Tag Archives: Personal Development

Day 2: Your Self-Healing Cocoon

Hello!

This is 60 Seconds with Dasist Winter. 🙂

Everyone needs a self-healing cocoon. What’s a self-healing cocoon, you may ask? It’s that special space away from everyone where you heal yourself from life’s problems.

My self-healing cocoon consists of pillows on the floor, a huge blanket to wrap myself around with—like a cocoon—and meditating music.

Right now, I’m struggling with unemployment, a defeating job search, staying healthy, paying my bills, and so on.

Sometimes everything becomes too overwhelming, and I want to break or stop existing. When these dark feelings rise, I go to my self-healing cocoon…

  • to heal my soul, mind, and body.
  • to give myself some rest and self-comfort.
  • to tell myself that I’m a smart individual who will figure out the solutions to her problems.
  • to remind myself that I’m not my situation.

Sometimes, I don’t even think of anything. I let my mind go blank. Even positive-thinking.

It’s only me and the void. And strangely, it helps.

And that’s 60 seconds.

Stay amazing. ❤

What’s your self-healing cocoon? Leave a comment below! Would love to hear your thoughts. 🙂

Featured image from beautifulufitnessuniversity.com 

Advertisements

Day 1: Your Feelings Matter

Hello!

This is 60 Seconds with Dasist Winter.  🙂

One thing that has been on my mind lately is accepting your feelings. Sometimes you have a range of dark emotions like anger, sadness, and frustration, and the people around you may want you to suppress those feelings.

They send unspoken signals that your sadness or frustration is directly or indirectly affecting them and that you need to get that shit under control.

Sometimes you avoid being around people because of this very reason. Or worse, you take their advice and stop feeling.

This is wrong. Give yourself the time to get your frustrations, anger, sadness or whatever dark vibes out, in a responsible way, of course. In other words, don’t be afraid to feel because your feelings are valid.

Again, Your. Feelings. Are. Valid. Cry, yell, scream: express them in a way you need to for the time you need to, even if you must do it alone, without feeling embarrassed or ashamed.

Just get them out and you can move on to recovery.

And that’s 60 seconds.

 

Stay amazing. ❤

Living in Japan as a Creative

Coming to Japan helped my writing. It helped me understand what I needed to do as a writer in terms of meeting my reader and her needs. Now that I’ve taken what I’ve needed from Japan, I want to leave. Without a doubt, this country is beautiful. The people kind and hospitable. The food delicious. The culture poised and steady. Like a perfect square glass sitting on four pillars. I definitely feel the old meeting the new here, hundreds of years of history meshed with crazy modern beats. As a visitor from the West, I’ve experienced a strange and magnificent world that never ceases to astound me.

But my soul struggles to hold it together now that I’ve passed the sixth month mark of my stay here. Japan is beautiful, that’s true. But depression, sadness, repression, and brokenness choke the air here. Sometimes I feel like I’ve stepped back into 1950s America with the old fashioned uniforms of the train conductors, sea of black suits, and housewives doing laundry every early morning.

The conformity is strong here. Even the hipsters have their own rules. And the rules are hardly broken. Now, I don’t live in Tokyo, but a small town in the Aichi prefecture and that could be why I feel so out of place here. But even when I visit the big cities, I can’t shake off the pain from my shoulders or brush aside the tears soaking my sleeves.

The people here need a hug. Someone to say, “It’s okay, be yourself and release everything you’ve got bottled up inside your chest. ”

Before, I sometimes thought that maybe I was an empath. Coming to Japan has convinced me that I am. The people here want more out of life but they can’t or won’t do anything about it. So shouganai (しょうがない) prevails (the philosophy that a current situation can’t be helped; nothing can be done) and it allows everyone here to get through their dreary work routine until retirement when they can finally enjoy life. It’s what helps them live so long, too. It works for them.

