Get out of the box

Fear and other peoples’ opinions are the killer of dreams and prosperity. This is a phrase I have to repeat to myself daily and it took me years to come up with it and to completely acknowledge it.

I thought that I was always held down by others, that my life was a product of other peoples’ choices when in reality my response to their opinion was fear which made me put a hold on my dreams and taped my mouth shut when I wanted to speak up. Despite knowing that I need to listen to my gut, I still catch myself obsessing about somebody else’s opinion and I fear doing what I think is right because someone will judge me. Soon it will be a year since I said “ENOUGH OF THIS BULLSHIT!”

A year ago I quit my university to do something. I had no idea what I was going to do. I just thought to myself that I need to step out of the box I put myself into and think for a second what is it that I really want. Trust me when I say that taking a step out of the box is never taking a step out of the box. First you scratch the surface a bit and they you wait to see what happens. Then you try to fix the scratch because you think you’ve done something wrong. Then you reach your hand through that box to feel the ground around it. Then you get scared and put that hand back. Then you sit tight in your box until you recover. After sometime you get your head out of the box and see that there are no monsters out there trying to kill you except the ones you make up yourself and you can control those. It’s all in your mind, it’s all about your mindset

That box can be the death of you so start scratching, reaching your hand out, seeing what’s out there because trust me that the journey is difficult but the outcome is amazing. A year ago I never thought I would be where I am today. I found myself in digital marketing. I finally came to accept that I don’t have to have everything figured out. I don’t think that not having a masters will make me beg on the street. I am educating myself through different channels, I am exploring my options, I am putting a price on my work because I finally realize my work is worth something.

The thing I want you to know is that you need to trust your gut, it already knows where you’re supposed to go. Give yourself some credit for how far you’ve come and keep on pushing. All you need is one person that believes in you and you need to be that person. Be your own backup plan, be your own cheerleader and just ignore the noise because that’s what it is. Just noise. People who have time to talk about you are people who have nothing better to do. Don’t give yourself enough time to be like them. Stay focused on what you need, what you want, where you want to go. It’s not a sin to put yourself first, it’s a necessity.  Embrace who you are and step into everything you are meant to be.

Be kind to yourself

We hear phrases such as “Listen to your gut” or “Love yourself” everywhere. They are screaming off social media platforms, life coaches use them, we see them written everywhere but do we really grasp the concept of being kind to oneself and loving oneself and listening to our gut?

As always, I’ll start from experience. A few months back I got my bachelors in Italian and Spanish philology. There I was, all proud of myself for finishing the three years without failing one single class, with a title in front of my name and then the time came for me to start my masters which would have taken me two years to finish. That feeling… I’ll never forget that feeling. Every time I thought about going back to my university, spending hours in classes, studying, preparing for exams… It made me want to die. I had extreme panic attacks. My gut was yelling “Hell NOOOOOO”. I told my gut she should shut up because society and my family told me that the field I was in, which was foreign languages, was nothing without a master’s degree. So I listened to what others had to say and I started my masters.

The panic attacks increased. My health was deteriorating. I had to use every single piece of strength I had to pull myself out of bed and attend a single lecture. I hated the world. Negativity was oozing out of my skin. Then my gut decided to fight against my decisions in every way possible. I was never the one to oversleep. If my alarm went off, I was on my feet already making my morning coffee. All of the sudden, I started oversleeping. I wouldn’t hear my alarm and I started to miss my lectures. After a while, I started failing exams. It took me a while to gather the strength and say that I quit. Right then and there I placed the label “FAILURE” on my forehead in big, bold red letters for everyone to see. I called myself a failure.

I promised my family and myself that in a year I would enroll in a private university and start a masters in International relations and diplomacy which costs a lot of money but I came to an agreement with my mom that we would get a student loan from the bank. Since I considered myself to be a failure, I didn’t start looking for a job in my field of expertise because the part of my brain which told me I was a failure also told me that there are people with masters and PHD’s in languages, people who studied abroad who were better than me and that no one would hire me because they could hire those other people who weren’t failures like me. I got a job as a waitress. Regarding that experience I think it’s enough to say that I can’t count how many times I had to drink to make it through my shift but I considered my behavior to be okay because I was a failure.

