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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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So I Tried Therapy…

Hi Guys,

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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

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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

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A Tears to Laughter Story #4: Renee-Louise

Hey,

I hope you are well.

My name is Renee-Louise and I’m a 23-year-old Economics graduate and serial traveler! My friends would describe me as a brave, adventurous and definitely spontaneous.

While I was at University, I went through some character-building and life-changing experiences. The biggest change that happened and potentially knocked me while at University was my parents splitting up. I never saw the day coming as they had been married for 21 years. Besides, that was all I knew (them being together). Being young and naive I obviously took my mum’s side and got way more involved in my parents’ relationship than I should’ve done.

This became a major distraction and had a knock-on effect on my degree. I felt so overwhelmed at the time since I was consumed with negative emotions that I ended up failing a module and taking an involuntary gap year. At my University, you are not allowed to progress to the next stage unless you pass ALL modules, so I took it on the chin and turned lemons into lemonade.

Within the next week of learning that I would not be progressing to my 3rd year, I landed a job. This was a sales role that I found online with attractive pay. I mean, I’d never done sales before but since I like trying new things I thought, ‘why not?’. Initially, I was only supposed to stay at the job temporarily until I found something in my field that would at the very least contribute to my experience later down the line. However, once I got going in this job, I quickly became one of the top saleswomen and ended up staying there for the majority of my gap year. At one point I was earning more than my own mum and she’s a dentist, so you do the math!

At the time, I was so comfortable in this job and the money, that I even started having thoughts of just doing this sales thing full time and quitting University altogether. However, God had other plans.

After being at the company for about 9 months, sales started to take over my entire life since the job was very demanding. It was so bad that I even forgot about my own personal business that I had at the time and even ended up missing my retake exam because I was so consumed in making money and traveling.

Once I realised that I had missed my exam, I was actually petrified. I thought ‘RIGHT, that’s it I’m getting chucked out, they’ve had it!’. All of a sudden, when my University degree was almost ripped away from me I wanted it more than ever and I was willing to do whatever it took to get it.

I frantically enquired with my University about whether there was another opportunity to resit before September started and thank Jesus there was. At this point, I knew something had to change. Despite the good money I was making from being a sales consultant, I decided to step down from this demanding role so that I could focus on my exam. I moved to another role within the company I was at. This role was far less demanding and target driven so I was able to focus on studying for my exam more.

After a while of being in this role, It was made clear to me that I wasn’t that valuable to the company anymore, so when things started getting a little tight for them financially, they had no problem letting me go. Of course, I was distraught by this because that was my main source if the income at the time. However, again I turned lemons into lemonade and used those months of being unemployed to travel some more and focus on my upcoming exam.

Soon after being laid off, I visited Doha in June 2018 for a solo trip and then went on a family cruise in August 2018. The day before my family cruise was the day of my final chance to retake the exam that I had missed. So, my nerves were all over the place. It wasn’t long before I got back my results and had secured my place I third year again. I had a major sigh of relief because I’d never felt so close to losing my degree before. It was definitely the wake-up call that I needed to value my degree again and regain focus.

When I rejoined University in September, I knew it was time to SMASH it. I wanted to finish with a 2:1 at the very least and to do this, I had to put in serious work because I ended up with a 2:2 in my second year due to just not caring anymore about my degree.

For 9 months, I had to suspend all travel plans, put my head down and actually WORK. I also got closer to God at the start of the academic year which really really helped to give me the drive and determination I needed to take me to the finish line. My third year is when I truly saw what God was capable of doing. He gave me a forgiving heart and I was able to move past my ill-feelings towards my dad and he even rewarded me with first-class grades across the board which helped to drag my grade all the way up to the 2:1 that I’m so grateful to have achieved.

If there’s any advice I’d give to anyone reading this or been in the same predicament as me it’s this:

  • Never take an L as a loss but as a lesson
  • Talk to people on your travels. You have no idea what you could learn
  • Turn lemons into lemonade always. Looking at the brighter side of things always leads to better outcomes!
  • Try new things that are out of your comfort zone, because you have no idea what could be waiting for you outside that zone
  • Don’t get involved in anyone else’s dramas while at University. FOCUS  It’s only 3 years and anyone that loves you will understand that.
  • Travel at any chance you get!
  • Take everything one step at a time while at University. There’s plenty of time to live out your dreams the way you REALLY want to when you’re done!
  • ALWAYS have faith that God knows what he’s doing, even if it doesn’t feel like it. (He wants and knows what is best for us)
I’ve now graduated and living out my dreams of being a travel content creator and it feels great! In fact, as I write this I’m currently on a plane on my way to Nigeria to see my dad and make up for the lost time. So, head over to my blog and follow my journey where I post daily travel, lifestyle and news content.
Thanks for reading!
Kind Regards,
Renee x
Posted on 4 Comments

The Process

Hey,

Hope you are well.

