Why do we give it away?

When it comes to relationships, I have been known to jump in. Head first and an optimistic heart – ready for the next adventure. And I know I’m not the only one.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. It makes for great passion and in the beginning amazing fun.

When he was into raving, I die my hear blue and grab a couple of glow sticks. If he’s into motor bikes, I find myself trackside cheering on my favourite riders. I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with being adaptable and open, I’ve had some much fun and never did anything I didn’t want to do.

It’s just sometimes it goes a little too far.

The problem is, when someone else’s life takes president over yours and you don’t give your own interests and hobbies as much focus and enthusiasm as you do theirs.

So from time to time i’ve found myself in this place. I become so submerged in their wold, I can’t remember what I like to do for myself. I’ve lost friends, given up hobbies and even quit jobs, all in the interest of the relationship.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not a push over, no one made me do it, it’s always been my own choice and it’s always felt so good in the moment. It’s only when I’ve had the time and space to step back and ask what exactly do I do for myself? That I’ve realise, somewhere along the line, I forgot about me.

I don’t want to say no to new things or not get involved in a partners life, just because I didn’t suggested it. There has to be a way we can meet in the middle?

Are we afraid of looking selfish, or saying no? Or is it that I genuinely don’t mind what we do? When I’ve been single I’ve had no issues coming up with great things to do. It just seems, as soon as I’m in a relationship I throw them away.

Is it possible to have balance and maintaining the things we love as well as being present in someone else’s life?

I guess the first step is identifying the things you love. I’ve never been hard core at anything and I don’t have a hobby that takes over my life and demand every weekend. Perhaps if I did the boundaries would be easier to maintain. But I don’t, I like going for breakfast with my friends and writing my blog, which seem to be easily shifted to make space for other things.

But it shouldn’t matter what the activities are that we love to do, the important thing is that we do them for the right reasons. And that reason is you.

Maintaining your sense of self doesn’t have to be a grand gesture of independence, it can be as simple as your morning run, drinks with friends or taking your partner to see a play.

Remember what makes you shine and keep on doing it!

Why I’m selfish

Being selfish has never been a good look. I get it, being nice to other people is important.

However, if you don’t put yourself first and be selfish, I know from experience it’s super hard to be there for others.

I’m a crappy friend when I need a bit of me time. I’m a shitty girlfriend when I make everything about him and when work takes over, I eventually run out of steam and quit.

But, when we’re constantly told not to be selfish, how do you make it more about you?

The saying goes “you can’t pour from an empty cup” – that is, you can’t give away what you haven’t got. So how do you fill up your cup?

For the longest time, I thought my problem was that I didn’t know what I wanted. I didn’t know what made me happy. I’d try writing lists of things I liked to do, but never ended up doing them.

As I looked at my latest list, I realised the issue wasn’t knowing what I wanted, the issue was that I wasn’t prepared to make it a priority. I never made space in my life for doing the things that made me feel like me. And slowly but surely those things slipped away.

It’s not a matter of having time, it’s always amazing what you can fit into a day when your being productive. It’s a matter of boundaries. The amount of me time I have is no one else’s responsibility, and it’s no one else problem if I made it to the gym or not.

And, if I want to there for you, i’ve got to be there for me first.

Whatever makes you shine hold onto and don’t let go – even if a better offer comes along. I promise that offer will still be there after you’ve been to the gym or meditated.

How to get out of a slump

As the rain hits the window and then slides gently down, it appears to me that even the rain has more purpose and direction then I do right now.

On any other rainy day I’d welcome the perfect reason to stay inside and work. But not today. Today I don’t feel like doing anything. It’s as those the rain has handed me an invitation to do nothing and I’m taking it.

Any sense of pride or self care has left me, I throw on my boyfriends old jumper and tie back my hair into a green Pepper Pig hair band. I was going to go for a swim, but not today. Today I choose not to look in the mirror, as a way of avoiding the consequence of my actions.

