All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…


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Exercises to build self-esteem: #6. Setting your goals

The past, the present…

Have you ever looked at another person and wonder how they do it? How they overcome all forms of adversity to become someone brilliant, someone talented, someone the world looks up to? The answer, unsurprisingly given the theme of the week, is confidence. It doesn’t matter whether you conform to societal ideals of beauty or if you have a piece of paper with a few letters scribbled on it, what matters is how you see who you were, who you are and who you want to be.

This week we have examined exercises that deal with both past and present. The things we are grateful for; the many things we love about ourselves; the simple joys and pleasures of life. Today, it’s time to think about the future.

…and the future!

Quite often, those with low self-esteem have a difficult time believing they will ever amount to anything. Their mind is too busy holding the mistakes of the past against them to allow them time to think of the future. In those rare moments when we do think of the future, it is always clouded with negative statements like I’m not good enough to do that or there’s no way I can become this, negative statements that sabotage us into not even trying in the first place.

A method which can be used to focus our mind onto what we want to become is to set some reachable goals. Nothing outlandish, we’re not talking I want to discover the location of the lost city of Atlantis here, just simple things that can help us believe in ourselves and push us toward attaining our desires, all of which we deserve.

Setting your goals

1. Take a clean sheet of paper. It wouldn’t surprise me given how many times I’ve written that this week, that sooner or later it will become a major search term that brings people to this blog!

2. Make sure you are in a comfortable and relaxed situation.

3. Upon the paper, begin to write down realistic goals that you would like to achieve in your life.

Some tips to help set your goals:

– State your goals in the positive. There’s no place for negativity here, send all that to the naughty corner.
– Don’t overcomplicate your goals or make them completely unattainable, this will only bring you down.
– Make sure you have full and total control of your goal. This is a reliance free zone!
– Remember, it’s all about the details. Make each goal as detailed as possible.

4. Once you have pictured you goal, try to list a few things you can do to realize it. Don’t worry too much if you can’t at this stage. The important thing with this exercise is to practice focusing on your needs and desires, to allow yourself to believe you can have the future you deserve.

5. Once you have written your goals pin them above your desk, put them in your journal, keep them in your nightstand so you can return to them in the future and keep them updated.

My goals

When it came to setting my goals I decided to set six of them, as I like the number six and lots of wonderful things happen in sixes, like…ummm…chocolate hot cross buns usually come in packs of six, and…umm…well, it’s just a nice number okay! A neat half dozen dreams!

Although from this point on they are not dreams, they are things that will happen, with a bit of hard work.

Goal #1: To obtain the Disability Support Pension

Why it is important to me:
(Try to list as many reasons as you can)

1. It is impossible for me to balance mental health, housing, bills and food on the Newstart allowance.
2.
I believe the DSP will allow me to get some form of humility (and then life) back.
3.
It will help me stabilize my mental health problems as I won’t have so many hoops to jump through.
4.
Being on the DSP will help me view myself as ‘no longer being on the verge of homelessness 24/7!’

What do I need to do to make this goal a reality?
(Once you have the goal in your head, try to jot down a few things you can do to realize these emotions)

I need to make an appointment to see my doctor and have him fill out the relevant paperwork before handing over my application at the nearest Centrelink office before twiddling my thumbs for several weeks (months?) whilst they faff around trying to make a decision – all whilst I continue hovering over the abyss of homelessness because hey, that’s what bureaucracy is all about!

Date goal was set: 30 September 2012

Date goal was accomplished:

Goal #2: To get a haircut

Why it is important to me:

1. Because it is too scruffy and makes me look ugly.
2.
It will help me win a victory in my battle against anxiety (as I have major issues with hairdressers)
3.
It will increase my self-confidence.

What do I need to do to make this goal a reality?

I need to spank my anxiety and distrust of humanity into submission long enough to: walk down the road, enter a hairdressing salon, speak to the (usually gorgeous female) hairdresser, sit down and allow someone to be all intimate with my hair. This is a lot harder for me than it sounds! I also need to achieve goal #1, for without it, I can’t afford a haircut and cutting it myself is a really bad idea!

