Sunday, 31 August 2014

The Funny Thing About Regret

This week has proved to be rather interesting to say the least. While I often speak of the necessity of pushing the boundaries of your comfort and taking that leap, I was forced to put my money where my mouth was.

It started with a little thing known as the 'Ice Bucket Challenge'- you've probably heard of it, it's this little known fundraising trend where you pour freezing cold water over your head (whilst being filmed, of course) and donate to charity. So anyway, it turns out that this challenge which had been circulated around me had finally arrived. I'd been nominated.

Naturally, I wasn't thrilled with the idea. The idea of having to be half drowned for the pleasure of social media didn't exactly give me a warm tingly feeling and, I confess, my initial reaction was nothing short of no.

No, there was no way I was going to do it. Nope, not happening. I was coming up with all of these different excuses that I could use to get out of it- everything to not having the time to being unable to film it (complete lies of course).

The decision was resolute in my mind right up until the time when it came to go to sleep. The only thing was that... I couldn't. My mind was churning over this challenge and all of the people who'd already done it- of all of the money that had been raised by these people who had willingly (or maybe not so willingly) taken part. I felt guilty. No, more than that- I felt awful. I was wussing out of the challenge because I was scared how it would make me look.

Why? Because it was out of my comfort zone.

Ah. Well, damn.

The funny thing about giving advice means that you have to take it yourself or be faced with the label of 'hypocrite'. So, keeping that hard realisation in mind, I did it. I did the Ice Bucket Challenge. It was bloody freezing, admittedly, and having to waddle around after with soggy trousers sticking to my legs was highly unpleasant but I was filled with a great sense of achievement . That night, after sharing the video on my Facebook and settling down for sleep, I knew that I'd done the right thing and that I would have totally regretted it if I hadn't gone through with it.

The second thing that happened this week was to do with driving. Earlier this year, around April if I remember correctly, I started lessons and recently my Dad has been taking me out in my Mum's (good old reliable) Fiat Punto. It is freaking terrifying.

Now, let me add here that this has nothing to do with my Dad. He is more than capable of going out with me and making sure that I'm not a danger to other road users- nor pedestrians- but I just lack the faith in myself yet. So, when the inevitable time came for me to have another lesson with him, I felt pretty sick.

I'd been putting if off more and more, the very thought of me, me, being responsible for this moving vehicle without another set of handy peddles to take over if necessary made my stomach churn and my legs turn to jelly.

In case you hadn't gathered, I really really didn't want this lesson.

My parents could see how anxious I was to the point they gave me the option to leave it. I wanted to (oh, how I wanted to) but I refused to let myself shrink away from the opportunity and stop myself from being able to drive in the future. So, I did it. I went on that lesson and, you know what, I'm glad I did. I fairly enjoyed it...

...Right up until the point it came to driving home. My Dad was encouraging me to do it- he had complete faith I could but I didn't. I was too worried that I would mess up or cause an accident that he had to step in and take us home, driving the way I would have gone to show me what I would have been doing.

I'm not going to lie to you, I knew as we made that journey that I could have done it. I was kicking myself. What's worse is that I knew how amazing I would have felt completing that journey back- I knew how much my confidence would have grown and how elated I would have felt.

The point is this: The funny thing about regret is that once the situation has passed, there is nothing we can do about it yet, once the situation presents itself we can take that chance, give that challenge a go, and hopefully save ourselves that regret.

It sounds like an old cliché yet it's something in my previous experiences I can attest to: you tend to regret the things that you didn't do more than the things that you did.

No one can predict regret- no one can predict how the future will unfurl or how things will go, how many regrets you have will ultimately fall to you and your actions. No one wants to be that person who spends their time wondering what could have been, so next time you're faced with a situation think of this:

What do you think you will regret more? Giving it a shot with the chance that it might go wrong or not trying at all?

Think about it.

Monday, 25 August 2014

How To Be Respected

A lot of people believe that to be respected you need to be feared. They believe that you have to have this overwhelming, overbearing presence so that people have no choice but to allow you to have a voice.

The truth is, you don't need to take such drastic action.

To be respected, first you need to respect yourself.

Image from Google
It sounds like a given, I know, but you would be amazed at the difference it can make.

Many of you may already feel as though you have respect for yourself. Some of you may feel as though you have the respect of others, which is obviously fantastic, but let me ask you this:

  • Do you have that one person in your life that you are always making excuses for?

  • Do you have someone in your life who is constantly letting you down but you are constantly forgiving them?
  • Do you have a situation that you have happening in your life that you are begrudgingly putting up with?
Still sure that you are respecting yourself?

The funny thing about the way that we socialise with others is that we train them how to treat us.

That person who you keep on making excuses for? You're teaching them that, no matter what they do to you, they're covered.

That person you keep on forgiving? You're teaching them that they don't need to give a sincere apology- and you can sure as hell bet that the situation you're putting up with isn't going to go away.

Maybe this is why people feel the need to be aggressive to get respect. Maybe they feel the need to act that way so that people won't dare to take advantage of them and give them the illusion of respect.

You have to earn respect and the first step of that is to respect yourself.

So put your foot down once in a while, yet don't be rude and purposefully abrupt, and make sure that people treat you in the way that you deserve to be treated.

To earn people's respect, first you need to respect yourself and once people see that you do, then they will respect you for it.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Why You Are Ultimately Responsible For Your Own Happiness

OK, so I can imagine what you're probably thinking. Mary, what the blazes are you going on about this time? How my happiness be down solely to me?

