Tag Archives: Surroundings

The choice is yours – choose wisely

Are you struggling? Feeling alone? Confused? Do you feel ike you don’t belong? Like you have no clue as to where you’re heading in life? Going through a break-up (or considering one)? Feel let down by people you love? Not being true to yourself? Bored with life? Does it all feel pointless?

One important lesson I’ve learned during my many years of intense self development and search for happiness is that when it comes to how you deal with resistance, the choice is yours – always. You can rarely control what happens to you, but you can definitely control how you react to it. Basically, you can choose to focus on the hurt and pain you’re going through or you can shift your focus slightly (even in the most hardcore cases – check this out) and find that life has so much incredible beauty to offer. It takes a little practice and I’m in no way saying it’s easy, but once you manage to find happiness and gratitude in the middle of pain and suffering, once you learn to dance your way through a storm, you will realise that happiness outshines misery by miles. Every time. It’s all about your choice of focus.

The challenge with emotional pain and suffering is that quite often we tend to find some sort of comfort in these states. It’s familiar. It’s something we know well and it doesn’t demand very much from us. You can just stay under the covers and / or in front of the screen, leave the blinds down, eat poorly and excessively, blame everyone else for what you’re struggling with, let the house remain a mess (or store the mess in millions of boxes somewhere) and give up. Although it doesn’t necessarily feel easy, believe me when I say this is you taking the easy route.

So often in these scenarios we forget to value what should be the most important; our own happiness. Basically, we forget our own value. And a lot of the time we do so because finding the light in darkness can be a difficult and rather demanding task that requires action and, in most cases, will have consequenses.

Self development can be incredibly painful. Sometimes it can even feel unachievable (have a read). It involves a whole lot of soul searching, bravery and being honest with yourself. Particularly the latter is something a lot of people find overwhelming (I know I did – read about it here), as your own honesty doesn’t always connect with what society and surroundings want to make you believe you need.

Taking the necessary steps towards happiness might mean letting go of people, lifestyles and self-perceptions, but believe me when I say that it will be worth it! Do yourself a favour and get a move on.

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How do you want life to be? Happy, healthy and full of passion? Or would you rather stay behind the blinds in fear? The choice is yours. Keep in mind, though, that the longer you wait, the harder the work becomes – and no one can do the work for you. Also, if you choose to ignore it (which might even work for a while) you can be almost 100% sure you will find yourself back here in ‘no mans land’ again and again till you learn the lesson and do something about it. So, in other words, there really is no time like the present. You can do it!

Make sure to follow the links I’ve placed throughout this blog post to get some pointers as to how you can get that self development started (providing you choose to do so, obviously).

Also, don’t forget to follow my blog on social media (links below) to stay tuned for new posts to come. Let’s spark that self development of yours and get you closer to a happier, healthier life.

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5 questions that will spark your self development

I was having lunch with a good friend of mine a few days ago. One of those lovely lunches that turn into hours hanging out discussing life and all the ups and downs that come with it.
We ended up discussing an article she read recently where the author didn’t understand why getting engaged was seen as more of an accomplishment (at least on social media) than e.g. getting a promotion or a degree. In some ways I guess this is a good point; Post a photo on social media of a rock on a finger with the words ‘She/I said yes!!’ and you’ll probably have a few hundred likes within a very short amount of time. Post a photo of yourself with your degree and a happy face along with the words ‘I did it!!’ and the amount of likes will probably still be quite high. However, if you compare the two, chances are the engagement photo will be quite a lot more popular.
Personally I find both accomplishments fantastic! Both statements say a lot about who you are and what truly means something to you – what’s not to love? I think the main issue the author wanted to highlight is the tendency of putting the love two people share higher than anything else in life and this made me think!

I have a new scenario for you – a new post. I realise this will rarely happen, but imagine a photo of yourself with your arms spread out wide and your face lit up in a gorgeous smile. Next to the photo are the following words: ‘I LOVE MYSELF!!’ How do you think social media would react to this one?

Now this to me is much more of an interesting topic. Why is the love between two people placed so much higher on the accomplishment scale than the love you have for yourself? Don’t get me wrong – I love relationships and I truly believe in love between two people (I love my boyfriend to pieces!). But even more so, I truly believe we need to love ourselves first and foremost! I believe that if we put the same amount of time and attention to self development, loving ourselves and understanding who we are as we put into the efforts of looking for love from others, this world truly would be a happier place. To take it even further, and I realise this is a bold statement, I actually believe that a lot of divorces / break ups happen today because people don’t love or don’t know how to love themselves.
We enter into relationships hoping our partner will do this for us – which will probably be the case for most people for a little while. The issue is that we’ve seen far too many romantic Hollywood movies and believe life will always be like this as soon as we find that certain someone. We mirror ourselves in those movies and our surroundings rather than in ourselves and our own value. And then, one day, Hollywood is over. Life becomes boring. Enter the blame game; ‘She’s just not interesting any longer – she used to have all these hobbies and friends and now she’s just dull’ or ‘He’s gained so much weight. It’s as if he doesn’t care any longer. He used to be so fit when we met, now he’s constantly in front of the tv or checking his phone’ or ‘I feel so alone in my relationship. It’s as if my partner no longer sees me’. I’m sure you’re able to make up more – however, you might want to read this before you do.

