For the last 10 years I've been creating a life based on what my I was told success was.
To get a degree, to own your own home, to work up the corporate ladder and work all hours in order to be respected, go above and beyond and keep working your way up, nothing could not be accomplished. I started working in a national retailer as a cashier at 17, moved to buying admin as soon as I graduated from my business degree. It took me 5 years to get to junior buyer travelling the world sourcing product and spending at least three trips a year out in Hong Kong as well as travelling the world looking at what other retailers were doing, coming back and leading teams to implement all the ideas you'd seen on your travels bringing product to the customers of the UK and seeing them sell was so amazing. It was great job satisfaction. I had everything on my material tick list I wanted, designer shoes, watches, bags, beautiful detached house, the range rover and on my 27th birthday I was celebrating with the team in the Ritz in Hong Kong - I had it all.
I'd always known since being about 8 years old I wanted to be successful and that I needed to prove that I was good enough. Particularly after my mum had told me I'd not be good enough to stand out amongst others when I said I wanted to be a fashion designer and me and my friends wanted to be in a pop band. I needed to lower my ambitions so I wouldn't be disappointed when I didn't make it. That conversation that day, never left me. At 8 years old I had no idea that my mum had just projected her belief of being inadequate on to me, not the literal truth I took it as. I knew I wanted to be good enough, I knew I deserved to be good enough but I was going to have to prove to everyone I was and that's what I did then for the next 26 years but in my subconscious it had planted the seed that I really wasn't. So I needed to make my success and accumulate all the things that would prove it.
On the outside of my buying career I had the perfect life but my health was suffering from the continuous stress and overload and on my diagnosis of under active thyroid I knew things had to change as my body couldn't keep up with a jet set lifestyle I was pushing myself through. I was working all hours, tired, stressed with little time for me but once my mum died. I became driven for 2 reasons, first to prove I was good enough and now I was also burying myself in my work so I didn't have to deal with the fact my mum had passed away and the grief. Nothing prepares you for loosing someone. Its an emotional rollarcoaster that you have to push through in order to come out the other side happier. 5 years on I know that now, because for 5 years I refused to get on the ride. I avoided it until there was nowhere to escape and I had a monumental reminder my mum wasn't here anymore when I had my son. I knew I had to find a way to heal because the pain of it all was unbearable and contributing to my low mood as well as the sheer exhaustion as my son didn't sleep through for the first year. It was then I took time out.
Through that 5 years between now and my mum passing I had my greatest emotional struggles. It made my relationships suffer because I wasn't emotionally processing things the same, I closed myself off without knowing it, I was drinking and eating more because I just wanted to experience any feeling of pleasure and it led to me stopping loving myself which had never been a problem for me before. I was putting off my happiness because I didn't want to experience the upset of missing my mum. After our wedding venue fell through the first time we organised our wedding. I had put off reorganising it because I didn't want to deal with all my emotions on the day. I knew it would still be bitter sweet and I didn't want it to taint the experience of choosing my dress because she wasn't there to see it and then on the day rather than giving her a bouquet of flowers at the reception, I'd be dropping them off at the her grave. I had to heal in order to get on with my life because 5 years on i'd realised I was standing still because of I wasn't facing in to it and I was not born to ever be still.
At first I felt guilty and ashamed for putting off my happiness to avoid hurting hard but I do forgive myself for that now because I had no idea how to process the grief or how to adjust and I've become OK with that. It was something I just had to learn but there isn't a manual to be able to do that and at 28 very few of my peers had the life experience to understand. Which is why I want to create a safe place for people to get the love and support they need, because at one point or another we will all go through some emotional challenge that will rock us to our core and its understanding how to do move through that for your highest good. Its a lot harder trying to figure everything out alone and its about making it more acceptable to talk about your emotional challenges without judgement. I realised I was more likely to end up depressed and anxiety ridden if I just continued to not face in to it or worried what others thought and keep up the facade of being strong. In the same breath there is nothing wrong with having a period of introspection either though. Its what I needed after going at 100mph these last 5 years avoiding everything and I needed to find myself and who I was in the this next chapter of life now I had my son. Mindfulness really helped me to do that and to find the things I enjoyed but was scared what others would think if I started doing again. I had been trying to please everyone else by putting myself last.
I love writing, hence why I've started my blog. I enjoy singing and starting signing lessons as find it a great de-stress. I tapped into my creativity again and that genuinely makes me really happy and fulfilled. This chapter of my life had certainly taught me what feeling fulfilled is. I realised all these material things I was chasing were not adding any fulfilment, they were filling a void I hadn't worked out how to fill myself. when I started my self discovery journey though I had a lot of limiting beliefs and blocks around me being worthy of being happy too, that had come from my childhood. Once I found spirituality and learnt to understand myself I realised I was the one holding myself back, not others. I learnt to tap in to my subconscious because that is where all my limiting belief and patterns were that I was subconsciously playing out every day in all my interactions with others. I've since used techniques to remove the emotional charge around these beliefs and memories so when I approach the day its not coming from a place of fear of what else could go wrong but more of what else could go right?
I also found Reiki and have been using it in my self healing as I recently completed level 1. Reiki is a really powerful and I've found it to be a great tool in my healing journey and really believe that looking after your energy system really plays a vital role in your bodies overall function.
Spirituality has also taught me to concentrating on things that I'm grateful for which is lots because I'm really fortunate to have what I do, given where I've come from as well. It really does start to retrain your mind when you focus on the good at the beginning of the day. Even to a point there I don't sit and read the news first thing in a morning because your first thoughts for day really can set up your whole day so you want to start it with something positive. I try to avoid too much interaction with social media just because its a procrastination minefield and it sets up comparison to others people lives which really isn't healthy. First part of being grateful for what you do have, is not comparing what you don't have. Comparison is the thief of joy. We've planned a house move that gives us a lot more financial freedom so we can make more time to spend as a family, doing things we enjoy and working for myself which has always been a dream of mine.
I'm a firm believer that life is too short to make up reasons not to enjoy it and enjoy those around you as long as they are bringing you happiness. My mum died at 57, if I was her age when my time was up I'd have 24 years left. You really start to treat life differently when that sinks in as it so easy to forget that we are not here forever. We were born to live in happiness and make the world a better place but showing love but it takes a conscious decision to tear down the walls you've built around yourself that stop you from doing that. You have to heal from your past traumas in order to do that because even though you've had bad stuff happen to you. It doesn't mean the world is a bad place.