Have you ever felt that your life isn’t what you want it to be?
Turning it around isn’t about answers, it’s about questions. Questions that guide you towards changing the lens through which you view the world.
For the first thirty years of my life I looked at the world through a lens that was so dark and opaque I could barely see my feet, let alone the path before me. So many things had happened that were out of my control. My mother’s death, my father’s severe mental illness and then my brother’s suicide. All before I was 18. Dark lenses not only obscure your vision, but they block the light from coming in. They deny the chance to see yourself. It was the very questions that death and suicide confronted me with about what it means to live that would eventually guide me to turning my life around. They were questions that I shunned and hid from for over fifteen years. Why am I here? What is the meaning of my life and what is my unique truth?
When you turn towards, not away from life’s most difficult questions, it is possible to change your lens, to focus and shed light on the path before you and within you.
What are the unaddressed questions in your life? Let your greatest fears and deepest wounds guide you. Dive deep into them. Embrace them with curiosity and loving support. Don’t be afraid of the darkness. Lean into it, let it be your guide, your teacher. It has much to offer. It’s where you find your strength and your courage.
Look from the inside out. What are my self-limiting beliefs? Am I not good enough or loveable? Do I think I don’t belong? Then pick those belief’s apart with the precision and skill of a surgeon and reconstruct them with the creativity and passion of an artist. Ask yourself, what work inside me, can I do to take me towards my best self?
Look from the outside in. What is stopping me having the life I want? What things are within my control. What are not? Differentiate them, then take that locus of control and bring it inwards, cuddle it, nurture it. It’s your super-power.
Look from the past to the present. What issues from my past do I need to address that are holding me back? Write your life story down like no-one’s ever going to read it. It will empower you to rescript the story of your life. The life that has been as well as the one that will be.
Look from the future back to the present. Picture yourself sitting in your rocking chair at 80 years old, and ask, what are my regrets? Work backwards from there. Let that guide you towards what your best life looks like. Paint a detailed picture of exactly what you want your life to be. Use vivid colours and wild imagination. Give attention to the details and intricacies. Then write it down with vigour and passion.
Turn boldly towards these difficult questions. Gently change the lens through which you view the world. Turn your life around, from the one you had to the one you want.
Tara Lal is an author, firefighter and mental health first aid instructor. She was born in London but now lives in Sydney, Australia. Tara is a PhD candidate and works with various leading mental health charities to conduct research and raise awareness of suicide and mental illness. Tara’s book, Standing on my Brother’s Shoulders: Making Peace with Grief and Suicide priced £10.99 is published on September 8th and is available at all good book stores and on Amazon.