Posted on 1 Comment

The SELF Series: Making a Living Vs The Reason you are Living

Hey Guys,

We hope you are keeping well and staying safe.

We hope you have enjoyed reading these posts as much as we have enjoyed writing them. But it’s not over yet! So far we have been able to highlight some of our insecurities and how they may manifest. We were then able to realise that the best way to grow and move forward from them is to be compassionate towards ourselves and to avoid any distractions and we have come to the realisation our only real competition should be ourselves.

Even though this series is called The SELF Series… it’s time to take that step into things bigger than ourselves. Purpose!

Purpose the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.

This journey of knowing and loving who we are is so important but of what good is it if our SELF as no impact on things and people around us? We strongly believe the first steps we have taken in this series are stepping stones to us being the whole beings we need to be in order to successfully pursue our purpose.

“Everyone has been made for some particular work and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.”

“The heart of human excellence often begins to beat when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, or gives you a sense of meaning, joy, or passion.”

So before we begin to delve deeper into purpose, let us take a look at the current place we are in.

The Now

Making a living will be defined differently for us all, but essentially it is the thing that you do to help you survive, and it will always result in receiving some financial gain.

So, let us consider where we are now, currently, circumstances will be different for all of us, especially with the effect the pandemic has had on many places of work. It may be that you are employed, or you have been furloughed by work. For others, you may have been made unemployed, for which we offer our sincerest apologies and wish you all the best finding new employment, for some you may have a side hustle in addition to Untitled design (5)the aforementioned (claps in appreciation), however, mutually we can say we are all doing something to try and make a living.

Making a living is necessary, but it should not be your ‘be all and end all’. It should be a feature in your whole life and it should support you in living out your purpose, once you have discovered it.

When thinking about the jobs, activities, and actions you take to make a living it is important to note that there is much to be taken from these and they can carry you a long way. These skills are transferrable. They will help you later down the line and can merge effectively later in other aspects of your life. Disclaimer: we recognise for some of us, the impact we have in our day job is us fulfilling purpose.

In employment, many of us work to deadlines or targets, this has taught us the skill of things like time management and prioritising. If you have a business or do other extracurricular work servicing others you know how this is important. This has been crucially helpful for me personally (Eni), as it actually highlighted areas I need to improve on. I can confidently say the job I currently work, as a Psychological Therapist, has massively improved my skills of empathy and understanding and these have been transferrable to the other areas of my life.

We want to encourage you to make a list of skills you have found to be useful from your Untitled design (4)job/ business or other forms of making a living. Furthermore, create a list of areas you want to improve on that are not job-specific, i.e. organisation, punctuality, maybe how you make your living has highlighted these for you and you may well find these are seeping into the other areas of your life.

What you do for a living could also be a way for you to fund what you need to do for your purpose. This is good! Having something fund your purpose (should it require it) is great whilst you work towards reaching external financial aid and if you do not enjoy the work you do to earn a living, seeing your labour go to something you love is definitely rewarding.

So we have mentioned the word purpose a few times now… now let’s delve a little deeper.

Looking for Purpose

Are we ready for that conversation?

Or does the word invoke an uncomfortable emotion for you? It’s okay if it does, it did for such a long time for me (Eni) also. During those times, I would just throw the word about anyhow “I just want to know what my purpose is? I feel that until I’m living my purpose I won’t be happy” and I would pray intermittently that God would show me what it was. It genuinely felt like every aspect of my life was in direct correlation to my purpose or lack of it should I say. It felt to me that I wouldn’t feel pure happiness or joy until I had found and was living in my purpose.

We can say this isn’t true, well not entirely. It’s okay to have a process of discovery to your purpose and it is even more okay to enjoy your life in that process. There is no benefit in being miserable whilst you figure out what your purpose is, I would even go so far as to say it’s unhelpful. When you are happy or in a state of contentment, it is easier to think, process, and plan which are all important for using your purpose effectively. So make peace with not knowing; “ignorance is bliss” on this occasion and be patient and kind to yourself as you wait.

So, we imagine you are wondering how to seek your purpose?

It is already in you.

We’re of the belief that your purpose is already in you, you are just yet to tap into it. Every one of us has a purpose and gifts to accompany and materialise this purpose, it may just take some time realising what it is. It could even be that it is something you have been doing, that you don’t feel could even be your purpose; i.e being a good friend, being a good listener, and or being a persuasive and likable speaker.

I was walking home from work the day I acknowledged my purpose, and I remember just feeling the urge to record myself speaking my thoughts – weird right? LOL. Anyway, when I listened to the voice memo I was surprised to hear how assured and confident I was in what I knew I needed to be doing, but even more so in the fact I had been doing it for a long time anyway. It was as clear to me as ever. It was something I had been doing naturally and not giving much thought to, it was the thing that kept niggling in my spirit and remained persistent. It was the thing that even though sometimes I felt reluctant to do the good of it negated my feelings. In summary, my purpose has always urged to burst out. Your purpose will always urge to burst out. For me (Eni), I know I was called to help others – that is my purpose. More specifically through writing (the gift that materialises my purpose).

This may not be everyone’s experience and in no way was this the only day my purpose was confirmed, but it had a huge contribution. Before this day though, I didn’t think I had many ways of finding and discovering this purpose, in hindsight, I wish I had someone simply break it down to me.

