What makes you happy?

How often do you take the time to stop and think about what makes you happy?

I don’t mean in relation to acheiveing goals, I mean just in life overall.

Most of the time we over-estimate what brings us real joy, thinking that we need something grand or something that is difficult to obtain.

In reality, it is often the smallest moments that make us feel the happiest.

Things like dancing to your favourite song, picking fruit from the garden or laughter with an old friend.

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.

Choice and change

When you’re comfortable with the way things are it can be difficult to make the choice to change.

Most people have dreams of the kind of life that they want yet they allow their feelings of comfort to stand in the way.

The inner monologue will say something like ‘Why move to a new city, when you have everything here. Why would you want to be away from your friends and family?’.

Those kinds of thoughts totally underestimate our capabilities as human beings.

If you move to a new city and hate it, you can always move back. When it comes to friends and family of course you’ll miss them but it’s not like you’ll never see them again. Also you’ll make new friends and meet new people.

So often people don’t allow themselves to grow because they’re stuck on feeling comfortable instead of being open to exploring life.

Don’t just talk to anyone

I think I’ve used the phrase talking helps at least half a dozen times on this site (turns out I was exactly spot on as shown below).

Talking helps

Making a breakthrough

Worth seeking advice from

Managing stress and deadlines

When you don’t have anyone to talk to

Unexpected but needed

I say it because that’s what has works for me and like everything I share here it comes from my experience. If this was around 3 or 4 years ago things would have been very different. Back then, I wasn’t talking about the challenges that I was facing or things that I struggled with because I didn’t know how.

Plus, at the time I didn’t think that talking would help.

But I also think a lot of people forget to mention that it’s more than just talking to anyone.

For example, the person that is feeling suicidal might not to find much solace in talking to their friends. Their friends aren’t equipped or trained to help in that kind of situation.  Friends not knowing what to say doesn’t make them bad people.

Instead they might find it more helpful to talk to a professional, someone with training or someone who can relate to their experience.

Further to that, think about you want the outcome from talking to be. Of course there’s no magic fix but if you just want someone to listen and leave you feeling hopeful, talking to the person that will just dismiss your issues probably isn’t the best idea.

And if you don’t have anyone to talk to, that’s okay too.

If you live in the UK or Ireland call Samaritans on 116 123.

For anyone else the country you live in probably has a helpline you can call too.

What will you run to?

This time inside is no doubt forcing you to step away from somethings you’d rather run towards.

But there’s probably a few things you have space from right now that you don’t want back in your life.

It could be a job, people you spend time with or the places you used to go.

Being forced to stay inside gives your mind the space it so often needs to really think about what it wants, what you want. You’re no longer in this routine of always going from one place to the next, rarely alone, rarely getting the chance for silence or a moment to think how you feel about the way you’re living your life.

But now you have that chance, what are you thinking about, what is on your mind?

Are you craving a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon at your favourite bar with a lover or friend?

Are you secretly hoping that you never have to go to go back to your current job?

Are you realising that you don’t miss the people you’d normally spend the most time with (outside of work)?

Once you’ve given that some thought, what will you do about it now and once lockdown is over?

When you don’t have anyone to talk to

Through this blog you may have read the phrase ‘talking helps’ at least once or twice.

I’m an advocate for talking because it is something that has changed my life and I think it’s something that at time is overlooked.

As much as I can advocate for people to talk more, the truth is not everyone has someone they can talk to.

Perhaps you don’t have any friends, you’re scared to open up to a family member, you can’t afford a therapist/counselling or you’re on a GP waiting list that could take over 6 months.

Talking might not solve the issue but being able to get things off your chest can work wonders for your well-being.

There’s a free service called Samaritans that you can use to call, email, write a letter or even visit in person to talk face to face. They’re available in various countries around the world including America, UK and Australia

Samaritans is a registered charity aimed at providing emotional support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide…

You don’t have to wait until you’re on the edge and life is getting to be too much, in fact you shouldn’t. Personally over the past year in particular I’ve found that talking about things more in general stops things becoming so overwhelming.

I think it’s lovely that these kinds of free services exist and I wanted to share it with you because it might be helpful for you or to pass on to someone you know.

 

Self-depreciating

But make it humorous.

How many times have you gone into a situation and rejected yourself or put yourself down before others had the chance?

And of course you don’t just say it out right, you make a joke because everyone likes to laugh. If it’s at your expense, maybe they’ll keep you around.

It’s interesting to identify the why behind your actions or the actions of others. It gives you a greater understanding and the opportunity to practice compassion.

So, maybe you could stop making those self deprecating jokes and try a vulnerable conversation with a friend (or someone else you’re comfortable talking to) instead.

Life changing habits: Let go of expectations

This used to be one of my worst habits.

I’d do this thing where I’d place a lot of expectations on people that left no room for humanness and left me feeling disappointed.

Once I realised that I did this I started making a conscious effort to stop. I’ve learnt how to catch myself in the act and it is such a blessing. It means I’m much less bothered by what people do.

Letting go of expectation has made some relationships a lot easier. It has also helped me clarify that in some cases I’m more invested than the other person and that we should probably just part ways.

It’s also about balance. For example, expecting a friend to make time to see you is realistic but if you’re always expecting your friend to be free and getting upset or annoyed when they’re busy, you might want to reassess your expectations.

Do you remember 4 years ago?

I recently bumped into someone that I hadn’t seen in 4 years. Sure we follow each other on social media but we don’t interact with each other much.

So what was so amazing is that things fell right into place as though no time had passed, in the best possible way.

This person even brought up the last time we met and I was surprised that they remembered it so well.

Anyway maybe I’m just getting old but I love that there are people in my life that I don’t see regularly but when I do see them, even though we’ve both changed, the relationship/connection still remains.

I guess this is just what happens you grow up.

45 Minute friendship

So there we were 2 strangers on the train sitting in first class. The train had come to a standstill as there were some issues at the train ahead.

We heard a voice over the loudspeaker suggesting that depending on our destination we should either get off the current train and travel via a different route or get the bus.

Based on where I was headed the bus was my only option and as people started to leave the train I began talking to a stranger who looked just as inconvenienced as I felt.

So we got chatting, left the train and got the bus together as we were heading in the same location.

Even though we’d just met, there was a level of comfort/familiarity as though we weren’t strangers, as if we were already friends.

Our conversation was pretty open but we were by no means BFFs, we were instead 2 strangers caught in an inconvenient situation who perhaps both thought that it might be easier to have someone else to get through it with.

We reached the point of parting around 45 minutes after we met and just like that the friendship was over.