The fragility of life

Life is fragile and if there’s anything this Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has taught me that you can never be too certain about tomorrow; for it may never come. Now, I don’t mean to sound dismal, but it really has helped put things into perspective (for me at least).

Before COVID-19 swept across the UK, I was living my normal life albeit with a few significant changes since December 2019, but that aside, it was relatively ordinary and like many others, I took a lot of things for granted. This included, basic necessities like toilet roll, groceries, being able to walk outside – but also, people, places and physical human contact.

I don’t know about you, but after a few days, I was already tired of working from home. The idea was novel at first – exciting even – and I couldn’t wait to get up late, roll out of bed and switch on my laptop each day, but I soon realised that it was getting old and I desperately missed human contact. I missed the morning commute on the tube as it was a chance to clear my head, read a book and have ‘me’ time, but I also found myself missing being able to turn around, talk to colleagues and go outside for a walk during lunch.

During the course of the last 10 weeks, I’ve come to realise a number of things but the one that has stood out in my mind and one I’d like to share with you, is that life is indeed fragile. Regardless of your personal situation or the unusual circumstances you may find yourself in, remember to take a moment to pause every now and again. Look at your life, your way of living, and ask yourself if you truly appreciate what you have been blessed with today.

If you have a job, are you truly grateful for it no matter how hard it is sometimes? If you have a spouse or significant other, do you truly appreciate them? If you have parents and siblings who are alive, do you take the time to tell them how much you love and cherish them? If you have a roof over your head, do you take a moment to feel grateful for the fact that you aren’t out on the streets like many unfortunate people out there?

If you’re like me, you probably wouldn’t have done any of those in the past. But, I urge you to take a few minutes each day from now on, to reflect on the fact that life is uncertain. We have no idea when our time will be up, we have no idea what tomorrow may bring, but what we do have control over, is how we live our lives each day. Instead of thinking about what could have been, what was, and what will be, we should think about what is. What is our life like right now? Are we mindlessly living each day with no care in the world or no consideration for what could happen if everything is stripped away from us?

The fragility of life, I feel, teaches us to live each moment as if it were our last. We need to be thinking about the fact that if a photographer took a photograph at any given point right now, would it be a picture we would be happy to see? We need to be thinking about others and taking the time to really reflect on how we live our lives.

Ask yourself: Does your heart beat for yourself, or for others too?

Whatever the answer, know that whilst you can’t go back and change things you might regret, you have the option to make a conscious decision as to how you live your life going forwards. Are you going to take the little things for granted, or are you going to realise that the little things are actually the big things and start to appreciate them more?

I hope you do the latter, because the fragility of life demonstrates that in an instant, everything can change. Everything you have ever known can vanish within seconds. So why then would you choose to live a life of regret?

Spread your wings and soar,

The Confused Butterfly

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are intended for educational purposes only. Nothing found on this site should be a substitute for professional medical advice nor is it a substitute for therapy. Therefore, please seek the advice of a Doctor or Mental Health Practitioner if you have any concerns about your wellbeing. These views are personal to me and are in no way a representation of other individuals or organisations.

Emotional invalidation

Emotional Invalidation = Abuse

“Hold on a minute, what do you mean by that?” I hear many of you asking. Well for starters, let’s look at what invalidation means.

Invalidation, in simplistic terms, refers to rejecting something as truth or making it void. Emotional invalidation therefore is when someone’s personal thoughts and/or feelings are rejected, dismissed, ignored or judged (often by someone else, but sometimes by the person themselves).

It might not seem clear to you now, but hopefully, by the end of this post you’ll come to realise why emotional invalidation is THE worst form of abuse and how it can really damage a person’s self-esteem and confidence. Essentially, when emotionally invalidating someone, you are not allowing them to feel what they feel and most likely, you’ll be encouraging them to believe that they’re different or crazy. We all have flaws, and I’m in no way saying I’m perfect by any stretch of my imagination but, not allowing someone to feel the intensity of their emotions, express who they are or simply just be, is cruel.

