Sunday, 23 July 2017

The Invisible Career of the Lightworker

There is a fiery rage burning inside me today. And it is much needed. Because the past few days I have gone down - way down - into a very dark pit of absolute unworthiness, and this rage is lighting the fires of my self worth once again.

Let me start from the beginning. I haven’t had a ‘job’ since the end of 2012. Yup, for almost 5 years I have not been doing what I did from age 17 to age 25 - going to work 5+ days a week and receiving a paycheck for it.

From the outside it would be easy to assume that I’ve been ‘living the life’. I spent the first several months of my ‘retirement’ travelling, then stayed with my parents for 15 months in beautiful Raglan. I then went on the benefit and lived in amazing New Plymouth for 18 months. And now I am living in a gorgeous home in stunning Whangamata, and my husband works to support us both. He pays ALL the bills and often works big hours to be able to do it. Meanwhile I do the housework, laundry, cooking and cleaning - basically making his working life as comfortable as it can possibly be - but I also spend a lot of my time sleeping, reading, walking on the beach and generally relaxing. On the OUTSIDE.

The way that 99% of society views my life and my history for the past 5 years really affects me, and it has been one of the reasons why I have gotten really down in the past few days. I have no idea what people say about me behind my back, but I know that in many circles I am perceived as lazy, selfish, a ‘bludger’ and someone who expects everything to be handed to them on a plate. This idea of me fucking KILLS me inside, and it hurts because it is far too easy to see how people come to these conclusions. In the face of so much conviction in this outward illusion, I find it hard to stand my ground and remember the worth in what I am REALLY doing. I slip so easily into judging myself harshly, feeling that I should be doing more - especially in the times when my husband (who actually LOVES working and would go crazy if he couldn’t do it) gets tired and stressed about money. I try to stop those negative thoughts in their tracks but I inevitably become weighed down with guilt and caught up in the illusion that my life is one long holiday while my husband slaves away every day just to keep us afloat.

Let me paint you a different picture from the INSIDE. Since 2012 I have been on an INTENSE path of spiritual awakening and healing. The start of my awakening was euphoric and blissful, but it wasn’t long before I started the process of healing myself and clearing away all that is not in alignment with my higher self. The clearings were periodic at first; maybe once a week or every few days I would have a big emotional outpouring that lead to new revelations about myself. But as I fully woke up and stopped jumping between my old world and the new spiritual world I’d tapped into - I began to spend ALL my time in a state of spiritual awareness, and my spiritual healing became a round-the-clock job. Yes, JOB. I swapped a well paid, society-approved 3D-world position of employment for something that was almost completely invisible - for which I would receive no pay, no thanks, no annual leave and holidays, no awards and accolades; and to top it off, my greatest success would be viewed by almost everyone in my life as a mental breakdown. GREAT.

On the other hand, I had finally found what I was put on this planet to do. And it felt SO FUCKING GOOD. It also felt terrible a lot of the time, because the very nature of the work is uncomfortable to say the least. But I THRIVED on it, I was GOOD at it - really good - and I knew that healing myself was not just about myself; I was healing my family, my ancestral line, and the whole collective consciousness too. Every time I made a big shift in myself, I created a pathway for everyone else to shift in the same way. I was transmuting outdated patterns of energy right left and center, I was busting through glass ceilings like a superhero on a mission, and unravelling centuries old programming every damn day. I was lighting up this planet with my blazing soul, and showing EVERYONE that there was another way - a BETTER way.

I travelled for the first few months of my official ‘retirement’, but eventually carrying out this inner work at the same time as being in new places and around new people all the time burned me out. I arrived at my parent’s house in October 2013 utterly exhausted and needing so badly to just have a safe cocoon to carry out my journey in. They gifted that to me - for far longer than any of us thought it would go on for - and for that I will always be grateful. But they also burdened me with their judgment and misunderstanding of what was going on. Thankfully the Universe had my back, and that year my parents were away again and again at conferences around the world, and I often had the house to myself for 1-3 weeks at a time. During those times I was LOVING LIFE. Of course I was going through severe clearings all the time, which were very hard, but I was also saturated with absolute conviction in my journey and my purpose. I knew I was doing great things and I celebrated every clearing like the milestone it was.