With consideration of this, we have put together some practical questions to ask yourself. These could guide your search within yourself to what your purpose may be;

  1. What do I love to do?

What is that thing you use as escapism, what brings you joy and makes you happy as you are doing it?

  1. What difference do I want to see in the world?

When thinking about this life and your society, or even on a smaller scale your community, what change do you think needs to be brought about? What needs to be different where you are?

  1. How can I help someone else?

Please do not be roped into becoming selfish when you discover your purpose, we agree it should make you happy and bring you joy, but remember the true benefit in having a purpose, is someone else benefitting from it.

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of another.” – Charles Dickens

PURPOSE

Applying Purpose to our Daily Life

Insecurity vs Confidence 

In order to get to that place, we want to be and to make that impact we are called to make we need to replace our insecurities with confidence. When we discussed insecurity in the first post we saw how it can have a huge impact on how we see ourselves, how we relate to other people, and even our mental health. None of which will aid us no matter what we feel our life purpose is we need a certain level of self-confidence to achieve it.

Self-confidence a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment.

How will you start that degree, apply for that position or even quit that job, start that business, accept that speaking engagement, buy that tripod without a feeling of trust for your own abilities, qualities, and judgment? Our call is that it is very difficult and near impossible.

Tips for becoming more self-confident in order to pursue purpose:

    • Identify your weaknesses – own them and work on them, as we said before… “Knowing your weaknesses can only ever be a good thing, as it shows you your blind spots and knowing these show you where to begin first in your journey of growth.
    • Educate yourself – You ever been in a meeting and have no idea what’s going on? …Makes you lack the confidence to speak up and get involved in the discussion doesn’t it? Whatever it is you feel your life purpose is, academic or not you are going to need a certain level of knowledge to execute purpose especially if you want to trust yourself and in turn for others to trust you.
    • Be mindful of what you take in – Do your friends uplift and encourage you? Does your family believe in you? Is anyone around you ambitious / striving for better? Do you spend hours on end watching trash TV? Look at your life and the people and see what ways you can actively take-in more positive messages.
    • Be a go-getterDon’t feel like it?… Still do it. As much as we encourage rest and balance to avoid burnouts, truth is our mind and our body won’t always feel like doing the things we need to get done. Having the discipline to get things done regardless will certainly boost your confidence in your judgment and abilities especially when you start seeing results.

Self-criticism Vs Self-compassion 

Taking the bold step to pursue purpose or passion is merely the beginning. It’s a journey and there will be roadblocks, renovations, diversions, potholes, missed turns, low petrol, and traffic along the way. But we will never reach our destination if we break down at every challenge. When we are overly self-critical it makes it impossible to move forward and pursue purpose because we have exhausted ourselves with our negative thoughts and words. On this journey to fulfilling purpose it is important to be kind to ourselves along the way even when we miss a turn or two because the road rage only delays us further.

three main elements of self-compassion_ Self-kindness vs. self-judgment. Mindfulness vs. over-identification with thoughts. Common humanity vs. isolation. (1)three main elements of self-compassion_ Self-kindness vs. self-judgment. Mindfulness vs. over-identification with thoughts. Common humanity vs. isolation. (2)

Competition vs Collaboration 

“You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously.”― Steve Maraboli

Read it again and again… your greatest SELF. Not Beyonce, not Michelle, not Megan, Not Sarah but the greatest YOU!

We believe we can all be great to someone for something, the problem comes when we apply someone else’s greatness and take it as our own. Have you ever followed a recipe… you swore you followed it step by step and your dish just doesn’t come out quite right? You can have all the recipes in the world but sometimes it means nothing if you don’t have the grace.

We all have something that no one else can do quite like us some of us have found it and some haven’t. Listening to a podcast recently (She’s in a Pod) and the ladies were asked if they ever feel like they lacking creativity / the need to step up their creativity compared to other creatives. One of the ladies gave an answer that really made us think… she simply stated that she may be okay at graphic designing but she recognises that is not her calling so when she wants something done to a certain standard she would pay someone. Everyone might be doing the same thing as you… but what makes you worth the charge? Instead of competing with them… compete with you… how can I make my work even better than it was yesterday. How can I find my niche? How can I become more consistent? In that, you will find that when you are creating/building something great you often need a helping hand. We can’t do everything on our own… so the next person may be really great at something we haven’t quite mastered, but rather than comparing ourselves why don’t we reach out and see if we collaborate to do something great together? Even if the answer is no, it is a better feeling than constantly measuring ourselves against someone else’s ruler.

Tips for being more collaborative in order to purse purpose:

  • Recognise not everyone is a competitor
  • Aim to be inspired by others
  • Work with other people that support your vision
  • Remember no one does what you do quite like you do
  • Ask for help/watch those who have accomplished something similar to what you wish to and challenge your inspiration (more on this in last week’s post)

Step into yourSELF

Throughout this series, we have covered various topics that we felt are crucial to address in order to improve our self-development. We have journeyed through insecurities and then combatted these by building a voice of self -compassion, we then placed focus on comparison and competition, making sure we focus on ourselves along the way and finally we stepped into purpose. When we created The SELF Series we had you in mind, it was intended to help you use this time locked down to place attention on the one thing consistent through this continuously changing period. You are the thing that remains even when times start to shift and change and that is why you have to look after you, you have to prioritise looking after your mind and your body and we hope this series has brought about realisation and practical steps in which to do so.