Date goal was set: 30 September 2012

Date goal was accomplished:

Goal #3: This one’s personal, sorry, but I’ll tell you why it’s important…

Why it is important to me:

1. It would be the realization of a lifelong dream.
2.
It would be a major victory in my battle against anxiety.
3.
It would be a major victory in my battle against depression.
4.
It would be a major victory in my battle against the trauma of abuse.
5.
It would increase my self-confidence.
6. I would be honoring a promise I made to Sammi.
7. It would make me so very happy, and I need more of that.
8. It would give me something interesting to write about on my blog.

Date goal was set: 30 September 2012

Date goal was accomplished:

Goal #4: To attend a social event (where there are other people, obviously)

Why it is important to me:

1. It would be a major victory in my battle against anxiety.
2.
Because I miss socializing and being around other people.
3.
It would make me happy.
4.
It would increase my self-confidence.
5.
It would give me something interesting to write about on my blog.
6.
I’m tired of being alone.

What do I need to do to make this goal a reality?

I need to spank my anxiety and distrust of humanity into submission long enough to: communicate with people online for a sufficient enough time to be invited somewhere, walk to the somewhere, be in a room full of people for several hours and talk to people whilst in that room without having an embarrassing (and ultimately humiliating) panic attack. I also need to achieve goal #1 and goal #2 otherwise I won’t be able to afford to go anywhere and I’d rather not look like a yeti if I did.

Date goal was set: 30 September 2012

Date goal was accomplished:

Goal #5: To write and have published online a short story or article

Why it is important to me:

1. I have loved writing since I was a child and it physically hurts when I can’t do it.
2.
There are so many stories inside me I need to get them out before they eat me from within.
3.
I believe I can write well enough for people to enjoy.
4.
It would be an achievement.
5.
It makes me happy.

What do I need to do to make this goal a reality?

All I need to do to achieve this is research a market and focus myself for long enough to write a piece that would fit the market; whether it is non-fiction, fiction, opinion or random diatribe. I have the intelligence and talent, but at this point in my life, I just don’t have the focus. Arg!

Date goal was set: 30 September 2012

Date goal was accomplished:

Goal #6: To develop and maintain an exercise routine

Why it is important to me:

1. It would increase my self-confidence and self-esteem.
2.
Because I want to be able to look in the mirror and be happy with what I see.
3.
It would help with my mental health.
4.
It would no doubt make for more embarrassing and amusing blog posts.

What do I need to do to make this goal a reality?

Get off my lazy, good for nothing, worthless ass and just start moving!

And that sentence is hardly embracing the lessons I’ve been imparting this week, so, I shall rewrite a little more positively.

Get off my gorgeous, highly spankable, magnificent ass and start making myself look even hotter than I already am!

I’d also need to find a bicycle as I miss cycling so very, very much!

Date goal was set: 30 September 2012

Date goal was accomplished:

Although I have not set an official time-frame for these goals, I am working toward having them accomplished by the end of this year. Each time a goal is accomplished I vow to write a blog post detailing how I went about it, what happened and how awesome it made me feel.

Coda

Self-esteem doesn’t come easy, nothing worth anything in life ever does, but if you suffer from low self-confidence please do not give up. I know how painful and debilitating having low self-esteem can be, I live with non-existent self-love every day, but I know that things will never change unless I make them.

Undertaking the exercises I’ve written about this week may seem silly and pointless, but I assure you it’s not. After completing each exercise I felt strangely calm and contented. Not only did it feel good to release some of the negativity, but allowing myself the honor of loving myself made me smile, laugh and for a few moments filled me with the belief that I do deserve things. That I am worth something.

Even though the negative thoughts may return it’s important you keep believing how brilliant and beautiful you are.

Because no matter what anyone tells you – you really are someone wonderful :)

 

Other posts in this series:

 


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Exercises to build self-esteem: #5. Write a gratitude list

That will never happen to me!

There was a point in my life where I took things for granted. I had a relationship, friends, a reasonable income, relatively stable mental health and no physical ailments to worry about. My life was full off laughter, smiles, regular sex, all the hugs you could imagine and a future that anyone would be proud of.

