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.

Picking the right project to pursue

If you’re what I like to refer to as an ideas person, you probably have the challenge of picking what to pursue. You might find yourself with half a dozen great ideas and the thought of bringing each one to life is equally exciting.

It can be difficult figuring out the best way to solve this issue. And so, sometimes we end up picking multiple things to do at once.

We become a jack of all trades.

Whilst there’s nothing wrong with having more than one project at a time, it’s not worth it if you can’t do them well. I like to think of it in terms of spinning plates. The best way to do it is start with one plate and add another when you’re comfortable and then keep going. When you start with multiple plates, they’re more likely to end up broken.

If we take it back to projects, we end up producing work we aren’t proud of and struggle to achieve our desired outcomes.

On the flipside, if we work on things one at a time we give ourselves the opportunity to actualise the vision. If things don’t work out how you’d hoped, you can be much more content with quitting because you know you’ve given it your all.

When you’re doing important work that you believe in, the best way to honour the vision is by being solely dedicated to it. You do yourself and the vision a disservice when you choose to do multiple things at once.

When it comes to deciding what to do, there are plenty of ways to decide.

  • What do you care about the most?
  • What idea feels most important?
  • What will you be most dedicated to?
  • Write them all down and pick out of a hat?
  • Introduce yourself as the person behind each project, which one feels the best?

Maybe try a combination of these things and see what idea comes up the most.

The only thing you need to do is make a choice. If you’re finding it difficult, you’re putting too much weight on it.

And, if you pick something and it doesn’t work out, just try something else.

A mindful offload

If you’re someone that likes to vent and offload I think it’s important to be mindful.

Think about things such as:

How many times have I vented to this person about the same issue?

Has anything changed or am I just repeating the same thing over and over again?

Do I want help solving this or just someone to sit and listen?

The answer to those questions might make you realise that you should spend more time solving your problems than you do talking about them. Your answer might also inspire you to ask before you vent instead of dumping on someone and apologising after.

As much as I think it’s totally fine to want someone to just listen without trying to offer advice, I also think that people have the right no not want to hear you talk about your problems, especially when you’ve gotten into the habit of carelessly dumping on someone over and over again.

Wasting ‘good’ advice

Your good advice is wasted on those that just want a listening ear.

It’s easy to know when you don’t want someone to tell you what they think you should do. But how often do you extend that to other people.

Have you ever found yourself giving what you believe is excellent advice only for the person to totally ignore it?

Perhaps you weren’t paying enough attention to understand that they didn’t want advice in the first place.
 

Creating a container for change

I first heard about this idea from Maryam Hasnaa in a class she taught.

When a person dedicates themselves to a particular path, it more often than not requires significant change.

An example of this could be taking space from friends that like to have nights out often. You need space from this because in that environment you’re likely to drink which leaves you feeling unwell the next day and the time it takes to recover feels like a waste. You also might decide that you want to maintain a regular sleep pattern and night routine which you’re unlikely to be committed to when you get home at 2am. Lastly, when your path becomes clear you realise that the pub, bar or club where it’s noisy, crowded and you’re probably spending a lot of money isn’t an environment that supports you.

And so even though no longer engaging in nights out may show up as you taking space from certain people, it’s not so much about the people at all, it’s about you and what you need.

Another example is leaving your job. Let’s say you work a very full on and at times stressful job that requires a lot from you. When you’re committed to something, in order to focus on that, you don’t want unnecessary stress getting in the way. Perhaps at one point the stress was worth it for the money but now you’d rather earn less in a calmer environment. If your finances allow it, you might even take a break from working for a little while.

Both of these examples could be permanent or temporary changes. The point is that when you’re clear about your path shifting your life is mandatory.

I think if we could, we would turn inwards and away from certain responsibilities and obligations. But since that’s not possible we have to create a container where we can focus and commit whilst still engaging in certain aspects of life. And that container becomes sort of sacred which is why we can’t allow everything in our lives to remain.