If you’re in one of these not so happy relationships or if you’re doing everything in your power to enter a relationship rather than using the time to give that self development of yours a little nudge in the right direction, try the following exercise on for size:

Turn your attention away from whatever you were doing. If you’re in a relationship, let your partner do his / her thing and redirect all your energy to yourself. In fact, regardless of whether you’re in a relationship or not, when you ask yourself the following questions kids and partners are not allowed to be part of the answers. This exercise is about you and you alone. Take your time when answering the questions and remember that there’s no point in answering with lies. No one will know the answers but you (unless you wish to share them, obviously), so if you lie, you’ll be lying to yourself. Just saying.

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Be honest and write the answers down as you go. Answer in full sentences and make the answers as long as you wish. This is for your benefit and your benefit alone.
Turn off the music, TV, phone and anything else that has the ability to remove your attention. It might help to close your eyes and maybe even lay down for a little bit during this exercise – when you remove all distractions it’s easier to get in touch with your body, it’s easier to get to the honest truth. Ready? Here goes.

  • When was the last time you felt happy?
  • When was the last time you did something for yourself that gave you a deeply content feeling?
  • What happens when you look at yourself in the mirror? Do you smile? Do you try to avoid the reflection?
  • How do you ‘speak’ to yourself (your thoughts count on this one)? Do you let yourself down daily? Or do you give yourself praise?
  • What are your dreams (for now and for the future)? What would make you happy?

Remember; Take your time.

Done? So, what are your answers like? Did you find the questions difficult? Do your answers add up to the life you’re living? Don’t panic if they don’t – you’re not the only one who feels this way, trust me. In fact, most people will have a hard time answering these questions. And very few answer them with positive replies.
The good news is that once you know what the issue is, you can do something about it! How’s that for a start? By being honest with yourself you’ve already taken the first step towards a more fulfilled and loving life. You have sparked your self development!

When we know what we truly enjoy and what’s important to us deep down inside, we can adjust our lives accordingly – this is why it’s so incredibly important to sync with yourself from time to time.

So, now what? What are the next steps? For starters, here’s a few links to exercises and information that will give your self development a good push:

The most important part of all of this is to NEVER GIVE UP (read this and this) and, by all means, don’t lie to yourself! If you find you choose to ignore your own signals or always put yourself last in the equation of life, believe me when I say you won’t be able to do this forever. Listen to your body now. Be your own best friend. Get to know your value – self development is your key.

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Do you know your value?

Tough question, right? Do you know your value? If you’re in a relationship of some sort (be it a relationship with a significant other, a parent, a colleague etc.) and you feel like you’re always chasing, trying to make the other person happy, calling, texting or otherwise desperately seeking attention, chances are you probably don’t. The thing is, in your relationship with others you are the only one responsible for how you are treated. That’s right; It’s your responsibility – no blaming others. You are the master of how others react to you. You set the rules. Your surroundings do as you ask them to regardless of whether you do so with words, actions, body language or simply with thoughts.

Bring on the excuses: ‘But she says she’s not hurting me on purpose’, ‘But he is in the middle of a depression – I have to be there’, ‘But she’s just confused’, ‘But he is just busy’, ‘But he is ending it with his partner – it’s only a matter of time till we can be together’, ‘But I’ll never find anyone else like her’, ‘But we’re married – I have to stick it out’, ‘But I don’t want my kids to grow up with divorced parents’. If you’re like most people, I’m sure you’re able to make up more..

I realise that special circumstances can arise, and if you have children, are married or have otherwise made a life long promise to someone, you’ll probably need to have a longer leash. However, even when you’ve made these commitments, there’s no point in giving up all your power to your significant other. There’s simply no excuse for not knowing your own value. It takes two to tango in any relationship. Where is the puzzle piece with your happiness on it, if you’re constantly focused on making someone else happy?

I recently read a blog where the writer was describing how her mother was always subject to her dominating father. How her mother would obey her husband’s every request and generally do everything to make him happy. Which party do you feel sorry for in this scenario? Hopefully both (and the blogger, who was a child in this unhealthy environment). None of these roles are pleasant. No one enjoys that amount of power – no one enjoys being ‘small’. I don’t know this couple, but chances are the imbalance was probably there from the very beginning and has then, with time, become even more outspoken. Regardless, I believe that the imbalance wouldn’t be there in the first place if they both knew their value.

