Feedback and praise

I think most people like receiving praise. Not necessarily in front of a large crowd with the spotlight shining down but to simply be told you did something well is more than enough.

Many people go around thinking they’re subpar and for them praise serves as a reminder that they’re doing okay. It can be difficult to tell yourself that you did a good job, perhaps it feels big headed or self indulgent.

Feedback on the other hand can be difficult to take from others but easy to give to yourself.

It feels good to be told that you did something well but it isn’t always easy to hear what you need to work on from other people.

Afterall, how could this person know what you’ve been through and have they considered that you’re doing your best.

This observation of how we take in praise and feedback is simply a reminder not to cling too much to opinions and perceptions, not even even your own.

The best possible next step

Sometimes it’s good to have a statement that serves as guidance for the direction of your life.

When you feel stuck, stagnant and discontent wondering what to do next pick the best possible next step.

Close your eyes and ask yourself ‘What is the best possible next step I can take?’

Whatever answer comes up, do it.

It could be as small as turning off your phone or drinking a glass of water. It could be as big as resigning from your job or ending a relationship.

Once you take the first step if you still feel stuck ask yourself the question again, keep doing that until you no longer feel stuck, stagnant or discontent.

Overcoming stuff

Life is full of stuff.

Stuff we get caught up in because we think it matters.

Social media expectations of the way that things should be.

But at the end of the day all that stuff is often a distraction from what really matters.

And so you have to learn to overcome it. No matter how important it might seem to uphold these expectations, it’ll rarely make you happier.

In fact, more often than not it just makes you miserable because it leaves little room for you to be yourself.

Settling with age

Most of us start out with big dreams of what we want to do with our lives. Then slowly, bit by bit, as the years go on we start to settle.

We settle from setbacks that lower our self-belief until you’ve convinced yourself that they were unrealistic anyway.

Other times you have people tell you that your dreams are too big, that they won’t work and that you need to be realistic.

Sometimes you’re aware of it but other times you have no idea until years have gone by and you’re wondering what happened to those dreams you used to have.

Doing what helps

It’s strange how sometimes you can find yourself resisting the very thing that you know will help.

Maybe, it’s because it feels like too much effort or maybe you’ve forgotten how much it might benefit you.

It could be something as simple as going for a walk when you’re feeling down. Perhaps, the thought of putting on proper clothes, doing your hair and seeing other people when you’re not at your best is enough to make you think that staying inside is the better option.

But the longer you stay inside the more difficult it’ll be to convince yourself to go outside.

Sometimes even when you know something might help you can’t being yourselves to do it because you’re not in a hopeful mindset. You don’t feel like trying to make things better because in that moment you don’t even believe it’s possible.

But why not do the thing that might help anyway and see how you feel afterwards. It might not make things better but it definitely won’t make things worse.

Two steps back

When you feel like you’re making progress having to then take a step back is a big deal. It feels like you’ve wasted your efforts but more importantly time that you can’t get back.

But if you change your perspective, those steps back could actually be a good thing.

Perhaps you were heading down an unhelpful path and now gain clarity.

I think the main thing is to understand that a setback doesn’t stop you from reaching your end goal it just changes the path you take to get there.

Dealing with the unexpected

No matter how much you plan and prepare you always encounter unexpected situations.

In the moment it can be easy to end up feeling overwhelmed after all this is not what you wanted, it’s not what you planned for.

And so you have two choices. The first is to get caught up in the unexpected and the feeling of things being out of your control. The second is to take a moment to check in and ask yourself whether this unexpected situation poses any real risk. Most of the time the answer is no, in fact you have something to gain.

Unexpected situations can serve as an opportunity to learn how to be more adaptable which is a pretty valuable thing.

Overstepping boundaries

I wrote about boundaries in a recent post but upon reflection I had more to add.

Sometimes even when you are aware of a persons boundaries and you know it has nothing to do with you, you still try to overstep the mark. A person will do it in small or subtle ways because they are curious whilst also being aware they have to tread carefully.

But when you catch them overstepping in the moment they’re likely to respond by telling you that they didn’t mean it or that they didn’t relaise that it was an issue. perhaps they try to tell you that there is no issue at all.

When it comes to over stepping a boundary it’s really about respect. When you can see a clear boundary you have to decide if it is more important to follow that curiosity or to simply respect what the other person does and doesn’t want

Saying what you mean

There’s no need to skirt around the issue.

Being clear with your words might seem like a simple thing to do. Yet if you reflect on conversations you’ve had and the things you’ve said recently you might find times when you haven’t been so clear.

It might have been because you weren’t really thinking in the moment but upon reflection you can see that you should have chose your words more carefully.

However, it could also be that the words you chose in the moment weren’t totally honest. Maybe you were scared to say how you really feel.

Either way what ends up happening is you’re not happy with the response you get from the person you were talking to. It’s not because you didn’t agree with them but instead because their response wasn’t addressing what you really had to say.

Next time try being a little clearer and say what you really mean.

Internalising boundaries

You can learn a lot from someone by simply observing them.

I recently noticed in a particular relationship that the other person had very clear boundaries. It wasn’t anything that had been explicitly stated but through this persons actions it was very clear what they were and were not open to.

Sometimes a persons boundaries can feel personal. You might feel that they’re being harsh and closed off toward you. On the other hand you might internalise it and end up thinking you need to put in more effort.

In the situation I experienced I could have taken it personally, in fact 5 years ago I would have. I’d have thought this means [insert monologue of dramatic over reaction here] and maybe this person doesn’t like me.

But I now understand that a boundary is for the person setting them, it has little to do with the people on the receiving end.