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.
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.
The past few months have been something none of us could have ever anticipated. It’s been challenging, sad, stressful and at times overwhelming.
Times like this are perfect for reflection because we’ve all been reminded how short life is and how tomorrow isn’t promised.
Our day to day have all changed in some way. We’ve had to do without things we didn’t even know we relied on and instead had to stay indoors.
I’ve written a few questions below for you to think about. They’re things I’ve been reflecting on as the lockdown rules start to ease up here in England.
What has brought you joy?
How have you been spending your free time?
What do you miss?
What have you been happy without?
What will you change moving forward?
Perhaps when you were young, someone taught you that when you feel overwhelmed, step away and give yourself a moment.
Maybe you grew up practising that and maybe you didn’t. If you didn’t you might find that as an adult when you feel overwhelmed you don’t quite know how to handle it.
The feeling might end up growing and growing to the point where it’s now unbearable. Then all of a sudden you remember that in the past it helped to give yourself a moment.
Even though you know it could help, you don’t do it straight away because you’re almost skeptical. It might not work, you might end up feeling exactly the same.
But then you do it, you step away, get some fresh air and take a few deep breaths.
You feel calmer afterwards.
In that moment you remember that (even though you forget time and time again), you’re capable of supporting yourself in difficult or uncomfortable situations.
Sometimes it might seem like you’re missing out. But the power of hindsight is that when you push too hard for a particular outcome you’ll find that you’ll be glad you missed out.
Turns out some things aren’t meant to be even if you don’t realise in the moment.
We often get caught up in ‘fomo’ feeling like we have to join in with everything.
But sometimes a useful thing to do is force yourself to miss out as a reminder that it’s not as big of deal as you think.
And if you did miss something, well there’s always next time.
Sometimes we get the courage to do things that we’re afraid to do.
But when they don’t turn out as planned we often come down hard on ourselves forgetting the courage that it took to try.
And then we feel as though we shouldn’t have bothered.
But what we have to remember is that we have no control over how a situation will turn out. We just have to have the courage to give it a go because as cheesy as it sounds you never know unless you actually try.
If things go as planned great but if they don’t it’s not a total loss. Ask yourself ‘What did this outcome teach me, what have I learned?’
It’s easy to be kind if you’re willing to care.
Small acts of kindness can allow you to escape your own mind long enough to remember that we’ve all got stuff going on.
I’ve had days where the kindness of strangers has been enough to totally transform my day.
It’s pretty amazing when you think about it. It can be something as simple as saying ‘Good morning’ or holding the door open for the person behind you.
It feels good when someone does it for you so don’t forget to do it for someone else.
There’s space between all or nothing but sometimes we forget.
Which is how something like failing can feel like the end of the world.
I think the all or nothing mentality is what causes anxiety in some people.
It’s an over simplification of reality that holds little benefit.