Tag Archives: Fear

Happiness Project

3 Nov

“I am not happy”, the thought that we all dread came to me earlier this week. I realised that I am no longer happy in the city to which I moved ten months ago, I am no longer happy with my lifestyle and I am no longer taking pleasure in my every day life.

I feel a loss of energy, a loss of interest and a loss of motivation. I don’t remember the last time that I sung in the shower. It’s been months since I blasted out my favourite music and danced alone in the living room. And don’t ask me what I look forward to when I wake up in the morning, because I simply don’t have an answer.

It’s tragic, it’s heart breaking, but most of all, it’s very confusing.

Figuring out why we are not happy is a very difficult thing. Figuring out what to do to make ourselves happy is even harder.

Even if we find out why we are not happy, there could be things about certain situations that we simply cannot change. We cannot always move away if we’re unhappy with the place in which we live, we cannot always leave our job if we know that it is making us stressed, we cannot always heal ourselves if we are unwell, we cannot change the people around us if they are bringing negativity into our lives.

So what can we do if we realise that we are unhappy?

For the moment, I am not going to leave my current city, I am not going to change my job and I am not (and cannot) transport my best friends to my city. All I can do is to change a few things in my every day life, which could give me energy, inspiration and joy.

My happiness project for the next month is as follows:

1) Go for a walk every day.

Promenade

2) Wake up at the same time every day (apart from Sundays, of course).

3) Go to bed before midnight, or preferably at 11pm.

4) Find a music teacher and practice the guitar every day.

girl guitarist

5) Read a fairytale.

6) Buy myself something pretty to wear.

7) Go to see a classical music concert.

8 ) Do some sport every day. Dancing, yoga, aerobics, jogging, stretching, walking with heavy shopping bags…

9) Do something that I am scared of (call to ask for a job opportunity, enter a competition, apply for a course, book a trip away, start writing a novel)

10) Go to one new social event a week – alone.

11) Write one story or poem a week.

12) Set an evening every week for personal pampering.  Beauty treatments, meditation, learning how to do a new hair style, taking a bath, listening to music with eyes closed…

13) Try a new recipe every week.

14) Buy a juice making machine, and drink fresh fruit juice at least three times a week.

15)  Go to a new place in the city every week.

16) Edit any of the above points if they start making me unhappy.

17) Create a blog-report on each week of the happiness-project.

 

My happiness project starts today – I have five minutes to get myself ready for bed in time for my curfew!

***

What activities would you put on your own happiness-project list?

Believe Me, You’ll Like This Journey

18 Oct

I don’t want to. I’m tired.

You have to. At least twenty minutes.

I want to watch T.V. or draw.

When will you practise, then?

I don’t know. I don’t have any ideas.

Ideas don’t always fall from the sky. Ideas need time, patience and perseverance.

Maybe I’m on the wrong track.

You’re on the right track. You just need to keep at it.

It’s hard keeping at it on my own, with no one to guide me or help me. I feel stuck.

You’re not stuck; you’re scared. You need to take that first step, the hardest one.

Yes, I’m scared.

Of what?

Scared that I’m no good; scared that it won’t be how I imagine it to be; scared of sacrifice; scared of rejection; scared that I won’t have enough strength, determination, courage, hope, faith, patience, understanding, or love to make my dream come true.

Perhaps you need to look at your dream in a different way, to modify it slightly. Perhaps you are focusing on an aspect of your dream that doesn’t evoke positive emotions in you.

Well, I already feel guilty for trying to work on my dream. I feel selfish; I feel like I’m lucky or privileged, but in a bad way, because other people are unhappy and accepting things as they are.

Is that the only thing bringing up negative emotions in relation to your dream?

My dream is a creative project and creativity has never been taught, understood or considered as important in my family or my native country. It is only acceptable if the creator is perceived as talented or a genius. Otherwise, the respectable thing is to be productive.

So you feel ashamed of trying to realise your dream because a) other people aren’t doing so and are unhappy, and b) your family will disapprove of you ‘wasting your time’?

Yes.

Any other reasons for which you don’t want to give your dream a go?

I’m scared that my partner will be upset by the fact that I spend more time on my dream and less time on him.