Well, dear reader, it is. The funny thing about happiness is that it is a state of mind rather than a result of circumstances.

Think of the last time that you were happy. You were most likely smiling, feeling as light as a feather, maybe even doing the cha cha inside of your head. You felt good. The world was bright and everything was looking spectacular. Think back on that feeling, try to remember the elation that you felt and then answer me this.

Why not allow yourself that feeling more often?

But surely it can't be that simple can it? Well, why not? Why can't it be that simple? If happiness is a state of mind then why not allow ourselves to indulge in it?

Why not allow ourselves to be happy?

Now, I know what you're thinking: yeah, how's that going to happen? Well, it's pretty simple if you thing of it in a certain way.

Every decision that you have ever made has brought you to this point in your life.

So, in effect, every decision has led you to your current state of mind and, as such, every future decision can influence how you see the world.

Take this as an example, if you make the decision to make a change in your life- to get rid of the negativity and stress that you suffer with, then you are making a decision to have a much happier outlook on your future. However, if you decide to 'put up' with how things are, you are allowing yourself to be deprived of the happiness that is out there for the taking.

Do you see where I am going with this?

You choose to be happy by actively making the effort to adapt how you see the world. You are the one who is solely responsible for how you see the world.

You can be happy. You can get rid of the negativity and upset in your life.

All you need to do is try.

I'm not saying that it is going to be easy- far from it in fact- but if you adopt a positive attitude and stick with it, if you work hard towards what you really want instead of 'making do', then you will get there.

So go on, take responsibility of your own wellbeing. Allow yourself the be happy- you deserve it.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Stuck in a runt? Shake off the shackles and move forward.

On Wednesday, I ended up having a rather interesting conversation on the way to Chester with a co-worker. We were driving along, just talking, when she said something that really stuck with me and it's something that I really want to share with you all today.

"It doesn't matter what you do with your life as long as you keep on moving forward- I don't necessarily mean with education but as long as you keep moving forward in life, that's all that matters. You are driving your own destiny, no one else."

Keep moving forward. It's amazing how such a simple statement can have such a powerful effect on you.

It got me thinking. How can I keep moving forward? How can I actively take steps to keep my life aiming in the right direction than just staying in a stand still as the world passes me by? Then I realised. It was down to lack of action.

How many of us dream up things that we would like to do but never actually put the plan into motion? How many of us aspire for our professional or personal lives to go a certain way but never make the physical effort to even try?

So I've decided to create a bucket list. A set of actual goals to work towards of all of the things that I want to have achieved before my time is up and on this list I am going to have all of the things that I was too scared to imagine to do, too worried about, that I am determined to achieve.

If you're stuck in a runt, I ask you this: are you really unable to move forward, are you really unable to make a change or have you allowed yourself to stay motionless? Have you voluntarily allowed yourself to be stuck in the exact moment that you're in now because you've been unwilling or unable to admit that you are no longer progressing?

You are no longer moving forward?

Forget the excuses. Forget the 'It may not work' or 'I might fail'. Forget the 'It might be a mistake' or 'I may regret it' because you won't know unless you try in the first place.

Make a bucket list, aim for something better- even if it's just that holiday that you always wanted to go on.

The best way to get motivated to get something done is to go ahead and do it. So start today! Make that list, enrol on that course, take that step towards where you want to be.

If life's a journey and you want to make the most of it, you've got to start walking.

Image from Google

Image from Google

What would be on your bucket list or do you already have one? Let me know what it is- whether on Google + or in the comments!

Sunday, 3 August 2014

How To Deal With Exhaustion

There are various kinds of exhaustion ranging from physical, mental and emotional but they all have one common factor: if not dealt with quickly, they can have a real toll on your health and cause more problems.

While we can't always change the circumstance that causes us to feel the strain, we can take certain measures to help ourselves and to make things a lot easier.

Firstly, it is important to identify what kind of exhaustion you are feeling and it is important that if you have been feeling exhausted for a long period of time and it is causing problems with your health, that you should speak to your doctor.

So, without further ado, here are my top tips to dealing with exhaustion...
  1. Identify what kind of exhaustion you are having problems with
    Is it physical, mental or emotional? This may seem pretty obvious but the quickest way to tackle the problem is to identify what it actually is. The way to do this is by taking the time to work how it is you are tired. Do you ache? Do you find it difficult to focus? Or are you teary and feel in a constant state of chaos? Once you have worked out what the issue is, you can begin to resolve it.
  2. Make sure that you get plenty of sleep
    No matter the kind of exhaustion that you are having problems with, making sure that you have enough sleep is vital. It gives you the chance to be fully aware to deal with the problems around you and make sure that you are in top form. Yet, on the other side of the coin...
  3. Don't get TOO much sleep
    Having too much sleep can make you lethargic and mess with your sleeping pattern. What's more by having too much sleep, you may miss out on the opportunity to get things done which causes more strain on the body with the pressure to catch up on all that you've missed.
  4. Take a break
    From the office, from your work, from your chores- go and take a break. Whether that is a holiday, a day away or maybe just trying something new. Your brain needs rest and by stepping away from things for a while or giving your brain something else to dwell on, it gives you the chance to recuperate.
  5. Finally, come up with a plan
    Work out if there is any way to make your situation easier, whether that is by speaking to your boss at work and trying to come up with a solution, find a way to escape for a while (a bubble bath is always good!) and take step by step actions to come out the other end. Remember to RIPAS (Recognise the problem, Identify that it needs to be solved, Plan a solution, Act out the solution, Solve the issue.)
What are your top tips for getting rid of exhaustion? Let me know!