Category Archives: Fear

My colour, my life, my book

One of the tasks in the course on spiritual development I’m taking this month was about trying to associate a colour with one of the other participants in the course, and then tell this person about your associations. A few days ago I got this message:

The color I associate with you is yellow, wonderfully warm yellow with hints of gold. I also get  a positive and very creative feeling, combined with a strong desire for self-fulfillment. You have just discovered your inner sun and you let it shine and touch everyone you meet. 

2013-06-08 19.04.30-2I was very happy about the message, and I particularly felt that this woman’s words about my creativity felt so good right now. As a child I dreamt of becoming a writer, and I have indeed been a textbook writer for quite a few years, but last week I embarked on a new project: writing a novel. Together with Miranda I went on a writers’ retreat for some days, a bit scared about finally awarding myself the time to start writing. What if I wouldn’t have anything to say?

But I shouldn’t have worried. The words just came to me, and in those few days, in those beautiful surroundings, I wrote about 25 pages of text – loving every minute of it. Of course it’s easier because I utilize my own experiences, feeling and thoughts to a great extent, but I was very pleased to note that I had no problems leaving the autobiographical parts and invent things that have never happened either. I’m now looking forward to a long summer where I will squeeze in novel writing whenever I have some time off – from children, bathing, cooking and mowing the lawn. It feels just like falling in love.

Titania

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Filed under Fear, spirituality, Writing

Titania’s TEDx Talk – time to just do it, again!

Since my April month was about just doing things, without fearing or procrastinating, I will do exactly that. A deep breath and here it is: my TEDx Talk about listening to your inner voice and learning to navigate according to your internal compass. If you like it, I would be very grateful if you would share it among your friends – since TED ideas are supposed to be spread. 🙂 Here goes!

Titania

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Mindfulness in Val Gardena

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I was tired. It was early in the morning, and my fingers were already numb with the cold. It was even snowing inside the cable car. I glared at the other people in their ugly ski clothing, who had pushed me on their way into our car, the first one, to reach the top before anyone else. It was the third day of our ski trip in Italy, and I was irritated. By everything.

It hit me then, how wrong this was. It was supposed to be my mindful month. I was supposed to enjoy each moment. And there I was, sulking away, for no substantial reason. So, I made a simple decision. I was not going to let my stress and bad mood ruin the rest of the trip. From now on, I would enjoy it. I turned my mind away from the other people, and watched the small, perfectly formed snowflakes that fell onto my jacket. I watched them melt. And slowly, I calmed down.

By the time we reached the top, my irritation was gone. When I saw the view, I didn’t mind the other people anymore. Their pushing was justified. How could you not want to struggle a bit for this? To get the first ride down these perfectly soft, newly pisted ski slopes. That morning, I had the best skiing of my life.

When I chose to savour things instead of letting them get on my nerves, there was suddenly so much to enjoy. I closed my eyes and enjoyed the sun for a while, instead of getting irritated by the fact that I had to wait so long for my grandmother at the end of each slope. I sat back and enjoyed the beautiful British accent of the guys in the same chair lift, instead of grumbling about the cold wind in my face. I enjoyed four days of skiing with a newfound friend from the same coach journey, who suddenly started to talk to me, probably because I looked more friendly and open when I wasn’t angry. And when everyone else started to complain that the food wasn’t as good as it used to be, I kept quiet and enjoyed tasting new things.

I also noticed than when I was skiing more mindfully, I was less scared. When I was fourteen, I collided with another skier, and ever since, I have been a bit afraid. However, when I started to pay more attention to what I was doing, to the sound of the snow beneath my skis and the structure of the slope and the shapes that was formed by me and the other skiers, I had so much more control over the situation. I had time to choose my path and avoid risks, and for once, I could ski fast and without fear – even in the black slopes.

Sometimes bad things happen, things that provoke feelings that you cannot, and should not, control. But in everyday life situations, you always have a choice. You can choose where to put your energy, what to focus on and what to ignore.

In that cable car in the Alps of Italy, I chose to be happy. And suddenly I was.

