- The best thing for me and everyone that I love is to put me first– It is no secret that I am a people pleaser but to give of myself I need to have of me to give, not putting myself first has affected me and my loved ones adversely. As long as I can remember, I have always put people before me. I am the first to volunteer to arrange anything from a baby shower to birthday party. I remember a time when I was running from one event to the next to make everyone happy. I had become completely exhausted and depressed because I had nothing left of me for myself and was spending all of my energy on everyone else. Obviously, I had made it my duty to please everyone and I kept telling myself that loved ones should come first. The truth is that I have to come first in order to be able to give the best to my children and the people who I love. My entire life I have made decisions based on others. I have stayed in the wrong situations for people, instead of getting out of these situations for me. This has been a tough year for me and I have had to put my foot down, put myself first and stop giving my all at the detriment of myself and others around me. Once I began making decisions based on me first, I suddenly was in a happy space and everyone around me was suddenly happier as well. When I put myself first, I have more to give and I am living a fulfilling life and those closest to me benefit greatly. Putting me first is not being selfish but rather being fair. This for me is still a work in progress because I am quick to put others first, but I have taken leaps in the right direction and definitely am getting better every day and I am constantly making conscious choices and decisions that put me first in my life.
- I can no longer keep the wrong people for me in my life– The truth is you become like the people you choose to share your company with. I had a number of toxic people that were in my life and they were not good for me at all. I made bad decisions because of the company that I had been keeping and I was putting the wrong people before myself and before the right people. I have had to put my foot down here and keep it down. If people are bad for me, then they do not belong in my life. It is important to be the best me that I can be and anyone who does not allow me to be my best or keeps me from achieving my goals is not worth having in my life. It is not being a bitch, it is being real and painting the picture of my life that I want without being distracted.
- I cannot allow people’s opinions and judgement on other people to stop me from getting to know someone– I formed opinions on one person in particular based on what others had said about this person. I took the time to get to know the person for myself and realised that I had been wrongly informed and misguided. I cannot allow other people to form my opinions because it is not fair, and I could end up not missing out on having good people in my life, this would be absolutely tragic. People are entitled to their own opinions, I am entitled to form my own. I have also stopped listening as people start speaking in a negative or nasty way about others. I don’t care what people think about other people and if it is nasty then I don’t want to know. Like mom always said: “if you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it” and most importantly don’t entertain it when people are mean.
- No matter how hard I fall or however terrible the situation seems, it is only as bad as I allow my mind to make it– As I mentioned, I have had a hard year so far. There have been big obstacles and I have had to make huge changes and hard decisions to make. When I have been at my lowest my mind has somehow seen the light at the end of the tunnel. I remember years back, sitting in a Doctors room, feeling miserable, sick and very sorry for myself when I noticed a book on the table. I stood up and bent down to pick up the small white book with navy blue writing on the cover. It was a book of “feel good” quotes. I read “Don’t forget to sing in the life boats”. Suddenly I felt like a I was being a real brat. In my mind I pictured a big ship sinking, people were standing with orange life jackets over their shoulders and fastened around their waists. They were being helped into life boats, some crying, some screaming and some pushing and shoving. I pictured one man with chubby, rosy cheeks, dark hair and a beard sitting in one of the boats. The man began to sing in my mind and suddenly the storm seemed distant and people were instantly relaxed and calm. You create the reaction to a situation and only you can control your reaction and how you deal with it. Breathe, think and then react in best way for you. Always see the light even in a dark night.
- In business and making money, thinking outside of the box and not limiting myself is the way forward– I have learned that there are many ways to make money and to make business work. I have had to diversify my thinking and seize opportunity that really are everywhere. The future is bright and there is so much opportunity to take advantage of if I just stop limiting myself and get out of the box. Thinking outside of the norm and paving the way to a successful future is what I have learned to do.
Depression, the huge mistake I made which caused it and getting over it.
As a child, life was fairly easy. I was always good at making friends and was always able to stand up for myself so bullying wasn’t ever a problem for me. I had a really happy childhood and things were always bright and I have so many happy memories. In my early adult years, I began to become more popular and thrived on the positive attention. I was well known in my circles and would be greeted with adoration by people within my community. I had an incredible amount of friends and I was completely driven by their love for me. I spent so much time doing everything I could for my friends and I would run from one event to the next to please everyone. After all I was loved and needed to return the favour. How can positive attention be a bad thing? I mean everyone loves attention, right?