Now I’m all for a duvet day, but one of choice and not by default. A duvet day is a glorious celebration of pyjamas, me time and T.V and that is not what’s happening today.

As I hang off the fridge door one more time, I feel equal amounts of sadness and surprise when I realise  nothing new has arrived. There’s no yummy cake or left over heart warming Shepherds Pie – I’m not much of a cook and live on the other side of the world to my mum, so where this Shepherds Pie or cake would come from, I have no idea!

In my disappointment I reach once more for the left over Easter eggs. These eggs have been hidden away from my step kids for some months, in the hope they’d forget just how many they got. But I didn’t forget, I know exactly where they are! They don’t even taste very nice but once more I break a bit off and stick it in my mouth.

This has got to stop!

Now, I have to admit this is not my first time. Me and this feeling go way back. It floors me every time and strips me bare of all my motivation and pride.

But despite my seemingly submissive behavior, I have learnt a few things from each visit.

I have a small list of things that make me feel good and another list of things that make me feel bad. On days like today my brain likes to hide the knowledge of these lists as far away as possible, some where behind the Shepherds Pie recipe perhaps.

But, over the years I’ve noticed that when I’m flying and life just seems to click into place – that’s when I’m doing as many of the items on the good feelings list as I possibly can. And when I fall off the wagon, well today is what happens.

I grab hold of this knowledge with both hands and take a deep breath. The first step is always small, just get to the pool, ‘you don’t even have to swim’ I tell myself.

 

The stories I’ve made up about you

I have a running conversation in my head and it’s not just with myself. I imagine conversations I might have with people I know and then I make up their response. More often than not it’s a negative conversation. Sometimes it’s a friend picking me up on my shitty behavior or my boss pulling me up on my bad mood. Whatever the situation I always have the best answers to their reprimanding.

Apart from the obvious issues with having a chat with yourself, there are a few other problems with speaking on behalf of someone else, even if it’s in your own head. The biggest issue is you have absolutely no way of knowing how the other person feels about this situation, let alone might actually say in reality.

Now, as our brains are constantly looking to make sense of the world we live in, we join the dots where possible. And, when there is no obvious connection we make it up. This creation of a story will always reinforcing the view you already have, because after all it’s you making it up. Whatever you believe you’ll find ways to confirm.

As I run though these made up scenarios in my head and allow myself to play every role, I muster an emotional response towards these people, and just like that, my brain subconsciously applies it to real life.

With very pieces of information (fiction or real) I construct a linear story that reinforces my views of the people I know and the world we’re in.

As I write this I can’t help but wonder if anyone else is doing the same thing inside their head? And if they are, how different is their world must to mine? Have they already made up my responses and crafted an image of who they believe I am. Will they even be able to hear me if I answer differently to what they believe? Do our realities ever cross?

All I can do is consciously tried to stop myself when I feel those stories stirring in my head.

 

Getting to the bottom of things

There’s no denying it, it all feels like too much today.

Certain life choices with unknown out comes loom over head, bigger and scarier than ever, while the daily practice of functioning like a normal adult human just seems like too bigger task for me.

Looking around, it’s as though my surroundings reflect the inside of my head. 100 jobs started and not finished, too many good intentions to count, disorder rules – it’s a mess.

I look to my phone, surely this faithful distraction will take the edge off. But in a rare moment it looks blankly back at me, as if to say “don’t even think about it.”

I’m stuck here, in this moment forced to take it in. And, unless I want to stay here forever, lost in the disorder, starting but never finishing, I’d better find a different rout out.

But, when you don’t even know what the problem is, how could you possibly find a solution.

For me, it’s with 3 simple ‘why’ questions.

Q1. Why are you feeling like this?

  • There’s too much to do, nothing is getting done, I’m late with everything, it feels like chaos.

Q2. Why is nothing getting done?

  • Because I keep getting distracted.

Q3. Why are you distracted? 

  • I’ve got so much on my plate, I don’t know where to start.

Obviously you could ask why forever and this example is a pretty basic one. But this exercise is useful non the less.

