“You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
― Roy T. Bennett
Today my blog turns ONE!
What better way to celebrate than to sit in my favourite coffee shop (where I wrote most of my blogs) and write a new post.
The only thing is, I don’t have an idea of what to write about today. But it feels right, so let’s go.
Helping One Person
I still have the first letter a client gave me when I was 23, working in a prison and delivering interventions for substance misuse. It was a letter detailing how much I had helped this person and the difference it would make to their life. I decided at that moment, whenever work gets hard, I lose motivation and self-doubt takes over, I will remind myself of this letter.
Sometimes I question why I do what I do, and I don’t mean the helping people. That bit is obvious. I mean the personal parts, when I put personal information on this blog or on social media. I wonder, is there any way of doing this without me sharing my own stories or vulnerabilities?
I have concerns of sharing too much when I haven’t processed what is going on myself.
I worry my best friends will hear something about me they didn’t even know… I don’t want them to hear that on social media, do I?
I dread an old friend, family member or ex being offended by my experience with them.
It’s a weird thing now, when a guy asks how I spend my spare time or for my Instagram (so 2019)… I know that within seconds this person will get an insight into my life, my past and who I am, and that scares me. Not that they will run, but that they learn things about me before I am ready to share.
But then, something happens. I’m in the midst of my vulnerability hangover (Props to Melissa Ambrosoni for the perfect phrase) when someone reaches out and tells me how I just helped them; in a matter seconds, I get the same feeling as when I was given that letter. If my vulnerabilities, mistakes, challenges and wins, can help one person, then my job is done. Cliché? Yes. True? Yes.
I’m not saying you must make it your life mission to help others. But look around you, how are you helping people already?
Rather than get lost in your past or hide who you are, why not use it for good? Learn from it. Pass it on to friends, family, strangers.
You don’t have to post it publicly, but allow yourself to feel vulnerable and have vulnerable conversations. Rarely, when clients tell me they finally opened up to someone else, do they report wishing they hadn’t. Instead they tell me they are met with acceptance, understanding and reassurance that they are not alone.
Helping Yourself (Myself)
Writing about personal development has forced me to look at myself, dig deep and get really honest. I would be doing it anyway, but the blog has given me an extra push. If you have been following me, you will know already that I am not claiming I’m perfect or got this stuff down, I just happen to be sharing my journey too. Plus, I am just a little bit obsessed with happiness, romance and all the selves (love, compassion, worth, esteem). That bit I can’t explain; it just comes from my core.
I am careful of talking about purposes and passions, because I don’t think everyone cares for them or knows their own. But for whatever reason, this feels like mine. To help you create the life you want and deserve, with a side of self-love.
Writing about my patterns of unhealthy relationships has given me an insight into myself I didn’t expect. I’m on this journey too right alongside you.
If you are serious about change, the power is in your hands. But you must be willing to feel uncomfortable and get outside of your comfort zone. The unknown can be scary, but amazing!
Starting this blog was so far out of my comfort zone. It went against everything my inner critic tells me daily. That I’m not creative enough or good enough. But I did it anyway. And you know what happened when I did it? Well. Not much. I did it, I celebrated, it felt good, and I set a new goal.
You see that’s what happens, you overthink it, you worry about what people will think and you doubt yourself. When all is said and done, it’s just thoughts holding you back. Even if someone else does care what you are doing, it’s still your thoughts about that opinion that gets in the way.
The other area, that my blog has helped me with is…relationships!!
How I have grown in the world of dating has been insane. It’s been 8 months since I last fell for a Mr Unavailable. To you that might not sound like long, but for me, it’s a huge achievement. It means change has happened. There might be room for another fall, I don’t know. But these 8 months of pure happiness on my own has been my greatest lesson and I can’t ever imagine looking back on this time and regretting it.
One year ago, when I talked about being happy and single, a tiny part of me thought I was lying. But surely, people who said they had experienced it weren’t lying?
About four months ago, I had the moment. I realised; I don’t want to go back. I don’t want to go back to being in comfortable relationships or trying to convince someone to give me their time. If I can be this happy alone, then why would I ever settle again? So, as you have probably heard me say before, I’m going in for magic. Magic doesn’t happen often, so in the meantime, let’s keep growing.
Before I end this random blog, there is another part of me that needs to be mentioned. Blogging about the topics I do, means a lot of self-reflection happens over a Saturday morning soya latte. I have learned, there is a whole part of my life I hide. Whilst I am not at the stage of sharing it yet, I am at the stage of owning it and thinking about it myself. My childhood. Writing about my relationships, thought patterns and experiences makes me reflect. I understand why I have the patterns I do. And I know there is a whole group of people waiting for me to be ready, so we can continue to overcome life’s challenges together and let go of childhoods that we can’t change. One year on, I’m ready to mention another piece of the puzzle. Let’s see where we are in one-year time.
If I can leave this blog today, reminding you of one thing; it’s that you deserve to be happy. Happiness is something you can create, even in the most subtle ways. I know, all too well that when life’s circumstances are sh*t, it’s hard to imagine. So, if you are in that situation, and you feel stuck, please know you are enough, and life can change. You are not alone, even if it feels like it. Reach out if you need to, even for an informal chat.
Carly Ann xx