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LATEST STORIES

The most recent stories from The Change Blog community.

There Is Courage In Being Vulnerable

Vulnerability is not weak – it is letting people in and showing them your flaws, and there is nothing braver than that. My dog is 10 years old and we’ve had him for that length of time. Only recently has he been comfortable enough to roll onto his back so we could scratch his stomach. It used to frustrate and hurt me that he wouldn’t trust us enough to roll over but it has occurred to me that our proud dog doesn’t like making himself vulnerable and I drew a connection with myself. I trust and love my family with all my heart but it is with extreme reluctance that I ‘roll over’ and make myself vulnerable to not just them, but to anybody. I don’t see this pride as a flaw because I think it contributes to my resilience, strength and independence. However it can be a dangerous characteristic, particularly because I have bipolar disorder. Just like my dog’s reluctance to roll over makes it difficult to check for grass seeds, my pride can make it difficult for loved ones to check in on my emotions and truthfully know how I’m feeling. This can sometimes put my safety at risk because most of the time I am unwilling to ask for help and let people know if I’m feeling suicidal. One of the biggest things I’ve had to learn since becoming a psychiatric patient is opening up. It’s not my family’s fault that I’m like this – they’re tough too. My mum was brought up with Scandinavian resilience and my dad was brought up with Dutch resolve and...

How My College Dream Almost Ended

“Be stubborn about your goals and flexible about your methods.” Throughout the past two months of my life, this quote has been my mantra. Though hard at times to believe and follow, I know that I have to believe in it for my current life situation. To be more specific, I’ve recently had to transfer out of my dream college to come back home and commute to a local college due to financial issues. It’s hard at times for me to talk about—I just broke down at a recent BBQ when someone asked why I was transferring, I’m growing stronger with each day and able to tell my story with pride, dignity, and absolutely no shame. Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of attending college. Partly because my parents told me that they would cut me out of their will and because I want to be successful when I “grow up.” I couldn’t wait to start the college process. Of course, I went through career phases, but once the college application process began I was committed to being a business major—specifically, accounting. So many hours of hard work were put into this process and it all paid off in the end. But, once my applications were submitted, I tackled the FAFSA and CSS Profile. Once the acceptance letters came in the mail, financial aid followed. Colleges found their way off the list because of the lacking aid. However, my dream college offered me a large financial aid package and I ended up committing. On that college’s Accepted Students Day, my mom and I met with my financial...

7 Ways to Move Closer To Your Dreams When Life Feels Overwhelming

“Remember your dreams and fight for them. You must know what you want from life. There is just one thing that makes your dream become impossible: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho It’s frustrating, isn’t it? Watching time go by as your dream just stays a dream. Everyday your dream fades away just a little bit more in the busyness of the real world. You wanted to quit your corporate job to do meaningful work to change the world, but you have too many bills to pay. You wanted to take time off to travel the world for a year, but you have a family to take care of. You wanted to write a book, but you just don’t have any time or energy left after twelve or more hours at work. When you barely have time for a proper sit-down dinner, how can you even start working toward realizing your dream? When 24 hours just doesn’t seem enough to get everything done, it’s a sign that life has become overwhelming. In response to all this stress, our brains do their best to distract us from facing our problems. It’s just easier to sit and stare at the wall or waste hours on YouTube, rather than working toward making our dreams come true. I’ve been there and had to claw my way out of the pit of feeling overwhelmed. I still struggle with it some times. So many things are on my to-do list that I could have a hundred clones and still not make much progress. But you can’t just expect to open your eyes one day...

How My Awareness Saved Me in a High Stress Work Environment

“Do not learn how to react, learn how to respond.”  – Buddha We have all heard of work related stress, but it’s hard to admit you are stressed and overwhelmed when you don’t know how to recognize stress. Have you ever been so busy and overworked that you had no idea you were stressed? When I was a full time teacher, this happened to me. I remember going to the doctor because I had developed severe eczema and the first thing the doctor asked me was “are you stressed?’  I answered “No”. I was prescribed medicine and the eczema was cleared. Years later I developed a chronic abdominal pain and was ambulanced to the emergency room. After the pain subsided I was asked again by the doctors “are you stressed?” “No” I said again. This time I questioned my answer. This time my stomach disorder made sure I was getting the message to stop and listen. It took chronic pain before I was going to stop and check in with myself. I asked myself: Was I stressed? What does stress feel like? I really had no idea. When I typed in Chronic Abdominal Pain on Google Search, the word that jumped out at me were “Stress” all my other symptoms were there as well: grinding teeth, easily irritable, headaches, migraines, emotional eating and insomnia. I couldn’t believe it, I was stressed and I didn’t even realize it! Stress was not a topic I studied about in school, nor at University. I had never had a class or an elective on the signs and symptoms of stress. I didn’t know...

How I Finally Loosened Anxiety’s Grip on Me

“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.” – Arthur Conan Doyle, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes As a child, all I wanted to do was figure out how to be safe with my family. I didn’t grow up with bad people, just ones who were quick to judge with prejudice, quick to explode with anger, and quick to turn away from you. But, then they could be comforting and loving. It was beyond confusing. Because their view of reality was the only one that mattered, I learned to distrust myself, and I learned my feelings weren’t important. Often they were unacceptable. I got great at pushing my feelings aside. For years, this fueled my anxiety, but then something happened to change that. Anxiety Is a Sneaky Tyrant When anxiety regularly and profoundly affects your quality of life, it’s emotionally exhausting and physically traumatizing. You concentrate long and hard at keeping anxiety attacks to a minimum. You know what situations and events make you vulnerable to an attack. You create strategies for navigating your way through them. This process helps you feel safe when you’re in those situations, but you can’t create strategies for every little thing that happens during your day. While you’re managing your way through rush hour traffic, meetings, annual reviews, etc., you don’t have the resources to deal with minor instances of emotional discomfort. So you ignore them or push them aside. But just because your anxiety doesn’t hit you hard and force you to deal with these things doesn’t mean they’re not affecting you. Anxiety...

What to Do When You’re Feeling Disappointed in Your Relationship

“Beauty surrounds us, but usually we need to be walking in a garden to know it.” – Rumi Have you ever found yourself feeling disappointed with your man because he sometimes doesn’t do or say what you wish he would? Maybe you hint at what would make you feel happy or even tell him directly, but it seems he just doesn’t hear you. You might wonder if he’s deliberately ignoring you. Or worse he doesn’t care. And there might also be occasions when he actually does come through with your requests, but then it seems as though he’s giving to you somewhat begrudgingly, as though he feels obligated, leaving you feeling maybe a bit victorious yet curiously flat, more than dissatisfied, not feeling so good after all? I remember a time when I would feel so sad and bewildered because my then boyfriend, now husband, never said he loved me. It seemed as though he did, yet I still wished and ached for those words. Or sometimes he would ask me what I wanted for Christmas, and I would excitedly tell him, filled with anticipation as the day approached, yet it was as if I had never said a word. For nothing on the list HE asked for appeared – which left me feeling, hurt, confused, and yes, kind of angry. There were other times I couldn’t help imagining a fabulous gift or an evening out he would surely plan for and give to me to celebrate my birthday. He always did something for me, yet it never ended up looking the same as I had envisioned. So I...

OUR BOOKS

The Possibility of Change book series collects the best stories from hundreds of contributors to The Change Blog. These books are currently available on Amazon.

10 True Stories of Personal Transformation
10 True Stories of Overcoming Fear
10 True Stories of Travel & Adventure
10 True Stories of Beating Depression