It’s important to pay attention to when things change. Doing this avoids being in a situation where you’re pushing on towards something you may no longer be interested in.
And the more you keep going the further you’ll find yourself from where you’d probably rather be.
Sometimes the way it goes is that we simply just don’t realise in the moment when the change happens. However, things like a regular life audit, journaling or any other kind of reflection are all great tools to make you more aware of what’s happening and how you feel.
Sometimes taking the time to understand yourself can help you start to understand others.
In particular when it comes to interactions and exchanges not turning out how you’d hoped or think they should. The disclaimer for what is to follow is that of course you don’t need to internalise and understand someone treating you poorly. This is more about having unrealistic expectations based on a false perception of reality.
If you find yourself caught up in thinking about the way a person should have acted in a situation or what they should have said, question it, where are the expectations coming from.
You may find that you’re so focused on the way that things should be, that you’re missing on what is actually happening.
An example could be that someone didn’t ask for your advice on something you had spoken to them about. Your initial reaction may be to feel hurt or annoyed because you feel like they should have spoken to you. But as important as it is to acknowledge your feelings, it’s important to acknowledge the feelings of others.
Ask yourself, why would this person not come to me? It could simply be that they went to someone else instead but you have a habit of berating their choices or trying to make them do what you think is best rather than trust their own judgment.
It’s so easy to just look at things on the surface and get annoyed at the other person but making a little time for introspection might help you see things differently.
Then you can decide how or if you want to change. For example, you could decide to work on telling people what you think is best without pressuring them to do what you think is right.
On the other hand, you could decide to do nothing at all, to stay just as you are. But you can’t continue to get annoyed at people when the problem is you.
And it’s not about getting caught in a spiral of blame, it’s about being aware of your interactions with other people and then figuring out how you can improve them.
There could be habits you have that you have carried with you thorough your life for so long that you aren’t even aware the impact they have on your life.
Perhaps, you assume that those habits are ‘just the way you are’ rather than them being something you could change.
Sticking with what you know is easy, comfortable and familiar even when it negatively impacts your life.
And so you do nothing.
That’s why I’m such an advocate for regular reflection. In doing so you’re able to identify the habits you currently have and understand how they impact your life. It could be something like you always wanting to be right because you believe that you know more than most.
This may result in people not wanting to engage in conversations with you because you’re now seen as closed minded, someone that is not open to other points of view. In turn maybe you’re unable to develop close relationships because your desire to always be right pushes people away as they don’t feel respected and they find you frustrating.
Identifying that bad habit and deciding to let it go could be the catalyst to solve many of the problems that you regularly encounter.
Of course, it rarely feels good to know that you’re the problem as it forces you to take responsibility instead of the playing the blame game. But in the grand scheme of things perhaps it is much better to know that the problem begins with you and your bad habits because that way you know that the problems can end with you too.
Robin Hood is infamously known as the one who ‘steals from the rich to give to the poor.’
He is an interesting character because he forces us to see things from a different point of view.
If asked, we would probably all say that stealing is wrong but would consider it less wrong if it was for the sake of those less fortunate.
And so we don’t consider Robin Hood to be a ‘bad person’. He’s someone who does a bad thing thing for a good reason.
What would happen if we extended that level of awareness to people in real life, not to accept or encourage ‘bad’ behaviour but to simply acknowledge that we understand.
When it comes to getting swept up in the future it’s easy to get caught up in the worst case scenario. But it’s also easy to get caught up in the ideal scenario.
However, more often than not neither of them come true.
The outcome ends up being what I’d call the most likely scenario, something fairly ordinary. It could be good but not great or alright instead of terrible.
But there’s nothing wrong with that sort of outcome, infact most choices or actions that make up our days have those kinds of ‘normal’ outcomes.
And so I think the reason that we’re so drawn to getting swept up in the extremes of the worst case and the ideal is because we unknowingly enjoy it.
When you think about the days that have passed and the days that are to come, does it all roll into one?
Does today feel like yesterday?
Will tomorrow be different to today?
Sometimes, without you even realising you’ll find your life has become a blur of sameness. You do the same thing each day with little conscious awareness.
By the time it gets to Friday, if someone asked you to recall your week all the days blur into one because there is little to differentiate them.
When life gets this way, it helps to give yourself a little time each day to be more mindful about how you’re spending your time.
Privilege is a complex thing.
I think the reason that so many people have a hard time accepting their privilege is because they feel like it negates their hard work. They’re not comfortable with the realisation that if it wasn’t for certain things about them, they would have experienced life very differently. More often than not having more hurdles to overcome.
Privilege comes in many forms: financial, gender, race, sexuality and religion for a start but there is so much more.
And so if you come under the categories of Middle class, Male, White, Straight and Christian there is evidence to show that you face less barriers. Furthermore, the categories you fit into don’t disadvantage you, for the most part.
It can be challenging for people that feel like they have worked hard to be told that they’re privileged. They’re often the ones that believe in meritocracy and feel like anyone who can’t achieve the same as them must not be working hard enough.
Ironically, it’s often that everyone else has had to work harder.
I think the easiest way to understand this whole thing of privilege is to meet more people that are not like you. That way you actually get to see the what it’s like for other people.
Whether that is not continuing education because they can’t afford it, worrying that their natural hair will be a barrier to employment or even constantly having negative assumptions thrown at them because of their religions beliefs.
The point of all this is not for you to feel bad, the point is to gain understanding and awareness.
Your privilege doesn’t negate your hard work but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
They might seem the same but they’re not.
An anxious person will grow to become familiar with the feeling of anxiety and how it manifests in they’re day to day life.
And over time they may find that they knowing doing certain things will trigger there anxiety so they won’t do it.
But not because it’s dangerous or unsafe but because they’re afraid. And the thing with fear is that it’s a feeling and so even when in your mind you know it’s fine your body is sending signals that it’s not.
So just because you know yourself when you’re afraid it’s not the same as knowing yourself because you’re more than your fears.
Chances are there’s so many aspects of you that you’ve not given yourself space to explore.
If the service you offer doesn’t require you to be there in person then there’s a chance you can get more for doing less.
Take a coaching service for example.
Say you have 8 clients who all have a total of 4 one hour sessions a month costing £55.
That’s 32 hours a month earning £1760
But what if you batch your sessions and make them online with 2 groups of 4 but each session now lasts 1.5 hours and now costs £50
That’s 12 hours a month earning £1600
But now lets see one group of 8 with a weekly 2 hour session at £55.
That’s 8 hours a month earning £1760.
Imagine working a quarter of the time but earning the same amount, if not more.
It’s not about being money hungry but simply having an awareness that the amount you earn isn’t dependent on how much time you spend working.
Through discovering the kind of person that I want to become I’ve learnt a lot about who I am.
It’s interesting to observe yourself and how you interact with others. Are you kind to yourself, what are your relationships like, how do you show up in different situations.
When you uncover the things you need to work on it can be hard to accept them in a loving way and not get frustrated at how much work you have to do.
But that awareness is important. Being able to see yourself as you are is important and even though you might feel like the work is too much or overwhelming you don’t have to do it all right now.
You just have to start.
Then work your way through it bit by bit, until eventually you’ll be transformed.