Saturday, 26 March 2016

Empower Yourself.

"By being yourself, you put something wonderful in the world that was not there before"

Some weeks, I'm not even messing, Instagram just speaks to me. Ugh seriously, quotes like this have been repeatedly popping up the last week and each time I see one I have a real moment of inspiration. And they just keep on coming, be yourself, celebrate your uniqueness, be unapologetically authentic - with me frantically double tapping each one.

Because I love this idea, I love the value of genuine, committed authenticity and of how much power we all have just by being who we are. But, try and write a blog post about it and my inspiration quickly turns to desperate deflation. Not because I'm not passionate about it or uninspired, but because we've all heard it before - I've definitely written it before. We've been told to be ourselves, to love ourselves, to be really real. And we've probably also argued about how difficult it is to do that and how we want to but don't know where to start. Either way, someone has played us this record already.

So I don't know what I can say differently about it, but I want to try again anyway and see what happens. Because this matters to me.

It matters to me that people realise how much untapped magic they have inside merely by being the person that they are. Each and every one of us, regardless of status or situation, has something that no one else has. Isn't that amazing? There are billions of people on this planet and none of us are the exact same. Amazing. And we don't need to make any extravagant gesture or do anything unnatural, we don't need to spend money on it or travel to get it. It's there all the time, anytime, always.

And what do we do with that?

We struggle with our identity, we attempt to grow up and mold into our new-found roles, we try to fit; we lose our true selves. We throw them away and insult the incredible person within by trying to be something we're just not meant to be. Trying to impress, trying to measure up and trying to fabricate a self that's nowhere near our own uniqueness.

You know how we hear this when we're kids, that we're all unique? - well that's not bullsh*t. But I don't think we really know what to do with that statement. We're unique... and what? Wouldn't it be better to just fit in? To be like everyone else? To just try and get by without any hassle, not drawing attention to ourselves and keeping our heads down?

I just don't think that's good enough, for any of us. We need to own the concept of 'Being Yourself'. Not just saying it on a whim when someone asks for dating advice or letting it roll off your tongue as a nice concept. Own it. Own who you are and what you're about and why you love that you're exactly the person you were made to be. Own the joy of embracing each and every element of uniqueness that you encompass.

Own the fact that sometimes you giggle uncontrollably or make god-awful jokes. Own the way you cry at sad movies or sometimes for seemingly no reason at all. Own the way you tell a story in haphazard side-stories or the way you see the world or experience life. The way you care about others or want to make a difference. We all react to the world differently, we have different strengths and weaknesses, different tastes and passions. We need to make them ours and stop rejecting them or thinking they're 'wrong'. They are so right. Owning who you are is the most right thing.

As I said, Instragram's 'Be Yourself' game was strong, so another that demanded my attention mid scroll was 'No one is You and that is your power'. That is your power. Your power is the fact that you are you. You get to have a power! But are you using it?

When you think of power, you don't think of mediocrity or settling or being lost. You don't think of throwing it away. You think of strength, achievement, influence and success - or at least, I do. Power is what will drive you towards what you want. This power will ignite conversations, will broaden your horizons, it'll nurture love and meaningful relationships.

Being yourself is about putting yourself in the world, because if you didn't you'd be depriving it of something incredible and you know that, you believe that, you embody that.

Everyone has something different of value to offer. When we shred comparison and just enjoy the diversity, we'll really thrive because there's insurmountable worth in everyone's unique qualities. Every little quirk, every offbeat delivery, every personal opinion. The things that excite us can unite us, but we all have minds and eyes that work in different ways.

It's not about being different to everyone else, it's about valuing the ways in which we can own who we are. When we start to actually use our power, we can make real impact.

In each of us, we have all the stuff we need. Our talents, passions and skills aren't mistakes, they weren't mean for someone else and just got mixed up mid-delivery. This is our stuff, for our lives,that we need to take ownership of.

Who we are matters because there is purpose to what we do and are going to do.

You have everything you need already, you have yourself. And that is your power.



Monday, 21 March 2016

Under Think It

In line with today's topic, I want to keep this one simple. With such an inundation of information out there for us to feast our minds on at any given time, now and then we just need to pare it all back and get to the point.

The picture shared on our Facebook page today inspired this one. The concept of 'under thinking' is probably fairly foreign to many of us. With over-active, over-analysing, over-thinking and overly anxious minds, we're used to our thoughts exhausting instead of empowering us. So while we're fluent at second-guessing, ruminating and panicking, the language of simplicity might ironically be more tricky to translate.

The idea of under-thinking means stopping ourselves. It means honestly listening to ourselves. It means ignoring the 'what ifs', and the 'should/could've/would've's. You know all the words, questions and fears that distract us from what we really want - the ones that are experts at creating problems and making us feel bad about ourselves. Those are the ones that we need to stop. Under-thinking means that we don't end up tumbling into that tunnel of thoughts, we simply take the ones that we need.


So how do we do this?


