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.
If you go through a period of stress or anxiety, something that can work wonders is taking a break.
It might seem counter productive and you might feel like the better thing to do is pull yourself deeper into what ever has gotten you off balance.
But further exposing yourself to thing that isn’t making you feel good is probably not going to make you feel any better.
What you might need is to take a break.
In this day and age, in our go, go, go society it can be challenging to really take a break from your day to day life.
And so I think it’s important to figure out what helps you rest, reset and refresh your mind.
It could be a walk in nature where you’re away from buildings and cars but surrounded by greenery and wild flowers.
It could be a massage, something that forces you have to stay still and you have to put your phone away.
And once you’re done you’ll know that it worked when you can go back to thing that had you feeling stressed but you now feel calm and at peace.
Privilege is a complex thing.
I think the reason that so many people have a hard time accepting their privilege is because they feel like it negates their hard work. They’re not comfortable with the realisation that if it wasn’t for certain things about them, they would have experienced life very differently. More often than not having more hurdles to overcome.
Privilege comes in many forms: financial, gender, race, sexuality and religion for a start but there is so much more.
And so if you come under the categories of Middle class, Male, White, Straight and Christian their is evidence to show that you face less barriers. Furthermore, the categories you fit into don’t disadvantage you, for the most part.
It can be challenging for people that feel like they have worked hard to be told that they’re privileged. They’re often the ones that believe in meritocracy and feel like anyone who can’t achieve the same as them must not be working hard enough.
Ironically, it’s often that everyone else has had to work harder.
I think the easiest way to understand this whole thing of privilege is to meet more people that are not like you. That way you actually get to see the what it’s like for other people.
Whether that is not continuing education because they can’t afford it, worrying that their natural hair will be a barrier to employment or even constantly having negative assumptions thrown at them because of your religions beliefs.
The point of all this is not for you to feel bad, the point is to gain understanding and awareness.
Your privilege doesn’t negate your hard work but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
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.
That’s a phrase often used when you’re in a defeated mindset. It is often followed by something that we don’t think is possible.
e.g. In an ideal world we would be able to overcome these injustices.
If in an ideal world us as society, as humanity would be able to overcome the injustices then why can’t it happen.
It’ll take much more than a day or 2 but if you cared enough to think it or to say it, then maybe it’s worth trying.
We as people make the world what it is collectivley, it’s not so seperate from us that we have no impact.
As The Drifters song goes ‘you just have to wish to make it so’. It takes much more than a wish alone but it doesn’t mean that, that’s not where change can begin.
In challenging times it can be difficult to look to the future and think about all the possibilities. Your mind will be going round in circles and you’ll be asking yourself questions like:
How can I get there when there is all this stuff going on right now?
When you’re caught up in a challenging situation it can be hard to see past it, especially when you have no idea how you’ll overcome it.
But, if you start with believing you can figure things out and then try and work towards a solution, you might find that you’re more capable than you thought.
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).
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.
The plans you made a year ago, 6 months ago or even a few weeks ago may now be obsolete. You can time planning far in advance but when it comes to putting those plans into action, you never really know how things will go until you see the results.
Sometimes the results are as expected or better and other times the results are a learning curve, a growth point an opportunity to go back to the drawing board.
It can be disappointing when things don’t turn out as well as you’d hoped, you might feel like the time and effort you put in was wasted. In times like this it’s so important to not to dwell on what went wrong but instead to think about how you can move forward.
How can you improve?
How can you do things better?
What can you do differently?
Of course, going back to the drawing board is never part of the plan but if you use it as an opportunity to grow, experiment and explore, suddenly it might not seem so bad.
I recently had a conversation where I was explaining my neutral feelings towards a topic. As the words poured out I thought I was almost on a bit of a high horse.
But as the conversation went on I realised that my neutral feelings were just a defense mechanism or a coping strategy. Turns out the topic did bother me after all.
However, instead of working to overcome my feelings I’d masked them in neutrality. I think sometimes it helps to be neutral instead of negative but you can take it one step further and have more positive or uplifting feelings.
It really surprised me to find out that I’m not quite there yet but now that I’ve realised, I think it’s something I want to work on.