For me it cuts through the surface level emotion and gets to the point – I’m feeling over whelmed and with so much to do I don’t know where to start.

All that’s left to do now is find a good starting point, work out what exactly needs doing and how I’m going to get it done.

 

 

Even free spirits thrive on routine

I hate routine, at least I used to think I did.

As a serial short term employee, I craved new and exciting experiences.

As soon as I’d mastered a role, when the everyday tasks become a repetitive chore, and it all got a bit too samey, I would polity but ever so efficiently exit the building.

Soon enough this behaviour led me to the only logical conclusion; I would only be happy if my life was forever changing. Never the same, never stuck in routine. I craved freedom and adventure, I am a free spirt, don’t hold me down.

Perhaps I was looking at things from the wrong angle…….

Studies have been done across all areas of success, from loosing weight to running a business and they all point back to one common trait – dedication to routine. Not just for a few days or even weeks, but repetitively acting in a certain way, day after day, and not stopping at the first sign of success, but setting this new way of life in stone.

Think back to any point in your life when you’ve felt great. A time when you were killing it.

Without a shadow of doubt for me, it was a time when I had my morning routine nailed. I did the same actions, at the same time, in the same order, every single day.

Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t for the full day –  just a simple morning routine of hot water and lemon, a walk, writing and a coffee. The point is I wasn’t bored, I didn’t crave change, I was actually the happiest I’ve ever been and, when my circumstances changed, I took it with me and life continued to fly in the right direction.

Perhaps I’ve had mundane routines confused with creative rituals all this time? Or maybe it’s as simple as being the creator of your own routine that’s important.

Whatever it is, for me a little bit of a routine goes a really long way. Waking up and not having to think about the first actions I need to take seemed to throw me out of bed with out question and sets me up for the best day I could possible have.

What’s your routine?

Pissed off therapy

I’ve been trying to ignore it but it won’t go away. I’ve been dancing around in the hope it will disappear, desperately trying every strategy to shake it off.

But it’s still there.

There’s the big issues, the ones that you give yourself permission to feel, because you know they’re a big deal. And most days I can take them in my stride.

And then there’s the smaller issues, the kind of things that are so small I shouldn’t even acknowledge them and yet, it is the weight of these little dramas that seem to send my whole world toppling over, spinning out of control – like the guy who beeped at me in the car park and then stole my space, or the fact we don’t have any milk in the fridge.

It’s all just too much.

So today i’m trying a different tactic. I’m putting my positive mantras down and diving into a whole world of pissed off.

I’m allowing myself one hour to be totally annoyed.

In this one hour i’m going to indulge in the feelings. I’m going to list every single little thing that is getting on my nerves, making me sad, mad or just generally pissing me off.

If it’s a person i’m writing them a letter, with no intention of them receiving it I can let loose.

I’m going to dive in, fully embrace and totally explore these feelings. I give myself full permission to be pissed off, annoyed and as emotional as I want.

However, when the hour is up, that’s it, we’re done, it’s over.

Step two: 

Taking a different pen and setting one more timer on my phone.

In this next hour I address each and every point on the page. It’s incredible what a difference letting the problems out has. Having to not just articulate what’s annoying me, but also write it down. The smaller issues seem to instantly dissolve away and the bigger ones are clear now and easier to tackle.

And just like that I feel better, even lighter.

Why it won’t work

Have you ever faced a seemingly impossible idea, but known with every single part of your body, it’s the right thing to do?

Have you ever been so sure of the path you’ve chosen that when you achieve it, it feels like the whole world conspired together to make it work for you?

Like a satisfying game of Tetris, all the pieces fit perfectly together, simply clicking into place, making you the ultimate champion.

For one year, it felt like I had that.

Every crazy idea just seemed to work out, every ridiculous scheme came together seamlessly.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy. There was plenty of stress, late nights and hard work. I was on this crazy rollercoaster and everything was going right.

