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By Better Days Global, Aug 17 2018 12:09PM



What if other people could see beyond your physical appearance and look at your insecurities, pride, shame, or malicious thoughts?


Those are the kinds of things our society urges you to cover up. After a while, you create masks to hide your true thoughts and feelings and present an image you hope will prove your worth. The longer you wear your masks, the more comfortable they feel. But you cannot enjoy healthy relationships unless you remove the masks and show others who you really are. Here’s how you can take off the masks you present to the world and be authentic:


Realize the price of the masks you wear.






Understand that your masks prevent you from experiencing real life. Your masks give you a distorted view of what is really happening in your life and people begin to view not you, but the masks you wear. Instead of living for other people’s approval and praise, live to please God alone no matter what others think of you. Shift your focus from establishing your identity on earth to something much more meaningful. Understand that your mask prevents you from experiencing intimacy in relationships. Rather than trying to prove your value to other people, seek to simply connect with them.



Ask Questions



Don’t be afraid to honestly ask yourself deep questions about your existence, worth, emotions, thoughts, and purpose. Stop living according to the status quo and consider what changes you need to make to become more authentic. Too often we follow trends, formulas, and ways of living because we do not believe we are enough. Give yourself time to step into the core of who you are and allow your blessings to come to you. When you model your life, personality, or business after something that is outside of you, you block your own potential. When you stay true to who you are, you’ll be in your own unique and authentic lane. Trade lies for the truth about yourself. Instead of just trying to feel good about yourself, let the awareness of your brokenness lead you to the wholeness awaiting you. Find real confidence, not the temporary feel good fix. Rather than basing your confidence on how smart, beautiful, successful, talented, or charming you are, base it on your true authentic self. Stop pretending to be someone you’re not to try to feel more confident; pretending will only lead to deeper insecurity. Accept the truth about yourself, tell the truth, and live in that truth. Then your life will catch up.



Let go of your concerns about how other people make you feel. Don’t worry about being affirmed, being right, demanding respect, judging others, keeping score, harboring bitterness, competing, gossiping, or bickering. Be more interested in genuinely connecting with others rather than impressing them or saving face. Speak the truth in all your relationships. Admit your mistakes and ask for forgiveness. Do your work well. Don’t disengage with your work, viewing it just as a job that you have to do, but don’t really want to do well. Don’t be so driven that you try to prove your worth by working hard. Instead, do whatever work you do, from cleaning, or answering phones to inventing a product or speaking to crowds, with your very best effort, remembering that absolutely everything you do has eternal consequences. Look at every task you undertake as an opportunity to serve God through your attitude. Instead of working just for a paycheck, fame, or praise from other people, work to honour God. Ask yourself: Am I Authentic? Start from there.



There are levels to living authentically.


This is not how your story ends;


Written By Steve Whyte



By Better Days Global, Aug 17 2018 11:55AM



It can be easy to become influenced by voices that don’t get what you’re trying to do. People who don’t approve of you or your work, will always try to discourage you. Once you make your mark, you’ll attract erasers. People who are intimidated by your prime will always try to shorten it. Maybe there are people who drain your energy by constantly demanding you to justify the choices you make, to explain yourself to them so that they can argue with you. By all means spend some time explaining your why, but don’t lose sleep over the fact that they don’t listen and don’t approve of it. Whatever you do, don’t change the way you’re doing it because of them. They don’t really care and they don’t matter to the work you are doing. They provide an excuse to quit. Don’t let it be that. Don’t let the desire to have your work approved drive the work itself. If that was what drove the greatest minds in history, the world would look very different and we would probably still be living in caves, or extinct. Do you approve of yourself or do you seek the approval of others?






When we lack confidence and in particular have a low understanding of our worth, we find ourselves needing the approval of others to feel good about ourselves. Unfortunately, in this day and age of being over worked and under valued, the approval of others may take years to come or never will. Saying “well done” or “thank you” doesn’t seem too common in language in modern society, and how often do you say such things to others?



