Open to new ideas

We often make grand plans for the kinds of life we want to live. Then we carry them with us and work towards them. These plans influence who we connect with, what we do in our spare time, how we spend our money and maybe even how we present ourselves to the world.

But, sometimes things change. Sometimes we realise that we no longer want to be the person we once aspired to. it’s like yearning after a pair of boots and when you finally get them they don’t quite fit like you thought they would or you don’t feel as good in them as you anticipated.

You then have the opportunity to be open to new ideas. Ask yourself ‘What could I do instead?’ or ‘What else am I interested in?’.

The issue occurs when we’re closed off, when we’re not open to new ideas because we spent so much time on the old ones. And so you keep the pair of boots and force yourself to wear them because you finally have them but the truth is you don’t really want them anymore.

It can be difficulty changing pathways in life, especially when you’re not sure where it will lead or what the end goal is. But if you can trust that things will turn out more than okay it becomes quite exciting.

Resisting change

Sometimes we tell ourselves we want to change and that we want things to be different. Then, we resist every opportunity that comes our way.

We turn down the chance to meet people with shared interests when we say we want to make new connections.

We eat chocolate cake for breakfast when we say we want to be healthy and reduce our sugar intake.

We avoid applying for our dream job because we’re worried we won’t get it.

Maybe you can relate to one of these things or maybe you have your own example.

When you resist change your life feels stagnant. You find yourself wanting things but not wanting to make the effort. You might fear things not working.

And that’s valid because things might not work out. But the feeling of knowing it’s time to let your life progress isn’t going to go away until you stop resisting change and open yourself up to the possibilities of life.

You have to show interest in your interests

In a recent conversation I expressed that I believe it’s important to show interest in your interests, especially if it’s something you want a career in.

If you want to get into photography are you taking photos, learning about the manual settings on your camera, attending exhibitions etc.  And how often are you doing these things?

I’m interested in personal development/wellness/spirituality/mental health/self exploration. I show my interest by writing about these things, attending events, talking about them, reading books, listening to podcasts and taking online classes.

Aside from these things being my interests, I also consider them to be important which is why I make a conscious effort to dedicate time to them each day.

However, if your interest in what you want to pursue only goes as far as saying your interested, then you’re probably not interested enough.

The unbecoming

We are often taught that we need to become something. We’re taught that we need to change. This often involves working harder and doing more.

We place labels on ourselves, feeling as though we need more and more. We cover ourselves in labels as though too much is not enough. But the true self is the gift beneath the surface, only revealed once all else is stripped away.

Instead of working hard to be and become something, why not spend time understanding who you already are.

Asking questions and eliminating uncertainty

I’ve often found that the feeling of anxiety grows and becomes more heightened when questions go unasked.

When we have uncertainty it creates a gap. And for those that are prone to anxiety that gap gets filled with pessimistic possibilities. Often once the feeling of anxiety has started to grow, asking questions feels too difficult or overwhelming. And so the anxiety grows further.

You can attempt to manage the unease until the situation occurs or you can push through the discomfort and ask the questions you have. A helpful reminder to go back to is that you don’t have to feel the way you feel and that you’re worth speaking up for.

From the outside it may seem strange that a person wouldn’t just ask a question if they knew it would ease their anxieties, yet from the inside it’s not so easy.

But anxiety doesn’t have to leave you paralysed. It’s possible and incredibly helpful in the long term to feel anxious and take action in spite of it.

5 things I’ve learnt from being back in the office full-time

After 18 months of working from home, I changed jobs and found myself back in the office full-time.

Here’s some of what it taught me:

I don’t need to be there
After working from home full-time for around 18 months, it’s clear that being in an office full-time doesn’t need to be mandatory for a lot of jobs.

Talking is easier than Teams
It’s much easier to walk over to someone’s desk and have a 2 minute conversation than it is to message them and wait for a reply which in one instance took 2 days.

It’s easier to switch off
When I log off, close my laptop and leave it in the office at 5pm before heading home it creates a good sense of separation. When I close my laptop at home and then sit at the same dining table to have dinner. There’s no clear separation between work and home.

Some days I don’t want to talk
It’s nice to be in the office and talk to people but some days I’m quite happy sitting alone, not interacting, typing away and reading documents. Being in the office when I don’t want to interact or talk isn’t ideal because it’s a social environment.

I like having the option for both
Being in the office means I get dedicated writing time on my bus journey and it’s easier to switch off. However, being at home gives me more flexibility in how I structure my day.

