Stop over-analysing. It probably isn’t as bad as you think, or as stupid as you think, or as embarrassing as you think. We blow up everything in our minds, and usually for the worst. Stop worrying. Stop creating problems where there are none. Just keep laughing, keep going, and keep being you. Keep living – even through those awkward moments.
Energies come and go like trains at a station. We won’t always be motivated or focused. We won’t always be positive or happy. We won’t always be how we want to be or how we feel we should be. We’re not machines. We need to accept that sometimes we break down, sometimes our heart isn’t in it, sometimes we’re sad, sometimes we’re tired. And that’s ok. We’re human. Let energies come and let them go.
It’s common for us to pretend we live in a perfect, happy life and we have the strength to fight all its battles alone. Sometimes we are happy. Sometimes we are strong. But it’s also OK to admit that we aren’t always happy and we aren’t always strong. Don’t harbour your sadness or anxiety inside. Don’t ignore it. To be free of it, we have to find our own way to release it. And that only begins by acknowledging it and by expressing it in one way or another. Be honest with yourself. Share your feelings with someone who you feel comfortable with and who you can trust. Express those emotions. It can only make you happier and stronger in the end.
Instinctively, we want to run from anything that may cause us to feel anxiety, fear, vulnerability, or discomfort. And of course, in many cases, that’s sensible. But sometimes stepping out of our line of comfort and going after what we want will invite those emotions we try to avoid. But don’t let that stop you. Otherwise we’ll just be avoiding living, shying away from progress and playing it safe. And we’ll realise, perhaps too late, that playing it safe isn’t playing at all. It’s boring and unsatisfying and limiting. Live a little, don’t just exist and let life pass by.
Honesty is hailed as a virtue, but often remains unpracticed by many of us. But honesty is not just a virtue, it’s vital. Honesty helps us develop more meaningful relationships. Honesty helps us figure out our next move. Honesty helps us come to terms with situations. We need to be more honest with others and we need to be more honest with ourselves. We need to be more honest about our feelings and our dreams. Because life’s too short to hide away who we are, how we feel, and what we want out of life. It might be uncomfortable, but it will also be healing and in the end liberating. Let’s open up what we shouldn’t ever hide away.
Hate is a deceiving emotion. We often think it makes us feel powerful, mighty and fierce. But hate is devious, manipulative and subtle. It slowly clouds over your mind. It slowly weighs you down. And it slowly eats away at your heart. Hate is a burden we carry without properly realising. It never does as much damage to another as it does to ourselves. Try practicing love instead. And I don’t only mean love in the traditional sense of kindness and passion. But also forgiveness, and if not forgiveness then acceptance, and if not acceptance then tolerance. Try practicing love with yourself as much as with others. It works wonders.
We often mistakenly associate acts of courage with great leaders and heroes. We often forget that courage lies within each of us. Courage doesn’t need to be on a large scale. We don’t have to put our life in the balance to be courageous. And we don’t need to be strong all the time to be courageous. No, courage can simply be admitting how you feel. Courage can be refusing to live by other people’s rules. Courage can be letting go or holding on. Courage can be choosing not to give up. Courage can be realising that you are your own hero. And that courage within will most likely nurture someone else’s courage too. Don’t be afraid of yourself, who you are and how you feel. Own it.
Sometimes we simply need to count to three. Inhale. Exhale. When the frustration starts to boil over, or the anxiety starts to consume us, or the sadness starts to overwhelm us, sometimes we’ve got to take a few seconds to breathe. Sometimes we’ve just got to remind ourselves that not all moments will be like this. If we’re having a bad day or a series of bad days, there’s no reason why we won’t ever have a good day. Counting to three won’t wash our problems away but it can at least bring us a little closer to an answer. Because when we breathe, we think more clearly. And when we think more clearly, well, our demons will eventually melt away.
In the depth of winter, I have learned that within me there lay an invincible summer ~ Albert Camus
I’ve been obsessed with A Great Big World’s album When the Morning Comes, so it’s hard to pick just one song off the album. But the song that drew me to the album in the first place was ‘Won’t stop running’. No matter how much darkness we have to endure, no matter how many times we fall, no matter how tightly our hands are tied, keep going. There’s something better waiting right around the corner.
Guy Winch’s ‘Why we all need to practice emotional first aid’ is most likely my favourite Ted Talk I’ve ever watched. Guy asks, why we treat physical health and pain differently to emotional health and pain? We need to start taking care of ourselves on the inside as much as on the outside. Loneliness, fear of failure, and loss, for example, are emotions we need to start acknowledging, tuning into, and doing something about. Let’s stop brushing our emotions off like they don’t or shouldn’t mean anything.
When we think about happiness, we automatically place it on the opposite side of the spectrum to sadness. But if we think about sadness, it does not only tear away our happiness but also builds it. Like the seed sprouting out of the soil or the dawn breaking over the horizon, true happiness can only be realised when sadness or its various other forms have had a hold on us. Sadness moulds us. It teaches us about ourselves. It strengthens us. We’d never truly understand happiness, gratitude, or resilience without sadness. Don’t fight it, because nobody can ever be free of it. Instead, thrive in it.