freedom - represented by a barbed wire fence and a plan in the background

As I write this I’m stuck in a prison – the prison of the mind. A lot of people run aground in their lives and stay in that place most of the time. I am determined to break free and live a life of freedom. Sure, things, or should I say, circumstances, happen in one’s life but the most important emotion is our reactions to these. We can be negative and feel sorry for ourselves or get into a positive state of mind and ‘tighten our belts’ and move on to the next chapter. The most important piont in your life is to not compare yourself with others.

You have been given a blank canvas and it’s up to you what you’re going to paint on it. My own life has had its ups and downs and most of my life I’ve let the downs keep me from experiencing the joys that life has to offer: low in confidence; feeling worthless; lack of self-esteem and hiding away. My aim is to break free and break these chains, start a new journey and use every part of the canvas to paint my picture.

I had, and sometimes still have, a speech impediment which drained whatever confidence that was in me. I hid away for so long when this happened so that the people around me would forget the episode, then I showed my face again later, hoping no-one would remember.

I have let these experiences run and rule my life for such a long time. I realise now that fear is the biggest challenge you have in your life. If you don’t face up to it, life has a habit of bringing you around to situations where you have to come out of your comfort zone and face fear in order to grow in your life. I used to be pretty good at table tennis (ping pong) in my younger years and not one of my friends could beat me, but in order to win tournaments I had to play better players who would and could beat me. So I could raise my skill levels which I did and won the uner 16s regionals when I was 14 years old.

The same applies now. If fear keeps holding you back you will stay exactly where you are and probably go backwards into frustration, depression and other negative emotions. Fear does not equal failure. Fear equals never moving on. You should never be negative about failure. Failure teaches us to improve. If everything we did ended up as a success we would soon get bored. When we fail we should try again. So don’t let failure equal fear. Failure is a positive component when used in the right way.

I read this one time:

  1. “What do you want in life?
  2. Why do you want it?
  3. How will you get it?

The most important of the three in my opinion is the second one because the more reasons you can have for wanting something the more chance you have at obtaining this. So I finish writing knowing what I want to become. I have a plan of how to get it and most importantly the reasons why. So the walls of this prison have been shattered. I can now see life more clearly and can be the author of my story.

Christopber McLaughlin is a writer and fitness expert living in Londonderry, Northern Ireland

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