There is truly no role that is ever established or completed without a person and behind a person is individual logic, morality and heart.

Before you are a sister/brother, a wife/husband, a mother/father, a friend or lover you are you. So we urge you to remember this and hope that this series has blessed you a small or large scale.

Your feedback and thoughts have meant so much to us in the past 4 weeks and we do not want that to stop now, so please share your thoughts on the series as a whole or let us know whether there are other topics you want to read from us.

We also understand that in the process of self-development discomfort can arise, and so we want you to know that there are services you can access to support you through this, please see below.

Best Wishes,

Tami & Eni x

 


Samaritans;
Tel: 116 123

They can also be emailed, in the event, you feel more comfortable doing this.

Email: jo@samaritans.org

Therapy;

You can make a referral at your local Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) service. They offer assessments and then go on to offer suitable forms of therapy should you agree with them that you need this support. Therapy types can vary from, Counselling to  Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (of which there is a vast array of types). Please note these services are still available to access in spite of the current global pandemic.

Please see the link below, offering assistance on how to find your local service;

https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/other-services/Psychological%20therapies%20(IAPT)/LocationSearch/10008

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you want to talk more about the topics we have covered. For now, I hope you have been blessed and remember to come back to this as many times as you need to.

 

Posted on 2 Comments

A Tears to Laughter Story #5: Oyin Morgan

Tell us a little about yourself…

Hey! My name is Oyin, I am 26 years young and I genuinely love deep and meaningful conversations. My friends would describe me as passionate, thoughtful and extremely impulsive (though that’s changing this 2020!)

Tell us about a challenging time in your life…

If I could choose a challenging time in my life, hands down the award would go to years 2017-2018; my life (in every area) came crashing! So, to give bit of context, in 2016 I graduated from University. Life was seemingly happy – girl goes to Uni, gets a 2.1, gets the grad job of her dreams and makes her parents proud. What could go wrong? I mean everything seem to be working perfectly, I was making good money, someone’s son was making me happy (for the most part ha) and my skin was glowing. Things were genuinely making sense as they had been for the past 22 years. But then (and I don’t know why) I began feeling anxious. Anxious about everything but mainly about work. ‘You got this job by accident’ and ‘You’re not good enough’ were anthems on shuffle in my head. These words started getting to my head so much that I remember working from home for 4 weeks straight just because I wasn’t prepared to face any of my colleagues. This feeling was new to me, I was confused as to what was happening. Was I experiencing the preliminary stages of depression or was I just lazy? Was it just a bad day? A low mood? Can prayer fix it? and if I share will I be paraded with a bunch of “aww’s”, “sorry’s” and ‘I didn’t know you were going through that’ These were questions I didn’t have the answer to so I pretended it didn’t exist for a while.

So anyway, I quit my ‘good’ job as I thought it was the problem and trusted God to come through. I had no clue I was in for a journey of patience and resilience. For 7 excruciating months I was unemployed and although my savings were going down by the day, I continued to live a life as though I was employed 😂 I went to interview after interview but would always get turned down after the 2nd or 3rd stage. All in all I think I went to about 18 interviews only to be told that I was unsuccessful. Then one month, I received the news I had been waiting for- a company wanted to employ ME! So, of course I grabbed the offer with both hands, I was sure this was my big break. Boy was I wrong lol. Due to the fact that I was still in a terrible place mentally that job lasted for 4 months and there I was back to square one, unemployed again for a further 6 months.

Other areas contributed to the dark space I was in. In fact, I had no emotional stability which was affecting my romantic relationships. I kept leaving and re-entering toxic spaces that weren’t good for me mentally, but it was all I knew and therefore all I kept finding myself in. And as for spiritually? Don’t get me started on where I was with God. I left my Church for about 3 months and questioned nearly everything I believed to be true. I had no clue who I was anymore.

It hurt more because my elder sisters were great role models, they were married, had good jobs and had two kids each. I couldn’t understand why I, being the last girl was so different to them. Why I couldn’t keep a job? Why I was in situationship after situationship and why my relationship with God was on the rocks. It was no surprise that I thought my life was going to be an endless cycle of short-term jobs and failed relationships.

How did this affect you or make you feel?

My depression hit me bad. Many days I spent hours fantasying about being hurt, injured and dying altogether. It got so bad that I began envying people that would have the balls to hurt themselves, like why couldn’t I run in front of a car? Why couldn’t I overdose? And if I couldn’t, was I really depressed. I began telling myself that I wasn’t that depressed, I mean after all I wasn’t self-harming nor was I actively seeking therapy. I didn’t seem to have the qualifications for REAL depression in my eyes and the mismatch between what I was feeling and what I knew to be depression gnawed at me daily.

Coupled with the unpleasant thoughts, I stayed in my room A LOT and being so susceptible to my emotions, my room was the only safe place for the state I was in. I couldn’t afford to accidentally cry when I was watching TV with my mum or dad so I tried to avoid both parents at all costs. In fact, texting my parents who were just downstairs to confirm ‘I had already eaten’ was the norm for me. I had no energy to do anything- my room would be a mess for days on end and I’d sleep with clothes on my bed, books, my laptop- anything. My room was a complete reflection of my mind- cluttered, hazardous and in desperate need of a tidy up.

