Video bought to you by, Vancouver Life Coach, Terry Sidhu.
You may notice that I tend to disappear for a while and I hope that the message in this post will help you understand why.
I grew up feeling segregated because I didn’t feel connected to the world the same way my peers did. I remember my insecurities developing because of an eagerness to fit in and become like everyone else. I would find myself trying to adopt trends I didn’t agree with and personas I didn’t I identify with, just to associate myself with what felt like a herd heading towards their own slaughter. Each day I denied myself the opportunity to be me and do the things I wanted to do, I restricted my potential and kept my aspirations at bay.
Although I found success through traditional pursuits, the success never felt genuine. It felt more manufactured and less actualized because it lacked authenticity; it lacked me and my presence. As I followed the rules and marched on like a good corporate soldier, I could feel my identity slipping away.
Living a life I was unhappy with, I began feeling the negative burden of isolation quite quickly. Mentally, my thoughts would always wander into a depressive abyss. Always reasoning with negative thought, I would convince myself that I was alone in feeling this way and that I should feel more grateful and fortunate for my situation, even though I felt like crap.
Physically, I’d become incredibly aware of my isolation. When we’re physically alone it’s hard not to face the emotions we shy away from, so naturally I filled my time with as many distractions as possible: going out and connecting with the wrong type of people, binging on alcohol, fueling my body on the worst kinds of food and indulging on unimaginative TV and media. These were the vices I funneled my misery into.
Needless to say I was becoming increasingly frustrated with the way I was living my life and decided to neglect many aspects of it. From my health through to my relationships, I felt like there wasn’t a reason to take care of any of it. When we face struggles like this in life, awareness and acceptance of the truth is what we must face.
I remember being offered a promotion, or at least the option was on the table and I thought to myself “This is it. This is what my life is going to represent.” There was no excitement, just expectation. There was no passion, just resistance and I’d never felt more disconnected from the aspirations I once held for myself. I’ve always wanted my life to mean something, I believe we all do, and I just felt like I couldn't dishonor my own existence anymore.
What turned my life around and helped me nurture the confidence to make the bold decisions that drastically altered my destiny, was my relationship with isolation. I figured, if the world I’m living in doesn’t understand the way I’m feeling, and I’m feeling like I don’t fit in, then my isolation will be the safe haven to exercise my identity.
Rather than reason with my negative thoughts I embraced them, I lifted up the rug and faced the emotions I had swept under it. At first, trying to cope with them internally felt crippling so I started to externalize my thoughts by writing them down. I would end up writing thousands of words about how I felt and without really noticing, I was developing and facing an awareness I had long spent avoiding. Upon reflection it was like writing a tragic novel and it was about my life! Seeing my misery displayed back to me was incredibly awakening, and I could foresee where my life would end up if I continued to perpetuate a life I was unhappy with. Whenever I would return to my life and exit moments of, what I started to call 'therapeutic isolation', I’d feel uplifted.
Slowly I started feeling like myself again and although I wasn't ready, rather unsure about the next step I should take, I knew I wanted to continue down this path I had embarked on. I started to make use of my isolation to research and construct my next move and change the course of my story. The first step was quite simple and it was to stop fueling my own misery, first thing to really change were the people I surrounded myself with.
In my isolation I felt empowered and excited. I was always exercising my own identity and connecting with stimulus that encouraged me to think freely and openly. I felt my isolation also acted as a form of measurement, of who I am against the reality of who I was becoming. Eventually I began falling in love with the freedom I felt when alone, so I began gravitating towards a life that felt the same way.
I felt encouraged to connect with people who allowed me to think and live as freely as I could on my own. Anything less than acceptance and understanding wasn’t enough for me. I eventually started to move into places I connected with and in these places I seized opportunities that truly spoke to me. Through honest challenges, I eventually found success that did feel genuine.
Today my isolation is my sanctuary: a mental and physical space to explore the depths of my identity and engage a state of flow. Moments to set myself free and exercise my own potential. A time and space to explore and develop my ideas so that I fully understand them first, then prepare myself to confidently present them to the world.
