I know that life isn’t meant to be easy, but I really used to struggle every day. I’d struggle to get out of bed every morning or go to work in a job I didn’t enjoy. I was shy and found it hard to meet new people. I wanted to be dating, but that was just too much to handle.
Once in a blue moon I’d get the courage to go on a date, but it always felt like I was pushing myself just to show up. I’d fantasize and imagine a life where things were easy. Where I had the perfect relationship, kids, house, amazing and fulfilling job and friends & family I laughed with and cherished.
When I realised that my closest relationship was with my couch and the TV remote, I knew that something had to change. Surely life wasn’t meant to be this tough? It was as if the only emotions I was feeling were sadness, frustration, fear, loneliness and hurt. Sure, I felt happy sometimes but when I laughed or thought I was happy, it would disappear as quickly as it appeared. I was over it. I knew I didn’t want to live this way any longer.
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Have you ever felt this way too?
Is it possible that you could be experiencing some other hardships in your life? It could be within your relationship with your partner, or maybe there’s something going on with your friends and family. Perhaps you’ve noticed that you’ve become more complacent and a need for change starts to build inside of you, a desire for something different. Sometimes we can become comfortable in our environment and it feels good for a time, but other times we get too comfortable and the desire for change kicks in.
When you feel like you need a change, sometimes it can feel automatic to react or to just change anything so that you can feel like you are doing something. But just doing something, isn’t always the answer is it? Sometimes it’s about focusing in on what specifically to change, and knowing which changes will be the key to making a real difference for you.
It might help to know where the desire to change comes from. It’s not usually as easy as changing jobs or moving house, getting new friends or new partner. Any of these may feel good for a short while but unless we make changes within ourselves, we might find these old patterns of behaviour repeating themselves until we decide to focus inward.
How do I know WHAT to change?
An old pattern that I used to do was that I’d stay in a job for a couple of years and then start looking for something else. The next job wasn’t much better than the original job it was just different. I’d tell myself that it was a better opportunity but it really wasn’t.
Other patterns of behaviour that I used to do, in order to avoid or change my feelings, would be to eat “comfort” foods whenever I felt sad, or to drink coffee when I wanted to feel more enthusiastic and energetic. I’d seek out certain groups of people when I wanted to feel loved or appreciated.
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I started noticing that I was running away from uncomfortable emotions like feeling bored, sad, lonely or unloved. I realised these pattern had less to do with the job or food I was eating, or the people I was hanging out with, than it had to do with how I was feeling.
I was using external things like people, job, food, coffee to avoid or try to change my feelings and emotions. It was then that I knew I had to look deeper and start to work longer term solutions to my patterns.
How to stop doing what’s no longer working
In the beginning I didn’t know what to do. Then I started to notice that everything wasn’t always bad and that even when things got tough, there were little win’s throughout the day.
I used to focus on all the things that were not working and almost ignore the things that were. It was as if I didn’t even see the good things! As soon as I realised this, I started to focus more on the positive things in my life. How did I do this?
It took some effort to start with, but I would set an alarm 3 times a day and each time the alarm went I would write down one win. Just one thing, no matter how tiny or large, just one thing that had been good. It was difficult to start with. Sometimes the things I wrote down were simple.
I’d write that the person serving me coffee had smiled in a caring way, or that I had remembered to call a friend and that I had gone for a walk and enjoyed the feel of the early morning breeze. They didn’t have to be monumental things to start with just anything I could feel good about.
Start small to win big
Over time, I noticed that I was writing more than just one thing down. I was even smiling and looking forward to making my appreciation notes during the day. Sometimes I didn’t even wait for the alarm and I’d write something down as it happened, which felt great. I was starting to find so many more positive things to notice. If I pressed the snooze button one time less than the morning before, then I and wrote that down!
What people are saying about Emotion Academy:
"After many years of training, courses, and counselling in various forms I thought I had certain aspects of my life sorted. Yet completing Emotion Academy showed me that I had been running away from my emotions and not facing them. After Emotion Academy, now I have the tools to engage with myself and win the internal battles once and for all - Neil Welsh, Victoria
After a few days, and then a week and a month passed, I was noticing more and more things that I could enjoy. It was like a snowball growing steadily as it rolled. I could feel my awareness was shifting from only noticing the things that were not working to also noticing the things that were working in my life. My days were starting to feel like less of a struggle.
Sharing your experiences
There are some people who keep their feelings to themselves especially when they are going through something. Some people want to solve their problems themselves. I get it, I was the same. When things got tough, I didn’t want to be a burden to my friends or family so I would keep my feelings to myself.
Sometimes I just didn’t know yet how to explain what was bothering me and I didn’t want people to think that I was complaining all the time. Maybe you can relate? Or perhaps you have people that you’re comfortable to talk to. Either way, it can be good to get a different perspective from time to time.
When things are not going your way, perhaps find someone who has been there before and ask what they did. Share your thoughts or feelings with another person or write it down. The act of talking it out or writing down the problems that you are facing can help you to discover a different take on it and create room to grow.
I know that when I started to share more with others, it enabled me to consider a different solution and figure out my next step so that I didn’t feel so stuck. When we share with another person it can feel less lonely and even if they haven’t faced what you are facing, then perhaps it can be enough to know that they too, are probably facing problems themselves.
How to keep going
When you are hit with any kind of hardships, it can be hard to know which type of emotions will surface. To get through these times, it is very important to accept the truth of things as they are in these moments. Both in terms of the facts about what is happening in the world around you and the circumstances you might be in, and also in terms of your thoughts, feelings and beliefs surrounding those things.
Melisa Grigg - Head Coach & Trainer
Melisa was stuck in sadness for 15 years, hated her job, was overweight and her relationship had just ended. Melisa inspires people with her story and now teaches how she sorted her life out. She worked out how to be happy and how to lose over 30kg of body weight. In simple steps she teaches how you can stop procrastinating, find confidence, stop being so sad and finally start to find true meaning and purpose in your life.
Life will throw curve balls along the way. It’s a never-ending cycle of joyous moments and times that aren’t so great. Of course, we are all capable to get back up every time life kicks us to the ground, but there are times when it really hurts to be in a situation that you feel you have no control of.
Sometimes in those situations you might find yourself in a place of having to make decisions or accept choices that seem completely unfair to you. No matter what tough issues you are currently facing now, it’s all about getting back up and moving forward. That’s what counts the most when you need to deal with hardship.
What helped me to get back up and keep moving forward, was exploring the things that re-charged me! It sounds really simple, and it really is. For some people this can be tricky to start with, but once you brainstorm a few ideas, and give them a go, you’re bound to find something that works for you.
Find a song that uplifts you, an activity that brings you joy or feels good, like going for a walk, watching a movie, reading and catching up with friends. Do something to reset so that you can face the problem with fresh eyes and a different perspective, which will help you to take the next baby step forwards.
Notice I said baby step? I really mean it! It’s about taking small, manageable steps forward in the direction you want to go. This can be as simple as putting in the energy and effort to notice more positive things in your day, or to see more of the little changes for the better and celebrate them!
Once I was doing these baby steps more and more often, everyday became less and less hard. The more baby steps I was able to do, the more I began to actually look forward to each day. There were still things that didn’t go the way I might have liked, but they were balanced by noticing some of the things that were going well.
Even if your steps are really tiny to start, and the changes you’re noticing seem to be tiny too, just keep going! Keep growing and keep noticing and celebrating the little things whenever possible because as long as you’re moving in a positive direction, you’re making progress. Over time you will be able to look back and see how far you’ve come. Where can you see yourself then?
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