And although I’m not really a foodie in general nothing could prepare me for the lack of appetite I had over this period. I hardly ate and dropped two dress sizes. People noticed and kept asking ‘Oyin, how did you do it’ as if I had been on some amazingly life changing diet and I had to brush it off with ‘I don’t know’ when I fully well knew I weren’t eating.

I think the worst effect of all is that I actively self-sabotaged every potential relationship that came my way. There would be times I believed I was happy enough to date, so I would. I’d get to know someone, like them but when it started becoming real and by real, I mean they had a duty to check in on how my job search was going, I’d literally want to terminate the conversation. At the time, my emotions were all over the place and the last thing I wanted to do was talk about being unemployed for more than 20 seconds. But of course, due to the caring nature of who I was talking to, they would probe and press to see how my mental state was. Looking back I can see why any loved one would do this but the truth is, it really just made me feel embarrassed and powerless. So, as a result, every talking stage ended in ‘I don’t think I can do this right now’

Are you in a better space now? How did you overcome this? 

A much better space. I am at PEACE.

If I’m to be honest, I think it all happened so fast that I’d be lying if I said I knew the day things got better. However, I do remember having a deep conversation with my Pastor in which I just cried. Literally there were no words just tears (he must have thought I was mad lol) but he literally encouraged me that all would be well. That week I must have had extra faith boy because I went from having 0 offers to 3 offers and even one from a job that had previously turned me down. I’ll spare you the details but the takeaway from here is that I knew that my story was about to change because my job breakthrough came with such heavy vengeance.

I had seen the results of faith so this allowed me to further trust in God even though areas in my life still needed improvement. I went back to my church, I got involved in serving and committed to coming every week despite how I felt. Low moods became manageable because I realised, I had power over it and it didn’t have power over me. Having a job gave me an in-explainable confidence boost because I was interacting with people for 7-8 hours a day again and not to mention how the pay rise made me feel lol.

My family and friends played a HUGE part in my growth too because they constantly encouraged me, were patient with me even when I was unresponsive or snappy. They took time to educate themselves on what was going on with me and I can honestly say every single person in my life was helpful in their own little way.

What good came from your challenging period? 

Now, I can honestly say I am genuinely happy with where I am in life, I mean I have my ups and downs as any human would but I’m honestly in a great place. I’m in a better space with God, love my job and I’m in the process of healing from emotional scars. That’s a sentence I thought would never come out of my mouth!

Upon reflection, I learnt that I had to be patient with myself and let God do his work in me (Read Philippians 1:6). I didn’t create myself so I was sure he had the manual for ‘fixing’ me. As unsettling as it sounded, my job was just to be STILL. I didn’t need to force conversations about my situation or update people on how I was feeling because that  wasn’t therapeutic to me – and that was OK.

A big one for me was I had to unlearn my impulsive nature. I verbally told myself “you can’t just quit a job because you aren’t feeling it Oyin”. I pushed myself to ‘dig deeper, what don’t you like? What can be done to improve how you feel?’ Because in life, you’re gonna face trials and sometimes it be your own personality type preventing you from overcoming.

All in all, I learnt that with depression, the help you receive is so dependent on how well you can communicate your pain but many people (including myself) do not understand their pain let alone know how to articulate what they’re feeling to someone else. They just know it’s heavy, it’s real and can’t seem to get out of it. So I put together some bullet points for anyone going through a hard time below.

What advice would you give to someone currently going through a difficult time?

  • Tell your loved ones to be present but not intrusive
  • Write down things you’re grateful for and make it visible
  • Don’t force yourself to be happy (You’ll be frustrated at yourself)
  • Take a social media break for at least 28 days (Too much of social media when you’re depressed is unbelievably damaging)
  • Most importantly PRAY (I can’t stress how much this changed my life- God hears and cares)

Remember: what you’re feeling has an expiry date

Any last words?

Confession: I took a while to write this because writing in the past has never been therapeutic to me. I used to hate writing and cried as I did it because it reminded me that my pain is real and isn’t just some thoughts I’ve put together. It’s a compilation of my realities and the experiences concerning the not so nice things life has thrown at me; ones I’d rather forget. I also felt at one point in my life that writing made me feel like a baby, a baby for even feeling the way I do, a baby for complaining and a baby for needing help. But writing this has honestly stirred up a well of gratitude in me, I have been able to reflect on my journey through this one piece and hopefully I have given hope to those who are on theirs. It gets better – I promise you.

Kind Regards,

Oyin & Tami

Posted on 1 Comment

So I Tried Therapy…

Hi Guys,

IMG_4915

I hope you are well.

I never thought I would be glad to be writing a post about Therapy, but you know what that shows… growth! Earlier this year I got the point where I just had enough of feeling sorry myself, being overwhelmed with anxiety, and simply just not recognising myself. I had gotten to a place where I had so many insecurities that a simple journey to and from work would have my heart racing, comparing myself to every single woman I walked past, how draining.

