We’re all on a journey. Sometimes we map it out on paper, but we cannot always follow it on the road. A fallen tree. A fork in the road. A dead end. A mountain to climb. A dark night. There are twists and turns that drive us off course. And that’s ok. We cannot control everything around us.
But what about the times when the only thing in our way is ourselves? It happens to me all the time, even if I talk myself into thinking it’s not. The self-doubt. The procrastination. The high expectations. These can be crippling to the pursuit of my passions and goals. Maybe yours too.
I know I can do better. And that’s what I am going to commit to doing. These pages are my way of sharing my story, the mistakes and the pitfalls, the lessons and the successes. For me and for you.
Have courage and be kind. Who would have thought something to simple could be so powerful. Ella promises to follow these last words from her mother in a recent adaptation of Cinderella. In 2018, I’m going to follow them too.
Having courage is about believing in yourself and lifting yourself up, not being weighed down by the opinions of others, but pursuing your own passions and ambitions, dreams and inklings, ideas and paths. And being kind is about staying grounded throughout, by not forgetting where you come from, and being grateful for all that surrounds you – most especially those around you, from stranger to loved one. With a bit more courage and kindness, life can only be better. I’ll definitely be keeping these words close in 2018.
Many of us are scared to be alone with our thoughts. We’re scared of what they might say and how they might make us feel. We’re so plugged in and invested in other people’s worlds, but neglect out own. Here’s three reasons to tune into what’s going on inside your head.
Reason One: Find solutions
When we listen to our thoughts and emotions, it’s likely that we’ll shed light on insecurities, anxieties and fears. But don’t be afraid. Instead of burying them away, we can actually face them and find ways to conquer them. We’ll see they’re not untameable. We’ll start to untangle the problems and find ways to overcome them.
Reason Two: Set direction
When we get in touch with our thoughts and emotions, we begin to understand where we want to go. Sometimes we wander aimlessly because we’re lost. Sometimes we find ourselves walking a path because we’re following someone else. We’re not really thinking about what we want and where we want to go. But if you actually do take the time to think and listen, and you follow what your heart is saying, you’ll never be steered wrong.
Reason Three: Realise who you are
When we tune into our thoughts and emotions, we drown out the noise around us and find out who we are. That might be someone who doesn’t care what people think. That might be someone who stands up for what they believe in. That might be someone who sees things differently. Whoever you are, you don’t need to lock them away. Find out what you like and don’t like, where you want to go and what you want to do.
(Image: Kreesha Turner)
To me, feminism is about equality. It’s about a seat at the table, a voice, recognition. It’s about inclusion. It’s about transcending differences. To me, being a feminist means supporting each other – man or woman – not tearing them down. Being a feminist is about making room for everyone, not about being on top. Being a feminist shouldn’t be an embarrassment. It shouldn’t be an accusation. It shouldn’t only be for women. To me, the foundations of feminism are very real; women are treated as lesser to men in many ways all around the world, sometimes in places that feel so far removed from us, and sometimes right under our noses. To me, feminism is something we should all strive for – whether man or woman. How wouldn’t we all benefit from equality, opportunity and love? Let’s keep going until we don’t need to talk about it anymore. I know I will. #HappyInternationalWomensDay
Being honest is often daunting, but also liberating. Being honest with others and being honest with ourselves releases the weight of secrets, the pressures of pretence, and the tangles of a tale. We shouldn’t have to lie about who we are or what we do. It gets draining after a while, to the point where we can’t see a way out and life isn’t pleasant anymore. It might be daunting, but it’s true when they say that the truth will set you free.
Letting go of the past
It’s hard for us to forget our mistakes, and even harder for us to forgive ourselves. But whether we accept it or not, the past is done and dusted; it is written already. But that doesn’t mean the pen is out of our hands, that our story is already written. No, our story continues as long as we do. Whatever you do, don’t let it stop because of the past. There’s always time for a plot twist.
Following your heart
Don’t listen to others who tell you who to be, how to be, what to do, if you don’t agree. Whether it’s your family, your friends, your society, nobody has more power over you than you do. It’s exhausting trying to please everyone, meet their high standards, follow what is expected, because nobody’s outlook on life is the same. Nor should it be. Do you and be the best you that you can be. The rest will fall into place.
A little reminder for all of us, as we’re all equally responsible and able to make this world beautiful.
Inspired by Valentine’s Day, here are 14 random acts of kindness and love, from the priceless to the pricier, for any person in your life!
- Listening to someone’s worries and problems can be really therapeutic to the other person, as it lets them open up and release their anxieties.
- Check in with people who you know have been going through a rough time or who have been feeling lost, so they know they have a support system behind them.
- Say thank you to your parents, friends, colleagues, bus driver, barista, random strangers, anyone who helps you.
- Smiling goes a long way, for both ourselves and others. It can turn someone’s day around, make them feel more at ease, and pick them up.
- Complimenting someone instead of gossiping about someone not only boosts their self esteem, but it brings into focus the good rather than the bad.
- Open the door for someone, give up your seat for someone; they’re simple and effortless, but meaningful.
- Buy the meal for the stranger sitting in the same restaurant as you. Just think how their face will light up when they’re told they have nothing to pay on the bill!
- Buy a hot drink or hot food for the homeless person you pass by on your way somewhere. Everyone needs it, no matter what their story.
- Offer a service, whether it be babysitting the neighbour’s children, walking someone’s dog, reading to the elderly, tutoring a school kid, and so on.
- Donate the clothes, the furniture, the knick-knacks you don’t need anymore to your local charity shop. Or donate money to a cause you’re passionate about.
- Leave it a little surprise for someone, like some change in the laundromat or a note on the bathroom mirror. Paid for parking longer than expected? Give your ticket to someone just pulling into the car park.
- Bake some snacks (or just bring some snacks) into the office or for a group you attend.
- Support local businesses or start-ups in your area. We all have a dream and should support each other!
- Volunteer. It doesn’t matter what you do, just get out there and do it!
What would you add to this list?
(Image: Busy Being Jennifer)