Dear anyone thinking about embarking on personal development,
I’ve got a few words I’d like to share, so pull up a pew, if you will…
First off, don’t be scared.
I feel like this is the number one reason people shy away from getting stuck into the inner workings of their minds.
I was scared and I’m not embarrassed to admit it.
If I’m completely honest, I was bloody terrified.
Lift the lid on the crazy-heavy burdens I’ve been carrying around since my teens? Um, no thanks.
Deal with my perfectionism, procrastination, people-pleasing and serious abandonment issues? You are OKAY.
For years I’d successfully carried those weights, living by a set of rules designed to keep me safe from discomfort and feeling all of those things I really didn’t want to feel.
I lived by these rules for a long time. They formed a hefty, padlocked door in my mind, with ‘Enter at your own risk’ stamped across the front, and with fear (the scariest Death Eater type creature you can imagine) standing guard outside. Needless to say, until now, I never tried to open it. I’m not very risky, you see.
It seems silly now but I genuinely thought all those stories Fear told me were true. You know those super-friendly ones, ‘You aren’t intelligent enough, you won’t see it through, you can’t do it.’ Etc etc.
I’ve always had a love of words and creativity, with English and Art being my jam at school, but following a series of unfortunate events (my parents’ particularly acrimonious divorce and my twin sister being diagnosed with cancer — at the same time) I lost all confidence in my abilities. And I mean it nose-dived. It was a fight or flight situation and creativity took priority number -10000. I’m not sure why, but it full-on knocked me sideways off my confidence perch.
I became scared of my work being seen. Scared of it (and me) not being liked. Scared of not having the skills. Or worse, failing and proving myself right and all the former to be true.
Sure, personal development sounded great, but I didn’t want to dredge all that up after so many years successfully suppressing it.
Facing those things meant a whole new layer of stress. I’d have to confront my thoughts, unpick, challenge and deal with them. And to be honest, that wasn’t my thing.
I’ll lovingly help anyone else with their shit, but deal with mine? Nah, hun, I’ll ignore that. Plus, it all seemed like a lot of hard work. And wasn’t I too far gone? My lack of confidence running too deep now?
Also, in my personal life, after a few years, I got happy again. A happy-chappy extrovert with a sprinkling of creative-confidence issues, just plodding along. And that was okay. I became genuinely happier in my heart than ever before, but MAN there was always a creative fire burning. This niggling unfulfilled gap once filled with articles, sketching, painting and sewing.
I guess that’s what led me into self-development. I finally got tired of the outdated stories in my head and that lonely gap where my creativity used to sit. And I had no more distractions. I’d met the love of my life (NB after a series of disasters) moved around the world and back, got engaged, married and now…. what?
Get a grip and deal with my shit, that’s what.
This year something snapped- 2019 rolled around and here I am, dealing with some weighty limiting beliefs.
I’ve got a way to go, but I’m making headway, guys. I’ve learned…
- By telling ourselves we are incapable of something or ‘we’re no good at X Y Z’, the worst happens. They become self-fulfilling prophecies —and literally evidence us away from our dreams. We stop our dreams from manifesting. How’s that for a buzz kill? Of course, these statements aren’t facts, but by not challenging them, we make them so.
- Searching for validation outside of ourselves is a thankless cycle of doom. There is not one single opinion on ourselves more valid than our own.
- Only take advice and constructive kindness from others also willing to throw caution to the wind (or sidestep their Death Eater) and get into the arena.
- You are never too old to switch up your mindset. Spring chicken or wise sage, age is no restriction when dealing with your ‘limits.’
- Celebrate your failures. Yep, full-on celebrate. It’s the effort and attempt that matter, not least all the lessons learned, so you can come back stronger on your next go.
- Start before you feel ready because you could be in for a looooong wait.
- Having a victim mentality is absolutely pointless. Laying blame elsewhere only serves as an excuse to not make changes. (FYI, I’ve really had to work on this one.)
- A little self compassion goes a bloomin’ long way.
We all start life as a blank canvas and pick up the framework of who we think we are along the way. We unknowingly become a product of our environment and our experiences, forming opinions on ourselves and the world around us. Each with a different viewpoint, and no two people seeing the world the same. But we all create stories that limit (and aim to protect) us in some way.
See, I figure we’re all the same, really, just with different quirks and learned beliefs. Some of us in the same boat, some in little dinghys and some in cruise ships – all dependant on your relationship with fear and limiting beliefs.
You start out floating on a bit of driftwood, with the end aim of being the captain of your own battleship. But effectively, we’re all in the same fleet, together, going the same way.
So if you’re worried about setting sail, I hear you and I see you.
Showing up for yourself is hard. But there truly is far more value in shooting for your dreams than staying put. If you want to make a change, your drive and passion need to be stronger than your fear.
Personal development opens you up to things you may never have known; you get clarity on what lights you up, your values and your needs.
By doing the thought work, you can suss-out when they are off track and when you need to challenge them. This awareness keeps you from being stuck on auto-pilot with no hope in hell of dealing with your Fear.
My advice to you, my friend, is to make a start. Don’t let the enormous world of self-development intimidate you. It’s not scary. It’s the opposite, in fact. It’s full of kind, empathetic people (be that in person, book form or podcast) ready to hold your hand whilst you make a stand against your Fear.
Just think of it one step at a time, edging ever closer to fulfillment, rather than seeing the whole scary staircase.
If you have embers burning in your heart of something unfulfilled — like a GCSE textiles shaped hole in your life (lol) — get digging and find out what’s stopping you.
You can move past it.
And you are absolutely worth making the effort for.
Ps. My sister is allll good now 🥰.