Sunday, 9 November 2014

What I've learnt in (almost) 40 years

So, as I write this, it is exactly a month to go   until I reach my 40th birthday. At the moment, I'm not really thinking that much about it. But as the big day approaches, I may well be overcome with mixed feelings of excitement, nostalgia and nervousness all in one go. Okay, age is just a number .. and the older I've got, the less I'm concerned about how long I've been on this earth .. but I think this birthday will be a significant moment for me. Partly because I'm still miraculously alive to see it, and partly because I think the forties are going to be my best decade yet.

My thirties were definitely life changing. When I turned 30, I was still living in Poole, working at Liverpool Victoria (now LV=) in a fairly steady job, attending church, being a good Christian and reading my Bible .. and also still very insecure and lacking in social skills, without really realising it at the time. Just over a year later, I went through the mother of all shitstorms, didn't want to live but was too scared to die, gave up Christianity as I knew it, and thought I'd never have another good day.

Fast forward a few months and a miracle occurred and I started to get my life back on track, moved to Yorkshire and started my journey of self discovery. Life has been bloody hard at times, but grace and resilience has kept me going. Life has also had its good times. Nowadays, I am reasonably happy in myself, and grateful for what I've learnt. So what do I know about life?

Not a lot really. However much wisdom I think I may have, there is still plenty for me to learn. But here are some important things I've learnt along the way.

1) Things don't usually happen overnight. You hear of people such as Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie who had what seemed like an overnight awakening where they became at peace with life. This is wonderful, but for most people, life is a process and things take time. As you will know if you've been following my blog for a while, I have had issues with relationships and money for a while .. or rather, the lack of them. It's not usually realistic to attract the relationship of your dreams or lots of money straight away if you've had issues with these things for a while. Whatever our issues may be, there is usually a lesson within these things, which we would not learn if the problem was solved in a flash.

2) The mind constantly thinks about the past and future. 'The Power of Now' was a life changing book for me. Before that, I never considered the concept of living in the present moment. So often we are preoccupied with the things we want to have but don't currently have, or with the mistakes we made which are supposedly messing up our lives. Whilst I am not a master of living in the present moment, at least I am more aware of how the mind works and that it is possible to find peace in the present.

3) Life has an uncanny way of reflecting your subconscious beliefs. The subconscious mind is a complicated thing, but basically, we form patterns and beliefs in our mind about life, based mainly on childhood experiences, which become deeply embedded in our subconscious mind. This can cause us to react when we are triggered, and the reaction seems automatic. Relationships and friendships are a great example of this. So often, people blame the other person or people that they meet .. but if you dig deep, you will likely discover a belief such as 'Men are bastards', 'Women only like the bad guys', 'People let me down'. And sometimes these beliefs are buried deep down below layers of pain which need to be faced if we are to overcome them.

4) There are some nasty people out there .. but there are a lot of good people. Again, life will reflect back to you what you believe. If you believe that people won't like you, you will come up against situations where people don't treat you that well or make fun of you. If you believe that you are a great person and that people will like you, you will find more people who like you. I'm not sure that life is so simple as to say that everyone will like you if you love yourself, but I do think that the more you love yourself, the more people will come into your life that reflect this. There are some people who aren't that pleasant .. and the government plus the greedy people who control much of the world's resources are pretty nasty pieces of work .. but there are some great people.

5) Comparing yourself to others is a waste of time. And heaven knows, I've done this more than I'd like to remember. When we compare ourselves to others, we invariably compare the things we don't like about ourselves to others who seem to be doing so much better. Or we compare ourselves to others who we see ourselves as 'better than' ie 'I don't gossip about people like he/she does'. It takes a lot of self acceptance to stop comparing yourself to others. Once you start to realise that you are a wonderful, unique person with a story to inspire others, then you can start to live life on your own terms.

6) It is possible to be positive. I had a lifetime of negative thinking for over 30 years, covering it over with religion. I still fall back into negative thought patterns at times, but I am able to see life in a more positive light.

7) Be patient with yourself. I have made a number of mistakes, lost a relationship with a family member and could have lost more family relationships. I have spent years struggling with the fear of rejection and failure. No matter how long things take, stay open to life and don't beat yourself up because things aren't happening as quickly as they 'should'.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

I am really looking forward to my 40s. I think things are really going to start changing for me in relationships and career .. but of course, change begins with myself. The person I need to fall in love with first is myself. No-one else will make me happy if I'm not happy in myself. I need to question my beliefs about work - the last two years in the workplace have been by far the most difficult ever, and I have been close to breaking point on a few occasions. I am still standing though, and I think I will be a stronger person for it.

Hope you enjoyed reading this. Please leave a comment :)

No comments:

Post a Comment

A few things this week has taught me

Well well. This one really has been one of the toughest weeks in a good while. It's pretty rare for me to get too depressed these days, ...