Embracing Your Solitude

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It’s an age old scenario – you’re sitting alone in a restaurant, enjoying a quiet meal for one.  Perhaps you’re reading a book, or checking something on your mobile.  Perhaps this meal is a treat for yourself, and you’re having a lovely time.

But then you notice a glance from someone at a neighbouring table.  Without knowing your situation, they’re looking at you with pity. As if eating a meal solo means you must be lonely, anti-social, or socially unwanted.  That there is something inherently wrong with being alone in a public setting.

And they’re wrong, because it’s actually empowering to do things like having a dinner out alone, and that uninformed person is allowing their own insecurities colour their opinions.  They can’t even fathom actually spending time alone.

In fact, they’re probably afraid of being alone and are missing out on the best company they could ever find – themselves.

Spending time along doesn’t mean you’re being anti-social or ‘disappearing’ from action.  It just means you’re focusing on yourself.

And those who do enjoy their free time, they understand how a bit of solitude can be beneficial to them.

Recharging your batteries

It can be mentally exhausting to constantly having to be ‘on’ in social settings.  Keeping up engaging conversations, making people laugh, showing empathy when someone’s feeling emotional, generally trying to make those around you happy, and so forth…

It’s absolutely draining to say the least.

But by taking some time away from the social scene, you’re allowing yourself time to recharge.  To turn your brain off.  To focus your energies on your own happiness.

Reflecting isn’t just in the mirror

When you’re constantly on the go, you really don’t get much time to reflect on your life or think on where you want your life to go.  Instead, you’re constantly surrounded by others that take up your time and energy, leaving very little (if anything) for yourself.

By taking some time out for yourself, it allows you time to improve your own self-confidence, work through issues in the past, and start planning for your future.

It’s a golden opportunity that really shouldn’t be missed because it’s your life, and you’re the only one that can propel it forward in the future.

Getting in touch with yourself

Along with being mentally draining, being in constant social settings can also be draining emotionally.  Because if you’re constantly catering to other people’s emotions or being their ‘cheerleader’, that leaves no opportunities to keep in touch with your own emotions.

Time alone can allow you time to gain a better perspective about your own happiness, while learning about what upsets or saddens you.  No emotion is a bad emotion because the more you know how negative emotions can affect you, the better prepared you’ll be in the future to handle them.

And a true strength of character comes from being able to overcome the hard times in your life.

Doing things for yourself

Who hasn’t been out with a friend or a group of people and had to give into someone else’s desire while setting aside your own desires or needs?  Whether you realise it or not, we all compromise to an extent when looking for a common solution.

But when you’re enjoying your alone time, it’s all about what you want to do because you have the freedom to decide for yourself.  It’s not necessarily about being selfish, but if you’re continually giving in to someone else’s needs, yours will never be fulfilled.  It’s all about the freedom to do what you want to do.

This also means focusing on your own happiness, although it doesn’t mean you’ll completely ignore other people’s needs as well.  You should know what makes you happy, because ultimately you shouldn’t be relying on someone else to ‘make’ you happy.

Be more productive

We all have things we need to get done in our personal lives – laundry, groceries, house cleaning, and so forth.  And while there are some things that would be fun to do with another person, sometimes you just can’t be truly productive when you’re constantly in someone else’s company.

Their presence will become distracting and your ‘to-do’ list will just keep growing and growing.

When you’re alone and getting things done, you’ll find you’re more focused and able to get some work done.  And the only one that’ll be able to distract you is you.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder..

How are you going to miss someone’s company if they’re constantly by your side?  And do you really want to spend so much time together that you run the risk of getting on each other’s nerves or possibly even getting sick of each other?

A routine is one thing, but being together 24/7 means you literally get no space for yourself or to take care of your own needs as per the above.  But when you’re spending some time apart – even if it’s just an hour a week – that time together becomes more important and you’ll appreciate it more.

Independence Day

The independence that comes from doing certain activities alone – like going on holiday by yourself – can be absolutely electrifying.  And not only will it help reduce any anxiety about being alone, but it’ll also boost your confidence.

And feeling independent can be truly empowering.

Stop apologising

Spending time alone means you don’t have to apologise to anyone for what you’ve done or about to do.  You can allow yourself the freedom to stop second-guessing your actions or worrying if you’re upsetting someone else by doing what you want when you want it.

Trust your own instincts

All too often we’ll stop ourselves from making a decision or taking a particular action because we haven’t run it by a friend or loved one first.  We’ll look to them for validation that we’re taking the right course of action, or perhaps for some advise on what to do next.

And sometimes that is the right thing to do.

But honestly there are plenty of times where we’re completely capable of making a decision without someone else’s input, or need someone else to validate our choices.  And when you’re spending more time alone, you’ll trust yourself more, and be more confident in making decisions without someone else’s two-cents.

This post was inspired by — When You Start to Enjoy Being Alone, These 10 Things Will Happen.

Getting Over Fear of Making Big Life Changes

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As much as some try to say they enjoy it, change can be difficult and stressful regardless of what the change is or how big a change it is.

