You spend a large amount of your formative years trying to figure yourself out. You’re favourite colour, what you like to eat and the kinds of movies you like to watch.
But it goes much deeper than that. Perhaps it’s what political party you want to support, your career path, whether you want to get married or have kids, who your friends are, your opinion on world issues and the sort of place you want to live.
However, sometimes these things change. Perhaps you wanted to be an Accountant at 19 but years later you now want to be a Visual Merchandiser.
Changing your path might feel difficult because it goes against the person you thought you were, the character of you that you created.
Suddenly other aspects of yourself may no longer seem to fit because one part of you has changed.
This is the point where many choose not to change.
I’ve wanted to be an accountant for long so I may as well stick with it.
It’s going to be so hard to become a Visual Merchandiser so I may as well stick with a more stable option.
The thing is though you’re allowed to change, not only from childhood to adulthood but day to day.
As you gain new experiences, your perspectives will change. Don’t reject your development and hold yourself back.
In challenging times it can be difficult to look to the future and think about all the possibilities. Your mind will be going round in circles and you’ll be asking yourself questions like:
How can I get there when there is all this stuff going on right now?
When you’re caught up in a challenging situation it can be hard to see past it, especially when you have no idea how you’ll overcome it.
But, if you start with believing you can figure things out and then try and work towards a solution, you might find that you’re more capable than you thought.
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.
If you ever find yourself wanting to be productive but struggling to get things done, here’s a simple solution.
Get the materials you need, go somewhere where you won’t be disturbed, start and don’t stop until the task is complete.
Being productive isn’t as complicated as we often make it.
Of course if you’re sitting with your fave show on and your phone at your side the task you’re working in will take much longer than it needs to. You have to allow your mind to focus.
Once you take away the distractions, you might start off slow but you’ll build up momentum and find yourself working much more efficiently.
When someone comes to you, asking some thing of you, how do you respond?
Do you simply think about whether or not you want to do it?
Do you worry about how the other person will react if you say no?
So often we grow up inadvertently being taught to people please and unless we later unlearn it, it stays with us.
Then you find yourself saying yes to something you don’t want to do because you’re worried about hurting someones feelings, to the point where you place that above doing what feels right for you.
If that’s something you can relate to, you might want to start learning to say no.
It gets easier over time, practice makes perfect after all.
This time inside is no doubt forcing you to step away from somethings you’d rather run towards.
But there’s probably a few things you have space from right now that you don’t want back in your life.
It could be a job, people you spend time with or the places you used to go.
Being forced to stay inside gives your mind the space it so often needs to really think about what it wants, what you want. You’re no longer in this routine of always going from one place to the next, rarely alone, rarely getting the chance for silence or a moment to think how you feel about the way you’re living your life.
But now you have that chance, what are you thinking about, what is on your mind?
Are you craving a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon at your favourite bar with a lover or friend?
Are you secretly hoping that you never have to go to go back to your current job?
Are you realising that you don’t miss the people you’d normally spend the most time with (outside of work)?
Once you’ve given that some thought, what will you do about it now and once lockdown is over?
This is the way of the optimist.
It’s also worth remembering that even if things don’t turn out in the way that you consider to be ‘the best’, it doesn’t mean all hope is lost.
That way no matter what life throws at you, you’ll be able to roll with it with a little less resistance or resentment.
However, all of this means nothing unless you put it into practice.
The next time thing don’t turn out as you planned pay attention to your thoughts. Is your inner monologue deflated, is it going 101mph complaining about how life is unfair and nothing goes your way or is their acceptance of your current situation and thoughts on how to move forward?