I am a firm believer that in almost every moment, you know exactly what you need to do and exactly what decisions you want to make.
So often we see advice from others because we feel stuck or get overwhelmed by possibility and uncertainty. However, what I’ve learnt even is that when you allow yourself to get swept up in the situation it becomes difficult to navigate.
Think of a boat out at sea, once it gets swept up in the waves the boat has very little control.
Or lets take it back to a previous analogy of a boat with no oars, that was the idea of how little control you have without a sense of direction. In this case it’s more about settling your mind and letting the answers come to you instead of seeking them out.
In my experience, in quiet moments I am able to gain answers or clarification on situations where I previously felt like I didn’t know what to do.
It’s something that you have access to if you want to use it but you have to trust that you are capable of figuring out the situations you encounter.
I think regular reflection is necessary.
Take a little while to reflect on your life and think about what you have that you don’t need. It could be a physical possession but take the time to think a little deeper and find if their is any beliefs you hold that you don’t need in your life.
If you’re not actively thinking about the life you create for yourself, you’re much more likely to end up with something that you don’t want.
Our possessions and beliefs play a big part in that.
The way you think and the things you buy or own should reflect the life you want.
If you want a less is more kind of life that is chilled out, relaxing and calm but your home is cluttered and you believe your happiness will come from the things you buy, there’s a discord.
That’s a pretty clear example but it’s not always that obvious. That’s why it’s so useful to check in, reflect and take stock.
Taking space is something we’re often reluctant to do.
It could be space from a person, a habit or even just social media.
For me the purpose of space is to gain clarity.
It’s difficult to get that when you’re in the situation which is why it is necessary to remove yourself.
At first you always miss the thing that you’re taking space from because you’re so used to it being part of your day to day life but then you feel refreshed and wonder why you clung to that thing so much in the first place. Then after that comes the sense of knowing that without this thing in your life you’ll still be totally fine.
I don’t think we always anticipate that that last realisation will come which is why we can be reluctant to give things up.
I think we quite often think the opposite which is that we’ll feel as though we can’t live without the thing or come to crave it even more than before.
It could be something like snacking on sugary foods, a person you believe yourself to be so totally in love with or maybe it’s Instagram.
Whatever it is in your life, don’t be too afraid to take space from it.
You might even find that you no longer want the thing in your life and if that’s the case, be willing to let it go.
Not everything is meant to last.
It’s really easy to say, ‘That’s just how I am’.
Some people even use that as a way to justify continually being unkind to others or even themselves.
But the beauty of life is that we have the opportunity to change and overcome.
I recently wrote about not feeling good enough, something I struggled with for years.
As a result of feeling that way I created a life that I was unhappy with and I became someone who self-sabotaged, had little self-belief and would constantly settle for less. Furthermore, I struggled to stand up for myself.
Once I stopped passively accepting those parts of me as just the way things are, I realised that things could be different, things could be better. I also realised that I was capable of changing my own life.
At the time I didn’t feel capable and it was hard to imagine what things would be like if they were different but I started to believe it was possible.
My personal development and growth was an active change that I worked for and continue to work on.
This sort of thing is really at the crux of the message I want to share on this site. What I want for you to take away from this is you that don’t have to accept the way things are.
I used to be the kind of person that would internalise everything.
For example, if I didn’t get the job I applied for it was because I wasn’t good enough and not that they had 7 excellent candidates and only one role to fill so not everyone could be a winner.
I could give countless other examples but me internalising those experiences all came from the same place, this feeling of not being good enough. It’s a strange realisation when you start to understand that the way you see yourself contributes to the way you experience life.
Once I started working on how I saw myself, my entire outlook on life changed.
I recently had this experience where someone was intentionally inconsiderate. In the past I’d have kept quiet, felt bad, got upset and allowed that one moment to ruin the rest of my day.
Instead, I responded by simply asking why this person chose to be inconsiderate.
I understand why some people might up being that way but it doesn’t mean they can’t change, if they want to.
That was the prompt in a self-help book I read around 6 or 7 years ago.
It was followed by questions like:
- How would you behave?
- How would your relationships change?
- What would it allow you to do?
I think it’s a helpful set of words to get you thinking about how you might be limiting yourself.
As human beings we often fall into thinking that we have to wait until we’re confident to live our lives the way we want. But actually it’s the other way round.
You have to start living your life first and then the confidence will follow.
One of the biggest reasons to open up is that it helps you realise that you aren’t alone.
So often we live our lives as if we are the only one who has faced a difficulty, felt lonely, been rejected, felt lost or was unhappy with the way they looked. We end up holding it in because we think we’re alone or perhaps we don’t want to burden others with our troubles.
I’ve taught myself to open up more. It was a mix of practice, knowing who to trust and letting go of fear.
And so when I encourage you to do the same, it’s not because I find it easy. It’s because I’ve done it and it worked wonders.
Language is pretty important. What we say and the words we choose to use can be impacted by how we choose the world or even change how we see the world.
An example of this that I practice is not referring to things as bad or negative. Instead I’ll use words like unexpected, interesting, challenging, growth points and so on.
Something unexpected is just something you didn’t plan for, something interesting is something that has caught your attention, something challenging is something that can be overcome and a growth point is something you learn from.
Choosing to see things that way in my experience is much more beneficial.
Let’s say you apply for a job and don’t get it. In my experience viewing the unideal outcome as bad just gives the inner monologue a chance to run wild and after a few minutes you’ll find yourself thinking that you’re world is over.
But on the other hand if you view the rejection as a growth point you might realise that you didn’t really want the job, you could have filled out your application better or perhaps you just learn the lesson that not everything you want was meant to be.
The creator of the habit loop determined that in order to change a habit you needed to change your routine. For example, drinking a glass of water when you crave a cigarette.
For the past 7 days I’ve been working to undo a habit. I didn’t consciously replace it with anything but I suppose I could say I’ve been writing instead.
By the time I got to the 7th day I found I had little interest in carrying out the habit I’d been trying to undo.
It served as a reminder that sometimes we get so caught up in doing things that we believe we’re stuck or that it will be a hard habit to break.
Granted this doesn’t apply to everything but I think it’s fair to say that not all habits are difficult to break.
You’ve probably had the experience of feeling totally fine but as soon as you see or hear about what other people are doing (or have done) suddenly you feel a sense of lack.
It’s like if you spend your Friday night at home watching a movie and painting your nails but the next week everyone is talking about this amazing party they went to saying things like ‘it was so good’ or ‘you should have been there’ you might end up believing it.
That’s an example of the mind almost playing tricks because at the same time we’ve all been somewhere and known that we’d have been just as content (and in some cases happier) staying at home.
I guess sometimes it feels good to do what everyone else is doing, it brings of sense of belonging and as humans that is something we all seek.
But it’s so important to consider how you enjoy spending your time.
If planting flowers, cooking and writing poetry is time well spent for you, it shouldn’t matter what other people are doing.
The last thing you want is to find yourself belonging in a space where you aren’t even being yourself or doing things enjoy simply to avoid ‘missing out‘.