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Filed under Attention, Fear, Feelings, Letting go, Mind, Mindfulness, Miranda, Physical exercise, Traveling, Uncategorized

To let go

I’m happy I chose Productivity as this month’s focus, because I really wouldn’t have time to focus on anything else than getting things done. I’m so stressed out that it’s affecting me physically, making me nauseous and tired all the time. Tonight, however, I sat down and tried to structure all my tasks for the rest of the year, week for week. Now I know what I need to do every week when it comes to school, work, driving practice and exercise, and that is somewhat comforting. Next week I’m going away for a few days to visit my grandfather, and perhaps the change of scenery will help me relax a bit as well.

So, what about the Love month? Although my boyfriend and I have had our ups and downs I think I managed to take quite good care of our relationship last month, and I keep trying. I survived the tour, obviously. After the first anxious days I simply didn’t have any energy left for worrying. I let him take care of our contact, which meant that I didn’t have to worry about unanswered texts or calls and got a happy surprise each time I heard from him instead. And I ended up really enjoying having time for myself.

Whether it’s a sky-high heap of homework or a boyfriend touring Europe or something entirely different that makes your intestines ache with anxiety, the only thing that really helps is to let go. And to realise that when you do, things tend to work out quite nicely in the end.

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Filed under Fear, Giving space, Letting go, Love, Miranda, Productivity, Relationships

Miranda’s third month: Love

Despite the success of last month’s project, there was one drawback. There is a distinction between self-confidence and self-esteem, and my intention was to work with both last month. However, I was so busy tackling challenges that I forgot about the second part. I do feel better about myself, when it comes to achievements, but I still doubt myself when it comes to just being me. I still feel bad about my appearance, I’m still scared that l’m not good enough and I still stay quiet because I’m afraid people (even my boyfriend) will find me weird or stupid. Conveniently, the focus area of this month is Love. Thus, I’ve decided to focus not only on my relationship, but also on appreciating myself more.

I fear this will be another ridiculously long post, but these are probably my most difficult challenges so far, and I think I need to make things very clear for myself. Anyway, these are my goals for October:

 – Give space
I’ve been terrible at giving space. Not intentionally. I just haven’t realised how important it is for a relationship, probably because, as I mentioned in my last post, my boyfriend has been my life for the last few years. I haven’t had any friends that I’d rather hang out with or a band that I need to spend time with alone. I’ve only had him. So I haven’t realised how trapped my boyfriend has felt, because I’m always there, feeling left out whenever he forgets about me. The last six months up until September were extreme, because he didn’t work and I studied from home, so we were together more or less constantly, getting on each other’s nerves. Besides, because I always worry too much, I tend to contact him too much when we’re not together. He, on the other hand, is terrible at answering texts and calling me back, which only causes me to worry even more. Last month, however, when one of my many challenges was to let him contact me, I noticed that as soon as I kept my hands off my phone, he started calling me and sending random text asking what I was doing. It was such a relief to see that he actually wanted to speak to me, I just had to give him some space. It’s not always easy, but I will keep letting him contact me this month, unless I really need to ask something. I will also keep developing my own social life, so I won’t have to depend on him all the time.

The hardest part of this goal, and something I have dreaded for several months, is the fact that my boyfriend is going on a European tour with his band for ten days this month. That is actually the main reason why I chose to focus on Love during October, because I knew this would be such a huge challenge for me. To not feel jealous or terrified that he’ll do something stupid. To not contact him all the time to make sure that he still loves me and that nothing has happened to him. But after last month, I think I can do it. It will probably be the greatest challenge since we met, but for both our sakes I need to give him that space, show him that trust and be happy for his sake. If I’d ever get to tour with a band I would want him to do that for me. And if I make it through those ten days without freaking out, I think I will be able to do anything.

