"I felt some kind of obligation to tell them about me"

People say that society and the media are the reason that stigma's still exist. But is it possible that we, ourselves, are also part of that problem?

I will use my own stigma as an example.
I've had depressions since I was a small child and throughout my teenage years.
A few situations made it worse.
Years would go by and I would repeatedly call myself 'chronically depressed', even though I wasn't depressed anymore.
I would always assume it was something I was, and would one day return.

I've had supervisors run for the hills after I've been honest with them about my past depression. I felt some kind of obligation to tell them about me. But once you use that word, They see you as depressed, not a person. Even though I haven't had a depression in years.

Untill on day someone asked me why I called myself chronically depressed.
And I said "because I am".
He asked me when my last depression was and I answered "well, years ago", quickly adding "but, I never know when it will come back, you know?"
"What if it never comes back?" He asked.

It was like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I've always been worried about the what if's.
I've always expected my depression to return. But I've faced my demons from my past and dealt with them head on. I know exactly what the signs are and how to deal with them. I should have trusted myself more.

If you stigmatize yourself, you're actually limiting yourself. Try to look at it as a superpower. Compared to others, you're pretty much an expert on how to deal with your so called stigma, because you are living with it. And now you're able to educate or help others with it as well.
You do not have to, but just understand that you're able.
Knowledge, no matter what, is power.

Are there any stigma's or labels you put on yourself? A few examples could be;
• Weight issues
• Sexual orientation
• Addictions
• Race
• Teen parents
• (In)visible disabilities

The most important thing is realizing what you are saying to yourself is incorrect, and turn your stigma into your specialty.

Believe me, I've felt like a victim before. Depression was my life diagnosis and I refused to dream about things 'normal' people would. But now I'm confident enough to know that I am not my stigma. I will do what I can to educate people who deal with similiar issues, or people who are willing to learn.

When we embrace and accept our stigma, we can use it to educate other people about it and create more acceptance.

"While looking for life partners we should all strive to find a soulmate"

What if everyone had someone compatible with them? The perfect one walking around somewhere on this planet among billions of others. Wouldn't finding them be an impossible task?

Well, you could bump into them at any moment. Because I believe that you can have more than just one soulmate.
I've spoken to random people and had more connection with them in 5 minutes than with people I've known for 5 years.
To me, a soulmate is someone whose soul and mine are alike.

You can have multiple soulmates that are family members, partners or friends.
They are people who just seem to get you.
There's no need to endlessly explain your way of thinking because they are the same way. You feel at ease around them and there are no awkward silences.

Listed down below are some aspects on how to recognize  if someone´s your soulmate:

- Both of you speak the same language. As in there's no need to explain in depth what you're saying because they understand it.

- You think alike. Both of you are open to whatever the other has to say, without judgment.

- Energy. Just being in their presence is enough to have a positive effect on you. You feel safe and secure when they are around.

- You share the same values and many times the same visions.

- When they've seen the worst of you, but do not treat you any differently and love you anyway.

- Similar experiences. We tend to bond with people who can relate to particular feelings and emotions we have.

- They keep secrets. They don't feel the need to share anything with anyone else because it would be like sharing a personal piece of information about themselves.
So if you're gossiping about your friend, you are not soulmates.

- Connection. If the bond is strong enough, you could pick up signals from them even though you're not around them. Both of you are able to feel if the other one is in need of something. All of a sudden you get a text from them at the right moment.

I love the relationship I have with my soulmates because I know I can tell them anything, without any filters. And they get it.
Of course, everyone has their own opinion, but despite that, they will not judge you or force it upon you.

I believe that going from friendly-soulmates to loving-soulmates can be difficult. Because people always change when their hearts are involved. As friends we let each other roam freely. When we become romantically involved we see each other as one, instead of individuals.

At first, we let love blind us. After all the searching we finally found the one.
But after the honeymoon stage is over we try to force our partner to listen and understand us, which often is an impossible task. We cannot force people to change their way of thinking. We shouldn't even want to.

