I have spent years, my entire life really, trying to do the right thing.
That should have quote marks round it. The 'right' thing.
Because I saw everyone else doing the right thing and being happy. Wearing the right clothes, going on holidays, earning money. I thought that if I did those things too I would be happy.
From the youngest age I felt that I wasn't right, that I didn't fit in.
I blamed myself for all the bad things that went on around me and thought that, if only I was better, if only I was good, if only I did the right things, then the bad things wouldn't happen any more.
I was so desperate to make the world a safe place that I made up rules to try and make it work.
If I do this then I can reward myself with that. If i get the job then I can be happy, I'll have made it.
I used to show off a bit about it, hoping that someone would reward me, would feel sorry for me, would feel *anything* for me.
My Facebook statuses were filled with humblebrags about how many hours I'd worked or how much I'd done or how tired I was. As though, if I showed people how much I was in service to others, sacrificing myself (martyring myself) then I would be valid.
You see, somewhere along the way the little girl who blamed herself for everything and tried to make the world safe by being good morphed in to a grown woman who had no sense of self without having driven and pushed and hurt.
You could say that it was my own form of self harm - driving myself until I could take no more. Until I collapsed in exhaustion of illness or anxiety and self-doubt.
Other people use alcohol or drugs or a blade to numb out the feelings of hurt and pain or to create a sense of peace and happiness but for Type A achievers like you and me the drug of choice is overwork.
I couldn't feel the crippling anxiety and lack of self-worth if I drove myself to exhaustion.
Except, as every addict knows, the high is brief.
Those few moments of utter bliss, passing out in a haze, are preceded by hours or days of struggle and followed by a low so bad you can't fight it.
So you take more for a bigger high.
Longer hours. More difficult work. Sabotaging your health and relationships to push you to that edge of struggle.
I know that you're reading this in a sense of horror and desperately trying to push away the comparisons with your own life.
I'm not an addict. I'm not screwing up my life in order to feed my own feelings of lack.
Ok honey, come back to me when you're ready.
You see, the fear of accepting what you know to be true, the fear that you can't change, can push you further in to denial and to try to minimise what you see as harmful consequences.
You know that time that you took annual leave and were sick for the whole week? You vowed to make changes but didn't really do much, change much?
We've all done it. Sometimes you need to cycle through it a few times before you realise that nothing changes until you do.
I'm not judging. It took me more than a decade. I was particularly stubborn and thick-headed.
But I'm here to tell you, and I will keep telling you, again and again until you hear it and understand it and believe it.
You can change this.
It's not too late.
Every single pattern you learned?
You can let them go, change them.
You can BE happy.
You can BE you.
No need to hurt yourself any more.
My favourite meditation goes a little something like this 'may you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be free from worry'.
I used to laugh at it (and at the very notion of my trying to practice mindfulness. I was a lawyer not a yogi for god's sake!).
It's not either/or.
It's not a choice.
It's all open and available to you.
The whole world.
I'll be here, waiting for you. When you're ready.
Don't make me wait too long, ok?
PS ***Only for those who are ready to do the work!***
You can drop the damaging cycles of behaviour, the patterns that you repeat over and over until you're exhausted and crying with frustration.
I have opened up 6 places to work with me on a 1:1 basis for the next 3 months.
I will guide you though mindfulness, breaking unhelpful or damaging patterns, help you to create your own happiness, build your resilience... this and so much more!
You've been watching and waiting and following for so long now. Are you ready to do the work?
3 months, fortnightly 1:1 video calls, unlimited contact by Facebook messenger and email in between.
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