But I find the scheme, the script, all of it, so constricting. Like being in a jail cell. My spirit can’t stand it any longer and I wish more and more to leave as the days go by. Sometimes I don’t feel this way. As I enjoy the peaceful landscapes and the sounds of carefree children playing by the river banks, safe and adventurous, I smile, a wave of bliss washing all over me, and think: Japan is beautiful. But that’s all I think. I can’t seem to find the words to say more, which is disturbing for this writer.

I should’ve probably visited this country instead of moving here to teach ESL, which will be my last year of doing so. I’m done supporting myself and my dream to become a published writer through teaching English. Five years is enough.

I can’t regret coming to Japan. My brain says I do, but my heart doesn’t because deep down I am grateful. In some ways, I had to come here to make my dream of visiting the country come true and to fully understand who I am as a person. Some of what I’ve discovered isn’t pretty at all. Some parts are more encouraging though.

At this moment, I really don’t feel anything. Japan’s shouganai attitude is rubbing off on me, but I don’t want it to. Screw shouganai. I don’t want to be resigned to my fate even though doing so would ensure I’d live a longer life. I’ve spent too much time already fighting against fate, conventions, restrictions, and so on to shrug my shoulders and let life happen. I make life happen. That’s how I’ve decided to live even if doing so is hard as hell.

I’m reminded of the lyrics to a DJ Okawari song featuring Brittany Campbell called Brown Eyes:

“Save me from this place. I’m so empty like my heart has been erased.”

Although the song is about a broken heart and betrayal, these lines resonate the most with me about my current situation in Japan.

Hear the full song here:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOIaEbm4vgs

Have you ever lived somewhere and felt something was wrong despite all the beauty surrounding you? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Stay amazing,

Samantha

 

Hello Failure, Good-bye Failure

My relationship with failure used to be toxic, but now we’ve reached a consensus on how often it should disrupt my life, along as to what degree it can mute my other emotions, putting fear and negativity front and center.

Confused? Let me give you a better idea.

Failure knocks on our doors, and it’s up to us to decide how we will respond to it. Some like to invite failure in and let it sit down for a while, engaging it in pleasant, but distant conversation.

Maybe we shed some tears while failure watches with stoic disinterest. It drops words of negativity here and there, hoping to stab us somehow. However, if were fully aware, we’ve known failure long enough to know these discouraging words are worthless lies.

After a while, we send failure on its way, but not without accepting its small gift of lessons and instructions. Our dreams are waiting outside for us to welcome them back inside to receive the love and nurture they need to grow and thrive.

Some of us, however, invite failure inside our homes and let it take over. There is no conversation, just disorder as failure eats all our food, lounges on our couches, and yells at us about how we’re losers and big disappointments.

We accept these lies and this pleases failure. It invites its lesser friends, negativity and discouragement. Soon more mentally disparaging guests move in and they push us back and forth among them.

The whole situation’s abusive. During this soul-crushing time, our dreams wait outside for failure and its friends to leave. Our dreams are hungry; some have been scared away while a few can’t take it anymore and die right outside our front steps.

Depending on our choices or capabilities, we try coaxing our dreams to come into our chaotic households. Sometimes we have to drag them inside because we’re stubborn and don’t want to lose them. So our dreams shuffle awkwardly through the trash and mess that failure and its gang keeps creating.

Our dreams eye failure with disdain and failure responds in kind, letting them know they have no future. Their contentious relationship makes us want to shoot them both between the eyes.

Some of us make make do with the situation, and our dreams squeezes by, but growth is stunted. We ask ourselves repeatedly why our progress is so abysmally slow.

Sometime or other we realize we need to kick failure out of our homes. We’ve cried enough. Have been abused enough. Been hurt enough. We’ve had enough of zombie walking through life and missing out on its best parts or initiating its greatest moments.

Life is everywhere, all around us, and observes our actions toward failure. Seeing our incompetence with dealing with failure, it gives failure more power over us. Failure and its emotionally-damaging companions become harder to kick out.

Some of us might misdirect our anger toward failure and channel it over to life instead. We blame life for failure’s arrival and abuse. We build more and more of this negative anger, and it comes barreling through our door. Before we know it, a twister of negative feelings rages right inside our living rooms.

