I’ve recently been going through a period in my life where a lot of change has happened at once. A number of events have occurred, that have caused a great amount of distress and upset and strangely, it is these kind of events that cause the most personal growth. My therapist has a label for these kind of events. They’re called black swans. And before you start picturing Natalie Portman in all her glory, a black swan in psychology means an event of low probability however, has a high impact on the individual concerned. These events are hard to predict and tend to cause a huge interruption in the life of the human being.
The reason why I bring this up, is because the following events all fall into these categories: death of a loved one, break up of a relationship, cheating, a divorce, loss of a job, moving homes, loss of one’s entire social circle. For someone who suffers with anxiety or depression, any of the above can spark off a downward spiral of epic proportions.
In the past 9 months, I have experience four of these events, one after the other. Needless to say, I genuinely feel, I have reached the point of no return, returned and finally reached the kind of rock bottom that you think you’ll never get out of. Luckily for me, I had people that saw it and convinced me that even though I had been rejected on so many fronts of my life, I was still valuable and loved. Yes, this is me talking. Me who is always convincing people that they are special and they shouldn’t give up. I almost gave up. But you know what? I learned the most important lessons of my life by nearly losing who I was completely and forever. I have learned:
1. How to stop constantly apologizing. The people you love will see this quality as you trying to make amends. But there are people who will see it as you being manipulative and trying to make everything okay again. The truth is, apologizing for yourself all the time is exhausting, it drains you, it keeps you in a mire of something being wrong all the time and you being the cause of it. Sometimes things go wrong, and it’s not your fault. And making amends is pointless if it’s not your fault.
2. It’s okay for some people to dislike you, and people WILL dislike you if you are authentic and different. At the end of the day, being loved by all is a fantasy. No one is loved by everyone. As Dita Von Teese says, “You could be the peachiest peach in the world and there will still be someone who hates peaches.” Take this for exactly what it is. You could be the most awesome, kindest, genuine human being but there will still be someone out there who will dislike you for your flaws. And lets face it, we are all extremely flawed.
3. Remember always, no matter how bad it gets, there is always something wonderful on the horizon. No matter how bleak your world gets today, something, something small perhaps has happened to make your life worth living. Even the most terrible day has a ray of sunshine attached to it, no matter what people say. This brings me to the next lesson I learned.
4. Take a moment to be grateful for a few things things everyday.For me, starting a journal where I only listed the good things, the things I am grateful for, the happy memories that have happened to me on a daily basis helped my mental health and capacity to see good in the world greatly. I often revisit my journal and look at all the beautiful things that have happened and never has it failed to bring a smile to my face.
5. Never ever ever give up on yourself. Look, we have all been there. Where things go so terribly wrong, over and over again that you begin to doubt yourself the abilities you were given, where you are rejected by someone or something you love. And giving up is the only option you think you have before you. But always remember this, you have the ability within you to survive ANYTHING. Thats why you are still here, right now. Because you have survived every bad thing that has happened to you so far.Don’t give up yet. There are still beautiful adventures to be had, and wonderful things to be done.