Respect.

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Moving to Melbourne after living in Canberra for a fair few years was exciting and hard on many different aspects. One major concern when I moved 1.5 years ago was friends. I had had the same friends for a while now, they were familiar and I was comfortable.

What I failed to realise when I was younger but understand now is the quality of the people you surround yourself with. 

Some of this, I realised during the last years of my undergraduate degree where I voluntarily drifted from the people who were toxic in my life. They added nothing but pain, they didn’t make me a better person and they definitely did not make me happy. 

It’s funny because when you are a child you struggle to differentiate good friends from bad friends. You just long to be friends with everyone, be loved and liked, most importantly, have someone to play with at lunch.

We are taught that having friends is important, but we are not taught how to be good friends or to tell the difference from good and bad friends. Or that it is okay to walk away without seeming weak. We are not taught how to respect ourselves and because of this so many children get hurt by their ‘friends’ everyday.

Because of this I only learnt to walk away from people who shouldn’t have had a place in my life, a few years ago.

Today, I find myself saying no to gatherings with people who I don’t feel my best self around without hesitation. Today I know that if I don’t find the quality in relationships, it probably isn’t worth my time. Today I know that if I am in doubt, the answer is probably no. Today I know how to respect myself but I wish I learnt that long time ago. 

This does not mean I do not give people a chance, I do, it just means I trust my intuition. It means I cherish every moment with people who make me happy, enlighten me and spark joy. And the ones who make me feel uncomfortable or put negative thoughts in my head, are kept a little further away.

I am sure that some people feel the same about me too, but that is okay.

The key is to show appreciation, love and respect to those who treat you with the same regard. The people who don’t like you? Well that’s okay, because no one can like everyone.

Quality over Quantity. 

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5 things I am grateful for today:

Lazy days in – I was supposed to do my assignment, I sort of did but it was mostly a lazy day in.

Youtube – Man, do you hold a wealth of free knowledge!

Coffee – I wasn’t drinking coffee for a while but the cold weather has sparked a new love for it!

Creativity – Just loving my creative thoughts lately.

Nature – while sitting in my bedroom, I observed the changing weather all day long, it was beautiful.

Till again ♥

Without you, there is no us.

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January 2016 – Sri Lanka

In times of stress and worry, I fail to look after myself. Sometimes the pressures of life make it seem as though you come last, everything else matters but you. I am here to tell you and myself that this is not true, even though you may feel otherwise.

Whatever your worries and/or stresses may be, there are some things we all have to do to take care of ourselves. Not only will these things alleviate your stress but also prompt you to formulate more logical, objective and structured answers to your problems.

  1. Eat – nourish your body to nourish your mind. Eating is vital. Your brain is already on overdrive in times of stress, not eating will cause a malfunction. So do not forget to eat. Balanced meals would be ideal, but eating in general is a good place to start. (unless you are a stress eater, which in this case probably doesn’t apply to you)
  2. Sleep – my simple rule when making big decisions or when trying to get through something, is sleep. No better way is there to shut yourself off for a few minutes or hours, to rest and settle and approach the problem with a better mindset.
  3. Go outside – extremely overlooked when stressed is nature and the calmness it can bring. I find going for a walk (doesn’t have to be long) and focusing on the sky, trees (especially leaves) and the weather extremely relaxing. It also puts things into perspective, that this world is full of great simple things, you just have to notice them.
  4. Take a shower or bath – this is almost ritualistic to me. After a really bad day or situation, I take a shower almost to signify getting rid of negative emotions and thoughts and moving on refreshed.
  5. Read a book – sometimes I know that my problems are small and easy to deal with but I am still upset and overwhelmed, I have a go to book called ‘Opening the Door of Your Heart: And Other Buddhist Tales of Happiness’ by Ajahn Brahm who is an English buddhist monk that writes short thoughtful, quirky and light stories that gives you a change of heart. That is just my go to, whatever works for you is good.
  6. Journal/write things down – Externalising your feelings and thoughts is so helpful when you are overwhelmed and confused. You can reflect on what you have written and even make your own prompts/questions to answer, to better understand how you are feeling. I journal a few times a week and this space is also an outlet for me, writing what I am going through is a release.

 

And those are my 6 strategies that may or may not work for you, but they work for me. There are many others and not every problem in life can be solved with these. I acknowledge some problems are extremely complex and terrible, but for day to day get downs, these work well.

Take care of yourself and love yourself, you are important. 

Yes!

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I recently challenged myself, not in a big way but a small one that matters to me. I said yes to something I wouldn’t have ever considered a few years back. I suppose that is what growing up is all about.

A friend who is part of a committee, recently asked if I would be interested in speaking about my volunteering experiences at a university event. Surprisingly, I didn’t think twice about it and said yes!

With that one small word, I bound myself to a commitment, one that I cannot passover or change my mind about last minute. What surprised me more than my response is that I was asked in the first place. It sparked joy (remember those moments of joy I was talking about in an earlier post, this is it!).

Leading up to this speech, I was worried, hesitant, a little nervous mostly because I was underprepared and wondered whether I would make a fool of myself in front of strangers.

The day before my speech, I sent it to my friend so she could have a look over it, for feedback and advice. I was worried she would hate it and wouldn’t know how to tell me not to speak at all. That wasn’t the case, I was being extremely harsh on my self, she said it was ‘awesome!’.

