T.

Tony Robbins UPW: How It Changed My Limiting Beliefs & Life

 – – part 3/3 – –


CONFRONTING MY LIMITING BELIEFS:
Post Tony Robbins’ UPW seminar, things seemed pretty clear to me. I mean, talk about immersion; you were non-stop working on you, day after day, four days straight. Forget eating and sleeping. You didn’t really need that. The energy was all in you and you alone. I opened up to total strangers who became some amazing friends. Those amazing friends, in turn, opened up to me about some things they were going through. It didn’t matter where we were from, what the color of our skin was, or if English was our first language or not: at the core of it all, we were humans with emotions and our own set of goals (remember, there were 42 different countries represented in one arena!).

It showed me that, as a community of support, we rise; we are all here to help each other on this earth. We can all learn from each other. Overall, the seminar taught me that we all need to listen to our most inner desires, pivot our mentality to “can-do” and go after what we were seeking for a more positive, true and meaningful life.

Remember that deep exercise I shared in my previous post that we did, where Tony made you think about something that was a limiting belief and how it would affect you up to forty years from now? Well, to share with you candidly, my limiting belief was Read more

G.

GETTING OVER MY FEAR OF FLYING

If you haven’t already, I suggest reading my first post about this and how my fear developed, which can be found here.

Bringing Me Closer to Flying:
Now, I just need to start off by saying how proud I am of myself. If anyone who has a fear of flying and still gets on a plane and is reading this, you should be proud of yourself.  And for those that are not yet ready, but want to one day be ready, you are also included in this ‘proud’ category.

When I suddenly became afraid of flying, I didn’t know what to think. But what I did know was that one day I would go back to soaring in the air.

As I mentioned in my prior post about this, my grandfather passed away and I missed his funeral because it involved me traveling down to the Caribbean and I just couldn’t bring myself to fly. Ever since that day, I became pretty sad and beat myself up.  However, I knew that my family would all go down there after one year and have a special memorial ceremony for him and visit his tomb.  And for this, I knew I just had to go.

So within the year leading up, I did my homework and I learned that my personal fear of flying could be overcome with just two things: listening to yourself and confidence. Read more

A.

Appreciating Stillness, Becoming Less Anxious

It really is enlightening.Last week I woke up and grabbed breakfast with my husband from our local spot. Unlike any time before, I suggested that we take it to-go and told him that we should just sit in the garden in front of our apartment complex for a bit.  And it was there, as I started to eat my breakfast sandwich and sit in minutes of comfortable, unspoken words, that I turned to him and started to cry.I was happy.

As I watched the water fountains splash water into the air, I couldn’t help but be happy. I turned to my husband and told him:

“It’s weird; I deeply appreciate the life around me. I am crying because I can feel the wind on my face, I can hear the splashes of water crash back down into the fountain and I notice the leaves dancing with the direction of the wind on the trees.  I think the reason why I appreciate this so much is because I can finally appreciate stillness.  I am just so happy; this is a taste of what I have been working so hard for and it’s slowly arriving.  I love it, I feel so blessed.”

In a world where there are a lot of fast-paced decisions, dinners, and footsteps, it becomes very hard to appreciate the little things sometimes.  I told him that if this was me a year ago, I wouldn’t have been able to just sit there and enjoy my surroundings.  I would have just been thinking about the 101 things I needed to do and 101 things I should have done; I wouldn’t have been appreciating the moment, the present.

As I ate my sandwich I continued to cry because I could taste every bite of my it, I could enjoy the sun peeking through the clouds and warming my cheeks. And all of this was amazingly nice.

It’s such a different feeling and I cry because I appreciate it. I didn’t need my phone to distract me at that moment.  I actually didn’t want my phone at all.  I secretly wished we were back in the early 1900s, in the countryside, with no technology. Just nature.

Read more

O.

One Year Since Anxiety Struck & What I Have Learned

I can’t believe it has been one year!

I must say, when I think of ‘365 days’ it seems quite overwhelming; but, the beauty is that I didn’t think like that while getting to this point, I honestly took it one day at a time.  And here I find myself, one year later, better.

The past year has definitely been a work in progress.  And while I am not 100% yet, I feel so much better than I did back when it first happened.  There were struggles, yes, but they were all tests of how far I have come and grown.  The beauty of it all was that I learned to control my anxiety so that if I felt an attack come on, I could just calm myself and nip it in the bud.

