Discovery (aka Have You Tried Not Looking?)

  • Definition: Giving up actively searching for yourself all over the World, only to find you had always had yourself right there with you, wherever you went.

“All this time I was finding myself, and I didn’t know I was lost”
– AviciiΒ  (From: Wake Me Up) –

“Who am I?”

For the majority of my life I tried to find an answer to that question. And I always felt incredibly lost for not ever finding it. Maybe that’s the most important reason for me to always have felt an indescribable desire to travel: what if I find myself somewhere?

I think I honestly – deep down, but honestly – thought finding yourself would be like meeting a friend. Like you’d just bump into you, start a conversation and click. And that if you found yourself, wherever you kept yourself hidden in the World, you’d be complete. A full, whole you.

But I wasn’t finding me, I was only finding bits and pieces of myself. Things, such as character traits or habits, that I liked and disliked. Focus points I wanted to change. I met people I wished I was a bit more like. And I met people I never want to be like! But I never met a complete version of me.

One day I got tired of looking and gave up. I stopped, sighed, and figured I’d take a break. Like reading a tough book: sometimes, in trying to understand it better, it helps to put it away for a while before picking it up again. I thought of myself as such a book and decided to put my seemingly eternal search for the real me aside.

And that’s when I found myself.

I wasn’t hidden between the pandas in China. I wasn’t tucked away among the students in Ireland. I wasn’t playing hide-and-seek on that bus in Canada. And yet I was in all those places!

The real me was inside me all along. I just forgot to look in the most obvious of places, because I never imagined I’d be hiding there. I never thought I was already me; I always figured I was a bad version of myself and I needed to change, change, change. That I’d eventually go some place and magically transform into the person I longed to be.

And while I was out hunting for myself, inwards I was silently becoming the person I was looking for.

That strong woman I always wanted to be, is already inside me. I took her with me everywhere I went, not even knowing she was there. But when I stopped desperately trying to find her, she found me instead.

I am still growing and learning, but knowing I am complete after all is my biggest discovery yet.

“Who am I?”

I am me, Samantha. I am strong, I am stubborn but sweet, and I am great at hiding πŸ˜‰

Who are you? How did you find yourself?

Allower (aka What’s Going To Break Your Spell?)

  • Definition: Realising the voices in your head are NOT a sign of mental illness, but that everyone has them! Even normal people! And that there is a way to stop them from holding you back.

“Allowing yourself to smile takes 99% of the effort”
– Simon Travaglia –

So here’s a kicker: turns out everyone has voices in their head, telling them to do things a certain way or not at all. Mine always tell me I am horrible at things, no good for anything, and surely all decisions I ever make are wrong!

No wonder I am constantly tired beyond exhaustion.

These voices are part of your personality, upbringing and character. They help create the you, for in different situations they will tell you to handle in different ways. Nothing neurologically wrong with you there!

Some voices will help you move forward in life, while most of them will actually hold you back. The latter are called “drivers”, because these voices are what drives you to display certain behaviour and mostly operate on a subliminal level.

Would you really like to write a story but you don’t, out of fear it “won’t be good enough”? Or is sharing your emotions something you’d love to be able to do, but instead you keep holding your tears back because “you can’t look weak in front of others?”

All of us, we have voices like these roaming around in our brains, keeping us from writing that story or shedding those tears. And even if our minds would understand making mistakes or crying is okay, we still don’t allow ourselves to, because our inner drivers are so strong.

But there is a way to kick your drivers in the metaphorical arse, for there is always balance in nature. For every driver you have, there is an allower standing right in front of it. An allower is your own voice, telling you exactly the opposite of what your driver does. An allower would hit that “I am not good enough”-driver over the head, grab a megaphone and then happily announce to yourself you are good enough! It would creep up behind “don’t look weak” and scare it by screaming “it’s okay to show your emotions!”

Allowers are strong and positive and will help you get past your fears and onto new adventures. But they are hidden sometimes, and must be found first.

One of my last homework assignments was to find and creatively give outing to an allower (you can have as many allowers as you like). It took me two seconds to find my most bothersome driver (“you’re no good for anything”), but it took me two weeks to find the right allower.

And then it took me two weeks more to come up with a creative way to display it. This is important, because not only does this give extra power to your allower, it also helps bring it alive; to take your allower out of your head and bring it into reality.

The photo on top of this post is my allower. I used my tattoo as the basis for the heart-shape, because it has a lot of personal meaning to me, and then I used my favourite fonts and colours to create the text. I framed it and hung it on the wall by my bed, so that he first thing I see every morning when I wake up is:

You may trust yourself.

What is your strongest allower?

Adversity (aka If At First You Don’t Succeed…)

“We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity”
– Barbara De Angelis –

A few weeks ago my white little fuzzball (also known as Jamie the gerbil) was making strange movements in his cage. As any caring pet owner would do, I plucked him out of his unnatural habitat and checked him for physical discomfort, and boy were we in for a treat!

Turned out my little furry clutz had managed to sprain his left front paw! I still don’t know how he did it, but he did it.

So, as any caring pet owner would do, I took him to the vet. She was the one who verified my darling’s paw problems and gave me pain killers to soothe him.