And sometimes despite the benefits to our lives, we can get bogged down in how tough change can be.  We’ll worry ourselves to death whether we’re making the right decisions or how we’ll even get through the changes ahead.

Getting past our fears and move forward with whatever changes that are on the horizon can be difficult.  And all too often we’ll doubt ourselves even when we know it’s a change for the best.

Hopefully the following tips will help you move forward and make that positive change in your life you truly need.

Nobody has all the answers

Before making any important decision, it’s always a good rule of thumb to collect as much information about the impending change as you can.  And doing a bit of research into it can sometimes help make that decision even easier, one way or the other.

But can you sometimes go too far with the research?  Of course you can.  All too often we get paralysed with fear because we think we couldn’t possibly have enough information to make a proper decision.  But the truth is we need to stop waiting for the crystal ball to appear with how everything will turn out, and just make that (informed) leap of faith.

Trust your instincts

I can do itAll too often we’ll make excuses for ourselves why not to make the important changes in our lives, but underneath it all we’re just not putting enough faith in our own ability to make the decision.  Who hasn’t hemmed and hawed over making some decision, only to put it off instead of going ahead with what we know we should be doing?

It’s all about the fear of the unknown and being afraid to see where the future will lead us.  It’s also about getting too comfortable in our current situation, so much so that we’d rather keep the status quo instead of leaping ahead.  No matter what is on the horizon, we need to trust our ability to handle anything the future will throw at us.

Stay positive

We always worry too much about the worst case scenarios when making a big decision, and sometimes that will cause us to put off doing what is necessary.  It’s always good planning to figure out what the worst that could happen, but at the same time, we need to look at what the positives could be.  And if it’s the right decision, then the positives will always outweigh the negatives.

Enjoy the process

don't be afraidAll too often we get way too wrapped up in the end results, that if we try to reach for that big life goal that we’ll never make it to the finish line.  But you know what’s even more profound and enjoyable?  The journey towards that goal itself. You chose that goal, so enjoy the process of getting to it.

Life is full of twists and turns, and what may be your end goal today, may not be tomorrow based on how your journey there unravels.  Life changes, and so should your goals.  And if you don’t reach your initial goal, that’s ok because you’re allowed to change to a new one as you go along.  It doesn’t mean you’re being flaky or indecisive, but instead means you’re weighing your options as you go along.

Life is an opportunity

Don’t let yourself sit on the fence about making a big life changing decision, or allow yourself to get stuck in a rut.  Or even when it comes to making a little decision really.  big or small, each choice you make in life opens an opportunity to something new.

And you just never know where that opportunity may lead you.  It may even make you change your initial goals, and allow life to take you to somewhere even better than you thought it would.  There are always choices in life, so go ahead and see where they lead you.

Make the effort

Whenever we get stuck in a rut, it’s usually because we haven’t made the effort to exorcise the change we need to move forward in life.  It could be we get settled into an easy job instead of going for one that could possibly propel our career to places we never thought it could.  If you don’t ask for what you want in life, then you’ll never get it.

It’s also too easy to make excuses why we haven’t gotten where we need to be in life, so why not put them aside and just go for it already.  If you don’t even try then you’ll never get what you want in life.  And don’t let your own laziness stop you from even trying in the first place.

Build up to the big stuff

Let’s be honest – you can’t really go for the huge tasks if you haven’t mastered the little ones first.  Sometimes you need to build up to where you want to be in life, and start from the ground up.  If it’s regarding a career change, then see what you can do to improve your skills so you meet the qualifications of the new job.  Or if it’s a more physical goal, like running a marathon, then start off with small runs and training first, and allow yourself to build up your stamina.

It’s not about completely changing your world around you at the drop of a hat, but instead doing it progressively over time.  In the end, only you can truly affect the positive changes you need to get to your end goal.

This post was inspired by: 7 Ways To Get Over Fear and Make Big Life Changes

the first step is the hardest

Finding Your Passion

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Life is an adventure.  So why spend it doing things that bore you or make you miserable?

Loads of people talk about finding your passion in life, and to look for ways to turn what could be a hobby into something more substantial.  Or at least that’s the dream, right?

Inventory your talents

The first thing you need to do when looking for your passions in life is to figure out what you’re good at.  And not just that, but what you’re good that excites you.

be diferentFor instance, you could be good with numbers but unless the idea of crunching numbers all day gets your blood flowing, I wouldn’t recommend a career in accounting.

Perhaps your passion could even be something you enjoy doing but don’t think you’re good at.  We are our own worst critics and tend to doubt our own abilities, even after others enthusiastically compliment us on them.

And who cares if others may not thing your passion is ‘practical’ or even common.  Sometimes having a passion that is off the beaten path can lead to something amazing an unique from what everyone else is doing.

Pay attention to who makes you annoyed or jealous

We all have people around us that make us annoyed by how frivolously they live their lives.  But have you ever taken a moment to think why that is?