Growing up like any other human being I had my challenges and insecurities, but through it, I was always bubbly, full of life and ALWAYS laughing. How I began to feel about myself in more recent years meant that I was deprived of simple moments I could just be happy in. I always knew self-love was valuable but this year I realised, it is CRUCIAL to love yourself in order to navigate life. It impacts your relationships, your career, your development, your social life, and skills… anything you can think of really. Through it all, it’s important you get to the place where you decide ENOUGH is ENOUGH. For me, that was when I decided to gift myself the greatest act of self-love. I simply decided I was going to stop crying (it’s okay to cry) and start trying.  

My Journey

Enough is enough but what next? I knew I needed to express how I was feeling and as much as I believe those around me love and care for me, people go through their own things and it was not their burden to carry. I needed to dig deep and really uproot these insecurities. So as a Christian one of the things that was weighing on me was the lack of relationship with God, so I felt I needed a shift. I decided I was going to move church… but as a “Pastor’s Child” that was a whole battle on its own and a whole other blog post too. Anyway, I began searching for a new church.

I knew God would guide me but I also knew I needed professional help. I had tried to get help through the NHS a few months back and had heard nothing and as much as I did not have the spare cash lying around I decided to go private. I began doing research on the type of therapy I thought would be best for me. I opted for a form of Psychotherapy called humanistic therapies – which encourages you to think about yourself more positively and aim to improve your self-awareness, whilst also being able to explore the triggers of the negative thinking. I used counselling-directory.org.uk to find a therapist that would be close to home. I knew I really wanted to speak to a black woman specifically, as I suspected they would better be able to understand myself and my life experiences.

I knew that in the hope of finding a church that fulfilled my needs and finding a good therapist, I would still need to do my own work from deep inside. So this was little things from, taking social media breaks, reading articles and blog posts online that would encourage me and teach new things about dealing with and changing how I was feeling.

The Results

After loads of trial and error and making an agreement with my parents to attend their church once a month, I have found a church that really makes me excited to go there and less than a 15-minute drive away from my house. One of the things I really wanted was a sense of community and even though I still don’t talk to many people at the church I feel a sense of belonging and focus. There is no familiarity, so when I go to church it’s just me and God and I can really go there to just have that me and God time. I have learned so much and I am excited about what is to come.

I found a therapist who was based less than a 10-minute walk away from my house. And guess what? A black woman! I remember going to my first session not knowing what to expect but determined not to cry. When she began asking me simple questions I welled up very quickly and began to cry. I knew this exactly what I needed. I needed to let all those tears out because it had been clogging my system for so long. I was in therapy for just under 5 months, after that first session I probably only cried in one other session. Sometimes I even questioned if it was working because there were still low lows while I was in therapy but something that remained consistent in the articles I was reading is that this is a journey and things can get better it’s just going to need a lot of being intentional. So when I would feel thoughts creeping up that would take me in the wrong direction, I would remind myself of something encouraging my therapist had said, slowly this began to transition into my own voice as I finally started believing good things about myself.  Through my time in therapy my faith came up and I noticed my therapist would sometimes even quote me scriptures. Wow… she was a Christian too. It probably was not “best practice” for her to show me that but boy did this help. I knew I wanted someone who understood my struggles and she REALLY DID, and for that reason, she was able to ask me the RIGHT questions and say the right things. I did not always feel like spewing my guts so she was able to use a range of methods with me, we did exercises, used cards, imagery… you name it. Sometimes it felt silly at first but I always left with a spring in my step giving me that glimpse of self-belief that I so desperately needed.

During all of this, I was doing a lot of me work. I was trying to remove things from my life that impacted me negatively. A social media detox here and there was so crucial. As much I believe social media is not a “bad” thing, I think when you are in a certain headspace it certainly is more likely to have a negative impact on your mental health than a positive one, so why take the risk? So what do you do with all your spare time? READ READ READ. I read so many articles on self-esteem, self-talk, personality types, and anxiety, believe it or not, it’s some really interesting stuff. Not only did it remove the feeling of loneliness knowing I was not the only one experiencing these things, but it also gave me a sense of hope; Reading stories of people who have felt exactly how I have felt and now can truly love themselves. I learned so many little skills and tools that I use subconsciously in my everyday life that have made such a huge impact.

You Can Do It Too

IMG_5027

I am a long way off from perfect but I am sooooo overwhelmed with joy to say I am better. I am bubbly again and I laugh more often. I mean, I still cringe at pictures of myself but at least I am even taking them. I have made leaps of progress and if no one even notices, my spirt does. I don’t feel so heavy any more, I don’t feel unstable, I don’t feel like at any given moment I can burst into tears. A lot of people including myself feel like these changes happen when… you lose all the weight, you get that big pay rise and promotion, you get that relationship, you get recognition. Fact is not much changed in my “outside life” yet I wake up so much happier. Your “inside life” is so much more important, and trust me, it impacts the way good things are drawn to you in your outside life. That confidence means, I enjoy the gym more now rather than just seeing it as torture, I perform better and have better relationships at work, my romantic relationship is no longer anxiety-inducing and I just live more in the present moment.

If you are facing anything similar, you can do it too. Start the work today.

“If you are not happy with something, you should change it. So I went to a lot of therapy, and finally, I am able to speak up for myself…”Katy Perry

“Learning how to love myself and my body is a lifelong process. But I definitely don’t struggle the way I used to. Therapy helped me realise that maybe it’s okay for me to communicate my feelings. Instead of literally stuffing them down with food, maybe it’s okay for me to express myself.” Kerry Washington

Kind Regards,

Sis x

Posted on 1 Comment

You Are a Bully!