We feel powerless and stuck and call on life to do something, but we’re still too angry. Life’s response? It gives anger more power, leaving us feeling more despondent than ever.

We ask ourselves whether this will be our fate forever.

At some point, some of us will realize we have several choices to make:

1. We let this twister continue ravaging our house while we continue our day-to-day activities. Those of us in this category have long allowed our dreams to hide permanently or even die. We’re resigned to our fate. And some of us are all right with that and live the best we can. That’s just life.

2. We force our dreams to grow in this chaotic house. But we might come to resent our dreams. Everything’s a struggle. Pleasure and self-fulfillment are nowhere to be found. We make minimal progress, but regress soon quickly afterwards. Some of us will conclude that we might as well settle for decision number one.

3. We confront failure and its gang head on. We’re armed and ready because failure and its allies are clever and formidable foes. And let’s not forget the twister of anger throwing everything all around and clouding our vision, making us nearly blind.

At this point, it feels like everything is against us: life, failure, ourselves, and our army of negative emotions. We have already incurred injuries and we are in desperate need of healing. Some of us are bleeding to death, holding on to life by the thinnest thread.

So how does this battle play out? Who are our allies? Do we get a useful wizard in the mix to help support our campaign against failure? Pressure mounts and we might feel incapable of engaging failure. It’s way too strong.

Some of us might soon discover by way of a friend from the outside or some other medium that we have a secret weapon. It’s a power so great and astounding that if used properly could dismiss failure and its armies without much bloodshed on our part.

What is this great source of power and how can it be used to push back against failure? It’s usually at our lowest that we come within reach of this secret weapon, which isn’t a big secret at all.

This great power is our mind.

Our minds are not visitors or objects in our houses. Our minds are the houses. Imagine a battlefield with two opposing armies. If the commander of one army could control the whole environment and make the earth swallow its enemies, victory would be quick and swift.

We possess this incredible advantage against failure and its armies. We control the environment. We control the house and can stir it awake to become a breathing, living being that snuffs out stubborn and persistent failure.

The promises held in controlling our house swell like a balloon waiting to burst. We simply need the resolve to take a pin and pop it. But how do we go about doing this?

Controlling the mind isn’t some difficult task requiring hours of concentration or training. All we have to do is find a quiet place where we can be alone and undisturbed and challenge ourselves to engage with our minds.

Thoughts will run one after the other, sometimes tripping all over each other. We may feel restless and feel like we’re wasting our time. We know better, however, and resist the urge to get up and do something we deem more valuable. We won’t be able to control the mind until we fully engage it.

We search through all the chaos up there to find the control center, to find its seat, to find our deepest selves. If we scoff at the idea of finding our deepest selves, then the trial ends. We might find no peace for the failure ruling over our lives. But if we to push aside all doubts, cynicism, and the disruptions of logical thinking, we will begin to hear our minds speaking to ourselves.

“What are you looking for?” the mind asks.

“I need peace. I want my failures to stop controlling my emotions, feelings and actions. I want to stop feeling so angry.”

“Why are you angry?”

“Because I failed even when I worked so hard.”

“Why are you angry?”

We pause in confusion. “I already told you. I failed something very important to me.”

“Why are you angry?” the mind asks again.

We think before we answer this time and go deeper. “I wanted this very badly. Too badly. I tied achievement to my worth as a person. I believed if people saw this achievement, they would respect me more. I would earn more prestige and receive accolades from the most important people in my life.

I wanted to prove the naysayers wrong and shove my victory in their faces. I wanted to show that I was right and knew what I was doing. The shame and embarrassment I feel from my failure is stopping me from trying again. I don’t want to experience these feelings again.

I don’t want to keep trying again because it drains too much energy out of me. It’s too hard and tiring. I’m so tired. Failure exhausts me. I don’t have enough confidence in my abilities, skills, talents, or myself. Sometimes, I don’t even feel like I deserve success.