One of my hardest times dealing with anxiety during the past year, I must admit, was last week.

Being Your Own Worst Enemy
To be honest, I have been living anxiety-free for a couple of weeks, actually, and it wasn’t until last week, when I realized that my ‘one year’ was coming up, that I started to panic.  I kept thinking believing that the attack was going to anniversary itself.  It was as if the world was going to end and I, only I, knew it.  It just built this giant fear inside of me and I knew I was being overtaken by it.

While on my way home last Thursday, I almost lost it on the train again.  My mentality and way of thinking was “This is too good to be true, I have been able to fight the anxiety for almost a year and it is just going to come back and slap me in the face, I know it.”  So, naturally, thinking like this had me a bit paranoid for the whole week because I was just waiting for it to happen.  It was as if I wanted it to be a one-year anniversary.  But that was the thing: why was I waiting for it again?  Why was I putting myself in this prison that it will happen again?  Because if we think like that then, chances are, you will find yourself making it happen… again. Read more

M.

Mental Health Awareness Month: Breaking the Stigma, Accepting Myself

They’re ‘crazy’.  They’re full of ‘issues’.  Someone get them a therapist and keep them away from me.  I don’t want to associate myself with those kind of people.

That’s what many people think of when they hear that someone has a ‘mental health disorder’.  It’s a social stigma and it needs to end. May is Mental Health Awareness month and I want to share my personal story with you about coming to terms with my mental health disorder.

Growing Up
I was raised in a pretty strict household.  The road less traveled always sparked my intrigue, but I could never go down that road while growing up.  When someone asked me how I was, I had to say that I was OK (no one wants to hear a complainer, right?).  I was pressured to always get straight A’s in school and would be reprimanded if I came home with anything other than that.  I needed to get a job that paid top dollar.  I was never allowed to have a boyfriend, yet I was supposed to get married.  And when I finally got married, that’s when I could move out of my parents’ home, or else I wouldn’t be thought of as ‘lady’ anymore.  And when I got married, I should then buy a house, have kids, cook my husband dinner every night, and do all of the chores around the house myself. I should be able to manage all of this with no problem and never with any kind of complaint. In short, I was living a life that was already laid out for me with standards that should never be questioned. I was a programmed robot. And that was my life.

My pressures may have seemed normal to some, but were actually draining to me.  Because the standards were held so high above me, I learned that I could never disappoint. I learned that my every move should be a success and that I had no opinion on what I wanted to do- unless, of course, if it was choosing to be either a doctor instead of a lawyer (which, I should point out, wasn’t the outcome to this pre-planned fairytale anyway).

Since I was told how I should live my life, step-by-step, I never had the chance to find and be my true self.  I did, though (here’s the grand bonus!), grow to be very critical of my own self.  I was raised to be so ‘perfect’ that I never settled for anything less than that. Imagine that.  Living a life where everything had to be ‘perfect’.  It was hard and unattainable.  But I didn’t know the latter part.  What do you mean life couldn’t be ‘perfect’?  I had no sense of reality.

My Consequences
Life isn’t easy (as you probably know), but when I finally got a taste of liberty and it finally came time to be autonomous, I couldn’t make a decision. I was always very indecisive, over-analyzed everything, and freaked out when I couldn’t come up with what I wanted to do. People would come up to me and say “You are so put together, you are perfect, I wish I had your life.” And while the compliments were great to hear, I could never fully accept them because they didn’t know that I, internally, was struggling. I actually didn’t have it all together. They didn’t know the real me. And it wasn’t until recently that I didn’t even know the real me either.

I grew up so poor- confidence-wise. Approval and direction from others were what I was seeking 24/7. I was nothing but insecure (decisions were so hard, was I making the right choice that would make everyone else happy and keep me ‘perfect’?), had very low self-esteem (I’m not pretty, I was never told that I looked like a model, so I must be ugly), had a super low confidence level (I’m not confident in doing things on my own without direction), and was always worrying about my next move- no matter what it would be- to make sure that it would please others. I couldn’t ‘fail’; that would show weakness and would show that I didn’t know what I was doing.

Standing Up for Myself
With such a pressure to live up to, it’s no wonder that I felt anxious all the time and had mini panic attacks here and there. It’s no wonder that I felt like I was going through crazy turmoil.  But, I could never share any of this with anyone because I would be judged. Those times where I felt overwhelmed and felt like I couldn’t breathe were the times that I knew I needed a therapist or something. But how could I ever tell my parents that?  What would the family think?  No, I couldn’t share that about myself because that meant showing ‘imperfection’. They couldn’t know that. My whole life was about being ‘perfect’; so I had to make sure I kept this ‘perfect’ face on for everyone around me… or else.