I was indeed filled with confidence as I walked through the streets of my city. I had a very positive energy about me and I eluded complete control of this incredibly amazing person who I thought I was. I had created my opinion of myself and my self worth based on how everyone saw me…which was great while everyone cherished me and made me the centre of attention.
I had literally handed over the remote control to my life to everyone else. I had no control of my life. Not only had I allowed myself to build Me on how everyone else saw me but I managed to hand my remote control over to people who would soon destroy my happiness. When a house is built, the most important first step is building a strong foundation. My house did not have a foundation and therefore could never withstand the harshest of storms.
As my life was hit by some harsh storms, I crumbled. The person that I had built on everyone else’s opinions could not stand alone. I became very depressed and felt completely hopeless. I had absolutely no want to live and more and more I felt that dying would be the best escape. I had no idea that I had in fact caused this problem. It was not the people who had broken me down because if I had built myself worth and self opinion on ME, I would not have been so easily broken.
Six months after being diagnosed with depression I found myself hitting rock bottom. The best thing about hitting rock bottom is that the only way to go is up. When I had nothing left I was forced to learn my mistake and I started my journey of recovery.
Living my life for everyone else had left me completely exhausted and unable to even get out of bed in the morning.
I sat down all by myself and started to get to know me. At first I wrote down my positives and negatives and though the list of positives which I could think of was only one or two things, the negative list seemed endless. How could everyone around me have seen me as an incredibly strong and amazing woman when I myself was unable to think of more than two positive things about me. Luckily I was soon to realize that my mind was completely over powered by depression and I did in fact have lots of positives. So with time, my list grew and the negatives did not seem all that bad anymore. Now was the time to make it. Now was the time to stop giving my energy to everyone else and now was the time to build my self worth on me.
Getting to know me and the journey of self discovery is one that teaches me every day. I have so much to give but never again will I allow people to just take. Giving is on my time and by my rules. I love giving and I truly feel the need to give back as I have been so richly blessed along the way that it would be a complete sin to not pass on blessings.
I have learned exactly what I should not be doing and what I do not want to do. Things that drain me are being cut out of my life.
I cannot choose which cards life has to deal me but I can choose how I play the cards which I am dealt. I choose to paint a beautiful picture and leave the sadness and regret behind. I will take what I need to from construction criticism but I will not allow negativity to define me. I am worth so much more than what everyone thinks of me and I will continue to walk my journey as the whole me. I choose to love the things that are positive and accept the things about me that aren’t so great. I am a whole person and I am the only perfect me.
In the famous and wonderful words of Dr Suess “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!
Be yourself, build your own foundation and when the storm comes, your house will remain strong and steadfast.
After overcoming depression, I learnt that not all days are going to be good days. Some days the sun just doesn’t shine. Every now and then depression comes to remind me of what I went through but at the same time reminds me how far I have come. I have come a long way since the days when I could not get through, since the days I thought that I couldn’t carry on. The best thing about hitting rock bottom was that I could only go up from the bottom and up I went! I was strong enough to overcome depression and grow through the experience and most of all the journey of getting to know me. You never know your strength, until you need to use it. When I needed to sort my head out, suddenly I had the strength to do it. Never be afraid to talk to those closest to you or to ask for help. Seek professional help if you need it, I know I did.
When the day is dark, I have a guide to get through, these are my 12 tips:
- Fake it until you make it – When you aren’t happy, smile anyway. Take a look in the mirror and smile at yourself.
- Dress up – Put your make-up and your heels on, looking good helps you feel good. Wear the little black dress you hardly wear or a nice suit. Wear whatever makes you feel fabulous (Leave the sneakers and baggy pants alone on days like this!)
- Have a healthy great tasting breakfast, for me plain yoghurt with berries and seeds is a great tasting healthy way to start the day. Salmon is a fantastic way to start the day too, salmon, avo and cream cheese is enough to put a smile on your dial!
- Do a couple burpees or jumping squats if you prefer. You don’t have to go overboard, no one is asking you to run a marathon. 10 – 20 is enough to get your blood pumping and lift your mood.
