Temporary things

The idea of things not lasting, of things being temporary is often seen as a bad thing.

It’s seen as a failure.

We get caught up in this idea that if something is good it should last and if it doesn’t last then something was wrong.

I think the problem is that we find it hard to let go of a good thing, perhaps because we don’t believe their is more good things out there for us.

This idea of temporary things can be applied to many situations but lets take the example of friendship.

If you grow apart from someone who was once a close friend you can accept the situation or you can try to get back to the way things were. We idolise the past and try to force things to become what they once were.

I guess it’s difficult to accept that not everything was meant to last.

But in learning to accept temporary things you also open yourself up to some of life’s most beautiful moments.

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.

Disappointment and desires

Expectations can be an interesting thing. They often span from our desires and wants or even our imagination.

But they will also leave you disappointed.

As much as it can be good to hold people to a standard, it’s also important to ensure that you aren’t creating this whole other person in your mind of who they should be.

For example, you might expect someone to make time for you because this is someone you enjoy hanging out with. But then you end up disappointed when they aren’t as keen to do what you want.

In a situation like that you need to assess where your expectations are coming from because you might find that what you’re expecting doesn’t even align with what this person was ever willing to offer.

You got so carried away with our own wants and desires that you were no longer willing to see things as they are.

A convincing sales person

Anyone can make a living selling things if they’re good enough at driving sales.

It’s not about being an ‘influencer’, having the most followers or being the loudest.

Sometimes it’s about having something that people want and presenting it to them in a way where they value it enough to buy it.

Yet we somehow find a way to over complicate things. Perhaps by convincing ourselves that we’re not ready.

But if you have something you believe is worth selling, you don’t need to wait for a big audience to do it.

Start small, work your way up and focus on being good at what you do instead of on being popular.

When it’s no longer trendy

For some people they choose to follow trends not because it’s something they care about but because it’s what everbody else is doing.

And once the trend dies down and is no longer as popular they stop following it too. They only joined in because they wanted to be a part of something.

Then you get other people who don’t follow trends at their height. They wait for things to slow down and then determine whether or not it’s something they’re even interested in.

Sometimes it turns out they don’t really have an interest in the trend so they don’t participate. But other times they find themselves enthusiastic even when things have died down and thats when they choose to join in.

I suppose it’s just about discernment really but that is something that takes practice.

Perhaps one day you won’t have to wait until it’s no longer trendy to figure out if you’re really interested.

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.

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.

Wanting the credit

If you were someone who led or pioneered in a particular sector or topic, how would you feel if you weren’t recognised for it.

Is getting credit more important than the work being noticed or the voices being heard?

For a lot of people they may tirelessly work towards a cause and receive little attention for it but they keep at it because they care. They keep on because it’s something that matters.

Then sometimes that thing becomes popular, the sector grows and may even reach a point of saturation. People in other areas get involved and if they’re already more established or more well known than you, they’ll receive more attention.

They may be praised as heroic for their contribution to those who have only just started to pay attention. But if you’re the one that was in it from the start, that can be a difficult thing to handle.

You might have to admit to yourself that you wanted the credit just as much as you wanted the change.

Once you do that, find a conclusion, something to bring you solace. Perhaps that it is more important to work on something you care about and be truly committed than it is to simply show up when it’s the cool thing to do.

Establishing an intention

A useful exercise.

Something I would consider worth doing is establishing an intention behind your actions. There are many things that we do in our day to day life without putting much thought into it and so when others perceive your actions in a certain way, you may find yourself wanting to change your intention in order to receive the desired response.

I think establishing intention is helpful because it’s a guide to remind you why you started in the first place.

I think for a lot of people, it’s easy to get caught up in focusing on how you are perceived. By establishing an intention, what you’re actually doing is giving yourself a baseline to come back to, or a north star to guide you, something that comes from yourself instead of other people.

The last thing you want to end up doing is putting too much emphasis on what other people think and then being swayed every which way because you’re so focused on trying to please people.

I think that there are two things that often happen, the first is that you are perceived in a way that is different to what you intended. The second is thing is that you find yourself changing to fit a particular perception that is does not align with your original intentions.

This is because when we don’t hold a clear vision for what we want we’re more likely to give into the short-term attention gained from aligning with a trend or popular perception rather than building a solid foundation.

Sometimes we need a reminder to focus more on ourselves instead of the world around us.