Justifying rest

When you feel like you need to escape or getaway it often has nothing to do with your surroundings. Although you may find yourself wanting to book a trip or get a change of scenery in many cases it’s actually your mind that needs a rest.

You might think you need a holiday when in fact a couple of days dedicated to slowing down, quality sleep, nourishing food, soft music, a massage and a walk in nature will do you a world of good.

A major part of present day culture is working hard but it is often to our detriment. You trudge on even when you know you need a break and only stop when your body gives way.

You don’t need to reach breaking point to justify resting

As much as working hard and achieving goals is great, it shouldn’t be at the expense of your well-being.

Creating a safe space

When it comes to opening up, do you know what you need in order to feel safe?

A starting point is to ask yourself ‘Will what I am about to say be handled with care?’

I’ve learnt that people often hold their challenges dear. Even if it’s not deeply affecting them now they still require a level of care when it’s being discussed.

For example, you probably want more than just ‘oh wow, glad you’re okay’ when opening up about a past period of depression.

Another question to ask is ‘What do I want from this situation?’

Many times when we open up to people, we want something particular from them in return. But often we don’t realise until it’s too late.

A common example is discussing an issue you’re having and getting annoyed when the other person tries to offer advice or tell you what to do. Turns out you just wanted someone to listen.

And so overall, creating a safe space is a combination of knowing what makes you feel safe, voicing what you need and (as always) picking the right people.

Understanding others

The easiest perspective to understand a situation from is your own. If you look back on past experiences you can get a good idea of why you respond the way you do, what gets you enraged and perhaps what helps you stay calm.

But a helpful perspective to try and understand is the perspective of others. For example, when you and Person A have a disagreement if you’re only willing to see things from your point of view you won’t get a full picture of the situation.

As much as you have past experiences that effect the way you are, challenges and even things stressing you out, you’re not alone in that. And so if you remember that Person A has all those same things too, it might make their perspective easier to understand.

Let’s say Person A lies to you. From your perspective you might be angry/hurt that they lied and wished that they could have been honest. But when you make the effort to understand things from Person As perspective you might realise that they have always been someone that struggles with opening up. Or you’ll remember that since you haven’t taken their honesty well in the past the lie probably wasn’t coming from a cruel or malicious place.

That doesn’t mean you need to excuse bad behaviour but it serves as a reminder that situations aren’t always as shallow as we like to pretend they are.

Understand others isn’t about psychoanalysing or thinking that you know everything about why a person is the way they are, it’s just about having compassion.

Even if we don’t say it, it’s what we’d like extended to us, so why not do the same for others.

What do you want?

A seemingly simple four word question that is often almost impossible to answer.

Even when you know what you want you’re likely to find yourself making excuses for why it’s not possible for you or how it’s just a daydream.

But also I think it’s difficult to admit what you truly want when you know that you haven’t even tried to make it happen. If your wants don’t align with what you currently do or are currently working towards it highlights where you’ve fallen short.

Nobody wants to be reminded that they’re not where they want to be in life especially when you’re not even working towards what you want.

And so the lesson is to keep checking in with what you want in life. Once you have that figured out all you have to do is start bridging the gap.

Who determines your self-worth?

For many people, how they value or see themselves comes from other people.

This might be great when people are treating you well and constantly telling you how great you are but when not so much when you’re treated and being spoken of poorly. You go from feeling good about yourself to not feeling good enough.

Then you end up feeling stuck because you were always so reliant on other people to determine your self-worth that you don’t know how to stop.

And so, you feel down and worthless whilst also blaming other people for how you feel. I think that stage of blaming others continues until you’re able to realise that nobody else should be in control of how you feel about yourself. That’s not a solid foundation.

Taking advantage of kindness

So lets say you’re someone who has a habit of running late. And this has happened quite a few times with Friend A who is always super understanding about it.

Perhaps the first time you were late you were super apologetic and felt bad but you were also glad your friend was understanding and didn’t get mad about it.

For some people, when they keep getting a kind response as a reaction to their mistakes they’ll end up being less and less apologetic.

Afterall, what’s the point in preparing for the worst case scenario when the past responses have taught you that things will turn out fine.

This is how people end up taking advantage of kindness.

I used the example of being late but this can apply to any scenario where your actions directly effect someone else.

The point is that when you’re making mistakes or when you’re in the wrong you shouldn’t expect for others to just be cool with it. In fact, in some ways it’s actually healthy to accept one of the worst potential outcomes as it’ll keep you on your toes and your apology is much more likely to be genuine.

Granted, the best option will always be to do better but mistakes will always happen and that’s okay.

Starting over

So often we are afraid to start over.

Maybe starting over feels like a setback, it feels easier to just keep going, you haven’t seen it done before or maybe it just feels too risky.

Those are valid reasons to stay where you are. But if you don’t take a leap, you end up missing out.

The thing we often forget is that, if you try something new and it doesn’t work out, more often than not you can just go back to the way things are.

If that happens, at least you know you tried.

The power of storytelling

Storytelling is a powerful thing.

Not everything gets written down or photographed but stories can always be passed down as long as someone is happy to speak and someone is willing to listen.

For many storytelling perhaps conjures up images of childhood sitting cross legged on the floor as the teacher reads you story or your parents making up a bedtime story where you’re the main character and you save the day.

But there is so much power in the stories we tell about life. It’s how people passed on information, it’s a way of bringing people together and when you tell stories of the past it helps people imagine the way things once her.

My grandparents tell me stories of their lives and my parents too and it’s fascinating. Hearing the stories of people you know is probably the most realistic glimpse into the past you can possibly get.

My focus here is on non-fiction, things that actually happened because that’s the stuff worth remembering.

Slow progress

There’s a popular saying that goes ‘Slow progress is better than no progress’. I totally agree.

What we often do is rush because we want progress to be quick.

Perhaps this is because slow progress doesn’t feel like moving forward in the moment. It’s only, in a few weeks or months time that you’re able to see how far you’ve come.

This idea of choosing to rush instead of embracing slow progress can be applied to many scenarios, one of which is procrastination.

Dedicating a few days to get something done is often much more appealing than spending a few weeks doing something bit by bit.

But often we don’t have a few days spare, just a few moments each week.

And the great thing about slow progress is that it helps build a habit of long term commitment.

On the other hand when you rush you’re relying on adrenaline and cortisol, what your body releases as a response to stress which is great in the short-tun but not something you want to make a habit out of.

Looking back

When you experience a mood change from sad to happy it’s easy to find yourself looking back.

Perhaps you do so because you remember what it was like to feel sad and you remember that you didn’t think it would pass. But now all of a sudden here you are with a smile on your face, feeling like a whole new you.

Looking back is a reminder that the difficult times don’t last forever even if in the moment we sometimes forget.