- MEDITATE – this one was very difficult for me to grasp but in the world of technology, there are so many helpful apps to get you started. My favourite is “Guided Meditations – Pitashi Mobile Imagination”. This app eases you into meditating with a number of beginner meditations. If there is one thing that is going to take you to new levels in your mental state, this is it! Meditate, meditate, meditate, I cannot say it enough!
- Call your bestie up just to say hi and have a chat, this can make you feel a million times better.
- Put on your favourite feel good tune (dance around the room if you like). Music is amazing, and it can lift your mood immediately.
- There is plenty of motivational stuff online, google or check in at your favourite motivational blog.
- If you are religious, pray and have some quiet time.
- Give yourself positive affirmation – you are amazing, you are alive, and you are blessed, remember that.
- Imagine a place where you are at complete peace. When you do this, engage all five senses: sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. For example, imagine you are walking next to a river. You are watching the sparkling blue water as it lazily drifts slowly and you listen to the way it trickles and murmurs as it flows. You bend down to touch the slightly numbing, icy water, cupping your hands, you bring some tangy, cold water to your mouth, you sip it and feel alive. The air smells fresh and drops of water hit your face.
- If all else fails…. chocolate. Dark chocolate apparently stimulates the production of endorphins and contains serotonin which makes you happy. What better way to help lift your mood?
You are in control of your mind, you are the only person who can pull yourself together. Don’t beat yourself up for the bad days but always remember that after the rain, comes the sunshine, after the night comes the day. Tomorrow the sun will shine and with the brand-new day, you get a new start.
May tomorrow bring you lots of smiles. 🙂
I am not a judgmental person at all in general, I really don’t care what people do and don’t judge them for doing crazy or even stupid things. However, when it comes to people who abuse others, I can be very judgmental, though probably not my place to be. When I see bad parenting or a child or person suffering at the hands of another person, I get really angry.
Being foster mom to two abused children (now adults), who came to live with me over six years ago, it really hits a nerve when abuse rears its ugly head around me. It is very close to home and I am very quick to get up in arms. I have seen abuse on too many occasions. It happens everywhere. Last year I had an extra child placed with me as place of safety because of her terrible home situation. This year once again there is a child who is being abused at home that my children know. The truth is that it is absolutely everywhere, and many people are trapped in a situation of abuse because they are frightened to do anything about it, they are dependent on the perpetrator or for whatever their reason may be. Some people (particularly people who were abused from childhood) have been abused for so long that they only know abuse, there is no sense of it being wrong in their minds because it is all that they know.
Abuse is a vicious circle and some people are unable or unwilling to break that circle. When I was abused, I could not understand why the perpetrator wanted to do the same thing that he was subjected to his whole life. I really struggled to understand why he did not want to be different having seen the trauma that abuse causes. For me it was unthinkable that an adult could not see right from wrong and not choose to do what is right. I really struggled to understand why he abused me and what made him do it. I spent a long time really trying to figure it out and to be honest, I don’t think I ever will. The truth is I cannot truly understand how another person thinks. We are all different and we cannot get inside the mind of someone else. Nor do we actually know each other’s full journey or what people have been through.
Trying to understand someone can be infuriating as well as impossible. I cannot think the way he thinks, and I need to stop trying to, the truth is that my mind cannot comprehend the reasoning behind his behaviour. If I do something wrong, I can look at the situation, analyze it and find what lead to me doing it and I can apologise, grow and learn from my mistake. I cannot make the person behind my abuse learn from his mistakes and I cannot truly know what lead to his behaviour. As much as I always feel the need to analyze everything and come to a reasonable conclusion, I have had to learn that I cannot understand everyone, and I cannot always find a conclusion. Sometimes I just have to understand that I am not that person and cannot think like they do. I can draw my own conclusions and speculate, however is this really any help at all?
I believe that abuse was a normal condition for my abuser. But I thought that he would be able to see the damage and not want to continue the cycle. I became angry that he didn’t stop the cycle, that he abused me even though he “loved” me. He never wanted to protect me from abuse, that is what cut the deepest. Why would someone who loves me want to hurt me? You see I cannot understand because I am not aware of all of the facts of his childhood. It is not something that men talk about, especially in the family that he came from. Boys don’t cry, and men don’t need help. It is a dangerous situation because children suffering from any form of trauma are not treated or given any form of help.