I compare myself to others too much and feel contempt toward their success, which seems to come by so much easier for them. I feel crippled by my insecurities and blame others for my failures so I take my anger out on them, snapping at them and being short-tempered.

I don’t want to go to anywhere where people know me too well. I hate when they ask me questions about what I’m doing with my life. I hate that I don’t have anything solid to show them, only my aspirations and plans, things people don’t truly value.

Our society values results, not so much the process. Results. I’m so impatient for the results. I want them now. I feel defeated so I just want to do something easy, mediocre, but socially acceptable instead of pursuing my most difficult dreams.

But deep inside, it makes me feels unfulfilled to let go of my dreams and watch them die. It’s a pain deep in my soul. Sometimes I wish someone or something could save me from this pain. I wish I could be free to try again without fear or restrictions and make my dreams come true.”

“Then be free,” the mind says.

“It’s not that easy,” we protest and start listing all the things standing in our way.

Our mind ignores this list and says, “See our dreams realized. See our obstacles gone. Feel the emotions of our achievement. Feel our negative emotions and thoughts diminish. See how we help and inspire others. See the places we go. Feel our strength over failure, disappointment and rejection. See and feel. We are there. We have made it. Do you believe this? Do you believe you are free?”

We either believe we are free or we are not.

“Are you free from your insecurities? Your looping negative thoughts? What you believe people think of you? Your self-sabotaging thoughts and habits? Are you free from your twisted notions of how much you are worth?

From your family’s definition of who you are? From society’s definition of who you are? Are you free from the hurt and pain you suffered in your childhood? Your teen years? From the way you were treated, mistreated, or regarded?

You are already worthy. You are already powerful. You are already important. Do you believe this? Are you free?” the mind asks again.

“Am I free?” we ask ourselves honestly. “No, some of these things still have a hold on me, still bind me. I am not completely free. I am not free.”

“Good to know. Now that I know you are not free, we will work together to set you free so that we may be free together. When we are free together, we will always keep moving and never stay stuck.”

Our honesty has given our minds the signal to begin purging failure and its companions out of our house. It can be a long process, but with patience and persistence, we help our mind by engaging with it regularly.

These ongoing appointments give our mind more of the valuable information and transparency it needs to get the job done. During this time, we might witness our most ugly sides or our greatest fears.

Although they’re large and unmanageable at first, our mind weakens their hold on us, compressing them into small tiny blocks. We can push them aside to make room for more positive and self-affirming emotions and feelings.

The negative or traumatic experiences that have helped form us as individuals don’t disappear. However, with our help, our minds compress them into small manageable units as well.

Finally, our dreams have the ideal environment to receive the necessary support and nurture from our minds.

Our process, our everyday living, is no longer something we shun or try to escape by way of the past, future, or other outlets.

We come to enjoy the process and derive peace and happiness from it. We live fully in the present, and our dreams thanks us for it.

When failure comes knocking again, we don’t ignore it because its lessons and instructions are too important. We let it in, understand it, and send it on its way. Our houses have finally become pleasant places to live.

The present has finally become a pleasant place to live.

How to Find the Light in the Persistent Darkness of Your Soul

always_a_dreamer__by_zeus1001-d61oyoc
“A man must dream a long time in order to act with grandeur, and dreaming is nursed in darkness.” – Jean Genet

I’m a dark person. It’s not that I’m depressed or mostly negative. I’m simply dark. I don’t like to smile a lot. I think too deeply about things. My mind finds comfort in getting wrapped around my untold stories. The sadness and pain of this world deeply pierces my soul and thinking. I’m the kind of person who dislikes being told to be happy or to smile. I live in a reality shrouded in darkness, but I’m not unhappy. I’m actually quite hopeful and optimistic. I believe in miracles and magic. I trust love prevails over all things.

I don’t like connecting with everyone I meet. It takes energy. Sometimes too much for me to handle. I take solace and pleasure in time spent alone. Being with people for far too long drains me unlike anything I know. I’m a loner. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. This doesn’t mean I don’t want and need human contact. I do. Just not all the time. If I want to function for the next several days, I need to have my alone time.

