Yes, you guessed right! I’m going to share with you a frankly pretty wonderful Chinese Proverb:
“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”
This quote, more than any others has made a big impact on my life. It acts as a daily reminder that if I’m feeling tense, I’m probably worrying too much about who I should be, when I could be putting my energy into being authentic and true to myself.
You can find this and many other wonderful quotes on the Tiny Buddha website: http://tinybuddha.com/wisdom-quotes/
Bye for now x
I can’t remember where I heard or read this, but I’m pretty sure that it is a genuine technique suggested by life coaches and the like: if you can’t get up the courage to try on a new belief system and wear it like you’re favourite old jumper which gets brought out every Christmas, begin by just pretending. Or make believe, as the kids say! Obviously the aim is that, with time, we begin to embody the new qualities or beliefs which we set out to develop, but in the meantime, pretending is a good start, and is certainly preferable to giving up before you’ve even started.
Another way of looking at this is to think like your future self, rather than your current or old self. You have made some important decisions about which qualities you would like to develop in order to live a happier and more contended life. This is your future self, the version of you that you will grow into slowly but surely (and trust me when I say that we can each begin to lead completely different and more joy-filled lives if we put our minds to it). So when a situation comes up, ask yourself: “am I going to deal with this situation like I usually would, or am I going to have a go at approaching the situation differently?”
The added benefit of doing this is that, as you begin to question your approach to situations, you can identify certain stumbling blocks and areas in your life where you could benefit from some personal development. Afterall, you can’t hope to resolve a problem area until you know it exists!
So what has any of this got to do with worrying what others think of us? Well I suppose one of the problem areas us human beings struggle with the most is worrying that we’ve said or done something wrong – that we aren’t enough just as we are, and that we somehow have to twist and morph our personalities to suit what we believe others expect of us. Perhaps you have one or two key relationships where you feel it’s particularly difficult to just be yourself, without fear of seeming less than worthy in the eyes of others. (I think it’s pretty safe to say that most of us have at least one of these relationships!) Well whenever you are with this person – your own personal kryptonite – have a go at acting the part of the person you would like to grow into. Gain some perspective and view the situation from a different angle if you possibly can. And it doesn’t have to be a groundbreaking performance! You’re not aiming to win an Oscar straight away. Just take on a bit-part to begin with, and see what happens.
I hope some or all of this makes sense to you lovely readers.
Bye for now x
Terrifying isn’t it? The idea that someone you’re talking to might be silently judging you and thinking that they don’t like you very much. But the fact of the matter is that it is a relief! Thank goodness!! Not everyone I meet will like me, which means that I may as well stop trying to please people all of the time. And if you can’t see what a great thing this is, then you clearly don’t realise that, just because someone else doesn’t see the wonderful gifts you have to offer just by existing in the world, doesn’t mean that you aren’t a hugely valuable and amazing human being.
If you’re still struggling, put the focus on someone else. Imagine your hero – or your favourite celebrity or super cool aunty. Got it? Right, well you might be amazed to find out that not everyone they have met in their lives has loved or even liked them. In fact it’s more than likely that someone has actively disliked them at some point, especially if they are open to the public scrutiny of being a celebrity. Does this mean that there is anything wrong with this person? That you should throw your hands up in the air and say: “Oh, well. If that’s the case I don’t think I want them to be my hero any more. I’d best carry on my search for the perfect human being”. Well of course it doesn’t! To err is human, as they say. We are, as creatures of this world, inherently and wonderfully flawed. We are perfectly imperfect. None of us are born knowing all of the answers, otherwise what would be the point in life?
We all have the capability to let ourselves off the hook. To make peace with the fact that not everyone might like us, and that we might be less than perfect. It might require tremendous effort on your part, but it will be the best kind of hard work you have ever done in your whole life. It will lead to feelings of immense relief, joy and acceptance. When you get that first glimpse of inner happiness, you will want more, and I hope that you will feel inspired to carry on the journey.
The first step is to forgive. The second step is to realise that there isn’t anything to forgive!
