Up until a moment ago I did not feel adequate to resolve my own problems. I was feeling like my confidence had hit rock bottom. There was no point in going out, facing the outside world and dealing with people. I didn’t feel like I was able to fit in society and the pressure that it was putting me under. I thought about calling in sick at work but what reason would I give for it? Perhaps I should make something up and say, “I am not feeling well today. I have got a temperature etc”. That should do the trick. Besides, who is going to take me seriously if I say, “I need to take time out today to think about my mental health”. Having a temperature can easily be overlooked and forgotten, but I don’t want to be remembered as someone with mental health issues.
Aside from this, I feel overwhelmed with everything today. My thoughts are overlapping and I can only hear clatter when people are talking. The mere thought of having people around me makes me feel judged. I feel little. This is too much. I need a private space, a place of safety. Maybe I will be ready tomorrow. The world can wait. I need to find myself first.
We all experience confidence in different ways and certainly breaking things down becomes a less menacing, threatening exercise. Where you are at right now in your life does not matter as much as your vision for where you want to be. What can often make us feel overwhelmed and despondent is that we tend to assume that once an objective is set in our mind, we can go from A to B by simply using a ‘lift’. Unfortunately this is not the way and this is where the pressure comes from. Negative mental states ensue and our mental health is likely to suffer from it.
Life itself is about the journey and the journey is a learning process made up of mistakes and successes, achievements and what we usually call failure. Failure does not exist, but only feedback. Life is going to expose us to things that we all perceive in unique ways. As we take on new challenges, we need to face our fears to step up to the next level. If things aren’t broken down into little achievable steps, those feelings of fear can become unbearable and can knock down our confidence level.
Another reality is that we tend to believe that life is experienced from the outside in, but instead, it is the opposite. We experience life from the inside out. Everything that happens within us happens because we experience thoughts which in turn generate feelings. Feelings results in actions (or inaction) and this leads to outcomes whether we like it or not. The way we experience life is down to each and every one of us because we are the creators of the meaning that we assign to life.
We need to bear in mind that personal empowerment is always achieved through responsibility. Therefore, we have the power to act upon our feelings to drive our thoughts and equally we hold the power to control our actions through what we know as self-control.
A key aspect is to understand how we function on a relational level and this spans three levels: the way we relate to ourselves, how we relate to people and how we relate to our past. We all have a propensity to liken ourselves or others to some sort of concept or idea.
When relating to others, some of us make the mistake to assume that they are better. Another mistake can be the way we look down at people who are more in need than us. Conversely other times we might put ourselves beneath others. Confidence derives from being able to relate to ourselves so that we feel we need less from others. When we experience this state, we generally feel free to express our true selves to the outside world – we become more authentic and we relate to others on a more genuine level.
When we do not relate to ourselves well, we tend to become more reliant on other people’s abilities because we might not feel we have the confidence to address a situation ourselves. The risk is that we are allowing others to run our lives, but guess what, whether we accept it or not, we are not other people’s priority. When we are in a struggle with our internal world, we run the risk of relating to other people in a distorted way which does not show our true selves to others. Ultimately how we relate to ourselves, people and our past will shape how we communicate and interact.
We need to ask ourselves how we relate to our own past, bearing in mind that the past does not equal the future. Coming from past negative experiences such as lack of personal fulfilment, failure, rejection etc, we hold ourselves victims because we are stuck in the past. Consequently, we lack confidence and we might be prone (knowingly or not) to open the door for a ‘perpetrator’ to come into our lives. This can happen when we start a new relationship with someone and we have a feeling this person is not right for us yet they have something that we believe helps us fill the confidence gap that’s tormenting us everyday to the point where we feel dysfunctional. We look up to the perpetrator because we need them. As we feel we are victims, we also feel we need a hero to rescue us from the perpetrator. This tends to be our mindset when we hold ourselves victims. It is when we do not know how to get what we want that we end up feeling low and anxious and this goes back to how your mental health is experiencing life on a daily basis.
What area of your life can you take responsibility for today? When you visualise the problem that you are experiencing, can you focus on the positives that you might be missing out on? Can you now separate the positives from the negatives and see the negatives as a separate matter and in a different, greater, section inside your mind – something like a large square which we will call ‘perspective’.
Now inside your mind, you have pictured both the positives in relation to the problem/situation you are in, and the negatives which are sitting in a bigger separate compartment called perspective. Now shift those positives into the bigger box called perspective. You should now be in the position to feel more empowered and act independently because you have put your positive thoughts in perspective, simply by looking at how things could turn out if seen from a different stance. Accept that the problem is part of the solution and do not waste time over thinking the issues but direct your energy towards what possible solutions you can put in place. For example, I have been sacked from my current employment. This is the problem and it makes me feel awful. Is there anything positive about this situation? Perhaps there is one positive or two.. I have more time on my hands to look for another job, maybe one that suits me better this time! Now these are the positives and let’s keep them in one section inside of your mind. What are the negatives? Maybe I won’t find another job soon enough to avoid having to dig into my savings or maybe I do not have any savings at all.. Now let’s have the negatives move into a separate bigger section inside your mind, which as previously explained is where we put things in to perspective.
Now move the positives (having more time available) into the perspective box and ask yourself what you can take responsibility for right now that’s going to make a difference to your current situation and it’s going to take you to your desired level. At this stage there will be nothing that will stop you from achieving what you need/want if:
– You make a firm decision about what you want to conquer
– You are absolutely determined to take massive action
-You are clear and honest about what is working and what isn’t working
-You do your best with what you have at your disposal to change what is not working in the process
You have now enabled yourself to rationalise your emotions and this will lead you up to understand what is really driving you at the core, your values that is. You have choices and by following this process you will understand their extent. What set of rules have you decided to employ in your life to allow yourself to achieve your values no matter what happens in life? You can decide to be happy right now without anything needing to happen around you to generate your own happiness. Life is lived from the inside out and your set of rules, your personal standards and values will determine your personal outcomes.
I decided to feel good today..