Thursday, 30 April 2015

The grass is always greener... where you water it.

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘The grass is always greener on the other side.’

And of course, it’s natural to occasionally lust after a life that’s idealistic; to maybe dream of escaping elsewhere, delving into a different way of living. Maybe we’re busy envying the lives of others, our green eyed monster painting a picture of superiority that we’re dying to seize.

Whatever the case, this mindset will only ever hinder happiness. There’s a quote that says,

‘The grass is greener where you water it’

and to remember this, is to find contentment.

In a world rife with opportunity, it’s easy to feel trapped by the routines we’ve crafted for ourselves. When our own minds are minimizing our life experience that feeling is amplified further. Life can become a series of habits and plans, clocking in and clocking out, wondering where the time goes. Yet we know there’s exploring to be done, memories to make and lessons to be learnt. We know that we need to get back wholeheartedly into life again.

When we realise we’re stuck in an unfulfilled rut, it can feel like we’ve no control, spending most of our time wishing we were anywhere but right here, stagnant and frustrated. Thoughts can easily wander to the exciting experiences and adventures waiting to be embraced, but remaining just out of reach.

And that’s ok, it happens. 

But you’ve got to realise that you are not locked up in a cell, peering out at an unattainable ideal. The word ‘reality’ does not necessitate frustration or fear. The whole world is real and tangible, with unlimited green grass.

You can bring that world into your reach, but first consider these:

Yourself.

When life isn’t going as planned, sometimes a little voice starts telling you that it’ll unquestionably be better elsewhere; you’ll leave your problems at home, find that perfect place and happiness will inevitably ensue.

If you’re going to seek your ideal, ensure that you’re not just running away from having to cope. Remember that your guaranteed travel partner is always You. So if you’re not happy in your skin or your mind, even the lushest pastures will not bring you happiness. Create an internal satisfaction that is finally enough, that requires nothing more. Validate yourself, trust yourself, and learn to love yourself. 

Appreciation

How often do you stop and think of how lucky you actually are? The constant desire for more prevents us from being truly content with what we’ve already got. Be grateful for where you are in your life right now. Maybe there’s nothing actually wrong with your grass, you just weren’t looking at it with grateful eyes. 

Change

If you still feel like life isn’t where you want it, take control. This is your life. You alone have the power to make the grass as green as you would like. Take the time to dream a little, mull over what truly makes you excited and then make plans to go get it. Stop talking about it, stop complaining that you don’t have it and go get it. 

When we’re more content within ourselves, our goals and desires are clearer. They don’t have to be huge or extravagant, but they will enhance and nurture the meadows of our lives. 

Grab that watering can and nourish what you have within your grasps now.





Saturday, 25 April 2015

Pipe Up! - 10 Times to Use Your Voice

A while ago, I lost my voice to laryngitis and while I was laughing at my failed attempts to even utter a full sentence, I was obviously thrilled when it finally returned.


I have lost it multiple times before, but it was fear that snatched it away back then. Growing up, I was always the quiet one, but never because I had nothing to say. I would simply keep my mouth shut out of fear that I would say the wrong thing and come across as stupid or na├»ve.

The fear of feeling vulnerable or exposing something personal crept in frequently and kept my doors of expression firmly closed. Fear snickered at the thoughts I was on the verge of vocalizing and kept me silent.

Now, however, it’s difficult to shut me up.

Talking is a vital means for expressing, sharing and conversing. It’s at the heart of friendships and relationships. It puts words to the feelings in our cores and allows us to share what’s happening in our minds, inviting others in to our worlds. Ideas transform to spoken words to form speeches that can inspire and motivate countless people. Our voices allow us to agree, disagree, compliment and ask questions.

Your words can have amazing effects on others, even if it's only one person. A simple "hello" in passing can make someone’s day, or even just a "thank you" when you really mean it. Everyone has incredible individual ideas, thoughts and opinions, but until we designate some method of expression, they remain swimming in endless circles around in our heads, depriving everyone else of our unique perspective.

