“I know now, after fifty years, that the finding/losing, forgetting/remembering, leaving/returning, never stops. The whole of life is about another chance, and while we are alive, till the very end, there is always another chance.”—Jeanette Winterson
Shame is a deep-seated feeling and conviction that something is inherently wrong with us. And although this FEELS true it is based on faulty thinking, and is therefore something we can challenge and change. To break free … take one thought (such as I am defective, inferior, worthless or deserve to be rejected) and then ask yourself the following questions:
1. What convinces me this thought it true?
2. What is the evidence against it?
3. Is there one time or occasion when it hasn’t been true?
4. Why was it not true at that time?
5. What would someone who REALLY knew me and loved me say to contradict that negative thought (the thought that I am defective, inferior, worthless or deserve to be rejected)?
6. Who would I be, and what could I achieve, if I let go of that negative thought?
7. What’s the worst that could happen if I let go of that thought?
8. What is the best that could happen if I let go of that thought?
1. Rather than listening to the voice in your head that is screaming “I hate this; I don’t want to do this” think about why it is a GOOD thing to do.
2. Instead of trying to pretend that you don’t feel this way, accept that you are feeling very blah and negative.
3. Don’t think about results and how well you think you’ll do, as this could raise your feelings of anxiety and fear, just think about “right now” and the first thing you can do.
4. Accept that life is tough, and is full of things that suck – but recognise that doing hard stuff is better in the end. You’ll likely have more choices and freedom, if you do.
5. Just do a little bit for now – then give yourself a proper break – then go back and do some more – and soon you’ll find you’re in the flow.
6. Don’t allow your mind to wander and think of other things. Stay focused for that short time – and then stop, and have fun.
We tend to focus on looking for love, hoping for love, and waiting for love. Yet if we look to others to meet that basic need then we’ll always be empty and unfulfilled.
That is, for others to love us in a healthy way, we must first be able to nurture ourselves … and to love and honour who we truly are. The steps below can help you work towards this goal.
1. Decide to treat others with love and respect: As you seek to bring joy into others’ lives you’ll find that they repay you with kindness and love.
2. Practice random acts of kindness: “Play it forward” by doing random thoughtful things. That will turn you into someone you respect yourself – and you’ll also find that others are more generous to you.
3. Let go of the past: What happened in the past is merely history now. Today is a new day, and you are starting a new page. Let go of disappointments, hurts and any grievances you hold against yourself, other people – or the world!
4. Forgive yourself: We all make mistakes, or we regret some bad decisions. Don’t ridicule, berate or criticise yourself for that. Instead, forgive whatever happened, and give yourself a break. It simply means you’re human – and are not infallible.
5. Practice positive self-talk: Write down and repeat affirming statements and truths … like “I am gifted” … or “I’m a true and loyal friend”. Post these statements on the mirror and repeat them to yourself.
6. Think through what you really want in life – You can carve out your own path and you choose your own destiny. Your life is a gift and you can choose what you will do.
7. Be persistent: Work wholeheartedly at loving yourself. If you’ve suffered in the past then be compassionate. Be ready to acknowledge and work through your pain. You deserve that respect – and it will help to set you free.
8. Celebrate your accomplishments: It’s easy to ignore or to downplay what we have done – but don’t be blind to your successes and accomplishments. They ought to be acknowledged as they’re part of who you are.
9. Think of someone you want to be like and emulate them: Doing that will build those qualities into your life as well – so it is easier to like, love and accept yourself.
10. Be yourself and trust yourself: Be true to yourself – and don’t care what others think. Learn to trust your instincts and to follow your own heart. Also, learn it’s OK to say “no” and to do your own thing … And you don’t have to feel guilty for not pleasing everyone.
11. Don’t compare yourself to others: Every person on the planet is different and unique. We all have different talents and different histories. Discover who YOU are and then invest in being you!
12. Work on receiving love: When someone pays you a compliment or tries to show you love, don’t quickly brush it off – but try and see it as a gift. That is, a gift that shows you’ve value and are loved, and loveable.
Although it’s normal to feel some anxiety when you’re preparing for, or taking, a test - too much can hamper you from doing well. Below are some tips to help you to cope with this:
1. Learn and apply proven studying techniques so you feel you really know the test material. This should help to improve your confidence and reduce excessive anxiety.
2. Work on staying positive while you’re studying. Think about doing really well, not always struggling, or even failing.
