Category Archives: overcoming fears

Stop thinking, start living…

I read a book a long time ago that really impressed me. It was called Stop Thinking, Start Living.

The author, Richard Carlson, talks about a client of his who was seeing a therapist after a divorce or the death of his wife. I can’t remember which one. At any rate, the therapist kept asking him to talk about his problems. Analyzing them.

This guy wasn’t getting any better. In fact, he was constantly depressed, because all he thought about was his problems.

Carlson got him to start thinking about other things. Sure enough, as the man started thinking about other things and filling his life with things he enjoyed, he became happy again.

You need to face your pain/sorrow/problem, but once faced, it’s time to shift your focus. You need to allow yourself to feel it and learn from it, but you don’t need to hold onto it.

It’s hard I know. Because you feel like shit, or you feel nothing at all. Or you just can’t stop thinking about the person who brought you the best memories of your life, the job you lost, the mistake you made, the thing you fucked up… But, life is filled with people and events that can bring us happiness. No, it doesn’t feel like that when we’ve just lost someone, or something. But stop being selfish about who you miss and start offering yoruself to the world. Go out there with the aim of making other people happy. In the process you’ll discover there are other people who will make your soul sing too. And if you fucked up in the past, or are fucking up at the moment, OK. So you’re a failure, now put some energy into doing something good. Even if you’re still a failure you’re now also doing good — be that studying something, doing charity work, exercising, mentoring a kid, spending more time with your own kid, or giving away homecooked meals to people in need. And your self-perception will change. Which will fuel you to do more good things. Before you know it, you’ll start thinking about yourself as a person of integrity.

The thing is, whatever you put your energy into you’ll create more of. If you take all the energy you waste on thinking about things that make you sad, depressed, or filled with self-loathing, and invest that energy into something else, what would happen?

Imagine if every time your mind drifts towards thoughts such as: I’m depressed because x, I’m a failure because of y, I’m never goning to make it because of z, I’m shy, I’m aggressive, I’m a loser, I’m fat, I’m too skinny, I’m never going to be able to sort my finances, I’m never going to be able to keep a boyfriend, I’m never going to create the life of my dreams, you started thinking about the things in life that make you happy and how to create more of those. Then you get off your ass and go out there and create them. No, maybe it won’t feel great at first if you’re depressed, but the more energy you put into doing things that fuel your soul, the more you’ll start feeling good things again.

Personally, two years ago, when I was in Athens and saw that my thoughts were going down really unhealthy routes I made a vow to distract myself. I’d do pretty much anything to disrupt my thinking paths. Paint, call people, go for walks, watch a movie, anything… You see, I was working from home. And when you’re prone to depression and you’re feeling like a lot of things in your life are going awfully wrong, you start thinking about those things. And sitting by yourself thinking about those things don’t help. So instead I vowed to work on my social life, work on my visa, work on my finances and stop thinking about the horrible state of my nomadic existence. So if it meant I had to take a break from work that day because I couldn’t stop thinking miserable thoughts.

It worked. My life changed.

People often get stuck thinking “this is who I am.” I am bad with finances, I’m terrible at love, etc. No, that’s who you are creating daily. Most likely, if that what you’re doing, you’re a bully. You’re bullying yourself for what you’ve done, or who you’ve become. Stop. If you did something other than what you’re doing today, you would no longer be that person. So start telling yourself a different story. Invest your energy into a worthwhile cause. Such as becoming the person who overcame all their adversities. A person who overcame all the shit you’re going through.

You are who you make yourself out to be and that person is determined by your thoughts. So decide how you are going to think about yourself from now on; how you’re going to see yourself. Set down principles such as honesty, integrity and kindness. Act from the place of those principles instead of your old self image. Fuck your self image. Fuck the person staring back at you in the mirror. Choose the principles. I’m a person of integrity. I speak to myself with integrity. I act with integrity. Choose who you want to be. Forget about the rest.

In short, fuck the mistakes, the problems and the less glorious sides of your personality. Instead, decide that form now on you act from a place of integrity and focus your thoughts on the good things in your life. Then you decide to go out there and focus your energy on doing things that are good. Things that make you a person of integrity. And if you can’t see outside the life you’ve created — can’t see another life — then get someone else to help you see it. Because you aren’t a broken soul. Souls don’t break. Only our thoughts do.