We need to start piping up and offering our two cents; we have no idea what effect it could potentially have.
Here are 10 times you need to use your voice:

When you love someone, tell him or her.

Shout it from the rooftops if you want, but just saying it every day will mean a huge amount. Whether it’s forever or just for awhile, if you love someone, he or she needs to know it and will likely never tire of hearing it. They’re three powerful words and they’re yours to give.

When you feel strongly about something.

Let your passion carve your sentences and spread the messages that are significant to you. You can make a difference and you can absolutely reach people. All it takes is one person to begin a train of thought and when it’s fueled by passion, that train will be hard to stop.

When something is bothering you, speak up.

There’s no need to suffer in silence; if anything is causing you to feel down, let someone know. You’re never alone and speaking up is the first step toward feeling better. Even if the problem is just that you disagree with how things are transpiring you’re entitled to suggest a different method.

When you feel like you can’t cope, don’t try to get through on your own.

Ask for help and advice and don’t stay stuck out of fear for what others may think. Everyone has his or her moments and it’s only human to need to reach out. Plus, a problem shared is a problem halved.

When you disagree with someone.

Don’t feel like you have to begrudgingly nod in agreement to everything in an attempt to keep the peace. Say what you think respectfully, but don’t deny yourself your right to expression. You may have an even better idea or something others hadn’t thought to suggest. Put value on your opinion.

When you’re not happy in a situation, say something.

Communication in all walks of life is crucial for identifying problems and venting issues. If you’re unhappy, you don’t have to stay unhappy out of fear that you'll hurt someone's feelings or make things worse. Honesty is the key to finding a solution. It’s not necessary to deprive yourself of happiness for the sake of another person's.

When you think someone has done something great, tell him or her.

How often do we quietly admire someone, but never say how we feel? It might feel weird or be something that’s often reserved for drunken admissions, but it’s so important to speak up and say "well done" when it feels warranted.

When you have a question, don’t leave it unasked.

It might be daunting, but not asking is equally as frustrating. We all feel like we should know or have all the answers but it's frequently the case that what one person asks is actually the question burning on everyone else’s minds.

When you have an answer, give it.

Life gives all of us different batches of experiences and we might not realize how much we have actually learned. Oftentimes, you might have many more answers than you realize, but you keep them in your head. Speak up and let others hear what you know.

When you have good news, share it.

The world has enough bad news; if you have something to say that could prompt a smile, say it. Don’t fall into the trap of negativity. Brighten someone else's day and your own when you're afforded the opportunity.
Your ideas are worth sharing, your words are worth hearing and your thoughts are worth vocalizing. Don't leave yourself open to the regret of wishing you had said something, but didn't.




Thursday, 23 April 2015

Stop trying to press Eject - 4 Ways to Take Control instead.

Escape: You know that feeling when a surge of energy burns in your feet to flee, to get the hell out of here and go anywhere, absolutely anywhere but where you are right now. When all you can think of is how much better it’d be if you could just take off, leave all the draining, depressing rubbish behind and be free. No looking back, no second thoughts, just a clean break from all the baggage dragging you down.

It calls your name on those days where you can’t take one more minute of work, days where you desperately need to get out of the dark place your head is in, days where the shit has just hit the fan and you simply cannot deal with it anymore.

Escape is like the alluring alternative to dealing with life’s difficulties. It gleams in bright lights, the perfect solution, the ticket to freedom.

And sometimes, it’s feasible. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to be able to make our way to the big sign saying ESCAPE and never look back.

Of course, a lot of the time, the sign is nowhere to be seen and the walls seem to be growing ever higher, keeping us stuck and with little other options than to find our own way out.

I’ve had many an experience where I would have loved to disappear into any means of escape to break free of incessant dark thoughts, or anxieties, pressures, stresses even if it was just for a little while. When the world felt suffocating and I couldn’t cope, escape seemed to be that tank of oxygen that would make it all okay.

