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.



Is Lockdown The Perfect Time To Get Things Done?

Lockdown has given us the opportunity to get things ticked off our to do lists which we haven’t had time to do in our busy pre-lockdown lives. Whether it’s finally getting round to read that book you’ve been meaning to read, or play that game, or work on that project, we’ve reached a time when we seem to have endless amounts of free time to get stuff done. However, things are still not getting done.

The washing still piles up, that skirting board you’ve been meaning to touch up with paint still goes untouched, and you’re still kicking yourself because you haven’t spoken to that family member as much as you think you probably should.

It makes a statement about us. No matter how busy, or not busy we are, we will only make time for the things which interest us or at least itch at us enough for us to do it.

It’s still important to try to motivate ourselves regardless.

Admittedly at the moment, we can’t travel, we can’t see friends or family in the flesh and we can’t have a cold pint in the local pub or eat fresh grub in our favourite restaurants, however, what we can do, and what we’ve done for thousands of years, is adapt to our current living situation. If we can learn how to make fire and hunt food, we can learn how to relax and feel more comfortable in our own skin.

Time is still moving forward, contrary to my last post, at a slower and a much calmer pace than before but it is still moving and we have to learn how to move at this reduced pace.

People have been adapting, just look at the sheer amount of sponsored posts on social media, the increased influencer posts from small businesses trying to grab your attention. People are trying to make the best of the lockdown and I truly believe that this is the opportunity to better ourselves in one way or another.

We could learn a new language and broaden our horizons, take the time to catch up and get on top of our chores because once we do, we’ll feel a whole lot less pressure. We can exercise and work on our fitness so we can show off at the beach when we’re able to visit. We can work on our business, bite sized chunks at a time, to keep our options open and our brains active.

Most importantly, we need to learn that just because it feels like it right now, as we sit in our homes, time has not stopped, and neither should we.

Keep moving, keep bettering ourselves so when we see each other next we can compliment each other on how we’ve grown.

Until next time.


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Stepping Out Of Your Comfort Zone: Learning To Manage Anxiety

I am not a sports fan but with the football associations annual turnover of £318m its safe to assume that football generates a lot of interest for the UK’s population. To be perfectly honest, I’ve never got the hype. As someone who grew up in a sports-oriented household, I’m pretty sure I have a firm grasp of how the games play out (and yes, that includes the offside rule) but have never really enjoyed sitting and watching the games.

Yesterday, however, I met with a few fans at the local pub and took in the atmosphere.

Surprisingly, I enjoyed the afternoon, regardless of the anti-football stance I had previously stood by.

A friend of mine commented that the abundance of testosterone in the room must have been comparable with that of war and how the sheer will and determination of the bodies in the room were similarly buzzing with anticipation. It was an interesting point and made me assess the situation with new eyes.

It is incredibly easy to get locked up in our own bubble of comfort, see the same friends, experience the same situations time and time again but this is how we slip into old habits, anxiety rears its ugly head and some of us slip back into depression. In order to break the cycle, we must ensure to sever the ties to normality once in a while, step out of our comfort zones and try something we were maybe opposed to doing previously.

Anxiety is a terrible thing but with practice we can manage our emotions, learn to control our behaviour and much like exercising to tone up, we can strengthen our brain, become more accustomed to situations that make us uncomfortable.

Obviously, I am not condoning actions that cause us pain or anger or anything that causes panic attacks, what I am suggesting is doing one thing a week that maybe you’ve been putting off because of your worry. For instance, I had been putting off having my hair cut for a seemingly silly reason: I find talking to hairdressers can be a little awkward, forced, and in my eyes there is nothing worse than small talk but I still called up and booked an appointment which I had on Saturday. Yes, it was an awkward experience but I feel healthier for doing it, as not only is my hair feeling more managable but I feel happy that I was able to take that step to owning my own life.

Control takes time and with time we can take back control of our lives.

How will you take control of your life this week?

Until next time.