If you are anything like me, you will make up your mind to achieve something and almost expect the results instantly. I am totally aware these things can’t be achieved instantly but I will put so much pressure on myself to obtain the desired result instantly. Often, I will put other aspects of my life on pause until I have achieved what I want. “I’ll be happy when I get a new job” “I will love my body when I lose 10kg” “I will have peace when my skin is perfect”.

So how do I feel in-between? The process that should be great and exciting becomes miserable and draining. Not to get confused, being focused on the end result is a good thing, at the end of the day that is why we are in the process in the first place. We should not allow the end goal to consume and overwhelm us. When the end goal does consume us the goal becomes less obtainable; unhappiness and feelings of defeat will only slow you down if not stop you completely!

                            “You can’t build joy on a feeling of self-loathing.” – Ram Dass   

The Process Has a Purpose 

The process exists to teach you, to grow you and to help you appreciate where you are coming from and the hard work it takes to get where you are. Imagine the world if we could all just click our fingers and have what we want… might actually sound good for a minute but I imagine the world full of arrogant and ungrateful pricks to be honest. I was actually listening to a sermon recently and the message outlined that the very thing robbing us of our peace is our insistence on perfection even though God tells imperfection is exactly how God can make us perfect.

And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. – James 1:4 

The same sermon also outlined how Jesus himself came into the world in the most imperfect circumstance yet that never stopped him from being who he is or achieving his purpose. Do not let what you perceive as your imperfections stop you from being who you are or maximising your potential. Instead, use your imperfections as mark points for your growth.

Embracing the Now 

It can be difficult to fully embrace one’s self when everyone around you seems to be flawless but you. The truth is we all have our insecurities, some we are even too embarrassed to point out to our closest friends. I know to tell you other people have things about themselves they do not like does not take away your own insecurities… it is to rather remind you that you are not alone… if the next person can live happily despite not being exactly where they would want to be or looking exactly how they would want to look then so can you! Truth is there are some things we may not be able to change but our process, in this case, is how we respond to the things out of our control. Do we embrace it and live happily or do we continue to be overly self-critical and live miserably? My advice? Chose you! Chose to love you regardless!

“Self respect, self-worth, and self-love, all start with self. Stop looking outside of yourself for your value.” – Rob Liano

“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey – and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.” – Bob Moawad

While we are changing, developing, evolving and growing into the people we desire to be it is crucial to appreciate who we are. While we are working on what we do not like, channel your energy to the things about yourself you do like or you are good at or you just enjoy. You may not have your dream job yet, you may not have lost all the weight yet and your skin may not have cleared up yet.. but you are on a journey to these amazing things and these amazing things need an amazing person to celebrate them. Our happiness can’t be dependent on things that are ever-changing because that will leave us unstable. Find your confidence, happiness, and peace in your heart and remember that every second you are alive is a chance to change your situation.

Your beauty should not come from outward adornments, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. – 1 Peter 3:3-4

Sticking to good habits can be hard work, and mistakes are part of the process. Don’t declare failure simply because you messed up or because you’re having trouble reaching your goals. Instead, use your mistakes as opportunities to grow stronger and become better.- Amy Morin 

Through a long and painful process, I’ve learned that happiness is an inside job – not based on anything or anyone in the outer material world. I’ve become a different and better person – not perfect, but still a work in progress – Alana Stewart

Ways to Embrace the Process:

  1. Track Your Progress – Take progress pictures, save milestones, write down your accomplishments regularly.
  2. Clap For the Wins – Big or small you should learn to congratulate yourself and be proud of yourself.
  3. Do Not Beat Yourself Up  – Do not be too hard on yourself. We all make mistakes or fall off track remember the sooner you get back on track the quicker you will get to your destination.
  4. Enjoy Yourself – Do not hide because you are working towards something. Two words – balance and discipline. You can still do the things you love and spend time with people you love to ensure you are laughing through the process.
  5. Seek Encouragement – A lot of the time when the process begins to feel challenging is when it seems impossible. It is great to get yourself examples of people who have done it before to remind yourself that it is possible!

Sometimes we make the process more complicated than we need to. We will never make a journey of a thousand miles by fretting about how long it will take or how hard it will be. We make the journey by taking each day step by step and then repeating it again and again until we reach our destination – Joseph B. Wirthlin

Kind Regards,

Sis x