Today is one of those days when I am quite angry of myself because I am still allowing my fears to control my life and behavior. I still have a problem defending my opinion and expressing things important to me. From one point I am trying to be peacemaker even if I see sometimes I will not benefit from that but still because of fear I do it. From another point there are people who just express whatever dissatisfaction they have without caring about the outcome or considering how other person would feel. And the thought that I am compromising my life because of these kind of people makes me angry. Angry that I am not able to fully step up for myself and I treat myself as a less equal.
But maybe it is good to have a bit of an anger inside because it gives me a kick to push myself further. To just have more and more confidence to not allow fear to control me and to be one more step closer to reach my full potential. I am for sure on the way to have a better self understanding but moments like that when I just compromise too much where I should not have raises a bit of a frustration. So today I will use it to my advantage to not forget and keep moving forward because no one deserves to compromise too much of their own life and happiness. For some it comes naturally but for some like me I need to practice it until I make it.
Remember how much of yourself you are compromising to meet the approval of others. Twisting your personality until it breaks completely. Rachel Wolchin
I have recently started to notice that my practice of speaking up and just doing things which have made me really uncomfortable for many years has been finally working. To finally starting to believe in results and seeing that I can overcome myself has taken me over 1 year and it is definitely an ongoing process. But to see that I can look over my fears and step by step express my true self strengthens my hope that it is possible to be free. Free as I have always wanted to be but did not dare to be.
Therefore, today I am grateful that I was able to start my journey of practice and no matter how hard or scary it has been I still have managed to push through and move forward. With the practice also came better understanding on how my mind and emotions function. What are the triggers for anxiety and my fears and how to better reduce them. And after each time I pushed myself I realized that actually it is not that terrible and I can do it next time again.
So today I can say that it is true that only by practicing things which make us afraid and uncomfortable will help us overcome them. With time it will get easier and fears will slowly decrease and one day they will be so quiet that you will be living in peace with yourself. Note that practice period for each person is different so do not be discouraged by how long it takes and just push through – because you deserve to be free.
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear. Mark Twain
Last few weeks I am more intensively feeling resistance from my scared part which is always hiding and choosing excuses over action. Especially when it comes to go out or do something new and unknown. It is just quietly whispering: “Why should I do that? It is better to stay as it is. It can be only more stressful and riskier.” And so these past few weeks it is more like a fight with my own self. The more I question this part the more resistance I get. It expands to uncomfortable feeling and pressure within. It feels so comfortable to give in and stay safe but from the other side I know it is wrong. And I will say that I have been mostly doing that and staying safe. But then it still does not feel right, it does not bring peace and safety as I thought. It is just for a moment but the day after I know I am feeling again disappointed because I did not do something that could be beneficial to me. And knowing that I chose fear over myself makes me a bit angry.
It always comes to feeling like I am standing in front of a big wall and the other side is just too unknown to be explored. And then I just feel like I am living in a prison made by myself. Knowing that I am the only thing standing from being free seems really easy and I have set myself free 100 of times. But somehow I am still not free or at least free as I would want. I can say I have improved a lot but knowing that my resistant part is still there sometimes makes things harder.
One thing I can say is that one of the biggest steps towards being free from my prison was acknowledging that something is not working right. That the way I was living before was not anymore suitable for me. I was far away from events which caused certain behavior and I should have put them behind me. However, after I started to question myself I realized I am still stuck in those events. So through past year I am learning how to trust people and that I do not need to fear them. I learned that in general people do not wish me bad as I have always imagined and that it is ok to meet with them. One benefit of going out and not letting fear take over was joining a German class where I learned that people are mostly good and they are not against me. And for me this was a big realization. Because I had always thought first that they will hate me and be against me. It also makes easier to speak up and accept that others will disagree and it is ok so.
You can just start with asking one question to yourself if you feel something is not working right and then there will come more and more until you will start to get some answers. These questions will guide you to things and places where you have always wanted to be but did not dare to try. So step by step.
Find comfort in questioning yourself. Bryant Mcgill
I have been reading a book about understanding social anxiety and one of its chapters described how people with social anxiety do not recognize their strengths and the first thought that comes in their mind is their flaws and weaknesses. And once asked to say what are their strengths it is somehow harder to do it. While reading this I was trying to do that for myself but there I was a bit stuck and unable to clearly say what my strengths are. But immediately I was able to say what I thought was wrong with me and which weaknesses I had. Then I realized that because of this first reaction and instant self-doubt I am thinking that I do not deserve anything better I just need to settle for something even if I do not feel that it is the best fit for me. Why I should speak up and ask for what I want if I do not think I am good enough? It is just an unnecessary action and anyway I will be not able to have what I want.
But before I had never thought that maybe I do deserve and I have a right to freely say what I want without feeling guilty or afraid. Even though I am practicing this approach more and more in my daily communication there are moments where it is harder then I thought. Mostly when I know what I want will be different from the other person and that it could lead to a disappointment or maybe an argument. And here I still sometimes sell myself short and put my opinion second and maybe even decide to not express it. This is what I need to learn a bit more and take step by step because before always the first thought was no I cannot and to change that takes time. Only while practicing again and again I will be able to feel more secure about my decisions because that is what matters to me.
