I have been really trying to reflect more and yesterday, it dawned on me that many times in my life when I should have been welcoming amazing things that the universe sent me, instead I didn’t think I was worthy of them, so I pushed them away. I asked myself why I felt this way and I honestly have no idea but as always, it must have stemmed from past experiences. Its so sad how experiences stop us from living a great life. ‘I am enough’, ‘I am worthy’ are 2 things I am trying to tell myself daily but its hard to tell yourself something when for so long you haven’t truly believed it but I am determined, determined not to push good things away anymore, determined to attract things to me that I truly deserve. I wish there was a place you could go to and delete all the negative past experiences that have conditioned your behaviour, thoughts and feelings but then I guess its those experiences, positive or negative that have actually helped to get me here today and that I must be grateful for.
I think we all need to practice more self love. Finding love in others is easy and so is others seeing why they love you but what about finding love within yourself? I know for a fact I don’t love myself enough, I can put on a face and act like I am the most happy/confident person I know but deep down the story is different, so I decided to look at myself more and try to find things I love about myself, let me tell you, it wasn’t easy, but it was necessary. So what do I love about myself?
- I love my long legs. I have photos of me as a child where my torso looks a quarter of the size of my legs but growing up, I feel this has actually been a gift and I proudly wear heels to make them look even longer.
- I love my determination. I have had many people tell me how determined I am but I hadn’t really noticed it myself but when I put my mind to something, I am so determined to get there and I love being this way.
- I love my shoulders. I have known this one for a while and I know the kind of clothes that will help to show off this part of my body, which of course I take advantage of.
- I love my drive and motivation. On good days, I have such great focus, I get so much done, I have always motivated myself and driven myself and I have a lot of get up and go which makes me so proud.
- I love my lips. My sister always teased me about my lips, lets say they are slightly bigger than the average but actually that is an asset and think of all the money I am saving on surgery.
- I love my ability to love. The fact I love so much and so quickly has always worked for me, I have wonderful friends, family and a husband and I know I have drawn these to me because of the love I give. When I meet people, I have to share how I feel, this actually comes from not saying it enough to a loved one when I was 16, that was when I decided to change myself and make sure I always shared my love if I felt it.
- I love how fast I learn. Being a fast learner is such a gift, I am so proud to say I learn fast, this doesn’t just help in an educational setting but in everyday life, it also massively helped when I changed career and retrained without going back to study and it helps me everyday.
I will stop there! I always thought loving yourself was arrogant but the problem is, if you don’t love yourself, how can you expect others to?
So what do you love about yourself?
Some days I wake up feeling irritated with all kinds of emotions that come from I don’t know where and when you don’t know where they come from or why, how are you supposed to fix them?
I wrote a few weeks ago about a trigger for the sadness but what do you do when there is no trigger? Today was one of those days, I woke up after a night of battling with bad sleep (which is never a good way to wake up) and I was irritated, I felt emotional and angry and trapped and lost all at the same time. Although I don’t know what to do when I feel this way, I have identified how difficult I can be when I project these feelings on to others.
I had gone out to do the usual Saturday chores and ended up meeting a friend for coffee, someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression for many years, this time being the worse. As I sat and listened to her talk about how she was feeling, she strung a note with me.
‘I am tired of fighting this, if I feel down, I feel down, that’s just the way it is so I have decided to accept it, I no longer want to pretend everything is ok. One day it will be and when I feel I want to do something about it, I will but until that day, I will just feel how I feel’
I try so hard to fix how I am feeling, I beat myself up about it looking for solutions but the truth is, sometimes, there aren’t any, so what she said made complete sense. Weirdly enough as I came home and thought about it, I already felt better, I had a little cry and then I just was, I even baked!
It does really come down to how you are feeling inside and only you can make yourself feel better and if you can’t then thats fine, just accept it and be true to yourself! All these motivational videos are great and they do motivate but they also force you to be positive when sometimes it just isn’t that easy. The people in them have been through their struggles and come out the other end but there is also no guarantee they won’t still have sad days, not everyday is going to be great but a new day will come and that you know for sure.
Today I also did something else different, I made the voice in my head be a more understanding one, it is usually quite harsh, its a real fighter, always looking for answers but would you choose to be friends with someone who is harsh? who always asks you why? who constantly fights with you? because I know I wouldn’t in fact I think I would try my hardest to stay away from that kind of person, so why am I inviting it into my life? I feel like you need so many mechanisms to help you get through the days and although not all of them work, I am so grateful to be seeking them, I am grateful they exist, from meditation to motivational speeches to positive affirmations, all available to help you get through the dark days. It can be really overwhelming but I am so determined to find my way that I won’t stop trying and that I am also grateful for.
