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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.

 

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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

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Having Hope When Hope is Gone

Hey,

I hope you are well!

Hope is defined as “a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen” or “a feeling of trust“. Most of us with ambition, goals, and dreams have some element of hope. Some would argue that hope and/or faith is what gets us through our day to day lives.

To live without Hope is to Cease to live. Fyodor Dostoevsky

Yet with all the hopes, we seem to have that tomorrow is better why do so many of us so often struggle with hopelessness?

Hopelessness – a feeling or state of despair; lack of hope.

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We are walking contradictions! But I think I may have found out one of the reasons this is and how to make sure we live more with hope rather than hopelessness.

The definition of hope I provided above simply outlines that we have desires and expectations. This is completely fine because we should have aspirations and goals and equally, we should plan and take steps to achieve our goals and aspirations. Now, this is where it gets a little tricky. Often because we have made plans our “expectation” is that things will go exactly as planned, despite us having the knowledge life has a way of throwing curveballs, and sometimes just straight kicks in the gut.

I am saying all of this because… as we come to the end of the year and some will even argue a decade it’s easy for us to fall into the trap of focusing only on the hopes we have for the coming year/decade, in this neglecting our character.  Some of you may have a perfect year next year, but for the other 99.99% of us, things will not always be perfect. Does that mean we should not hope to avoid disappointment? No, of course not.

However, I want to encourage us to remember resilience in all things we hope and plan for.

Resiliance – the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

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And maybe it’s just me, but I am guilty of starting the new year on such a high full of hope and then as soon as life throws an inconvenience at me I become “hopeless”. When we are in a state of hopelessness we waste so much time and get so much more off-track than what the initial inconvenience could have caused. If you are like me… you will eventually come around and get back on track but unfortunately, we can’t get all the time we have wasted back. This is why I particularly like the definition of resilience provided above, because it is not just about the recovery it is the speed of the recovery that qualifies you as resilient and or tough.

I hope you have an amazing 2020, but more than anything I hope we can all develop resilience, and ditch hopelessness. I hope we stay grounded and focused on our hopes, dreams, and plans – understanding that this is not with the absence of life’s “distractions”, so that we may hope for the sunshine in the midst of the storm.

 Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut offProverbs 23:18

Kind Regards,

Sis x