But solutions aren’t found at the bottom of a bottle or in the kitchen, or by isolating to avoid the real world. I couldn’t physically leave as I desired, and the alternatives I engaged in were only creating more problems.

You see, you can travel to the ends of the earth to try and get away from it all, or you can get blind drunk just to stop hearing your own thoughts, but when the problem is sitting in the pit of your stomach or the depths of your mind, you merely cannot escape that.

Curbing the desire to escape can be a challenge but if you build a life you’re content with, that nagging yearning melts away.

Here's four steps to begin to make a life you don't wish to escape:

1. Work on your thinking:
Negative thought patterns work in vicious cycles destroying self esteem and your overall outlook, living in a hostile head is obviously going to enhance the fervour for escape. You’ve got to nip them in the bud and notice your thoughts. If they’re not making you feel good, change them. Take control and make your mind a nice place to be.


2. Figure out what you want: Feeling lost is a definite trigger for wanting to run. Everything feels overwhelming and confusing, and without direction, being anywhere feels like a struggle. Take the time to let your mind wander and dream a little, discover what makes you tick, what your goals are. If you know what you’re going after in life, you won’t need to runaway from that feeling of emptiness because you’ll be moving towards creating something whole.

3. Find out how to achieve your goals: Once you know what you want, make them genuine aspirations that you’re committed to. Action is the most important thing to accomplishing what you want in life. It’s no good sitting back and wondering why nothing’s going right for you, this is your life and no one is going to hand your happiness to you on a silver platter. Work your ass off for what is important to you and you’ll create a life that you honestly want to be in.

4. Take breaks, and look after yourself: Destructive methods of escape, were unfortunately my specialty. But with every mistake comes learning, so I know now, that looking after myself is the best way to stay in control. Taking time out, realising when I’m under pressure, knowing when I’m vulnerable and acting accordingly to protect myself, are important to avoid the stack of problems piling up and igniting that burning escapism.

There’s always a solution and running away is rarely it. Wherever you go, that’s where you are. The woes don’t get stopped at passport control; they’ll follow until you take the steps to eradicate them. It’s in your hands.




Sunday, 19 April 2015

Forget insecurity - Cultivate a strong inner security instead.

Insecurities are rampant among people everywhere; young or old, male or female. They can impact our lives to varying degrees, from making us check the mirror one time too many to leaving us feeling absolutely unable to leave the house for fear that people might lay eyes on the utter failure that we are.

My insecurities presented with the latter results. Everything I said or did, the way I looked, the fact that I could never seem to be good enough at anything mounted and mounted until I had diminished any source of security within myself. I hated being me.

A resounding absence of self esteem leads to having pretty shaky foundations of inner security. It’s impossible to elicit any trust or belief in yourself. There’s no acknowledgment of achievement or success. When insecurities attack every feature of your being, you kind of lose any stable sense of self.

Feeling insecure can be debilitating and it filters into every aspect of life; relationships, work, sports. It rears its ugly head to put you down as a girlfriend, boyfriend, worker, athlete, student. Regardless how hard you try, it never seems to lead to the fulfilling satisfaction that you’ve done it, you’ve done your best and you should be damn proud.

Insecurity robs you of seeing yourself for how amazing you actually are, it puts others on a pedestal and you beneath ground, never able to measure up.

But like anything that hinders you being as You as you could be, it’s totally possible and basically necessary to finally shake this off and gain the security and confidence within yourself that you deserve.

First you’ve gotta take your enemy head on;

That’s you. You’re speaking to yourself in a way that has to stop, putting yourself down or even just rejecting compliments. Anything that denies you hearing what positive, beautiful thoughts others think of you needs to be challenged. It’s time to take down that wall and find out who’s behind it.

Who actually are you? What do you like? What’s important to you? What do you want to do with your life? What are you good at?

When you start to see yourself with something, anything, to offer, your worth bumps up a little bit. Finding little things that make you feel good about yourself will gradually allow you to become increasingly confident about who you are, proud of what you can bring to the world. There’s something about you that is different, some little quirk that no one else can mirror. And you have got to start owning it instead of ignoring it.