So, unfortunately, soulmates can be seasonal because throughout the years we all go through changes and might become less compatible. We shouldn't hold on to the idea of being with one person who sticks with us throughout our entire lives. Neither as friends or lovers. Of course, it's possible, but don't assume it will. Relationships can only work if both of you put in the necessary effort, despite being soulmates.

A soulmate isn't one perfect person.
They are different people with whom you have different types of relationships with.
Both of you have flaws, and because of that, there's understanding and trust.

While looking for life partners we should all strive to find a soulmate. Because the bond you have sets a strong foundation for your relationship. And we desperately need more understanding in this world.

"Starting out small, gives you the confidence to be able to do bigger things"

We are often waiting for some kind of sign to start something we would love to do. We may have great ideas, but we often give up too soon.

Since I was little, I've been wanting to write books. Fantasy books. But I always seemed to be unable to get passed the first chapter. It felt like my creativity would all of a sudden dissapear, as I stared at the pages I had written.
I would continously start over with a whole new story. But because I was unable to see how the stories would progress, I became frustrated. I decided that I couldn't write and I stopped for years.

There was a point in my life that I felt so miserable, and didn't even know why.
I would always be silent when being around people, but when I was home I'd send them a whole paragraph via text.
I felt like no one really understood me, so I started to force myself to write everything down I felt in that moment, physically and emotionally. And afterwards I felt relieved. It was like therapy. I was shocked at how easy it was to write my feelings down and describe them. And I got better at explaining myself.

When I decided to start writing publicly, I was convinced I needed a website, a logo and lots of knowledge to be able to start at all.
The illusion that I have and share with many others is that we need something first, before we can actually start. Think about money, education, support, knowledge etc.

I don't really like social media, so it didn't cross my mind at first, but I decided to start on Facebook, and take different courses in the meantime, so I can expand in the future.
Actually starting and keeping up with my passions, gave me such a confidence boost.
Every so called crazy idea I used to have, actually seems possible now.

How do you start?
Well, when you first wake up, before doing anything else, prioritize what you need to do for that day and stick with it.
I often do it the day before.
Do not start with writing down 10 things, but write 2 things instead. Even if it feels tempting to write a whole list in the beginning.
You could start to resent that same list, a few days later.

If you are able to keep up with doing 2 things each day for a week, add one more the week after that.
And when you feel comfortable enough, add one more.
After a few months you will notice that you've developed at least 2 new habits.
It doesn't have to be anything complicated. It could be just as simple as drinking a glass of water each morning.

There are different apps you could use to help you achieve your goals. 'Fabulous' is one I've used and really recommend. It reminds you to work on your priorities each day.

A habit I developed without even realizing it, is listening to motivational or inspirational video's on youtube, while being in the shower and getting ready. Being able to hear positivity through other people, really gives me a good start of the day.
This is why you will never catch me listening or watching the news in the morning, because it unconsciously sets the wrong mood for the whole day.

We are all going to attempt to start with some new resolutions this year. And will most likely fail at them a few times.
Don't give up and move your resolution to the next month or next year, because that makes it harder. And you will be left with regret. Start again, the next day.

Starting out small, gives you the confidence to be able to do bigger things.
And when you look back, a few years from now, you will see that you've left a trail behind of achievements.

Happy new year !

"I know she looks up to me, but does she know, I look up to her as well?"

My sister is such a special person. She has a beautiful and caring soul.

When she was born, I felt so proud of that little one. I can still remember the room and the feelings I had when I first laid eyes on her. I was so excited about having a sister, and I still am.

I remember that, when I would pick her up from school, her eyes would always light up, when she saw me. She would stop in her tracks and run towards me. She was such a happy child.

I believe that our bond is different. We do not fight like other siblings, hardly even dissagree. We are able to speak like we are equals and I value that. We finish eachothers sentences and have the same crazy humor.
The older she got, the more we became close friends.

I know she looks up to me, but does she know, I look up to her as well?
My sister is a very smart and loving young woman, but not one to take crap from anyone. She is so much stronger than I am. And I love that about her.
It takes away most of my worries, because I know she can handle anything.

