Going With The Flow- Keeping An Open Mind

I am very much in the “go with the flow and see what happens” mentality at the moment and it’s actually quite freeing. Instead of letting myself get hung up over what ifs and buts, I’m saying to myself whatever happens, happens.

Its proving to be quite effective. I don’t feel obsessed over the small things, especially the aspects of my life I can’t control.

Please don’t mistake going with the flow for someone who doesn’t care or is carefree, I simply mean, I am trying my hardest to live my life with an open mind. I’m keeping my future path loose and fluid, with the idea that if one option doesn’t pan out the way I would like it to, then I’m not seeing it as a set back, merely one door that has closed.

We don’t know what the future holds but anxiety leads us to believe we do. We worry and stress over every little aspect of our lives. Whether it’s something seemingly as simple as someone not texting us back, we think the worst. I’ve seen it in myself in the past and friends in the present and I’m sure they’ll be plenty of people in the future going through the same situations. What we have to learn is that we can’t control everything.

Once we learn that, it suddenly becomes a freeing mentality which opens you up to so many opportunities.

When Derren Brown the illusionist placed money on the ground in front of a group of people he’d questioned before, the focus group who said and believed that they weren’t lucky didn’t see the money on the floor, whereas the people who said they felt lucky sometimes or more often than not, saw the money. It was an interesting psychological experiment which shows us that belief and your mental state can impact your life quite dramatically and in order to combat negative emotions, we should be actively opening ourselves up for opportunity.

Obviously with opportunity comes vulnerability but being vulnerable can also help us to develop as human beings. Being rejected from a job or a relationship hurts, don’t get me wrong, but with each experience we grow and we learn what we like about ourselves and what we don’t through other people’s criticism. This is why rejection hurts so much. We have a twisted sense of self, we believe that we are the protagonists of our own story, that other people are there to forward our adventure and in some aspects we’re right. We should be positive, be looking at constantly moving forward but we also shouldn’t have such a closed view on life.

Sometimes we’re the sidekick in someone else’s adventure. If we all went around thinking we were the hero of the story then there would be no story to be told.

Even sometimes, on our worst days, we’re the villains of someone’s story. It’s in these days we have a lot to learn about empathy and how to treat those around us.

Life, as I see it, is about experience. We have adventures, we love, we explore and reach new and exciting highs. We experience heartbreak and sorrow and incredible lows, even to the point where some of us don’t want to be on this earth anymore. But life is worth living for both the highs and the lows. It’s worth exploring the opportunities that are presented to us and keeping our path fluid with an open mind.

I thought that I would be stuck unemployed for months while on lockdown but during this time I’ve not only found myself a few odd jobs for people but was also head hunted by my old bosses friend. It was an unexpected surprise and has led me to the current freelance job I have today.

Maybe I believe in karma. Maybe I believe that I’ve had a lot of bad juju in the past few years and I’m finally receiving some well deserved positive vibes. Maybe I don’t believe in it. Maybe I think we are in control of our lives through the ways in which we choose to live mentally.

What do you think? Do you believe in karma?

Until next time.

Are You A People Pleaser?

It’s incredibly unhealthy as adults to require the approval of others in order to feel fulfilled in our own lives. Regardless of this fact, there are an incredible amount of people who feel the need to please, even when this behaviour can cause more harm than good.

But why? Surely if we’re pleasing people then our lives will be easier, more manageable? When we want to please our friends, family or coworkers doesn’t making them happy just make sense?

Well, in short, no. Spending time making others happy is prioritising their emotions over our own for starters which in turn causes us to doubt our self worth. Suddenly other people’s thoughts and opinions are more valid than ours because we have conditioned ourselves to think this way.

With the fluctuating moods of people, we also can’t control someone else’s happiness. Some days they are just destined for a low mood. It is not up to us to make them feel better. Sure be a good friend and be on hand but don’t make their happiness your number 1 priority above your own.

Have you noticed this sort of behaviour in yourself? Have you noticed that when your friend is sad that you almost absorb their sadness with them? Do you feel as if it’s your duty to try and control the situation? Do you feel like sometimes you’ll agree to something even when you don’t want to? As if by saying no you’ll rock the boat?

If you answered yes to any of the above then, like me, you have reached the first level of self improvement: awareness.

When we’re aware of what makes us tick and how we act in situations, we can adapt and improve with time and become better, more well rounded and happier individuals.

I’ve learnt to look at my own behaviours in life and try to better myself for my own happiness. I have looked at who I am, flaws and all, and accept myself for who I am and you should do the same. Without criticism, look inside yourself and all your behaviours, both good and bad and accept yourself for who you are. It’s important to note that at this stage acceptance is not complacency, and it is simply a stage we must meet before we can move forward and begin our adjustments.

