#3 There Is No Such Thing As The ‘Right’ Person

You hear a lot about being with the ‘right’ person and how this magical ‘right’ person will make you a ‘better’ person. That’s all very well and good until you come to define ‘right’ and ‘better’.

In my view, there is no ‘right’ person and you don’t become ‘better’ as such.  It’s more about where you are in life and who happens to be around you, helping you grow and move to the next stage, not just romantic partner but friends too.

We are always changing as human beings, so instead of thinking of it as finding this ‘right’ person and becoming this ‘better’ person, think of it as being with someone who fits with what you are trying to achieve and who can therefore help you grow.

Now I’m not saying that when you meet new friends or a new partner that you analyse where they fit on your 5 year plan. I mean in terms of whether you hit it off and get a good vibe from that relationship or friendship.

For me, I have always loved music, writing and photography but inevitably sometimes these get dropped in favour of other things. My partner has always encouraged me to pursue my hobbies – he even came up with the title to my current blog posts ‘Bits & Blogs’! And when we moved to a new area together, I joined a new orchestra and got back into my photography. It made me realise how much I had missed it.

When you’re doing things you love, you feel content and happy and that makes you feel good. Some people see this as you being a ‘better’ person but I see it more as just being you. I think we need to get rid of this idea that to be better we have to be happier or blissful in life. In reality, life has its ups and downs, we can’t always be happy but it doesn’t make us any less of a person.

Those who recognise your strengths and the things that make you happy are the ones to keep around. They will be there to help you in the times where your motivation weakens or you lose faith in yourself. They will see your potential and most of all will want to see you succeed.

There are people who will say they want meet up and then there are people who will come and watch you speak at a conference. That’s the difference.

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#2 Don’t Be Afraid To Share Your Problems With Someone

A problem shared is a problem halved, as the saying goes. And it’s definitely true. We’ve all had times where we feel like we’re the only ones going through something. Maybe a bad day at work, a fallout with a friend, or an issue with your partner but how many of us feel comfortable sharing these problems with someone else, a friend, loved one or even a colleague?

Maybe it’s not wanting to take up someone’s time, or maybe it’s because we’re Brits but I find not many of us actually share our problems. I do. I find talking to a friend about whatever it is that’s going on helps diffuse a situation. Usually it’s not as bad as I thought, or, more often than not, they might have been through exactly the same.

Suddenly what started as a monster of an issue in my head becomes something I can deal with and I often feel silly for even worrying about it in the first place.

It also gives me reassurance that deep down we all have similar problems or worries but we don’t pay them attention for fear of looking ‘weak’ or ‘like a failure’. Worries are not a sign of a weak mind, it merely means you care enough to worry about something or someone.

So why is it good to share your problems?

  • Sharing builds trust. When you confide in a friend or family member, it brings you closer and chances are they will respect you for coming to them in the first place.
  • Sharing brings perspective. Often we get so caught up in our own head that we forget to see the bigger picture.
  • Sharing brings understanding. Telling a loved one or friend about your problems helps them get to know you better so they can offer the right support.
  • Sharing allows clarity. Sometimes the way we tell someone about a problem can help you see what it is that is concerning you as we tend to emphasise the things that bother us most.
  • Sharing brings inner peace. Getting something off your chest allows you to let go of it and make more time for doing things that make you happy.

We all have our own little battles to fight but I believe that there is always someone out there who will listen. And if all else fails, write it down with pen and paper!

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#1 Why Everyone Should See A Therapist

I used to think therapy was for addicts or weak people but now I think anyone can benefit from therapy.

I was first exposed to it when I went to see a hypnotherapist about my fear of motorway driving. I went in wanting to be fixed and I think that is the best way to benefit.After 5 sessions using hypnosis, I was back on the M40 doing my daily commute so I can say first-hand that hypnotherapy does work!

My openness to being healed led me to explore more about myself and my situation. At the time I was struggling with a job I didn’t like and it was impacting on my moods and my relationship, so I was recommended a counsellor by a friend of mine and got in touch.

I was nervous the first time as I had no idea what it was going to be like but I didn’t need to worry, it was just like having a cuppa with a friend and putting the world to rights. I felt at ease right away and my therapist gave me some good strategies to help deal with my moods.

My sessions helped give me clarity of thought and forced me to think differently about things. I went from thinking there was a set way to progress my career to being open to new opportunities and paths that I had never even thought of. It energised me.

Everything you say is confidential and I could email my therapist anytime if I needed support. I went for 6 sessions but everyone is different depending on the issue and my therapist made it clear that I could come back whenever I needed to. It is an ongoing dialogue and the therapist-client relationship can last a lifetime with many people keeping in touch long after they have finished their sessions.

So what did I learn from seeing a therapist?

  1. I learnt not to take other people’s opinions so personally.
  2. I learnt to say ‘should’ less and set more realistic expectations.
  3. I learnt that there isn’t always a right or wrong way to look at something because each of us is different and shaped by our own experiences.
  4. I learnt to be more empathetic, everyone has their own battles going on.

