Social media makes it really easy to keep up with everything going on in the world around us. From crises happening across the globe to personal details about people we’ve never met.
And on an average day for many, I don’t think I’d be wrong in assuming that little thought goes into it.
How often do you find yourself questioning whether you need to know all this information you’re consuming?
I’m guilty of clicking on trending topics out of curiosity but on reflection I know that this information isn’t something I need to know.
The goings on of celebrities (and even just people we’ve never met) has always been a popular form of entertainment which is why gossip magazines were so popular. I guess those magazines have now changed to social media, something that is free and consumed by even more people.
And as much as you control who you follow, you can’t control what they post, tweet, re-tweet, like or share on their stories.
But what you do have control over is your active consumption. As much as knowing certain things might tickle your fancy, upon reflection would you really choose knowing details about a strangers personal life over reading a book, working on your craft, writing, planning ahead etc.
Of course you can make time for both (if you so wish) but this is more about being intentional with what you consume rather than getting swept up in it all.
If you leave the twitter thread, video or post feeling fine that’s great but if you feel like you’ve wasted time then maybe you need to start making some changes.
This is one of the easiest ways to feel better about life.
Instead of gazing into the abyss of nothingness wondering what the future will hold, you can set yourself up with something to look forward to.
It could be a catch up with a friend in a few days time or a holiday a year from now. But it could also be you making time for a hobby you enjoy one evening after work.
I think the reason having something to look forward to can help us feel better is because it gives us some indication of how the future will be. Granted we can’t predict everything but if we can set one or even a few things in stone then suddenly the future isn’t so frightening.
It’s common to fear the unknown and so if you can in some way bring some sense of knowing or stability, it helps make things easier.
So often we think that we have to have everything worked out.
We convince ourselves that an idea is not enough that we have to have everything mapped out from A to Z and all the steps in between.
But life will never go exactly as you plan, no matter how hard you try to control things.
I’ve learnt that the more you try to control things the less prepared you are for the unexpected. Granted it’s good to have some kind of plan and not just be like a boat with no oars. But you have no control over the flow of the waves.
The optimum circumstance is to be adaptable and often that means being able to figure things out as you go because you can’t plan for every possibility.
In day to day life you might be surprised at how many rules you follow. Things that you are or aren’t supposed to do or say?
Some of them are necessary and help us function well as a society whilst others just restrict us. Some are inflicted by others but some we force upon ourselves.
You make up unhelpful rules that get you off the hook because you cant, you’re not allowed, people don’t do that.
But maybe if something isn’t working out you could take control.
Make the decision to change rules and do something differently.
So often we run from spontaneity because it doesn’t allow us to have as much control as we’d like.
We tell ourselves that it’s the wrong decision or that we need to give it more thought or maybe just say no instead of yes.
But the beauty of spontaneity is that it opens us up to other options that we could never even imagine. And so when you say no instead of yes out of trying to be in control you miss out and you don’t even realise it.
I recently did something spontaneous, it wasn’t grand in fact it was very small-scale. But it taught me that there are more benefits saying yes and being spontaneous then I had realised
For the last few months of 2019 I’ve been creating a manifesto for each month that I read every morning.
It’s sort of like a list of affirmations around a specific theme like opening up more, speaking my truth or letting go. I don’t remember what sparked this idea but it’s something that I’d recommend.
In some ways it’s also like a love letter to myself full of encouragement and self-belief.
The purpose is to give yourself control over how you begin your day and re-affirm the intentions you have for not only the day but your life overall.
When I write my manifesto I ensure that I’m open and in-flow, I think about what I want to focus on for the coming month, what I need to work on or be reminded of and then I just write.
Each manifesto so far has started with the same 2 sentences that sort of set the scene and open up my mind to fully receive the words that follow.
It isn’t any form of magic but I’ve found that when I start my mornings declaring that ‘I am letting go of what no longer serves me and embracing joy’ it becomes embedded into my subconscious. All of a sudden I’m having moments where I’m questioning why I allow certain things in my life and if they are serving me.
I’m an advocate for having practices that help and this is just one of many things that works for me.
The basis of this particular practice is to begin each day by reminding yourself that change is possible.
It’s easier said than done.
We grow up having people tell us to be more or less of ourselves.
And for many at a young age you follow the words of those older than you. That’s fine when it comes to things like eating a balanced diet, doing your homework and being kind to people.
But on the flip-side when you’re being told to what career path to pursue or who you should be, I think that’s a problem.
How are you ever going to figure out who you are and be yourself if you’re always listening to other people? Sure this person might mean well and think they’re being helpful but they could also be projecting.
You’ll get told not to pursue something creative because it’s risky, to get a job in a particular sector because it’s more stable, to dress in differently… the list goes on. But often this advice has nothing to do with your happiness or life goals, it’s about conformity, a lack of belief, other peoples discomfort or even control.
And if you listen to all these voices and follow along with what you’re told you slowly start being less and less yourself and therefore less happy.
It’s not much fun living your life as an actor and allowing everyone else to direct.
And so in order to ‘simply’ be yourself you have to let go of all that stuff and be okay with other people being frustrated that you won’t do what they say.
In exchange for that, you get to be you.
You don’t have to play, you can always opt out.
I used to be the sort of person who would blame other people for the misfortunes of my life. Not in an explicit way but I felt that I needed certain people in my life to change in order for me to feel better in life.
At the time I truly believed that it was because of ‘them’ that my life had gotten to be so dreadful .
It didn’t even occur to me back then that I was giving my power away, that by blaming others for the state of my life I was declaring that I was not in control.
But after doing some reading, reflecting and ruminating I realised that I’m the one in control of my life.
I also realised that sometimes we subconsciously reject the responsibility over ourselves and our lives and look to other people as ‘the bad guys’ who’ve ruined things for us.
It takes courage to decide to take responsibility and stop playing the blame game.
The problem with relying on someone else to change in order for you to be feel good is that the person may never change. By playing the blame game you just end up missing out and that’s no fun.
We often say things that don’t align with how we feel.
Sometimes it’s because we don’t feel in control or we’re scared to be assertive.
Other times we’re not even aware that we don’t really feel what we are saying but the proof is in what we do.
It’s like if someone says they want to make new friends but all they do is go to work and then spend time at home watching Netflix, then still complain that they have no people to hang out with even though they make no conscious effort to even be around new people.
We’ve all fallen into wishing and waiting at some point in our lives. And when you stop and think you’ll often find that you’re either not ready for what you think you want or you don’t truly want it.
Sometimes both apply.