Time passed by, my health was getting worse, I was making all of the wrong choices regarding relationships in my life and then it hit me. I hated myself and I resented myself so much that I was torturing myself at a job I hated and punishing myself just because I didn’t fit in with societies norms. The time came for me to get the student loan. I was depressed for weeks. I didn’t talk to anyone. I ended up in the emergency room because I couldn’t breathe normally. Life was just bitch slapping me and then, after months of banging my head against a wall and living just to survive I decided I can do better.

I quit my job and started a new one where I am somewhat in the proximity of my field of studies. I said no to the private university and decided to attend lectures in Digital marketing because this is something that gets me excited. How did this shift in my behavior happen? I started to be kind to myself.

I scrapped off that “FAILURE” label from my forehead and told myself that it took courage to drop out of school and start finding myself. It took strength to admit that I was lost and unhappy. It took fucking balls to take control of my life and start living it according to my rules. The shift first happened in my head and then it manifested in my life. All I had to do was give myself a pat on the back and tell myself that I am doing the best that I can and that it’s okay to take time off to find whatever it is that’s missing from my life. Changes aren’t painless. Changes aren’t easy but if during that change period you hate yourself and have negative self-talk you will only make things worse for yourself.

Do I know what the hell I am doing with my life? NO
Do I hate myself for that? Also NO

I still relapse into my old behavior patterns such as drinking, smoking and hating myself for not being the poster child for society norms but I also identify that behavior quickly and implement positive self-talk into my life. Don’t call yourself a failure and don’t put yourself down. You are so much more that what others think of you. Hell, you are so much more than what you think of yourself. Give yourself credit for how far you came. Recognize your mistakes and learn from them, don’t use them as fuel to the fire of your self-hate.

You need to reconnect with your inner world in order to start being kind to yourself.  You have to do this via a process that suits you best such as writing, meditating, exercising etc. That voice in your head that is trying to put you down will always be there, you just need to be louder than it.

Find your indicators

We hear from life coaches and Instagram quotes that we need to identify our triggers to avoid negative and harmful behavior and situations. I do believe that’s true but there’s also something else we need to identify. Our indicators.

We live in a world where pain and struggle are being praised for no apparent reason. If you have eye bags, finish your 5th cup of coffee by 10 in the morning, always have troubled relationships you somehow feel validated in this world and I can say that I am also one to blame for this type of behavior because I do have eye bags, drink a gallon of coffee in the morning and go into one shipwreck of a relationship to the next.

Also, we became very detached from our emotional state and feelings. We just deal with negative feelings by ignoring them. We all live using the famous line “That’s just how it is”, “It’s no big deal” etc.

It’s not how it is and it is a big fucking deal.

We often ignore the notion of being in a negative, unhealthy situation just because we got used to it. We got used to feeling crappy, tired, exhausted, unmotivated… We became very mechanical in day to day life and forgot how to live and that’s why we need to find the indicators and patterns that help us realized that we are in a bad situation.

My personal indicators are smoking and writing. People who are close to me know that I have the tendency to obsessively smoke when something bad is happening to me. I tried breaking this awful habit several times but after two, three weeks, maybe even two months of not smoking something stressful happens and I just find myself buying cigarettes and looking like a chimney. As for my writing, when I put down something on paper I always read the whole thing in the end and I can sense the tone in which I wrote it and that is a strong indicator of the way I’m feeling.

Indicators are something like behavior patterns and you need to find them. When you catch yourself doing those things, repeating those patterns find the reason why and try to problem solve with logic the situation in which you are in. Indicators are mostly bad habits like smoking, drinking, binge eating etc.

I know it’s sometimes painful and hard to just get in touch with your emotions, with yourself and admitting that you are in a bad state but it’s necessary in order for you to pull yourself up and get stronger.

I hope this all made sense because I struggled with describing all of this and just find the words. Let me know in the comments what do you think and what are your indicators.