When my parents returned from their trips away I would stalk my Mum for hours talking her ear off about all the amazing and exciting revelations and inner discoveries I’d made while she was away. I was trying and trying and trying to make her see that what was happening to me was something WONDERFUL and miraculous - something to cheer about and be proud of. But no matter how hard I tried, it could just never sink in. There was always concern about how I was living (basically like a hermit), how much I was sleeping, how often I was crying etc etc fucking ETC. The times that they were home I felt so judged and pressured every day. I was constantly battling to hold onto my view that I was achieving awesome things, when their opinion that everything was going wrong was bombarding me daily. Mental illness ran in my family and clearly I was the latest one to be struck down with this awful affliction. They were always trying to HELP, to cure and fix me - when all I wanted was to be left alone to get on with it. My parents walked on eggshells around me trying not to trigger me even though I was saying “TRIGGER ME!!! IT’S A GOOD THING! THAT’S WHAT I’M HERE FOR! I’M HERE TO HEAL!”. They just never got it.

I believe that my efforts to prove myself to them that whole time were a huge factor in me taking my spiritual work too far. I strived to be more and more successful at it, hoping that they would eventually SEE what I was doing and maybe - JUST MAYBE - they would begin to be PROUD of me. Maybe they would eventually see that instead of everything going WRONG, everything was in fact going RIGHT. I wanted them to stop focusing on the crumbling of the old me, and focus on what was being reborn in her place. I also admit that I reached a point where I just wanted to get the fuck out of there. I knew that after I had achieved a certain amount of inner healing I would be able to function a bit more in everyday ways. I could SEE my future self in my mind’s eye, and she was confident and capable in ways that I had always dreamed of. I started going faster and faster to try and GET THERE, because I was tired of living under a roof of judgment and misunderstanding.

Sadly I learnt a lesson the hard way. I went TOO fast and tried to heal too much at once and I became very sick and landed myself in a mental ward for 10 days. It was the most terrifying experience of my life as I could no longer tell what was real and what wasn’t. All the horrific things that have happened on this planet seemed to be happening to me in real time, and I didn’t sleep for over a week thinking that sleep would mean death (and eternal agony). The months of recovery after that crisis were grueling, but in some ways I also felt like I’d been born anew. I felt like my journey had been building to a peak, and now I was over it and moving down the other side. The end was in sight, and I began planning to leave my parents house.

I eventually got there about 5 months after I got out of hospital, and the relief of moving into a flat (with a girl with chronic illness who TOTALLY ACCEPTED ME AS I WAS and never judged the way I was living) was IMMENSE. Another angel of a doctor approved me for the disability benefit so I was able to carry on my spiritual work while getting paid enough money each week to live on, without needing to rely on my parents. Oh the fucking RELIEF!!!!!!!!!!!! It took me MONTHS to quieten their voices in my head - to actually let it sink in that I was free from their judgment and didn’t have to apologise for my journey anymore. I also got counselling paid for as part of my disability benefit and with the help of the most amazing spiritual woman I began healing even deeper than ever before. I also met my husband who gave me the greatest gift I have ever received in my life - ACCEPTANCE. He never EVER tried to fix me or change me, he just rode that rollercoaster with me, sat with me in my darkness and celebrated my victories with me when I came out the other side each time. All the new people that I met during that time were absolutely Heaven sent.

Through the unconditional love that my husband has for me, and my own continuing journey of self love and inner healing, I have become more and more capable in recent years. I still live mostly like a hermit, but I am not having emotional breakdowns every other day (more like once a week now). It comes in waves, some weeks (especially around the full moon or other astrological events) will just be super intense and I will go fully back into my shell and just be processing HARD every day. Other weeks I feel almost normal and happy for a while, and I can actually do things and see people without it being too overwhelming. I have come so far from where I started, and I am HELLA proud of all the work I have done.