Explaining this darkness to myself has never been easy, so I feel it’s almost impossible to explain it here without sounding like I’m suffering from sort of severe depression. I’m not. However, in this dark world of mine, it’s necessary to find some light because I do stand on a thin line where I can teeter into soul-sucking, depression-filled darkness. To stop myself from overstepping that boundary, I search for the light inside my persistent darkness.

But finding the light takes work.

The first thing I do is talk kindly to myself.

I tell myself a lot of self-affirming statements to keep exaggerated negativity at bay. I tell my self I’m strong, I’m powerful, I’m incredible, I’m amazing. I can achieve anything I conceive in my mind. I just need to act. And not be afraid of the results.

The result isn’t the most important thing. The process is.

Focusing on the process helps a lot. I focus on the joy and bliss that comes from creating worlds. I dive in the pleasure that comes from making characters do what I desire. My mind explodes with energy from this creative process. Energy from my creative spirit.

Image courtesy of taoty at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of taoty at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I tap into the light of my creative spirit.

This light keeps me from sinking into the bad darkness, the darkness that rips souls apart and infests the mind with hope-eating bacteria. The darkness that makes death beautiful, appealing, and even necessary. The light from the creative spirit chases away the bad darkness and provides the oil for burning my passion for one more day. For one more month. For one more lifetime.

I create even when I don’t want to.

Sometimes I don’t want to create anything in the physical world. I don’t want to write because the darkness is too deep. I prefer to create in my mind. The worlds arise and people move inside these worlds, talking, walking, alive within a story. It’s perfect in my mind, and I want to stay up there. Sometimes for a long time. But the mind is not enough. The real world is waiting outside. I need to bring the mind and reality together, and that takes work.

So I create even when I don’t want to. I start and once I do, everything comes together.

Revel in the creation.

I love what I create even when I know it stills needs work. I revel in what I’ve brought forth with my mind. Nothing makes me feel more human. More alive then knowing my work is talking, interacting, making decisions, dreaming, experiencing failure and lost, and healing from wounds.

Remember, it’s okay to feel.

One thing I tell myself to do is to feel whatever dark emotions are swirling inside me. I let them run their course. I don’t suppress them. It’s when they’re out in the open that I can attack them, deconstruct them, minimize them, and make them as insignificant as dust. And then, I blow them away and keep on going.

1779097_762126683825304_340084144445753404_n
“What makes night within us may leave stars.” – Victor Hugo, Ninety-Three

I am what I think in my mind.

The future isn’t far off. The future is now. I am now. The most important thing to remember is the present moment is everything. Whatever I say I am in my mind is who I am. I am alive. I am incredible. I am powerful. I am capable of being healed. I am capable of healing others. I am learning, growing, and becoming a better version of me because I want to. I am who I say I am.

How do you find the light in your darkness? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Stay amazing,

Samantha

 

If you found this article interesting or helpful in any way, please share it by using the share buttons below. Thanks!

Be sure to look out for my e-book, The Passionate Dreamer’s Notebook: For Those Who Refuse to Quit, coming out soon! 

Help Me! I’m Letting Social Media Ruin My Dreams! Part 2

ID-100289094.jpg
                             Courtesy of bplanet at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Howdy Folks,

Last time, I talked about scavenging through our minds for the real, deeper reason why we spend an excessive amount of time on social media. Now, I’m back to share with you four of the strategies I’ve learned to help deal with this problem. Moving forward with the right mindset will put these solutions into better use.

The first is the easiest but often the most difficult to do.

1. Give your biggest social media obsession a break for a specified amount of time: weeks or months depending on what you can realistically handle.

Don’t jump into the icy waters and say you’re never going on X, Y, and Z again. You’ll simply end up back on the website or app an hour later. Sometimes my fingers type Facebook.com as soon as I open a web browser without my wanting to go there in the first place. It’s scary how it had become instinct for me to get on Facebook.