Bye for now x
Have you ever felt utterly frustrated? Of course you have! You’re a human being after all. But have you ever looked around you and felt the frustration of knowing that not a single person in your life can truly and fully understand what you’re feeling? Maybe your mum understands your desire to do something creative, but can’t understand the risks you’re willing to take to live your life in a truly creative way. Perhaps your closest friends can see how much you’re hurting over something, but they don’t really understand the reasons why. Maybe your cat looks at you in an empathetic way as you sit crying into your branflakes, but you know you can’t actually have a proper conversation because of the whole language barrier thing. (Honestly, I think if my cat could talk I’d feel a lot better about a lot of stuff in my life, but probably also fed up of hearing her demand more food and fusses!).
The point is, that people can only ever understand aspects of ourselves. No one can ever jump into your skin, experience everything just as you have experienced it, and know exactly the right thing to say to make you feel understood and supported every step of the way. And if this was the case, there would be a lot less to learn in life, and a lot less personal growth to be experienced.
What we can do is ensure that we actively surround ourselves with what we know we need. Be it like-minded friends, inspirational books and films, the cat… We have a choice in life as to what we do and who we spend our time with. It doesn’t really feel like there is much choice involved in life a lot of the time, but trust me when I say that it’s in these moments that we most need to stand up and be counted. To make ourselves heard and ensure that we are making decisions which feel authentic and honest. If you’re not emotionally strong enough to ditch that toxic friendship you’ve been holding onto because you feel too guilty not to, do something which feels more within your grasp. Maybe suggest that you’d rather see a different film at the cinema, rather than just accepting what others choose for you. Give your opinion on a subject where you’d usually remain quiet. Paint your nails when you know the dishes need washing, and that painting your nails means you can’t do the dishes until the next day.
We have all had those days which seem to be going from bad to worse, but which suddenly take a positive turn when we bump into an old friend who inspires a rebellious or creative side of us which we have a tendency to forget about. Or perhaps you sit down to watch some television and end up watching an inspirational film which tells the story of someone who pushed past their fears and made something happen for themselves. I find films and books and online articles particularly inspiring because they take us outside of our usual day-to-day lives and remind us that there is so much more ‘out there’ to be explored and discovered. They provide us with that valuable perspective which can transform a day from mundane to joyous.
Inspiration is all around us, at every moment of the day, but if we’re so wound up with trying to please others and satisfy preconceived ideas about what our lives should look like, we won’t see the inspiration. We will only see messages which confirm what a let down we are, or how misunderstood we are by the people around us. Choose to live outside of the box, and seek inspiration and guidance throughout your day. Soon enough, you will be a source of inspiration and liberation to your close friends and family.
Bye for now x
I could go on and on about the ‘science’ behind worrying what others think of us, but there is one really good trick anyone can use to feel less worried and more empowered. All you need to do, is ask yourself what advice you would give to your best friend if they came to you with the problem or dilemma you are currently facing. Don’t have a best friend? No problem! Just conjure one up, or recall a friend you had in the past. Or think of a beloved family member…
Now we all know how difficult it can be to live life according to our own good advice. We can dish it out, but somehow it’s really difficult to let ourselves off the hook and do what we feel is acceptable right down in the pit of our stomachs. Our heart is calling to us to give everyone involved a break and not come down too hard. To be human, and therefore wonderfully flawed. But we’re so worried what others will think that we steam roll over these heart-centered bits of advice and carry on, sabotaging our own happiness and making ourselves feel miserable.
Giving yourself the advice you would give to your best friend is a fantastic trick because it forces us to think beyond the judgemental and critical part of us which tells us what a bad person we must be. It makes us reach out with affection and love, instead of beating ourselves on the head with our own ‘bad’ behaviour.
There is a saying which goes something like this: Once we know better, we do better.
Basically, we’re human, and we make mistakes, and mistakes help to keep us heading in the right direction by showing us what happens when act in certain ways. Simple! Mistakes, flaws, imperfections etc. are all part of what makes us human, and should be embraced, not swept under the carpet.
So bring a dear friend or relative to mind. Imagine that they are facing the dilemma that you are now facing. Think of what advice you would give, but instead, give it to yourself. Own your mistakes and embrace them, letting yourself off the hook and experiencing that wonderful relief which comes when someone says to you: “you’re OK just as you are”. Because you are, you know. You can take my word for it.
Bye for now x