Hi all,

I hope you are having a great day.

There is a popular principle that originated from a Bible Verse – “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31. Simply stating that you should treat others how you would like to be treated by them, under the assumption that people like to be treated well by others. I very much agree with this principle, however, I have been thinking lately that we can expand on this and apply it to ourselves. How about we also treat ourselves how we would treat others? Or we treat ourselves the way we would like others to treat us? 

Constructive Criticism 

Despite my frequent raised eyebrow at the existence of humanity, I think it is safe to say the majority of people still desire to treat others with human decency. With that comes an element of consciousness with what we say to others. In-fact when people fail to adhere to these standards they are often labeled negatively, for example – a bully. I would like to assume most of us were raised with a sense of emotional intelligence in that we should aim not to upset people with our words. The notion of “Constructive Criticism” was introduced to prevent negative feelings or emotions even when what we want to say is not particularly “nice” in other words being able to point out where someone may have gone wrong politely, and potentially outlining how they could do better going forward. Great right? Polite honesty without sugar-coating or rudeness, brilliant. And it works! When this is applied right especially in places like the workplace it saves a lot of negative emotions and conflict.

So my question is, why are so many of us just straight up critical towards ourselves, not constructive at all, just critical? For others we can apply emotional intelligence and think about how our words may affect them but for we say the nastiest things towards ourselves.

I am fat. 

I am ugly. 

I am too skinny. 

I am not smart. 

I have no talent. 

I am not loveable. 

I am not good at my job. 

You are a bully! A bully to your very own self. For any of you who may have unfortunately been bullied, you will know that words said to you can really follow you for a long time, make you doubt yourself, and really hurt your feelings. We want others to have the decency not to bully us but we lose so much power by bullying ourselves. When you say nasty things about yourself it is not productive, it’s harmful.

Constructive Criticism: Application

As human beings, we are all “imperfect” in one way or another and for that reason, it is important to be reflective and see how we can improve on things. With that being said, whenever you notice something you think you can improve on rather than beating yourself up with your negative words and thoughts… stop! Think! How would I communicate this to someone else avoiding hurting their feelings? …Then say it to yourself that way.

Positive Affirmations

A way to combat bullying yourself is by replacing those negative words with positive ones. Many people struggle with positive affirmations as they feel distant to message because they do not believe these things to be true or it just feels more wishful than realistic. But like many things in life we aim to improve, it involves repetition and practice. The same way our physical health may be reliant on CONSISTENT exercise and healthy eating, the same way our mental health is reliant on CONSISTENCY with mind “exercises” that help us renew our mind and transform our thinking patterns for the better.

Positive Affirmations: Application

I recently re-watched Girls Trip (love that movie!), and one thing I really loved is whenever the main character felt a negative emotion she would say the opposite about herself – “I am strong, I am beautiful” and I think that is an amazing way to apply positive affirmations. Although I believe we should not always wait for a negative stimulus before we speak positively about ourselves. If you are struggling to use positive affirmations it is a great place to start.

A few examples:

  • My work will be recognised.
  • I can do this!
  • I am successful.
  • I’m grateful for the job I have.
  • I’m bringing a positive attitude to every aspect of my life.
  • I am happy.
  • I am moving forward.
  • I am loved

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2

You can not have a positive life and a negative mind – Joyce Mayer 

The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.

“Accept yourself, love yourself, and keep moving forward. If you want to fly, you have to give up what weighs you down.” 
― Roy T. Bennett

“Believe in yourself. You are braver than you think, more talented than you know, and capable of more than you imagine.” 
― Roy T. Bennett

 

Kind Regards,

Sis x

Posted on 6 Comments

Stuck In The Mud

Hey,

Hope you are well!

I have not been consistent with blogging at all, but I have been adamant not to put out content just for the sake of it. I was explaining this to a friend last week and she asked “why do you think you have writer’s block”… the thing is I have been writing posts just none I saw as worthy of posting. I started this blog when I was in a really challenging place and beginning to overcome those challenges. Now I feel I am in a place where nothing is really “wrong” so I have no groundbreaking testimony to share with you all. She said, “why don’t you share your current situation, it might help someone who feels the same”. So here we are…

I am in a weird place…

I am at a place where I tick a lot of boxes on paper but nothing feels completely right. A lot of the happiness I encounter feels very short lived. I feel anxious about the future and I am still healing from the past. My relationship with God is requiring me to submit more and more as I can’t seem to hide under ignorance anymore. I appreciate and love all my friends, but there is a void there. I lose and put on weight faster than I typed this sentence. I have a good job, but I feel unfulfilled. I have a blog and I rarely post. My skin has a mind of its own and the list goes on. Each of these “issues” on their own may seem very minor but combined can be very draining.

That’s exactly how I’ve felt… Drained. I am constantly tired both mentally and physically. I feel stuck; I am constantly torn between ‘be content your life is good’ and ‘fight and have faith you can achieve anything’ the latter of the two is very difficult when the time is not on your side and your relationship with God is suffering. The former is difficult because you are constantly trying to decide whether you’re really content on just complacent.

Stuck In The mud Mind. 