3. Make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before a test.
4. Don’t forget to eat right before a test either. You need protein to have enough energy to concentrate fully for the length of the test. Avoid junk food as that tends to lead to a high and then a low.
5. Try to calm and relax yourself as you enter the test room. Take a few slow, deep breaths. In your head repeat positive self-statements like “I am well prepared. I’m going to do a good job on this test.”
6. Don’t start to panic if the questions seem too hard. Just skip over the ones you can’t do, and keep reading until you find something you CAN do.
7. Ignore the fact that other students seem to be finishing before you. Take all the time you need and focus on doing your best.
8. Once the test is over, try and forget about it. There’s nothing you can do until your mark is returned to you … and maybe you’ve aced it, or done really well!
“And to the casual observer it looks like I have moved on since I go around wearing my little happy mask all day. I smile and laugh and carry on like my heart’s still in one piece, but beneath it all, I am dying.”—Melody Carlson
“That’s the worst of growing up, and I’m beginning to realize it. The things you wanted so much when you were a child don’t seem half so wonderful to you when you get them.”—L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
1. Have a good core group of friends.
2. Build some adventure into your life. Don’t fall into “the same old, same old”.
3. Research confirms that “stuff won’t make us happy” so clear out the junk – and only keep what you love.
4. Work on establishing balance in your life. Don’t be too busy or you’ll wind up depressed.
5. Give in to temptation every now and again. Too much discipline is boring in the end.
6. Like and appreciate yourself. Take time to notice and affirm your strengths.
7. Start living in the moment – don’t doubt every move. Accept your decision as the best one right now.
“Even though you may want to move forward in your life, you have one foot on the brakes. In order to be free, you must learn how to let go. Release the hurt. Release the fear. Refuse to entertain your old pain. The energy it takes to hang onto the past is holding you back from a new life.”—Mary Manin Morrissey
1. Talk about your feelings with someone you trust, and someone who accepts you unconditionally.
2. Make a list of all your positive traits. Include all the good things that you see in yourself, and everything that others have mentioned in the past. Make sure the list is detailed and very, very long!
3. Recognise that rejection says nothing about you. It is one specific person or one relationship. Don’t allow that to define you as a total individual. There’s so more to you than that one aspect of your life.
4. Do something you enjoy. Take your mind off feeling lonely, or feeling like a failure, by choosing to do something that you usually enjoy (Listening to music, going to the movies, calling up a friend, reading a book etc).
5.Treat yourself to something special like a new pair of jeans. There’s nothing wrong with seeking out a temporary boost. It can get you past this moment – so you can find the strength you need to recover all the pieces - and then build your life again.
6. Do something physical like going for a run. It’s a great way to channel all that energy. Also, exercise is known to be a natural mood enhancer.
7. Remember, not everyone will think you’re fabulous. That just part of being human … we’re different from each other. Accept and value your own uniqueness, your qualities, your strengths and your personality.
8. Remember that “this too will pass”. All of us encounter various bumps along the way. It feels bad in the moment – but in time our feelings change.
7 Childhood Issues that Affect our Later Relationships
1. Threats and fear of abandonment. These can lead to jealousy and feelings of insecurity.
2. Lack of emotional nurturing. This can lead to feelings of emotional deprivation – which can feel like a bottomless pit to fill.
3. Growing up with feelings of entitlement. This can lead to feeling as if you don’t have to live by the same rules as others – as you are special, and a bit superior.
4. Being told that you’re inferior or inadequate. This causes you feel like you’re never good enough.
5. The demand to be perfect, and to always get things right. This can leading to being driven – and incredibly high standards.
6. Being betrayed by those you trusted – so you won’t trust now, and you can’t get close to others, or let them get close to you.
7. Being raised is a way that your needs were denied, not allowed, disregarded, trivialised or ignored. This can lead to a doormat type of personality where other people matter – and your needs never count.
“Isn’t it funny how the memories you cherish before a break up can become your worst enemies afterwards? The thoughts you loved to think about, the memories you wanted to hold up to the light and view from every angle - it suddenly seems a lot safer to lock them in a box, far from the light of day, and throw away the key.”—Ally Condie
1. Be honest with yourself and admit that you’re putting off stuff that really needs to be done.
2. Try and figure out why you’re procrastinating. Is it because you don’t like it, it creates anxiety, you don’t understand it, it feels overwhelming, you’re disorganised …?