Most likely, it someone who’s following their dreams and doing what they want to do in life.  It could be someone who has quit a well-paid full-time job in order to start their own home business.  Or it could be someone who’s left a stable (and possibly, boring) life to move abroad and live in another country.

Basically, why be jealous of those who are making their dreams a reality? And why live a life that everyone else expects you to have?  That truly isn’t going to make you happy or satisfied in life, so get out there in the world and follow your own path.

You never know who it may inspire to follow you.

Think of what you loved to do as a child

Remember when you were a young child and what used to excite you?  Was it making up stories for your toys, or dancing around your room to the music on the radio?  Or maybe it was becoming fascinated with the worlds you could explore through books or movies?

Think back to what made you happiest as a child, and maybe you’ll be able to unearth your true passion in life.

Notice what you hate to stop doing

Like most people, you probably spend a fair amount of time at work watching the clock and wishing it was time to go home or it was the weekend already.  How is that really any way to live?  And it definitely doesn’t do much to encourage your ‘passion’ in life.

Think about how you spend your life and those activities that seem to melt the time away.  When you’re immersed in these activities you don’t’ notice the time flow by, and you most definitely don’t want to stop once you’ve started.

That’s your passion.  It’s something you could spend all day or night doing and never get bored of it.  it’s something that allows you to get so involved that you’re actually sad that you have to stop.

See your passion hunt as a fun, joyful adventure

Finding and enjoying your passion should be one thing – a fun adventure of self-discovery.  At no point should you be putting pressure on yourself to find a passion in life, as that’ll defeat the purpose.

Steve Jobs quoteAnd if you try some new activity hoping it could be your new passion, do not get down on yourself if it doesn’t work out.  The whole point of this world of self-discovery is to enjoy different things in life that you may not have thought of trying before.  It’s about seeing what you like, enjoy and are good at, not a competition to see who finds their passion first.

Allow yourself to be open to new opportunities and experiences.  You just never know when you’ll find that magical activity that just lights you up inside.

This post was inspired by : Five Steps to Finding Your Passion | Psychology Today

Learning to Love Yourself

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Let’s be frank – before someone else can love how amazing you are, you need to learn to love yourself first.  Despite what you may think, self-love is not a crime..

And no, that’s not some naughty joke about masturbation.  😉

Being happy with yourself and loving who you are as a person is the first step towards fulfilling your dreams, achieving personal growth, and yes even finding that ultimate happy relationship with someone special.

SELF_LOVE_by_DesignADPDespite what some may think, loving oneself is not about being narcissistic or being so totally selfish that you think life revolves around you.  In fact it’s about finding a balance in your life, without neglecting your own feelings.

And at the same time we need to recognise that living for the positive feedback from others to bolster their sense of being ‘good enough’ is no substitute for loving yourself. Sure, it’s important to help others, especially loved ones, but it shouldn’t be your sole reason for living.

It’s about finding a balance between selfishness and selflessness.  You would become more emotionally balanced due to a healthier sense of what it means to be accepting of yourself – the good, bad and everything in between.

It ultimately helps if you can understand that you’re just as important as anyone else, and that your thoughts and feelings are valid.  It doesn’t matter if you grew up thinking others were better than you, because you can break the cycle and start learning to love yourself just the way you are.

Self-love involves the following (via Self-Love is Not a Crime: Learning to Love Yourself | World of Psychology):

Self-care.

Self-care means you treat yourself just as kindly and thoughtfully as you would anyone else. If you are uncomfortable doing something, then you don’t do it and that’s OK. Just because somebody might be disappointed that you didn’t help him or her, that’s his or her choice to feel that way.

Considering your needs.

If that means others don’t get all of you, all the time, then that’s also OK. People can learn to adjust and be responsible for themselves.

Caring for yourself with the same level of effort that you do for others.

That might mean you don’t always fulfill your goal of helping others because you’d prefer to spend time doing something for yourself. That’s not selfish.

Accepting yourself for all that you are —

Both your positive aspects and your human fallibility.You cannot be all good all the time. That’s OK. You can work on self-improvement, but that doesn’t mean you discount the parts of yourself you don’t like as much. Those aspects are still part of your whole.

Saying no to others’ requests. Its-Ok-To-Love-Yourself

That’s OK. You are not totally responsible for everybody else’s needs.

Working toward self-love and acceptance can take time. If you are somebody who has little regard for yourself, then you might want to start with self-like-a-little, working up to self-like. In time, you’ll learn to self-love and accept yourself for all that you are.

Read the full article at –> Self-Love is Not a Crime: Learning to Love Yourself | World of Psychology

Understanding Depression Better

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Living in a state of depression is never a fun or easy thing to have to deal with.  It’s something that can truly take over your life and leave you feeling like an empty husk inside.

As many who’ve visited here before know, I’ve dealt with my own bouts of depression over the years, and have wrote about it several times in the past.

Although I’m not particularly feeling depressed these days, the shadow of it enveloping me once again is always on the edge of my consciousness, and is something I battle to prevent happening on almost a daily basis.