1. FEEL

Quite often, one of the best things we can do for ourselves is get out of our heads and into our bodies. Feel. Get in touch with your gut feeling, your heart, what's inside. What is it telling you? What is it screaming out for? If you were simply to respond to it, what would you do?

Contrary to what we may believe, we're not smarter than our feelings, we're not 'too intellectual' to engage in them. Sometimes we need to just shut up, listen and give ourselves what we need.

This means, if you want something, you ask. If you miss someone, you call. If you want to express something, you say it. If you're hungry, eat. If you're tired, rest. If you want to cry, you don't need to justify it, you just need to get the Kleenex out and have a damn good cry. 

Written like that, it seems so obvious, so clear - but how often do we hear these feelings and begin to launch into a lecture of - 'no we can't ask for that because then people will think we're stupid or we don't get it and we'll just be annoying them. We probably should know the answer anyway but we're actually just thick and can never remember anything. So we'll have to try to figure it out by ourselves even though it's stressing us out and we're getting nothing done.' Just shut all that up and ask! That's annoying even to read, but that's the sort of thinking we let run riot in our minds all too often.

All of these simple desires and needs merely want to be fulfilled, not questioned, doubted, or disputed. Forget about weaving a tale of reasons not to; just listen up, act accordingly and you'll begin to feel better.
2. JUST DO IT

Look, we've all heard it - Life is short. I'm sure at one stage or another we've all probably given that fact some thought and wanted to get really proactive within our lives and accomplish all our goals. And then we'd begin to think... and unnecessarily turn our energy from action to analysis. Quashing spontaneity and opportunity, our thoughts can talk us out of so many of the things we dream of doing. 

But it's worth remembering occasionally the fact that yes, life actually isn't going to wait around for us to make up our minds or stop making excuses. It's not going to sit back while we over-think every potential option and outcome and whether we're ready or able for it. So maybe it's time to finally get out of your head and get into your life. What's the worst that can happen?

3. BE PRESENT

We can quickly lose ourselves in our thoughts of the past and the future. Allowing anxiety and regrets toss their two cents onto our every move can leave us stuck standing still. Be present. Take on the moment that you're in right now and just be in it. Don't lose it to one you've already experienced or one that hasn't even happened yet - these are not tangible parts of your life right now. Take this moment and become aware, become mindful of it. Be completely part of what is going on. Feel it, breathe it, enjoy it. You'll never get it back so give it the attention it deserves.
~
Overthinking creates problems that aren't even there. It takes us away from the moments, the feelings and the desires that we could really be connecting with. We can't control everything in our lives, regardless how much we analyse it or turn it over in our minds so we need to simply let go. Trust your gut and turn your brain off turbo. 


At the very least, it's worth a try :) 


Saturday, 12 March 2016

What Story Are You Spinning?

"We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world." Buddha

Within our racing minds, we are constantly typing out the tale of our lives. With each and every thought, we re-affirm what we believe, we tell ourselves the stories of who we are and what our lives are all about. And then we can watch it all unfold right in front of our eyes.

Occasionally we can get fairly fed up with this fabrication. We realise that we don't actually want to be in this particular plot anymore. It's the bit where all we want to do is put the damn book down - it's gotten kind of challenging or boring or even that little bit too real and we don't like it. We get uncomfortable, depressed and quite simply want to escape it. 

You know the one - when we get to the chapter that narrates how much we hate our jobs, how we don't feel good enough, our dreams seem out of reach, our self esteem is on the floor, we feel like we can't keep up, we don't know what to do with our lives. 
Yeah, that poxy chapter where each word seems to be in CAPITALS and bold and is screaming our inadequacy at us. 

When we realise the negative narration we've mindlessly been creating, it feels frickin' awful. Our motivation slips away, our mood crashes and we want to slam that book shut. But this is our story, these are our words.

If we want to know why we're feeling a certain way, we need to look inward and check out those thoughts that are written repeatedly. I'm stupid, I'm incompetent, I'm fat, no one likes me, I'm useless, I can't... What we think about we bring about. So naturally, if we focus on all the things we don't like in our lives, that's what we're going to see and we'll write ourselves into a miserable little rut. Each 'I am' statement affirms what we believe ourselves to be - the characters we want to create. 

I think it'd be helpful to discover our voices as authors of our own stories. Taking control over our own stories gives us the freedom to rewrite it as we wish. We can edit out the sh*t that doesn't make us feel good, we can delete all the things we need to let go of and we can begin to create the outcomes that will make us want to keep reading. 

How can we create stories we want to be a part of?

1. Stop Complaining

I actually listened to myself complaining during the week and was so uncomfortable with all the crap going through my mind, I was desperate to find the off switch. It's amazing how much complaining we can actually do, we're impeccably fluent in it. With each complaint though, we provide our problems with paragraph after paragraph of our narrative. 

Stop allowing them take up so much space on the page, they genuinely contribute nothing, they don't make us feel good and they just bring our attention to all the stuff we don't want. Replace these with what we want more of and how we'd like our story to be instead.