I am usually the kind of person who avoids dealing with grief and sadness, its like its not ok to be sad but today I decided to try a different approach and this is how it worked.
So, I woke up today as normal, did my routine of meditation, gratitude, motivational video and breakfast but then I switched on my phone and up popped memories from 2008, a video of a dinner date with a friend I no longer speaker and there it was, this feeling of sadness. Now let me explain, it wasn’t like we fought or had an bad blood, unfortunately circumstances were that we were no longer allowed to be friends, it was more his choice than mine, well actually the truth is, he didn’t have much choice either, more of an ultimatum. When you love someone, you respect their choices and you just want them to be happy so you let them go. Now this video bought back really happy memories but also sad ones because if I have to be honest with myself, I miss him dearly. The whole day I managed to block it out, stayed busy and focussed at work but as the clock got closer to 5pm, that sadness just flooded me again. As I reached home, I made a decision not to avoid this sadness but to face it head on, today I was going to feel sad, I was going to flood myself with the emotion of sadness and I was going to mourn my friendship and thats exactly what I did, I even shed a few tears, I wrote down what I was feeling and I even realised that although we don’t have each other, all I can hope is that he is as happy as me because thats really what I needed to remember, if he didn’t know he was going to be happy, I am 100% sure he wouldn’t have ended our friendship. I also had to remind myself that I am extremely fortunate to still have many wonderful friendships and that I am grateful for.
The really positive thing about accepting my emotions today, is that I feel a little more healed, we often block out how we are feeling, we try to ignore it and push it away, only for it to come back when we least expect it but actually sometimes, we just need to accept it and thats what I did today and I actually feel better for it. To look it from another point of view, if you look at the bigger picture, it is just one small relationship and we meet new people all the time and some stay and others go because that’s life, not everyone will be part of your destiny.
I think its really easy to get consumed in pleasing others, putting people first when your a woman comes quite naturally, we watch our mothers take care of us and our dads and are grandparents, especially if like me you come from an Indian background. But what I have noticed watching from the sidelines, is that it reaches a point when those mothers who haven’t taken enough care of themselves, who haven’t been aware of their own needs will get to the point where they are constantly searching for external happiness because as they grew, they moved further and further away from their core self and were so busy taking care of others, they never found the time or realised the importance of being happy within and taking care of themselves. I feel its a blessing to have made this observation and it makes me even more confident that I want to work on myself, so when it comes to the time, I can make sure I don’t loose who I am. It is very much about being aware of how your feeling, what your feeling and why. It also comes down to the importance of trusting yourself and knowing that the decisions you are making are the best ones for you. Especially the big decisions that won’t just impact you but people around you, I think sometimes you need to be extra responsible and sensible when its not just about you, some may call that selfish but I believe its actually selfless. There is nothing wrong with doing whats best for you. I’ve been watching lots of motivational speeches and when I can feel myself slipping away, I have to stop and ask myself, why am I doing this? how will it effect me?
I’ve been watching lots of motivational speeches and one particular video always stands out Jada Pinkett-Smith on Taking Care of yourself, I think I have even mentioned this before but here it is again. the question posed, is how hard is it being a wife and a mother?
If you read my last post you will know I moved from a large city to a smaller one and I explained some of the things this move resulted in including sadness, loneliness and a sense of generally feeling a little lost due to a lot more time to think. It has meant I have had to force myself to make some changes to my life, some changes I resisted.
Getting to a stronger mental place and staying happy is so important to me because thats the way I can ensure I stay afloat and that has been the main motivation for these changes. I often work backwards in my thinking. Whats my end goal and how can I get there, this strategy is a great way to ensure you reach your end goals. So the first step to make changes in your life is by asking yourself ‘what makes me happy?’ and then changing things in your life to ensure they satisfy your happiness.
So what things have I implemented in my life to encourage stronger mental health and happiness?
The first change was to seek some help, not just help in the form of therapy but help in the form of books and videos to make me feel more energised, motivated and to ensure I don’t slip into my sadness too much, something I realised used to happen often.
I have also made a big decision to put the 9-5 routine behind me, something I am still working to make happen and something i feel my soul is dying for me to embrace and I need to not only be strong but also be positive and have faith that it will all work out for the best.
I chose to not always be the perfect cook and learn to be more organised, when it is not just yourself that you are thinking of, you need to adapt yourself, so I now (and I still find this hard to say) consider convenience food once a week, so I can have a break from the laborious cooking routine, something i just don’t enjoy.