I recently turned a year older (Virgo szn) and as much as I had A LOT to be grateful for I am quickly realising time waits for no one. Yes, past triumphs are great… but next? I can keep being proud of yesterday’s victory but today is a new day, what will I achieve? How do I keep momentum? How do I ensure I do not fall behind? Where will I be in 2 years time? Where will I be in 5 years time? What do I really want from life and what steps am I taking to get there?

Unlike many of my other posts, I am not writing this one as something I have been through and successfully overcome but I am definitely in the process. So I thought I’d share some things that have definitely made me feel better over the last few months.

  1. Honesty – This one is simple but difficult. I have been cutting off delusion and just being honest with myself (and sometimes others) with exactly how I feel. Accepting my thoughts is the first step to bettering them.
  2. Prayer/Word of God – This one is the most important for me. Whenever I am distant from God is when I am at my worst. I have been making more of an active effort with my relationship with God. I have been listing to sermons on YouTube as often as I can, listening to Gospel more and praying more. I found when I am just letting life live itself I tend to let go of certain disciplines, so taking control of what I do each day has really helped. On a Sunday night, I really carve out time to go on my knees to pray and worship God. This often brings me to tears, but I start the week on the best possible note, and God has really been showing his face! Matthew 6:33 | But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. 
  3. Gratitude – When I am talking to God now, I am always sure to mention I am grateful for where I am now and where I am going. Even in the midst of all you go through it is so important to acknowledge how God is still blessing you.
  4. Work on The Physical – One thing that often makes me feel crappy and blah… is my body. I love junk food but the love is certainly unrequited. Making sure I make a conscious effort to eat better; meal prepping, green tea, 2+ Liters of water daily. These things really do make a huge difference, once my body feels good I really do start to feel like a bad b. I have also recently signed up to the gym again, and because of the way my schedule is set up I can only go before work, and waking up at 5am is no fun, and sometimes I fail but I am refusing to give up! The feeling after the workout always makes it worthwhile.
  5. Being Better – One of my goals this year was to work on my relationships with people. Over the years people have been upset with me regarding my lack of / delayed responses to text messages or my inability to maintain relationships. So I have really been putting in more effort to check up on people and make regular contact with people. We can get very consumed with our own life and pursuits but I find great joy in letting people know how much I love them and maintaining healthy and positive friendships.
  6. Enjoy Moments – For some people this is second nature but for someone like myself who has a Ph.D. in overthinking and suffers from [social] anxiety, this can be challenging. But I have decided to just let someone moments happen, to live a little carefree and to “go with the flow” and for this reason, I have created some amazing memories this year.
  7. Be Realistic – A lot of time, when I start to feel down it is because of my worries for the future or my comparison to others I perceive to be doing better than myself. But what does this worrying, doubt and fear do? … nothing but hinder me! I have learned if I want things I have to make them happen. I am realistic about my goals and what time frame I can achieve them in. I write a to do a list of what I can do each week, I stretch myself but not to the point I feel overwhelmed.

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

Matthew 6:25-27

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes. Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not much more value than they? Can anyone of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Jeremiah 29:11

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

So even if you feel stuck in the mud, pull your feet out, you’d be surprised at how much strength you actually have. Sometimes this may mean leaving your shoes (baggage) behind, but the freedom is absolutely worth it!

Kind Regards,

Sis x

Posted on 6 Comments

2:2 and Suicidal

Hi guys,

First of all, I would like to apologise for my absence. I was/am going through it, pray for me. This probably is the most difficult thing I have ever had to write or open up about. I kid you not my hands are shaking as I am writing this, but I know someone needs this.

*Deep breath*

I want to say congratulations to everyone graduating with amazing grades! It is a beautiful thing! Enjoy and celebrate, you deserve all that and more. However, the thought of finishing university is not positive for us all. I recently saw a tweet saying something along the lines of a girl saying she would commit suicide if she got a 2:2. The rage, the anger, the fear, the upset I felt reading that stupid comment cannot even be limited to words.

Here’s my story…

1st Year 

In terms of my academics, my first year was pretty chilled. I was not too worried because I knew I just needed to pass because it would not count towards my degree. So that’s what I did. I got a high 2:2. In terms of life itself, there were ups and downs but nothing that threw me off course for a substantial amount of time.

2nd Year 

During my first year I put on some weight, so during the summer between first and second year, I ate healthily and went to the gym every day. I also met someone. Let’s put it this way, I looked good and I felt fantastic. I knew I had to focus more this year to get my grades up. However, the happiness I felt from my relationship quickly turned into misery, because of this my skin became terrible. I was insecure in every dimension of the word. I would lock myself away in my room, I went to the gym every single morning to distract myself. I would go into uni in the middle of the night to study just to avoid seeing a lot of people. I was on & off with church and God. My education suffered, I would spend hours “studying” but really I was staring blankly at the words on the pages, often wet from my tears. I was also placed on the pill for my acne and it REALLY messed up my moods. I knew deep down I would not do well, so I applied for impaired performance and a gap year.

My results came out and I almost passed out, I thought not doing well might be a high 2:2 again. I got a THIRD. What the hell was I going to do with that? I came to find this was partially because a piece of group work I had summited was under investigation for plagiarism. My whole group was under investigation, but I was so down, I did not get involved in the group chat drama. I just prayed and cried, hard. I did not want to attend physically to defend myself, so I wrote a letter. The university wrote back to me to apologise that the only text of mine that matched were the quotes used. With that coursework added I got a low 2:2 overall, which still was not ideal but anything was better than a third.