I think all of these things depend on the working environment. If you don’t like your job or your colleagues, it’s no wonder you wouldn’t want to be there at all. But if you do like what you you do and the people you get to work with then office is probably a great place to be.

Solving simple problems

I love the idea that simple things can be done to solve or reduce problems that significantly impact us.

Whilst on a walk, I pondered on a problem I knew how to solve but had avoided. Yet, I was aware that if I did nothing, I’d get the repercussions later and potentially feel frustrated at myself and the other people involved.

When the thing that is bothering us involves other people, it is often the part of us that wants to people please, keep the peace and manage other people’s feelings that stops us saying something. It’s to the point where we’d rather experience discomfort and allow something we aren’t okay with.

That’s not a healthy or helpful way to live.

On my walk, I thought about a way to overcome this issue

Firstly make a table. In the first column, write a list of problems, challenges or anything that is bothering you.

Next, write what’s stopping you solve things.

Then, for each problem write a solution, some way to fix or reduce the problem. If you find this difficult, imagine your most confident, self assured and empowered self. What would they do, how would they solve this problem?

The next step is to pick a problem and follow what you wrote on how solve it.

This is an important lesson in problem solving. Like the NLP presupposition goes ‘if something isn’t working, do something else’.

If you’ve taken a do nothing approach and find that the problem still persists, try something else.

I also think it’s incredibly helpful to come up with a solution from the perspective of your most confident, self assured and empowered self because it’s probably what you’re working to embody.

Once you start taking action, aside from the expected discomfort of doing something new, you’ll probably find that you’re seemingly burdensome problems were actually pretty simple to solve.

Why you might be overexplaining yourself and why you should stop?

When you overexplain, it’s you trying to accommodate other people by justifying yourself and your choices to them. It signals that you’re seeking some level of external approval or permission that you’re not able to give yourself.

You might be over-explaining because you have people pleaser tendencies and you’re worried that the other person might not like what you have to say. You hope that your over-explaining will be enough to nullify any potential negative reaction. And so, you over-explain.

Or perhaps you’re trying to avoid conflict. You think that by saying everything at once, every possible rebuttal to what you think they might say, that they’ll have to accept what you say and you can avoid any possible back and forth.

Whilst other people might not know the reason you’re doing it, they’ll probably be able to notice that you’re over-explaining.

I recently found myself needing to set a boundary. I spent ages planning out what I would say whilst also trying to control the outcome. It got to the point where what should have been a short clear statement was instead a lengthy monologue.

I noticed that I was making something simple become long-winded. But, my awareness of what I was doing made me realise that I could do something different.

And so, I asked myself what is the least that I can say to get the message across?

Sometimes instead of just speaking up for ourselves and what we do or don’t need, we focus too much on other people. We ask ourselves, how will they feel and how can I mitigate that? However, the problem with this is that you don’t learn to fully be yourself. Instead you learn to be a fragmented version of yourself that aims to please or appease and all your needs go unmet.

You can work to overcome this by focusing on keeping things simple. Ask yourself, ‘What is the least that I can say to get the message across?’ and just say that. Remember that a back and forth doesn’t mean conflict, it can simply be the other person trying to understand.

It might feel weird at first, it might not even go smoothly at first, perhaps you’ll even feel like you’re being inconsiderate. But when you value yourself you’ll realise that it’s worth it.

A necessary break

Currently working on and through lots of different things in my life. I’ve allowed myself to take space from blogging in order to ensure that I’m not posting about things that are fresh and problems that I’m yet to solve.

A current theme for me is acceptance and I feel very lucky that my life circumstances have allowed me the opportunity to really focus on that. I’ve been learning new things whilst also revisiting past lessons. In the coming weeks and months I’ll be writing about it all. My aim is to get back to posting three days a week but I’m glad I gave myself a break. I needed it.

Worth sticking up for

How many times have you held your tongue or put the needs of others before your own? Often the idea of being selfless is something that is praised but the reality is that it’s often just self-sacrifice.

When the person that puts others first is around people that put themselves first, they end up losing. The unfortunate truth is people won’t always be considerate of you so you have to be considerate of yourself.

Not sticking up for yourself can be a combination of people pleasing, avoiding conflict and a lack of self-worth. It often shows up in the smallest of ways.

It might seem like it’s not a big deal and it isn’t if it happens every now and then. However, if you spend your whole life not sticking up for your wants and needs then you’ll end up living a life that caters to other people.

Start slow, take it easy and remember that sticking up for yourself will always be worth it even if it feels difficult in the moment.