Much like when we’re told to put the oxygen masks on ourselves before helping someone else in an airplane, we need to look after ourselves before we can offer assistance to others. It’s that age old saying of trying to fill up someone’s cup with an empty jug.

In order to build upon what we’ve already developed, we need to learn to speak up when we feel wronged without the fear of judgement, say no once in a while and tolerate when someone criticises us without taking it to heart. Not everyone can like you, it would be unfair to put that much pressure on yourself to think that way.

Once we learn how to deal with the fact that we are not mind readers and cannot possibly get everyone to like us, we can move onto building a more positive community around us. Of people who aren’t afraid to criticise us and help us to grow. These relationships we choose to have around us give us strength to be vulnerable around people and speak our mind more freely. I have a few select friends who give me love and support when I need it but also take no shit. If they don’t agree with me then they’re going to say so. It’s not because they’re trying to be mean but they want the best for me without seeking my approval.

In the same way we develop physical relationships, our online relationships should also reflect these ideologies. We often spend too long on social media chasing that dopamine high from likes on our photos or comments which is another form of validation we think we don’t need but can’t help but want.

In this case, I’m trialing a separation between myself and Facebook. We’ve been together since 2007 and I have grown up with it close to my heart ever since. I was part of a generation that could reach out to friends after school or college through social media but some of those so called friends were influencers on my behaviour today. I was the less listened to person in the group, the one with the loud laugh because I knew it caught their attention, I was not validated by these people and it made me feel rubbish. Now I have taken this trait forward and I don’t much like it. I no longer have the loud laugh and I’m getting better but I can tell the background noise is still there, still impacting me to this day.

As I’ve hit more and more milestones, I’ve witnessed these so called friends hit more and they seem happy, as if life has handed them lemons and they’ve built a lemonade empire. But this is the impact of social media. No one posts about their bad days, only their good ones. There are no unedited photos on their featured sections, no unemployed statuses or mental health posts. We see what they want us to see and what we see we compare ourselves to. It’s simply not real and validation from these types of platforms are superficial and cause fake highs.

I think we need to adjust our perspective.

We need to learn to not be so selfish in thinking that everyone will love us. We need to accept that everyone we meet is different and like a joke, we’re going to meet people who find it funny and those who don’t. We need to learn that criticism mostly comes from a place of love, our friends and family want to see us succeed and help us to grow.

We need to learn to love ourselves, take care of ourselves and let our self esteem expand.

Ultimately, if we can let go of our anxieties and go with the flow a bit more, we should end up living happier and more well rounded lives.

Until next time.



Dancing My Way To Happiness: Salsa Edition

I’m attempting the ‘yes lifestyle’. It’s where I say yes as often as I can to new and exciting experiences where before I would have said no out of fear.

So, as a bid to get me out of the flat for an evening and socialise with new people, each Tuesday the Mansion Lions Hotel in Eastbourne hosts salsa dancing lessons to complete beginners right up to those who are more advanced (doing spins and shit).

It was an opportunity which arose when my friend Ruth offered up the evening one afternoon while I was feeling crappy and I took a leap of faith and agreed to give it a go. What was I going to lose? An evening alone at home again? Good.

I’m not going to lie and say that the initial walk down to the hotel wasn’t rife with um’s and err maybe I should turn around’s but I pursued and did the one thing that day that scared me shitless.

And I can safely say, I am so proud of myself for going. I can say I’ve learnt the basic steps and would be able, since I’m the woman and can be led in the dance, to take my new found steps into a salsa club which opens up so many new and exciting ventures for the future.

It’s a shame I didn’t have a partner to go with as it’s something that would really suit a couple, however, it didn’t matter. Since you’re constantly swapping and changing partners in the class anyway I was able to go as a solo dancer.

It was an incredibly fun evening and it was one of the first days in the week where I’ve actually felt truly comfortable in my own skin which is something I haven’t been able to say in a long time. I feel like I’m beginning to come to terms with what it means to be me and how I am outside of a relationship and surprisingly, I’m getting on quite well with her.

I’m beginning to see what they mean when they say you need to love yourself before you can love anyone else because although I have felt love before, it’s always been shadowed with this concern that I am somehow not good enough but I’m starting to think that single life has changed that outlook.

So I never thought I’d say this but thank you to my ex. You were the catalyst which forced me into a situation I needed to be in but wouldn’t necessarily put myself in. I’m learning who I am and it wouldn’t have happened without you.

So yes, ultimately heartbreak led me here but I feel like I’m slowly but surely putting the pieces of myself back together, only this time in a different order. Maybe this time the puzzle pieces will align in the right places.

And who knows what the future will hold. There may be the opportunity to love again, but only when I am truly comfortable with myself.

Until next time.

P.s for those of you who fancy it, why not join me at salsa this Tuesday 7.30pm at Mansion Lions Hotel, Eastbourne?