I remember half opening one eye on a Tuesday morning and realising with knotty dread that it wasn’t the weekend yet.
I eviled my boyfriend sleeping next to me,
happily in love with his bar job, and edged my hand out into the cold to retrieve my iPhone.
Then I lay there, knowing I’d be late for work, scrolling through faces that seemed so much happier than mine.
I knew I was wasting my life doing jobs that didn’t particularly excite me, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do instead. Every time I thought about it I’d feel sick with anxiety at all the possibilities, and frustrated at myself that I couldn’t make a decision.
So I’d watch Grey’s Anatomy instead.
Then I’d feel guilty about procrastinating my life away. And then I’d wonder if I should have studied medicine instead of architecture. And so the spiral went.
My mind just kept bringing it back over and over.
I wasted years thinking about how to change my career and how to be happier. And how to make people like me more. I was stuck in overthinking, treading water while I waited for the answer to come to me, but it never did, I got less clear the more I thought about it.
I’d lost my way somewhere amongst all the high achieving and people pleasing.
I felt that I needed to “find myself,” but the phrase pissed me off, and I didn’t know what to do about it.
Cut to 6 years on and I woke up this morning with a tingly rush of YUSS! I feel alive in a way that I never thought was possible for a pessimist like me.
I still don’t love mornings, but that knotty dread and anxiety that used to follow me around in the background?
It’s goneburgers. Whoever made up that saying?
Now that I don’t expend all my energy questioning myself and my every move, I have so much more to put into doing things that make me kick my heels together with glee.
Like a leprechaun, but with a much less cool accent.
In the end, what I found was a way of thinking and living that changed my ability to get clear on who I am and what I want.
I found a way of living that helps anyone to find their own passion. A way for me (and everyone) to re-find “themselves”. And then it turned out that my passion is teaching other people these skills that changed my life and my “self,” so that they can change theirs too. And so was born Project Self.
I don’t question my sense of self now, no matter what I see others up to, I simply don’t care.
Because I’m sure of me.
Even when I don’t know the answers. I know I’ll know when I need to.
It’s hard to explain how bloody magical it feels to feel at peace no matter what happens. To be sure. To be content. And to be elated on a regular basis so much so that I jump up and down and squeal.
When you’re not wasting all your mental energy on questioning your every move, it frees up mental space. And in that space lies the clarity that we’re all seeking.
That’s how you find that sense that you know exactly who you are and what you want, and you won’t let any Nevilles or Gertrudes stop you from getting it.
When you practice The Mindfulness Game (day 3 of the 6 days to decisiveness challenge), you’ll start to become aware of just how much mental space your Neville’s megaphone is filling up.
To recap the game:
Get yourself a pen, keep it with you all day, and every time you notice your mind saying something negative or unhelpful (even if it’s true), put a tally on your hand. This will help you be really alert and to start noticing what’s taking up all your attention.
“Why did that guy look at me funny? Is there something on my face?” (1 point)
“Am I being boring? Oh god I’m being boring!” (2 points)
“WHY do I always talk so much!?” (1 point)
“I wonder what would happen if I got my hand stuck in the tram door?”(1 point)
“Man, I suck, look at how many tallys I’ve got on my hand” (1 point)
“Gah, stupid freckly, pasty hands” (1 point)
You’ll also start to notice how unhelpful, and often how irrelevant a lot of your Neville’s words are. You’ll start to notice how much of a sausage he really is when he keeps waffling on about worries about futures that never eventuate.
Before you plant new seeds, you need to first be able to see the weeds
so you can stop letting them take over the garden of your attention. Or something.