Then Build on that, because practice makes permanent. Becoming secure within yourself means you have a core of steel and of course this takes time to develop. It has to be an ongoing active process. You have to question the negative names you call yourself or the reasons you think you’re any less than anyone else. Ask those questions; call yourself out on your own bullsh*t. After time, your sense of self will be strong and you’ll know what you’re all about. You won’t be trying to be anyone but you, because you’ll finally be enough.

Finally Embrace your new found security. Go out and do all of the things that may have been clouded with fear or doubt before. You know what you’re capable of now and you have enough self worth to not let that go to waste. It’s amazing what can happen when you see the world through more confident, self assured eyes. Instead of an obstacle course of potential anxiety and self scrutiny, the world becomes rampant with opportunity. People become less scary. There are no more pedestals.

The journey from insecurity to security is one that can take you from existing (regrettably) to thoroughly enjoying living. It removes the shackles of not feeling good enough and catapults you into feeling able to take on your goals and pursue your dreams.

I’m not going to act like it’s easy, because it’s definitely not. It’s a fairly huge overhaul of an ingrained habit of thought, but taking the time to continuously chip away at it will make an incredible change.

You are the protagonist of your life, finding yourself, becoming secure about that person and then being wholly confident in your endeavours will be the makings of you telling a remarkable story.


Thursday, 16 April 2015

Does our past define us?

Have you ever suffered from Depression, An Eating Disorder, Alcohol or drug addiction or, Been subjected to Emotional abuse, Sexual abuse, Physical abuse or even a traumatic experience of any kind?

Many people from all walks of life have suffered at the hands of one or maybe a few of the above turmoils and as a result, feel like damaged goods in the aftermath.  

But do any of our past experiences have to define us? 
Does it have to leave a permanent negative scar on you? 
Can you change your life after these things and make a full recovery away from distress?

When you think of these challenges - do you think it defines you or could it actually enhance who you are today?
Does it give you an excuse to stay stuck or does it give you not only a solid reason but a solid grounding to want to change?

For a long time I saw my past as a shameful negative experience. I saw it as an experience that left me very vulnerable, very sensitive, very insecure and with very low self confidence, yet I survived it.  
Yet I am still here and not only that but I have grown as a result of those experiences. 
I have had an education that I wouldn't wish on others, but which I can now choose to use to the good.

Most of us in the world have had some crises in our life, but we have two choices
1.                  we can live in the past and dwell on it and let it bring us down or
2.                  we can use our experience to help us to grow, to help others and to become a better person.

When a person has been through any of the above traumas or even faced any of life's challenges and recovered from them surely it has given you the chance to change as a person.  

Surely now you can

-  Have true compassion for others
-  Have empathy for others
-  See two sides of a situation

Surely you are now more

-  Sensitive & Understanding
-   Vulnerable
-  And you're unquestionably, a survivor!

While most people don’t necessarily sit under their experience, it can have a lasting negative effect on you if you let it. I know from experience that when conversations or situations turned to experiences that I‘d had it made me feel uncomfortable, it saddened me, and eventually it brought me down for a period of time again! I felt too ashamed of it to talk about it or too uncomfortable to use my experience as a help and support for others.

So how about trying to remedy this? How about the next time these situations rear their ugly heads you try looking at the positives of the situation?

Look at how as a result of the negative experience you've been through, you as a person can be different.
As a wise owl said to me once “learn to read your history differently”.

I have been through a few of the stresses mentioned above and because of them
-  I am a survivor
-  I am a communicator
-  I am compassionate
-  I can empathise
-  I can give affection
-  I can verbalise affection
-  I can be the change I want to be.
-  I can be impartial
-  I can be there for others when they need it.
-  I have first hand knowledge and experience, so I know…!

How can you change your outlook?
How can you re-write your history?
How can you move on?