Growing up, I spent most of my days feeling like I wasn’t seen, heard or understood and even to this day, I find myself strongly believing that I don’t belong in this world. I grew up in an environment where: my academic achievements were constantly compared to others; love had to be earned; nothing I ever did was good enough; and I was consistently told that I was ungrateful, selfish and rude. My hobbies were mapped out for me, my life was kept on the straight and narrow, and my feelings – well they were often dismissed, as well as hugely misunderstood. Even to this day, I have people in my life that say I’m exaggerating, dramatic or crazy. Though often unintentional, some people also say “but you have so much to be grateful for, think of all those people starving in Africa or who have it worse than you”. Oh right, okay then – just because I’m not impoverished or don’t have a terminal illness, I am not allowed to feel a certain way? Seriously, what kind of bulls**t is that?!

Having been misunderstood for most of my adult life, I want to tell people who are struggling from the effects of emotional invalidation (be it from the past or the present) that your feelings matter. What you think, believe and feel in the depths of your soul matters. That feeling you get before an important business meeting matters. That pain you feel when you see a loved one moving on matters. It all matters. However, the most important thing to remember is that YOU matter and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.

It’s all too easy to rely on others as well as external situations as a means of validation. However, what I’ve come to realise (albeit painfully so) is that no-one has your back apart from you. Yes, you read that correctly and I’d like you to read that again, but no-one has your back apart from you. Sadly, nothing in this life is guaranteed, including people, places and things. We all make mistakes, hurt people and make the wrong choices. But, it’s important to realise that this is what makes us human. Instead of wallowing in self-pity and looking to achievements or others to validate you, validate yourself.

What do I mean by that? Well, think of what you might say to a friend who is struggling with difficult feelings or emotions and just wants to be authentic by expressing how they feel to you. How would you respond? If you have even an ounce of empathy, I imagine you would say something along the lines of: “I hear you”; “That must be difficult”; “It’s okay to feel the way you do”; and so on. I therefore implore you to flip that on it’s head and say all of those things to yourself.

Next time you’re feeling low and like everything’s too much; pause, step back and take a breath. What you’re feeling is okay and sometimes it’s okay not to be okay. You have an inherent strength inside of you so don’t invalidate yourself. Instead, self soothe and look at how much stronger you will be as a result of this moment, for it too shall pass.

Validation comes from within. Remember that.

Spread your wings and soar,

The Confused Butterfly

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are intended for educational purposes only. Nothing found on this site should be a substitute for professional medical advice nor is it a substitute for therapy. Therefore, please seek the advice of a Doctor or Mental Health Practitioner if you have any concerns about your wellbeing. These views are personal to me and are in no way a representation of other individuals or organisations.

Tough situations build strong people

I’m a firm believer in the saying “that which does not kill us makes us stronger”. In fact, most of the challenges I’ve faced over the past few years have been met with this approach and not only have they forced me to develop myself in ways I never thought possible, but they have also forced me to see the wider picture and develop resilience for anything that may come my way in the future.

All of us (I’m sure) at some point in our lives, have gone through something so shocking, heartbreaking and life-changing that it hit us right where it hurts. I’m equally sure of the fact that despite it knocking us for a six, most of us have still managed to get up and fight that little bit harder; either for ourselves and for our own personal development, or for others. Whatever the reason for fighting back may have been, I think it’s important to remember that we, as individuals, are much stronger than we think and the inherent strength within us can be unlocked when the right opportunity presents itself.

Now, I don’t claim to be a therapist nor someone trained to give medical advice, but I do know one thing and it’s this: life’s too short to be second guessing every move you make; it’s too fleeting to be crying over a situation that can’t be changed; and it’s way too precious to not make the most of what you’ve got. Embrace the changes, power through the setbacks and have compassion for those around you; for they may be fighting a battle you know absolutely nothing about.

We all have those voices inside our head telling us we can’t do something or that we’re not good enough. Sometimes, we may even have the voices outside of our head in the form of people we love telling us we can’t do this or we can’t do that. But, if you can rise above it all and constantly work hard to be the best version of yourself, nothing else matters. You can achieve anything you set your mind to by using both the negativity and positivity you face, to propel yourself into the future you desire.

Spread your wings and soar,

The Confused Butterfly

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are intended for educational purposes only. Nothing found on this site should be a substitute for professional medical advice nor is it a substitute for therapy. Therefore, please seek the advice of a Doctor or Mental Health Practitioner if you have any concerns about your wellbeing. These views are personal to me and are in no way a representation of other individuals or organisations.