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.
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.
We’re all afraid of the unknown. It’s our natural instinct – our body and our mind are trained to keep us safe, and therefore comfortable, so we cower away from what we don’t know. But imagine a life where we always know what’s coming next. Imagine a life where we can’t change the path we are on. Isn’t that more scary, a life without curiosity, surprise, excitement? Sure it’s daunting and life can be cruel and painful. But even those times make us stronger. The unknown gives life character. Let’s embrace and see where it takes us.
(Image: created myself)
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)
We are all powerful. But some of us abuse our power and some of us don’t realise we have any at all. Be mindful of how you’re using it or how you’re losing it. Power isn’t reserved for a few. And those who try to make it seem like that’s so are the ones who are trying to take your power away from you. But power isn’t just about being the one at the top. It can be about spreading positivity, standing up for something, pushing yourself forward, changing your mind, using your voice and so on. Don’t let anyone make you feel powerless. You are in control of your life.
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)