I cannot fix anyone, and I should stop trying. I cannot help someone who does not want to help themselves. The only person I am in control of is me. I can be a positive influence and I can share my experience but thinking I can fix the person that caused the problem is really just silly.
In a more recent incident I was sitting with a lady who does a lot of welfare work and she was telling me about some of the cases where the mothers keep having children with different men and the men leave and the mothers abuse their children. I was so disgusted and said, “how dare they, they have no right, they are adults and should know better”. Her answer to me was extremely blunt and hit me like a bucket of cold water. She said, “how can they know that it is wrong if they have never known anything else?”
The Jungle book springs to mind. Mowgli, a little boy raised by wolves in the jungle, rejected humankind despite being human, the animals were all he knew. This I feel to be a great example. Mowgli did not know humans and therefore he rejected them. And honestly who am I to judge anyone in any way. Yes, abuse makes me angry and I want to judge but it is not my place. I do not know the background, I do not know why a mother abuses her children and if it is all that she has ever known, then how can she know different.
I feel that there is a desperate need for education, we need to educate children and make sure that they understand what abuse is. Education will ensure that should a child or adult find themselves in an abusive situation, they will be able to identify it as such. More emphasis needs to be put on emotional abuse, emotional abuse is what stops people sharing their stories as well as causing the victim to feel unwarranted guilt.
I have every right to be angry for the way I have been mistreated but I cannot expect to understand the reasons why people in the past chose to abuse me or what lead them to become abusive in the first place. The only thing I can do is choose to tell my story and choose to make a difference in the lives of others.
I want to be a pillar of strength for anyone facing abuse and I know that in my own way, I can help victims to become survivors.
I love people and I love being loved and appreciated by people. I love being popular and I love positive attention. This is one of the major contributors to me falling into depression. Another major factor was my history of abuse and me identifying with abuse and allowing it to continue without realising it.
As far back as I can remember I have always gone out of my way for everyone around me, winning favour where ever I could and giving so much to the people around me. I gave and gave, and everyone took and took. As long as I was giving, I felt great because I thought that people liked me. I was confident and happy while not realising that I was being completely drained. I remember running from one get together to the next, never wanting to disappoint anyone by saying no. My weekends were completely exhausting, and I was feeling as if I was drowning. I was absolutely exhausted at the start of each week and I never felt rested at all. I was literally driving on fumes and not coping with day to day things. My concentration levels were really low, and I was wasting excessive amounts of time rechecking simple things because I had been unable to concentrate properly in the first place. Small tasks felt like huge mountains and I was waking up each day feeling exhausted and dreading the day ahead. I was simply wishing my days away. Waiting for home time, waiting for bed time, waiting for a break that I could just sit and breathe.
Tanu B. Singh. said:
“Time is like a river. You cannot touch the same water twice because the flow has passed and will never pass again. Enjoy every moment.”
I was watching time go by, not realising that I could never get time back. I was in zombie mode and I was literally wasting my life. All because I wanted to please everyone. Time is a very valuable commodity, wasting it is a tragedy.
At the end of the day I was only damaging myself. I had become so used to putting everyone else first that I had become someone that I wasn’t. I had become the person everyone wanted me to be instead of being true to myself. I had to hit rock bottom before I even noticed how far I had slipped into the very damaging world of the people pleaser. I have a terrible habit of trying to save the wounded and find the lost. This is the very reason that I got into the first abusive relationship at 17. The guy I got involved with needed saving, needed me, or so I thought. Although I wouldn’t go back and change the past, I need to remind myself to stop putting everyone else first constantly.
Not only is people pleasing completely draining, it is very dangerous because as quickly as you build your self-esteem up on the positive attention from people, your self-esteem can be broken in an instant by negative attention. You make yourself completely vulnerable to being made or broken by people. People’s behaviour is completely out of your control, but you are basing your self-esteem on them. This is without a doubt the most dangerous thing you can do and the effects on your mental health are catastrophic. It takes one person to knock you down into the pits of depression or to give you an anxiety disorder. And at the same time you have completely lost yourself.