Gap Year 

Early into my gap year Job, I finally got rid of the toxic relationship I was in. My skin started clearing up FAST. My body was in great shape, I was making money and I was happy again. Soon after I met someone new. Yes, I didn’t learn my lesson lmao. Towards the end of the year I started feeling apprehensive again, I knew I would have to smash final year in order to even get a 2:1 as my second year counted as 40% of my degree (which is quite high).

Final Year 

My skin was amazing at this point, not even trace I ever had acne, my relationship was still thriving, my body was different … but good. I could afford to get myself a nice 3-floor apartment for my final year, so I did. I made sure I was as comfortable as possible because I knew that year would need a lot of focus and discipline. I took my degree incredibly seriously. I attended all (well most lol) of my lectures, seminars, whatever it was I was there. I even went to one on one office hours for some modules. I saw my university tutor for advice, more than I had in my first and second year combined. Don’t get me wrong, I had struggles but I was refusing to get thrown off; the cracks in my relationship started to show, I was giving up on my youtube channel, I was putting on weight…AGAIN. Worst of all, I started having mini breakouts due to the stress. But, as I said, this time I was going to stay focused no matter what.

Throughout the year, I had terrible headaches on a daily basis, which I ignored. I then started to have visual blackouts, they almost did not feel real. So I only told my parents after it happened a couple of times. To cut a very long story short. I was admitted into hospital 2 weeks before final exam season. I was diagnosed with a condition called Idiopathic Inter-cranial Hypertension (IIH), in which there is no known cause for but does link to weight gain. I was in and out of the hospital and only returned back to uni to study for exams 6 days before. It was my worst nightmare happening all over again, of course again I applied for impaired performance.

Results day… I cried, I cried and I cried. seeing 58.9 for my degree mark was like a dagger in my heart. I had got 1:1 or high 2:1’s most of my final year, so it was my second year haunting me all over again. Even my final exam I was most worried about and threw up in-between I got 85%. I never really knew how impaired performance worked so I assumed I was granted it. It would be insane not to grant it to me considering all I had been through and the proof I had? My coursemate advised me to call the uni and double check. To my surprise, I was not granted impaired performance in my second or final year. My final year was not granted because my grades were above my overall average and of course it was too late to contest it for my second year.

So I appealed and the battles began. My appeal was rejected. So I appealed again, but my graduation date was creeping closer. I was advised by one of the people dealing with my appeal to attend my graduation regardless of whether a decision was made yet or not. It took all the courage in the world, but I did. I was seated in the hall, 14 minutes before the ceremony started, I received an email on my phone that my appeal had been rejected. That day I experienced a new level of wickedness, I also had my first and hopefully my last ever panic attack. I got a car as a graduation present, a party, gifts, over £1000 cash, my grandparents and other family flew out and NOTHING could give me a genuine smile.

I spoke to someone the next day from my uni and they said they would bend things a bit for my “exceptional circumstances”. They said I could repeat modules during the summer Special Assessment Period (SAP) with no supervision. So I spent the whole summer including my birthday doing so, I asked for help in every direction I could. I received my SAP results on the 21st of September 2017. One grade improved my 1 mark which had no impact on the overall percentage and one was exactly the same. I cried…I cried…I cried again.

A few days later I decided to call my university just for explanation. I had accepted the grades but I just wanted to know why. When I called, I spoke to my course administrator, who explained they were willing to offer a year free tuition and supervision for modules I would like to retake (they would have never told me if I did not call). On that same call, I was told, “You have been through a lot, 1.1% does not make you, if you were my daughter I would tell you to leave it here, it’s not worth it”, and for a second I bought it. I told my mum and she was raging “good thing you are not her daughter, you are mine and we can do this”.

A Year After Graduation 

For a few months, I could not find a job, I was broke, newly single, insecure, and still battling with my health. I questioned my existence. I did not want existence. Friends never really understood, some never came to see me / check up on me despite my physical health issues. I quickly learned people will not do for you what you would do for them and my family is PRICELESS. People would tell me to be grateful for life and I never understood why I would be grateful for something that hurts so much. Since I had no job, I decided to do one university module…AGAIN. I was so embarrassed, so I kept it to myself not even my closest friends knew. I would always be “busy” / “working on something”. Soon after I did find a job, it was just that though…a job. Two months later I was headhunted for a much better role, and I got it. So here I was at my new job two weeks in asking for days off here and there because I was struggling to manage university work and a full-time job on the other side of the country.

I have made this story long enough, so let me put you out of your misery. On the 5th of July 2018, I got my results and I got a 2:1 in Social Psychology BSc Hons from a Top 5/10 university. For some people, this is no big deal but I am so grateful for my family and God for keeping me. The Joy I felt on this day made all the pain I have been through worth it. I have also just been discharged from regular hospital appointments regarding the IIH.

Whoever you are that needed this.. you are so much more than a certificate, your life is more valuable than a degree, you can achieve great things without it as did I … like starting this blog. However, if you want something, FIGHT FOR IT, it will be worth it… I promise. Take care of YOU, pray and trust God…always. Every situation is temporary.

Kind Regards,

Sis x

Celebrities who got sh*t degrees