Do you feel like you are always holding your breath? - The Joyful Company
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Do you feel like you are always holding your breath?

Do you feel like you are always holding your breath?


Over the weekend I watched a movie called Love, Simon and it really struck me how many people are going through so many things inside of them. We are either not being our authentic self because we fear being judged, or we stand back and keep quiet to avoid being made fun of by something we may say or do. The list is endless, and I am sure you are all reading this, nodding your head about that thing you hold your breath about each and every day.

In the movie, Simon’s mum says to him (after he has come out) ~ “But you get to exhale now, Simon. You get to be more you than you have been in, in a very long time. You deserve everything you want.”

I know that for me I used to hold my breath often. And not just at work, at home, in my relationship, with friends, pretty much wherever because I was terrified that if I said what I wanted to say, or how I felt it would spark a negative reaction of some kind. I always thought the worst would happen, always!
If I say this to Andy he will leave me.
If I say this to a friend she won’t call me again.
If I say this in a meeting they will think I am dumb and fire me.

And those are just a few of the simple examples I can give you because trust me I could construe a pretty elaborate and intense horrible story of what would happen if I did X in my head. The story would get so big and vivid for me that it drove my life. It drove every decision I made, and more accurately … didn’t make. It made me into an even more shy and insular person than I already was. But at the same time, I had all these dreams of taking over the world of business and being so successful.

I often look back on it all and thank the universe out there for giving me those dreams because they are the ones that really got me to step out of that little tiny secret and quiet space that I had created for myself, and do something about it. If I didn’t have a life I imagined I would have had no reason to change my behaviour.

I was also very lucky that at a certain job there was someone in a senior position that kind of liked me, and to be honest he had the patience to sit with me, and really pull my thoughts out of me, which very rarely happens now as we never have time for anything or anyone. He was that kind of person who loved to ask questions and know every tiny detail about a story. When I started to work with him he used to ask me a million questions about whatever it was that we were talking about and draw it out of me like blood from a stone ~ and not in an interrogation style way, in a very conversational way, and actually writing this down he did it in a way that I didn’t even realise he was doing (haha, well done Mr M, well done!).

But him having the patience with me, and me having a dream I realised that I had a voice, that I could express it, and that literally the world would not end with me shunned to a part of it that no one ever goes too. And so my voice started to speak up more, and more.
I guess what I am trying to say is that while watching the movie it suddenly made sense to me – it was like I was holding my breath.



When I think back I remember the exact instance that it all changed for me, but please, don’t think it was like a light bulb switching on and it was done, and dusted … never to be felt again. It most certainly did not happen like that. It was an instant that I got it – that I could exhale, and breath, and have a voice. From there I have had to remind myself daily that I must speak up. Some days it is as easy as brushing my teeth, but other days it is still terrifying. But the more I try and the more I practice, the easier it is. And once you have done a few you have some past experiences to remind yourself of when you battling, and that helps.

Here are my tips that I use (daily) to remind myself to exhale ~

  • I start every day with 3 things I am grateful for. This process often reminds me of what I did yesterday and what I enjoyed, which often includes me having my say, or doing something I wanted to do no matter what. So I start the day off with some happy thoughts as that sets the tone for my day, and I don’t begin the day fearful of what is to come.
  • I also spend some time in the morning thinking about my life as I want it to be, that beautiful imagined life I want. That way I know what I am working towards that day, so when I need to push myself it is front and centre in my mind.
  • When I sit down for the first time at my desk in the morning I always look at my diary and plan my day. I know what discussions or situations are going to be difficult ones for me, and I prep myself for them. I talk it through with myself and my ego, and I work out my plan to exhale and step up to stand up or stand out, and I literally prepare my way in speech. This is how I will approach it, or I will start by saying this. It doesn’t always go exactly to plan, as I am not in control of everyone else’s minds (unfortunately) but it definitely helps.
  • And lastly, on my way home I think about all I did to stand up for me today and be my authentic and true self … another step towards my dream life!


The only “thing” holding you back from your dreams and that life you want to live, is you. And your fears. And you have to work really hard to be able to exhale. Really hard. Probably harder than you work at anything else in your life. But if you want it bad enough, you will do something about it, you will put in the time, because of that dream you have. No matter how terrifying it may be.



Share share share if you know someone else needs to hear this message – everyone in this world needs to exhale more.

Lots of love and free breathing

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