It’s been a really long time since I last posted, mostly because of burnout and whole host of other things I’d rather not get into right now.
But I have come to a few conclusions about myself, my life, my adulthood and my being that I feel I should share. Usually I’m not so existential. I’m too busy dreaming about my life and how I want it to be – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as I will get to in just a moment.
So, I give you, my adult epiphanies.
I have always been the “good girl”. When an adult says, they’ve said. They are older and deserve respect, even though I don’t agree with what they say. I learned that disagreeing is not a bad thing. I am a person with opinions, thoughts, feelings and experiences that are not like anybody else’s. So my opinion, whether wrong or right, is mine to have. I have a right to have it.
That’s not one of the epiphanies although it’s a pretty good point to note.
I bring up my childhood because I learned what made me how I am. I hate confrontation. I loathe it with every part of my very being. The second I engage in combat (mostly verbal – I’m mostly a pacifist – story for another time) I find the easiest and quickest way to make it end. I don’t engage. I surrender and retreat – always. And sometimes, that’s not a bad thing.
Most times though, I miss out. The other person sometimes walks away with a warped conclusion about me that I pretend I don’t know. Where I could have emphasised my point, my standing more, I refuse to defend myself and let others maybe take up the role. If there’s an audience who understands my viewpoint, sort of, they will be more likely to stand up for me. If there is none, I walk away the loser and while it hurts from time to time, I mostly bury it. And this is definitely not healthy.
I learned this from my mum – the non-confrontation. I don’t blame her for it. She’s like that herself, willing to pacify rather than confront. And I learned it from her, as a good and obedient child. And she was right to teach me that because I didn’t get into much trouble. However, when trouble comes and I need to stand up for myself, I’m not so vocal which becomes a problem. Then I recently discovered something
Epiphany #1: I can’t do anything about how I was raised or grew up, but I can do something now about how I deal with confrontation tomorrow.
It’s difficult changing an entire mindset, but I’ve had to do it. Otherwise, some people might take advantage of it an bully me without my finding out. Which is what brings me to epiphany number two.
We’ve had a lot of changes at the office, new staff, old staff leaving, a sort of culture shift, new group dynamics to get used to… it can be overwhelming especially in an environment that is as fast-paced as a consultancy. There are deadlines to be met and loads of work to be done and honestly, there is not time for petty issues. Clients are paying lots of money to get work done and if work is not done, you’re not useful to the company – all of which makes sense.
Call it team dynamics, but I was beginning to wear down and burn out more often in a few months than I had in all the years I’ve worked at my company. And I had an issue I needed to confront (see epiphany #1) that I didn’t. Instead I let it fester and boil thinking that maybe it was my fault.
This is my go-to whenever things aren’t working out. I dissect the information I receive, criticism, unhappiness etc. and see whether it’s my fault and whether I need to apologise first. This is a good practice, I think, since it opens my mind up to my flaws and then I can see how to fix the,
However, it is less healthy when you constantly see only flaws. And I was mired in it, seeing only my flaws as they were consistently pointed out. But then I came to a sudden realisation – this time, it wasn’t me but someone else.
Epiphany #2: I need to be kinder to myself.
I mean, I knew that of course but I am my worst critic and pairing that with my confrontation issues – I can see exactly how many painful past experiences were shaped by these viewpoints.
Speaking of my self-esteem, this took a major plunge about four years ago when I started writing for money. I did a lot of writing for articles, blog posts, advertisements etc. on a whole range of topics; roofing, glassware, perfume, ball bearings, sex education, travelling, fitness regimens, teas… Every assignment was challenging but fun. I was finally getting the hang of it and my boss seemed to notice and give me bigger and harder jobs – it was all really nice. Plus I was working from home which was a major bonus.
But I was advised, instead, to apply to a consultancy – to get out of the house and do something else, not work for paltry sums like whatever I was receiving. True the pay was crap, but I was building a skill – so I felt crushed, but quit anyway and joined the consultancy.
It was new and exciting and the pay was much better than I thought. Finally, with a salary, things might have begun looking up. But since I had always known my first love was Psychology and I would pursue that eventually, I treated this job as temporary. And for a time, it was not so bad. Three years later, I am still there and wondering what changed. I began to feel a bit stuck since I got an interview basically by recommendation (there is nothing wrong with this by the way – I got in on my own merit).
