Learn to love yourself?

Today my counsellor has given me homework for the week to start to love myself.

I have to do two things:

1. Look at myself in the mirror and simply smile and see what thoughts come up.

2. Ask my friends to text me with a list of my “good points”.

I’m going to give it a go but just the thought of it makes me feel incredibly anxious and vulnerable.

Who wants to try it with me? Let’s see if we can make a step towards being a friend to ourselves…

This is a photo I took on holiday in. Canada. It was such an amazing day and reminds me of how wonderful the free things in life can be.

The calm after the storm

The past few weeks have been tough. I am working through some issues with my wonderful counsellor and realised a little while ago just how reliant I was on her. It freaked me out! After a lot of sleepless nights and anxiety I managed to build up the courage to tell her. She was amazing.

We have started to work through the issues and I now have a stronger understanding of what has been happening. I have never had love or kindness from my mother and now, 37 years later I am still craving it and clinging on to anyone who shows compassion and kindness to me. I felt silly when she explained it to me but now I realise that it’s something everyone needs as a child and I am not to blame for not being given it.

I hope I can move forward and learn to be a bit kinder to myself. As my counsellor says “you are not rubbish or bad… you are unskilled at the moment and you will learn to develop those skills”

I hope you all find some calm in your day today.

Anxiety – what does it mean

I have problems with anxiety. What that means for me will be different to other people with the same diagnosis.

For me it feels like I have a chain around my feet. I can see where I want to get to and I can take a small step forward but I have a constraint holding me back. My enthusiasm says yes and my fear says no.

I fear having eyes on me. My heart palpitations, shakes and sweaty hands are real and debilitating.

What helps the most? Understanding. People who say “it’s OK to be afraid, but I have faith in you anyway”.

Be kind to people always. Everyone has their own battle – it doesn’t make them any less of a person. Maybe your kindness will help more more person to get off the off the big wheel and stop a lifetime cycle of unhappiness. There’s a lot of power in kindness.

Mindfulness

I am trying to incorporate mindfulness into my daily life and have realised how beneficial it can be.

I’m on a quest to improve my photography skills and learn to take good night shots. I realised after I took these photos how completely focused my mind was…. On steadying the camera, on trying to get the best composition I could (which for a complete beginner takes time!!) and on reviewing, retrying and improving.

Two hours went by in a flash and my usual chaotic mind was calm and happy.

What a blessing mindfulness can be. How will you incorporate a bit of mindfulness into your life?

Can big be beautiful?

A question pondered the world over. Can big be beautiful? Some say yes but the language used by a lot of people implies not.

I’m a big person. I haven’t always been so but a combination of anti-depressant side effects, comfort eating and just plain old liking food has led me to this point.

“You do have a beautiful face though”. Though?! Is that a compliment?! Why not just say “don’t worry, you may have a hideous body but all is not lost because you don’t have a face to match the hideousness”.

Would I ever say to someone Slim “you do have a beautiful body though” as if to say her slim torso is compensation for an unfortunate face. No.

I may not be typically pretty and beautiful but I am me and my body has got me through a lot of good and bad times and for that I love it. Please keep your opinions to yourself.

Can you unlearn racism and homophobia?

I’m going to talk about the controversial topics of racism and homophobia. It’s something that has created tension and bad feelings between myself and my mum and something that has, in the end, left me pondering and confused. Is my mum a product of the environment she grew up in? Is she unable to change? Or am I looking for excuses.

My mum is 72. Our relationship is difficult – if I think the world is round, she is convinced it is square, black is white and right is wrong. And top of our disagreements comes the topic of immigration.

“We have been so kind to them, letting them into our country and giving them benefits” announces my mum. Taking a (very) deep breath I try to keep my composure as I question her views and references to “them and us”, why she feels she has more right to the UK than “them”, why she refers to beautiful amazing people as “them” and why there is no happiness or desire to learn from people who have grown up in different countries, had different experiences and helped to make the UK amazing. She has no answers other than that she knew she was happier when “life was simpler” in a time when she was younger and the UK was “more british”.

At that time, there was more racism. Her childhood and brain was formed in an age where white people had more privileges, where non British people were in the minority, and the movement of people that we see today was simply non-existent. Were those feelings and thoughts internalised for the rest of her life?

A very good friend created further food for thought for me. She is Muslim and has grown up in a religious family. Once, during a very honest conversation she opened up to me on her thoughts on gay relationships. She said she felt very awkward and embarrassed to admit it, but felt weird when she saw same sex couples and instinctly had the feeling it was wrong. She explained that she had argued with herself many times over this – her head said gay people were doing no wrong and hurting no-one, but her heart felt otherwise. In her words “how do I change a feeling or thought when I’ve been told throughout my whole life through my religion that being gay is wrong”

Are the scenarios linked? Is it wrong to blame and be angry with someone for having a belief if they were told throughout their whole childhood that it was true. And can people force themselves to change if they have internalised a feeling that the opposite is true?

Can we break away from the comfort zone and allow our minds to wander free as in the photo?

I don’t know the answer but it does make me think and wonder.

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

I am a 37 year old woman, lady, girl, person… full of thoughts and with a head sometimes feeling like it might explode. Do my thoughts and questions have answers? That is why I am here. I want to get some part of the inside of my head out into the public and see what happens. Will I be laughed at? Will I be understood? Will there be a mixture of criticism and acceptance, understanding and confusion? There’s only one was to find out, and the answer fills me with wonder and excitement.

I have mental health problems. I have been in and out of counselling for a number of years and through periods of good and bad. I’m seeing a wonderful counsellor right now and through talking to her, a Pandora’s box of ideas and creativity has come out. Please join me on my journey to seek answers to the confusion in my head and to look at the world with new wonder, confusion and above all, excitement!

I am not a natural blogger. I am an actuary. For those that don’t know what that is, think grey suits, maths and seriousness. One of my aims is to bring more personality and vigour into this world. To show the mathematical financial sector that creativity and maths can be friends – opposites do attract sometimes and change can be amazing.

The photo makes me smile. I saw them chatting and it reminded me that everyone needs a friend and a kind word from someone close can change your world.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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