Suddenly the people pleaser is faced with turmoil and this is when I was given the amazing opportunity to find myself. This was the time to get to know me and to learn how to set strict boundaries and put me first. We grow up being told not to be selfish and to give unto others, but I am telling you right now, be selfish, look after yourself, put yourself first. Take time to get to know yourself, take time to grow, learn, and better yourself. Take the time to build your self-esteem on YOU. You are the only solid foundation on which to build your self-esteem. If you build your self-esteem on others, you give them the power to destroy you. Never mind the fact that you are left completely emotionally exhausted pleasing everyone and having nothing left for yourself.
I am not saying don’t do anything for anyone else, I am saying put you first. Set boundaries, be assertive and learn to say no. Give yourself time and love yourself first. Spend time with yourself, take time out of your day to spend on you. Stop wasting energy on what other people think of you. What people think of you is entirely their business. What you think of yourself is your business. And if you have areas within you that you need to work on, do it. Fix the things you don’t like and be the best version of you.
Doing good for others is healthy and creates happiness, don’t confuse this with being a people pleaser. Giving is good but trying to please everyone is when giving becomes dangerous. When you look after yourself first, you become content, happy and confident and you are able to analyse and decide what you want to give and to who.
Take time to do something that is purely for you. Paint, draw, write, whatever you enjoy doing, find a hobby. The satisfaction you get out of doing something you enjoy for you is worth all the weight in gold. Remember you are the only person who truly knows you, so change what you don’t like and learn to love yourself. Loving yourself is truly the very best thing you can do for you and everyone around you.
Knowing your worth when the world is showing you the middle finger is something that you just have to do!
I know who I am, I am confident, and I know what an incredible benefit I am to so many people. In business, I am strong, people orientated and incredibly hard working. In relationships I give more than my fair share. I am an amazing friend and someone who my friends cherish and admire. But so many times on my journey I have been fed up with the world, over how much I have been done in, ignored and been swept aside.
Knowing my worth in the lowest and loneliest times has been tough but been an experience that cannot be measured. I have always been a popular person, I have always made friends easily and been liked by people. I made one grave mistake…I built my opinion on what everyone else thought of me and so I felt fabulous since everyone liked me but suddenly when someone attacked me and actively disliked me I doubted myself. This is a dangerous thing, stop basing your self-esteem and self-worth on what other people think of you. If they don’t like you, that is there problem and not yours! Get to know yourself, love yourself, respect yourself and know your worth. Work on improving the things that you don’t like about yourself and be the best version of you possible! When you know who you are, people’s negative opinions do not matter to you and won’t knock you down.
Having come from a place of abuse, it took time to realise my worth and find myself. Getting to know Lisa was a fulfilling journey. Suddenly I was standing in the mirror and appreciating the view. Seeing myself for who I am and seeing the value within me. Something I had never noticed or appreciated because I had never really taken the time to get to know me.
Life has a funny way of teaching you, and often you are left shut out in the cold and feeling very alone. Wondering where the people are who you have been there for through thick and thin. When you are at your lowest suddenly everyone seems to fade away. Life is busy, right, people are busy, people get caught up in their lives and so they seem to forget about you. I sit in a dark corner thinking about who loves me and who my friends are and what we have been through, but I am all alone. Where is everyone? Where are the people who are meant to be here for me? I can’t find them, and truth be told, I don’t want to have to. In a way I feel that they should just be there and almost excepting that they know that I need them.
They don’t know I need them and in a way I am too arrogant to reach out. I have always been there when they have needed me but where are they now that I need them? Come on, Lisa, Grow up! How can I expect people to just know that I need them? Silly girl!
Not only do I feel that the people who should be there aren’t, the world keeps on showing me a BIG ZAP SIGN. Everywhere I look, I get shown away.
Can the world see what I am? And if they can, can they see my tears, can they see my worth? Sometimes I feel like I am constantly being tested. I know my worth and I am steadfast in who I am. I know what I have achieved, and I am proud of who I am. Somehow, I feel like no one else sees it.
It is right then when I need to find the strength to carry myself, lift myself up and show the world who I am. If you can’t see me, then I am going to show you who I am and what I have to offer. Sometimes the key is within me, sometimes I have to unlock the door myself and not expect it to be opened for me. It is up to me to show the world who I am and start my new chapter. If I am not going to write my own book, then who will? This is my journey, this is my life and it is up to me to make my journey count.
