2 In Anxiety/ Living/ Writing

What is the next chapter in your story?

 What is the next chapter in your story going to be?

For pretty much my whole life I’ve been caught up with other people’s stories, worried more about how they were doing and what they were doing rather than what I was doing in my own life.

I’ve also given my power away repeatedly, allowing others to write and even rewrite my story for me. Living the life people wanted me to live, or the life I thought others wanted me to live, I was anxious all of the time and downright miserable. There’s no way in hell I was living the life I wanted nor doing what I loved.

Think about the story you are living. Who wrote it?

Was it you? Or has someone else been writing it for you?

Perhaps it’s your parents, your boyfriend or husband, your mentor or your boss, or a combination of people.

For years I allowed people to write mine.

There were a number of former bosses who thought they knew best for me, and whilst it was great that they had faith in me and my ability, they succeeded in pointing me in the direction of a career that would almost kill me.

There were my parents, whom I always sought validation from. Wanting to make them proud, I tried to be a number of versions of myself because I thought it was who they wanted me to be. I was wrong on all accounts.

And then there’s the boyfriends, friends and acquaintances I allowed to pull my puppet strings, succumbing to peer pressure due to neediness and eagerness to people please. Wanting people to like me, to love me, I followed, imitated, gossiped, drank, compromised my integrity, and more.

And why?

Just to be liked. It didn’t overly matter that I didn’t like myself in the process.

Today I am proud to say that I am the author of my own story.

Exploring my values and priorities, as well as who I was and what and who I wanted (and didn’t want) in my life was key to liberating myself.

How would you write the next chapter in your story?

Who is the main character in your story?

Is it you? Or is someone else central to your story.

Perhaps it is your kids? Your husband or boyfriend? Your family? Your friends? Your teacher? Or maybe it is everyone else except for yourself?

For most of my life I made everyone else the main characters of my story.

My life revolved around everyone else.

I allowed others to completely take over my entire life,  fooling myself into thinking I was content with sitting on the sidelines. Big mistake because what I had really done was give my power away.

Today I ensure I am numero uno.

Today I am the central character to my story, and even though some may see this as being selfish or self-centred (there’s always nay sayers!), I am so much happier and I’m actually living!

Are you doing what you want to be doing?

Are you doing something that is good for your soul? That you want to be doing? 

Are you chasing your dreams? Fulfilling your passion? Do you even know what you want to do? Or are you doing what someone else wants you to do?

Up until last year I was incredibly busy. 

I was working, starting my own business, volunteering. I was a girlfriend, employee, sister, daughter, step mum, friend. Associate, speaker, writer, author, blogger, social media influencer. Coach, mentor, confidante.

People saw me as this huge success.

They were astounded at everything I was doing. They saw this woman with energy, with ambition, with confidence. People looked up to this woman. She was achieving. She was brave.  She was a go-getter who was going places.

But was I in love with what I was doing?

No. Not really. I was totally exhausted to be honest, feeling like a shell of a woman and on the verge of burnout again. I was also incredibly tired of people calling me brave. I didn’t feel brave. I felt scared. I felt uncertain. And I sure as hell felt like I didn’t have a clue about what I was doing nor wanted to do.


I am doing more things for myself.

I’m trying to take more care of myself and ensure that self care is my number #1 priority.

All about Janine Ripper

I’m also the first person to put my hand up and fess up to not knowing what the hell I am doing.

I’m changing my mind.

I’m changing direction.

I’m saying no.

AND I’m hitting reverse.

And I’m doing a lot of it publicly as I believe it’s important to show everyone else out there that it’s totally cool not to have your shit together. Hell, none of us are perfect and that’s totally okay!

How are you feeling?

Are you happy? Like really happy? Or are you lost, sad, or maybe just numb?

I’ve spent most of my life chasing happiness but on the inside I was riddled with anxiety and pretty darn depressed. My body was also riddled with numerous symptoms which I now know were attributed to stress. Oh, and I numbed myself with alcohol.

So what happened once I stopped chasing happiness?

Once I started living more in the moment and just being, I started to ‘be happy’. Okay it wasn’t that easy. It took a near death experience, 3 car accidents, a few burnouts, a great deal of self analysis, counselling and an intensive 8 week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program to start living this was, but now I’m doing it it’s such an awesome feeling.

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

Are you fresh and vibrant, or tired and unhealthy looking?

As you can imagine, I looked tired. People always told me I ‘looked like I felt’. Not a compliment, since in most instances they felt like shit!

I think I also looked unwell. My left eye would droop, I was puffy and bloated, I had adult acne and eczema, and yes, I did feel like shit.

When I look in the mirror these days I see someone who is healthier and happier.

I see someone who likes what she sees, loves life, is working towards what she really wants to be doing, and who GLOWS! FINALLY!

So let me ask you this.

Did you consciously write the story you are living right now, or has someone or something else shaped it?

If you didn’t write the story you are living then OR if you don’t like the story you are living, then go on and change it! You can do it! If I can do it after 23 years of living with depression and anxiety, than you can get off your ass and do it! Seriously, CHANGE is the only way! Otherwise think about where you might end up. Depressed. Stressed. Unhappy. Wasting opportunities. Not living…

So how would you write the next chapter in your story?

Better yet, sit down and actually write it!

Focus your mindset on creating a NEW reality, a reality where YOU are in charge!

So go on, grab yourself a piece of paper, some pens (or your laptop) and let your fingers do your walking by answering the following questions in whatever format takes your fancy, be it vision boarding, mind mapping, writing, or…choose your preferred style. Whatever works for you!

  • What are your dreams?
  • What are your goals?
  • What are your passions?
  • What do you want to do?
  • What’s on your bucketlist list?
  • What is one thing you can do today to help you get closer to any of these?

Go ahead and make the decision to change your story RIGHT NOW, and remember, every change begins with a decision and a single step in one direction.

It's not about how to achieve your dreams, it's about how to lead your life.



My FREE gift to you

To help you on your way, here’s a free workbook to download and work through at your own pace. It’s called Finding Your Why, a workbook I’ve designed to help you in your journey through self-reflection and self-discovery.

Download Finding Your Why now!

Download your free copy of Finding your why, a workbook to guide you in self-reflection and self-discovery



Then you might like these:

64 Ideas for Self Care When Life Gets Hard

Can You List 99 Things You Love?

Want Happiness? Buy Experiences, Not Things, Says a Cornell Psychologist

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    […] Are you worrying because you are doing something you don’t want to do? Are you doing things for others but not for yourself? Do you believe the world is against you and that your life sucks? Or are you stuck in a cycle of procrastination and worry? There’s only one thing to do for that. Take action and change your life. If I can do it – and believe me when I say I have experienced more than my fair share of sucky life-moments – then you can to. So get on with it – you can do it! Here’s a little something that might help. […]

  • Kristen
    July 24, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    I could not refrain from commenting. Perfectly written!

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