Who do you think you are?

happiness“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Are you happy being ‘you’? Do you have confidence in yourself and your abilities? Or have you become your own worst enemy by believing what others have labelled you?  So that instead of living your life as you the person you were meant to be, you are simply a reflection of someone else. If so, it’s time to find out who you really are.

I’ve always had difficulties with my identity. Being abandoned by my mum as an infant left me growing up with extreme insecurities about being unloved and unwanted. It changed how I perceived myself and the thought that I was worthless was reinforced by growing up with an abusing father. My dad defined me in terms that reflected his misogynistic attitudes,which as a child I accepted as truth. There was no-one else to tell me otherwise.

“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.” ~ Maya Angelou

It’s wasn’t simply the amount of derogatory traits that were attributed to me that caused the damage, it was the lack of anything positive or encouraging. The result was that for many years I really didn’t have a clue what I was supposed to say or do. I didn’t know what I liked or didn’t like. I didn’t know what I wanted out of life. Because I didn’t know who I was.

All that I knew was that I didn’t want to be me. I wanted to be someone else. The onset of depression in my younger years held me trapped in the view that I was never going to be pretty enough, thin enough, clever enough, confident enough. I was never going to be good enough for anything or anyone.  I lacked so much, yet everyone else seem to have what I desired.

So to numb the pain of the disappointment in being me and to help to manage the idea of being me for the rest of my life, I turned to alcohol. And for a while it worked. It gave me the confidence to be indifferent to my failings and took away my fears for the future.

Unfortunately, self-medicating led to addiction and over time the depression and alcoholism took over my life.Together with my lack of self-love I existed through others and allowed relationships to continue to define me. All to my detriment.

“True happiness is living life authentically.”                                                   ~ The Hurt Healer.

Perhaps you have also allowed past events to define you, or perhaps you used to feel you knew who you were but somehow your sense of self has disappeared over time? You can take on so many roles which meet the needs of others that your true identity is overwhelmed, leaving you mourning the loss of who you used to be,whilst your dreams and hopes have been abandoned.  Whatever your circumstances, maybe it is time to give the real you a chance to shine.

The turning point for me was a complete physical and mental breakdown. I could no longer go on existing as a product of my past. Enough of the fake smiles that covered the heartbreak. Enough of the false mask of confidence that hid the fear. Enough of the pretense. Enough of the uncertainty.  I had had enough of it all.

It was time to reclaim my life and find out who I really was. It was time to listen to my inner voice, nurture the child within and allow my authentic self to emerge. And in doing so I found out that I was everything I thought I wasn’t and a little bit more.

Refusing to enable my past to have power over my present, I was able to allow the real me to emerge. Initially the fears of who I had become revealed my rawness and vulnerability,, but over time my confidence and self-worth grew. No longer was I controlled by others.  No longer did I compare myself to others. After all the years of believing otherwise, I was okay being me.

“I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:14

fearlessWith faith as my guide, I allowed my mind to explore, my heart to love and my soul to bloom. Faith taught me too that I am valuable and precious. And that even my failures have a purpose. My weaknesses have become my strengths and my imperfections have become my uniqueness.

Something I could never have conceived in those dark days was that I was ‘fearfully and wonderfully made.’ But to today I think am.

What about you? Who do you think you are?

Shooting for the moon.

moon-tree-stars“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you will land among stars.” Les Brown.

Who doesn’t want to shoot for the moon? To aim for something spectacular in life? To feel that life can be filled with infinite possibilities? I hope that you do.

Or is your belief that shooting for the moon is only for those who are special in some way? And you’re not good enough? Well, it’s not and you are.

When I was reminded of this quote this week, it made me smile. It’s clichéd and twee but with the right frame of mind it’s uplifting and fun. I say in the right frame of mind because I know that in the past I would have looked at it and thought that there was no point in me shooting for the moon, because there was no prospect of success. And there was no chance of my landing in the stars. Much more likely I would fall down a black hole and spiral further into my depressed and alcoholic oblivion.

“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.” ~ Oscar Wilde.

A childhood of being repeatedly reminded that I was worthless, ugly, fat and inadequate in every way, laid the foundation of an adult who became a self-fulfilling prophesy. I never believed in myself and couldn’t imagine anything good happening in my life.

There was no point having dreams because they would be crushed. There was no point having goals because they would never be achieved. There was no point planning for accomplishments because I was a failure. There was no point looking for love because I was unlovable.

It was hard to break out of that victim mentality. It took some radical rethinking and a strong will to change my life, but slowly I was able to overcome the negativity in my past and start to view my future with renewed optimism.

I remember a counsellor who having listened to my woes of my abandoning mother and abusing father as my justification for my emotional and physical wreckage, looked me straight in the eye and asked, ‘What makes you different?’ Essentially what she was saying was that we all have difficulties no matter who we are and we all have a choice as to how to deal with them. She was right. I was no different to anyone else.

Life is tough for everyone at different times and at different levels. Your response to challenges is what sets you apart. You don’t  have to beat yourself up when things don’t go to plan. You don’t have to give up because the moon is further away than you thought and it is harder to reach than you ever imagined.

Instead you can determine to enjoy the ride bumps and all. And you can use the hardships and heartaches as platforms for learning and growing.Keep your moon in sight and at the same time look around and find some stars to use as stepping-stones to your destination. Remember that a breakdown can be the experience that broke you or helped you break through.

“I’m not where I need to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be. I’m OK, and I’m on my way!”  ~ Joyce Meyer.

My mindset used to come from a combination of never feeling good enough with comparing myself to others whose lives seemed perfect. If that rings a bell with you, let me give you some advice. Give yourself a break. Affirm with yourself that It’s okay not to be perfect. It’s okay to make mistakes.

As long as you are accountable, honest, realistic and genuine in making amends, it is possible to begin again free from shame and regret. Forgive yourself and celebrate the fact that you are a work in progress. You can change but the moon doesn’t have to. It will still be there to guide and inspire you.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.” ~  1 Corinthians 2:9

For me though, passion and purpose are meaningless unless I have faith. Faith not only reassures me but fills me with expectations of what can be achieved. With the belief that the possibilities are endless and the impossible can be made possible, life becomes a journey filled with aspirations and hope .

Whatever your spiritual convictions, dare to dream that there is something greater than you wanting the best for you. Use your intuition to find and follow your heart’s desires. Reach into your unconscious and become consciously inspired.

“Yesterday is but today’s memory, and tomorrow is today’s dream.” ~ Khalil Gibran

file0001409747445No one knows what tomorrow will bring. But I do know that  I want to be a better person tomorrow than I was today. I don’t want to exist. I want to live. I don’t want to survive. I want to thrive.

I want today to be as good as it can be and for tomorrow to be even better. I want to shoot for the moon, for the stars and for everything else that there is out in the universe. Anyone want to join me?

Thank you to Paul at Message in a Bottle whose post http://messageinabottleblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/sainthood-scrupulousness-and-the-emerging-case-of-the-now-whats/ inspired me for this post.