Reflection

There are often times when I wonder what I would tell a younger version of myself. I think about all the things that would help me have the upper hand, all the beauty tips that would make me prettier, all the food I shouldn’t be eating, all the courage I should fake towards bullies, all the times that I shouldn’t have shut my mouth and more importantly, all the times I should.  

As I think about this question more and more, one word sticks out, more and more.
This one word of advice gives you a powerful key in the world, it gives you the upper hand, educates you, makes you prettier, healthier, stronger, hands you top secret information and enters you into a secret underground world of truth into the minds of others.
What is this magical word?
LISTEN!
Yes, listen. It really is that simple. Think about it, yes especially the ‘mouth almighty’s’ out there, what good does non-stop talking do? What do you learn about others? What help do you give others? What other view can you gain if all that is being heard are YOUR opinions, YOUR beliefs, YOUR point of views or YOUR secret recipes? 
None.  
What friend can seek solace in opening up to you about their troubles and worries if you won’t let them finish a sentence!
What knowledge can you gain against your enemies if you constantly lay out a blueprint to your mind instead?
What can you learn if all you do is repeat what you have learned so far?
What respect can you gain if others feel that their say isn’t important around you?
Listen. Listen and learn.  
Stop interrupting. Stop picking up your phone when someone is talking to you. Stop listening only to wait for your turn to speak. Stop going on and on and on!
Now before I go any further, I would like to admit that I am quite the chatterbox, I always want to give my opinion or help someone with advice from knowledge I have gained. However, I have learnt to listen. I have learnt to activate a switch in my head and send a signal that says ‘shhhhh, just listen, forget what you are bursting to say and REALLY LISTEN.  
If you want people to actually listen to you then you have to give people respect and value what they have to say too.  
I learn a lot about people by listening. I learn who they are in between their words. I learn their strength in between their sorrows, I learn their weaknesses in between their excuses, I learn their compassion in between their fussing. I get to see some extraordinary qualities that I would miss if I did not shut my trap for once and pay attention (N.B. Paying attention is the most important part). I would also miss some ignorant qualities, some qualities that make me realise that that person is not who I held them to be. Most importantly I get to know someone, I get to walk in their shoes and learn their stories. Good or bad I’m grateful that they want to share them with me and I’m grateful that I paid attention and listened to them.
Thanks for listening pride!

Because it’s the best way to be!

(Photo from anonymous source – Facebook)

The closer you get to all of these the more free and in control you will feel.  Doors will open, lights will shine and you will embrace everything with open arms.  Even if it’s scary, go for it, be you!
Lovin you for you Pride!

Do it how you want it!

(photo from anonymous source – Facebook)

Pretend you are the person that you want to be, that you dream of being.  The only thing stopping you being that person is you acting differently.  Stop watching other people, stop worrying about them watching you.  Watch yourself and enjoy the view!

Keep to your word

How many times have you said one of the following:

  • I am going to eat healthy
  • I am going to exercise today
  • I am going to stop smoking
  • I am going to clear out this room in the house
  • I am going to chase my dreams tomorrow

How many times have you found a reason not to stick to the thing you have promised yourself?

How many times is it for one of the following reasons:

  • I’m too busy
  • I’m too tired
  • I can just do it tomorrow
  • I had to help one of my friends
  • I need to wait until I’m in the right frame of mind
  • It won’t make a difference
  • I don’t really want to change

You are the only person that can control your world and each time you make an excuse as to why you aren’t going to do something that YOU want to do you are holding yourself back. There is a simple way to fix this and the formula is below:

Decide to do something – Do It – If it feels hard – Still do it – If you feel tired – Just do it anyway – I you feel like giving up – Don’t.

You have to stand strong. Imagine you are telling off a child who is about to draw on the wall the conversation might go something like this:

you: Don’t you even think about drawing on that wall.

Child: (Goes to draw on wall).

You: I’m warning you, don’t draw on that wall.

Child: (Looks at wall thinking about what to do).

You: If you draw on that wall you won’t be allowed any treats.

Child: (Still goes to draw on wall)

You: (Take crayons off of child and send them to the naughty step).

Imagine the child is the part of your mind trying to give in to the easy option, the one saying ‘it can all start tomorrow, don’t worry about today’. You have to activate your ‘parent’ voice. Don’t let that child draw on the wall – Don’t let yourself de-commit to your self promises. You won’t gain ANYTHING from doing so. But you will gain SO much from standing strong and doing the things that you say you are going to do. It will start to become a habit that you are motivated and you will find it easier and easier to stick to your goals.

Be that person. Just be it. No saying ‘yeh but’, no lame excuses, no dramatic reasons why you can’t. Just. Do. It.

Separating the winners, Pride, oh won’t you climb with me!

It’s already there

(photo from anonymous source – Facebook)

You have everything you need right now to go where you want to go.  You may not realise it but it’s true.  Start being thankful for the simple and obvious things, break them down, keep saying thank you and before you know it you will be finding blessings in the tough times too.
Perspective Pride!

