Other peoples opinions

Sometimes we stop ourselves from doing the things that we want to do because we put others above ourselves.

We choose to consider how our actions might make someone else feel, as if that is our responsibility. It often results in not doing the things that we want to do.

In the moment, it might feel like the right choice but in the long run it often leads to regret or resentment.

It could be staying in a ‘good job’ when you actually want to pursue something that is held in a much lower regard by the people you know, maybe it pays less too. You’re worried that people will tell you you’re making a mistake, of the looks you’ll get at the family dinner when they ask how work is going, you want to please your parents and you don’t want other people to think that you’ve regressed.

So, you stick with your current job that you’re no longer interested in.

Overtime you grown to resent those people around you because even though they’re happy with where you’re at in life, you’re miserable. It feels like it’s their fault. But, deep down you know that your misery comes from you caring about other peoples opinions more than you care about making yourself happy.

The lesson here is to learn to put yourself first. How you feel about your life and the choices you make matters so much more than what other people think.

Knowing when to pivot

There is a popular saying goes something like ‘insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results’.

But what’s worth understanding is that sometimes you need to do the same thing over and over again.

Take meditation for example, it’s very rare that you get it the first time. It could take ten times, that doesnt mean you should stop.

Or, maybe you’re an artist taking your work to galleries, or a writer pitching to publications. Just because things don’t work out the first or 15th time, doesn’t mean you should stop. But, of course if you’re doing something that costs money don’t go broke trying to make things work.

I think it’s good to have the determination to keep going even when things aren’t working out.

But it’s also important to know when to pivot. The end goal doesn’t need to change but maybe your approach should.

Big problems and small solutions

Sometimes we assume that the solution to a problem has to be complicated. We overlook the little things forgetting how big an impact can be caused by something small.

And so we go in search of something complicated but to no avail. Then the problem continues and maybe even grows which causes us to become more frustrated.

Until finally we decide to start small, to have a conversation, to go to bed a little earlier or to drink more water.

In time the problem will begin to dissolve until suddenly it’s gone. However, it’s important to remember that these small solutions aren’t quick fixes. It could take weeks of conversations to fix a big problem.

Expectations of others

I think that quite often we expect that those with more money, more opportunities and more freedom then we have should be doing more simply because they have more. I think that’s fine up to a point but it’s also important to consider that each individual has their own desires.

You could have access to a lot of money and a lot of opportunites but maybe you’ve chosen to live a fairly quiet and (what would be considered) a simple life. Perhaps you’re not career focused even though if you were you’d have it easy.

People look down on that because there’s an assumption that if you can do something then you should, almost to compensate for those that can’t. I think it’s so important to not place these expectations on others because we all have our own life paths. Of course some people have it easier than you do but they don’t owe you anything.

I think we should let go of expectations and focus more on ourselves instead. It might be frustrating to see someone with more opportunities than you that doesn’t take advantage of them but maybe that person just isn’t interested. It’s not your responsibility to berate them, get frustrated or tell them that they should be doing more with their lives.

Instead, respect the choices they’ve made.

When you don’t feel good

When you don’t feel good it’s easy to avoid doing the things that require effort, even when you know they are likely to make you feel better. And so you you choose to sit and do nothing.

Perhaps you wallow in self pity over how terrible you feel.

I think it can be helpful to honour this feeling for a short while. It’s perfectly okay not to feel good and not feel like taking action.

However, if you indulge for too long it could become a problem and at the end of the day when you’ve gotten nothing done you’ll only feel worse.

So, sometimes if you don’t feel like it, get up and do something anyway. It doesn’t have to be  anything particularly challenging, it could be as simple as going for a walk.

And maybe once you’ve done that, you’ll feel like doing something else.

Pandemic residue

What will be left when it’s all over.

A few months ago I ventured out of my house and out of my local area. Everything felt normal until I found myself veering to the edge of the pavement as I saw 2 old ladies sat on a bench in front of me. On another occasion, as I waited for the bus I put on my mask in preparation.

Right now the pandemic isn’t over but ‘normal life’ has started up again (even if there are still 101 restrictions in place). Most of us are leaving our houses much more than we were 7 months ago.

But once the pandemic is declared over, social distancing and wearing masks will stay with us even without the rules in place, even if just for a little while.

Breaks and streaks

Taking breaks will always be necessary. However, when you commit to doing something every single day, suddenly taking a break becomes a little more difficult.

As much as you can try and make up for it the day before or the day after, it’s not quite the same as maintaining consistency.

Once you’ve stuck with something as a daily habit for a couple of months or even a few weeks, the thought of missing a day and losing that streak isn’t particularly tempting.

And so it becomes easier to not take breaks.

But as great as it is to be consistent and build daily habits, you never want to apply so much pressure that you won’t let yourself take a break even when you feel like you need it.

Feedback and praise

I think most people like receiving praise. Not necessarily in front of a large crowd with the spotlight shining down but to simply be told you did something well is more than enough.

Many people go around thinking they’re subpar and for them praise serves as a reminder that they’re doing okay. It can be difficult to tell yourself that you did a good job, perhaps it feels big headed or self indulgent.

Feedback on the other hand can be difficult to take from others but easy to give to yourself.

It feels good to be told that you did something well but it isn’t always easy to hear what you need to work on from other people.

Afterall, how could this person know what you’ve been through and have they considered that you’re doing your best.

This observation of how we take in praise and feedback is simply a reminder not to cling too much to opinions and perceptions, not even even your own.