Nowhere in my story will it ever read, ‘I gave up.’

Not Giving In

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It’s mental health week this week.

So it wasn’t a surprise that as I turned the TV on last night,

I saw an interview with NRL player turned boxer Joe Williams,

Who was talking about how he’d written a letter to his children,

Apologising that he wasn’t going to be around anymore.

How he was sorry he wasn’t going to be able to walk his daughter down the isle.

How he wasn’t going to be able to see them grow up.

He was going to end his life.

He was going to give up.

It was the only way he could ‘stop the noise’ he said.

To silence the voices, the expectations, the pressure…

He tried, but woke up the next morning still alive by some miracle.

From that point on he decided he was going to make a difference and use his influence to help others.

It’s a common story.

I hear almost weekly of people wanting to take their own lives.

It no longer comes as a shock, or a surprise.

It’s just something that I’m used to hearing,

From what many would consider the most unlikely sources.

Wanting to opt out has become more common than many would like to admit.

Wanting to escape the too much,

The too hard,

The pain,

The confusion,

The hopelessness.

People everywhere are wanting it all to go away.

The noise has begun to drown out their hope,

Or any vision for their future.

There are so many factors at play as to why the noise becomes too much.

Some are struggling with unmet expectations,

Some with resentment,

Unforgiveness,

Shame,

Regret,

Failure,

Fear,

Grief.

The list most definitely goes on.

But there are a few things I have found that help remedy these kinds of powerful, noisy emotions.

Emotions like these thrive in silence.

So talk.

My grandma used to say ‘A problem shared is a problem halved.’

Find someone you implicitly trust with your life and tell them what you’re going through.

Trust is the key word here.

Talking to someone who can just listen without judgement is what you need.

Someone who will empathise with what you have been feeling.

Sometimes that’s all it takes.

It strips off the unspokenness of the problem and exposes it to the light so that darkness can’t penetrate anymore.

Next, be kind to yourself.

No one has it all together all of the time.

For perfectionists, lowering your expectations is sometimes key to being kind to yourself.

Own your not good enough,

Your failure,

Your suicidal thoughts.

Struggling with deep emotions like shame and despair and anxiety is more common than you think.

Own your story and start to confront it.

Only when we come face to face with what it is that we are most fearful of,

Can we then work through it and overcome it.

This takes an incredible amount of courage

And often when you’re in spaces like this,

Courage is the thing found in least supply.

But I want to encourage you.

Be kind to yourself.

Find someone you trust who will listen to your grimy mess and still accept you.

Heck, will even love you more because of it.

I’ve found that the people who reach out to me are the ones I am building greater and greater respect for,

Because they have owned their struggle.

They have had the courage to own their story,

Not make excuses for it,

But have put on the bravery needed to face it and try to climb that seemingly insurmountable mountain once again,

Even if its only one step at a time.

I applaud them this week.

Cate x

Who Do You Think You Are?

I asked myself that question.

It was a few years ago.

And the thing I remember,

Was that answering it involved going through an arduous,

Sometimes beautiful, sometimes bitter sweet process of asking myself,

Who do you think you are?

And the even more confronting question,

‘Why do you deserve to occupy the space you are taking up on the earth?’

I feel I now know,

And because I know,

I want to share a little of how I got there and how answering this question can profoundly

And exquisitely change your life.

Because it changed mine.

The first thing I realised was that there was only one me.

You’ve heard the saying,

Be the best version of you?

Well, I realised that to live in the full flow of my humanity,

I had to come to terms with the very inspiring fact that I was the only one of me that has ever lived,

Or would ever live.

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I don’t know people think about this much.

If we did,

We would be a whole lot more purposeful with how we spent this one life we’ve been entrusted with.

We would live lives of greatness and fullness and ascribe the value to them they deserve.

Which brings me to another truth I learned.

I learned how to value me.

This caused an unprecedented revelation of the worth and the value of the life I’d been given to live.

I began placing value on myself in areas where I’d previously not seen it or acknowledged it,

Which in turn gave me the permission and scope for the vision I needed to start dreaming big dreams and then put legs on those dreams.

I realised that my dreamer had been shut down many years ago.

I had let the moss and the overgrown thorny hedge grow over it like it no longer existed.

I was afraid to dream because I didn’t want to be disappointed,

And I didn’t see myself as having dreams worthy of significance in the scheme of God’s world.

I learned that this was ‘letting God down 101’ because He was expecting that I would not only use those gifts,

But use them to care for others,

Causing a harvest in a circle much broader than merely my own tiny one.

So I learned to dream again,

And the dreams were big,

Too big for me to do alone,

Which is where I learned how to partner with God and His dreams for humanity.

Another thing I learned was to truly love myself.

Being a perfect melancholy,

I had always found this hard.

I’d consistently been the ‘glass half full’, ‘need to have everything in my life perfect’ kind of person,

Or I wasn’t happy.

But this journey of finding out who I am,

In God and in me,

Has caused me to become aware of and accept every part of me,

My weaknesses, my strengths,

My failures, my imperfections,

My successes, my gifts,

My quirks, my personality, my perspectives,

My history…ilikemeBecause I know that loving me for me is critical to a life well lived.

Plus,

It’s sisters,

Like humility and empathy,

Develop from this deep awareness that you will never have it all together

And that’s ok.

Moreover, I discovered that by knowing who I was,

I was becoming less and less interested in what others thought of me

Or in comparing my life to anothers.

I realised that what I had been given was a gift and I took it with increasing gratitude.

Every day, every moment, every hour which turned into a week and a month and years.

I began owning my time and stewarding the little I had been entrusted with,

With great faithfulness.

And I noticed a beautiful thing begin to happen.

It started to multiply,

And grow,

And I began giving and contributing and looking outward for opportunities to influence and give and share.

I have heard it said that through life,

We encounter ‘intervals of possibility’.

Intervals of possibility are moments that bring dramatic change into our otherwise unsuspecting lives.

They come in the form of natural disasters, cancer, marriage breakdowns, losing our job, falling in love…

And it’s in these moments that we find ourselves asking the questions that we should have been asking all along…

Who do we think we are?

What legacy do we want to leave?

Am I being a faithful steward of every tiny little thing that God has put in my hands, including this once in a lifetime life of mine?quote

Now, less and less frequently do I find myself wasting time and energy on things I don’t love doing,

Or things I don’t place a value on.

So family comes first,

And God,

As do other people,

And myself,

Cultivating the gifts I have been given that God has called me to give voice to while I’m here.

You see,

When you see who you are,

And whose you are,

Everything else crystallises in its wake.

You stop questioning whether or not you are born to a life of influence,

Or significance,

Or of whether those dreams will ever become a reality…

You know without a doubt they will.

You know you were born for such a time as this.

You know the world is your oyster,

Then all of a sudden,

The very substance of your life becomes richer,

The pace of it becomes faster,

And you start living the life you were always destined to live.

Who do you think you are?

Cate x