Lessons in solitude

In the company of one as in you, yourself and um you, there are many valuable lessons to learn.

A significant one being Who am I?

It’s much easier to gain an understanding of yourself when you’re not having to consider others. I think that the aspects of you in solitude should be the aspects of you that show up when you’re in the company of others.

Things like being able to say what you want, contribute opinions, take the lead and just be you.

For example, when you’re doing things alone you have to make decisions, you can’t rely on others to choose for you.

But for some despite how they are when they’re alone, in the company of others they end up being ‘them but less’, perhaps a little passive or even submissive.

You do it because you want to play the peacemaker or not rock the boat, you don’t think you deserve to be heard or perhaps you’re just scared.

Hiding/playing small is difficult to overcome once it’s ingrained in you as a habitual response.

But change is possible, it just takes practice.

Politics, voting and uncomfortable conversations

If you live outside of the UK and keep up with global politics then you’ll know that on the 12th December there is a UK general election.

Although there are various parties running, it’s really just a choice between Labour and Conservatives.

From the perspective of someone who isn’t particularly political, Labour is for ‘the people’ and Conservatives are for ‘the man’.

But I also think it’s worth reading about the plans of both parties and making an independent judgement.

Don’t just follow the crowd, your family or what you see on social media. Get informed and vote based on your own opinion.

I think it’s better to vote based on what you believe instead of just copying what’s popular because you’re scared to stand out.

It might make for an uncomfortable conversation but at least you stood up for your beliefs.

Things worth passing on

Like books, podcasts, talks etc

If someone asks for a recommendation when your interests aren’t mainstream, it’s easy to hold back. It’s easy to be reluctant to share that local band who are heavily influenced by 80s synth pop.

You might skip over that book you read a while back by a neurologist purely out of curiosity.

That podcast with a spiritual/holistic focus won’t even get a mention.

But I think those things are worth passing on. If you were lucky enough to find something you enjoy that people you’re around might not be aware of, why not tell them about it?

It’s easy to be put off by the thought of blank or uninterested faces.

But at least you were willing to share something about yourself.

Plus, you might even find someone else who is interested in the same things as you.

Scary but worth it

Don’t apply this to horror movies.

It can be difficult to get past the thing that scares you. The longer you put it off the more your reasons not to do it grow.

You come up with excuses like:

I won’t be good at it.

People will laugh.

Someone else would be better suited.

I’ll do it next time.

I didn’t have enough time.

And sometimes those excuses are totally valid but sometimes they’re just easy ways for you to hide away and tell yourself that it’s not possible for you.

If you think you won’t be good at it that’s normal when you’re doing something new and ‘anything worth doing is worth doing poorly until you can learn to do it well’ so give yourself time.

If you think people will laugh, let them laugh. The only reason it doesn’t feel good is because you’re paying attention to it, so stop.

If you think someone else would be better, ask yourself why. It’s easy to believe that others are more talented or more capable than you are when the truth could be that you’re just more consumed by fear.

Don’t be so reliant on next time as that time might never come. Plus to quote a song from Cheetah Girls 2 ‘why wait, now is the right time’.

Lastly, not to make you wanna through up by being cliche but we all have 24 hours in a day. Granted you might have kids, a full-time job, be in education and also be a carer to a family member so things might seem impossible but life is as life does.

You have to make the best of your circumstances and find a way to make them work for you.

If not let the dream go.

And so there’s no denying that overcoming your fears can be scary but it’s also worth it.

If that’s not a reason to try, I don’t know what is.

 

Criticism and feedback

Which one is worth more?

Often feedback is something you ask for whereas criticism is something you get given.

And so there is the idea that criticism is always negative and feedback is useful which in some ways I think is true.

I think that both are worth something if they’re specific and can be used to make improvements but the circumstance should also be considered.

Letting a restaurant know the food arrived cold is worth more than telling an author that their book was bad because you didn’t enjoy it. Nobody enjoys cold food that’s supposed to be hot but there will always be people that like stories about aliens.

And so it’s not a conversation about criticism and feedback but instead objectivity and subjectivity.

If you haven’t got anything ‘good’ to say…

…say something better tomorrow.

Not everything you say will be good, perfect or profound. But that doesn’t mean you should say nothing.

So often we bite our tongue because we don’t don’t think that what we have to say is enough of whatever we think it needs to be. Next time you’re about to keep quiet, I dare you to say something.

Your voice is important. 

How will you ever get better if you’re too afraid to use it?

Where perspective comes from

There’s that story about a bunch of people blindfolded touching different parts of an elephant and describing what it’s like.

Each description is different yet all are valid. But to the man without a blindfold who can see the animal the others may all be wrong or only partially right. They’re each doing their best to offer a perspective based on the information that’s been given.

In Neuro Linguistic Programming there’s a presupposition that says:

Everyone is doing the best they can with the resources they have available 

And so if we accept this presupposition perhaps we can be a little more understanding of where people are coming from.