I was once told that relationships are all about meeting a person you’re at eye level with (in regards to energy and soul – not height). It’s all about healthy counteraction and great communication (the latter being the ‘glue’). When I heard this I had just been in a relationship where I was the dominating one (you can read about it here) and had formerly been in a relationship where my partner had all the power, so my first reaction was to fear the future. What were the odds that I would ever find anyone where the balance would be just right? I didn’t even know what to look for! So I gave up the hunt for a little while and focused on myself – the best thing I could have ever done.

I worked on my relationship with myself daily! In several different ways (some of the exercises I used can be found here, here and  here). If you don’t love yourself, how are you ever going to show anyone how you want to be loved? If you don’t respect yourself, how are you ever going to be able to demand respect from others? If you don’t see your own inner beauty, chances are others won’t see it either. Be nice to yourself. Think positive thoughts (a little about positivity to be found here)! Smile to yourself and the people around you daily – you have so much to offer and so much to be grateful for. Why would you waste your fabulous energy on someone or something who doesn’t appreciate it?

Respect yourself

If you’re feeling powerless in your relationship, you’re probably not placing yourself high enough. There’s nothing wrong with loving others (on the contrary – go for it!) or wanting to be good to them. But the problem with putting others first is, that you automatically put yourself second. Think about that sentence for a minute.
Putting yourself first doesn’t mean you’re selfish or rude. It means you value the one person that will be with you forever – regardless of what happens. (In case you missed it, this person would be you.) You need to be your own best friend. You need to realise your value. Once you do this, nothing can knock you over (not completely, anyway).

You are never powerless. If you’re not happy and don’t see a change on it’s way – make the change yourself. Your happiness is your own responsibility. Leave behind what’s pulling you down and move forward. Put yourself first. Value who you are or no one else will.

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The painful truth

You know that feeling of complete annoyment when your superior is bossing you around? Or when you get annoyed because it’s as if your partner has lost his / her spark – life has become booooring? Or when you feel like the girl from class is being such a bimbo (while trying to get the cute guy’s attention)? Or how you can sometimes hardly stand the fact that you are related to a specific person? How your father / brother / sister / mother says these awkward things in public? How they draw too much embarrassing attention? Why can’t everyone just be a bit more like you, right? Here’s the deal. Here’s the painful truth; They are. They are exactly like you.

All these actions / people represent a side of you that you are not at peace with. Let’s take the example with your superior. Any chance you could be slightly jealous of this person? Deep down inside, do you wish you were the boss? Or, could it be that you, yourself, are bossing someone else around and being rather unpleasant?
And moving on to the example with your partner having lost his / her spark. Before you start pointing fingers and telling your loved one how incredibly dull life has become in his / her presence, have a look within. How’s your own spark doing? Do you wake up every morning excited about the day ahead? Do you enjoy what you do for a living? Have you got a great hobby and fantastic friends that you socialise with? Making you happy and sparking your spark is not your partner’s responsibility – it’s yours. So next time your partner annoys you ask yourself whether you are annoyed with your partner or with yourself?
And what about the girl from class getting all the attention? Slightly jealous, are we? Why not go for some attention of your own? Or is the issue rather that you act exactly like her (maybe even worse) when in a similar situation?
Last, but not least, the awkward relative; Is this person in reality saying or doing what you would have said or done? Do you, in all honesty, resemble this person? Or could it be that you used to resemble this person (you probably still do – just saying..) and have been told to stop doing so by a partner, a different relative or a friend, which is why you can’t stand when these ‘forbidden’ actions happen?

We are all born whole in every way. Look at babies! They are perfect and flawless. They never get embarrassed. They do exactly as they feel like doing exactly when they feel like doing it. Then they grow older and in come the surroundings to teach them what is right and wrong. Society, friends, family – they all have a say in how this little person turns out.
So what were your surroundings like? It is inevitable that you at some point have been told to stop doing something in a particular way or that you have been told you should always behave in a certain manner. The right manner. Obviously.
Keep in mind when digging up the past that these people who have had a say in how you turned out have (hopefully) all done what they did the best way they knew how. And no matter how well they did, nobody is ever perfect! They did as they believed was right and acted the best way they were capable of, so this isn’t about starting ‘the blame game’. The past is brilliant, as it can help us understand the present. But then that’s that. Once you’ve discovered what you need to discover, leave the past in the past and focus on today.

The-secret-of-change-is-to-focus-all-of-your-energySo, what can you learn from your past? What have you been told to stop doing? What have you been taught was right and wrong? And do you, as an adult, agree?

Right now, this very minute, you decide. You set your own limits and your own rules. So if there’s something you’re not happy with, have a look within and try to figure out what it is. Once you know what sparks your annoyment, accept that this is a part of you and make a conscious effort to either do something about it or remove yourself from the situation. But never blame the person who sparked the feeling in the first place. You are an adult – how you behave and what you feel and think is all your own responsibility. It’s true that you can not (always) control what happens to you – but you can definitely control how you react to it.

Your surroundings are reflections of you. Accept them as they are, use them as a mirror and concentrate on yourself and your own development. Once you do this, you will find that the truth doesn’t have to be quite as painful after all.

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