Too many are afraid to talk about what their going through, and many others are loath to be there to listen as if it was contagious.  Talking about it more will help de-stigmatise how others perceive those with depression, and will encourage those dealing with it to be more willing to open up about it or to seek treatment.

Here are some key facts about depression (ref – World Health Organisation):

  • Depression is a common mental disorder. Globally, more than 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression.
  • Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the global burden of disease.
  • More women are affected by depression than men.
  • At its worst, depression can lead to suicide.
  • There are effective treatments for depression.

Here are a few things to help all of us understand depression better, from the point of view of things someone with depression will understand.

‘Snap out of it!’

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This is probably the most useless and unsupportive thing you could say to someone with depression.  It’s not as if you could just wake up one morning and decide to not be depressed anymore.

Depression is not just emotional, but can also be physical, and saying something like this just shows a person’s lack of understanding of what depression actually is.

Sadness does NOT equal depression

Feeling down or sad is not the same as living in a state of depression, though some people do misconstrue one for the other.  Depression is a clinical term, and is caused by underlying illnesses and chemical abnormalities that cause a person’s mental health to deteriorate.  Depression goes beyond just being sad or upset, and we need to stop confusing the two.

understanding-depression-5Little victories are really big ones

When you’re suffering from depression, sometimes something as simple and little as getting out of bed in the morning can be a huge victory.

Most tasks and activities become an ordeal, and just getting through a few of them can make someone with depression feel like they’ve conquered something.  Like they’ve accomplished something substantial, even if it’s something more people take for granted on a daily basis.

Beyond lack of motivation

Most of us feel that 3pm slump when you need a little pick-me-up to get you through the rest of the work day.  For someone who’s depressed, it’s like that pretty much all of the time.  Depression can sometimes make you feel like your muscles doesn’t work anymore, and it’s difficult to maintain the focus we all need to get through the day.

There’s physical symptoms as well

Most people think depression as just an emotional or mental problem, but to help dispel this misconception, you also need to understand the physical symptoms.  And these physical symptoms can sometimes lead people to misunderstand what is going wrong with their body, and pre-existing issues could be made worse.  Other physical symptoms can include restlessness, indigestion, nausea, headaches, and joint and muscle fatigue to name a few.

Life just isn’t fun anymore

shutterstock_94195759Depression can make your life dramatically different, as you can lose interest in those activities you’ve always enjoyed – hanging with friends, reading your favourite book, enjoying a night out, or even romantic activities all seem less exciting.

This lack of interest can be a major red-flag when identifying the condition, and it something to look out for in yourself and others.  Be supportive and approach them with an open mind.

It’s hard to put into words

Some people think that those with depression can talk about how their feeling until the cows come home, but in reality it’s much different.  For a lot of people dealing with depression, it can be agony to describe to someone else how their feeling – especially when there’s a stigma around your illness.  When you’re looking at life through dark-coloured glasses, it can be hard to put that into words and believe that someone else can understand what you’re going through.

It’s different for everyone

There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ experience or approach when it comes to depression.  Everyone’s experiences and ordeals are unique to them, and there’s no one method to help fight the illness.  That’s what makes depression so difficult to deal with because everyone’s journey is different.

Understanding-Depression-666x372Everyone needs to take their own path to healing and getting past the depression in order to continue on with life.  The important thing is to make sure you’re getting the help you need if you’re depressed, and you’re being supportive of those suffering from it.

Be open.  Be understanding.  Be there for each other.

This post was inspired by ‘9 Things Only People With Depression Can Truly Understand‘ over on The Huffington Post.

20 Things Mentally Strong People DON’T Do

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As someone who tends to focus on the negative too much and reminisce on how things used to be, I tend to find articles online that give advice on how to be more positive or happy about life in general, and then repost them here for all of you to read.. And as a way to hopefully motivate myself to be happier with my life.

I know it’s never a good thing to focus on the bad stuff, but sometimes it’s not that easy to get out of that funk once you’re in it.

Well recently I found an article on Elitedaily.com that gives some advise on what to avoid in order to ‘produce the greatest benefit in the shortest period of time’ (visit the original article by clicking the link at the bottom of the page).

I’ve copied them directly from the article for you to read through yourself.. The author’s explanations are very apt and on the mark, so no point in rehashing something already done well.

1. Dwelling On The Past

Mentally strong individuals focus on the present moment and on the near future. They understand that the past is out of our control and the far future is about as predictable as the weather this winter.

2. Remaining In Their Comfort Zone

The comfort zone is a dangerous place, a dark abyss where anyone who remains there for too long loses his or herself entirely. Staying within your comfort zone is giving up on life.

3. Not Listening To The Opinions Of Others

Only the foolish believe themselves to be sufficient in all regards. When it comes to brainstorming, ideas can’t so much be forced as they can be caught. A good idea is a good idea, regardless of whether or not you came up with it. Don’t let your ego get the better of you; if someone has great advice to give, take it.