3. Decide to break the habit of procrastination by deliberately rewarding yourself for doing something you’d rather not do.
4. Make a pact with a friend –where you deliberately and regularly encourage each other, and hold each other accountable.
5. Sit down and think – in detail – about all the likely consequences of not doing what needs to be done. Be brutally honest, and try and picture what you’re life is going to look like 6 months, a year and five years from now ( if you continue to procrastinate).
6. Decide to break large tasks down into smaller, more achievable tasks, and then tackle these smaller tasks one at a time.
7. Recognise your progress, and affirm and praise yourself for making these changes – and doing things differently, even though it’s hard.
“Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs; the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile and who love you no matter what.”—www.spirituallythinking.blogspot.com
“Maybe some people just aren’t meant to be in our lives forever. Maybe some people are just passing through. It’s like some people just come through our lives to bring us something: a gift, a blessing, a lesson we need to learn. And that’s why they’re here. You’ll have that gift forever.”—Danielle Steel
1. Recognize the benefits of trusting others, and building some meaningful relationships. If you never let others get close to you, then you’re likely to feel lonely and empty inside.
2. Remember that one person doesn’t have to meet your needs. We can trust different people with aspects of ourselves. Doing that can feel less risky, and a lot less scary.
3. Look at the actions of other people before you decide if you can trust them or not. If they are kind to others and they seem reliable, then it’s likely they will treat you in that same way, too. However, be wary of people who are mean or critical, or who talk about others, or are unpredictable.
4. Give trust slowly – let others prove themselves – and if they seem trustworthy then start to trust them more. Share a few small things before you share some bigger things.
5. Trust yourself to cope if someone lets you down. We’ve all been disappointed and betrayed by other people. Have the confidence to know that you will manage, and survive!!
6. Don’t pressurise yourself to give more than you are able. It is hard to trust others if you’re feeling insecure, or if you’ve been hurt by others, or if trust is threatening. Decide to take it slowly and be patient with yourself.
“If anything or anyone distresses you, think how you’ll feel a week - a month - a year later. If you can imagine yourself being happy and peaceful then, why waste all that time? Be happy and peaceful now.”—Swami Kriyananda
- Maintain positive relationships with family and friends
- Continue to allow some time for exercise and leisure
- Get plenty of sleep
- Eat sensibly
- Have planned time for study
- Are organised
- Learn and practice simple techniques for relaxation (see the school counsellor for ideas)
Warning signs that stress may be exceeding a helpful level include:
- Poor concentration
- Poor short term memory
- Recurring worrying thoughts
- Lack of tolerance for others (you may not detect that in yourself)
- Anxious about little things
- Prone to bursts of anger and tears
- Indications of feeling ‘down’, alone or misunderstood
- Disturbed sleep
- Indigestion, poor appetite.
No one sign necessarily is cause for worry and these signs need to be considered in the context of your life. However, it is better to seek help than to struggle with worries by yourself. Signs of depression or anxiety in particular should not be ignored.
“That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end.”—Elizabeth Wurtzel
Make studying a part of your everyday school routine and don’t be limited to ‘cramming’ for exams and tests.
1. Establish a routine: Set aside a particular time each day for study and revision and stick to it.
2. Create a study environment This should be away from interruptions and household noise, such as the television. Ensure there is adequate lighting and ventilation, a comfortable chair and appropriate desk.
3. Set a timetable: With a timetable you can plan to cover all your subjects in an organised way, allotting the appropriate time for each without becoming overwhelmed.
4. Look after yourself: Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, and eat healthy foods. Keep sugary foods to a minimum. Make sure you get enough sleep each night. Regular physical exercise makes you feel great, boosts your energy and helps you relax. So try to keep up regular sporting activities or at least fit in some regular exercise as often as you can.
5. Reward yourself for studying: Watch your favourite television program, spend time with your friends, walk to the park and play sport throughout the week.
6. Have variety in your study program: Study different subjects each day and do different types of work and revision in each study session.
7. Avoid interrupting your concentration: Have all the appropriate materials with you before you start a session of study to minimise distractions.
8. Test yourself on what you have studied: Ask your parents or family members to quiz you on what you have learnt, use draft questions from books, past assessments or major exam papers.
9. Don’t panic at exam time: If you have followed a study routine and have been revising your class work, there should be no need to worry. Try to keep yourself calm, positive and confident.