The choice is yours!!












Sunday, 12 April 2015

Finding the positive when negativity is taking centre stage.

The world is a wonderful, beautiful place, it honestly is. But I definitely didn’t always see it like that and if you don’t either, I can totally see why. There’s so much going on in our world today that could make it seem daunting, unbearable and just plain dark. Aside from the bigger stuff like y’know corruption, disaster and tragedy all the time, there’s pressure coming at us from all directions. It ain’t always so rosy in our world today; we’ve got pressure to succeed, pressure to find our feet, to become financially independent, to look a certain way - to basically get our life together and do it with style.


Actually trying to list the negatives is quite easy. Even if we look externally, we have social media bringing the news to us almost immediately and how often is it just bad news that we’re being bombarded with? Couple that news with a break up, job loss or a particularly rainy Monday morning traffic jam to a job we hate and we can feel at a complete loss for joy, right?


With the world we live in, negativity can seep into our minds and get pretty comfortable. There’s nearly a culture of it in some areas of our lives; complaining or bitchy chatter is practically a second language to some, if we’re not moaning about something have we anything else to say? People bond over common enemies instead of common passions. Even the days of the week can be looked at with dread, poor Monday getting an awful rap weekly, it’s as though Friday is the only day anyone actually wants to see. Is that how we want to be living – seeing the joy in only one day a week?

Regardless how much life had to offer me in the past, I still managed to be fluent in negativity and this made my outlook fairly bleak. Even in seemingly positive situations, I could twist them into a negative and allow doubt or fear suck any positivity right out of them. It’s not a skill that serves any real purpose so now, my view couldn’t be more different. Thinking creates our perspective and thoughts can always be changed. It’s about making that choice to seek out the good and doing it as much as possible.

From experience I can say that actively seeking the positive in every situation is way more fruitful and satisfying than living in the negative. As Shane Koyzcan says in his Instructions for a Bad Day -

‘Love and hate are beasts, and the one that grows is the one you feed’. We’ve got to start fuelling the love for life, the love for the joy it can bring and it’ll only keep growing. How can we do that? Well…


1. Look for the little things


The little things add up, they really do. Whether it’s pleasant conversation, a sweet message, a great cup of coffee, or even awkward elevator chats - all of these things can take us out of our heads and allow happier thoughts to slip in. It can be natural to let these things go unnoticed and look at the dreary bigger picture or be too focused on what’s next. So, be present in those little moments and they’ll provide a lift for us later on. Little anchors can serve as reminders to be positive too like jewellery, a song, a quote or picture that makes us smile. However small they are, these are significant building blocks to a positive state of mind.


2. Be grateful. 

Gratitude is repeatedly linked to a joyful life. I know for me, I’ve read countless articles about it and been like ‘yeah great idea’ and then done nothing with it. But now I practice it and realise that it needs to be an active practice daily. Be grateful for as much as you can think of. If something is bringing you down, find the good in it somehow. There is always something to be thankful for. Start small and write down what you’re grateful for even if it’s just the pen and paper you’re writing with.


3. Say ‘At Least’. 

The world could be falling down around us, but we can still choose to find a positive. At least we’re still standing. The language we use is key and noticing how we use it can help us to begin to change. Turn ‘cant’s’ into ‘can’s and ‘have to’ into ‘want to’. Becoming aware of how we speak about our life might wake us up a little to how we’re contributing to any negativity in it.


4. Stop Complaining

Change the record, or just throw that one as far away as possible. Seriously, complaining is draining. It doesn’t help or change things, it just drags us down. And when you start practicing the tips above, you might realise that your complaints are kind of insignificant anyway when there’s so much to be appreciative of. What you focus on grows so if your hot topic of conversation is negativity, guess what, your outlook simply isn’t going to be so positive.

