One of the most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting. Fact. But how do you keep going when the whole universe is up against you? How do you cope with your own emotions and badly placed expectations?
To the outside world, it might seem I have it all. I have a good job, a house, a beautiful, but a blind dog, a life partner, a wardrobe full of clothes, a car. I am bilingual, outspoken and funny. I don’t drink, I don’t take any drugs, I don’t party hard. I am, which I am the most grateful for, healthy. I eat quite a lot, and somehow miraculously don’t pull on pounds too much. I live in the most vibrant city in the world and according to my social media accounts, I do have quite a lot of friends. Yet my life is far from being perfect. I often hear that my problems aren’t real problems, because I don’t have kids, am not terminally ill or/and I don’t struggle financially. What’s the truth then?
Being someone who suffers from severe anxiety is a problem. Being someone who is sensitive and emotional is a problem. Being someone who is mentally strong, but very low in self-confidence is a problem. Being someone who will most likely never come out of depression, is a problem. Being afraid of my own shadow is also a problem, and I don’t think my struggles are less serious than anyone else.
For me, the real problem worth noticing is I do struggle to wake up despite ‘having it all’. It’s not straightforward to believe life is beautiful and worth living. The constant battle I have to go through each day is terrifying. And it’s not easy for people who aren’t in my shoes to understand it, but I honestly don’t expect them to. What I won’t accept though is double standards hypocrisy, that other people’s problems are bigger than your own (‘They are going through worse stuff, so I shouldn’t worry about my own head’). And your problems are bigger than someone else’s (‘What do they know, they have an uncomplicated life’). Be grateful and humble, but being judgmental is a disease. Remember that.
I wake up, trying to put on a brave face, pretending I am all good and bubbly, yet inside I am burning to pieces and am mentally exhausted. My head is overloaded with anxious thoughts, and sadly, I only recently understood why I feel like this. My anxiety is a result of lost trust over the years, being naive, being pushed down, hearing all the time: you are not good enough. Every dream I had was blocked by ‘wise’ advice from other people who frankly, had no knowledge or experience on the matter. Instead of hearing: try, and see it yourself if it’s for you or not, my head was loaded with: you can’t do this, because it won’t work for you. As a result, I found myself in the belief I am in fact not good enough and that the world is scary. What I find more disturbing though now is that it’s a social norm to say: ‘You have no kids or/and are not terminally ill, so you have no problems’, but at the same time your mental health struggles aren’t worth discussing, even though they can kill you.
When I went through therapy to treat my depression, my therapist said: this is an easy part, the difficult journey starts when you have to let my supportive hand go and walk alone through life. It’s been three full years since I left her office, and gosh, she was so right – it’s hard. You get things thrown at you all the time, either it’s an extra bill to pay when you have no money left, or you are being made redundant from a dream job after just five months, or you have been hit with devastating news about your closest ones. or you simply end up being left disappointed AGAIN by your social circle.
I’ve once read that sometimes life requires you just to put one foot forward the other. Nothing else. You don’t need to think about it or understand, all you have to do is keep on going and never quit. And it’s true. Sometimes when life gets tough all you can do is to keep going forward without looking at what’s left behind. Life is a lot deeper than you like to make it out to be. It’s not always as simple as black and white. Everyone has their own expectations of how their life supposed to look, how people around them should behave, how things should be done. On top of it, you have society, government, MP’s, friends, family, and other groups involved, who set up ‘standards’ and expectations of how your life should look like according to them. But the reality is, it’s all down to introspective soul-searching, whether you’re feeling it or not. Simple as that. If you don’t like it – change it. You do have a choice every single day after all. And I’ve learned over the past few years that we have literally nothing to prove to anybody. We shouldn’t rely on likes on social media or positive comments to make us feel better about ourselves. We shouldn’t be following groups because it’s trendy and everyone is doing it. We shouldn’t even listen to our parents (when we are adults of course) like they are life gurus. We love them of course, but what worked for them, might not be working for us in our current world. The key to this life, in my eyes, is to stay true to yourself and live your life how you want to live it – not how’s expected of you.
I started this post by saying that quitting is the reason for failure. I think, the moment you realize you are creating your own destiny, and you are the main engineer to make this life works, you will not quit. I am anxious and often depressed for no particular reason, but I chose to be curious each morning with a desire to see what the day will bring. This is what keeps me going. Life is unpredictable, scary, weird, I don’t often understand it, but I’m still here. I’m excited about it. I might not have a perfect life, but by not quitting on myself, I make it somehow beautiful.
Staying true to what you believe in, and having faith in your own abilities is the simplest guide I can give you. Regardless of what are you currently going through, the light at the end of the tunnel is always there and you will always reach it, but quitting is just not an option.