So in order to think how weak I am because of these few times I did not speak up I will say that it takes a strong person to overcome self built prison and really move forward with a change for the better. And this is one of the biggest strengths I have. We all deserve the best for us no matter how hard it can sometimes get.
The strongest people are not those who show strength in front of us but those who win battles we know nothing about.
The chaos inside me for now has been decreased and silenced. However, still some rushing thoughts remind me of those days. And so my rational thinking is stepping in and I am being able to better evaluate my behavior and to decrease irrational fears. It also helps better keep calm before speaking up for myself and expressing my thoughts even if they would differ from someone else. Even though in silence I have always had an opinion but saying it loudly was not my strongest ability and somehow scary.
During my practice of speaking up and having different opinions I realized that for some people and even for some family members it was not considered as a positive trend. Even though they seemed to be fine with me before now when I had something to say it was different. I could feel some distance from them because I was always the one saying yes, agreeing on most of the things and always supporting them even if I thought it was not such a good idea. So they got used to my old behavior and now when I am trying to speak up it is something strange and unusual. I am not validating their behavior and putting them first as it was before.
I started to notice this pattern recently and it made me feel quite strange and also somehow lonely. Since I have used to seek validation from others and not being judged it was quite sad to receive such a different reactions and especially from family. I have always thought that family should stick up for each other and support each other no matter what. But from another point I should not be surprised because for the most of the time it has been about them and supporting them no matter what. And I would do that again but now with more respect towards myself.
It also explains my question why I had so many unsuccessful relationships with others. I have always thought that it is better to be silence and it is easier to say yes. Then I would have no disagreements and people would just like me. But it do not guarantee that it is the right relationship, that it will be good also for me. So now when I am receiving such a different reactions I am grateful for that even though I am feeling sad. Because now I can clearly see who is there for me no matter what and this gives me a motivation to try to speak up more and to not be afraid so much of others. Even more it gives me a hope that one day I will be able to be free as it was meant to be for me.
I know it can be really scary and sometimes too hard but no matter what reactions you receive do not be afraid to speak up because only by doing so you can understand for yourself who is there to stay and who is there to go for the best.
Speak up, because the day you don’t speak up for the things that matter to you is the day your freedom truly ends.
How far is too far? When should I say stop it is enough – this is your borderline. I am wondering about this last few months when I started to feel overwhelmed because of how much I was trying to change myself to overcome my fears and set myself free. Somehow I felt more and more anxious and just continued moving forward. Pushing my limits to speak up, to say “No” and be more open towards people. But the effect was opposite – instead of feeling more relaxed from my actions I started to feel more nervous and thinking about every fail because I did not succeed to defend myself or speak up.
Then one day being completely taken over by anxiety and feeling confused I just started to think if I did the right thing. Did I really needed to push myself that far to become someone I am not meant to be. Maybe it was enough already and moving forward that fast was too much and I reached my borderline. And all the inner struggle started because I was again not listening to myself. However, I still catch myself thinking that I could be free from everything – from feeling anxious almost everyday and fearing to be myself in front of others. There is no day when I am not thinking about that and I am starting to accept that I am on the way to be a better version of myself but I will never be able to be the person I have imagined because then I would not be who I am.
It is quite strange to just stop a little bit and to see what will happen. Because if I would have not pushed myself through my life so much I would have been probably somewhere hiding from the world. But as the body was signalizing that something is not working right it does not mean that pushing is always the right answer. But instead to just stop and listen quietly what is the thing it wants to say means I am moving forward as well. And that is the true art of being aligned with your true self.
If you listen to your body when it whispers, you won’t have to hear it scream.
I am currently finishing an amazing book which has helped me to understand better why I am the way I are. Why I have some parts of me which I would like to forget and leave it in a past – fearful, silent and closed. At some point sometimes too fearful that I am not able to open up and be in a healthy relationship not only with people around but also with myself.
The book is by Bessel van der Kolk M.D “The Body Keeps the Score” – where the author detailed describes how the trauma stays locked in the body and where it all begins starting from our brain and how the aftermath of a trauma can be better understood and treated.
One year ago through a therapy I started my journey of understanding and overcoming myself. However, I was not completely able to understand why I have certain body reactions when I need to interact with people and why it is so hard to keep calm inside and not go into anxiety mode. Was there something more that I have not thought about. I got some explanations during my sessions as well but still I had some missing pieces. I asked my therapist And so I accidently found in the internet this book and I bought it. After I received it I started to read chapter by chapter and my missing pieces slowly were coming together and I could finally start to answer my question – why? It was so fascinating to read how the body locks the trauma and fear inside it and how any trigger can bring me to a mode of war inside myself and feeling again the same fear and just shutting down.
I am still on the way to learn how to deal with my emotions and saying my body – it is ok there is not anymore reason to feel afraid. That part of my life is past, however, I know it still remembers and that is why it is so hard to release and move on. But thanks to the book I have much greater understanding and compassion towards myself. The following quote just perfectly describes who I lost during my times in the darkness.
We can hardly bear to look. The shadow may carry the beast of the life we have not lived. Go into the basement, the attic, the refused bin. Find gold there. Find an animal who has not been fed or watered. It is you!! This neglected, exiled animal, hungry for attention, is a part of your self. – Marion Woodman –