The break will be hard because you’ll start to panic about all the information, news, funny videos, and updates that you’re missing out on. But guess what? You’re only taking a break from your biggest social media addiction, which means you can casually, I say casually, scroll through what’s new in other websites or apps. The point here isn’t to replace one addiction with another, but to force yourself to think about how you can use time more effectively in the long run, especially if you’re a creative.

When you take the break, you’ll hopefully find yourself giving more love to your projects and feeling better about getting more done. Giving Facebook a break has forced me to hunker down and write while planning for the next batch of writing. Sometimes, I can’t believe how much time I’ve saved and wonder why I didn’t do this in the first place.

Keep a record of how much you’ve accomplished in a notebook, calendar, or note app on your computer or phone. Recording these achievements is essential. Don’t skip this task.

 

ID-100211568.jpg
                         Courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

I don’t plan to stay off Facebook forever. I want to finish editing my book first, and then I’ll log on to the popular social network. But when I do, I’ll have my list of accomplishments available to remind myself of how much I got done when I wasn’t a permanent resident of Facebook and that I should never return to becoming one ever again.

Okay, so your break or fast from your media overlord is over and you’re afraid you’ll go back to where you started—wasting lots of time. This is where 2 might help.

2. Set a timer on your phone or computer for social media activity and stick with it.

You can set the timer for five, ten, or fifteen minutes, depending on what you think is reasonable. You’ll be surprised how a timer going off can abruptly snap you out of a trance and set you back on track to working again. The main point here is take back control over your time and not surrender to multiple distractions.

Now 3 is for those worried about important personal connections during the break.

3. Communicate with friends and family you really care about through texting apps
or other forms of communication—phone calls.

To be honest, the only people I call on the phone to ask how they are my parents and grandparents. My friends get texts and video chat calls. The amazing realization I got from taking a Facebook break was how very little my circle is. After my family, I care very deeply about only six of the three hundred plus people who are my friends.

10
                                                                 Courtesy of Rocketclips, Inc.

 

They are the ones I want to stay in touch with for the long run. They’re the ones I want to know how they’re doing and where they are. They’re the ones I want to share details of my life with. I don’t need to know the minutiae of other people’s lives or tell them everything about mine nor should I be wasting essential time doing so.

Social media is an illusion anyway. Understand that and you’re already several steps ahead to living a better life.

Okay, 4 is for the creatives/dream chasers.

4. When taking a break from a project on the computer, step away from the computer.

Do something else. Leave your work space alone, go outside, take a walk, take a nap, grab a healthy snack, meditate; do anything but browse on the net, read e-mail, or catch up on social media. Doing so might turn your “break” into an all out one-hour eye-tiring session. Trust me. I’m a certified victim of computer “breaks” and they do not help one bit in rejuvenating me after a long writing session.

And that’s all I’ve got for you. What are some ways you manage your time properly when hooked to social media land? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Stay amazing,

Samantha

If you found this article interesting or helpful in any way, please share it by using the share buttons below. Thanks!

Be sure to look out for my e-book, The Passionate Dreamer’s Notebook: For Those Who Refuse to Quit, coming out soon! 

How to Win Against and Be Free From Your Worst Enemy: Your Inner Critic. Part II

Image courtesy of criminalatt at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of criminalatt at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Howdy Folks,

In part one of this series, I talked about how I was able to shut down my inner critic by identifying the fears giving my saboteur the ammo it needed to tear me down and keep me down. To quickly recap, the first two fears were fear of disappointing my parents and fear of rejection.

Today, I want to talk about the next fear supplying my inner critic: fear of others perceiving me as a failure. I’m taking time to talk about these fears because they are the root causes of most of the negativity in life.

By shifting the focus of our minds away from our fears and their illusions, we can adopt more self-affirming mindsets, ones that will help us move forward to achieving our goals, dreams, and ultimately, the visions we have for our lives.

