Lapsi kaivaa hiekkaan kuoppaa käsin

No point in dwelling in the past… or is there?

Sometimes people say that there’s no point in dwelling in the past. That it’s better to move on and leave the past behind.

There’s some truth in that, but I’d say it’s not the whole story. It’s true that constantly worrying about the past doesn’t help, if you’re only dwelling on it without true connection to your emotions and experience.

On the other hand, not all things can just be left behind without facing and processing them.

Ihminen pitelee päätään kumarassa, hiukset kasvoilla

Let yourself feel all your emotions – dream on?

I recently wrote in social media that you should let yourself feel all your emotions. What if those emotions are intolerable? When you’re full of unbearable anxiety, and people around you can’t deal with all the emotions that you’re bursting with. Then someone tells you to just feel all the emotions. What a stupid advice!…

Somebody else always has it worse

“I’ll manage”, you may think.

In the middle of a pandemic, with all the restrictions on normal life, in a stressful job – or no job at all, in difficult relationships. There’s always someone who has it worse, right? Someone who really needs help.

So you just kind of withdraw and see how it goes. Wait until things get better. Maybe in a few weeks, or maybe by summer?

Epäonnistumisen pelko rajoittaa elämää

How does fear of failure restrict your life?

Do you often opt out of doing things because you’re afraid of failing? Not try something out because you feel you can’t or don’t know how? If fear of failure is stopping you from living your life, it’s likely you’re missing out on a lot of experiences.

You might have feelings of shame or insecurity around your abilities or competence, and it can be difficult to even notice how restrictive those feelings are. But it’s possible to turn the difficult emotions to find joy, playfulness and willingness to experiment.

Kaksi metsäpolkua - mikä on oikea valinta?

How to make the right choices – and who defines what is right

Do you find yourself often overthinking your life choices? Whether or not you should stay in this relationship, find a new job or stay in this one, move across the country or start studying…

Why is it so hard to make choices?

There are so many big choices, and even more small ones. When your choices are big and important, it can be hard to make a choice at all. Maybe you’ve been thinking about finding a new job for years, but never take concrete steps towards that goal. Or you choose the job that seems more sensible and acceptable, ignoring the small voice inside that was considering something else. Or you just drift around, accepting whatever floats your way, without paying much thought whether or not it’s what you want.

What’s common in all these scenarios is that you’re not listening to yourself and what you really want.

Why not?

Don't hide the difficult emotions

How to express difficult emotions

Recently I was surprised when I was venting my emotions in a Facebook group. I was feeling overwhelmed and frankly I was resisting and avoiding everything constructive and helpful.

Sounds quite tiresome, doesn’t it?

Isn’t it true that difficult emotions need to be hidden from view and you shouldn’t trouble others with them, people don’t want to deal with your baggage? Many have learned as children that when you’re happy you’ll be accepted – nobody wants to hear about you anger, fear and disappointment.

What will other people think

What will people think?

Has it happened to you that you’ve spend a fun night out and felt free to be yourself, but the next day you start thinking more carefully about what you did and said. The ever-present worry starts raising its head: What did people think?

It’s easy to spend days worrying about it. Even if nobody says anything or acts any differently around you afterwards, you might still blame yourself for showing your true self to other so freely. What if it backfires?

Miten päästää irti menneistä mokista

Face still burning? How to get over the blunders from the past

Remember that blunder from years ago, the one that still makes your stomach clench when you think about it? When you go back to the situation in your mind, you can still vividly remember what it felt like, and you want to sink underground just thinking about it.

When it happened, you would go over it it in your mind again and again, wondering how you could’ve been so stupid. And now, years later, it still comes back to haunt you. Even though you don’t think about it as often as you used to, the feeling of shame is still strong and may even affect the way you relate to other people. Especially if they were there when it happened.

Are you letting the past define you?

A friend of mine often worries about his past mistakes like this. He said that the shameful acts and words feel like a brand imprinted on him: Defining him in a way that’s still painful after all the years.

Sinun ei tarvitse pystyä kaikkeen

You don’t need to be able do everything

Do you often think you should be able to do better?

To do everything everyone else is doing: The ones who always have a perfectly clean home, are never late, never drop any balls plus always bake to meetings and gatherings, remember all birthdays and never get annoyed.

Of course nobody really lives up to these standards, but the expectations of how you should be can be really strong. And whenever you don’t fill the expectations, you blame yourself and feel guilty. You might even think you should  just be different – someone who deserves to be respected and accepted.

At the same time I’m sure you believe that all people are equally worthy, and there’s no contradiction about that. Of course everyone else is valuable just the way they are, it’s just you yourself who should be different.