I used to feel alone almost all the time. Even in public.You know that saying “lonely in a crowd”? That was how I felt. Have you ever felt that when you’re by yourself, you just don’t feel content? Even if you’re an introvert like I am, even though you might like to have your own space, sometimes it can feel lonely. Have you ever been out to dinner with friends, a family gathering or hanging out in the break room at work,
When I was little, I used to hate it when my parents would argue or when my friends didn’t get along. I would take it upon myself to make them feel better, or find a way to try and “fix” the situation. My teachers said I was a “sensitive soul” who often took on other people’s feelings as my own. I kept on doing this throughout my life, and in the beginning it seemed to work for me,
Have you ever really wanted to do something but didn’t follow through or even start? Do you have this feeling that you know you can be and do more than you are? Have you ever felt trapped in the roles that you play throughout life, never feeling as if you are fully expressing yourself, or truly bringing your whole self to the table? I was at a point where I couldn’t help but wonder, what happened to all the things that I was going to be,
Do you ever wish you could just be yourself? Do you feel like you portray yourself differently to the outside world compared to who you are on the inside? Do you feel like you are “false” or “a fraud”?
If you do, you are not alone. I used to believe that certain personality traits were “good” and others were “bad” or just not valuable. As a small child I was emotional, living in my feelings and very vulnerable.
Do you put up emotional walls between yourself and others? Do you find that you automatically push people away if they get too close because you want to protect yourself? Have you ever been in a relationship but you found a way to sabotage it as soon as you started to feel too connected? I did all of those things. Ironically, all I wanted was to have more connected, quality relationships, whether it was with friends,
I used to worry about every little thing, and I filled my brain with so many thoughts that I couldn’t distinguish between what was important and what wasn’t. As a result, decision making was a real challenge and sometimes I would spend so much energy agonising of something as simple as what to order on the menu. Have you ever done this before? Do you struggle to make decisions in your daily life, or feel like you’ve got so much going on in your mind that you don’t know which things have priority over others?
Do you struggle with self-worth or low self esteem? Do you have those moments when it feels like nothing you do seems to matter? Have you ever been caught up in those thoughts that tell you that you’re no good or you’re not good enough? I used to think this way, and those sorts of thoughts just kept going round and round in my head, until I actually start to believe them.
Maybe you notice it most at work,
Are you like I used to be? Do your thoughts seem to constantly be plagued with more negative thoughts than positive ones? Do you find yourself constantly finding fault with everything, and even if you don’t say it out loud, you’re thinking it?
I’m a little embarrassed to say, I used to find fault with everything. If it was a beautiful sunny day, ‘I might get burnt’. If we were going to the beach,
I used to doubt myself all the time. I had a running commentary in my head telling me all the things that I couldn’t do, that I wasn’t good at or that I’d never be good at. Have you ever stopped yourself from trying something because you listened to those doubtful thoughts? I used to let them stop me all the time, until one day someone asked me a question that changed my entire perspective.
Have you ever felt as if other people take you for granted or that whatever you do it’s never good enough? For me, it used to be feeling that I wasn’t worthy or valuable, as if I had nothing of value to contribute to the world. It wasn’t something I noticed immediately, it was a feeling that grew over time. I thought that by always saying yes to people I was helping them out. At work,
Do you sometimes feel as if you’re just cruising through life on autopilot? You get up, go to work, make small talk with your colleagues, come home, eat dinner, sit on the couch and try to switch yourself off as you switch on the TV. Weekends are for sleeping in and catching up with friends but they never seem long enough. A part of you knows there’s more to life, but it’s easier to dream about it than to feel vulnerable facing it in real life right?
Do you know of people who seem to go out all the time or who decide to do something, like learn to surf, get fit, learn Spanish, get a new job, and just go do it. Sometimes we have been hurt and so we put up a protection mechanism to prevent us being hurt again. It’s like there’s a part of you that doesn’t feel safe, feels nervous, and gets worried about things. It can mean it prevents us from going out and experiencing life.
Do you find that you stay at home rather than going out? Do you say to yourself you don’t like people, but maybe the truth is that you’re not sure what to say when you meet someone new, or how to meet new people?
Do you find that you feel shy at times and it can affect other areas of your life, like your career? That you stay in the same job when really you’d love to do something different or would love to try a different role at your workplace,