My life changed when I decided to fuck my own fears and go out there and do things. I kept wondering where the start button to my life was? Why I felt like I wasn’t living? The answer was simple: I was thinking about living my dream life, I wasn’t living it. Because my fears kept me in my comfort zone. Today, today, I live a whole lot more. And every day I challenge myself to live more. To stop thinking, start living.

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Filed under depression, diary, Fear, fears, Inspiration, Inspirational, Motivation, overcoming fears, Thoughts

Trick or treat…

Today people in many places will be handing out treats…or they’ll get tricked, probably ending up with toilet paper wrapped around the trees in their garden… 

I was thinking about this: how many people do you trick or treat on a daily basis? If you give me a treat, I’ll be happy. If not, I’ll do x, y, z. The best part? Most people don’t even ask for what they want, they just assume they’ll get it, or hint at wanting it, and then get angry if they don’t receive it. 

It really helps asking for what you want. In plain English. 

On the flip side of the coin, have you ever tried handing out treats just for fun? Like, say, compliments? I always write about it, but ever since I did a challenge with my best friend where I had to compliment someone daily, I became a big fan of this. 

You see, I used to be really shy, so as a kid I almost never complimented people. I was too scared they wouldn’t want to be complimented by me. The thought of uttering the compliment was so scary I just kept my mouth shut. Sometimes I still do, out of habit. That old fear flares up like a ghost, or I simply don’t think to say what I’m thinking as it was such an ingrained habit to avoid talking to people when I was little. 

Tim Ferriss (yes, we’re back to him), in the 4-Hour Work Week talks about how he challenged himself to do something until it no longer scared him. Such as walking up to a new woman every day asking for her number. Whether he scored or got rejected, he got so used to doing it, it no longer bothered him. It became circumstance instead of a big deal. Once you overcome the fear, you become free. You’re no longer a slave to your own fears. You can choose your actions freely.

The other reason I’m a big fan of this, is because I know what a compliment can mean. I used to be that shy kid right, and I was so shocked whenever someone said something nice to me, I’d hold onto it for an eternity. Replay the moment. Over and over again. It gave me some sort of hope that maybe, just maybe, some people could actually like me. Not just pity me because my mom had died, put up with me for some other reason, or talk to me because I was smart and talented, but like me for me. 

I came to think about this as I was asking myself what I’d love to experience right now? Like, I’m happy. I’m starting to feel fulfilled in a way I haven’t before. Yet, I long for certain things. Like compliments. Sometimes I just want someone I can cook for so that I can have them share in the experience I’ve created. Someone who appreciates it. An adult. Kids love my food. I get to hear that all the time. But an adult. Someone who appreciates me in a different way and shares experiences with me in a different way. Plays with me in a different way. Enjoys different kinds of adventures. That’d be nice. Sharing time and being appreciated. I think that’s what I’d want, if I could have a treat. And I get that treat sometimes. I have beautiful people in my life. It’s just that I’d like to create more of that. More adventures, more play time, more appreciation. Because people — the right ones — in and of themselves are a treat.

Meaning you are a treat.

Happy Halloween my darlings!

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Not tonight, darling…

Ever heard that one? I have a headache. I am tired. I’d rather watch Netflix. My pinkie hurts. My boss is doing my head in, so I can’t relax. Take your pick.

In real life, it’s usually more along the lines of: “I don’t feel like it.” Or: “I can’t be bothered.” Or: “I have no inspiration.”

You know what? To get inspired you first have to start. It’s not like anything turns itself on by itself. Right…

One of the rules of magic, according to William Whitecloud and co. is “Engage your will.” If you don’t engage your will, you’ll sit on your ass doing nothing. Hence, life will be pretty boring. Not to mention: depressing. If you sit alone all day wiggling your toes, sooner or later, you’ll end up thinking miserable thoughts. It’s like ahving a one-on-one with your inner demons. Which is why Jesus spent 40 days and nights in the desert. But that’s 40 days and nights to face yourself and move through and beyond your pain and demons. After that, you need physical and intellectual stimulation. Love. Companionship. Joy. Laughter.

