This past week, I've found myself in a tizzy of frustration, knowing that the old adage of *hard work is key* barely makes sense, but not being quite sure why I was feeling so strongly. I just kept feeling jaded and more and more pissed off everytime I read it or heard it somewhere or saw someone boosting up the *hustle hard* and *if you don't have it yet, it's because you haven't worked hard enough* decree.
I can, with confidence, call bullshit on that. I know that's not true. I know that I (and lots of other folks), have worked my arse off trying to attain my goals. I've worked my arse off trying to just get stable in life. I've put off some pretty major things, like finding my biological father, working towards that stable moment. So believe me, my lack of tangible success is definitely not from a lack of motivation or some lazy bone that keeps kicking in.
It's something else.
And the depression and anxiety that I talk about often are definitely a part of it, but I'm coming to a better understanding these days of how those even are symptoms of something else. How do I know?: Because my depression and anxiety are both situational and long-term. Being mostly broke despite your best efforts for many years is definitely cause for situational depression and anxiety. But starting off life believing that you are less everything than everyone else speaks to something long-term and deeply embedded as well.
So it's not just that I'm depressed and anxious because things aren't working out and once they start working out *BOOM!* I'll be happy. Somehow, I'd fallen into the trap of believing that this was the case; that it's just the things and life lining up that I'm missing and then things will be ok.
But I know this isn't true, because if I had all the things lined up and going great, how tight of a perfectness that would have to be to keep me happy. How ridiculously stressed of a "harmonized all-balls in the air" balance I would need to keep everything to never let my version of myself fall apart.
THAT'S what I have evidence of. I have evidence of the fact that if the things that I'm working on seem to not be working out, *I* begin to doubt myself. *I* begin to feel less. If someone doesn't like something I've put out there or even just can't make it to this session of a dance class, *I* feel like a failure. *I* begin to beat myself up with the *you'll never get it right* decades old script.
And so pushing myself to work harder and harder just doesn't work. Other people telling me how awesome I am and how I can do anything I set my mind to doesn't work either and at best, makes me feel even more inadequate (because DAMMIT, why can't I live up to their expectations and crack the *Leah is the type of successful that can pay all her bills and buy something nice for herself every now and then* code!?!) - though I'm not saying stop ;-).
Basically trying to push out the bad thoughts and drown them with more work, more busyness and ultimately, more scurrying just results in a mind that is so completely exhausted - aka Leah these last 6 months give or take.
And so I'm revisiting old things and learning them in new ways. Like today, I had a really amazing talk with a woman I met through a cool Facebook group for entrepreneurs. She is a coach that works a lot with hypnosis and heart-mind coherence. We talked about a lot of things that I've studied over the years, but the insight I got from our conversation really uplifted me and helped me into a mini-breakthrough, the one that prompted this article in fact.
Just remembering about mental programming, old scripts and the simple power in repetition took me back to the very first ways I changed my life through affirmations. I remembered how saying "I'm a good person, I do good things, and good things happen to me" in my early twenties a bazillion times a day finally got me to begin believing that and seeing the good things that were happening to me. I remembered that stopping myself from saying I'm so busy in response to someone asking how things were going finally made a difference in my experience of time. I finally started to feel like I had more of it AND unexpected side note - I also wasn't feeling guilty about that.
It reminded me that rewiring my mind is good work that really can be simple and that if I stay in it for the long game (which really means focusing mostly on that particular moment of rewiring and not worrying about its effect), it inevitably works. It's what has happened when all of a sudden you realize that something that was such an issue before, doesn't affect you at all anymore. And I've had many of those ahas in my life.
So I can cautiously say that some more things are changing. I'm finding my way and I'm feeling more certain.
One of the many things that came through in my conversation with Amor was that I haven't been trusting life and that it will take care of me. I'd been trying to calculate the odds of things and choose "the best" path. I'd been trying to take everyone's advice, mixed in with my own desires, mixed in with the whispering shoulds and find the most sure-fire path.
Behind all of that is a deep fear that I'll get it wrong and life will abandon me - either by me ending up a penniless, broken down waste of potential or by life tricking me to literally abandon it altogether.
So I have been seeing life as some mean mistress, not as some benevolent loving entity that is helping me along and cheering me each step of the way. Not quite.
So that is my work for the next few days - to keep reminding myself that life loves me, supports me and wants me to succeed.
It may sound kooky, but it already is easing something deep in my soul.
Leah Patterson is a transformation & wellness mentor, salsa dance instructor and green witch that provides women who identify (sometimes secretly) as living with high functioning depression and/or anxiety with the guidance they need to create an overall lifestyle of mind, body and spirit balance. She works primarily with dancers – professional, amateur and hobbyists – using holistic beauty, wellness, movement, and mindset as her tools of transformation, facilitating major breakthroughs and rock-solid self-empowerment for her clients. Visit her website www.leahpatterson.com to find out more about her and to schedule a complimentary Activate Your Power Session if you need help breaking through your barriers and doing the phoenix rise!