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?
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?
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!
When I was younger all I wanted was to be normal. I wanted to fit in. I didn’t want to be singled out. I wanted to be liked and blend in with everyone.
I didn’t want the bullies to take a shine to me, I didn’t want them to scream in my ears in the playground, circle around my friends so that I would stand alone, make up embarrassing rumours about me, threaten me, start on me or throw the things that hurt me in my face. I didn’t want to be humiliated. I just wanted to be normal. I just wanted to fit in.
When I lost my mum at 13, I didn’t want to be the girl whose mum had just died, I didn’t want everyone to look at me, pity me, know that I was the girl with no mum. I didn’t want to be the talk of the school. I just wanted to be normal. I just wanted to fit in.
As I got older and faced monsters in the shape of grown-ups, I didn’t want to be the damaged woman, I didn’t want to be the one with a troubled childhood, I didn’t want to be the one that came with baggage, I didn’t want to be the one scarred by the actions of people doing wrong, I didn’t want to be pitied and have eyes rolled behind my back. I just wanted to be normal. I just wanted to fit in
But I wasn’t normal.
I felt far from normal and I was FAR from normal. I realised that by hiding how different I was that I was actually crushing my own soul, by trying to be like everyone else I was becoming nobody, by fitting in I was losing any meaning of life.
I am not normal and nor would I want to be, I am the only one of me. Why would I want to be invisible? Why would I want to live my life to be accepted by other people that are no better than me? Why would I base what is ‘right’ on other people’s opinions? Why would I want to hand my worth to someone else when it is the most valuable diamond of this earth?
I wouldn’t. I don’t want to be anyone but me. I don’t want to be anything other than who I am. I don’t want to concern myself with the opinion of ‘they’. I want to be every part of me. I want to feel every drop of my blood feed my body. I want to think every thought that runs through my mind. I want to speak every truth that flows from my heart and I want to be a platform for my soul to give meaning to this world.
I want to live. I want to tell others to live too. I want to help everyone see how completely not normal they really are. I want everyone to know that a light shines in them with colours that no one has ever seen before.
Realising that no part of me is normal is when I truly began to fit in. I fit in to me. To my own skin. To my own world. And it’s fantastic.
Fit in with you!
We are all part of one seriously abnormal Pride fellow Lions and Lionesses!
Follow your heart. If it feels right then it is the right path for you to take, don’t worry about the money, don’t worry about what others think and don’t wait for something better, live now. Don’t miss out on something good because it’s not the way you imagined it, keep your expectations relaxed and your standards high and the world will treat you right!
So often success is an image that you buy into, it doesn’t mean you are not close just because somebody else seems like they have made it. Focus on your own journey and be inspired by others, not put off by them!
You are a diamond. The most beautiful and valuable stone in the world. You have to truly know this because it is the truth.
If someone does not see your value then get rid of them, someone else will definitely see it.
Nobody can break you or destroy your soul unless you let them, unless you give them ownership of the diamond that you are. You are the strongest there is. The most beautiful there is. The most desired there is. But, until you see it, it will mean nothing.
You are a diamond dear, they can’t break you and they can’t get better than you.
an opinion or recommendation offered as a guide to action, conduct, etc.: I shall act on your advice
We all turn to our family, friends or colleagues for advice at times. Sometimes we need a few suggestions on how to handle a situation we are faced with and other people can really help us out.
Somehow, with some people and all too often, this advice turns into instruction. A way you ‘should’ be doing something. A lecture.
I hear about this all the time and witness it myself. You start talking to someone about an aspect of your life and almost instantly regret it as you begin to be instructed on exactly what you should do, how and why based on nothing other than that person’s preference or belief. You are no longer considered into this equation of ignorant advice/instruction and you end up trying to look like you are interested whilst thinking of ways to stop this person talking. I have listed below the most popular topics that people often feel like they are instructed on (the list on how to stop them talking can be sent upon request):
Pregnancy – All of my friends that have had children have said that one of the worst parts of pregnancy is everyone telling you what you should and should not do with your body. Can you imagine? Forget the labour, swollen ankles or the peeing every 5 minutes being so bad, it is the other people around you that can make it so tiresome. It seems that when you fall pregnant a majority of the people you will come to communicate with will be ready and waiting to share their ‘expertise’ with you. And will they all have the same advice? Oh no, of course not, but they will ALL know best and make sure you know it. If you happen to be pregnant at the moment and are suffering through this torment I feel for you. Nobody really knows best and everyone has their own way of doing things so I think it is important for you to listen to your body and the people you feel happy listening to and tune the others out. Perhaps use the extra need to pee to get the hell outta there and stop them talking…..unless of course they follow you to the toilet and talk outside the door, then, failing you and bump being able to squeeze out of the window, proceed to sticking toilet paper in your ears until you can no longer hear them.
