guilty. Usually for not being able to do something that they feel they “should have”. This could have been for something like, feeling like they haven’t met the demands or requests of their family, or “failing” in eating healthy foods and exercising. Or it could be something completely different. Whatever it is, the guilt that comes as a result can be debilitating. It can bring you to your knees. Literally.

If we looked up “guilt” in the dictionary we would see two general definitions. www.dictionary.com shows the following:

noun

1. The fact or state of having committed an offense, crime, violation, or wrong, especially against moral or penal law; culpability: He admitted his guilt.

2. a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.

3. conduct involving the commission of such crimes, wrongs, etc.: to live a life of guilt.

verb (used with object) Informal.

4. 

to cause to feel guilty (often followed by out  or into  ): She totally guilted me out, dude. He guilted me into picking up the tab.  

 

i regret nothing guilt

Both definitions are about wrongdoing. In other words, if you are guilty, you have done something wrong. Now if we were talking about the legal stuff I would agree with you. But if we aren’t, then things are open to interpretation. Of course there are occasions when we make mistakes and we do or say things that may not necessarily be helpful. And in those situations the feeling of guilt serves as a guide, or compass, to help us to know how to make amends and to follow-up with different choices next time.

The type of guilt I really want to talk about is when we have the perception of doing wrong, but in reality we haven’t. For example, let’s just say that a neighbor consistently asks you to take them shopping. You’ve been doing this for weeks and after a while you realise that it is getting in the way of other things in your life. The neighbour rarely thinks about stuff you need to do and never shows you any appreciation. You want to tell the neighbour you can no longer take her out, but you feel guilty for even thinking about it. guilt rooted in actions of pastGiven that there has been no appreciation or consideration, does it really make any kind of sense that you feel this guilt? As the person who is doing your neighbour a favour, don’t you deserve it? If it were your best friend or your mother doing the favour, would they deserve the appreciation?

So why do we feel guilty about it?

Before I go on, I do understand that the situations in which we often feel guilty are not always as uncomplicated as this example. You put many years worth of conditioning and complex family dynamics into the mix and things become complicated very quickly. Trust me, I get it. That said though, while the dynamics may be complex and a little more challenging to deal with, the concepts in dealing with it remain the same. I’ll come back to the strategies in a second.

fear of judgement mark of guiltThat feeling of guilt comes from expectation. Often the conditioning we have experienced shows its face. We expect ourselves to be perfect. We expect that our coping ability is better than everyone around us. We expect ourselves to have the ability to be everything, for everybody. And when we can’t meet those expectations we feel guilty and “bad” for not being able to. We feel inadequate. We feel like failures.

Guilt is also about “shoulds”. You think “I should be able to cope”, “I should help others. Good sons/daughters/mothers/brothers help their family”, “I should be able to manage better”, “I should help. They won’t like me if I don’t”. You better be careful there, cause you’re gonna should all over yourself! 😉 

Seriously … guilt is only ever a good thing when you really have done something wrong and it guides you to change your behavior. Otherwise, all it does is weigh you down, hold you back from living your best life and stresses your entire system.

To let go of the guilt you need to understand that your wrongdoing is your perception and is not necessarily an accurate one. Sometimes our mind plays tricks on us by sending us messages indicating that we are callous or selfish if we don’t feel guilty. Like most things, we become conditioned to it. Try not to listen to those voices.

A few things to consider:

  1. We also feel guilt when we have a conflict between our values. Using the example of the neighbour I introduced earlier, we value supporting others and helping them through difficulties. And we value our family and taking care of them. If what the neighbour is asking prevents us from doing things for our family, those two values could be in conflict. Being asked to justify your values is like asking someone to justify why their favourite flavour of ice-cream is butterscotch. It is an impossible question to answer. You can continue asking “why” forever without receiving an adequate response. And why does it even need justifying? It doesn’t. So work on getting some clarity around what is really important in your life. If you don’t know, try doing the rocking chair test. Imagine yourself sitting on your porch in your rocking chair in your twilight years. Reflect on your life and think about what you want to be remembered for. The important things.
  2. Have a think about your rights as a member of the human race and of your community. Most people would agree that every human being has a fundamental right to be respected, considered, appreciated. To make mistakes, to say no, to care for themselves. Without the need to justify these to anyone else. As a fellow human, you have those rights as well. Why should your rights be any less important?
  3. Standing up for your rights can be scary if you’ve never done it before. But it can also be super empowering. If you would like to take that stand and aren’t sure how to (or if you’re afraid to), try starting with the little things. Try starting with yourself. Try saying no to something that you know doesn’t serve you, or even try giving yourself permission to do something you’ve been denying yourself for a while.
  4. Allow yourself to be imperfect. You don’t have to do it right all the time.
  5. If you feel like you need some support in taking that stand, talk to someone you trust. Someone who you know will give you an objective opinion and support you in gaining confidence, without telling you what to do. If you don’t have anyone in your life who will be that honest with you, please don’t be afraid to speak with a professional. A counsellor, psychologist, life coach, or similar could be very helpful.

dear guilt

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