How To Turn Anxiety and Vulnerability into Appreciation and Self-Love

Photo by JR Korpa on Unsplash

There are many of us going through difficult times at the moment. Or is it just me? Things seem to fall apart at the seams. I am facing a major transition period in my working career and it is scary. I’m not sure if I’m making the right decision. I’m not sure if a year from now I will regret it.

All I want is for this period of uncertainty to end.

There seems to be no end in this diabolical situation. It feels like I’ve been stuck here forever, although I’ve only really felt it over the last few months.

When you are going through a difficult situation, what do you do? How does one cope? How do you pretend that everything is normal, even though you are filled with anxiety and all you want to do is stay in bed and watch Netflix all day.

It’s hard. It’s hard to explain to somebody when they are not in it. Nobody understands. They don’t get it. And if they can just stop asking if everything’s ok. It’s not! Not today, not ever!
You know people on anti-depressants and think that maybe it’s time to get that prescription. Numb the pain. Don’t feel anything. Walk around like a zombie.

One day, not too long ago I went to visit my grandfather. He is born in 1921. He is 98 years old. My grandfather grew up on a farm in Namibia and he’s never left it. Perhaps to go to primary school in the town but that’s it. He is less agile now as he has aged, has some trouble with his joints and had to have surgery to his eyes to take out cataracts, but other than that he is still a spring chicken.

I am always humbled to be in his presence. He doesn’t have a care in the world. He gets up at sunrise, works the land and the livestock, comes back in the afternoon and rest. He lacks nothing because he does not know what much feels like. He never had much.

To be so content and so free of worry at such an advanced age is something that we folks can learn from. 
We worry about everything. There is so much anxiety. The pent-up emotions that we walk around with are enough to drive anyone into a straight jacket.

Photo by matthew Feeney on Unsplash

Let us stop and think for a minute. If we think we have it bad with the lights on and watching an iPhone 11 screen, you better think again. Put things into perspective. Take time to re-evaluate where you are in life and appreciate everything you’ve got.

That job you hate going to go to every day, well someone would give their left pinky to have that. Because if you have to decide between a shitty job and to eat, what are you going to choose? Look around you, take stock. Sit down, make a note of everything you are grateful for. Stick it on your wall. Rewrite it every day.

While you are going through this tough time, draw nearer to yourself. Spend time alone. Reflect. Read. Stop all frivolous activities. It will just make you feel more empty.

Become deeply aware of your situation and with the knowledge that no situation is permanent. This, too, shall pass. Become intensely aware of who you are and how far you’ve come.

Don’t rush the healing. It will come. When the time is right. And when it’s all over, you will realise just how much you have grown and matured.

With pressure, diamonds are formed. 

You are one of them. 

A diamond in the making.

Sub two-hour marathon — Eliud Kipchoge Did It!

What is your excuse? Not to run a 2-hour marathon, but to slowly, consistently and intentionally change the course of your life.

Picture courtesy of @INEOS159

We didn’t think we’d see it in our lifetime, but it was done, on Saturday. Eliud Kipchoge did it. I don’t even know how it feels to win a marathon in double that amount of time. I watched the full race on television and all I can say is that we humans, we underestimate ourselves.

We start something and if it just looks like we are about to break a sweat, we give up. It is unbelievable what one man could do. He tried it 2 years ago and failed. But that didn’t stop him. He got back on to the track and trained and geared himself up for the next time.

What do we do when we fail? We throw in the towel. Any inkling of self-worth goes right down as well. You think to yourself, I will never amount to anything.

Let me stop you right there. Others, with less talent, is outworking you right this minute. Stop with the excuses, just stop! You’re not the only one going through a tough time. In fact, you have not seen any kind of tough. It’s in your mind. Snap out of it. Now!

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” — J. K. Rowling

Eliud didn’t stop 2 years ago. We are not going to stop today. No matter how tough it feels. You are tougher than that. Eliud proved it. You are not your failures, you are not your excuses.

Picture courtesy of @INEOS159

When you’ve had a good cry, dry off your tears and let’s go. You owe it to yourself. You owe it to the people cheering for you. Eliud had 41 pacemakers. 41 hearts were beating along with his. They are world-class athletes, they could have done anything else with their time. But they decided to be by his side, to be a part of history in the making.

Sometimes, you must look at the bigger picture. If you don’t bring your part today, will someone notice? Will they ask you if something’s wrong. You don’t seem yourself today.

If you have just one such person, you owe it to yourself and them to not give up. So many others are silently watching, wanting you to succeed.

It’s not too late. Take a few deep breaths and tell yourself that whatever curveball you’ve hit, is just a slight side-step, but it’s not going to stop you.

You are not going to give up. It’s all part of the journey. One day you will look back and smile because you’ve tried.

“Those who complete the course will do so only because they do not, as fatigue sets in, convince themselves that the road ahead is still too long, the inclines too steep, the loneliness impossible to bear and the prize itself of doubtful value.”
 ― Thabo Mbeki

Picture courtesy of @INEOS159

Great Expectations

Whose path are you on?

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I was at a family friend’s baby shower today. Little baby Joel is expected to arrive in no less than 9 weeks. As all mothers know the last few weeks become the source of great excitement, anxious awaiting, boundless expectation until the final day arrives. It’s a beautiful experience.

As we journey through life, other events happen that bring about the same experience. Working on a project for a long time and finally seeing the fruits and reward. Starting a business from scratch and eagerly awaiting the time when the first check is in the mail.

We have 2 peach trees in our garden and last year the harvest was rotten. A fungus got into the trees very early which we were unable to detect until the peaches were ready to be harvested. In fact, they looked ripe and ready to eat from the outside, but the inside was rotten.

The blossoms are just coming out and this year we prepared the trees and sprayed them with pesticide and pruned them early. We are anticipating a better harvest this year.

Ready for peaches?

Whatever we are busy with, we don’t always know the outcome. We have an expectation of one thing, to be successful. To do well in college and get a good job. To be in a relationship with a wonderful guy or girl and hoping that it will eventually end in marriage. Taking on extra tasks at work in the hope of being the next one to be promoted.

However, the outcome is never guaranteed. Life happens. Things change. How do you cope when suddenly you realise that this path is not for you? How do you tell other people, that the relationship is not working for you any more? That the project you’ve been working on for 6 months does not serve your higher purpose anymore.

This is perhaps most painful in the breakdown of a marriage. One person says I’m sorry it’s not for me anymore. This is not how I want to live my life.

The growth in a person occurs at different stages and it could be exponential in some and minute, barely visible in others at a specific point in time. This brings about a shift in dynamics in the workplace, in relationships, with your family.

Not everyone is ready for the growth and this new person.

Some people would prefer that you stay the way you are, the way they’ve known you. Why are you trying to complicate things? Do you think you are smarter than us now?

The shift is difficult, more so for the person at the centre of it, you. It is the metamorphosis that is so necessary for you to reach your full potential and become who you truly are meant to be. This may mean losing friends, partners and work colleagues along the way. Don’t fear, you are making space for other people to come into your life who will bring value at a different level. At the level you are now.

We are all creatures of habits and would prefer that things stay the same. Don’t rock the boat. A lot of people walk around with great pain inside them because it’s easier to pretend that things are ok, that you are still the same.

Only you know the hurt and the longing and sadness that come in the small of the night. In the morning you wrap that all up and put it aside because the world is expecting the version of you that they are used to.

If you are lucky, the day will come when the risk to remain tight in a bud is more painful than the risk it takes to blossom.

Upon this journey people will come and go, some will walk a part of the way with you, some will divert early, but the ones that stay with you till the end are the ones to be cherished.

Good luck with your journey.