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New Year, New Me. Health, Wealth and… Boundaries?

It’s the beginning of a new year! 2022 is here and I know there are a lot of us hoping that it will bring a more positive experience than the past two trips around the sun. I feel like I might be one of the few who actually appreciate the plethora of wonderful people and experiences I have encountered over the last two years, and despite the happenings around the globe (here’s looking at you Covid) I wouldn’t change any of it.

I have been lucky enough to meet some brilliant (and not so brilliant) humans. I’ve been introduced to a vast network of learning resources, including people who are much smarter than me who freely impart their knowledge to others. I’ve soaked up information on a level that I never have before, and I’ve tried to use my social media platform, podcast and blog to pay it forward and share what I’ve learned with others. ’20 and ’21 also gave me the confidence to expand my skills in advertising for my books, in engaging with readers and other writers, and most importantly (and perhaps the biggest challenge) in making myself physically available to readers at the Brisbane Supanova Comicon in November.

All of these activities have come with their own challenges, as you might expect. And in years past I might have buckled under the pressure. Living with a mental illness can make things appear doubly difficult and provide obstacles that to others might appear insignificant, but can hinder me to the point where I am unable to move forward. However, 2021 was a little different in terms of these challenges. At the beginning of 2021 I was fortunate enough to come across some material that changed a lot of things for me, most importantly, my perspective. I’ve changed my mindset and turned things around for myself in a way that has positively impacted my ability to function. I still have my moments, and its likely I always will, but in moving forward I’ve decided to focus on the positive aspects of a situation, and discard the negative. I have learned that whatever I am putting my energy into is what I am creating in my life, so why would I spend time manifesting negativity? Its nonsensical!

I am incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by people who continue to love and support me, and while I may stumble at times, I always get back up and keep moving forward. The important thing for me is to keep trying, and to do it with a big smile on my face. You can fail a hundred times, but you only have to succeed once, and that is why I keep going, why I keep persevering, why I stay positive and focus on my goals with a light heart and the knowledge that a bright future awaits.

I think that is what we all should strive for, a brighter future. Some of you might believe that you have bad lack, or bad things happen all the time. And they might, if that is what you are pouring your energy into. The universe will give us what we ask for, whether we realise it or not. I once had a friend who complained about everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. They focused so intently on every single bad thing that happened in their life, and constantly more and more bad things would happen to them. It was incessant, a self-sustaining loop. When I approached this person about their negative attitude, they became furious, saying I was ‘Just like all their other friends, having a go at them’ and it became quite apparent in that moment that my friend was happy and comfortable living in this negative mindset. And the more I thought about it, I realised that there were several areas of my life that I was comfortable living in a negative mindset as well. I was flabbergasted. How on earth was I supposed to change these deep seeded habits? They seemed to control every aspect of my life.

This was something I pondered for quite some time, and then as time went on, I forgot about it and slipped back into my old thought patterns. I was back in my comfort zone, and everything was normal. I was incredibly unhappy for the most part, and from time to time I would catch myself complaining and expressing a negative attitude, much like my former friend had. One evening I was scrolling through Netflix and came across a movie. It was kind of like a documentary, but at that period in my life the content seemed fantastical, unbelievable and really just a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. But it got me thinking. About my attitude, about my former friend and the many areas of my life that my attitude affected. The more I thought about it, the more I couldn’t STOP thinking about it! It was quite soon after this, that a friend sent me a free month on Audible. I’d never listened to an audiobook and I figured it was something I could listen to in my car whilst driving around. A trip to my mums takes about half an hour, so I thought it would give me a couple of hours a week to listen to a book. When it came to deciding which book to listen to first however, I was stumped. Then, as if by magic, I saw a post on social media pertaining to one of the life coaches I had seen on the Netflix movie. Coincidence?

I downloaded his most popular audiobook and began listening. It was life changing. It made me see myself in a whole new light. I could understand my talents, capabilities, my personality traits and all the good things about me that I would previously overlook and overshadow with aspects of myself that I perceived to be negative or weak. It took listening to this audiobook to realise that I DO have worth, that I do have promise and people do like me and appreciate the relationships I have with them. It was such a joyous revelation and it helped me to recognise that there were several people who I also had unhealthy relationships with.

This is where the Boundaries part of this blog comes in. Boundaries are healthy. They are important and EVERYONE should have them. Whether in relation to your online persona, or with people you have in your ‘real’ life, you need to have a line drawn so that others can identify what is:

1. Acceptable to you in terms of subject matter you discuss

2. Comfortable to you in terms of how much access people have to you, both digitally and physically

3. What level of intimate knowledge people have about you

These three points are vital in cultivating healthy relationships and will help you astronomically in moving forward, not just in 2022, but for the rest of your life. I am a VERY private person. I have 60 friends on my personal social media, I very rarely post on my private profile and I generally only use social media on a professional level to promote my writing. I have been friends with people in the past who have crossed the boundaries that I have explicitly defined with them, and upon realisation that they don’t care about the line I’ve drawn, have cut them out of my life. This has been the healthiest approach for me in these instances. I have realised, and this is crucial, the only person you have control over is yourself. You cannot control what others do or say, how they think and feel. This is so important to understand. There is no point in feeling upset about what someone else has said or done, or worrying about what they will do next. All this does is makes YOU feel bad, and you are the one suffering. These people are usually unaware of the effect they have on others, they are so focused on their own internal turmoil to recognise that they have even crossed a line. The only thing you can do is to limit the access that the person has to you. Whether it be only answering their calls twice a week instead of every day or removing them from your life completely. In some instances, this is easier said than done, particularly with family members. However, if you stick to your guns and you create the new ‘normal’ in your relationship with people who previously have not respected your boundaries, you will feel much better. I promise. You have the power and control to live your life the way you want to.

So in saying all of that (and my apologies for the long blog today) make sure you start every day of this marvellous year with a smile on your face. Say thank you for all the wonderful things, people and pets that you have in your life, and don’t sweat the negative things, they are tiny and will evaporate and become as insignificant as dust. Remember situations and people only have power over us if we give it to them. We can choose how we feel, and I choose to feel happy and to look forward to this year with positivity, love and kindness. Have a brilliant 2022 my friends, draw those boundaries, focus on the good and have gratitude for this wonderful life we have. I’ll be back next week with another blog so stay tuned and sign up for the newsletter if you haven’t already.

Shan xx

PS: A side note on manifesting what we want… Last weekend I was thinking to myself (and expressed to a couple of people) that all I really wanted was a week at home, where I didn’t have to go anywhere, and I could get some stuff done around the house. I put it out there and it was so important to me, I just didn’t know how I could achieve it. Last Sunday afternoon I got in my car to go see my family and the car broke down. I went back inside and have been here ever since. I’ve had a full week at home and have been getting everything done that I wanted to, and it’s been wonderful. So yes, the car is broken, and yes it will cost money to fix, but that doesn’t worry me at all. The positive take from the whole experience is that I now have a nice, organised house and spend time with my cats. It’s been wonderful. You get back what you put out there!


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