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Stop being so damn hard on yourself!

My whole life I have strived to be the perfect daughter, sister, granddaughter, classmate, friend and person. I was the girl who stood up for anyone who got treated unfairly. I was the perfect child growing up. I would often hear people say “Oh Fleur, she’s such a sweet girl, so polite and always there for everyone else.” I was hard working, I had good grades, teachers loved me and so did my classmates. I didn’t talk back, I listened to my parents, didn’t smoke, drank alcohol, or did drugs.

Over the years I created a habit of maintaining this “perfection” and although it was nice to be liked and receive compliments, I subconsciously started to build a barrier between the person I was perceived as and the person I deep down wished I could be. I wouldn’t say that it was all an act or that I was being fake, not at all, what I was doing, was pleasing others, acting the way I wanted people to see me, so it’s really quite scary to say out loud that I’m not as strong as I seem sometimes, in fact I might be pretty insecure.

Writing that word, insecure, almost feels like poison. It makes me cringe and I’m tempted to delete it all, because I don’t want anyone to see me as “weak”. It’s been my way of surviving for the past 25 years, but I’ve started to realize more and more that I can’t expect to be liked by everyone, because it’s affecting my happiness. There will always be people out there who disagree or judge me and it’s important that I learn how to deal with that, to stop being afraid that if I don’t clear things up that people might think less of me, to stop wondering if I deserve the words coming from their mouths and to stop trying to “fix” myself.

A good example is when I received a bunch of flowers a couple of weeks ago. At first I was flattered, but when I found out I had never met the guy, I became a little creeped out. How did he know where I lived? I had a big rant on facebook and soon after, realized I sounded like a right b*tch! I knew very well that it had had nothing to do with the flowers or the guy, but something I’d been dealing with, but I felt so very guilty that I had acted the way I had that it stuck with me for days. I couldn’t get over it and all I could think was: “what will people think of me?!” Chances are, after seeing my post, people went on with their lives and no one thought anything about it anymore, but in my head I imagined groups of people, huddled together to discuss what a horrible person I was. Even though I know how ridiculous that sounds, it kept me up several nights in a row and got me extremely down for a week.

And so it’s not just what other people say, in fact what seems to affect me even more are my own words. I’m always so extremely hard on myself. Guilt and disappointment seem to be my biggest enemies. And the crazy thing is I know so very well how powerful words are, so why do I keep practicing them?

A few weeks back I watched a webinar called “Happiness for Worrywarts”. After an hour and a half of listening to a lady called Toni Powell, I felt so great and light, as if that heavy blanket was lifted off me. To be reminded of what’s important is all you need sometimes. I’ve been wanting to do a recap about it ever since and I feel that right now is the perfect time, because it seems I need a bit of a reminder again.

Words alter our reality and our perception of reality. When we start our sentences with “I wish…” or “I’m afraid…” or continually say things such as “I’m tired” or “I can’t”, our brain reacts towards those words and tries to fix it. It makes sense that if I constantly say how disappointed I am with myself; my brain will automatically think there’s something wrong and produce a whole lot of negative emotions.

Listening to the words you use is such a powerful exercise, it can change your entire way of thinking. When people ask you “How are you?” instead of saying “Not too bad” say “I’m doing great”. It has a much more positive sound. Try and listen to yourself when talking about situations, things, people and even yourself, because words are much more powerful than we often realize.

It’s time to get out of victim hood, to get freedom from the monkeys in your head telling you you’re not good enough and to remember that not all thoughts are you or yours.

Toni talked about a whole lot more stuff and if you’re interested in listening to her talk, you can do so here.

I ended up watching it twice and got even more out of it the second time round. In fact I had a bit of an epiphany and I haven’t talked to many people about it yet, but for the last couple of years I have had a dream that I’ve been working on. Up until now it was all a bit vague and I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it, but all of a sudden it all became clear to me and I could finally visualize it. I’ve been wanting to write a book on following your dreams and doing what you want to do in life, to find what you’re passionate about and to get from where you are to where you want to be. I’m so excited about it and although I have no idea how long it will take me to complete it, I’m having so much fun writing, reading and researching about it. I can’t wait to share bits and pieces with you all and hope it will end up as I imagine it right now, if not better 🙂

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Ellen Verhoeven - September 24, 2014 - 00:25

Inspiring and powerful words, Fleur! As a mum it’s been so wonderful (and sometimes difficult to watch “from the side line” seeing you struggle…) to follow your process and progress! I’m so happy for you to watch you move forward and to see you’re being less hard on yourself; you’re absolutely perfect the way you are! Love you my love! ♡

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