I got a lot from my experience and wouldn’t hesitate to go back to therapy if I was struggling with something in my life. 

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness but rather a sign that you are self-aware enough to know you can’t do it on your own and that is a strength.

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Week Seventeen: Celebrate

And so, just like that, Christmas has been and gone and the new year is just around the corner. We’ve probably all eaten too much but hopefully enjoyed celebrating the occasion with family and friends. I’m sure there will be lots of gym sign ups in the next week or so!

After starting my Countdown to Christmas 17 weeks ago, I wanted to take the time to reflect before the start of 2017. The point of my challenges to myself over the last few months has been to help me develop my self-awareness and focus.

I have found some weeks easy and others have been harder, maybe because of time commitments, maybe because I wasn’t sure where to start. Either way, I have found it an interesting experience and feel that whatever task I set myself, I will complete it.

That’s the positive attitude I will take into the new year. Looking forward with optimism and enthusiasm and wishing everyone a happy 2017!

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Week Sixteen: Act Like A Kid

People always say enjoy life while you’re young and carefree because before too long, the responsibilities pile up, you become rooted or committed by jobs or people and life seems to get more serious.

Last week, I shook off my worries, didn’t give a thought to long-term plans or careers or to bills I have to pay and I just acted like a child. Carefree, unafraid and enjoying the small things in life.

I was away at the weekend and took great enjoyment in sliding along the mud in my shoes, in dancing around a garden without caring what anyone thought and just asking people questions that my usual self might have labelled at stupid or irrelevant.

I smiled for the sake of smiling, I laughed at the smallest things and thought about what made me laugh, so that I kept laughing! I went to the theatre and stood up at the end even if my friends wanted to stay seated. I lived every moment, senses alive, and didn’t get caught up in the daily grind.

It was wonderful! Such a liberating feeling and one which I would like to keep up, if not every week, at least some of the time. It’s just like letting your true self come through with no judgement or sensoring, just being yourself. It’s like freeing yourself from society’s pressures.

I would urge you to try it, let go, be free for a week and see how you feel. If you have young children, observe how they act around others and take inspiration from them. Or maybe relive some of your younger days. Remember that feeling of freedom and hold onto it!

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Week Fifteen: Set Some Goals

With 2017 less than 3 weeks away, your mind tends to wander to grand plans for the year ahead. With many people committing to regular gym sessions or healthy eating goals, which don’t always last until February, I wanted to set some achievable goals for the new year (although there’s no harm in dreaming!)

A time for reflection on the year so far, what had I enjoyed? What had I not enjoyed? Anything I wanted to do but hadn’t?

I came up with lots of ideas, some more idealistic than others, and decided that there were three main things I could focus on:

  1. Schedule free time into your schedule and don’t feel bad about not having plans.
  2. Embrace spontaneity and keep an eye out for last minute events.
  3. Visit family and friends more often.

All pretty achievable and straightforward but it’s a worthwhile exercise to do.

I have found that whenever I see a space in my diary I want to fill it. However, having had some last minute plans which I have been unable to take part in this year because of my full diary, I want to be able to say yes to spontaneous plans more often.

Related to that is ensuring that I don’t fill every moment and build in time to do nothing, just read or do crafts, phone a friend or go for a walk. Scheduling in ‘me-time’ is important for everyone but I know I don’t do it enough. And, more crucially, being at peace with having nothing specific planned for that time. Convinving myself that it’s ok to not have plans is going to be one of my key goals next year!

Finally, certain events this year have emphasised to me the importance of close links with family and friends so I want to be able to see my nearest and dearest more often. Plus, I have a railcard for another year, so no excuses about expensive train travel!

Goals are good as they give you that overall focus for the year and mean you can check up on yourself every so often to see how well you’re doing. Or even provide good material for a blog!

Happy resolution planning!

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Week Fourteen: Chill Out

Our lives can get so busy, a constant rush from one thing to another, even more so at this time of year. I get so used to saying “‘gonna be a busy week” or “sorry, I’m busy that night”.

Last week was, at the start, a busy week but instead of fussing around trying to get through everything, I took the view that I would do what I could and the rest could wait. No point racing from one end of the county to the other, just do one thing then go and relax for the rest of the evening. Once in a while, it doesn’t do any harm to have a break from things.

As a result, I got an unexpected night in with my partner and we caught up on our favourite TV programmes. I also had a spontaneous invitation from a friend which I was then able to accept, where I would have usually been busy.

I also realised at weekends, when I said I’d meet a friend at 11am, it doesn’t matter if it’s more like 11.20am, as long as you give them a heads up. And instead of making rigid plans, I just let the afternoon flow naturally, which I enjoyed.

Now I’m not saying, don’t make plans, I just tried this out as a lesson in chilling out a bit more and not stressing if a plan doesn’t go to plan! Knowing that the world doesn’t stop if you miss an orchestra rehearsal, or turn up late to meet someone, just puts everything in perspective a bit more.

Every now and again, it’s good to just do what you really want to do, not what you think you should do.

 

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