When we’re aware of what brings us down, we can let it go and watch ourselves rise up.
The energy outside affects the energy inside. People who complain all the time, people who blame you for their problems, people who bring you down, people who laugh at your dreams, people absorbed in their own worlds, people who always take and never give, these are all toxic people, if they do it consistently. People who do not add any love or joy to your life aren’t worth keeping. It isn’t selfish to cut them out, take a break, or limit the time you see them.
Other people’s opinions
We’re haunted by other people’s words, opinions and thoughts. Maybe we want to please someone. Maybe we think someone knows better. Maybe we feel we don’t have a choice. But if we’re never listening to our own heart, we’ll never feel truly satisfied, content or excited about life. We’ll add water to the seeds of regret, bitterness and misery. Do what makes you happy; even if it doesn’t always work out, at least you’re following your own path.
Self-limiting and self-doubt
Many of us struggle with low self-confidence. In fact, we could probably argue that it’s nowadays a part of life, at one stage or another. We’re afraid of failure. We punish ourselves for mistakes. We think we’re not good enough or bright enough or beautiful enough. But it’s all in our head. You are good enough. You have to find that belief, that faith, that courage buried inside and see how much your outlook changes.
Trying to fit in
Finding someone to talk about is an ancient pastime; we often gossip to fit in, to connect with a group of people and exclude someone else. On the flip side, we’re afraid to be that person who is excluded. We compare ourselves to others, always trying to erase the things that make us different. We focus on what’s ‘wrong’ with ourselves and what we don’t have. Trying to fit in breeds self-doubt and self-loathing, which leads to negativity. Instead try embracing and loving yourself and doing the same for others.
(Image: created myself)
Tip One: Look inside
Sometimes we feel lost and look for guidance elsewhere. But ultimately, you’ll know what you want to do and who you want to be. And sometimes you’ll know how you want to get there. Sometimes we get distracted by other people’s plans for us and other people’s opinions about how our lives should be, often sold to us as their wisdom. But you should follow your own heart and instincts. And if you mess up, that’s ok – at least you’re being yourself and being true to who you are.
Tip Two: Stop comparing yourself to others
By all means, get inspiration from others and have role models to look up to. But remember that nobody’s path will be the same as yours and you’ll never be able to follow the footsteps of someone else. Comparing yourself with others will only highlight the flaws and gaps, that aren’t actually a bad thing. Forge your own path, take the road less travelled and focus on bettering yourself instead.
Tip Three: Take one step at a time
There may be loads of things you want to work on. Or maybe there’s just a couple. But you won’t change everything over night. Take your time and plan your time. Be realistic. Focus on one thing at a time and create a plan for it. Build a habit for one thing before incorporating something else. Don’t overwhelm yourself with lifestyle changes and restrictions and so on, because all it will do is push you back into the arms of your old self.
Sometimes we find it hard to set boundaries. We fall into bad patterns, succumb to bad habits, and end up blurring the lines. Sometimes we let our work lives encroach on our home lives. Sometimes we let our lack of confidence erase our record of successes. Sometimes we let people walk over us when we should be kicking them out our lives. But remember to keep maintaining those boundaries. They are what will keep us on the right track to happiness, what we want and what we deserve.
(Image: The Odyessey Online)
Don’t let anyone tell you what to do with your life. Don’t let anyone tell you what to do with your body. Don’t let anyone tell you what to do with your money. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not beautiful. Don’t let anyone tell you you won’t be successful. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do something. Don’t let someone tell you you’re smaller than them. Your life is your life. Your heart, your opinions, you passion, your voice should be the one you listen to above the noise of everyone else’s.
Tip One: Stop comparing yourself to others
It’s said time and time again, but we can’t seem to get away from it. But it’s so counter-productive! We’re all different. Some of us excel in certain things and some of us suck at them. We all have something we’re better at and worse at. We all in different stories, at different chapters, with equally beautiful endings. Start playing to your strengths and working on your weaknesses. Be better than you were yesterday, not better than the other person in the room.
Tip Two: Don’t just think it, say it
Thinking positively about yourself is harder than it sounds. But if we hear it, maybe we’ll start to listen. Stand in front of the mirror every morning and take a look at what you see. Let yourself know something you love about yourself and say it out loud. Or start the day with a positive affirmation out loud. It may feel weird at the beginning, but it will quickly sink in and transform your mindset.
Tip Three: Look at mistakes as spring boards
Failure and mistakes shouldn’t be looked at as the enemy. They’re actually the key to our success, but only if we act on them in the correct way. Instead of punishing yourself over mistakes you’ve made, focus on what you can learn from them and how you can use those teachings as fuel to greater success.
Tip Four: Gather some perspective
Sometimes we need to step out of our own heads and look at our situation from the outside. What would your friends say if they knew what you were saying about yourself? What would you say to a friend in a similar situation? Challenge yourself on the negative things you say to yourself and don’t be so hard on yourself. Most of the things we actually beat ourselves up on aren’t a big deal like we’re making them out to be.
Tip Five: Focus on solutions, not just problems
Sometimes we feel like we deserve the negative self-talk. But really it doesn’t do us any favours. When we talk negatively about ourselves, we’re often focusing too much on the problems instead of thinking about what we could do to solve them and thinking about the action. But focusing on the solutions will automatically move your mind to a positive space, and the problem won’t seem as bad.
We’ve been taught from a young age to hide away or fix away our flaws. But in the Japanese art of Kintsugi, broken pottery is mended with gold. It stands out on purpose. The art celebrates the cracks and the eventualities that led to those cracks. The pot is seen as something more precious than before. The pot is seen as something that was never truly broken. Just like in Kintsugi, there is beauty in our imperfections. There are stories in our scars. There is strength born out of our flaws. Let’s stop hiding them away. We are stronger and more beautiful for having been broken.
There’s an inherent need for us to fit in. But we’ll never be the same as each other, nor should we want to be. Let’s get comfortable with feeling different, feeling out of place, because we shouldn’t have to be anything but who we are and who we want to be. What sets us apart will get us much further than what blends in with everyone else. Make sure you embrace it.