While outwardly one might think that I went through a bout of mental illness and now I’m coming out the other side of it - there is a much stronger truth at play here. I am a SPIRITUAL HEALER, a LIGHTWORKER, and I have moved my way through my dark night of the soul, and am continuing onto deeper and higher work every day. Just because I’m not openly breaking down all the time, don’t be fooled into believing that my healing work is coming to an end. From the MOMENT I wake up in the morning til the MOMENT I fall asleep at night, I am fucking WORKING. I am healing and shifting and accepting and forgiving and awakening and loving and evolving EVERY. MINUTE. OF. EVERY. DAY. When I go to sleep at night I am processing continuously in my dreams. I NEVER GET A BREAK FROM THIS. And most of the time, I wouldn’t want to. This is my passion, this is my purpose, this is my gift. I fucking LOVE it, and I’m fucking GOOD at it.

While I have a bunch of people fighting in my corner now (bless you beautiful souls), I still have to constantly contend with the misunderstanding of general society. I know my husband’s family and colleagues don’t get it - there are constant subtle nudges about me getting a job too (totally understandable from their perspective, they must think I’m taking Nate for a ride!). I have a hard time connecting with most of the population because WHAT do I say when the inevitable question comes up, “So what do you do for a job?” - HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO EXPLAIN??? I either tell the truth and come across as weird (cue people awkwardly backing away from the hippy freak) or I tell a weak but palatable story and say that I am a housewife and I enjoy it. Which is TRUE, but it is only about 10% of the WHOLE truth. I am so much more than that, and every time I spin that story I sell myself short and diminish my worth a little bit more in their eyes as well as my own.

I know there are Lightworkers all over the world with a similar story to me. Most are still carrying on some kind of ‘normal’ work while also carrying out their inner work, and for that I fucking APPLAUD YOU. No one will ever really understand what a superhuman feat that is. And I know that most people in your life will take your worth and your ‘usefulness’ from only the OUTWARD work that you do - the obvious stuff. You carry on every day doing the invisible thankless work of a Lightworker, and you never even get a pat on the back saying “Wow you are amazing, well done.” If you are ‘lucky’ enough to have been able to let go of ordinary employment like me and to focus all your time and effort on your spiritual work, I know you too battle every day with judgment, misunderstanding and a total lack of thanks or even acknowledgment for your everyday achievements.

This is the Invisible Career of the Lightworker.

Almost no one knows how fucking BRAVE you are. How you go inside yourself every damn day and you look DEMONS in the eye and you slay them with swords of love. How you take ownership of your shit EVERY DAY when most people would deflect and blame and project onto others. How you look honestly at yourself in the mirror without shying away from the ugly and terrible blackness inside you - stuff so hard to look at that it would send an ordinary person running for the hills. You FUCKING FACE IT. Every day. And you heal it. And because of that, you are healing the world. Quietly, invisibly, subtly and covertly, you are transforming this world from the inside out.

All the while you are being judged for your ‘weakness’ - for your emotion and sensitivity. You may have been labelled with mental illnesses and plied with medications that you get in trouble for not taking because you don’t want to create a shield between yourself and your soul. There SHOULD be parades for you in the streets but instead you are constantly feeling like you’re not doing enough. You SHOULD be on a 100k salary, but instead you slave away without reward or thanks. You SHOULD be respected and honored by the whole population but instead you doubt yourself because so many don’t see your gifts and the difference you are making.

I SEE YOU.

This post is for everyone who has ever felt this way, so utterly unappreciated and unseen to the point where you don’t even know your worth anymore.

YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY AMAZING.

YOU ARE A FUCKING WARRIOR.

YOU ARE MAKING SO MUCH MORE OF A DIFFERENCE THAN YOU KNOW.

