So when I decided I wanted to work towards figuring out my life’s purpose my initial thought was….”I can’t do that.”
Then, after talking myself into taking on such a monumental task, I decided to blog about it. My first thought when I decided to blog? “No way. I can’t do that.”
My initial thought when I start something new? “No way. Can’t be done.”
I think maybe I want to be a writer. What’s next? You guessed it. Doubt. “You can’t do that. You aren’t smart enough. And even if you do write no one will want to read it.”
It’s Bell Let’s Talk Day so I figured why wouldn’t I try to help a little by talking about one of my mental health issues. A few years ago I overcame depression and since then I have really done a number on my anxiety. All in all I feel like I have made huge strides in mental health.
But I still struggle with the self-doubt. On the outside I may seem confident. I certainly act like I am most of the time. To the outside world it might be hard to tell that I am often crippled with self-doubt. Not even doubt. It’s more than that. Because it isn’t like “maybe I will fail” or “I’m not sure I can do that” it’s actually a full on NO.
Can I do it? No I can’t.
It’s a bit like an iceberg. The bit that sticks out of the water is my outward confidence that I project to the world. But the reality is the stuff hiding under the water. It’s massive and it’s always saying I can’t do something.
I’ve often wondered if it’s a lack of self-esteem, something I have worked on in the past, a fear of failure or something else. But it’s there all the time. Just below the surface. Waiting.
Starting this blog took a lot of self-convincing. Talking myself into it. Really it doesn’t matter if anyone reads it. All I have to do is sit down each day for an hour or so and write out some thoughts. It’ll be a record of the journey if nothing else. And I like the idea of being a writer so I have to write. It doesn’t matter how many people read it. You don’t have to be read to be a writer you just have to write.
I have often been plagued by self-defeating thoughts. Stuff like, “you’ll never find love” (which I have), “you’ll never make a life for yourself” (which I have done and will continue to do) and “you aren’t good enough, smart enough, funny enough etc etc”.
Not an easy way to go through like. Constantly talking yourself into believing you can do even the smallest things can be tiring. Trying to convince yourself that you are good enough? That you can do it? It’s not ideal.
But I can do it. And it’s helped shape me into the person I am today. It’s helped me be more outwardly humble and caring. It’s helped me be more open and honest. It’s helped me grow as a person. It’s helped me find strength and the desire to overcome obstacles. I have work to do in those regards but I am getting better and better.
One of the ways I work through those thoughts is to write them down. Usually no one ever sees them. I just write them down on paper and look at them. Then I think about and write down all the reasons that my thoughts aren’t truth. Getting the thoughts out of my head and down on paper stops them playing on a loop in my mind. Seeing logical retorts to those thoughts helps me to see that they are silly.
(side note: When it comes to failure? The only real failure is not even trying. Get off your ass and try. That way you can live regret free. And you know what? If you try you might just do it. If you never try then you won’t.)
And the number one thing I have done to try and get over those thoughts? Meditation. Through meditation I have learned that I am in control of my mind. My thoughts? I can overcome them. I can silence the negative and bask in the positive.
You know what else I have learned? The most important thing of all?
Thoughts and feelings are real but they ARE NOT TRUTH.
This one is huge. And it changed my life. The things I think and feel? They are real. They have meaning. They have real impact. I don’t beat myself up for having these thoughts anymore. Because I found that just made it worse. I give myself permission to have thoughts and feelings and live in those feelings. It’s okay to feel the way I feel. At all times.
But they are not facts. They aren’t truth. Just because I feel useless some days doesn’t mean that I am in fact useless. Just because I sometimes feel inadequate doesn’t mean that I am inadequate.
Feelings are not truth.
Just keep saying it over and over again. Hopefully you’ll start to feel better.
And in the spirit of Let’s Talk Day if you ever have anything you need to talk about I am always hear. Even if I don’t know you. If we have never spoken before. I am here for anyone who ever needs someone to talk to so just email me anytime.