5. Allow Joy. 

Ever been afraid to get excited in case of disappointment? Or afraid to try in case of failure? Afraid to love in case of heartbreak? Trying to protect ourselves from uncomfortable emotions often means we don’t allow ourselves fully feel the good ones. It takes vulnerability to commit to excitement and risk disappointment. Embracing vulnerability allows us to really feel joy and positive emotions. Even if they don’t last and realistically, they won’t last forever, but to allow yourself feel at all is better than staying in a semi-satisfied state.

6. Take control and empower yourself

No matter how bad life seems, you are not stuck nor helpless nor resigned to living like this. You are not a victim of your circumstance unless you choose to be. Speak up and ask for change. Realise that there are always options, and go find out what choices you have. We can become convinced that we’re unlucky or bad things just keep happening or we can take control and create good things in our lives. Instead of settling for discontent, why not pave our own way out of it? Getting familiar with sadness or grief can make the alternative seem scary because even if it’s uncomfortable, we are in some sort of comfort zone. But as we know, life begins outside our comfort zone.

Life will throw curveballs, it won’t be a walk in the park and there will be days where we just want to curl up in bed and tell the world to f* off. But if we get ourselves in a strong position of positivity, none of that will keep us down. That’s not to say we’ll never be sad or struggling but to realise that we can triumph over these times. There’s enough negativity out there already, why not start to be the sunshine in that darkness and your rays of positivity can become the ‘little things’ in someone else’s life.

After all, when you change the way you look at things the things you look at change.


Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Self-preservation

“What would you do if you were stranded on a desert island?” was a question put to me and a group of peers, during a workshop years ago. We proceeded to brainstorm survival techniques and ways we would procure food and create shelter if we found ourselves deserted and left to our own devices. We discussed how we would cooperate with those with whom we were stranded and ways we would cope if alone. We organised a whole plan of action we envisaged implementing if this awful situation should ever arise. We didn’t question our automatic response. It is human nature to think about how to withstand or overcome challenging times.
Suicide and being in a frame of mind where we contemplate the act of suicide are contrary to this natural response to adversity. Our “Survival Mode” switch becomes jammed on the wrong setting and we turn to self-destruction to ‘deal with’ our problems. But, as we know, running away from a problem is the method of dealing that is least likely to succeed.
I am currently experiencing a personal issue that is really uncomfortable, even upsetting, to deal with. The details of the issue don’t matter as much as my response. It has not been what it would have been in the past. I am neither denying its existence nor panicking at my own (perceived) inability to work on it and to sort it out as I can and need to. I am facing it. This takes patience. Patience, particularly with myself, has never exactly been my forte.
But – and this is where, perhaps, hopefully, I may help you a little - I am doing some “simple” things to support myself in developing patience, in order to “survive” this rough patch, which I *will* get through.
1.    I am making myself sit with feelings of upset and discomfort. This does not feel good. But just because action brings up unpleasant feelings does not mean it is an incorrect action to take.
2.    I am sharing my feelings about this issue and the steps I am taking to solve it with someone. I do not have a team of supporters. I don’t need that. All I need is one person I can trust and whom will listen to me, even when I am babbling. This sharing is important.
3.    Finally, I am shelving the shame that this issue has brought up. I have learned that shame is a pointless emotion. A personal problem does not make me any less of an individual. Dealing with it, in fact, makes me a better, more responsible, more competent, more experienced individual.
What I am doing is my form of self-preservation – the form I need to use right now. It is as important to where I am now as procuring food and shelter are, if stuck on a desert island.

I will survive. I will do more than survive. I will flourish…because I am Acting For My Well-being.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

A Birthday Reflection :)

Birthdays come to us merely once a year, just that one single day that is ours, to celebrate our lives.

I remember a parent in a group therapy session saying once, ‘a birthday is your day, it’s just for you to celebrate,’ and it was said with such conviction and simplicity that it has stayed with me since.

Birthdays were great as a kid, whether it was the coke floats, the planned activities out with family and friends or even just pass the parcel; they were always made memorable for me.

But then, like most things, they became a struggle. A landmark in my life reminding me that I was going nowhere, contributing nothing; just getting older and accomplishing none of my goals.