4. Avoiding Change

What the mentally strong understand that the mentally weak do not is that change is unavoidable. Trying to avoid the inevitable is pointless. Therefore, trying to avoid change is pointless; it’s a mere waste of time and energy.

5. Keeping A Closed Mind

You don’t know everything. Even the things you believe yourself to know are likely to not be entirely true. If you keep a closed mind, you are preventing yourself from learning new material. If you stop learning, you stop living.

6. Letting Others Make Decisions For Them

Only you should be making your own decisions; you can’t allow others to make them for you. All this does is shift the responsibility from you to someone else, but the only person failing in the end is you. If you don’t have the courage to fail, then you don’t have the courage to succeed.

7. Getting Jealous Over The Successes Of Others

When others succeed, you should be happy. If they can do it, so can you. The success of others does not, in any way, lessen the chances of you succeeding. If anything, it should motivate you to keep pushing forward.

8. Thinking About The High Possibility Of Failure

Our thoughts control our perspective; our perspective controls our results. The mentally strong understand this and use this to their advantage. There’s always the chance you may fail, but as long as there is the chance you may succeed, it’s worth trying.

9. Feeling Sorry For Themselves

Sh*t happens. Life can be hard. People get hurt; others die. Life isn’t all roses and butterflies. You will fall off that horse again and again and again. The question is, are you strong enough to keep getting back on it?

10. Focusing On Their Weaknesses

Although working on our weaknesses does have its benefits, it’s more important to focus on banking on our strengths. The most well-rounded person is not the person that gets the furthest in life. Being average in all regards makes you average. However, mastering a certain skillset or trait will allow you to beat the competition with less effort.

11. Trying To Please People

A job well done is a job well done, no matter who is judging the final product. You can’t please everybody, but you can always manage to do your very best.

12. Blaming Themselves For Things Outside Their Control

The mentally strong know the things they can control, understand the things they cannot control, and avoid even thinking about that which is completely out of their hands.

13. Being Impatient

Patience isn’t just a virtue; it is the virtue. Most people don’t fail because they aren’t good enough, or aren’t capable of winning or succeeding. Most people fail because they are impatient and give up before their time has come.

14. Being Misunderstood

Communication is key in any properly functioning system. When it comes to people, things get a bit more complicated. Simply stating information is never enough; if the receiving party misunderstands you, your message is not being properly relayed. The mentally strong do their best to be understood and have the patience to clear up misunderstandings.

15. Feeling Like You’re Owed

You aren’t owed anything in life. You were born; the rest is up to you. Life doesn’t owe you anything. Others don’t owe you anything. If you want something in life, you only owe it to yourself to go out and get it. In life, there are no handouts.

16. Repeating Mistakes

Make a mistake once, okay. Make a mistake twice… not so okay. Make the same mistake a third time, you may need to consider giving up alcohol and drugs. You’re either stupid or permanently high.

17. Giving Into Their Fears

The world can be a scary place. Some things frighten us with good cause, but most of our fears are illogical. If you know that you want to try something, try it. If you’re scared, then understand that being scared of failing must mean that succeeding means a whole lot to you.

18. Acting Without Calculating

The mentally strong know better than to act before completely understanding the situation at hand. If you have time to ponder over something and cover all your bases, then do so. Not doing so is pure laziness.

19. Refusing Help From Others

You’re not Superman; you can’t do it all. Even if you can, why should you? If others are offering to help, let them help. Be social. Listen to their ideas and watch how they do things. You may learn something. If not, then you can teach them something and do what humans are meant to do: socialize.

20. Throwing In The Towel

The biggest weakness in all of humanity is giving up — calling it quits, throwing in the towel. The mentally strong go about things in such a way. Only do things if they are important to you; forget the things that aren’t important to you. If they’re important to you, then pursue them until you succeed. No exceptions, ever.

Find the original article here: 20 Things That Mentally Strong People Don’t Do.

Patiently Frustrated

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9681844-a-man-is-sitting-at-a-computer-and-looks-very-frustratedI don’t know what’s been up with me lately.  I’ve been very inconsistent with my writing lately and haven’t written anything at all in the past week.  And despite it bugging me, I haven’t been bothered.

No posts on my blog in the past week despite several ideas.  Nothing written on the novel I started a few weeks back or even on the erotic short stories I started even farther back than that.

It’s not like I’ve been super busy or anything.  Other than meeting a mate for dinner a couple times this past week, I’ve barely been out of the house for anything other than picking up groceries or going to work.

Ok, who am I kidding.. I spent too much of my free time kicking around the house.  I’m quickly becoming a hermit.

I’m not sure what it is, but once I come home from work, the last thing I want to do is to head back out again.  I’m comfortable at home, I don’t have to interact with people (yes, I’m anti-social), and I’m generally relaxed .. when I’m not getting myself wound up about having no social or love life.

Yes, I know (before anyone brings it up or mentions my previous post).  In order to have more of a social life I have to BE social.  I’m working on it, slowly.  I’ll get there eventually.  Don’t push me too much.  😉couch-photo-800x704

I don’t know.  I think maybe the reason I’ve been feeling so meh lately is how it seems things are just standing still, despite efforts to move them along.  And for once it has nothing to do with my (lack of a) social or love life.