– Be honest
I played truth or dare with some girlfriends last weekend and one of us had to answer what was the most important quality of a partner. It turned into quite a discussion but I think everyone agreed upon honesty. If you can’t trust someone, that what else about him matters? My boyfriend is very honest and although I tend to forget that when I get anxious, it’s one of the things I like the most about him. I also try to be honest, and that’s lucky, because I’m a terrible liar. Sometimes, though, when I feel bad or sad or scared or jealous for some reason, I just can’t tell my boyfriend about it. I’m not sure why. I’m probably just scared it will lead to a fight and that he’ll hate me. So, I stay quiet, or say that it’s nothing or that I don’t want to talk about it. And he hates that, of course, because he feels shut out and lied to. He’s told me to stop doing it several times. He’s even presented me with an ultimatum. And still I keep doing it. I know this has to stop. It’s not that I always need to tell him everything. But I can’t start crying or sulk for a whole evening and then tell him it’s nothing. I’ve told myself so many times that I have two choices: either tell him or let it go. I don’t know what else to do but keep reminding myself. And be aware of it.

 – Be kind
This is quite simple: nag less and appreciate more.

 – Give (and appreciate) proofs of love
My boyfriend is not very romantic, and sometimes that makes me a bit disappointed. He does give me proofs of love, probably more often than I realise, but because I’m so bad at remembering the good things in life, they tend to slip by unnoticed. I want to get better at appreciating all the small things he does for me, and be able to show what I feel without expecting a heap of red roses in return. In a week, it will be two years since the first time we kissed. It’s a silly thing that you wouldn’t expect any guy to remember. So, I’ve decided to do something romantic for him then, just because it’s important to me and because I want to let him know how much he means to me.

 – Love yourself
Actually, I can’t really imagine how difficult it would be to live with someone who would deny any compliment you give them, who wouldn’t trust you no matter what you did, and who would be terrified you’d leave them no matter what you said. I’ve always been like that, but I need to stop. Now. For his sake. And for my own sake. If I felt that I was good enough, I wouldn’t have to be so anxious or jealous or scared. Life would be so much easier. I’m not quite sure how to do it, though. If I was, I would probably have changed a long time ago. But I will keep writing down good things about myself, and not just achievements, but things that are good about who I am. And I will make an honest attempt to appreciate compliments and exchange my negative thoughts with positive ones. Even if I don’t always believe them.

P.S. If anyone has made it through this post, I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions. What do you think are the most important aspect to focus on in a relationship? Which is the best way to learn to be more open about your feelings? And can you learn to love yourself?

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Filed under Challenge, Fear, Feelings, Giving space, Goals, Honesty, Love, Miranda, Relationships, Self-esteem

Finding myself in the chaos

We’re nearing the end of September, which has been a pretty busy month for me. I’ve started a master’s program at the university, joined a book club, had four guitar lessons and challenged myself almost every single day. I can honestly say that I am very proud of myself. By turning fears into challenges, I have realised that many things aren’t so scary after all: I’ve been to school, talked in groups, been to the first business meetings of my life, made a scary phone call, handled stress without freaking out, let go of my need for control, spent several nights alone, done spontaneous things and made four new friends. And that’s just some of the things. As a finale, I registered my own company tonight. Within a year, when my studies are finished, I will have to fend for myself. But I know I can do it. It may sound like a cliché, but I think I’m starting to find myself – for real. Since I got out of my teenage depression, I’ve kind of just adapted to the life of my boyfriend. I’ve had my own interests and my guitar and my school, sure, but I’ve relied too much on his choices, his happiness, his social life. Our friends have been his friends and our weekend plans have been his plans. I didn’t fully realise until I started this project that I spent all my time trying to please someone else instead of doing what I wanted. And actually that just resulted in my boyfriend feeling rather unpleased, since I forgot my own will, forgot to make my own plans and made him feel trapped in a silly attempt to be a perfect girlfriend. But it’s all changing now. I’m creating my own life, and I feel more independent than ever.

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Filed under Challenge, Confidence, Fear, Independence, Miranda, Personal development, Relationships

Facing my fear

I’m waiting at the university library. In an hour my first real introductory meeting in two years of studies will begin, and for the first time in a very long time, I’m not anxious about stepping into a classroom. There are a few butterflies in my stomach, but the panic that made me run from lessons in high school is gone. I was actually surprised to wake up so calm this morning. In an hour my butterflies may have become a bit wilder, but I will not let them stop me anymore. I will take a seat in the front of the classroom instead of in a corner at the back as I used to, and I will look into other people’s eyes and smile instead of staring at my desk. This time everything will be different, and so much better than before.

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Filed under Challenge, Fear, Feelings, Social anxiety