Worth sticking up for

How many times have you held your tongue or put the needs of others before your own? Often the idea of being selfless is something that is praised but the reality is that it’s often just self-sacrifice.

When the person that puts others first is around people that put themselves first, they end up losing. The unfortunate truth is people won’t always be considerate of you so you have to be considerate of yourself.

Not sticking up for yourself can be a combination of people pleasing, avoiding conflict and a lack of self-worth. It often shows up in the smallest of ways.

It might seem like it’s not a big deal and it isn’t if it happens every now and then. However, if you spend your whole life not sticking up for your wants and needs then you’ll end up living a life that caters to other people.

Start slow, take it easy and remember that sticking up for yourself will always be worth it even if it feels difficult in the moment.

Creating a container for change

I first heard about this idea from Maryam Hasnaa in a class she taught.

When a person dedicates themselves to a particular path, it more often than not requires significant change.

An example of this could be taking space from friends that like to have nights out often. You need space from this because in that environment you’re likely to drink which leaves you feeling unwell the next day and the time it takes to recover feels like a waste. You also might decide that you want to maintain a regular sleep pattern and night routine which you’re unlikely to be committed to when you get home at 2am. Lastly, when your path becomes clear you realise that the pub, bar or club where it’s noisy, crowded and you’re probably spending a lot of money isn’t an environment that supports you.

And so even though no longer engaging in nights out may show up as you taking space from certain people, it’s not so much about the people at all, it’s about you and what you need.

Another example is leaving your job. Let’s say you work a very full on and at times stressful job that requires a lot from you. When you’re committed to something, in order to focus on that, you don’t want unnecessary stress getting in the way. Perhaps at one point the stress was worth it for the money but now you’d rather earn less in a calmer environment. If your finances allow it, you might even take a break from working for a little while.

Both of these examples could be permanent or temporary changes. The point is that when you’re clear about your path shifting your life is mandatory.

I think if we could, we would turn inwards and away from certain responsibilities and obligations. But since that’s not possible we have to create a container where we can focus and commit whilst still engaging in certain aspects of life. And that container becomes sort of sacred which is why we can’t allow everything in our lives to remain.

And if you don’t know where to begin, ask yourself what you would and wouldn’t keep in your life if you could start over whilst still being able to maintain your basic needs (food, shelter etc).

What do you do when you feel overwhelmed?

What do you do when you feel overwhelmed?

But more specifically, what do you do to support yourself when you feel overwhelmed?

The answers might be exactly the same or perhaps you can’t find an answer to the second question.

Maybe when you’re overwhelmed you go into an unconscious downward spiral. You might not know it yet but maybe taking deep breaths, doing EFT or going for a walk are things you can do to support yourself.

Those are some things that I find useful.

If you don’t know what works for you, it might be worth taking the time to figure it out.

The manager you need

When it comes to mentors, managers and the people that help support us throughout our careers, we often don’t know what we need.

If you’re like me, the kind of person that needs a push, you’re progress will be hindered by someone that mollycoddles you. Perhaps you need someone that is kind yet stern who will support you but won’t allow you to hide.

Given the choice you would perhaps run from someone that you felt was stern and run towards someone who you felt was ‘nice’ and ‘kind’. Of course those 2 qualities are great but you might need a little more than that.

When it comes to your career, you’ll always have to push yourself to achieve what you want. However, the case may be that the best person to support to along that journey is the person you least expected.

Everyone’s a critic

But not everyone is doing the work and not everyone understands.

You’ll often find that the ones that are talking the most are those that do that least.

When it comes to criticism, it is so important not to take on the thoughts and opinions of the wrong people. When you’re working on something and it isn’t going well it can result in your sense of self and confidence being reduced. When this happens you’re likely to find yourself more susceptible to take on the criticism of others.

Criticism can be useful, in fact incredibly helpful when it’s from the right people. However, when it’s from the wrong people, it can be dangerous. Suddenly you’re taking on thoughts from a stranger who has no real idea about the work you do and what it takes to overcome the challenges you’re facing.

How to be a better listener

Don’t offer advice
Don’t offer advice until the person asks for it. People often make the assumption that when someone is talking about an issue they want to be told what to do. However, many times a person just wants to express themselves and feel heard.

Show that your engaged verbally
Muttering a generic hmmm, every now and then is sometimes what is done to portray a false sense of engagement but often the case is you’re probably just not interested. The ‘hmmm’ can also be a sign that you want to let them know you’re listening. You can also use short phrases like ‘I can’t imagine what that’s been like’ or ‘that must be difficult’ to show you’re engaged or you could ask questions.

Show that you’re engaged physically
Looking at your phone, being turned away from the person and not making eye contact can show a lack of interest. Don’t be distracted, have your body facing them and make eye contact.

Lastly, two things to remember, if you don’t want to listen then just say so instead of doing it half heartedly. Secondly, you can’t expect someone will want to come and talk to you if you don’t show that you’re interested in what they have to say.

Bored of anxieties

It’s been said that reassurance is something that we can’t get enough of. It’s strange to think about how we seek reassurance to keep our fears at bay but each time we get it we crave more and more often finding ourselves feeling stuck without it.

When you sit and watch a persons anxieties and fears play out in front of you, your immediate response is probably to console them with reassurance. You’ll find yourself saying things like ‘It’ll be alright’, it’s not necessarily because you believe it but instead because you don’t want them to feel low.

But reassurance is never enough so when the person continues on you might find yourself bored of the anxieties. It’s not that you don’t care but instead that you’ve accepted no amount of reassurance will change this persons mind so there’s no point in trying.

The lesson in all this is that sometimes people just want to vent, be heard and feel supported. Often that will work better to ease the anxieties rather than trying to use reassurance to make it go away.

Let them get it wrong

When teaching someone how to do something, you have to let them get it wrong.

It may be easier to jump in just before the mistake, error or failure occurs and rectify things. But this brings little benefit in the long run.

In the short run, the person may feel supported which is a good thing. But too much support leads a lack of independence and self-reliance. Instead they become reliant on you being there.

It teaches the person that they don’t have to work things out for themselves because someone will come along to make things right. It may also lead to this person not trying because you’ve showed them that you won’t allow them to fail.

The reason you step in before things go wrong is because you want them to get it right. However, you have to give people space to learn things for themselves and that includes getting things wrong.

The people and the work

The idea that what you are doing might not be good enough can be difficult to accept. Especially when that might be the reason why people aren’t supporting your work.

It’s much easier to hide behind the excuse that people just aren’t supporting you because you’re not popular but if it was *insert name of celebrity*, they’d be all over it.

That could be true for some situations but it isn’t always the case.

On the flipside, instead of playing the blame game you could accept that maybe your work needs work.

Instead of feeling frustrated that you aren’t getting enough support take some time out hone your craft, learn something new and improve. Then put your work out again.

If it’s better received great but if not then maybe you need to change the people you’re sharing it with.

Maybe they don’t trust you yet

When you’re putting out work out there having people support you enough to promote your work takes trust.

Trust is something that is earned, yet many people expect it simply because they’re putting in time and effort.

However, earning someone’s trust isn’t just about what you do, it’s about how a person feels about what you do.

You can end up sacrificing the work you want to create by trying to appease people in the hopes of gaining their trust. But I think it’s actually really important to start by trusting yourself and the work you’re putting out.

Something as simple as taking a step back and asking yourself questions like ‘Would I share this online if I saw it?’ or ‘Is this something I would talk about?’ can be incredibly useful.

If you can honestly answer yes to both of those questions then maybe the reason people aren’t sharing or talking about your work is because they don’t trust you yet.

Keep working and give it time.