Relationships – Well we all like to discuss our relationships with friends when we need to but, there are those certain friends that you instantly regret opening your mouth too. You know the ones, they tell you what you did wrong and what you should be doing instead. They advise you on what you need in your life and it sounds strangely similar to either their current ‘successful’ relationship or similar to the person they think they are but in fact, are not. I’m not talking about the friend that kindly suggests something thinking that referencing themselves may inspire you, I’m talking about the friend who proceeds to lecture you on exactly what you need, what you are ready for, what age you should be, where you should be at in your relationship and how you should feel about it. The phrases ‘you shouldn’t want to settle down yet, you are too young’ or ‘you are mad wanting to meet someone, if I was single I would love it’ or of course ‘he’s a nice man, don’t end it hastily, your feelings will grow’ all because they liked him the one time they met because he complimented her dress. These are the times when it is fully acceptable to think about what you will eat for dinner instead. Nobody knows what is right for you and telling you what you should want or what you should do based on what they want and think they would do isn’t helpful. Suggestions are of course helpful but only when a person considers who you are as part of that, not who they are. If they want to go at it from that approach then the following should be said in that sentence ‘I can only tell you what I would do’ and it should not become an instruction for what you should do.
Careers – This is the one I suppose I feel most strongly about. I grew up being told that a ‘real’ job was working for somebody else, that following my dreams was a fairytale and would never get me anywhere. That working part-time in my twenties was me refusing to grow up and that £8 an hour was good money. I have had to battle a lot with other people’s judgements and my own to continue to work towards my dreams. And now, finally I have fully accepted that my life is made for living and dream chasing. It may not be for everyone and their dreams will be different from mine so I say to anyone – do whatever makes you happy and do whatever you feel is right for you. To anyone telling me, you or any other soul how and what they SHOULD be doing in regards to working a ‘real’ job that isn’t, in fact what YOU want to do, I say IGNORE THEM. They don’t have the courage to believe in themselves otherwise they would be encouraging you to believe in yourself too. These negative people want to soul suck you down into their pit of fear and misery so that they are not left alone there. They believed the people who told them the same thing. I want to say I BELIEVE IN YOU, ALL OF YOU. If it doesn’t work the first time, it can work the second or the third or even the three hundred and seventy-fifth time. You can be anything you want to be and do anything you want to do. At least the journey towards doing that will be one hell of an adventure.
It is also good to consider the advice you give others, where does it come from and is it in the best interests of the person you are giving it too, or yourself?
To all of these people who want to give you the rules and instructions for these above mentioned parts of your life and any other parts of your life, I want to share with you a visualisation technique (a practical exercise if you are around those it won’t offend). I was with two of my favourite people on this planet yesterday, Ciara and her husband Dan. Dan was telling us a story about a group of kids driving past his boss and in slow motion one of the kids raised his middle finger at him, his boss shrugged and carried on walking. That was it. It was actually pretty funny by the sounds of it too. But it got us laughing at the idea of using this method when someone is really butting in to your life and telling you what to do. Imagine it, hold up your closed fist and as slowly as you can with a blank expression on your face, raise up your middle finger. I think it makes the perfect point. We named this ‘The slow flip of the bird’. Anyone who starts telling you the ‘rules of life’ or instructions on how you ‘should’ do something, just give them ‘The slow flip of the bird’, perhaps in your head if it is inappropriate to physically do this but do it. Slowly. All the while remember that you can make your own choices and your own decisions about what is right. Listen to your instinct. Your gut is your guideline, always.
Slowly flippin’ the bird at all the preachers and rule-tellers out there, have a great week pride!
You are everything! Everything you need, everything the world needs and everything beautiful in this world. You are full of greatness, let some of it spill out, go on, even just a pinch. It will change the world.