For instance, I applied for a different position at work a month ago (not a promotion, more of a move sideways) and I’m still waiting to hear back.  I haven’t even had an actual interview despite others getting one, but I did sit down with the hiring manager at one point to talk about the position and whether my application would be considered – I have a mark against me due to my absences in the past 6 months (not going into details obviously) and company policy states that would prevent me from being offered the role, regardless of my ability.

At the same time, I was contacted from an employment agency about a position with a charity-type company near London Bridge that sounded amazing .. and payed a LOT more than my current company for basically the same role.  It all sounded like things were potentially going well with that, until this past Friday when the agency let me know the company had someone internally already doing the role, so would wait and see if that works out first.

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And of course, as anyone who read my previous post What Do I Write About, I’d submitted some article ideas to a large UK Gay magazine.. and now 2 to 3 weeks and several emails later, I’m still waiting to hear back whether they liked my ideas and wanted me to write something up.  I’m hoping that maybe it’s a bad time and they’ll get back to me soon, but I would have hoped to at least gotten an acknowledgement response of some sort by now.

*Sigh*

I’m not particularly feeling down at the moment, but more a bit frustrated that nothing’s happening.  I know, I know – I have to be patient, these things can’t be rushed or forced.  If it’s meant to be, then it’ll happen and all that.

I’m not so naive that I think something will just drop in my lap.  I know I have to work hard to get where I want to be, I’m just tired – it feels like all I’ve done over the past year or two is push towards what I want out of life, only to keep coming up against a brick wall.

(Anyone who was reading my blog during my year-long unemployment will know what I’m talking about…)

I do find it interesting though.. While recently talking to a couple of mates (separately) about trying to find something better work-wise, both of them inferred the same thing – that I should be happy I have a job now, and to to remember how I felt when I wasn’t working.

As if wanting to move forward in life, either back to where I was position/career-wise before the unemployment or to somewhere new and better, that it was me being selfish somehow.  Like I should just be happy with what I got instead of wanting or looking for something more.

I tried not to take it in a negative way, but I couldn’t help think that was crap advice.  Or maybe I read too much into it.

Life is hard, and crap, and sometimes unfair.  It’s just a matter of keeping going until I get where I want to be.

And I’m definitely not there.  Yet.

Stephen King Quote

Choices

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Choices. Life is all about them. They are all around us. You choose what to wear everyday, or whether to hit the snooze button in the morning, or even if you are going to be nice to the person behind the counter making your daily latte. You choose; nobody else.Confused-istock

It’s too easy these days to place blame on other people for the choices we make in life. Admit it; we all do it even when we try not to, or even when we don’t realize we’re doing it.

An example would be blaming a friend for not watching out for you at a club and you end getting wasted, making an ass of yourself. Is that truly the friend’s fault? Did that friend make you drink, or get up on the speaker and drop your pants? No, the only person you can blame for your mistakes is you.

Here’s another example: You’re trying for a promotion at work, but the position is given to someone else that everyone knows isn’t qualified for the job but killed in the interview. Moreover, you’re informed that you need to show more confidence and leadership skills in order to get a promotion in the future.

Who’s to blame for you not getting the job? Is it the boss’s fault for not seeing those qualities in you when you haven’t shown it to them? Is it the other applicant’s fault that they’re better in an interview setting?unproductive-891ab

No, it’s all you. Who else? Be honest, you can have the best employee file in the world, the best attendance record, the best work evaluations, but if you can’t show to other people that you can do the job then why should it be given to you?

Choices are everywhere, and there’s no way to get away from them. Even if you try to get someone else to decide what movie to go see or which restaurant to go to, that in itself is a choice. You’ve just chosen to not make a choice, to try to put the choice on someone else’s shoulders.

Too often, as a society, we tend to sit around and whine about being alone, or being broke, or what have you. It’s become a part of everyday life for us. We’ve become a society of pessimists, always focusing on the bad stuff that happens to us. We don’t empower ourselves enough to take charge of our lives and change what we don’t like. At some point, we have to stop playing the blame game and choose to live life to the fullest.

If you’re lonely, you have to do something other than sit at home and complain about it, or sit at some bar playing a video lottery machine all by yourself. That’s just avoiding life. You have to be willing to put yourself out there to meet new people. Smile at a stranger. Stand at the bar instead of against the wall away from everyone else. Dance in the middle of the floor instead of at the edge.

Be willing to meet a variety of people, whether you think they’re your type or not, because you never know when one of them may turn out to be the next love of your life, or may introduce you to someone who may be that person.

And you have to understand that a meaningful relationship, although very satisfying, will not complete you. Only you can do that.