If you had told me six years ago what was about to happen to me I wouldn’t have believed you, in fact, I would probably have paraphrased Spike and asked if you were stoned!

Like the vast majority of us, I took my life for granted. Like most I thought ‘it would never happen to me’.

Today, and for many years now, I am eternally grateful for everything I have.

Most have heard the phrase you don’t realise what you have until it’s gone because it is 100% true. We spend far too much time obsessing over what we don’t have or what’s wrong with our lives when we should be grateful for what we do have.

Which is why today, we’re going to write a gratitude list.

Writing your gratitude list

1. Take a clean sheet of paper (or brand spanking new blog post) and get comfortable.

2. Write down as many things as you can think of that you are grateful for about your life (no matter how insignificant it may be.)

3. When you have finished, read the list aloud and allow yourself to feel the gratitude.

4. Keep your list somewhere safe so you can add to it in the future when new things you are grateful for come to mind.

My gratitude list

As with each of the exercises this week, I am leading by example for one of my pet hates are people who expect others to do as they say, but not as they do. Today, I am aiming for one thing for every year of my life:

I am grateful...

∞ …for a roof over my head, because no matter how dodgy this place is, I know what the alternative is like…and it ain’t pretty!
∞ …for my inner-strength, because I don’t know where I’d be without it.
∞ …that I have such a creative and imaginative soul.
∞ …for my computer, however old, snail-like and lumbering it is, for without it I know I wouldn’t be here!
∞ …for having parents who are so giving and supportive.
∞ …for the existence of chocolate, because of  the myriad of benefits it can bring to physical and mental health.
∞ …for Sydney Newman, because without him the world wouldn’t have one of its greatest heroes.
∞ …for superglue, because without it I wouldn’t be able to fix my shoes and I’d be walking around bare foot all day!
∞ …for that moment of calm just after a thunderstorm; the smell, the calm, the stillness, all merging together to create something sublime.
∞ …that women aren’t the same as men, because otherwise the world would have descended into chaos and destruction eons ago.
∞ …for WordPress, because without it I would be completely disconnected. Ditto for Twitter.
∞ …to have had the chance to know so many beautiful people throughout my life.
∞ …that I have so much passion coursing through my veins.
∞ …for rainbows, because they never fail to make me smile. Ditto for sunsets, sunrises, lightning and wombats.
∞ …to all the people who read my blog, it makes me feel like I’m doing something productive rather than babbling to myself.
∞ …for my bottom, because I think it’s awesome.
∞ …for women’s bottoms, because I think they’re all awesome!
∞ …that even if people try to make me feel like one, and they have done in the past, I know I’m not a misogynist for typing that last sentence.
∞ …for my dreams, because they give me something to work toward.
∞ …for organisations that try to make a difference in the world; homeless services, anti-abuse movements, helplines, soup vans etc.
∞ …that I know how to read and write.
∞ …that even though I know they won’t help now, I keep pushing myself with posts like this because I know they will help one day.
∞ …for Runrig, Serena Ryder, P!nk, Paul Mounsey, Nina Simone, Kate Miller-Heidke, My Friend the Chocolate Cake, Capercaillie and the countless musicians that have created the soundtrack to my life.
∞ …that I always try to see the beauty in everything, rather than searching for every minor flaw and fault.
∞ …that I understand the meaning and power of silence.
∞ …that I never judge anyone, ever, and try to accept someone for who they are rather than a label that is placed upon them.
∞ …for Mark Schwahn, who created the show that once upon a time saved my life!
∞ …that I can admit to making mistakes and having regrets, because if I couldn’t, then how could I ever learn anything?
∞ …that I always try to stand up for what I believe in (even though I fail sometimes!)
∞ …that I always remember people’s birthdays. And anniversaries. And Valentine’s day. And any important date.
∞ …in fact, I’m grateful that I think more like a woman than a man.
∞ …for libraries, because without them society would be a lesser place.
∞ …for my courage, because it allows me to be as honest as I am.

So why don’t you give your own gratitude list a try? You’re more than welcome to keep your lists private, but feel free to link them up in the comments field below so we can all share in the inspiration :)