If you start your days earlier, this won’t be the case.

I lack the will-power and desire to wake up earlier. I feel like it will make no difference, I feel like things will go on without me just the same.

You’re stuck in a bland routine. You need a new activity that will give you energy, drive and inspiration.

I’ll call about those volunteering positions tomorrow.

First thing?

At 10 am, when the offices open.

You need to realise that this is the opportunity you have been waiting for: a calm life, a flexible job and free time. With the plans you have for next year, this set-up isn’t going to last for long.

I’m just having difficulties in making that first step.

You have the idea, you have the desire, you have the time. You will also have support, love and understanding. Stop making excuses, stop putting it off.

As for ‘what others may think’, you learnt a difficult, but important, lesson about that several years ago. Are you going to let ‘others’ stop you in the pursuit of your dream, again?

You’re right. It’s like I’ve come full circle. I promised to myself that I wouldn’t let other people’s opinions make me abandon my dreams. Now I need to show that I truly meant it!

I think you don’t realise how much happiness fulfilling your dream will bring.

It’s never as hard as we think it is, right?

Exactly. It’s only the act of putting it off that makes it harder.

I have learnt that many times, including today.

I think I understand why I’m having trouble making the first step.

Why?

I want to make my dream come true for all the wrong reasons. I want approval, praise, attention, money, recognition, prestige and even revenge. I want to make my dream come true for what I will get from other people once the dream is realised.

But what I really need is to make my dream come true for myself; for the fun, for the pleasure…for the journey.

After all, it’s the journey that we remember, not the destination.

Please believe me when I say that you’ll like this journey.

I believe it. I know it. It will be a blast.

That’s the spirit! Still wanna watch T.V.?

Are you kidding? I’ve got a dream to realise!

Friends for Friendship, Not for Fear

7 Jun

For the past few weeks I have been surprisingly unsettled and it is only today that I found the most probable reason for this anxiety. Next week, three of my closest friends are coming to visit me in my new country, my new city and my new life. Amongst organising our long week-end, amongst looking forward to spending time with them and hearing their stories about the past four months, I am filled with fear.

What will they think of my new life? What will they think of the way I have changed? What will they think of my new views and my new reflections? What will they think of my new worries and my new problems?

I realised that my anxiety comes down to own fear: I am scared that my friends will not like my new life. Or, to put it straight, I am scared that my friends will not love the new me.

These are friends with whom I had my wildest days at university. These are the girls with whom I shared high heels and short dresses; they are the ones who curled my hair and did my make-up before a night out. With these girls I danced on tables and talked to too many strangers. These are the friends who would sit wide-eyed and open-mouthed while I told them about my week-end. These are the friends who are used to a girl whose every minute is filled with activity.

When they arrive next week, my friends will see a girl with barely any make-up on. They will hear a calm voice telling them about a life spent riding bikes, taking walks in parks, watching sunsets, picking wild flowers, going to local markets, taking photos of nature, writing in bed, reading on the balcony and imitating owls. They will find a girl that keeps to herself and is sometimes shy in social situations. They will find a girl that likes to share thoughts on life and death, friendship and love. They will find a girl that is the most confused, yet the most content she has ever been.

When I realised that the cause of my anxiety is a fear of rejection, I thought about how I could make the best of the week-end that I will spend with my friends, without letting insecurity ruin special moments. I immediately remembered a wonderful post I’d read about welcoming guests, and I realised that this is not a time for fear, but a time for love. These are precious days in which I can share my joy, laughter and positivity with people who mean the most to me. These are moments in which I should be giving and sharing, not taking. These are times when I am supposed to be being honest and open, and not trying to impress or Friends Hugging on Beachentertain. This is an opportunity to show my friends how much they mean to me, and not to expect proof of friendship from them.

Fear will most certainly always reside in my heart, but the best thing I can do is to respond with love. So I’ll stop fretting about the broken tiles in my bathroom and the ugly chest of drawers in the living room. I will stop worrying about not knowing the best restaurants or liveliest bars. I will forget about learning the city inside out or getting the best deals for days out. Instead, I will simply do my best to welcome my friends with open arms and give them my open heart.