One of the very few things I vividly remember from my first year studying Psychology at the Uni back home was something my lecturer said that shocked me at the time.
‘You are the only one responsible for your mental wellbeing, you are the only one responsible for your feelings and actions, no matter what life throws at you, no matter how others treat you. Feeling sad or angry or happy is your fault, your responsibility.’
I could not understand why. How? If someone treated my badly, if a loved one died, why is it my fault I’m sad?
It took me years and years to fully comprehend it. It took me years to realise, as Lisa Fieldman Barret, a neuroscientist and psychologist beautifully stated in a TED Talk I recently watched ‘Your emotions are built, not built in‘, meaning you, or your brain to be more precise is the one controlling them, although it may feels impossible.
I co-incidentally watched a Youtube video of Will Smith explaining how what happens in your life and how others treat you it is not your fault, but how you respond is your responsibility. And that’s exactly it.
When you stop blaming others and get out of the ‘victim’ mentality everything suddenly changes. You are in charge, you are responsible. Scary, tough but liberating.
I say that every week since the beginning of the year but last week felt like the longest week of the year so far.
It’s been incredibly busy at work, which I actually enjoy. I’ve learned a lot over the last couple of weeks, I met different people across the University, from students to lecturers to HR experts such as Geoff Glover whose experience is impressive to say the least.
I’m incredibly grateful and honoured he agreed to meet with me and chat over coffee. I’ve learned more in an hour that I learned in a month. I truly admire humble, talented humans who love sharing their knowledge and experience with everyone and don’t let arrogance and success blind them. Geoff is definitely one of them.
But not everyone is nice and getting into arguments it’s inevitable sometimes. I had some of those too this week.
After work I spent most of my evenings writing or catching up with messages and other things I needed to do with the exception of my magical evening at the John Hansard Gallery.
By the end of the week I was shuttered.
On Friday sad news of a friend friend’s death, our age, and one of my best friend’s dad’s death added to my mental and physical exhaustion.
I went to bed at 11pm on Friday. That rarely happens but I was so tired I couldn’t keep my eyes open.
I woke up early the next morning but I couldn’t get up. I messaged my best friend, my soul sister, my soulmate Happy Birthday telling her how I wished I was there to celebrate with her. And then I went back to sleep.
I stayed in bed until 2pm. I needed it. That meant I had to spend the rest of the weekend cleaning, tidying up, shopping, washing but I needed the break. I need a holiday and I can’t wait for my week off in March but for now that’s the best I could do.
It sucks when people lie to you, underestimate you or undervalue you. It sucks when your near and dear ones are ill, it sucks when they die. And it’s not your fault. Don’t you ever blame yourself. But you are the only one who can change things, you are the only one who can fix it. You are the only one who controls your feelings, your emotions, your actions.
Over the last three years I learned to take responsibility for my emotions and my mental wellbeing and even more importantly, I learned to control them. Not all the time but well enough not to beat myself up and fall back to depression.
Mrs Polikseni I get it now, it took me years but I get it.
Here’s to another week. No idea what it will bring, life is full of surprises lately, but whatever happens, enjoy every moment. Forget about dos and dont’s. Forget about anything that makes you unhappy, worried or anxious. Just live.
Every weekend I facetime my little sis and we chat and laugh for hours, catching up, talking about our week. Something so simple makes me so happy. It’s all about the little things.
I often ask myself…
‘If I die right now, how I want others to remember me?’ I want to be remembered as kind, caring, creative, always singing, a tad crazy, obsessed with food and Yoga With Adriene who made others smile and laugh.
‘If I die right now, what I want my last thoughts to be?’ I’m happy and blessed to have amazing, loving friends and family, I have a roof above my head and delicious food on my plate. I do my best to enjoy every single moment. I’m happy.
If I die right now, what would my biggest regrets be? This I struggle to answer but…
What most people dying, the single moment when the clarity of mind reaches extraordinary levels and you cannot but be honest to yourself wished for was that they worked less and spent more time making memories with their loved ones, enjoyed life more, expressed their feelings more and were happier and true to themselves.
Life is really too damn short. I’ve been reminded of it so many times I started to wonder if the universe is trying to tell me something…
Or maybe not…
PS Happy birthday to my little Prince. I promise I’ll teach you all I learned about life, death and everything in between.
“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”