Being self critical is an easy habit to get into, and forms the basis of our needing approval from others. The root of our self-criticism is usually being at the receiving end of criticism from others as we grow up. I like the expression that “criticism is negative feedback badly delivered”.


Constantly receiving messages like “you’re too slow/stupid/bad/ugly/…” etc leads to us believing that this is a reality. And language like “don’t do that” “why did you….” “you shouldn’t have” “you always” “you mustn’t” doesn’t exactly help a child feel good about themselves. Every expression is a sign of disapproval, so it’s not surprising we grow wanting that approval from others. Comparing ourselves to others is another way we end up being critical of ourselves, as we usually find ways we don’t match up. This perpetuates our own self-disapproval. If you must compare, find positive things in the process and use your comparison to grow not to shrink yourself. Even if you find yourself with role models you are trying to emulate, there will be aspects of their personality, perhaps particular skills or attributes that you already have but they don’t possess. We all have a special fingerprint and God carefully made us all unique for a reason.



Identify situations where you find yourself seeking the approval of others. Is it with particular people, boss, parent, in particular environments, workplace, home, social? Is there any reason you can identify why this should be, why you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to their moods and frustrations? Whether or not you can find reasons for your seeking approval, start getting in the habit of getting approval solely God and from yourself. One easy way to challenge such thinking, is to remind yourself that most people are quite self centered and will speak from their own perspective and opinion of who you should be based on their own beliefs. The problem with this perspective is that they have completely travelled a different path to you, which led them to this train of thought process which doesn’t make it 100% accurate to your situation or even the truth. It is flawed. In the same way you spend most of your time full of self talk, worrying about you, other people are not as concerned about you as you think. They’re mostly concerned about themselves.






The bottom line is while you’re worried about others opinion or approval of you, they probably haven’t given you any thought at all. Like you, when they’re thinking about other people, it’s mainly in relation to themselves. None of us know what anyone else is thinking. Whether or not they’ve even noticed you or what you have done, you may never know. So why beat yourself up about it?



Seeking approval of others and listening to the opinions that don’t resonate with you is detrimental to your happiness. People who ignore their own identity and instead choose to act on the preference of other people never find their true calling or purpose in life. They become the puppets of this lifetime in control by whomever they hand the strings to. This happens because other people do not know your deepest needs and desires, so they cannot help you find your life’s purpose. Almost everyone seeks approval of others on some level, mainly because we were trained to do so since our childhood. That’s what all educational systems and many other institutions and traditions teach us.



If we behave well, our parents are happy with us. If we do what our teachers tell us to do, we are rewarded with good grades. If at work we do our best, the managers are happy with us. Everything seems to be based on the obedience model and bound to someone else. So when there is no defined model to follow, it seems like something is missing. And we automatically start seeking approval to check if we are doing everything okay. We find gurus and other intelligent people and seek their approval. But you should realize that sometimes you’ll have to create a path instead of following someone else’s. If every decision you make is based of another person’s ‘yes’, you will lose your own sense of direction in life and end up on their path unequipped. If you blindly follow others, you will not be happy. Sometimes you will have to be the first that ever did it. If you firstly try to consciously disregard such critics, it will be hard, but with time, it will be increasingly easier to not care what others think about your choices when you completely free yourself from the approval-seeking mode. 



This is not how your story ends;


Written By Steve Whyte




By Better Days Global, Aug 17 2018 11:41AM


Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:9-13:



9 “This, then, is how you should pray:



“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’




If you’re a Christian or you’ve ever been somewhere when the Lord’s Prayer is being said, you might be familiar with these words. So often we recite them corporately but how often do we actually think about what it is we’re actually saying?


Recently, I have been particularly challenged by one line in particular ‘Give us today our daily bread.’ Verse 11. Have I really understood what this might mean for me? The answer to that is definitely not.