You don't need to feel trapped when you feel isolated, nor do you have to view isolation as a negative aspect of your life. Use moments of isolation to refuel your identity and realize that you can develop a life worth living.
This post was written by Terry Sidhu.
Don't be shy:
My journey from living with insecurities to living with confidence and esteem has been long. It’s taken leaps and bounds overcoming challenges and threats to my identity but I made it through, partly because I held on to what once seemed like a fantasy.
7 years ago, if anyone had told me that I’d be living the life that I am today, and that I’d be living it happily, I’d liken such wisdom to fantasy. Although I yearned for it, no part of my being believed it. However entertaining the idea of how life could be offered me moments of escape where I could live out my ultimate dreams. The mere thought would stimulate emotion, enough emotion to encourage the spirit to act.
We grow up to be adults with plans and realistic tendencies that repress any thought deemed too fantastical. When living inside the ideologies of society we fail to see sense in exercising this natural ability.
The way I see it, what we have as human beings is meant to be embraced. Our imagination has no bounds, has no limits and has no restrictions. Our minds have the ability to give us whatever we want. Whether it’s that great love we desire to experience someday or the success we wish to encounter, we all have it in us to live it in the form of fantasy.
So what good is this fantasy? It’s not real, what use do we have for it? My answer is hope, and not that hope associated with religion. It’s the hope that inspires courage and determination and gives us the right to our identities free. It gives us the ability to dream and inspires us to locate opportunities to pull that dream into the realm of reality.
Life is fu*king tough, it’s not easy, but we do have something to turn to if we do need some comfort to cope. Our fantasies can be something we fuel our minds with to move forward and push through our struggles.
One thing about fantasy, and it’s sort of warping my mind even thinking about it, is that the imagination; the idea; this omnipresent force that exists within our minds allows us to feel. Feelings we cannot and must not deny.
The empathy we experience as we read a book or watch a movie. The connection we make with others that cannot be explained, and the raw expression of our own identities when there is no fear nor judgment to face. Our fantasies contribute so much to who we are and they give us so much to live for, yet we dismiss them because we’re taught to be realistic.
Today, I want to advise you that it’s OK to let your mind travel, it’s OK to enjoy the bliss and comfort that comes with being free to think and feel without the burden of reality. Hold on to your fantasies, let them fill your spirit with all the goodness that empowers you to become the best that you can be in your reality.
You have to be so much already; you may have so many hats to wear and roles to play in your everyday life. So long as you're not harming anyone, explore your fantasy. Be free, be happy and don’t let the struggles of reality bring you down. This life I’m living now was once deemed a fantasy. Generations once enslaved also had a fantasy; lovers once deemed mentally ill also had a fantasy, and although there may be quite a bit of distance between the two realms, never let go of the possibility that one day that distance will decrease.
They say love can make you do crazy things and if you’ve ever experienced it you’d probably agree. The emotion is so powerful that it has an overwhelming impact on your identity. When I think about it, I could probably push myself to do a lot of senseless things for the people I love. When an overwhelming power like that takes over you, you realize the force and the significance of emotion.
Guilt is an emotion that, if given enough attention, can harness the power of your true identity and direct you towards positive change.
When guilt arises, it’s very easy at first to deny it. It’s easy to just push it aside into the darkest quarters of your mind as you indulge in one distraction after another. It’s not easy to forget a powerful emotion like that and by battling against it you deceive yourself, causing you to embrace and justify inner torment.
A weight difficult to shed, it can really keep you down from progressing in any positive direction in life. What you may not realize, guilt can be the biggest reveal of your identity and you can use this emotion to navigate yourself towards becoming the best that you can be. Although you may not want to admit it, but honesty is the policy you need to adopt here. Be honest about how you feel, be honest about why you’re guilty and be honest about wanting to overcome this guilt.
Guilt is one of those powerful emotions that allow you to reveal your identity or cause you to lock it away. When you experience true and life altering emotion, you're required to take responsibility for yourself.