YOU ARE SO CELEBRATED AND ADMIRED IN THE SPIRIT WORLD.

THEY ARE CHEERING YOU ON EVERY DAY, EVEN IF YOU CAN’T HEAR IT.

YOU ARE DOING AN OUTSTANDING JOB.

AND THE WHOLE UNIVERSE IS SO SO SO PROUD OF YOU.

If any of you EVER need reassurance that you ARE worthy and you ARE making a difference, please feel free to contact me. I will ALWAYS be here cheering until my I lose my voice for anyone doing this heroic invisible work. You are incredible and I am honored to be working alongside you. We are all in this together. Whether the ‘regular’ people of this world ever wake up and see what you’ve been thanklessly battling away at all these years or not, KNOW in your heart that you are celebrated by the ones who matter. And when it comes time for you to cross over, you will be utterly overwhelmed when you realize how valued you truly have been this whole time.

I SEE YOU.

OWN YOUR WORTH BRAVE LIGHTWORKER.

Your work is only invisible to the ones with their eyes closed.





Friday, 21 July 2017

10 Little Known Facts About Social Anxiety

I am so grateful to be living in a time where there is so much information online about social anxiety and innumerable introvert support groups so people like me feel more understood and less alone. However, I have never read an article that sums up the full picture of social anxiety for me, so I thought I would fill in MY blanks for anyone else who may suffer from this uncomfortable affliction.

Here are 10 little known facts about people with social anxiety:

1. WE GET ANXIOUS AROUND PEOPLE WE HAVE KNOWN FOREVER

Yup, of course meeting new people is often our personal idea of hell, but unfortunately our social discomfort doesn’t only extend to initial encounters. I often get anticipatory anxiety ranging from low level butterflies to full on dread when psyching myself up to hang out with my own family, or my best friend! Usually within 5 minutes of being in their company I remember that it’s all fine and there was no need to worry, but that is not always the case (some days I am just an awkward fucktard who can’t flow with anyone) and even when it IS all good, the build-up SUCKS. It is very very rare that we meet someone who we feel totally comfortable with all the time, in fact my husband is one of the only people I have ever met who makes me feel this way, and part of the reason for that is because he’s an extroverted blabbermouth who fills in the silences for me! Socializing with practically everyone else is a challenge that we have to face anew EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

2. WE ARE NOT AFRAID OF REJECTION, WE FEAR BEING TOLERATED

I got openly and brutally rejected as a kid, and generally that just doesn’t happen as adults. People are all far too polite for that. But sometimes I wish they weren’t. There is nothing worse than sitting in a group and becoming increasingly aware that the people you are with don’t really want you around, but they are too nice to say so. They are just humouring you, pretending to enjoy your company, while inwardly plotting to create distance between themselves and the waves of anxiety and awkwardness coming off you. The sad part is that once this has happened a few times, us anxious folk stop being able to tell the difference between people who genuinely enjoy our company, and people who are just faking it. So we inevitably become slightly paranoid and overly sensitive to social signals that may or may not be indicating that the person sitting next to us would rather be elsewhere. What this means is that it is basically impossible for us to relax in any social setting.

3. IF WE DIDN’T HAVE TO TALK, THERE WOULD BE NO PROBLEM

I spent 6 weeks in an ashram near Byron Bay at the start of 2012, and it was the only time in my life (aside from times of drunkenness) that I had a holiday from social anxiety. The reason for this is that the ashram encouraged everyone to NOT talk unless they had something very important to say. Silence among people was encouraged. Silence during meals was encouraged. Ohhh the sweet fucking RELIEF! It was so so good, and as a result of this rule I made the most beautiful connections with people slowly and organically over the weeks, instead of rushing in and making fake ass small talk on day one. It was one of the best times of my life for this reason and I only wish the whole world would follow suit! If you don’t speak in a ‘normal’ social setting you are considered weird and avoided - or people will constantly ask you if you are ok and will assume that you’re not having a good time. People like me have to carry on the charade of being a chatty confident person just so that the people around us can relate to us - when really we would be so much happier just sitting there and observing. The problem is not being around people - we certainly don’t hate people! It’s the TALKING that’s the issue. When I am free to sit in silence my heart blossoms like a sunrise overflowing with love - but the second I feel pressure to talk it clams up like a fortress.

