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Thursday, June 5, 2014

7 Ways to Open Up & Positively Change Your Life

“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a tellar but for want of an understanding ear.” (Stephen King)
For as long as I can remember I was always hiding something. Whether I was hiding it from myself, or hiding it from my family and friends, there was always a piece of me kept far away that I wished not to reveal. My subconscious would ruminate on it for hours, days, months, even years. It would capture my entirety and I never felt whole. This was especially so during my teen years. But when I got to University and started seeing a counselor, I began to learn the importance of opening up.

To this day I'm not afraid to talk to anyone, even strangers, about my anxiety disorder, disordered eating, or any other issue I've faced or am currently facing. I learned that most of us are facing these same exact challenges and feeling quite alone.  This is a major reason I started this blog. To help others to feel unafraid to open up about what they are facing, and to help them feel less alone. As Stephen King mentions above, "When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear". But of course, simply opening up is easier said than done. So the following is a list of 7 ways to open up and positively change your life. 

1. Wait for the right moment. This can be tricky, but look for the moments when you are with your friends and family and the conversation has come to place of silence and say, "So.. I need to tell you something, and it's something very personal, so I need you to just be a listening ear. Can you do that?" Of course they will look concerned. That's a given. But you need to get this out and you need to have their approval before you lay, whatever it is, on them. If they say no, don't feel alarmed. Try and try again.

2. Rehearse. Really think about what it is you want to say and how you want to say it. It will make you more comfortable when the time comes and when you begin to shake your motor memory will take over.

3. Don't rehearse your audience's response. When given very heavy and emotionally laden news people respond very differently. Some people laugh, some people cry, and some people don't do anything at all. No matter what their response, having an expectation to how they will respond will make you feel disappointed, more tense, or even scared if it doesn't turn out exactly as you expect. Just stick with what you have to say and let them respond how they will.

4. Accept that sometimes people will not understand. When I was explaining to a friend of mine about depression, she simply didn't get it. Her response was, "just get happy". This is possibly the most annoying comment to make to someone who is depressed, because if they could "just be happy" they would, but they can't. With that being said, I didn't end my friendship with her because I suddenly couldn't be completely open with her. Instead I understood that she had never been through depression, or known anyone who had and simply couldn't make sense of it. I now have opportunities to speak with her regarding what it means, but by no means do I go to her for support. It's just a risk you have to be aware of and be willing to take. Don't let it bring you down, keep going.

5. Vent in any form possible. This can be through talking, blogging, vlogging, writing in a diary, creating a podcast, drawing, WHATEVER! Just keep venting. A major key to coming to terms with whatever you are withholding from the world is getting it out into the open. Even if no one hears you, even if no one seems to really able to help, the more you vent about it  the smaller it will seem, and the better you will feel. So keep venting.

6. Be someone else's listening ear. Much of the time we are so caught up in ourselves that we forget other people are facing things too. Listen, console, help. Even if you don't know how to, just being physically present with someone as they try and deal with something can help a TON! As well, listening can help us see ourselves through outside eyes. Though you may not be facing the same thing as them, you can relate in terms of fear, loneliness, being lost, and needing help. As well, your kindness may be reciprocated.

7. Let go of shame. Especially with the increase of social media, this world can make anyone feel that they are the only one facing something. As my favorite pastor, Steven Furtick has said "We struggle with insecurity because we are comparing our behind-the-scenes to everyone else's highlight reel". We need to realize that everyone is facing something, and no one's problems are greater or less great than someone else's. For one person their issue may be loss of their job, for another it may be a death in the family, and for yet another it can be moving away from home. Whatever issue it is someone is facing it, and to them it is a very hard and turmoil time. Therefore, never let someone tell you that you shouldn't be upset about whatever you are facing. It may not be hard for them if they were in your shoes, but it is hard for you and that's reason enough to feel so low. Don't let anyone increase your sense of turmoil by making you feel like you shouldn't be upset or scared.

Always remember, no matter what you are facing, speak up, be a listening ear, and allow yourself to feel whatever it is your feeling. ALL emotions are there for a reason, feel them, and don't let anyone make you feel shame for having emotions.

Don't forget: You're beautiful,

HayleyKaye :)