Just as you have to reveal your aspirations to the world in order to achieve them, you must allow your guilt to rise in order to harness its power towards positive change. It’s also crucial to admit that you want to stop feeling guilty. It can feel ironic, but it if you apply positive thought, you present yourself an opportunity to develop positive change.
Processing your guilt causes you to evaluate and reflect, it causes you to face awareness and challenge the identity you've been living with. Powerful emotions like love and guilt have such an effect because they expose your truth. They reveal the most vulnerable parts of your identity and it’s within this vulnerability you’re able to connect to your true self.
When you choose to turn away from powerful emotions, you choose to deny who you really are and what you truly want. You begin to destruct your own identity, probably beyond recognition as you stray further away from fulfillment.
Remember, we are all flawed beings and perfection is an illusion that halts evolution. Hiding or turning away from your emotions because of mistakes and misdirection will only restrict your ability to find peace of mind. Keep you from making the changes you need and want to make in your life.
Every single one of us has the ability to be great, after all we feel the same emotions. What separates those who achieve genuine greatness and those who do not, is how emotions are harnessed.
Guilt allows you the opportunity to learn about yourself, it reminds you of your humanity and your desire to connect with others. Guilt is a chance to discover reason and purpose. Guilt is an opportunity to better your life so that when you do, you can make healthy amends.
Give yourself this opportunity to make positive changes and return to the world proving that you have learned, experienced and are repentant. It was Ghandi that said “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him.”
Ever had that little voice inside your head whisper the truth about the things you really want, but have the perception of risk and expectation silence it? That voice that wants you to explore opportunities and encourage you to take action, is the voice that may just guide you to the life you really want. Perhaps it doesn't make sense on paper nor to everyone around, but that little voice could very well be your potential talking.
I remember back when life never felt exciting, I would spend more times talking about the things I would change rather than changing them. I often found something to complain about and I'd let a lot of things irritate me.
I would literally have to schedule time to enjoy my life, for instance holidays and moments with friends and family. I remember thinking to myself, "happiness can’t be limited to small increments of time." I felt like I was failing at life.
Initially I thought money was the answer so I worked harder and made more money. That didn’t work; I was still unfulfilled, I just had nicer things around me. I tried getting into a relationship, but I think companionship back then made it worse, because it placed me onto someone else’s idea of fulfillment because I hadn’t figured out my own. Each attempt at finding happiness and fulfillment through expectation and ideology, that little whisper in my head became more frequent. The more I ignored it the more depressed I got, the more I listened to it the more fear I held on to.
That persistent nag kept insisting that there is something better for me to pursue, that there is something genuine out there for me to connect to. Small everyday frustrations would lead to huge outbursts of anger, quiet moments of contemplation would lead to distraction and procrastination. It became evident that I could no longer ignore that little voice inside my head, the one telling me the truth, because I was no longer feeling nor acting like myself. I was not happy with the life I had built.
When I first quit my "secure job" to move abroad everyone thought I was crazy and at some point even I thought I had lost my mind. I can’t even tell you how much I doubted myself when I had actually made the commitment to change my life. To make a better life for myself and face the truth I was battling was difficult, because overtime I learned to ignore it. When you get good at a indulging a certain behavior, undoing what you've learned is a vulnerable process. I’ve since learned to trust my own instincts and have become more confident as a result, because today I'm more open and honest about what I want.
Whatever risk, whatever doubt I had in my mind, listening to that little voice brought to light the stuff I was really unhappy with. Listening to what I really wanted from life has brought me more success and has made my life easy to live. Life feels full and I actually enjoy waking up in the morning, I’ve even been led to a career I'm passionate about, something I thought I’d never discover.
Every challenge I came across taught me more about myself than I have ever knew before, because I was forced to rely on truth. When I gave everything else up that's all I had left. I built confidence and self-belief from the ground up I feel and I know why it's a journey people must take alone. When you liken it to running a race, it's the runner that has to jump over the hurdle, no one else.
I’m not suggesting that you need to make drastic choices, but allow yourself to be curious and discover possibilities. Don’t let your spirit give up just because you think there is no hope for something better. Try listening to that little whisper more often and you might be surprised by how much of your life your missing out on.