Sometimes I do worry about her. Because she works so hard, and is often tired. But I can also see that she is very disciplined. And when she finds her true passion, we could expect great things from her.
I am very proud of how she handled every challenge she had so far.

But if she ever needs me, I would like her to remember that, I am here.
I want to be her safe zone, where she can tell me anything she wants and not feel judged.
Life will be very tough on her, but I will join her in this battle.

I am the oldest, but I am not superior to her. And often I turn to her for advice, because I value her opinion.
She is and always will be my equal.
I adore her, just the way she is.

She is so perfect to me.

"It means that you find contentment in being alone"

Being scared of being lonely is normal, because we are inherently social beings.
We have the need to be around other people. But it becomes a problem if you feel like you cannot be alone.
Which to me is a sad thing, because there is so much to gain from being by yourself.

People used to ask me all the time how I'd manage going out and about by myself. They could not imagine going to the movies or grabbing a bite to eat alone.
But if we're constantly waiting for other people to join us, we would miss out on a lot. And to be honest, sometimes you just want to be by yourself. You can get things done a lot quicker, without having to pay attention to someone else.

Sometimes I even surprise myself when I get through an entire day doing different things, without having the need to be around anyone. And other days I even dread going to the store by myself.
I used to be able to force my younger sister to come with me, but now she's all grown up and has a mind of her own, haha!

And don't we all have that one clingy friend or potential love interest, who wants to spend all their time with you.

I've met a guy once and within days of meeting him, I got a declaration of love. But I didn't see it as something positive.
He would go from one relationship to the next, without any breaks inbetween. Which meant that he was too afraid to be by himself. It made me wonder what kinds of demons he would have, that made him so afraid to be alone.
So ofcourse, I would run. Because if you're that scared, I should be to.

The following quote really adds up to what I'm trying to say.

"Knowing how to be solutary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape" - Bell Hooks.

We are often scared of our own thoughts when we are alone. Our past creeps up on us and we don't want to deal with it.
But unless you have the confidence to actually face your own issues, you will always feel uncomfortable with being alone. Or being yourself for that matter.
To me, solitude is a blessing. It's difficult, but I'm able to distance myself from everything that has happened.

Loneliness and solitude are not the same thing. Loneliness is used to describe suffering by being alone. And when you speak of solitude, it means that you find contentment in being alone, which often leads to becoming more self aware.
We are confronted with both throughout our lives. But once you get through the difficult thoughts and you finally take some time to actually listen to yourself, it can be quite rewarding.
Solitude means to me that I am at peace with myself and by myself.

"I'm very sensitive so I feel like I have a lot to lose when I put my trust into someone"

"If you're unable to keep your own secrets to yourself, how can you expect someone else to do it for you?"

Trusting means being willing to be vulnerable and open with someone.
Trust is the base of every relationship, but many find it very difficult to apply.

Your sense of trust is being developed from birth and throughout your childhood. The interactions with others, especially your parents, are crucial for your development. In the eyes of a child, a parent or any other adult is viewed as "right". They know what's best for you. They guide us through our early lives and teach us boundaries and values. They provide us with shelter and we feel protected by them. Atleast in a perfect world that is. But if there's been a lack of security in your life, you will grow up with a sense of fear and instability.

Trusting anyone is difficult for me.
I know where it comes from, so I know I can change it, but it's very hard. There's a lot of pain there and forgiveness isn't something that comes naturally to me.
I will only really trust someone after a long time. And depending on the mistakes people make, I won't write them off completely, but I won't allow myself to trust them again on a deeper level.

Because if I believe that you've had bad intentions, why would you deserve any form of trust from me? If you hurt or betray me, it's a choice you've made. And I find it hard to realize that there might haven't been malicious intent there, unless someone else points it out to me.

I'm very sensitive so I feel like I have a lot to lose when I put my trust into someone.
I've put my trust and my life in hands of adults who've destroyed a big part of me. And coming back from that was a struggle. While you're putting your own pieces back together, you also build a security system inside of you that goes off with every small sign of danger. But is it valid?