You got the power!

We have got to take responsibility for ourselves and teach our children to do the same.  
Imagine if in every argument we had, instead of throwing accusations and blame towards someone else, we actually took responsibility for our own feelings and actions.
You have control of your life you just have to actually take it. If someone is making you upset or not treating you right then why on earth are you still bothering? Why are you attacking them for not changing or behaving the way you want them to. Take responsibility for yourself and recognise that you do not want to be there and you want to find someone who treats you in line with how you want to be treated.
When someone is making your life ‘hell’ change your behaviour in the situation.  
Yes it might be scary and feel hard but its the only way you will really get what you want and teach others how to do the same.  
We have got to stop blaming the world for how our life is and realise that we are shaping our own life all the time.  
Set your standards, don’t lower them for anyone and be ready to make the decisions your life will require from you.
Your life, your way pride!

The ‘Single Disease’

Although everything I write about today is true, it is also written with a pinch of salt and a little exaggeration for entertainment value. Today I am a voice for all of us out there that are single and…..wait for it……happy!!!!! I know right? Single and happy? Is that even possible? Well yes it is and guess what, we are sick of being treated like it’s a disease being single.

I have been on both sides of the spectrum. I was in a very long-term relationship for most of my teenage and early adult years and I have also been single for a good while.  I have also dipped my toe in and out of the ‘dating sea’. It is safe to say they are two different worlds.

Being single is seen as somewhat of a curse by all those that are safely coupled up around you (of course with the exception of a few people, but I am talking in general before anyone objects….and then goes back to snuggle with their other half). You are continuously asked about your dating success and when you haven’t found love with a recent ‘potential’ or you are not dating you are thrown looks of pity and given words of encouragement. I would like to point out that in about 98% of these cases we haven’t sought advice on how to console our ‘miserable and lonely’ existences, nor have we implied that we are unhappy being single.

We are also treated like children or animals, by which I mean decisions are made for us that wouldn’t be done if we had a significant other, for example:

  • Where we will sit at events and how we feel about that.
  • Where we will be accommodated and who we will share with – and how we will feel about that
  • What will be done with us when we are amongst a group of other couples – and how we will feel about that
  • What we will be available for and how we can help out – and how we will feel about that
  • What is important in our lives and what is not – and how we feel about those

If we are not on the road to marriage or children – god forbid we have other priorities – then we are seen as lonely and pathetic – we are pitied and decisions need to be made for us (because obviously we can’t make good ones otherwise we would have met someone). Perhaps our careers are taken seriously but that is about it. Now imagine the same considerations listed above were given to a couple – you know, decisions made for them. Oh no I don’t think so, both their individual needs have to be considered in any given situation and it is perfectly acceptable for them both to be as difficult, fussy or demanding as they like. If a single person does this then they are committing a crime or even worse, being irrational. What is it about being in a couple that makes you superior to those that aren’t?

Well, I have some things to say about this:

  • I don’t want to be sat next to your weird nervous friend and expect to be the person that entertains them – If you attempt to do this, I will instead talk non stop about myself and my meaningless existence unless I am paid a wage to do otherwise. Entertainment is to be valued and you pay for what you get – no wage – no entertainment.
  • I am not happy to be placed in a vehicle or room with any Tom, Dick or Harry. Instead, I will place myself at my home, where I will enjoy the company far better and am able to sleep naked and sing to myself.
  • If I am the only person in the group to not have a significant other, leave an extra space at the table or event anyway, we can pretend that one day it will be filled and I will not be unhappy and alone forever – It’s good to dream. Failing that I will bring my cat and we will both beg for extra food.
  • I am busy, always – just assume this. I will not be happy to be a dogs-body. In fact anything you want from me you should request well in advance. My social life is packed full of fun events that are far more tempting than your partners, mothers, friend’s dog’s birthday party. Ask one of your couple friends for help then you get two sets of hands, my nails are far too pretty to work.
  • My life is free and exciting and I am on a road of self discovery. Enlightenment is a stone’s throw away. Everything in my life is valuable and the way I choose it. It is all important. I care much more about my next adventure than your new garden table.
  • I am not gossip for you. Just because you are settling into evenings in front of the television and cleaning nappy’s it does not mean you should look to my dating life – or lack thereof – to get your gossip fix. Yes we notice that you look disappointed when we have none for you. May I recommend Jeremy Kyle instead perhaps.

Being single is not a curse. Settling with someone so you are not alone IS!