3. Fear of others perceiving me as failure.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I never liked being the sort of person who cared heavily about what others thought of her, but growing up, I was taught to be mindful of how others perceived me and making sure people had a highly favorable view of me in terms of my academics, manners, attitude, and work ethic.

It’s one of the reasons why I place a very high value on kindness. I easily fall for kind people. No, seriously. If you’re a kind person, I will love you. Guaranteed. Notice I said kind, not nice. Nice people scare me because I can’t shake off that they’re hiding some sinister secret or plan to hurt me some in way. But that’s another topic for next time.

Also, I can’t stand rudeness, and being around rude people makes me physically sick. It’s obvious in the lines on my forehead and the way my nose twitches as if I’ve just smelled rotten eggs and the way I blink repeatedly. If you’re a rude person, you’ll most likely never see me unless you change. If I sorta like you, I’ll let you know whether something you did was rude. If I don’t like you at all and you make an ass of yourself, I’ll just quickly make my exit because you should know better, especially if you’re an adult.

I’m also big on manners and proper etiquette for dining, meeting new people, working, navigating public spaces, and so on. I’m more relaxed when I’m around family and close friends, but I can be a bit of stiff and standoffish around strangers. That’s just part of my character as an introvert who needs to know a person better before trusting her or him or them. But I’m hoping I can learn to be more open to new people. Again, that’s another topic.

Now, all of this seems harmless and common sense even. Don’t be rude. Be kind. Work hard. Choose peace, not violence. However, as a kid growing up with very high expectations from family to succeed academically and career-wise, I warped this thinking into an incredibly unhealthy level.

I didn’t just want people to perceive me as good kid, but rather as the kid who was perfect in every way.

Photo cred: RYAN MCGUIRE
Photo cred: Ryan McGuire

Trying my hardest to be this perfect kid throughout middle, high school, and most of college really hurt me in emotional and mental ways, possibly triggering my depression and occasional thoughts of suicide. If people saw me as a failure, then, in my head, I wasn’t worthy in any way.

This fear of others perceiving me as a failure created an onslaught of negative images, thoughts, and dialogues in my mind; these destructive thoughts crippled me most of the time and made me feel worthless from time to time. These feelings of worthlessness stopped me from performing at my best and stunted my spiritual and emotional growth.

The truth was that my worth was not tied to how well I performed academically or professionally, or how well I pleased people with my behavior. Worth comes from within not from without. Until I realized my worth and the worth of my dreams and vision for my life, then I wouldn’t be free from the hell of living for other people’s approval. That was not how I wanted to live my one life here on this Earth.

So, in the face of all my failures trying to get my book published, not getting that high paying job I thought my impressive educational credentials would bring, and not getting into the PhD program I so desperately wanted, I’ve decided to keep fighting. To never give up working to achieve my dreams for a more stable, but predictable life or give in to the lies of my fears and my inner critic.

I absolutely refuse to follow a script prepared for me. I cannot. I have to go where I believe my instincts want me to go. It makes for a rather difficult, but satisfying life. Of course I have regrets, but I’m still pretty young and want to focus on moving forward. The process is where I want to be, not the past, and not even the future. This moment right now is what matters the most, writing this article and revealing one of my deepest fears.

I don’t believe I was put on this earth to blindly follow instructions made from another or from a previous time. I believe I have to create my own instructions with ingredients borrowed from my parents, siblings, extended family, friends, experiences, teachers, books, religions, philosophies, and even strangers I have met along the way.

Cause in the end, I'm just a bunny following her heart. Photo cred: Ryan McGuire
Cause in the end, I’m just a bunny following her heart. Photo cred: Ryan McGuire

This is how I live.

How about you? Have you ever had to deal with the fear of other people’s perceptions? Don’t be afraid and go ahead and share. I would love to hear your thoughts!

Stay amazing,

Sammy

If you found this article interesting or helpful, please share it with your family and friends!

Also, be sure to look out for my new e-book coming out soon: The Passionate Dreamer’s Notebook: For Those Who Refuse to Quit!