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.
Some people will never truly hear you when you speak no matter how hard you try.
In those circumstances the solution is never to try harder.
You might think that the harder you try they’ll eventually come around and hear you out. But the thing is some people aren’t interested in being wrong.
Some people aren’t interested in hearing a perspective that contradicts their own.
And even if they realise that they were wrong and the information you shared had changed their mind, they’re more likely to dismiss that.
When a person is more interested in being right than being open to new information, it might be a waste of time trying to get them to listen.
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.
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‘.
The easiest perspective to understand a situation from is your own. If you look back on past experiences you can get a good idea of why you respond the way you do, what gets you enraged and perhaps what helps you stay calm.
But a helpful perspective to try and understand is the perspective of others. For example, when you and Person A have a disagreement if you’re only willing to see things from your point of view you won’t get a full picture of the situation.
As much as you have past experiences that effect the way you are, challenges and even things stressing you out, you’re not alone in that. And so if you remember that Person A has all those same things too, it might make their perspective easier to understand.
Let’s say Person A lies to you. From your perspective you might be angry/hurt that they lied and wished that they could have been honest. But when you make the effort to understand things from Person As perspective you might realise that they have always been someone that struggles with opening up. Or you’ll remember that since you haven’t taken their honesty well in the past the lie probably wasn’t coming from a cruel or malicious place.
That doesn’t mean you need to excuse bad behaviour but it serves as a reminder that situations aren’t always as shallow as we like to pretend they are.
Understand others isn’t about psychoanalysing or thinking that you know everything about why a person is the way they are, it’s just about having compassion.
Even if we don’t say it, it’s what we’d like extended to us, so why not do the same for others.
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.
I think what many are craving is a sense of ‘normal’, the way things once were.
If you’re lucky, normal might have been just fine but it’s worth acknowledging that that’s not the case for everyone.
Of course the easy thing to do would be nothing and just let things go back to what they were, after all you don’t have any issues.
I think that’s the mindset that limits us and stops progress.
We’re so afraid that better for them means worse for us that we’re willing to let them suffer.
It might not be so explicit in your mind but if you take some time you might realise that’s the reason behind your mindset.