4. EVEN WHEN WE HAVE GOOD SOCIAL SKILLS, WE STILL GET ANXIOUS

Long gone are the days when I could barely string a sentence together and bumbled my way through every single social encounter aching with incredible shyness. This inability to make conversation quite miraculously left me halfway through my dark night of the soul (clearly it was some deeply ingrained self judgment or inner wound choking me up) and these days I can small talk and deep talk with the best of them. That doesn’t mean I want to though. The day I cracked the code and spent the whole afternoon/evening making joyous conversation with my extended family (without alcohol! Miracle!) - I truly thought that was the day I buried my social anxiety forever. But it was not to be. Because as I’ve mentioned earlier, so often I just DON’T WANT TO TALK. But socializing without talking is basically unheard of (and somewhat pointless). So every time an invitation is issued I feel that pressure to have to be ON and conversing like a pro all the time, and honestly it EXHAUSTS me. So my anxiety has never been cured by my blossoming social skills because I still don’t feel like I can truly be myself in social settings. It will also take a very long time for that fear that “this time it’s going to be awful” to go away. When you hold inside you approximately 5 million memories of times when socializing made you want to curl up and die, it’s probably going to take at least 10 million GOOD experiences of socializing (in a row) for you to trust that it’s all ok now. I hope to get there one day, but it’s a major trust-building exercise that’s going to take time.

5. WE WANT TO PUT EVERYONE ELSE AT  EASE

Now I’m not saying we’re good at doing so. In fact we fail in this quite a lot. But we will always TRY. Perhaps because we are SO well versed in how horrifically uncomfortable socializing can be, we tend to go out of our way to stop other people feeling that way. For me, I have always idolized those magical souls who just seem like a fountain of calming loving energy that pours over everyone around them and makes everyone feel GOOD. Those people have been balm for my soul on many an occasion (and actually I have had the blessing of marrying one of them!) and so I will always try to emulate them when I can. Fortuitously, if there is someone at a social gathering who is obviously feeling even more awkward than ME, I will immediately feel calmer and miraculously able to be that soothing presence for their anxious nervous system. It feels really good to play this role when possible, and sometimes I just don’t have it in me. But I will always do it when I can, because I know that the right energy from another person can be the difference between having the best day ever, or wishing you were never born. I feel even more sympathy and tenderness for a CHILD who is feeling this way, because my wounded inner child is always there reminding me how hard it can be. I love the saying “Be the person your younger self needed” and that is definitely a big goal for me!

6. WE ALWAYS FEEL LIKE WE SHOULD BE DOING MORE

I grew up idolizing extroverts and actually until recently I truly believed that I WAS an extrovert who just had to overcome her shyness. Accepting that I am introverted by my very nature has been a hard pill to swallow, and one I am still working on. Because 99% of people on this planet would look at me and the way I live my life and think that something is wrong with me - it’s just not NORMAL. Clearly something in me needs to be fixed or healed because I spend most of my time alone. It is a seemingly endless process of unravelling all the layers of programming I have inside me that tell me I should be living differently, doing more, putting myself out there more, being more like other people. The voices of my family and other members of society in my head are very loud, and it will take a long time for me to quiet them for good. Introversion is NOT a problem or something to be fixed, and in fact there are so many things that I can naturally do that my extrovert husband couldn’t do in a million years! Mostly he wishes he could think like me, with lightning fast thought processes and problem solving skills, my brain always finding patterns and linking things together in ways he could never imagine. He marvels at how I see everything from a spiritual perspective and how (on the rare occasion that socializing goes RIGHT) I can dive straight into an exquisite deep and meaningful with someone I’ve just met, whereas he can socialize for a whole night and barely skim the surface. Sadly so many of my skills and my spiritual work (of which I am so proud) go unnoticed and uncelebrated by society. So no matter how incredibly accomplished I am in my areas of expertise, I am always left with a niggling feeling that it’s never enough.