I have so much fun in my own company. I can do whatever I want, whenever I want without the responsibility of compromise. Yes falling in love will be great, building a family will be magical and taken into consideration a handful of people before I make any single little decision in my life will surely make me feel more complete than I can ever imagine – when the time is right. Not a moment before because quite frankly, I am totally and utterly in love with myself. I get to explore places, take in the world, learn amazing things and live each day in wonder. I am not lonely being alone. I do not want to rush my life and being me is so much fun. Whilst you are cooking dinner and making children and seeking other couples to double date with I am living my life too, just in my way. I am sleeping in a quiet bedroom that is disturbed only by the sound of my cat purring – this does not make me a lonely cat lady – I am cleaning up after only me – and I am pretty tidy. I am not surrounded by noise and people demanding from me. I still understand priorities because I have my own that are important to me. Just because I don’t want children tomorrow it doesn’t mean I have no meaning in my life. Just because I go for long walks alone or with a friend it does not mean there is no magic in my life.

I am not unhappy and I am not desperately searching for someone to validate my life.

Where is the celebration for this? Where are all the presents for me being me? Where are all the nice clothes and traditions for being independent and happy? Quite frankly your relationships cost far too much, you get married (find someone to have sex with forever)  and have children (by having sex with that person)  and we have to celebrate this and shower you with gifts, it costs us time, money and energy. Where is the celebration for the time we have given you? Where is the celebration for being celibate for so long? Surely that is an achievement? Where is the equality?

All jokes aside, I am very happy for those around me that have found someone truly amazing. It fills me with happiness to see them happy and loved and respected. To see them build families and loving homes is so special. I very much enjoy being around them. But, I wouldn’t trade places with them for the world. I feel that same happiness toward my life. So please, those of you that do any of the above, consider the possibility that your single friends probably don’t want to be you, they probably turn up to a lot of events because they love and support you but may not always want to do the couple thing, family thing or snotty children thing. They are there because they love and support you. Do the same to them and treat them like a respectable adult who has opinions and preferences too.

Here’s to each of you Pride, each one of you individually, coupled up or not. We are all fabulous.

STONE COLD

Often I am told that I am quite ruthless with people. That I will cut someone out of my life all too quickly, in particular, men. The reason they say this is because if I suspect something isn’t right I listen to my instinct, I may sit on the thoughts I have for a little while and observe the situation, but I always listen to me. If I am hearing those all too familiar excuses – however they may be dressed, I walk away. If I am made to feel confused about how someone feels about me, I walk away. If someone’s pride is more important than me, I walk away.

The reason for this is quite simple – I have heard it or seen it all before.

Excuses can be dressed up in so many different outfits by so many different people. The guy himself, your friends, even you will excuse someone’s behaviour, however, it is important to remember that these ARE excuses for behaviour that is less than worthy of the person that you are. Excuses are made to justify actions or behaviours that make us feel unhappy. If someone is treating you right you don’t justify it, you accept it exactly the way it is and accept that the person is kind or caring or considerate – whatever it may be. So why is it that when someone is not making the effort or putting you down or acting suspiciously do we then feel the need to pretend that there is a valid reason?

The answer – Fear!

We fear being rejected, lonely, not important enough. We fear so many things that we tolerate all kinds of terrible behaviour that we shouldn’t tolerate.

So why do I walk away? Do I have a heart of stone? Am I a cold person? Am I fearless?

Well in truth none of the above but I have done one thing. I made a promise to myself and I hate breaking promises. I promised myself that I would not let anyone undervalue my worth. If someone doesn’t treat me the way I deserved to be treated and the way that I would treat them, I walk away – simple as that. In some cases I may act in haste and I may have to apologise for acting abruptly but I have never, ever regretted standing up for myself. For only accepting the best. For not letting someone walk over me. For not being treated and respected as the amazing woman I am. Each time I am true to myself and how I feel and I don’t apologise for who I am I feel proud of myself. I feel faith in myself. I trust me to always have my back and that feeling is priceless. The right person will admire and respect you for you, not try to make you feel like you are ‘needy’ or ‘demanding’ or any other controlling and manipulative terms you might have thrown at you. You should be completely in love with yourself and overjoyed at every part of who you are.

I’m not saying that every time someone irritates you or does something wrong then you cut them out of your life for good with not so much as a blink of your eye, I am however saying that you should be able to recognise when someone is not treating you to a standard you deserve. If you treat that person so much better than they treat you then you have to make some decisions. Perhaps have a conversation about it, perhaps write a letter and explain, whatever you do, don’t justify their behaviour. If it doesn’t make you feel good then something is not right.

This is why it is so important to fall in love with ourselves. To love our imperfectly perfect selves entirely. To know that no one determines our worth. We don’t need to apologise for leaving a situation that doesn’t feel right, we don’t need to justify our feelings, we need to trust them. After all, we will still have ourselves and that is the best person you could ever ask to be stuck with!

Only accept the best Pride!

It’s right there!

(photo from anonymous source – Facebook)

Nobody can fix our lives for us.

Nobody can tell us the right path for us to walk.

Nobody can tell you what is best for you.

But you can……you can do anything for your life you want to.  You just have to build trust within yourself and follow your heart.

You have the power.  Always have and always will.

Go and trust yourself to live.

Letting you find your own way pride!