The only problem is, it goes the other way too. Sometimes it just feels like the whole world is working against you and nothing will work out.

There’s something I want so much I’m sure of it, but I just can’t get my shit together.

Something feels wrong and no matter how hard I try, or how much I want it, I simply can’t line all the pieces up.

And, as the feeling that everything’s spiralling out of control takes over, I finally realise it’s not the world, it’s me that’s stopping things from working. It’s the pieces on the inside that aren’t alined yet.

I’m a big believer in following your gut, or perhaps it’s intuition. Either way, there’s no denying that when things feel right on the inside, when you’re so sure that what you’re doing is the right thing for you – that’s when everything lines up in the outside world.

So rather than looking first to external forces that seem to trip us up at every turn, it’s time to look inside and ask yourself what’s holding you back?

Mantra this, and change your life

To say I didn’t enjoy school, would be an understatement.

I remember being 15 years old, and trying to make the walk to school last as long as humanly possible.

I started to notice a pattern on the days I dreaded going in. I would find myself repeating in my head over and over again, “It’s going to be a horrible day”. I think I honestly believed that if I prepared myself, it wouldn’t matter if it was a bad day, because I’d already called it.

And of course, it always was.

Then one day I decided to try something different. I started to repeat in my head, over and over again, “today is a great day”.

I remember it feeling so forced, and I’m sure I rolled my eyes with every repetition.

But, I kept doing it, the whole walk to school.

Today is a great day.
Today is a great day.
Today is a great day.

I’m not sure what was more annoying, the fact it worked, or the fact I actually did have a good day. But, none the less things got a little bit brighter.

Ever since then, I’ve used matras to keep me and my mind on the right track.

I repeat a short phrase to myself, over and over again, most often while I’m walking somewhere.

I’ll say anything from “I love myself”, to “I am successful”. And, from time to time I still find myself repeating the words, “today is a great day”.

The trick is to talk in the first person and as if it’s already true. Try not to use any negative words, like not. Because, your brain can’t identify them and only hears the instruction.

So if you say “I am not late” over and over, all your brain hears is “I’m late, I’m late”. And with the power of matras being what it is, you’ll most definitely end up being late.

And that’s it. Just pick something you want and start saying it over and over again.

It doesn’t even matter whether you believe it or not at first. All that matters is that you say it, over and over again.

From brightening your mood to increasing productivity, mantras will change the way you view the world.

What are you waiting for? Give it a go right now.

A lesson in not giving a f*#k

The less f*#ks you give, the happier you’ll be.

As I zipped up my old hoody, I looked down to admire how close in colour it actually was to the washed out, horribly fitting tracky bottoms I had also chosen to wear that evening.

It was clear that a long time ago both these garments were very different colours, but not anymore.

As I headed out into the street, knowing this outfit choice was not my finest, my instincts told me – this is the moment you’ll bump into every ex and their beautiful, well dressed, pristine girlfriends!

I shrugged off that feeling and replaced it with this thought, – the less you give a f*#k, the happier you’ll be.

That sat much better with me in my current state.

Happily, I trotted down the dark street, and collected the beers. I held my head high as I announced my arrival at the pizza shop and then promptly scurried back to the safety of home.

I may look slightly homeless I thought, but I’m definitely happy.

But, what exactly had I stopped giving a f*#k about?

Had I stopped caring about how I felt? Or what other people thought of me? And, could caring about either of these things, really be holding me back in the happiness stakes?

I decided to test it out. The next morning I picked out the smartest outfit I could find – it wasn’t exactly a ball gown, but it was the best I had. I did my hair and slapped some make up on.

It felt good.

Caring about how I looked made me feel happy too, it also seemed to make my boyfriend happy. Clearly officewear was more up his street than hobo chic.

I know it’s pretty obvious that caring what other people think doesn’t get us anywhere. But it’s easy to forget, what we think and feel about ourselves drives almost every emotion we have.

So next time I decide to not give a f#*k, it will be about what other people think, and not how I feel about myself.