Dedicated me time. This involves getting in to bed earlier, switching off from technology and also waking up earlier. The morning is the most important part of your day, as is the time before you sleep.
This has involved reading self help and motivational books and watching a lot of motivational speeches, all in an attempt to get me in the right mental place for the things that will follow. Being so emotional about everything really takes its toll and effects you in every way.
Questioning myself & reflection
I have always heard that asking the right questions is so important, asking yourself how you are feeling. why are you feeling this way. what would make you feel better is sooo important for your improvement and something i am still learning to do more of. Taking time to reflect on a regular basis will help you find the answers to these questions.
I made a vow this year that I would do more for others and this involves giving money to charity and just trying to give more to people who I know are not as lucky as I am and there are many in the world.
Being aware that i do not practice gratitude enough made me start the 365 days of happiness challenge. Every day on my Instagram, I share something I am grateful for. (feel free to join me here: https://www.instagram.com/thoughtsfashionlifestyle/) I also share gratitude on a daily basis with a friend, I have made this part of my routine.
Not get overwhelmed by Social Media
Social Media as a platform is great but social media mostly reflects the great, fun moments (I mean how often do we see someone post them at home having a cry). After feeling continuously sad due to spending too much time looking at others ‘fabulous, fun lives’, I made a conscious decision not to spend as much time looking at social media. This felt like the only option for me. The other thing I have done is try to focus on using the channel to share positive things, not just where you go and what you do but also what you feel, trying to motivate others.
I have dabbled with meditation for many years and I was lucky enough to be given access to the Headspace app. Part of my excuse for not meditating was lack of access so now I have no excuse, I can’t honestly say its not easy to calm your mind after so many years of it being so active but at least now I have an accessible resource if I need it.
Walking & Exercise
Finding time to exercise when you have to cook, clean, tidy and work has definitely been one of my biggest challenges, still working on this one, I do force myself to go on as many solo walks as I can, especially as I am not a massive gym goer. Also signing up for classes is a good idea but find something that personifies you, whether it is dance, boxing or a yoga class.
I have had no choice but to communicate better, I always expected people to read my mind and know when I am not ok but thats unfair, I can’t say I have 100% won in this space but I am really trying. The other reason for needing to communicate better is because people are a little further away then they were.
Knowing that there are things scheduled in the diary gives me something to look forward to, in life we all need something to look forward to or we can get engrossed in the mundane routine of life. Although I would love to just take things as they come, I also realise some things involve planning and I have to plan things if I want to make them happen.
This should have actually been at the top of the list. I think being honest with yourself is massively important in trying to figure out what changes need to be made in your life. If you aren’t honest, you won’t even realise that you need to make changes but how long can you lie to yourself for is the question?
Identifying whats important
Looking at whats important in your life will help you to understand what you need to be doing more of. This is once again where reflection comes in.
I guess the final bit of advice I would give is to evaluate your life often, find the time to think about things that need to be changed, things that you could do to improve your life and ultimately your wellbeing. You know what they say, the only thing that is constant, is change!
There are a few things I miss about my life in London. The fact my routine involved exercise was great, it meant I was exercising without having to schedule it in my daily routine. Another thing was the variety of things to do, this is a massive advantage of being in a big city, you can never get bored. Thirdly are friends and family, for me, friends and family are and always will be a massive support system in my life. They offer me strength, guidance and a lot of love. Having such easy access to all these things really contributed to my happiness.
Moving to Leicester has been a challenge, the things that came naturally to my life (like friends, family & freedom) I have had to create myself and this has involved being organised, being motivated and forcing myself to look at myself in a deeper sense, thinking about what actually makes really happy and figuring out how to make this happen.
More than ever, having the time to think has allowed me to get to know myself better. It means I am forced to be more aware of my sadness and sad days which feel like they come more often (once again because I have time to be aware of them), it has forced me to be a lot more grateful (not having what you had always makes you grateful, its unfortunate that we don’t appreciate it in the first place), it has forced me to create my own routines (having to search for things that make me happy and ways to do things that make me happy) and it has made me even more determined (to ensure I feel good as often as I can). I hadn’t realised this before moving (or maybe I did, I just wasn’t aware of it) but I love to be free, I hate being held down by people or everyday routines, it makes me feel trapped, I am basically a free spirit and I need to feel free in order to feel happy. If I want to have it all, I have to make the effort to create it all. This involves making some big changes and decisions in my life but you’ll have to wait for the next post if you want to learn more about my changes.
What changes can you make in your life to ensure you have it all?