Nineteen Years Ago, I Set A Date To End My Life — And Nobody Had A Clue
I appeared to have it all: the perfect fiancée, two successful chiropractic practices, and a beautiful home.
Yet none of this made me happy, and inside of me, there was a big, black, bottomless hole. Unable to find a way out, I gave the universe six months: six months for life to improve or I was out of here.
At the very core of my unhappiness was the endless pursuit of perfection. I was so focused on manufacturing a life that ticked certain boxes, that I lost all sense of who I truly was.
Measuring my every experience against impossibly high standards meant I always found myself lacking, and I lived in a prison of self-judgment and shame. I was in such emotional pain that life felt impossible to bear.
Then came my turning point: I discovered the tools of Access Consciousness and felt hope for the first time in years. I learned to let go of perfectionism and found a way back to my true (very joyful) nature.
In a moment, I'll share the three key tools that changed everything for me. If you’re feeling how I did — please try them? If they don’t speak to you, call a trusted friend, a professional, or a helpline. Take one more step. Never stop. You are a gift to this world, and there is something different possible.
Also, you don’t have to be as desperate as I was to be limited by the constant search for perfectionism. Often it’s more subtle, in the guise of ambition. If you ever get very caught up on how things should be, and you can’t enjoy the present moment because it never feels enough, you could also benefit from these three tools.
1. Who does this belong to?
If there's one awareness that really liberated me, it's this. I experienced a huge shift on learning that 98 per cent of our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs are absorbed from elsewhere: our families, friends, teachers, religion — even the media. We're continually taking on the thoughts of others and believing they’re ours.
By asking, Who does this belong to? to my every thought and feeling for three days, I let go of so much that wasn’t mine.
I realised I’d spent a lifetime buying into other people’s ideas about what happiness looked like – and it was time to create my life based on what happiness looked like for me.
Try this: Whenever you think that you’re not good enough, that your life is cr*p and that you will never make it… stop for a moment. Hold that thought in your mind, and ask, Who does this belong to? If you feel lighter, the thought or feeling or belief isn’t yours. Choose to let it go.
Do this to every thought for three days and notice how much lighter you become — and how much easier it is to make choices that are right for you.
2. Eliminate the automatic "bad"
Imagine that you’re really excited about going on a trip, then at the airport your flight gets canceled. How does that feel, in your body?
Sinking? Tight? Heavy? Angry? Frustrated?
What if, rather than immediately seeing this as A Very Bad Thing, you took the point of view that it's… interesting? It’s counterintuitive but imagine it. Your flight got canceled: interesting.
Notice it creates a totally different feeling in your body. It’s looser, and there’s more space, less solidity.
If you judge an event (or anything) as bad and wrong, you will have to keep proving that you are right by not allowing anything in that is right or good about that event. Make sense?
What if… that plane being canceled led to you bumping into your long, lost friend at the airport parking and while the two of you drive to town together you had the greatest business idea that makes you billionaires within five years.
For the rest of today, would you be willing to replace every judgment you have, about an event, about others, about you, with ‘interesting,' and try out this new, less solid, space of functioning in the world?
3. Start asking questions
This tool builds really well from the previous one, so let's continue with the example: your flight's canceled, you see it as interesting, space opens up. This is a great time to try a question, specifically: ‘What else is possible?’
The beautiful thing about this open-ended question, and any question like that, is that we can access awareness’s we wouldn’t have been able to ‘get’ from the conclusive, solid space of ‘this is wrong.' Here is another question that would work well in the airport situation: ‘What is right about this that I am not getting?’
Please know ‘Why am I so messed up?’ is not a question. But ‘What’s right about me that I’m not getting?’ is.
When things seem impossible, ask, ‘How does it get any better than this?'. As things get better, ask again. And when they're incredible: ask again.
Questions are what enable us to take that next step when we’re stuck.
Nineteen years on from finding these tools, nothing about my life is perfect — and it’s phenomenal. You deserve a phenomenal life too. You have nothing to fear, nothing to prove — only a life to create. I hope this helps, sincerely. If we didn’t have to be perfect, what other choices would we all have?
I hope this helps, sincerely.
Tuesday 10 September is World Suicide Prevention Day, to find out more you can visit Suicide Prevention Australia.
If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For further information about depression contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.
Featured image: Supplied