It’s all your choice

How do you want to feel today?

A few years ago, it hit me,  you can’t control other people.

No matter how much you want to change how they behave or even feel, you just can’t.

The only thing you have control over is you.

It’s up to me how I behave – well on the most part that’s true, maybe after a few drinks my level of self control is debatable, but that’s a different story all together.

But, knowing this still didn’t stop me from feeling sad because of others actions.

There must be more.

What if the emotions we experience are our own choice? What if I could choose my reaction to others. What if it was as simple as choosing happiness or sadness?

I sometimes feel like I have some sort of life bipolar, as I tick tack between feeling like I’m on top of the world, I’m on track for something amazing, everything is incredible and then for no reason whatsoever, things change. The black cloud comes over and everything is hopeless, I have no future, no prospects, nothing is going my way.

But, between those two states, nothing in my life had changed. Nothing particularly bad or particularly good had happened to cause such opposite emotions. And yet those feelings were real.

Maybe today is brighter or I had a great night’s sleep, whatever the reason, by simply viewing things differently, my whole world changed and I’m ready to take on anything.

Now it’s not realistic to ask myself in every new situation or every interaction, “how do you want to feel about this?” And I know that life is not this simple.

But, by getting clear on how we want to feel as a whole everyday, we’re able to keep the emotional tick tacking to a minimum.

So ask yourself this, how do you want to feel?

 

Is there room for both of us to love me?

I lost myself.

If my Dad was here right now, he’d say that was careless of you.

And the honest truth is, it was. It was no ones fault but mine. I stopped thinking about the things I need to do to keep me, me, and expected someone else to fulfil them instead.

I got lost in what we need, what they need, what you need. And the only person to blame is me. No one else is responsible for my state of mind, but me.

Before you, I spent so long on me, finding me, loving me, exploring me – it really was all about me. And it felt so good.

But, in reality that was all simply preperation for meeting you.

I wanted to love myself so someone else could love me the same way.

I love myself
I love myself
I love myself

And then, from this shiny place of love and confidence I was the most attractive I’ve ever been. It’s true what they say, the best way to find love, is to love yourself unconditionally.

But the self love quotes on Facebook seem to have missed out the next crucial step.

What happens after we find love, do we instantly give up on our self-love? Are we not capable of loving ourselves and someone else at the same time or is it that we blindly hand over the baton of love to the new partner and expect them to fulfill the role we once had played?

And so, somewhere between falling in love and everyday life I lost myself. I stopped doing the things I’d carved out to make me feel strong and independent. I stopped taking care of myself. I lost myself.

So now, it’s back to the beginning. The love I have for you is no different from the love I have for me, they both need time and affection to grow, and if I neglect one, the other will undoubtedly suffer.

 

Why your dreams aren’t big enough

I had this dream of traveling the world and writing a blog. I dreamed of writing in a way that inspired people to look at everyday things in a different light, or maybe in the same light but just with a little less judgement.

I know it’s not the most original dream – writing and traveling, but it was mine and I was going after it.

Now, after 8 months of plotting and planning I’m here, sat in the very moment I’ve been dreaming of.

There’s only one problem……. I don’t know what to do next.

The dream never went any further than getting here. I never actually imagined myself following things through. I never allowed myself to get into the detail of what was involved after.

Paralysed in this moment, there’s a sense of familiarity – I’ve been here before. Grand plans, but no follow through. I’m great at going after dreams, paint the perfect picture, sell the vision to get everyone on board.

But then after blast off, there’s nothing. I’m just left floating around until the next big idea, the next dream.

Maybe it’s self-sabotage or just bad planning. But why, when it comes to executing our dreams, the things that by their very definition we truly want, are we so often completely under prepared?

Take losing weight or getting fit for example – once you hit your target you can’t just stop trying. If you did, you’d end up back at the beginning.

There’s only one answer – dream bigger.

Look past the first glimpse of success and ask yourself, what comes next?

What does it take to make this dream sustainable?

By taking the time to explore every angle, every possibility and make some plans past the first accomplishment, you’re setting yourself up to not just tick your dreams off, but to actually live them.

Because, your dreams definitely don’t end here.

Why it pays to not follow the crowd

All I ever wanted, for as long as I can remember, was to have a family. I wanted all that traditional stuff, to marry someone I loved beyond question, have a beautiful home and start a family.

I also want to live on a boat and sail around the world or live in Mongolia and experience a totally different way of life. I dreamed of writing every day and contributing to the world, in my own way.

However, my desire to have the one thing society told me I ‘should’ want seemed to endlessly clash with my drive to follow my dreams and experience the world.