And it was skiing back in January in upstate NY that it finally occurred to me: or else what?

What if I let someone see that I’m not perfect? What if I let people know that even those you think may have it all together around you actually don’t? What if there were people out there, like me, that were living with such societal pressures and had no outlet or example, could see that it was OK?

I never allowed myself to fall while skiing; I always avoided it and would tell myself that, if I did fall, I was nothing but a useless failure at life.  But it was back in January that I realized that life wasn’t fun anymore, that skiing wasn’t fun.  So I did something crazy and I let myself fall.  And when I finally did let myself fall back in January, I cried. Not because I hurt myself, but rather because I felt FREE and LIBERATED.  Life had a whole new meaning when I let my own guards down… and it felt amazing.

Being My Own Remedy & Finding My True Self
So I started this blog. Because it occurred to me that living a life of not trying to show that I was perfect was so much more liberating and worth living. I never wanted to see myself as someone who had a mental health disorder, because that meant that I wasn’t ‘perfect’, but you know what, I do. And I came to terms with it.  I came to terms with the fact that I do freak out under many circumstances and can’t think clearly.  I came to terms with that I doneed to face reality, I don’t have all of the answers, I will be judged, and that I will fail.  But all of this is OK. Because if I can start to fix this now, my tomorrow will just be so much better and much truer.

mham

As a result of letting myself fall since January?  I have definitely started to recover and get stronger with every passing day. It’s amazing how ever since starting this blog, I’ve wanted to find more ways to let myself continue to fall and learn from it. My confidence level and self-esteem have both increased, genuinely, because I feel like my true self. I feel like I’m not hiding anymore. I feel like I can BREATHE. Because when you have panic attacks, you feel like you can’t breathe. And you probably can’t.  You’re under so much pressure that you don’t know how to do something as simple as breathe. Freaking out isn’t perfect; it’s deemed as an imperfection. And you can’t handle imperfection. But what if that pressure was alleviated a little at a time with baby steps, once or twice a day, just by standing up for who you really are or what you really believe in?

Conclusion
The amount of responses to my blog have not only been overwhelmingly positive, but also such a such a blessing. There have been so many people that have opened up to me and I thank them. Because it takes a lot of courage to come out to even one person. And by doing so, you are actually showing yourself that you are ready for a change; you can handle the new you that wants to come out. It is with a community that we can get through this. And while at times we may feel like we are alone, we are not. There are so many others like us out there that have said “enough is enough” and are making small changes already – for the better.

So this month, reflect on yourself. If you are afraid of the stigma, don’t be. And if you don’t want to stand up and say that you have a mental health disorder to the public that is OK! But make sure you most definitely say it to yourself. Because that’s what counts the most. If you have your own identity on your side, the rest slowly starts to fall in place.

My name is Loren, I have an anxiety disorder, and I’m not ashamed. Instead, I am so empowered. Try to knock me down, you won’t be able to. Try to tell me what I should do with my life and you won’t be able to either. My confidence level has been building up, authentically, like a strong house, made with TRUE bricks made up of my TRUE self.  They are no longer bricks made up of what those around me want. Nope, not anymore.

Help Others
If you know someone around you that is going through the same things I am/was going through, please share this with them.  I may not be a big, popular example of someone with an anxiety disorder, but I am an example nonetheless.  I wish I read something similar to what I just wrote years ago.  I wish I knew it was OK.  Things may have been different today.  But we live and learn, right? 🙂

Help Yourself
Do some research, read up on Mental Health Awareness Month, and find ways to start feeling better. Drink lots of water, get active, eat well, meditate, and be brave.  Remember to be true to yourself because you are great. The better you awaits tomorrow. And he/she starts today. There is nothing wrong with you. Absolutely nothing wrong about the beautiful, strong, no-one-expects-you-to-be-perfect you.  Let’s end this stigma.  Everyone is human.  No one is a programmed robot.  Not even you.

Loren.

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Resources:
Letter from the President of the United States of America on Mental Health Awareness Month
www.mentalhealth.gov
Jimmy Kimmel – Bringing Awareness in This Cute, Funny Video