10. Ask your teachers for guidance: Especially if you’re having trouble - whether it’s grasping a new concept or understanding something you learnt earlier in the year. They will be happy to help.
“We all go through life like bulls in a china shop. A chip here, a crack there. Doing damage to ourselves, to other people. The problem is trying to control the damage we’ve done, or that’s been done to us.”—Grey’s Anatomy
1. Remind yourself that worrying doesn’t stop things happening. Things will happen – or not happen –anyway.
2. Recognise that “What ifs” don’t usually help with problem solving. It’s better to use logic, and brain storm for solutions. Take control of your emotions by using rational thinking.
3. Motivate yourself by something other than worrying. Take a break and do something fun, and then go back to your work again. That positive approach will reap more benefits.
4. Face your fears – and do the things that you worry about. The thought is often much worse than the actual thing you fear.
5. Ask yourself “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Then, “What are the chances that it will happen? Then “Will you survive it, if it happens, in the end?” Usually, that helps to move us from an extreme and irrational way of thinking to a more realistic, and reasonable way if thinking.
6. Teach yourself a range of relaxation strategies – and then concentrate on them instead of on your different fears. Or, adopt a mindful approach – and keep your focus on “right now”.
Desperately holding on to other people, places or things in an attempt to find meaning and purpose in your life.
Letting others do so much for you that it prevents you from developing your own sense of personal autonomy, independence, responsibility and accountability.
Being unwilling to let go of others so that you can find your own direction in life.
Refusing to formulate your own goals and dreams in case they don’t match those of the people you are dependent on.
Having a feeling of emptiness and worthlessness; feeling you “need to be needed” in order to be loved; or having your whole identity wrapped up in someone else.
Thinking sympathy and pity are the same thing as love.
Having a desperate need for approval; desperately fearing rejection and abandonment by the person you are dependent on; being clingy, possessive and jealous.
Lacking a belief in your own competency and ability to cope on your own.
Feeling stuck and immobilised because of a fear of failure, or the fear of making the wrong decision.
Having a fear of loneliness – which causes you to cling desperately to someone – even when you should let them go.
Overdependency is a control issue because:
You are handing control of your life and happiness over to someone else.
When you become too dependent on someone, you give them the power to control you.
People who are overdependent frequently use manipulation and other subversive control techniques to “hook” others into taking care of them – so that they can rescue, fix or save you. Alternatively, they may use intimidation, threats and coercion.
· They use the same hooks to prevent the person from detaching and walking away (For example, by threatening suicide)
· They may use the mask of “helplessness” to get others to take care of them, and do things for them.
· When forming close relationships, they deliberately look “fixers,” “caretakers” and “rescuers” – that is, they seek out people who are likely to assume responsibility for their wellbeing.
Freedom from overdependency:
First, recognise what is going on and be honest with yourself about your patterns and tendencies.
Second, recognise that you are a separate person from your partner (or family member). Thus, it’s up to you to assume responsibility for your own choices, decisions and actions (or lack of choosing, deciding and acting). In the same way, stop assume responsibility for, or try to control, the choices and behaviors of others. Don’t speak and act for them, don’t tell them what to do (or how to do it) or redo what they’ve done (as it isn’t the way you would have done it.)
· Notice your negative feelings – anxiety, fear, and even terror – and learn to face and manage these. This is one of the most powerful things you can do!
· Next, notice how critical you become when others don’t do things your way, or meet the standards that you set for them. Also, notice how you act in response to these feelings. Do you jump in, try to fix, get angry, pout, withdraw sexually and emotionally? It’s time to get rid of those unhealthy behaviours as they’re part of the pattern of dependency.
· Consciously work on your self-esteem. Don’t look to others to make you happy, or to feel you have worth and significance. Healthy self-esteem comes from the inside out.
· Recognise the value of boundaries – and know where you end and another begins. Learn to establish and enforce your boundaries, and accept that others can choose for themselves – so don’t manipulate to try and get your way.
Stop blaming others for making you upset. We have control of how we think and feel. You’re not a helpless victim – you can choose how you will live, and what you will accept in your relationships.
· Don’t take the flack for, or defend others’ behaviour. Allow them let them to feel the consequences of their actions. Stop defending and enabling them.
· Get professional help. Being dependent in relationships often has its roots in our early childhood experiences. You may some need help to unravel that, and better understand why you act the way you do.