The unbecoming

We are often taught that we need to become something. We’re taught that we need to change. This often involves working harder and doing more.

We place labels on ourselves, feeling as though we need more and more. We cover ourselves in labels as though too much is not enough. But the true self is the gift beneath the surface, only revealed once all else is stripped away.

Instead of working hard to be and become something, why not spend time understanding who you already are.

Asking questions and eliminating uncertainty

I’ve often found that the feeling of anxiety grows and becomes more heightened when questions go unasked.

When we have uncertainty it creates a gap. And for those that are prone to anxiety that gap gets filled with pessimistic possibilities. Often once the feeling of anxiety has started to grow, asking questions feels too difficult or overwhelming. And so the anxiety grows further.

You can attempt to manage the unease until the situation occurs or you can push through the discomfort and ask the questions you have. A helpful reminder to go back to is that you don’t have to feel the way you feel and that you’re worth speaking up for.

From the outside it may seem strange that a person wouldn’t just ask a question if they knew it would ease their anxieties, yet from the inside it’s not so easy.

But anxiety doesn’t have to leave you paralysed. It’s possible and incredibly helpful in the long term to feel anxious and take action in spite of it.

Solving simple problems

I love the idea that simple things can be done to solve or reduce problems that significantly impact us.

Whilst on a walk, I pondered on a problem I knew how to solve but had avoided. Yet, I was aware that if I did nothing, I’d get the repercussions later and potentially feel frustrated at myself and the other people involved.

When the thing that is bothering us involves other people, it is often the part of us that wants to people please, keep the peace and manage other people’s feelings that stops us saying something. It’s to the point where we’d rather experience discomfort and allow something we aren’t okay with.

That’s not a healthy or helpful way to live.

On my walk, I thought about a way to overcome this issue

Firstly make a table. In the first column, write a list of problems, challenges or anything that is bothering you.

Next, write what’s stopping you solve things.

Then, for each problem write a solution, some way to fix or reduce the problem. If you find this difficult, imagine your most confident, self assured and empowered self. What would they do, how would they solve this problem?

The next step is to pick a problem and follow what you wrote on how solve it.

This is an important lesson in problem solving. Like the NLP presupposition goes ‘if something isn’t working, do something else’.

If you’ve taken a do nothing approach and find that the problem still persists, try something else.

I also think it’s incredibly helpful to come up with a solution from the perspective of your most confident, self assured and empowered self because it’s probably what you’re working to embody.

Once you start taking action, aside from the expected discomfort of doing something new, you’ll probably find that you’re seemingly burdensome problems were actually pretty simple to solve.

Why you might be overexplaining yourself and why you should stop?

When you overexplain, it’s you trying to accommodate other people by justifying yourself and your choices to them. It signals that you’re seeking some level of external approval or permission that you’re not able to give yourself.

You might be over-explaining because you have people pleaser tendencies and you’re worried that the other person might not like what you have to say. You hope that your over-explaining will be enough to nullify any potential negative reaction. And so, you over-explain.

Or perhaps you’re trying to avoid conflict. You think that by saying everything at once, every possible rebuttal to what you think they might say, that they’ll have to accept what you say and you can avoid any possible back and forth.

Whilst other people might not know the reason you’re doing it, they’ll probably be able to notice that you’re over-explaining.

I recently found myself needing to set a boundary. I spent ages planning out what I would say whilst also trying to control the outcome. It got to the point where what should have been a short clear statement was instead a lengthy monologue.

I noticed that I was making something simple become long-winded. But, my awareness of what I was doing made me realise that I could do something different.

And so, I asked myself what is the least that I can say to get the message across?

Sometimes instead of just speaking up for ourselves and what we do or don’t need, we focus too much on other people. We ask ourselves, how will they feel and how can I mitigate that? However, the problem with this is that you don’t learn to fully be yourself. Instead you learn to be a fragmented version of yourself that aims to please or appease and all your needs go unmet.

You can work to overcome this by focusing on keeping things simple. Ask yourself, ‘What is the least that I can say to get the message across?’ and just say that. Remember that a back and forth doesn’t mean conflict, it can simply be the other person trying to understand.

It might feel weird at first, it might not even go smoothly at first, perhaps you’ll even feel like you’re being inconsiderate. But when you value yourself you’ll realise that it’s worth it.

What is the most loving thing that you can do?

Imagine bearing the weight of all that is difficult and challenging in your life on your shoulders all at once. Then, imagine having to go out into the world with that load and pretend that everything is fine.

After a while the load becomes too much to bear and you reach a point where you need to step back, to withdraw and retreat.

That is the most loving thing that you can do for yourself.

When you don’t feel okay and you don’t feel well (as in your overall wellbeing is in poor condition), you need to take care of yourself.

Being in situations where you can’t fully honour and accept where you’re at only makes things worse.

When you’re burdened by challenges you need to replenish and care for yourself rather than constantly be in situations that require you to put on an act and pretend you’re okay.

