There was a time in my life when I sat on the side-lines – watching, waiting and hoping that something would happen to change my circumstances and usher me into the kind of life I wanted to be living. Decades passed, and the ‘big bang theory’ I had been wishing for just didn’t happen.
Let me tell you a little bit about myself . . .
Remember the hit single recorded by Swedish pop group ABBA in the 1970s?
It goes like this:
“Knowing me, knowing you; there is nothing we can do”
At first, I was a believer - I believed the limiting lie in Abba’s song. I bought into it and I made it my mantra. I believed there was nothing I could do; that I was powerless to achieve the bold, big, audacious goals I craved, because all the odds were stacked against me. Never mind that this was not true; I believed it, and, so for years it worked. It worked to deliver the results I deserved, keeping me ‘safe’ - in that cosy, comfortable place called the ‘Comfort Zone’.
As you know, nothing ever grows in the comfort zone, so I got more frustrated as I watched other people soaring higher into new expressions.
Every where I looked, it seemed like someone I knew was boldly embarking on a new project, launching a new product, exploiting a new idea or expressing themselves in a whole new way. I got more miserable with each passing day, then I began to feel sorry for myself.
Thankfully, the day came when I decided enough was enough. I drew deeper meaning from that famous quote that says:
“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting to see change”
I managed to establish that change was needed. However, parting ways with insanity was neither easy nor quick.
Albeit, I became a believer in a different kind of narrative – one that affirmed me as capable of achieving anything. I decided to eye-ball one of my dream goals – that of becoming a published author. Once I had made that milestone decision to write and publish my book, then the tears came.
Why tears? I think it was partly due to the relief of coming back to my true, authentic self – a writer and a creative. It felt like a moment of homecoming, after decades of ignoring my creative self while pursuing my corporate career. Another reason I cried was because of the sheer pressure I felt to prove myself.
Have YOU ever experienced such a moment, in which hope and despair came together for you? Perhaps in that moment, you heard the strident voice of the Inner Critic screaming at you: “Run” It’s a trap! Go back! Get back to safety within your comfort zone!”
I too heard that voice, and no, contrary to popular advice, I did not ignore it.
It was too loud to ignore, so I did something more radical – I faced up to it. I would wake up each day standing up to that inner critic voice until I overcame it. I was stubborn and resolute in reeling off the many strengths, capabilities and qualities I knew I had! I took on a new identity, and I told that bullying voice how freaking awesome I was!
Most days it felt like a battle, but I did it anyway. And I won.
Having silenced my inner critic, I began to romance the writer in me by churning out simple, short, inspirational one-liners. The sense of liberation and release I felt was instant and incredible. I felt as if I had been led to an oasis after decades of draught.
Two books and hundreds of one-liners later, I am still writing, and the inner bully voice is getting fainter and fainter. Most days it is silent now. Talk about cowardice huh!
With the benefit of hindsight, I discovered that what I was missing during those years of draught was not the writing. What I was missing was the fulfilment it brings: the meaning, the self-expression and the sense of accomplishment of knowing that I am honouring God by being who He created me to be.
My story is not unique, it has happened and continues to happen to millions of people around the world. We fall out of rhythm and we lose touch with who we are. We perfect the art of going through the motions. Life becomes about work, academic and corporate pursuits, praise, criticism, tags, titles, promotions at work, and self-image.
The longer we stay in this unnatural place, the harder it can become to shift.
If YOU are dealing with pain, feeling redundant, dried out and grey, allow me to recommend writing because it worked for me! You do not have to write to be published - unless you want to. Write to express yourself to the audience of one – YOU.
Go out there today and buy yourself a journal and begin writing. Journaling is the best form of self-therapy there is!
As you start to write, remember to let go of any attachments to other people’s expectation of you or of your writing. Do not seek or expect praise or criticism – just write.
P.S: Don’t forget to write a review to let me know what you think!
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