2. Translate to Gratitude

Whilst whining about work or our bodies or just general dissatisfaction in our lives, we can tend to forget how good we honestly have it. For each complaint we come up with, we need to acknowledge the other side of the story. 'I hate my job' can easily become, 'I am so grateful for my job'. Find a way to flip it on its head. Even if you're clutching at straws, clutch them!

For everything we have in our lives, we can take the reins as writers and choose how to describe it to ourselves. We can pick the words we wish to use about our situation. Take the time to translate the lines of the story that you don't like into ones that you'd rather. Shift away from the problem focused plot to a story that seeks solutions. A story that gratefully acknowledges each 'At Least'. At least I'm trying my best, at least I want change, at least I have what I need, at least I'm aware of how it is, at least I can learn from this.

Our language has incredible significance on our subconscious, our perceptions and our feelings. Pick the words that motivate you, the ones that highlight the positive in your life and change will begin to manifest. 

3. Check Yourself (before you wreck yourself )

Notice what story you are spinning to yourself. We have thousands of thoughts a day, we won't be able to catch 'em all. But take note. Is that really a story you'd subscribe to? One of woe and despair and self-deprecation? One where you never achieve your goals because you're not good enough. One where the protagonist is worthless and boring and no one likes them? What if you started telling yourself you were able to do what you wanted? What if, you told yourself you are good enough?

Sometimes we get so used to portraying our story a certain way that we don't even notice how warped it may be. I'd suggest checking in with those go-to thoughts and see what they're actually saying. Is this true? Or even, do we want this to be true? It's time to change the thoughts that are making your manuscript miserable. 

I think it's important to discover how much influence we truly have in our own lives. Quite often we can find ourselves feeling like a small part of a bigger picture that we have no control over. We're not these helpless little pawns though, we're not victims of circumstance and we're not lost causes. We actually have so much more scope for impact than we realise. But we've got to do something about all the bits that bother us.

Nobody wants to think that they create their own problems, that's fair and we don't need to focus on that. But we do need to establish ourselves in the position of power than we actually hold. 

Spin yourself a story that captures your heart, that makes you want more, that warms you to the main character.
 Write your own bestseller and enjoy every word of it. 





Saturday, 5 March 2016

This Too Shall Pass

I thought I'd write a poem this time. I got really inspired recently to get back writing in this way so here it is. The idea was about feelings that we don't like, you know the ones, that rush over us and can seem to effortlessly ensnare us in a rut. I just wanted to share the line 'This too shall pass' as this is one I would've repeated to myself over and over when I was feeling down.

Even now, when I'm feeling out of sorts, I know and trust that it'll pass. Nothing lasts forever, so whatever comes up will go away pretty soon after arrival. We have to learn from these feelings and recognise that quite often, they come with a message. Once we listen, they've got plenty other places to be so we can let them go. But it's good to learn not to be afraid of these feelings, even when they're absolutely un-frtickin-bearable. They'll pass, I swear.


Awash with apathy, that familiar affliction
We spin ourselves the debilitating fiction
Of the fact that we're screwed now, we're stuck like this
Depressed and anxious entirely void of bliss
Out of nowhere it seems, the blanket of lead
Smothers each uplifting thought in our head
It boldly wraps its decrepit threads right around.
No comfort created, a mere weighty surround -
Drowning out the sound of any of our light,
The last untouched shreds of our fight
The laughter, the shining echo of being free,
Forcing us to believe this is how it's gonna be.

I could write these poems for days before
In various desperate attempts to explore 
The feelings that stifled my breath of life
All those dramatic ones where I was overcome with strife
Confused and questioning and entirely lost
Itching to seek out my answer at any cost.

I would ask, how f*cking long will this last
How long will it feel like I'm composed of glass,
The potential to shatter a constant risk
Cracks forming at the mere effort to exist..

Looking back now, it's actually pretty upsetting
Because that mindset was constantly forgetting
Persistently turning the complete opposite way 
Whenever advice or y'know logic, happened my way
The problem is - this is so overwhelming and real
It's an entirely poxy way to ever have to feel
But solutions are always around for this stuff
It doesn't actually have to be this tough.

So in reply to this feeling during bad days,
I'd repeat to myself this simple phrase,
This too shall pass. This Too Shall Pass,
It helped just knowing this wasn't gonna last
This simply is not a permanent feeling
and while it may not feel overly fleeting -
This too shall pass.
I promise it will and I'd recommend repeating this still
When I feel overwhelm, insecure, or just oddly down
I know that lead weight doesn't need to stick around
It's here to tell me there's something to change
And once I listen, then it can go right on its way.

Nothing lasts forever, cliché as that sounds
Even the darkest of times don't wanna linger around
See in life, transience is the only guarantee,
So regardless of struggle, you will be free
Even if you can't see it right now, just believe
That this will pass, and your spark will be retrieved.

Yvonne :)