I know that people stay in relationships that are not working anymore, because once upon a time, they said “I promise” or “I do”, and they daren’t go back on their word.
I know that people sit behind desks everyday, underneath harsh fluorescent office strip-lighting, hating every moment of their working day, all because they stick at things and don’t give up, even when the going gets tough.
I know that people let other people use their bodies in ways they don’t want them to, because they once said they’d give it a go and now don’t want to seem boring or frigid.
I know that people find themselves saying sorry all the time—apologising for unnecessary things—even when they don’t mean it, because that’s what they’ve always done, you know, apologising for taking up space and people’s time.
I know that people spend Christmas or other celebrations with their families, when they don’t actually want to, because that’s the way it’s always been and they don’t dare interrupt the unspoken and secretive years of family tradition and “This is the way we do it in our family.”
I know that people do the same thing everyday, from the moment they get up, to the moment they go to bed—even though they’re bored out of their fucking skull—because “This is the way I do things, this is the way it’s always been.”
I know that people go to things; parties, holidays, hen weekends, school reunions—even when they don’t want to and would rather be at home, in bed, reading a really good book—because they daren’t be the one who doesn’t turn up.
I know that people, even though they’re now an adult, still eat everything on their plate, despite feeling stuffed, because “Waste not, want not!”
I know that people drag themselves to business meetings, airports departure gates and lunches, full of a cold or other illness, because they don’t like to cancel on people and let them down.
Do you know what else I know?
The only people we’re really letting down are OURSELVES.
Each time we push on through, each time we resolve to finish what we started, each time we stick it out, despite struggling or crying or dying inside, each time we suit up and get on with it, we’re sending ourselves—and the rest of the world a message—that we’re just not that important. That our needs come last. That what we feel and think doesn’t matter as much as the feelings and needs of those around us.
I ignored myself driving to the supermarket yesterday, drinking that coffee, even though it was making me feel ill, and, fuck, we are a culture of people ignoring ourselves by numbing out, stuffing our feelings down, pretending things don’t matter, pretending that we don’t matter.
This kind of behaviour has to stop. Starting with me.
Because I fucking matter.
And you, YOU, human being with a beautiful beating heart reading this, you also really, really, really matter.
Ok, here’s some suggestions of what you (and I) can do about this:
1. Pay attention to what you say to yourself on a daily basis. Notice if you’re saying things like, “WHY are you so tired? Jeez, you had 8 hours sleep last night, what’s wrong with you?” We are not machines. We are humans. And somedays, we’re so fucking tired and the world feels like it’s not going to ever let up, and other days life feels easy-breezy and amazing, despite only having 3 hours sleep.
2. Say no more. Politely decline invitations to things you do not want to go to without giving a Politzer Prize essay on why you’re not going to be there. People appreciate straight-up and simple responses. Also: There’s a difference between being an all-out flake and respecting your own time, needs and energy. But you already know this.
3. If you’re not enjoying it; the book, the sex, the night out, the wine, the meal in front of you, STOP. You do not need to finish up. Nothing good will come from forcing yourself.
4. If you’re deeply unhappy or bored or feeling shit about something, change it. In some way. Any way. Make a move. Change is fuelled by momentum, so get moving, either physically, emotionally or both. Just one small step is all it takes to get the wheels in motion.
5. If you are reading a book and you find yourself re-reading the same paragraph, this means that you are either too tired to read or the book is boring. Either way, put the book down and go to bed, or find another book to read. Time is precious. Don’t waste it reading words that are not captivating, interesting and soul-stirring. You can also replace “reading words” with “spending time with people”.
6. Be truthful without hurting people. If a friendship that used to be light and connected now feels heavy and disconnected, perhaps it’s time to gracefully bring it to a close. Remember what I wrote about squashing slugs and snails? Intention is everything. We all have a responsibility to choose THE ENERGY around how and what we say to others. There’s a difference between intentionally hurting someone with your words and unintentionally hurting someone with your words.
7. Throw. Get rid. Chuck out: The out-of-date jar of jam lingering in the back of your fridge. The odd socks that you still, even after 6 months of hoping and endless searching, haven’t found their pairs. The clothes in your wardrobe that you haven’t worn in over a year and don’t fit into/like/want to wear anymore.
8. Quit. Stop. Give up. Back down. Just because you started, does not mean you have to finish. Again, time is precious. Choose how you spend it. If something (a goal, a dream, a project, a creative idea) has become immensely pressurised, boring, deadening, you feel trapped or your adrenal system is out of whack (signs are: fatigue, getting ill all the time, feeling stressed and wired), call it a day. It’s ok to change your mind. To wave your white flag. To turn your back. Even when you’ve worked your ass off to get to that that point. The important thing is that you fucking dared to give it a go. That you put yourself out there. That you had the courage to start. Setting goals and following dreams doesn’t always mean achieving the exact thing you set out to do.
Chuck the coffee out of the fucking car window if you don’t feel good drinking it.
I now have just two coaching spaces available, starting in August. Click one of the buttons below to book a free, 40-minute session via Skype. This way we can get to know each other and decide if coaching is a good fit. You can ask all the questions you want and get a feel for what coaching with me is like. If you’re not actually interesting in working with me though, and just want a free session, don’t click a button. It’s bad juju, yo.
By the way, if, at the end of your free 40-minute session, I’m not the coach for you, there’s no strings attached, we simply say our goodbyes and that’s it—no drama. (I won’t send any cringe-worthy, sales emails afterwards either, and that’s a promise).
ps: If you want to find out what this coaching lark is all about, head on over here to read more.