Sometimes, it’s not because we’re lazy we don’t move our butts. It’s because we’re scared.

Imagine someone scared of heights living in a place like Australia. To get to another country, they’d have to use a boat, or a plane. Let’s say they get seasick. A plane is the only option. Unless they get over themselves, they’ll never see the rest of the world. They’ll never sip coffees in Paris, have tantra classes with the hippies in San Francisco, party in LA, check out the jungle in Mexico, see the Northern lights in Finland, or do any of those other cool things one can only do in certain places.

To someone not scared of heights, this doesn’t make sense. But fear is a very real thing, even if it’s completely imaginary.

Let’s say you know that it’s possible to overcome fear though, because you’ve done it. You’ve done it and you know how amazing it is to be on the other side. So you try to convince the other person to try it.

The problem? Most people also fear change. Or they fear the pain they may encounter overcoming their fear. Or they fear the effort it will take to overcome the fear. Or they fear they can’t do it and if they try they will prove that. Or they fear the happiness they may encounter as they don’t think they deserve it (see Your inner dominatrix… for more on that). Or they don’t want to face the emotions they’ll have once they get to the other side of the fear and realize they’ve wasted 30 years being afraid of something. Of course, that’s silly as they can just focus on the next 30 years and be grateful. But our minds work in silly ways.

Let’s have a look at an example of fear. I used to be scared of rejection. So let’s have a look at rejection. 

If you fear rejection, you won’t go on a date, because you’re too scared being rejected. Or you won’t talk to people, because you’re too scared being rejected. Or you won’t say what you want, because you’re too scared of rejection. Or you won’t apply for a job, because you’re too scared being rejected. It depends on your type of rejection fear. 

Now, rejection happens to everyone. Sadly, no one in kindergarten informed us that five out of ten people will give us a hard time. If you want to make friends with five people, prepare to be rejected by another five. Sometimes even more. 

Because no one told us about this, we take rejection personally. We end up thinking we’re not good enough, or some other such thing. We get wounded. It hurts. We don’t want to hurt. So we hide away, or become bullies, or we become aloof, or sit alone and eat lots of candy, or do some other such thing, depending on what strikes us as a good idea at the time. 

Basically, we put a plaster on top. But the plaster a) doesn’t allow for the wound to heal b) keep other people at bay — it’s a defense. Now, because we have a wound, every time someone as much as hints at rejecting us, it hurts more than if we didn’t have a wound. And with every hurt, the wound becomes bigger. 

The plaster (defense) will further add to our sense of rejection because other people, or at least the right kind of people, usually don’t get close to those who are shy, bullies, or aloof. So we become a self-fulfilling prophecy on top of everything else.

To find friends, lovers, great work opportunities, etc. we will need to handle rejection. It will hurt a little bit, but the treasure is worth it. 

It’s kind of like getting off our asses and going for that run, cleaning the house, or showing up for work: it will take some effort (pain) but it’s worth it. Because it makes us feel good. 

I don’t know what it is you’re avoiding doing in your life that’d make you feel good. Maybe you’re avoiding it because of fear. Maybe you’re avoiding it because you don’t think you’re worth it (you need to suffer to atone to some past mistake of yours). Maybe you’re avoiding it because you think the effort is too much. 

I’m here to tell you it’s worth it. Because whoever said life begins outside your comfort zone was damn right. It does. The real life. The one worth the effort. The one that will make you see stars. 

I mean just think about first time sex. The fear. The panic about getting it wrong. The knowledge that you don’t have a clue about what you’re doing. The fear of asking for what you want and doing what you want because of the possible embarrassment if the other person disagrees. The potential rejection. And then think about getting over yourself. And practicing. And doing what you want. Asking for what you want. Little, by litte. And in the end actually having good sex. And you’re worth it. You just have to claim it.

So, darlings, I’m telling you: orgasms are on the other side of your comfort zone. Enjoy.

Image Source: https://za.pinterest.com/pin/507780926735621605/

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