Last week I was serving at a holiday club and during the morning reflection, the woman leading it referred to this line, explaining that so often we go to God with a big list or massive things and we become disappointed in the answers to prayer we don’t see. But this stops us from seeing the things in the everyday, that if we should go to God and ask for our daily bread, as we are told to by Jesus.






I’ve since been reflecting on this, I can hardly get it out of my head. I have been so challenged but also so encouraged. We see and hear, so often, stories of miracles, very clear answers, but how often do we hear ‘you know, actually I believe that God helped me to do life today’? Yes, that’s challenged me to recognise the smaller things, the daily provisions but it’s also really encouraged me. (Of course there are times and places to share the miracles and the clear answers, I am not dismissing these in any way, shape or form, they should be celebrated without a doubt.)


If you’ve read my previous posts you will know about my journey with mental health and how much of a rollercoaster that has been. So many times I’ve prayed that God would take it all away, I’ve sat thinking that it isn’t fair, asked why me, asked when it will stop. But as I consider, almost the last year of my life, I can see the greatness of God woven into the everyday. Whether that’s simply been making it through the day, making it to work, realising that I’ve been smiling more than I’ve been crying or a bar of chocolate that’s made it’s way into my life at a very timely moment!







How many more times a day, week, month or even year would we be able to say ‘God did this for me’ if we did focus on the how we get through each day, the blessings that might seem small but are so present. Of course life is going to be difficult and at times we won’t be able to pinpoint what is good but I hope and pray that each one of us, even retrospectively, can see all that God does in and for us daily.


God really knows each one of us. He knows exactly what we need. And He provides for us.



I believe that He is a good God and He will provide that bread daily.



Written by Kate Newhook




By Better Days Global, Feb 15 2018 02:54PM



When I last wrote 'The One Constant in Mental Health', I was coming into a recovery phase in my journey with anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, since then, I have found myself struggling more than I ever have before. I still have my anxiety under control but the depression is consuming me in a way that it never has previously.


Just a few weeks after I was discharged from my CBT course and the Healthy Minds team, I woke up on a Monday morning feeling unwell. I couldn’t put my finger on it but something wasn’t right. Having attempted to get showered, dressed and have breakfast, I gave in and went back to bed. I stayed there for two days. On the Wednesday, I tried again but my head was pounding, I couldn’t concentrate, I felt so ill. I pushed myself and worked, probably a mistake. The rest of the week and into the weekend saw me trying to balance what I knew I needed for my mental health; going to the gym, running, eating healthily, not shutting people out, and what I needed physically; rest, time alone and convenience.


Fast forward two weeks, I still had the headache, I was still trying to maintain a balance. I had taken so many tablets, in attempts to relieve the pain, and tried so many other things, I had seen the doctor, I had listened to advice. I found myself signed off work. It felt like that week just kept throwing one thing after another at me, and the smallest (or biggest) thing would cause my eyes to well up. Sometimes I could hold the tears back, and sometimes it felt like I just couldn’t do anything to stop them.






Whilst I would like to say that in the last week I have improved dramatically, that isn’t the case. This is the worst I have ever been and I’m still struggling so very much. Each day is a battle. It’s gotten to the point that I’ve had to not care who sees me cry, because I can’t always control it.


Yet, in the midst of all of this, I know that God is still there. He is still so present in my life, even if right now it really doesn’t feel like it.


Some people will question how I can hold onto this. I’ll be honest, sometimes I really have no idea. But each morning I will read The Bible, because that is what I do. That is where I read the promises of God and can find His presence, even in the darkest of situations. You only need to read the story of Jesus dying on the cross to know that Jesus endured far more than I am, and you will see that God was still at work, still there, still God. I started this year being overcome by the obedience of the disciples, upping and leaving their families, their jobs, all to follow a man who just told them to ‘get up and follow me’. By apostles who were put in prison for proclaiming the name of Jesus but didn’t stop. For this reason, I will continue to be obedient. More recently, I have been focusing on the love, joy and peace that can be found in Christ. I have been focusing on the hope that I find in my Saviour. Whilst, I don’t always feel those things, I know that they are still there, still true. And they always will be. Some people might also question why I can believe in a God that would allow me to endure so much. This is harder for me to explain because I know that I have so many people praying for me and I too have prayed that this would be taken away. There are two things that I have held onto. The first is from The Bible. Romans 8 is my favourite chapter and it has my favourite verse, Romans 8:28,



‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’






I have held onto this verse so tightly for many years and I truly believe that God will use whatever happens for the glory of His name. This verse makes me think of sunrises and their beauty, but we can’t have those without the darkness of night. Or beautiful budding trees, unless they shed their leaves and withstand the bitterness of winter with nothing on their branches, they won’t flower. I trust that God is working behind the scenes and at some point, this will get better.



The second thing is a song. I love music and I listen to it all the time. A friend recently said, about me, ‘Kate lives her life through music’. This song is on a playlist I was listening to and I had never heard it until about a month ago. It’s called 'Even If' by MercyMe. This song has provided me with so much hope and comfort. I identify with these lyrics and it explains entirely how I feel as I am journeying through life right now.


For those of you who don’t understand the journey that people go on with mental health, please be patient, we can’t help what we’re feeling. For those of you don’t understand how I can trust in God, please don’t judge me, you don’t know the path I’m walking, and if you really knew God, you would understand.


People have told me how brave and strong I am to be able to speak out about my journey. Please believe me when I say that I really don’t feel brave, or strong. This is me being so vulnerable that it scares me. So many people are suffering in silence, and they needn’t. Another friend said recently, ‘we see vulnerability in others as a strength but in ourselves as a weakness’. That doesn’t add up. Vulnerability is vulnerability whoever it comes from. Being vulnerable is powerful, and I can assure you that once you’ve stepped out the first time, it’s not as bad as you think it might be (that doesn’t mean it’s not scary again though!).


Let us all live with patience and understanding, with an awareness of those around us. Let us stop being so quick to judge others when we haven’t walked in their shoes. Let us all become a little bit more vulnerable and let other people in, it helps. And ultimately let all of us hold onto hope that one day things will be better, and I believe that one day they will be. Remain hopeful, Romans 8:24-25 says this,

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.’





By Better Days Global, Dec 7 2017 11:08AM



“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can't survive.” ~Brené Brown


Every time I think I’ve unloaded most of the pain from my past, something surfaces that tells me I have more work to do. A couple of weeks ago, my boyfriend and I were cuddling one morning. I’m not sure what the trigger was, but out of nowhere, my thoughts rolled down a hill and into a painful memory that I must have blocked out.



Tears rolled down my cheeks as my whole body curled up into the fetal position. He asked me what was wrong and I slowly told him about a sexual trauma I had experienced. We are radically honest with one another. Sharing the not so beautiful has deepened our connection. I thought I had shared my darkest secrets that carry shame. I was wrong. I had minimized and buried this story. Maybe subconsciously, I was afraid he would see this situation as my fault. He absolutely didn’t, and sharing my experience with him made me feel like a heavy burden was lifted.



This last part rang especially true the following week when the #metoo hashtag went viral. It was during that week of teasing through my feelings and thoughts that I realized just how much confusion shame can create. The word shame can evoke such discomfort that we often don’t see how it shows up in our lives. If there’s one emotion I see as most prevalent and most hidden in the work I do, it’s shame. Every time I lead a workshop or retreat, there’s a common theme that I witness in nearly everyone. As humans, we all tend to feel in some way that we’re unworthy. Yet, the last thing we want to do is acknowledge our shame and vulnerability. But if left buried, shame inevitably causes harm to ourselves and our relationships. In my experience, I’ve seen firsthand how understanding and shedding light on shame can hold the key to healing.



Shame is the emotion that says, “I am bad. I am unworthy.”