All throughout this week, and a bit from the week before, I faced an adversity of my own. For my course I have to coach at least two “strangers” in order to work up some experience outside of class. I recruited people at the start of May (I just like to get my homework done early, alright?) and had found two women willing (and quite excited) to start this coaching trial with me. They were okay with it not happening until the end of June at the very least, due to requirements I had yet to meet.

Last week I thought it best to start contacting my coachees again in order to schedule an intake, after which we could start with our coaching sessions.

That’s right, I got the clearance! I got all my required homework done in time and passed my first exam, so I am good to go!

But that’s about how far my luck went, because quickly I got my two replies: one of my coachees had just finished some coaching and, on second thought, didn’t think it would be a good idea to start with another series. And the second one was still excited, but confessed she’d been offered coaching by her employer as she is about to lose her job. I asked her if she didn’t think it would be too much to also start this trial with me (I kind-of-sort-of had a hunch – better to lose a coachee before you start the sessions than during) and after a few days she confessed she thought it was.

My adversity is thus losing my two trial coachees, just as I was given the goes on working with them.

However, I do have to give credits for the second one, because she knew someone who might be interested instead. So fingers crossed.

The only thing I can do now is go back to square one (I’ve been here so many times in so many different situations, maybe I should just build a house here and never leave again – but that’d be boring!). There’s nothing left but to search for new interested people, hoping it won’t take me too long to find two people willing to let me coach them. For free.

You’d think people would be falling over each other to get some free coaching, but unfortunately that’s not the case.

When Jamie hurt his paw he kept on going (with a little help from his brother Loki – it was so cute to see Loki bring food to Jamie, keep their nest in shape and come running whenever someone opened their cage. Just to check for intruders who might hurt his friend. We all need a friend like that). Even if he was in pain, or high on gerbil pain killers, he kept going. He never gave up. Cleaning himself with just one paw must have been excruciating, but Jamie did it. Having your food continuously drop from your grasp because you can’t use both of your paws to hold it up must have been frustrating, but Jamie did it.

Jamie overcame his adversity in the most natural way possible: because he had no choice. And just like him, I will overcome mine. Because I have no choice.

What adversity have you overcome recently?

PS: Still, though, if you know someone in the Netherlands (or are someone in the Netherlands) who could use some free coaching (did I say it was free? As in, totally, 100% without costs? F-R-E-E? Just making sure you got that ;)), please let me know! Comment, email me, find me on facebook, stalk me, do whatever you need to do, because so will I πŸ™‚

Earworm Of The Week

This song always makes me happy for some reason. (It also helps there is a very easy and fun Dance Fitness dance on it!)

Hope you all have a good week. Make this last week of April count! πŸ™‚


Marvelous (aka Even If Your Sense Of Smell Is Bad, It’s Good To Smell Great)

  • Definition: Treating yourself to, well, a treat, because you know you deserve it. Nothing too big, just a simple little thing to lift your spirits and appreciate your own input.

“It is always the simple that produces the marvelous”
– Amelia Barr –

What’s more common than the cold? I have no idea, but I do have a cold. A very common one, as my nose is all red and stuffed and I keep sniffing as if it’s what I was put on this planet to do.

Even if it’s not the aim of today’s post, I suppose perseverance really does kill the game: after sneezing and wheezing around the house for two weeks straight, my mother has finally got me infected. Hooray! (NOT).

Anyway, back on topic: treating yourself after accomplishing something or reaching a goal. I remember my psychologist talking about this when I was in therapy (say, eight years ago or so) and me thinking: yea right. But she was right.

Here’s what she told me: treat yourself to something nice after accomplishing a difficult task, as a way of showing self-appreciation. It would lead to a more fulfilled and happy feeling, so my psych said.

A little over a week ago I reached a savings goal I’d been working on for months! That’s months of telling myself I couldn’t buy anything I didn’t necessarily need, because my money was to go elsewhere. And that feeling sucked; depriving myself of anything luxury because of my “greater good”.

What didn’t suck was the feeling I got when I hit my mark (and set a new goal, but that’s a different story)! I felt so uplifted, so relieved, so good about myself, I decided it was time to test my psychologist’s words and treat myself to something marvelous.

Turns out if you keep telling yourself not to buy anything you want but don’t need, it can get quite tricky to conjure up a reward. But after one and a half week I finally saw the light and the fullest bottle of this Marvelous perfume.

It smells so sweet and subtle, it’s as if you walk by a perfume store and you catch that whiff of “come-in-and-buy-something-smelly-in-a-good-way-that’s-way-overpriced”.

It feels kind of like a shame: smelling this good and not being able to pick up on it myself (*sneeze sneeze*, *cough cough*), but I still feel marvelous. Marvelous because I reached my goal, marvelous because I treated myself, and marvelous because it says so on the bottle.

(At this point I am just annoying my British-English spell check that’s underlining all things marvelous with one l).

Right. I am off to make myself a Hot Whiskey and getting to bed early. I don’t have work tomorrow, so I guess it’s just going to be another marvelous day πŸ™‚

What do you do to reward yourself when you’ve reached a goal?