Change False Beliefs – Pathway to Happiness (My true story)

Months ago, juggling between seeing clients and setting up a new business venture with few partners was extremely hectic for me. It was super crazy, especially there was days when there were sudden increase of clients’ session and so much to look into setting up a new business.

I knew I have overworked myself non-stop for two months. I did not even give myself time to chill, there were no rest in the period of two months. I worked long hours from morning till late at night. Finally, my body can’t take it anymore. It has taken a toll on me. I felt sick, the feeling was like my body is going to disintegrate, wanting to drop dead.

I ponder and wonder, why I am so crazy! Why can’t I stop? After much reflecting and looking deep, I realized, there was a voice inside me that keep telling me “You are not working hard enough, you have to work hard, if you stop, you are being complacent, is bad…”. It makes me feel bad; it was a very negative energy that sucked the life out of me. It felt heavy, and dreadful. It wasn’t a proud feeling of working hard. It was like a suicide mission I put myself in. As if, I am a hired killer, and the target is myself!

Seriously! There was really no logic to this! I knew, I have pushed myself over the limit, like I said, killing myself. My body already giving me the warning sign, the soreness, especially my neck and shoulder. The symptoms of burnout were manifested.

Something was not right, I need to paused, and processed these thoughts. This is it, this was the root problem that pushed me into being burnout. All these voices, “If you don’t work hard, you will fail!”, “You have to work hard”, “You don’t deserve to rest”, “You will mount up to nothing, if you rest”, “You are bad, if you are lazy”.

With the awareness, I knew if I don’t stop and start to take care of myself, especially my body, I will fall sick. Then I will not able to work or even do anything, and I will truly fail. If I continue to let these voices to drive me, I will surely fail, because I can’t do anything or be effective when I burn out.

Still, where did I learn this from? Where all these negative beliefs coming from? When did I injected this belief into my head without me being aware and it became my “master”? My life was rule by this mandate “If you don’t work hard, you will fail”. As I process through, I realized I have internalized and accepted these critical messages I heard, as I grew up. I have taken on a “tough” stance toward myself. I was not thought a different motivation to change besides being hard on myself.

I began to see how my childhood, growing up being poor have such an impact on me. As a young kid, I saw how my parent’s struggle to work hard to make ends meet. Both my parents are hardworking, honest and good people. But no matter how hard they work, my family just barely has enough. Despite the hard work, life was tough then.

I remembered, during my primary school time, my school had a cleanliness campaign. In every class they will look for one student who is most neat and clean. I was the winner of my class being the most neat and clean student, from head to toe, they checked (hair, fingernails, uniform and shoe).

To be honest, I wasn’t proud of that. In fact, I felt ashamed. That day, when they checked on me, the uniform I wore, it has a small tear, where my mum has stitched it back neatly for me. Others might not be able to noticed it, but I can.

No wonder this thought of “stop and rest” scare the hell of me! Because of all these negative beliefs that rooted in me, “don’t stop, don’t rest, if not, something bad will happen”. All these tiny voices were so hidden that I was not even aware till I forcefully quiet down myself and try to figure out why I drove myself so crazily to burn out.

I could do this type of reflection, I must give credit to my training, the journey of becoming a counsellor helped me became more self-aware. It is vital as a counsellor to be self-aware. Understanding ourselves help us to become empathetic with others. (Duan, Rose, & Kraatz, 2002). Van Deurzen (1997) poetically described:

“Embarking on our existential journey requires us to be prepared to be touched and shaken by what we find on the way and to not be afraid to discover our own limitations and weaknesses, uncertainties and doubts. It is only with such an attitude of openness and wonder that we can encounter the impenetrable everyday mysteries, which take us beyond our own preoccupations and sorrows and which by confronting us with death, make us rediscover life. (p. 5).

With the understanding that I got out, where it is so vital to my well-being. The question now, what do I want to do with it? I came out with two options:

1. Just know, but do nothing about it. Reason, I am too used to it, it has become a habit of living. It is an addiction which called “workaholic”, and it not really a bad thing, when someone comments you are a “workaholic”. Besides, is hard to kick of addiction.

2. Go to rehab and get it out of my system! Do something, don’t let it “run or rule” my life. I am in charge of my life. I deserve a good thing. I deserve time to enjoy life. That will make me a better person and not lesser person.

I chose option 2. Self-love, self-compassion means I need to learn how to separate “me feeling bad” from “me being bad.” It is OK, to feel tired, and rest, that does not mean I am lazy and I am a bad person. Being able to empathise with myself for my weakness and mistakes is part of having a compassionate relationship with myself. “You deserve to get your needs met”, “You deserve to be happy”, “You are okay/fine/just right, just the way you are”, “You don’t have to do anything at all to be loved; you can be loved just for who you are.”

Today, the good news is that I learnt to be a kind encourager to myself. And I knew this is only the beginning, to uproot the negative, and build a new habit of being kind to myself it needs time. So, lets the journey begin! Be courageous try to right a wrong I caused, even if it was unintended. I can recover, work through, grow from it and let the pain go. Adiyos!

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