I want to feel at home and at the same time be free – as far away from routine as possible.

Ok, I know when you have kids you need some sort of stability, and adventurers need to be funded. But why should I give up when my dreams seem to contradict each other? And who is it that said they can’t go together?

It seems to me, we allow certain rules to dictate the way we live our lives – whether we agree with them or not. We blindly follow, unquestioning, even taking comfort in the constraints they offer.

But it hasn’t always been like that.

As children, we dare to dream. We conjure up wondering plans where we can do and be everything and anything our imagination allows.

Would it be so bad to step off the well trodden path of adulthood just for a minute?

I’m not saying go against the flow for the sake of it.

But when you get that urge, the drive to do something different, the kind of feeling that just won’t go away, and the world is telling you you can’t – well, maybe just once take that “can’t” as a suggestion, and follow your heart. Go against the grain, forget about the obvious route, create your own path, and jump!

Just jump.

Because let’s face it, nothing great was ever achieved by following the rules and fitting in.

 

Searching for happiness

I’ve always been in search of happiness.

Whenever I could make a wish when I was a child, I would only ever wish for one thing – to be happy.

Sometimes i’d wish it for myself and other times id wish for my two big sisters, but always for the same thing – to be happy.

Despite my early focus on happiness I would find myself from time to time in such deep sadness, even as a young child I just couldn’t shake it off.

I joined gyms, learnt to meditated, breathed deeply, found yoga, did workshops. But sooner or later the sadness would catch me up again. Like a dark cloud lurking round the next corner.

A few months before my 30th birthday, I was desperate. There was nothing about my life I felt proud of, it felt like it was falling apart. I was torn between two countries with no career to speak of and nothing I was passionate about. I was lost.

All I knew was I wanted to  be happy.

I had so much faith in the fact that if I felt happy in myself, truly happy, then everything else would fit into place.

I started to look again. I looked into anything and everything. If it promised happiness I was in!

There were more self help books, I even read ‘Men are from Mars women are from Venus’, which in a 1980’s sexist kind of a way was surprisingly helpful. I signed up for online courses and went to a meditation retreat – with a 24 hour vow of silence.

Nothing really made that much of a dent – but by focusing on what I enjoyed things slowly started to shift.

The one thing that changed everything, was stopping. Stopping and truly accept myself, the inside and the out.

Standing naked in front of the mirror and saying ‘I love myself’ over and over again.

As soon as I mastered that everything else fitted into place. I stopped trying to please everyone else and in that moment I was happy.

 

Don’t ask the universe

I love the notion that the universe provides; all you have to do is ask in the correct way.

But just when you think you’ve got it nailed. And you know what you want, and at last you’ve figured out the correct way to ask – it’s right in this moment that life knocks your feet out from under you and slaps you round the face.

Then, as you climb to your feet and before you’ve even had the chance to brush yourself off and decide what to do next – slap! You get hit round the face just one more time.

‘They’ say that things come in threes, so I suppose I should steady myself for another hit. Or would that be a self fulfilling prophesy? Am I inviting the universe to bitch slap me one more time simply because I believe things come in threes?

And so here I am, on guard, wondering what part of my request the universe didn’t like.

But I don’t believe in fate and refuse to accept what I am served as final. I think we make whatever happens to us in life work – because really, what other option do we have?

Stopping? Giving up?

And so rather than preparing myself for the third hit I’m going to stay on the floor for a little while longer considering my options.

I no longer feel hard done by, I am grateful that these circumstances are forcing me to consider a different route.

What comes next is up to me.

 

Self love v’s self destruct

Now I’m all for self love. In fact I would go as far as to say I was an advocate of self love.

But, from time to time I have found myself wondering what am I supposed to do when all the Yoga and organic dark chocolate in the world just won’t cut it.

I had been feeling it for a while – extra pressure with work, deadlines looming and bills hovering somewhere in the background.

Then finally I’m eye to eye with the weekend and somewhere not too far away I hear the words ‘fuck it’.

Would it be so bad to lose control and go wild?

Drop the responsibility I’ve been holding so close to my chest, rip up the budget I’ve been carrying around and have just one more drink…

Who cares if I don’t appreciate the morning, miss 6am yoga and waste tomorrow on the sofa eating pizza. And so what if I don’t save any money this month?

If practicing self love means always making the healthy choice for your body, then I have failed tonight and tomorrows most likely a write off too.

But then again, what if self love doesn’t actually mean this at all?

To me, self love simply means knowing myself well enough to drop all the rules and having the confidence to trust my choices – even when they’re bad.

And of course, accepting that sometimes you’ve just gotta dance until 3am.

“How well do you know yourself?”