I began to wonder if this is what life was going to continue to be like. And then I discovered something I had heard before but never really listened to:
Epiphany #3: The only one accelerating or halting my progress is… me!
I have learned several skills over the years that could actually put me on the map with regards to my professional career. I may not have really chosen to join my current company, but I have gained much for which I am very grateful. At the same time, the only thing holding me back as regards my career (because again, this was always going to be temporary) is me.
My innate fear of the new and unknown were holding me back this whole time. I read it everywhere, heard it everywhere and still I let it stop me; if you’re unhappy, change what you don’t like. If you don’t feel like you’re gaining much from your employment, change jobs, switch careers… it’s really all up to you.
And while the world is still big and scary outside of my current comfort zone – which let’s be honest, could be better – the biggest risk for me could be not taking one. And while my qualifications also worry me a little, the next epiphany that I will share with you is driving me forward one teeny, tiny baby step at a time.
Epiphany #4: I am enough.
When I was a kid, the world was vast and brim full of possibilities. Then along cae adulthood which just laughed in the face of all my wide-eyed optimism and I discovered that the world was not as wonderful as I thought. I’d like to think that I’ve matured a little more, however because of this mind-blowing epiphany.
I am good enough, I am qualified enough, I am capable. I am good enough for another job with better pay. I am qualified enough to get in – recommendation or no. I am capable of doing a good job and people will see that if I show it to them.
I can save for that trip I want to take. The world is once again open to me if I am willing to go out and get what I want/need to get what I want. I am better informed – the world won’t always give me what I want, I have to work for it, to earn it. I can have a good strong bond with the opposite sex – we could possibly form a deep and lasting relationship. I can change what I don’t like – I have the ability. I give myself the permission because I am enough. In this same vein, I can be whoever and whatever I decide to be. And this leads me to the final epiphany that made me really start thinking:
Epiphany #5: My career is what I make of it.
I went to High School at first thinking I would be a Surgeon. Then I met Biology which I loved and Chemistry which I didn’t so I figured that maybe I wasn’t cut out for traditional medicine. And so, in Form 3, I discovered the wonderful world of Psychology and I have been in love ever since. I had a plan then – get to university, breeze through my Bachelor’s and Masters and by 2014, be a PhD – an actual Doctor of Psychology.
Instead, I volunteered at Social Services for a year after High School, Studied Psychology for four long years, finally finished my practicum and graduated in 2014. I know my dreams were sort of unrealistic but I still have them. I am currently doing my Master’s Degree and rediscovering why I love Psychology so much. I find the human psyche extremely fascinating – and I will not get into this right now or I will not finish.
After graduation, I wrote for a while, then interned for a year and finally ended up where I am now. I was on a one-track loop – I must become a therapist, I must become a therapist – which is still my goal but my horizon is broader.
I want to create a centre where everyone can receive all the therapy they need – physical, mental and emotional. Whether they would like to experience aroma therapy, massage therapy, sound therapy, meditation, talk to a counsellor, work out, get help with their physical movement… I want to create a place that has all of this and more, so people can get all the love and support they need; and this blog was actually step one of that big huge audacious dream.
So I still want to become a Doctor of Psychology, but I also want to make an impact. I want to help people – and that is as broad a term as it gets. I’m a humanitarian (as per my latest personality test) and a leader and a creative. I also like learning random useless things, like the first hundred numbers of pi (yes, 3.1415…) I don’t have to dump all this just because I want to be a therapist.
Instead I can incorporate some of it into whatever I choose to be. I can go and do social work as I study my Psychology and I can find creative ways to help whole communities make a difference in their lives. I’m pretty good at creating and presenting PowerPoint and I can use that to teach people new things, wonderful things, possibly find a way to make my random useless information useful to someone.
So, this has been my journey so far. This year has been one of many discoveries. I am learning to appreciate and love myself. I am learning not to hinder my own process or stand in my own way. I can make the difference I want to make in the world and I can make the changes I want to see. I want to become who I envision myself becoming, who I have envisioned myself becoming for a long time.
All it takes, is a little faith and a lot of courage. But I know I can do it. Epiphany #4, remember? I am enough.