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  • Writer's pictureElfreda Manahan-Vaughan

No one cares about your hang-ups so, why do you?

I am often aware that when I write things on Facebook or in blog posts that it may seem like I’ve got it all figured out and that I never get stressed. (When I am teaching I am a little more self-deprecating). The reality is that I have all my own hang-ups and insecurities, the only difference now is that since practicing Mindfulness and using NLP on myself I call myself up on my BS and laugh at my ridiculousness. I am well aware of how foolish I can be, how things can get to me and even though I know this I can still trip myself up, knock myself of course and sometimes appear far more together than I actually am. So, in the interest of transparency here is me calling myself on my BS in public. Enjoy, I did!

A couple of weeks ago I had a dental visit for a teeth cleaning. I have to be honest I hadn’t been for quite some time so, it was rather painful, and I ended up on antibiotics for the bleeding, that’ll teach me. I loved the shiny, almost whiteness that the cleaning had produced, after the effects of the antibiotics wore off; tiredness, bloated stomach, headache, I really enjoyed the self-pity for a few days, life really was hard (*winks with sarcasm). Anyway, my teeth are not white, they are not straight and when I smile in photographs I always see this, and unfortunately you will probably see this now too, but hey I’m ok with that. Having stared at my teeth for days after the pain of cleaning had subsided, I decided to get a teeth-whitening kit to see if my pearly whites would be less pearly and more brilliant white.

If you’ve ever tried one of these kits, you’ll know how it works. You rub an accelerator on your teeth and then fill the gum shields with the whitening gel and then stick them in your mouth. I guess I didn’t really pay attention to the instructions and I inadvertently caught the bottom gumshield on my lip as I put it in. I waited the allotted time, brushed my teeth with the whitening toothpaste and went to bed. In the morning when I woke I noticed a tingling feeling at the edges of my lower lip, it felt slightly raw almost like it had been burnt. As the day progressed I noticed it was getting more painful and by evening I had realised that I had given myself a lovely chemical burn from the whitening gel. As Homer Simpson would say, D’oh!

Friday came, and I woke with two oozing, slightly green, strips along the edge of my lip. Not only did I have the hang-up of not white teeth, now I had to deal with the more noticeable green chemical burn. That’s when my Mindfulness kicked in. The truth was I could do nothing about this, I had to work, walk the dog, do the shopping, I had to go in public whether I liked it or not. I had to accept that people might notice it and because the body takes time to heal there wasn’t a single thing I could do about it, all I could do was let go.

This reminded me of the fact that I cannot control what people think anyway and they are far too busy with their own hang-ups to really care about mine. If they reject me ‘it’s not about me’, if they like me ‘that’s not about me’ either. People will love you or hate you because of what they think, what they feel, and based on their view of how the world works. So, green weepy lips and all, I got on with it. Nothing happened, no one commented on it, no one stared at me and even if they did what difference would it make, I’d still go home to the people who love me and the dog and cats who think I am the ‘food lady’ and worship me for that fact.

I know I will always have hang-ups, but I don’t have to let them dictate to me how I should live my life, where I should go or what I can or can’t do. The reality is that most people only notice the things that bother them and because we are so busy judging ourselves they often will tell you that your issue isn’t as bad as theirs, like the person who told me I had lovely teeth. Next time you are worrying about ‘how big your bum is in this’ or are busy noticing all your perceived flaws and failings remind yourself that letting go of the things you can’t change and getting on with it, is a far better use of your time. I’m off to brush my teeth now with some whitening toothpaste and to practice smiling with my mouth closed.

Thanks for reading. If I can help you in anyway, get in touch 00353868373582, email or PM via Facebook.

I hope our paths cross again in future,


Mind Coach, Meditation Instructor (and ridiculous human being)

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