This time four years ago, I didn’t want to see another moment let alone another year. I didn’t think I could conceivably fight my way through, I didn’t want to, I had no more energy to try find my way in my life.

And that’s a hard memory to have attached to my birthday – my special day just for me.
But it also reminds me now how much has changed, how I think so differently these days, how I now want to embrace life with both hands and see what it has in store for me and actively go pursue all of its opportunity. I’m nearly tripping up over all the ideas, dreams and hopes for my future that I have!

I remember two years ago on my birthday, I wrote 20 of my learnings since beginning recovery and that was just the starts of my shift in thinking.

Today was my birthday, and I cannot think how else to explain how I feel but full of joie de vivre. I am so content, so excited to have a day that’s MY day and so happy to be able to celebrate it negativity free, rather than shrink away from the festivities.

It has been such a lovely day from start to finish and I wouldn’t be able to say that if I hadn’t worked hard to change where my mind was at and follow the hope and belief that it could improve.

I'm so grateful and nearly emotional that I am still here today, sitting on the bus into work I was just short of both giggling and crying for most of the trip. 
It just hit me really strongly today how much better I feel now, and how I didn’t have a clue that such a good feeling was possible, this same day years ago. 

Change is possible and so worth fighting for.

So I want to share my learnings to date, 22 this time;

  1.  Letting go of old fears is liberating – hugely liberating. And generally not as big of a deal as I made them out to be in my head.
  2. Taking risks outside of my comfort zone is worthwhile, and talking myself out of them is not.
  3. Everybody is not judging me, nor looking at me, nor constantly thinking about my flaws.
  4.   I have a lot to offer and I have dreams worth pursuing. I also have a voice with a lot to say.
  5. Little things add up to being big solid wonderful foundations.
  6. Clarity is important to me; as is honesty, determination, commitment and expression.
  7. There’s a whole world out there that I’m excited to see.
  8.  I love using positive language and find myself more interested in positive conversations and stories than the negative I used to surround myself in. I love hearing the good news, learnings, and energy filled sharings of others.
  9.  I am more than my body, my body does not define me and as above, everybody is NOT judging it! In fact, my body is frickin incredible and deserves respect and nourishment.
  10.  If you want something, you might as well ask for it.
  11. All people are just people, no one is superior or inferior.
  12.  I’m NOT useless or stupid or a waste of space/air/attention or out of control or crazy – and not because I’ve suddenly become amazing but because it was just never true. I deserve better than believing any of that about myself.
  13.  Life is full of choices, and I am in the position of choosing.
  14.  I can be a victim or a survivor, it’s up to me
  15. Guilt is a luxury I cannot afford. Likewise with shame – starting fresh and doing what I can is all I can expect myself to do.
  16.  I can be my own support and a very good supporter at that.
  17.  Embracing vulnerability is important to me. Allowing myself feel and be sensitive allows for more connection and honesty.
  18. Being true to myself is important, there’s no need to try be anyone else.
  19. Trust is important in a journey like this, as is patience and both are worth strengthening
  20. If you want something to change, sometimes you have to be the one changing it, being the change you wish to see in the world is the birthplace of this. Being the type of person I want to meet, creating the things I wish existed - these all motivate me to keep learning and growing in a positive way.
  21.  I am incredibly lucky with the life I have.
  22. Perfection is not attainable, my best is good enough and there’s a lot of things that simply aren’t worth stressing over.

Life is constantly teaching us – it’s not there to be fought, but to learn from. We might not get everything right, we might need to revise some parts, but we can always keep trying again.

Hope has paved the way for a lot of my learning; hoping that it could get better, that I could see things differently, that I could enjoy life as I saw others doing.

It can and does get better. Birthdays can become something to look forward to, to remember fondly and to embrace again.

I didn’t think I’d be saying this back on that birthday nor feeling anything like I do now but here I am.

Life’s not perfect, but it’s mine and I want to live it now :)