7. WE LEAVE OUR COMFORT ZONES FAR MORE THAN PEOPLE REALIZE

This is something I have had to recognize and celebrate in myself as part of my self love journey - because mostly no one else is going to do it. Every time I leave my house - even if it is just to walk to the letterbox, I am leaving my comfort zone. There is every chance that a neighbor will be out on their front lawn or the mailman will turn up right at that moment and I will have to engage in an interaction of some kind that will make my insides twist up. Going to the supermarket is something I have to psych myself up for. Making conversation with the checkout operator is a challenge (although you would never know it looking from the outside). I can do it easily enough, but it taxes me. If I have to make a phone call to the power company or something like that, the anxiety is intensified by a million. Little everyday things that wouldn’t even be a blip on the radar for other people, are huge brave challenges for people with social anxiety. And life is FULL of those little moments. You literally cannot avoid them. I have judged myself so hard in the past for not putting myself out there MORE, but eventually I realized that my comfort zone is just totally different to other people’s. Achievements in this regard are all relative, and I was comparing them as if we are all the same. When I look back now on the years that I pushed myself so hard every day to work in customer service, or the months that I went travelling on my own - I know now that it was basically a superhuman feat for me. Both of those endeavors eventually burned me out and took a huge toll on my health, but I tried anyway. For that I am a fucking hero. And now that I understand myself better, I am learning how to push myself beyond my comfort zone in healthy ways suitable to ME, and how to celebrate small victories that to other people would seem trivial.

8. WE PICK UP EVERYONE ELSE’S ANXIETY TOO

This may not be true for everyone, but a few years ago I realized that I am an empath (someone who is essentially an energetic and emotional sponge, who feels and ‘takes on’ the emotions and energy of everyone around them and is often unable to tell what is their own and what is someone else’s) - and this has a major impact on my social anxiety. Because almost everyone experiences social anxiety or awkwardness at some point in their lives - it is a spectrum of feelings that could be very low level or very extreme. So being an empath in a social setting, I am going to be picking up and feeling the anxiety and awkwardness of EVERY SINGLE OTHER PERSON there - whether they are aware they are feeling it or not! I pick up the subtle and repressed emotions as well as the obvious ones. I feel the awkward inner child in someone who knows themselves only to be confident. I’ve always done this, and I always thought it was all mine. No fucking wonder I never liked socializing! My insides would turn into a cyclone of emotion from every other human present, and all I knew was that I felt like shit whenever people were around. Last year I went to my best friend’s 4 year old’s birthday party, and I was actually looking forward to it so much it didn’t even OCCUR to me to feel anxious about it. I was so surprised when I found myself absolutely crippled with anxiety and awkwardness while attempting to make conversation with my besty’s family - I literally hadn’t felt like that in years! I was like, “Holy fuck I’m regressing so bad right now” - and I actually ended up having to run away and hide in one of the bedrooms. And then my besty told me through a clenched and awkward smile that she was feeling the exact same way, but putting on a brave face for the partygoers. And all of a sudden it made sense - I was feeling HER awkwardness! The only way we got through the day was cracking a bottle of red wine, but at least we had comradery in our shared social failings. It just made me think though, how many people throughout my life have been hiding extreme awkwardness behind a confident facade (I’ve certainly been guilty) - and I’VE been the unlucky recipient of all their yucky feelings, all the while judging myself for not being as confident as them??