It’s not that we did something bad and feel remorseful. That’s guilt. Guilt says, “I did something bad.” But shame is the internalization of “I am bad.” Most of us, even if we had kind, loving parents, grew up feeling a bit like we had to censor our true feelings and experiences. We may have done this to avoid dismay, protect others, or keep the peace in our families. We’re conditioned from a young age to feel shame when we learn who we shouldn’t be in the world. But as we get older, we don’t need others to make us feel shame. Shame becomes easily internalized and lives in that voice that says, “It’s dangerous to let others hear my story,” or, “They won’t love me if I share this secret.”



Who we are becomes fragmented so that we hide the parts of ourselves we want no one to see. We unconsciously employ defense mechanisms. While those defense mechanisms might help us to survive, they’re bound to stand in the way of having healthy relationships and growing a sense of self-love. When we’re afraid to share our vulnerable side because we believe it would render us flawed, dirty, weak, and so forth, we’re carrying shame. Shame is carried silently and secretly for fear of judgment; yet, it is the self-judgment that grows the longer we conceal our vulnerability. I refuse to keep painful secrets festering inside of me, as I know that will only keep me repressed and disempowered in the long run.



All humans experience shame, and it presents in many ways.

Here are a few examples I’ve noticed within myself that maybe you can relate to:



- Being too sensitive and emotional


- Not doing enough to “save” my mother from her death


- Being too selfish to fully want to be a mother myself


- Feeling I’m not ambitious or smart enough to live up to my potential


- Struggling to communicate clearly when I have too much in my head


- Feeling too “needy” with my partner at times


- Believing I was somehow at fault for the sexual abuses I have experienced



My personal list could go on… But what I noticed when writing this list is that while many of the original sources of shame might be specific people or society as a whole, the critic is still me. When we keep shame locked away inside, we get stuck in feelings of inadequacy. Shame may cause us to feel mentally or physically ill. Feelings of inadequacy can be accompanied by emotions such as anxiety, anger, and loneliness. And when we feel inadequate, we sometimes develop destructive ways of relating to others: avoidance, lying, blaming others, attempts to control others, and so forth.



So how can we deal with this lurking self-critic that wants to keep our stories in the dark?



1. Speak kindly to yourself.



Most likely, at some point you’ve heard the phrase, “Shame on you,” or, “You should be ashamed.” It can easily become habit to talk similarly to ourselves and challenging to learn to speak kindly.



Here’s a personal example of the latter:



- I’m sorry for making you feel the trauma you experienced was your fault.



- I forgive you for placing blame on yourself and carrying shame all these years.



- Thank you for your courage to shine light on your vulnerability and resilience.



- I love you and I commit to treating you with lovingkindness.




2. Self-soothe with movement and massage.



Think about what happens to your body when you recall a memory that carries shame. Often our bodies slump sinking our heart into the back body. Our gaze drops and our brows furrow. Emotions, including shame, reside in the body. Much of what I practice and teach relates to physical ways to release stuck emotion for this reason. If we want to reduce the unworthy and unlovable feelings we carry, it can help to self-soothe your body through dynamic movement practices like yoga and dance. Self-massage, tapping, and comforting touch while speaking kindly to yourself can help to release shame.



3. Share your story.



The most uncomfortable, but perhaps most effective method I can offer you is to share. You don’t have to share your vulnerability with the whole world. Many of my friends shared courageous, deeply personal stories on Facebook in response to #metoo. For a moment, I thought I had to share this way as well, but then I did some reflection. There are times I share my vulnerability through my blog or when I hold space for a group. But I don’t always want to share everything with strangers. In those cases, my partner is my greatest witness because of his ability to hold space for me.



Whether you share in a twelve-step program, with a loved one, or therapist, or in an article for the world to see, there’s immense healing power in this process. When our voices are heard and we’re seen just as we are, we open up the door to growing a new sense of self-love and self-worth.


Written By Melissa Noel