That can be a a difficult lesson to learn when you struggle with being vulnerable or want to be seen as someone who always has it together.

Why I started writing daily todo lists?

As the years go by, I actively and consciously learn more and more about myself, specifically the way I work.

Years back I used to write monthly todo lists, I didn’t realise it at the time but I was mimicking things I’d seen other people do. Sort of like people that are organised and productive write todo lists so that’s what I’ll do too. I was doing the behaviour without any true intention so it didn’t really make me the organised and productive person I aspired to be.

I then discovered MuchelleB on YouTube who I’ve learnt a lot from. She inspired me to write structured weekly todo lists which I’ve been doing for a few years now.

But lately I’ve found myself needing something else.

And so I started writing daily todo lists.

I’ve been using post-its which are great because you can’t fit a lot on them.

I’ve been using them at specific points in my day where I find myself stuck for what to do or how how to spend my time in the most caring/helpful way. I’ll write 7-10 tasks and work through them for the rest of the day or even just a few hours.

I’ve found that when I’m more intentional about what I’m doing in smaller sections of time, it’s much  easier to be disciplined. In contrast, when I I’m working from a full week’s worth of tasks day to day, I end up just doing what I feel like doing rather than what needs to be done.

And the purpose of this post is to serve as a reminder for when things aren’t working well that you might just need to do something a little bit different.

Trying to make things happen

Have you ever found yourself putting time and effort into something whilst hoping for a very specific outcome? And then the more it seems like you won’t get what you want, the more you try to make things happen, the more things seem to not be working out.

I think most of us probably get some amount of enjoyment from working towards the things we care about. But if there appears to be no real progress, after a while it starts to feel un-fun.

This might feels like a reason to push and pull, to apply force and pressure to get a desired outcome. We do this because we think it’ll help. We think if we encourage a situation enough, that it’ll lead to us getting what we want.

We think we can lead a horse to water and make it drink.

But the outcome is often exactly what we don’t want.

We’re actually better off stripping things back and doing much less. And in doing so we can get closer to ourselves and actually check in with how we feel and consciously decide how best to proceed.

When something is not working, often the best thing is to simply fall back, do nothing and let things be.

Time to do nothing

I recently found myself with a problem.

My initial instinct was to solve it.

I found myself focusing my efforts and energy on figuring out the best solution but at the same time, I felt stuck.

Then suddenly, it occurred to me that I could just do nothing. This problem was the sort of thing that wouldn’t matter in the years to come, it also wasn’t urgent. Whether I took action right away or in a couple weeks would make no real difference.

So, I decided to do nothing which felt strange at first but it was also liberating.

What to do when you feel like you don’t have enough time?

I think this happens to us all from time to time.

Stress and anxiety can result in time ‘speeding up’. You spend so much time feeling overwhelmed that by the time you go to take action, it already feels like it’s too late. And so you go back to feeling overwhelmed again and the cycle repeats.

Slow down

When you feel like there isn’t enough time, your instincts probably tell you to speed up but it turns out that you’re better off doing the opposite. An easy way to slow yourself down is to meditate.

Taking just 10 minutes is incredibly impactful because it’ll help to reduce overwhelm. But also, 10 minutes of meditation feels a lot longer than 10 minutes of watching a tv show. It’s sort of like time slows down when you relax which might inspire you to embrace a more relaxed way of living.

Make note of how you feel

Perhaps you feel tired, stressed, jittery or tense. What can you do to help combat those things? Identifying how you feel not just emotionally but also physically can be great a great starting point to help shift the feelings.

Stretching or a quick workout could help calm the jitters. If you’re tired, maybe you need to rest. Once you tend to your needs you can get back to doing whatever needs to be done from a much more relaxed headspace.

Write down exactly what you need to do

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by big tasks and feel like ‘there’s so much to do i don’t have enough time, I don’t know where to start’. Writing things down helps ease the anxieties because once you know exactly what you need to do it makes it much easier to start getting things done. For people like me bigger tasks need to be broken down into smaller tasks.

An example of this is when I was recently tidying my bedroom, I wrote down each specific area I wanted to tidy. Doing this made me realise the overall task wouldn’t take as long as I thought and I actually had more than enough time to do it. However, because I’d given myself several smaller tasks it meant that I could have split them over 2 or 3 days if I genuinely didn’t have enough time to do it in one day.

How to avoid getting caught up in your feelings?

Around a month or so ago, an idea came to me that I found really useful.

The idea was that situations that emotionally charge us are a reminder to focus on ourselves. Instead of getting caught up in the moment, feeling bad or worrying, take some time to check in with yourself.

Perhaps you were involved in a situation that left you feeling upset. You could ‘go off’ at the other people involved, blame them or get annoyed at yourself.

You could also ask yourself ‘Why is this bothering me?’, ‘What can I do for myself to shift my mood?’ or ‘How can I take responsibility for the part I played in this?’.

Asking these questions assures you’re looking at the situation consciously, taking care of yourself and not focusing on other people.