If you can’t afford to pay your bills because you go out partying every weekend, then don’t go out partying, or at least only take a small amount of money with you so you can’t over do it. Perhaps it’s your spending habits, so make a budget and stick to it. Cut out those things that really don’t matter, like the extra bag of chips or eating out a couple times a week, and use that money for something you truly need like ensuring you have enough airtime on your cell phone for emergencies. poor

Empower yourself to say no to doing what you can’t afford. Ultimately, if you say yes and then you’re broke, what’s going to happen? You’re going to sit at home calling yourself names, putting yourself down for spending what you didn’t have. And that’s not productive.

It’s all about making the right choices in life, and it is true, sometimes we don’t make the right ones, but it’s also about making the best of the situation you’re in. Choose to be upbeat about life, choose to have fun, and choose to show yourself you can do something about it. Take charge of your own life, and lead yourself to where you want to go. Stop waiting for something or someone to come into your life to make it feel complete, and make it happen yourself.

Make a choice. Empower yourself to make that choice. Be bold. Be confident. Lead yourself to what you want in life. Because, in the end, the only person that will benefit from it is you.

Note: This is something I wrote back in 2007 as a self-motivational tool.

15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy | Purpose Fairy

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I found this article that had been posted back in May 2011 on a website called Purpose Fairy and thought it be good to repost it here.  John LennonI think no matter how well your life is going (or isn’t depending on the person I suppose), there is always something more you can do around self-improvement.

Click HERE for the full article

I know I personally could definitely use some work on some of the points listed.  It’s never an easy thing to look at your life in such a critical way and truly understand how to ‘fix’ (for lack of a better word) parts of your life.

Then again if everyone was completely happy all the time, who’d have anything to complain about?

Oh shit.. that’s number 6.  I’ll have to work on that one.. a lot. 😉

1. Give up your need to always be right

There are so many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right – even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain, for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the ‘urgent’ need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question: “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?” Wayne Dyer. What difference will that make? Is your ego really that big?

2. Give up your need for control

Be willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you – situations, events, people, etc. Whether they are loved ones, coworkers, or just strangers you meet on the street – just allow them to be. Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better will that make you feel.

“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning.” Lao Tzu

3. Give up on blamelet it go

Give up on your need to blame others for what you have or don’t have, for what you feel or don’t feel. Stop giving your powers away and start taking responsibility for your life.

4. Give up your self-defeating self-talk

Oh my. How many people are hurting themselves because of their negative, polluted and repetitive self-defeating mindset? Don’t believe everything that your mind is telling you – especially if it’s negative and self-defeating. You are better than that.

“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.” Eckhart Tolle

5. Give up your limiting beliefs

About what you can or cannot do, about what is possible or impossible. From now on, you are no longer going to allow your limiting beliefs to keep you stuck in the wrong place. Spread your wings and fly!

“A belief is not an idea held by the mind, it is an idea that holds the mind” Elly Roselle

6. Give up complainingcomplaining

Give up your constant need to complain about those many, many, maaany things – people, situations, events that make you unhappy, sad and depressed. Nobody can make you unhappy, no situation can make you sad or miserable unless you allow it to. It’s not the situation that triggers those feelings in you, but how you choose to look at it. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.

7. Give up the luxury of criticism

Give up your need to criticize things, events or people that are different than you. We are all different, yet we are all the same. We all want to be happy, we all want to love and be loved and we all want to be understood. We all want something, and something is wished by us all.

8. Give up your need to impress others

Stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not just to make others like you. It doesn’t work this way. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, the moment you take off all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you, effortlessly.

9. Give up your resistance to change

Change is good. Change will help you move from A to B. Change will help you make improvements in your life and also the lives of those around you. Follow your bliss, embrace change – don’t resist it.


“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls” 
Joseph Campbell

10. Give up labels

Stop labeling those things, people or events that you don’t understand as being weird or different and try opening your mind, little by little. Minds only work when open.

“The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.” Wayne Dyer

11. Give up on your fears

Fear is just an illusion, it doesn’t exist – you created it. It’s all in your mind. Correct the inside and the outside will fall into place.

“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

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12. Give up your excuses

Send them packing and tell them they’re fired. You no longer need them. A lot of times we limit ourselves because of the many excuses we use. Instead of growing and working on improving ourselves and our lives, we get stuck, lying to ourselves, using all kind of excuses – excuses that 99.9% of the time are not even real.

13. Give up the past

I know, I know. It’s hard. Especially when the past looks so much better than the present and the future looks so frightening, but you have to take into consideration the fact that the present moment is all you have and all you will ever have. The past you are now longing for – the past that you are now dreaming about – was ignored by you when it was present. Stop deluding yourself. Be present in everything you do and enjoy life. After all life is a journey not a destination. Have a clear vision for the future, prepare yourself, but always be present in the now.

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14. Give up attachment

This is a concept that, for most of us is so hard to grasp and I have to tell you that it was for me too, (it still is) but it’s not something impossible. You get better and better at with time and practice. The moment you detach yourself from all things, (and that doesn’t mean you give up your love for them – because love and attachment have nothing to do with one another,  attachment comes from a place of fear, while love… well, real love is pure, kind, and self less, where there is love there can’t be fear, and because of that, attachment and love cannot coexist) you become so peaceful, so tolerant, so kind, and so serene. You will get to a place where you will be able to understand all things without even trying. A state beyond words.

15. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations

Way too many people are living a life that is not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them, they live their lives according to what their parents think is best for them, to what their friends, their enemies and their teachers, their government and the media think is best for them. They ignore their inner voice, that inner calling. They are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that they lose control over their lives. They forget what makes them happy, what they want, what they need….and eventually they forget about themselves.  You have one life – this one right now – you must live it, own it, and especially don’t let other people’s opinions distract you from your path.

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9 Things to Think About Before You Give Up

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A friend of mine posted the link to this article on Facebook earlier today (CLICK HERE), and it couldn’t be more appropriate for where my life is at the moment.

AloneThere’s been many times over the past several months where I’ve wanted to just give up on my life here in London after all the trouble I’ve gone through trying to find a job.

The article is from website Marc and Angel Hack Life (http://www.marcandangel.com), a site that tries to give practical advise for productive living.

To make things easier for everyone, I’ve copied the 9 tips and their explanations here for everyone to read.

  1. You never fail until you’re satisfied with failure. – Failure is not falling down; failure is staying down when you have the choice to get back up.  Sometimes you have to fail a thousand times to succeed.  Which means you haven’t really failed yet; you’ve just found a bunch of ways that don’t work.  So don’t get so hung up on a few failed attempts that you miss every new opportunity coming your way.  All of your ideas that don’t work are simply stepping stones on your way to the one idea that does.  As Winston Churchill once said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”  Read Awaken the Giant Within.
  2. What you have learned is what’s important. – Life always offers you a second chance – it’s called tomorrow.  But this second chance doesn’t mean anything if you haven’t learned from the events of today.  You have to acknowledge your troubles but gather strength from them, and laugh at your mistakes but learn from them.  Getting a second chance in life is about giving yourself the opportunity to grow beyond your past failures.  It’s about learning as you go and positively adjusting your attitude and efforts toward future possibilities.
  3. Tough times are just part of life’s natural balance. – Life lives, life dies.  Life laughs, life cries.  Life gives up and life tries.  And life looks different through everyone’s eyes.  In fact, who you were, who you are, and who you will become are three completely different people.  And as you gradually grow beyond the person you were yesterday, keep life’s challenges in perspective.  Hear life’s harmony, and notice the delicate balance.  Realize that life is like playing a grand piano.  The white keys create your happiness and the black keys denote your troubles.  But as you go through life’s journey, remember that the black keys also create music.
  4. miserable-manPain helps you grow. – Sometimes things must change so you can change.  Sometimes you must break a little so you can get a peek inside to see what an awesome powerhouse you are.  Sometimes mistakes must be made so wisdom can be earned.  Sometimes you must overcome heartache so you can begin to follow your heart again.
  5. Success is a way of living. – Don’t let your struggles become your identity.  Not everything in your life will go as you expect it to.  This is why you need to drop expectations, live in the present, and go with the flow, rather than against it.  Remind yourself that it’s perfectly okay not to be perfect.  Ultimately, success is not something you achieve, it is what you learn and how you grow as you deal with the realities of life – it is a way of living and being.  Read As a Man Thinketh.
  6. You can choose differently. – The difference between a mountain and a molehill is your perspective.  And in many cases, the only thing in life you have control over is your perspective.  No matter what happens, YOU control what the meaning is, and what to do with the meaning you give to the circumstance.  Choose to react in a way that motivates happiness, love, or forgiveness, even when circumstances make that choice difficult.
  7. It’s not supposed to be easy. – Just because you’re not where you want to be today doesn’t mean you won’t be there someday.  Again, success is tied to long-term determination.  Successful people keep moving and trying.  They make mistakes, but they do not quit.  If things in your life aren’t happening as planned right now, that’s okay.  It just means it’s not the right time.  Life’s brick walls are not there to keep you out, they’re there to give you a chance to show how badly you want something.  They’re there to stop the people who don’t want it as bad as you do.walking-away_2
  8. Simplify, simplify, simplify. – Like all magnificent things, life is quite simple.  Its simplicity is found not in seeing how little you can get by with – that’s poverty – but how efficiently you can conquer your biggest difficulties.  Remember, the greatest wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.  Your most significant ideas and accomplishments will be genius in their simplicity.  One day you will find the right words, the right decisions, and the right solutions that will lead you to victory, and they will be far simpler than they seem right now.  Read The Power of Less.
  9. Life is still good. – You may have seen better days, but you have also seen worse.  You might not have all your wants, but you do have all your needs.  You woke up with a few aches and pains, but you woke up.  Your life may not be perfect, but it is good.  And more good things are coming down the road as long as you keep moving forward.

Of course, it’s all nice and good to post these, but it’s something completely different to actually put them into practice.. something I’m trying my best to do.

Anyone else have any tips to add to these, or want to share their own stories of not giving up?  Feel free to add them in the comments. 🙂