We all have our intuition, but mine is now heightened because of past experiences.
I believe that I can read people very well, but I'm sure I make mistakes and see things that aren't there. And my assumptions will take over. I rather be safe than sorry. And a consequence might be that I push people away who actually do mean well.

I don't like hearing words. When people tell me "It's okay, you can trust me!" It doesn't give me a sense of safety. It sets of warning signs, because why are you trying to convince me? Even though people usually mean it in a comforting way. I rather look at your actions that prove that you are trustworthy.
To have more clearity, always ask instead of assume, so you can really find out what their intentions are.

The fear of pain and rejection definitely has an effect on your trust in people, and narrows your view. If you're stable, you know that those fears are natural and will always present a risk. But people who are fearful will make split decisions to prevent getting hurt at all. Making us respond more suddenly instead of thinking beforehand. Because of their trust issues, recovering after betrayal is more difficult for them. So they tend to act out of precaution.

And I've chosen to go against my feelings many times. We've all done it at some point. We see the early signs and choose to ignore them. Others warn us, but we refuse to listen. We let them cross our boundaries. And after the damage is done, we are more emotionally closed off than ever.

To actively heal after betrayal there has to be effort from both sides. One has to be open to receive the apology and the other has to prove themselves worthy of trust, through constant pro-active actions.

But what if they just don't care?
Know that you're not going to die from it. After a while you will find a way to heal yourself, and you've gained another lesson. Realize that those actions only define that specific person and not everyone else.

I think that there's a lot of unprocessed hurt in people who have trust issues. Ofcourse everyone has bagage. But we should realize that there are more inherently good people in the world who also value trust. And that we cannot control the actions of others, but not everyone is out to get us either.

Trusting isn't just about what others do to you, but also what you allow and accept.
So it begins with your own feelings. How much do you trust yourself around others?

"We often feel like we are owed an explanation"

When a situation of injustice occurs, unfairness is probably one of the hardest feelings to get over.

Especially when you've invested so much of your time and energy into something or someone, and you end up getting nothing in return.
We often feel like we are owed an explanation.
And we take it personal, because we know that we would never do what they did, or wish it upon someone else.

I've witnessed people doing horrific things and continue to live their life. Meanwhile it felt like at that time, my own life had stopped. I was left without an apology or an explanation, so I became confused and insecure.

Dealing with any type of unfairness is a process, and you need to allow yourself time to recover, so to speak.
Not everyone has the same heart as you.
So while you're busy pleasing others, make sure your not losing yourself. Only make choices you stand behind, so the chances of being treated unfairly are minimized.

For example, if someone cheats on you, that's entirely on them.
You are unable to control someone else, therefore everything someone does willingly, is on them.
And be very wary of people who try to put part of the blame on you.
They had a choice.
Whatever someone has done to you, does not define you. It defines them. And you owe it to yourself to be aware.

If an unfortunate situation does happen, try to see the positive side to it. You are now aware of it and you can choose to either be a victim because of it or fight through it.
Search for the lesson in that situation, because there always is one.

Also watch your reaction. A lot of the time, being treated unfairly triggers anger. Anger is inherently an expression of fear. So try not to do anything impulsive.

We all know this feeling.
You know that you are right, but someone else pushes it away or says that you are wrong. Or worse, that you're lying.
It could make you vicious or paranoid. If you look past wanting to be right, you notice that it's actually not about that. It's about the fact that someone blatantly disregarded your feelings. Disregarded you as a person. That's why people get angry.
You now have a few choices even though you might feel like you don't. You could lash out and deal with the consequenses.
Or you could choose to let it go for now and come back to it later.

But what if you get devastating news?
Our first reaction is shock and we believe that it's totally unfair that this happend. And that's true, but life wasn't meant to be fair. And in fact isn't fair to anyone.
For some reason we are taught that if you just live a healthy lifestyle, you will grow up old and healthy. For some that might well be the case, but for many it isn't reality.

We are always thinking "why did this happen to me?"
But the real question is, why not you?
Life doesn't owe us anything, and that's the cruel part.
So be humble and consciously choose what and who, benefits your life.