I have been writing since I was nine years old. In High School and college, I took up journaling, first in a book and then LiveJournal. In time I created a blog, where, seven years ago, I started to blog weekly.
Weekly became twice a week. Then three times a week. In addition to blogging, I continued to work on writing and editing works of fiction, and added in podcasting.
Then life, not for the first time, took an unexpected turn, and I found myself without a job. That was unexpected. Yet it occurred to me that I could see this as a failure…or an opportunity.
I looked at what was happening, and I asked myself, “What do I want to do?” Rather than lament the change and all the potential negatives that came of losing my job, I decided to look at it for potential, and as an opportunity to create something better.
So I began to write blogs twice a day, every weekday. I decided to continue to expand my work in positivity, conscious reality creation, and mindfulness, and share more of it with you.
What makes me an expert on this? Truth is, I’m not. Like you, I make mistakes, I get things wrong, and clearly I don’t always know how to fix what I am doing wrong (else I probably would not have lost the job). But as Shunryu Suzuki said:
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”
Because there is always more to learn, I want to share my experiences so we can help each other.
Be true to yourself
I have, for much of my life, put on faces and masks for people. I did this because I believed it was more important to be whom they needed me to be, than for me to be whom I needed to be. The funny part is, nothing could be further from the truth.
Quoting Shunryu Suzuki again:
“We do not exist for the sake of something else. We exist for the sake of ourselves.”
There are any number of teachers, writers, gurus, leaders, experts, and practitioners in various arts and sciences who say the same thing. We need to be ourselves in order to experience life to the fullest.
Modern society doesn’t make this easy. We get held up to so many mirrors and get so many conflicting messages, this can be thoroughly daunting.
Frequently, the message that gets delivered is that you need to be as good as or better than ‘X’ or you are nothing. You have no worth nor value if you fail to live up to this.
That is bullshit. You do not need to live up to anyone nor anything else in being who you are. It is not a requirement that you “prove yourself” to anyone but yourself.
I do not claim to be an expert on positivity, conscious reality creation, or mindfulness. I practice, and like any practice, my practice is imperfect. But that’s ok, because without effort and working to practice, you gain nothing.
What you want to do is your choice, just like what I want to do is mine. Despite what other people may tell you, your best option for finding happiness comes from within.
I know that there are a lot of people who get annoyed and put-off by lines like “You cannot love another until you love yourself” and “happiness is an inside job” and such. This can be particularly distressing when you are coping with a mental illness, such as depression, anxiety, and similar.
The thing to understand about this concept is that it is never judgmental. However, let’s look at one super-important fact: There is nobody in your head but you. Nobody else can think or feel as you do, because nobody else is in there. Your mind, and deeper than that, your soul, belongs to nobody but you.
There are outside influences that you can turn to and use for guidance. Friends, family, blogs, therapists and other doctors, can give you tools to help you work with your issues. Similarly, medication can help with chemical imbalances, and further your processing and healing to help you.
Still, even with all of this, it comes down to you. Nobody else can tell you what and how to think or what and how to feel, apart from sharing their own way. You only cede control by your own choice. This is where becoming more mindful can help.
Mindfulness is awareness of your thoughts and feelings. With that awareness, you become aware of your actions, too. For a lot of people, this idea is terrifying. Why? Because they are afraid of what lies beneath the surface of a given mental state or illness. I believe that fear is built upon worrying what others will think of you when you confront it.
Yet mindfulness puts you in the driver’s seat. The choices you have for your life are always yours, but mindfulness lets you be more aware of what they are, or what they can be.
What you want to do is valid
No matter what it is you desire to do, or be, or have, it is a valid idea. You need not prove yourself or your worth to anyone else.
I know what you are going through. I struggle with this, too. There are days I wonder “Why am I doing this? Does anyone care?” And then there are days where I feel empowered, and like what I share with you can really be helpful to everyone.
I have depression, and I take an antidepressant to balance out the chemicals in my brain. For the record, I am sharing this because I want you to know you are not alone, but more than that because THERE IS NO SHAME IN THIS. I know you are worthy and deserving of choosing the best for yourself that you can. No matter what struggles you are facing.
So you have a mental illness of some sort? That does not make you any less valid than anyone else. Period, end of story. You are worthy and deserving of doing what you want to do with your life. All the choices belong to you, and no matter what anyone else thinks, what YOU think is valuable and worthwhile.
Whatever it is you want to do, know that you deserve the chance to do it. The possibilities are endless, and so are the options available to you.