9. WE GET FOMO, BAD

I definitely don’t experience Fear Of Missing Out as badly as I used to, but still sometimes it strikes me down like a flaming arrow that sets my chest on fire. That is one of the downsides to having an extrovert for a husband, because he L.O.V.E.S. socializing and when he goes out to have a game of pool (for example) at the local pub, he will often make new friends and end up having an epic night and coming home several hours after he planned to. And I can’t deny that I die inside a little bit when he tells me about his night the next morning. Because I can’t help but feel like he’s really LIVING and I’m just a wimp who lets my fear get the better of me… and as a result I’m wasting my youth and probably missing out on the best experiences of my life! His adventures remind me of my younger years in Sydney when I drank myself into a different person every weekend and had such a blast playing the character of outgoing extrovert. I felt like a SUCCESS in so many ways then that I don’t now. It’s very hard to remind myself that if I’d accompanied Nate on his night out it would have been a totally different story. I would have had to maintain an unhealthy level of alcohol consumption all night just to keep my own demons at bay (many a night I have gone swiftly from drunken elatedness to deep depression and sobbing as the alcohol fumes have run dry) which would have resulted in a mother of a hangover - otherwise I would have been the awkward one killing the vibe. I still fool myself sometimes into thinking that I really AM that extroverted person - I JUST NEED TO FIX MYSELF AND I’LL BE THERE. But no amount of fixing does the trick because she was a work of fiction. And so I throw on that costume and down my drinks every now and then just to remember what it feels like, but mostly nowadays I just let hubby get on with having a good time without me - while nursing my aching heart that wishes I could be more like him.

10. WE HAVE A HARD TIME LOVING OURSELVES

This one is probably self explanatory after the other nine points. It’s hard not to feel like a failure when things that are so simple (and even enjoyable!) for a great percentage of the population are like climbing Everest for you. It is incredibly difficult not to compare yourself unfavourably to others and to feel like your life is a sad story compared to theirs. It’s impossible not to feel horrified with yourself when you realize you have cleared a room of people with your anxious energy. It is easy to question your worth entirely, and to wonder why you’re even here and what good could you possibly bring to this world? The self-blame-game is an easy one to slip into, and most of us have spent our whole lives telling ourselves these kinds of stories. But this point is number 10 because it is the most important of all. Self love is the difference between staying in a cage forever, and blossoming into who we really are. YES this world is fucking challenging for us in ways that most people could never understand, but we are here for a reason, and our gifts will only be unlocked as we learn to love and appreciate our own uniqueness - anxiety and all. I have seen myself transform throughout this journey of unravelling my own soul with all its fears and wounds - because as soon as I witness and fully accept a part of me, it begins to change. My social anxiety has already come so so so far from where I started, and I’m so deeply proud of that. This transformation HAS NOT been brought about by pressuring myself to do more, talk more, BE more. It has been wrought from total acceptance and forgiveness of my weaknesses, and it will continue to blossom through this act. I know I am special and I am here for a reason. It might take me 20 more years to work up the courage to fully own my power, and I might be way behind everyone else by then. But their journey is not my own, and the ones who race victoriously ahead will never know what I am achieving every day in small significant steps forward.

If you yourself suffer from social anxiety, please begin the process right now of forgiving yourself for your perceived failings, and celebrating all the small victories that you may have overlooked. It takes a fucking POWERFUL soul to come into this world as sensitive as you are. You are a fucking superhero and should own your social anxiety like a badge of honor. The more you forgive, accept and love yourself JUST AS YOU ARE, the more it will transform. You may never be an extrovert, but one day you will be able to be around people at total ease with yourself. Even if that means they think you’re weird because you’re different to them - one day you just won’t care anymore. And you will bring gifts to this world that it badly needs. The very act of loving and accepting yourself as you are is the greatest gift of healing that you could give to this planet. You can start right now.

If you know someone else who suffers in this way, PLEASE help to stop the judgment and start being proud of who they are. Until you experience it for yourself you will never know what it’s like to live in a world of 7 billion people, all of whom freak you the fuck out (even the ones you really like!). The more people we can have around us telling us that we are actually rockstars every time we leave the house or make a conversation, the faster we will be able to blossom into everything that we truly are.

Thank you.