The funny thing is when I reach out, everyone is there for me. All the people that I felt had left me in the dark, came to my aid when I just reached out. Life has a way of showing you which friends matter, which friends are actually friends and which friends have faded into the past. I am blessed in many ways, but I count my richest of blessings in the people I have who I am lucky enough to call my friends. My family is incredible and have literally carried me through the tough times. Friends and family, the people who no matter what, know my worth and support me no matter what I am going through. I always remember the quote “God doesn’t give you the people that you want, God gives you the people that you need”. And God knows me best. He has never forsaken me when it comes to putting people I need in my life.
Sometimes I have to take a step back, reach out, put my arrogance aside and low and behold, I have an army. An incredible army of amazing and completely different people standing behind me and supporting me. An army willing to fight for me and face the battle head on. But I know that I am the commander of my army and without me reaching put to my army, they could never know that I need them.
If doors are slamming in my face then those are the doors that are not meant to be. The bigger better things are behind the doors which will be opened for me.
If the world doesn’t see me, then I am going to make the world see me.
Abuse in any form takes hard work and dedication to overcome. I am stronger, I am a different person and I am the person I am because of what I have been through. Coming out of the abusive relationship, I had no idea who I was. I was broken, confused and just lost. I dedicated my time to writing and coming to terms with what I had been through. It is very difficult, but at the end of the day I would not go back and change what I have been through. It made me who I am today, it made me stronger, it taught me a lot and most of all it gave me the opportunity to help others who have been through it. If I can make a difference in one life then I am blessed.
I feel very strongly about abuse, it is everywhere. When I talk to people, I can’t believe how common it is. I wish I could just wipe all abuse off of the earth, but alas all I can do is help in my own small way.
Abuse tends to come back to bite when you least expect it. When you know that you have moved on and are stronger and healed. A very special friend of mine received a phone call recently from a family member of her ex’s new girlfriend, complaining about the way she is being treated. She was concerned for her family member and wanted to find out more about the man she is dating who is my friend’s ex. Without going into too much detail, my friend was left absolutely devastated. All of the pain and emotions came flooding back. I have been here on more than one occasion, one in particular my ex called me to tell me that he had beaten his girlfriend at the time and I cried on the phone and I said he should have learnt through losing me. I could not understand why the abuse was carrying on with his next girlfriend. The truth is it still is although the wonderful lady he called me about has moved on and has a beautiful life with a beautiful daughter. My point here is that like all bad experiences they sometimes haunt you with the smallest thing triggering a flood of emotions, pain and memories. So, no matter how far you have gotten at times you get stung by the memories of hell.
I spoke to my friend and I explained that her reaction was normal and that she has come so far, I am super proud of my gorgeous friend. She is a strong, beautiful, intelligent lady and she is going to go much further than she ever imagined.
Having once been a victim of abuse means that no matter how much I have healed every now and then something comes along to take me back to the pain. I can be brought suddenly down to my knees, with an agonizing thump, with the smallest reminder. A reminder that puts me back in the situation that caused all of the damage to begin with. Having said that, I am no longer a victim but a survivor, I am the victor of my circumstances and I am going make a difference.
The most valuable advice that I can give is if you are covering up for things in a relationship, lying and pretending everything is okay then there is a problem. I built up a wall of lies when I was in an abusive relationship. No one knew I was abused. I kept on making excuses and pretending. THIS IS THE BIGGEST WARNING SIGN, A RED LIGHT. Being abused is embarrassing, I didn’t want to tell people. I didn’t want them to know. And most of all I didn’t not want to talk about it, it made it even more real. When I started talking, I started healing and in healing I got to know me for me and I got to love the incredible woman that I am.
The road has not been smooth, at one point I had been in another abusive situation and when I was given help and guidance by professionals, they immediately picked up that I identified with abuse. I so easily accepted abuse almost as the norm. I am an intelligent woman but having been groomed in abuse at such a young age, I was exactly that, groomed in abuse.
I know the signs, I am a strong woman and through experience I have gained strength, character, wisdom, courage and even forgiveness. I am the master of my own destiny and I will not allow abuse into my life.
Hold your head up high, know your worth, stand your ground and most of all ask for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength.