It’s been a while since my last post, and this is merely a reflection on how life is at the moment; I’m human too and, like everyone, I have many things that occupy my mind. I love to write, but I need to be in the right mood for the words to flow.
I started to journal this morning – I’ve been a little remiss lately and thought it might help – but after a few minutes in my private ‘pity party’, a feeling of calm came over me and a poem began to formulate. Now I wouldn’t consider myself a poet, so I seized the moment and let it flow!
Here’s what arose:
Life has its own course So relax your tight grip of the wheel You were heading that way anyway What you have sailed through is gone Take the good memories, but leave the rest behind where it belongs What you have yet to navigate is ahead of you and cannot be mapped Waves will come and go Some will be frightening, others gentle Allow yourself to be carried up and over them Release the need to control them and push through them Better to rise and fall together with them In calmer seas, direct your ship to the destination you desire Enjoy the ride In stormy seas, don’t fight the current Nor try to control the wind that fills your sails They will lead you where you need to go Even if you didn’t know it was part of your plan Life has a way of teaching us what we need to know Don’t fight it Accept the course you are destined to take Weather the storms as best you can Be present, admire the view See the stars above you and the ever-flowing water beneath you Smell the air around you and what is carried on the breeze Feel the wind on your cheeks and the deck at your toes Let go of the need to control everything Your ship will arrive when it is ready It can’t be hurried nor slowed Your shore will come into view if you will just let go and be
I hope you can learn to let go of the things in your own life that you cannot control, and accept that life has a plan for you all on its own.
Two of my neighbours died this week, on the street where I spent my childhood. Both deaths were unrelated to coronavirus. I used to babysit their lovely children, and I only have happy memories of both men. I feel so very sorry for their families. It is, as the Guardian newspaper termed, ‘grief upon grief‘, where people around the world are being denied the opportunity to say goodbye to loved ones, and friends and neighbours are unable to show their support by physically coming together to support a family.
It got me thinking: life can be short. Nothing can prepare you for the death of a loved one. You never know when your time is up. I speak from experience. I lost my dad when I was 14, and my mum the day after my 37th birthday. I lost my sister when I was 41. None of these people were what you would call ‘old’ when they died.
So, no matter what you have lost during this Covid-19 pandemic, you have not lost life. You have not lost love and you are still breathing the same air – only right now it’s cleaner.
I’m sorry if you have lost: – Your gym classes – Your weekly coffee morning – Your monthly visit to the hairdressers – Your holiday
But that’s all temporary, and it’s not a really a ‘loss’ in the real sense of the word.
I’m really sorry if you have lost: – The date of a scheduled operation – Your chance to sit exams you have worked damned hard studying for – Your job – Your marriage
However, chances are you still have a roof over your head, and you’re going to be OK – even if it may take time to get back on track financially.
What do you still have is LIFE! Life is precious. Appreciate every day that you wake, and everyone you love and who loves you back. Tell them. Make sure they know you love them. You lose that opportunity when they are gone. Heal old wounds, get back in touch with those who hold a special place in your heart, even though they did X,Y,Z to you X years ago. Let it go.
You will get through this, and if you live life consciously I’d go so far as to say that you’ll come out of this stronger and with so much more gratitude for the things you took for granted before this started. And we are all guilty of taking things for granted; assuming he/she will be there the next time we wake or come home from work, assuming our children will stay healthy just because they are young, assuming everything will be fine if we keep working, paying the bills and putting food on the table.
So be thankful for your life and the life of those you love. Appreciate them and use this time to support them and let them know you are always there for them, even though you are physically separated – for now. Life will return when it’s ready, and then we’ll be complaining about the next thing! Don’t bother – it’s a waste of your time and energy. Focus on what really matters.
Take care of yourself and those around you.Make this time count, for you’ll be back to that commute you always hated before you know it.
Ah, other people’s opinions! How I wish I hadn’t spent so much time listening to them and acting on them. But, it’s only when we start to become self aware and more confident in our own strengths and abilities that we realise why we have valued these opinions so much – because essentially we were looking for someone else to fill our cup. We were looking for someone else to give us self-esteem.
First of all, let’s define what an opinion actually is:
Opinion: a judgment, viewpoint, or statement about matters commonly considered to be subjective.
Subjective: a subject’s personal perspective, feelings, beliefs, desires or discovery, as opposed to those made from an independent, objective, point of view.
Since when was someone else’s perspective on life more important than your own?! Perspective is so individual that it can only ever truly belong to one person. How you see life is unique – seeing it through the eyes of someone else can never make you truly happy.
When you value other people’s opinions over your own, you end up becoming a slave to what other people want. Running around trying to please everyone with everything you do. Never really tuning into what you need.
In time, you start molding yourself to fit the idea of what other people think you ‘should’ be and dismiss your own needs and desire. You stop showing your whole personality. You stop feeling like you can be yourself. And you stop trusting your own judgment because you assume that other people know better!
When you do this you start to live life on other people’s terms and not a life truly authentic to who you are. You can only offer people a shell of who you are, and you deny your partners, friends and family the opportunity to truly know you and how amazing you are. You also deny yourself true happiness.
And then, when they, and their opinions of you, are dead and gone, you will be left wondering why you gave them so much power over you, and why you believed all their stories about you and elevated their perspective on life above your own innate views of the world.
You’ll have lived a life that’s NOT what you wanted or needed or truly desired.
So, how do you tune into your desires, your voice and your truth?
Recognise Judgement for what it is
Let go of the fears about what other people think. Realize that 9 times out of 10, when you’re worried about what other people think – it’s a projection. You’re projecting your own fears and your own internalized self-judgment onto other people. So when we take responsibility for letting go of other people’s judgments we empower ourselves to stop being harsh and judgmental with ourselves too.
Stop feeling embarrassed
We all cock up sometimes! What’s the worst that can happen? You might just make someone smile when you make an idiot of yourself, and you show yourself to be human. Forget waiting until you’re a size 8 before you hit the beach. Who cares really? Just letting go of the fear of embarrassment is so liberating, and I find it a great tool to use on teenagers when you want to get their attention. Holiday karaoke is so empowering, and SO great as you’ll never see those people again, so why not?!
Stop comparing yourself to others
Stop looking at what everyone else is doing. Paddle your own canoe -everyone’s journey is different. No one’s life looks the same, and hurray for that! Why do we so often feel we’ve failed because we’re not doing what someone else is doing and we don’t have what they have?
Set your own goals and don’t be distracted by what other people are doing. They have their own agenda, for their own reasons. Good for them. Their plan is not yours, and it wouldn’t make you happy. In the same way, your plan wouldn’t bring them fulfillment either. That’s how life is and we are richer for it.
Comparing ourselves to others is exhausting and a waste of time. It’s self-imposed torture and like dying in installments when it makes us feel ‘not enough’.
Work on your self-esteem and self-worth
Self-esteem is just that – esteem of the self. No one can give you a ‘bag of self esteem’. It comes from within, once your recognise your own worth and value. You were born enough weren’t you? How did that worth diminish over time? Because you listened to other people’s false beliefs and you accepted them as your own.
One of the best ways to stop caring so much about what other people think is to start feeling really great about yourself outside of what other people think of you. That way you no longer look externally to fill your cup .
What do you do when you have toxic people in your life who sap the joy and energy out of you? You protect yourself and you set some boundaries that’s what! If you have people around you who are making your feel less than them, you politely and firmly exit the conversation, and if necessary cease communication. It may seem hard at first, but you owe it to yourself. If someone can’t treat you as you would treat them, you don’t need them in your life.
Whose Life is it anyway?
At the end of the day, this is about YOUR life, and life isn’t a dress rehearsal. You don’t get to do it all over again. You’re the one who will wake up at the end of it and either feel that you’ve lived a life that was fulfilling and authentic, or a life that you regretted.
One of the biggest regrets of the dying (from the book ‘The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware) is: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
Ultimately, the only person’s opinion that really matters is your own. You’re the one who has to be happy and satisfied with how you lived your life, so you’re the one who gets to decide.
Stop fearing failure
We all fail. Don’t let this fear, or the fear of what others may think of your failure, get in your way.
Really, there is no such thing as failure. There is only learning and growing.
Listen to your Intuition
What feels right for you? What is your true path? What type of person do you really want to be? And, more importantly, why are you ignoring this voice?!
Tuning into your intuition is an essential piece of letting go of other people’s opinions.
So often, we follow the pack. We’re another lemming throwing itself off a cliff because everyone else is. We do what other people tell us should work because we crave that approval from other people. Or we crave that validation that we’re doing it “right”.
But listen to that voice that says, ‘Wait. This doesn’t feel right’. What’s right for someone else may not be right for you. Your path is unique and different and special. Just like you! Keep that connection to your truth and live a life you’ll remember.