There I was, homeless, bankrupt and desperate.
Desperate for an answer, for a way out, for a feeling. Desperate for anything other than what I had and how I felt.
RIGHT! I thought. I’m going to take this grit, this life experience, this utter determination not to fail (again) and I’m going to do something, achieve something, become something. After all, how many times have we heard that you can really achieve anything, once you put your mind to it? So, I put my mind to it.
Until now, I’d survived life. Winged it. Chanced it. I was looking for that one good idea, that once in a life time, over night success story idea. That one thing that would make people think I’d really made something of myself, that I’d become a success. But nothing had worked. Now, I’d decided, no more. This time I was going to achieve everything I wanted and I was going to have a plan. A goal. I was actually going to sit down and think about what I really wanted and how I could legitimately get there. Y’know, put my mind to it and really achieve it. Then I’d be sorted, then I’d be happy.
So, I sat down and I wrote out my goals. What did I actually want from life?
1. I wanted to be ‘someone’.
I’d grown up being told that I would never amount to anything, that I was pretty worthless and would never achieve anything. It was implied that I shouldn’t even really try.
So when I sat down at 22 years old finding myself homeless and bankrupt as a result of desperately trying to prove people wrong, I made ‘be someone’ a goal. But I had to be someone that was validated. Someone that no one could dispute. That meant I needed a fancy job title, within a successful and recognised organisation. If I was a big fancy corporate ‘someone’, no one could dispute that, no one could deny that I’d ‘made it’. And so become someone became my number 1 goal.
2. I wanted to drive an expensive, top of the range car. A car that people would see me driving and think ‘how did she get that?’
3. I wanted to buy a huge house. Half a million pound upwards type house. More bedrooms than I needed type house.
4 & 5. I wanted to have children and a husband. Be a proper ‘grown up’, a ‘someone’.
For the next 8 years, I worked my arse off. I put my mind to it. I was determined, passionate, driven and do you know what happened?
Let me tell you, the only thing worse than not achieving your goals, is achieving them and not feeling the way you thought you would.
I was married to an amazing man, with 2 wonderful children, I drove the fancy car and had the fancy job title and I was just about to put a reservation fee down on a £500,000 house that would completely wipe out our lively hood, all to prove I was someone and all whilst still feeling like a no-one.
I’d gone from being homeless and bankrupt to achieving everything I thought I wanted and I felt exactly the same on the inside. Of course I didn’t want to, I wanted to feel happy, I wanted to feel the way I thought I would when I’d achieved my goals. But it never came.
So now I’m screwed, there must be something wrong with me. I must be broken.
I tried counselling, I tried positive thinking, I even tried medication. Nothing worked and I didn’t know how much longer I could feel like this…
and I didn’t know how much longer I could continue to hear someone tell me that I was choosing to feel this way. ‘You choose to feel happy or you choose to feel sad’ or ‘You self sabotage’ were phrases I’d often hear and they made no sense to me. Why would I choose to feel anything other than happy? Why would I sabotage myself, especially when I’d worked so hard?
If I asked you right now, which one would you pick, to be happy or to be sad, which one would you choose?
If you would choose happy, but you aren’t happy, then what does that mean?
It can only mean one thing, that we’re not choosing. And if we’re not choosing, what’s choosing for us? And this is where I changed my life….