And if you don’t know where to begin, ask yourself what you would and wouldn’t keep in your life if you could start over whilst still being able to maintain your basic needs (food, shelter etc).

Don’t read the comments

Well not yet anyway.

I consume a lot of YouTube and social media content, most of which comes with comments. Something I’ve learnt is that reading the comments before watching the content can totally skew your view.

You might not even realise that your opinion is not your own but simply a mix of the other peoples opinions you’ve just read.

I think it’s important to be able to watch something or look at something and form an opinion about it without knowing what other people think first.

A life changing perspective

A running theme throughout a lot of my posts (and what has become the baseline for this blog) is this idea of life’s challenges and difficult moments having a lesson or a takeaway.

Having this perspective completely changes your life.

You go from things like blaming other people, being overly self critical, treating yourself unkindly and feeling stuck to feeling empowered with the ability to move through challenging situations with greater ease.

Let’s say you like the way you look but someone makes fun of your appearance. On one hand you could get upset, feel bad about yourself and feel anger towards the other person for how they made you feel.

On the other hand, you could accept that this person has an opinion, remind yourself that how you feel about the way you look is what matters most and see if there’s something worth learning there.

If the persons comment upset you, perhaps the lesson is that you need to work on your self-confidence. The takeaway could be a reminder that other peoples opinions of you shouldn’t matter more than your own, that you don’t need to take on the opinions of others or that you need to become more comfortable with not fitting into other peoples standards/ideals.

And then maybe you’ll go away and work on these things. An example of this might be embracing the way you want to look by going a week wearing whatever you want as a way of learning to become more comfortable with looking different. In doing so, you’ll probably realise that it’s exhausting to allow yourself to be bothered by everyone else’s opinion and that you feel at your best when you’re just being yourself.

This might seem excessive to some but the truth is that you can choose the way you look at things and how you handle them. Imagine if you faced every difficult or challenging situation with this kind of perspective. How different would your life be?

Poetry for past lovers

Like many things Valentines Day is just a made up day that we choose to attach meaning to. I think it’s something light-hearted and can be used as an opportunity to highlight the ones you love in a similar way that new years can be used for a fresh start.

Last week I started working on a poem to share but didn’t get very far. I’m not writing poetry much these days so it felt strange and unfamiliar. However, it’s become an annual tradition to share a different sort of writing with you on Valentines Day, so I stuck with it.

I ended up with 6 short lines but it feels like enough because I’ve managed to capture a moment. And in a few months or even next year I’ll look back on this poem and remember exactly what it was like.

Lovers like you and I

With hearts that love to play games

And hearts so full of love

That sometimes they pour over

And sometimes they burst

With love to give.

Happy Valentines Day!

By any other name

New years resolution have garnered a bad reputation for being unreliable and not living up to their expectations.

And so instead we call them goals or intentions (or whatever else we can come up with). But as Shakespeare said ‘a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet’. We call it something else but it’s really not that different.

When you get down to the crux of it it’s simply just something that answers the question, ‘What would you like to do this year?’

Changing yourself to progress your career

The workplace can often just feel like one long game with lots of rules. For many people following these rules requires changing perhaps to the point of doing things that you don’t really want to do.

So, how much should you change for the sake of career progression?

If you feel like you have to become someone else or play up to the idea of who people think that you should be to have the career you want, you probably won’t be happy when you get it.

Some people understand the game and are willing to play it whilst others find the cheat codes and figure out how to work things their favour. Then there are the ones who understand the game but aren’t willing to play it and lastly the ones that have no awareness of the game whatsoever.

I have a lot of beliefs about work and the kind of career I want.

In a past experience, after discovering the game and attempting to play it, I realised that I didn’t want to.

If you have to change to progress in your career it’ll only be worth it if you like the person you’re becoming. Playing the game can be fun but it can also be exhausting. It might be for some people but others are better off stopping and finding a place to work with a game they enjoy playing or better yet no game at all.