How to stop thinking the world is against you

Okay, so let’s just say several years ago I thought my life was cursed. I thought that whatever I did, or tried, or put my hands to turned to rubbish. I literally thought I couldn’t do anything right.

So the world was against me. I was a victim.

A victim of my Dad, a victim of my friends, of my family; just, everyone didn’t understand me. I hated it. I really did. No-one loved me whatsoever.

That was until of course I changed my life around. I wrote about it many places, a good place to start would be at the good men project.

See, the world is a mindset. I didn’t realise this at first but it turned out that I was my own worst enemy. I realised that through my choices I was viewing the world as negative and horrible, when actually I could have been looking at it in an entirely different light. I chose to be negative, I chose to be hateful.

I know, I know, you can say, “easy for me to say in my Ivory tower of cis, white, male.” I get it, the grass is always greener on the other side, but actually over the last year we’ve faced (again!) living under a bridge, bankruptcy, my reputation, and a load more of terrifying stuff. My wife and I have recently entered an IVA to get our debts sorted out. No, it’s no Ivory towers and easy life for us. Or is it for anyone else just trying to live their lives.

I choose not to be a victim. It’s all about how I choose to view life.

Okay, so how do I change it around I hear you ask? Think positively! You’ll have probably heard this buzzword flying around right now, and I know, again, it’s easy for me to say this yet what I’m going to say is thinking positively isn’t actually as easy as you think. Those that sell you their get awesome quick schemes will tell you otherwise but I think a good portion of people that train this type of mindset don’t actually have the ability to do so themselves. As I have always said, you can only go as far as your teacher allows you to.

I was bullied in my last place of work, quite badly actually. The only saving grace was that I had my wife to come back home to. You see, three women chose to victimise me because I wasn’t part of their perceived model of what a colleague should be like — and they decided to make my life hell for at least six months; I was isolated, I was shouted at, I was made to feel small; truth be told I had nowhere to turn and I thought I was alone.

Now I could have walked away from that experience not being able to trust women anymore. I could have stood up and said, “all women are manipulative bitches” apart from my wife of course, she can do no wrong. But I was stronger than that, I AM tougher than that and I decided to learn from the experience rather than complain about it.

Those women taught me an amazing lesson, in some ways I’m thankful for the experience. Not only was I able to stand up to women now and take no abuse, but I had finally grown a spine. I was finally standing up for myself and saying no when it was required. The lesson was life changing in essence. Although I won’t rush to thank them, I chose to take away more positive from that situation the negative, because the negative thinking would have got me nowhere.

It’s not simple though, takes a lot of introspection and facing your darkest demons. I’m not judging anyone that doesn’t want to do this because there were a few times I nearly ran for the hills.

Firstly, you NEED to like yourself. No if’s or buts. Liking and loving who you are and all that is awesome about you is a must. But how do you do that when TV, the media, and social media are always throwing at you what’s wrong with the world; why it’s broken and needs fixed. The reasonable response to that is to wave your hands and complain. Sometimes though, you just have to go searching for the beautiful in life.

Surround yourself in positive people, not other naysayers. That’s the trick of the world, we hang in our comfortable little groups, and very little go out and explore new people (even less now). Get involved with people that think you can do better, want you to do better, challenge you to put your best foot forward every day. Don’t socialise with people that say you can’t because of x, y, and z. I could never do x, y, and z because I was poor little Raymond with a mental illness. When I rose above that very few people from my old groups wanted to be my friend anymore. This is the way of life. Hang with empowering people. Not people that say you can’t.

Introspect. Goddammit find out those weird paradigms you’ve taken from childhood and always get you into trouble. Analyse them, embrace them, tell them they are yours to bear no more. I had an abusive Dad, yes, but at some point there has to be a cut-off between when he had an effect on me, to me actively choosing to be in that situation, to let his manipulation affect me. His shenanigans will affect me no more. The trick is to be aware of them. Once you are consciously aware then you have the power to change them.

Learn, and don’t stop learning. Challenge your biases. We live in a world where people are force fed their opinions right back at them. How is anyone going to think differently from the group-think? Too often I’ve seen ostracization from groups for having the smallest opinion. We as a culture are supposed to embrace diversity. Let’s start acting like it. Diversity does not mean only people that agree with you.

Get hobbies. Find the real you. Find out what you like, what you don’t like. Find out who you are from deep within. Make time for yourself, spend a little time alone doing your hobby stuff and find out how much you enjoy being alone with yourself. Try a few too. If you don’t like the first that you try it’s not the end of the world; try another.

And give freely. Give your time, your help, your craftsmanship, spend an hour a week volunteering for a cause that you enjoy. Nothing gives you more pride and a sense of self than knowing that you helped and didn’t want anything back from it. I’m always torn between selflessness and selfishness. I give because it makes me feel good about myself. I do it for me.

With all the above meshed together it should be sending you on the right path to feeling better about yourself. It’s hard yup, but I swear to you, nothing in this life that’s worth having ever comes easy. I promise you that.

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