On the day I hadn’t practiced much but I didn’t feel nervous at all. I was confident. I don’t quite know why I felt so sure of myself at that point in time but I was, I trusted myself. 

The speech went smoothly, I wasn’t speaking too fast, I made eye contact, I saw a few smiles amongst the crowd, I felt good.

I used to hate public speaking, everything about it frightened me. I am proud of myself for saying yes, for speaking voluntarily, for taking on the challenge, for trying something different and most importantly trusting myself.

I urge all of you to try something different. you will be giving yourself the gift of growing, learning and believing in yourself. 

5 things I am grateful for today:

  1. Avocados – delicious!
  2. Youtube videos – Some youtubers make great content and are so inspirational!
  3. Days off – lately I have been exhausted, today is a day off to myself.
  4. Clean homes – my home is not clean, it is everywhere, I hate untidy spaces but I am so tired of always cleaning and am trying to give myself a break. So grateful when homes are clean.
  5. Books – I work with books while at work and I truly feel at peace being surrounded by them!

Till again!

Friendship continued.

Further expanding on a previous post about friendship and people talking behind others backs, I realise that it is something that I too need to consider and refrain myself from at times.

I constantly state that nobody is perfect and in my lifetime have made countless mistakes – said the wrong things and hurt people without quite realising, or realising a second too late.

I like to think that the majority tries their best to be good people, to be kind and value those around them.

A general rule when working with kids and defining boundaries that I have been told is to not tell a child anything that you wouldn’t tell in front of their parents/guardians. This helps define when it is and isn’t appropriate to communicate certain things to a child.

In the same way, I want to make a pledge to myself where I will try my best to not say anything about anyone that I wouldn’t be comfortable saying in front of them. I don’t do this often but I will aim to be more aware of those times that go unnoticed.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. I can’t fix everyone around me but I can definitely start with improving myself. Although it sucks to be talked about by others, I want to stop doing it myself. It isn’t easy in the current world we live in, where everyone is so critical and hateful but we have got to start somewhere.

Growing up.

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Growing up is a complex term to define.

Growing is when you blossom from a baby to a toddler, to a girl/boy, teen, young adult and finally into a woman/man. I think the biological part of growing up is easy, the mental part is truly a struggle, some of us never really quiet get there.

Growing or maturing means having greater self-awareness, thinking before you speak, picking your battles, challenging the world and being patient amongst it all. I am sure there is more to it, but as a 24 year old, that is as much as I have learnt.

Recently, I have made this transition where I feel equal to people who are older than me. Before, I felt younger, I felt as though anyone older than me had a sense of power over me and I felt vulnerable. I was afraid to speak up and talk, I felt like I didn’t have that option.

Now I do, I don’t know what has changed but I feel different. I keep telling myself it is as simple as ‘having a conversation’whenever I am in doubt, or in trouble or have something to say to anyone, older or younger. It is as simple as that, don’t be afraid to ‘have a conversation’. There is nothing a conversation can’t fix, shed light on or clarify. It is vital in every avenue of life whether it be talking to you friends, partners, siblings, parents or bosses.

Having the courage to have a conversation means that help is never too far away. 

I think a part of growing up means that you are brave enough to communicate and stand up for yourself. I am not perfect at it yet, but I am glad I am on my way there. 

Feelings.

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13th November 2016 Lorne, Victoria Australia – Lorne, a beautiful coastal town along the Great Ocean Road.

How  many of you out there have hidden your feelings to protect the feelings of someone you love?

I definitely have and find myself doing it a lot of the time. My thought process is:-

  1. I will get over it, why cause a fuss?
  2. Expressing my feelings will inflict emotional pain on someone else, why should two of us be upset?
  3. It doesn’t matter! is that a disguise for i don’t matter?
  4. Expressing my feelings won’t make the situation better. Yes it will, for you. 

I understand that  some things are better off not told or telling will exacerbate the situation but you will never really know what would happen till you try. What are the boundaries? When do you draw the line and say ‘hey! you know my feelings do matter and I am going to tell you how I feel and I don’t care if the situation becomes worse!’ 

Most of the time I know when and when not to say something but knowing doesn’t change anything because I still choose to not say anything to protect the other person. Does that person keep things from me to protect me? I will never know.

It is complicated and the answer is cloudy. This problem won’t be a problem at all for some personalities and I don’t know whether that is a good or bad thing, do they say too much and make situations much worse for themselves?

Should I learn to express myself? Will it change the quality of my life for the better?

Communication is always encouraged and I honestly believe it can solve a lot of problems but I don’t think this is that simple. You can’t ever know the result of two different choices relating to the same situation, so I can’t say one is better than the other.

I guess an educated guess is my best bet, what does everyone else do?

5 things I am grateful for today:

  1. My grandmother – she is just adorable and I love her to death.
  2. Cafes that are flexible with their menus – I have been a vegetarian for a really long time and am now venturing into veganism (really difficult at times), cafes with flexible menus make my life so much easier.
  3. To be alive – I am not in the best mood today but thinking of life’s simplicity makes it better.
  4. Nature – today the sun is shining like it is never going to set.
  5. Vegan Ice-cream – there is an Italian ice cream place near my house, it sells vegan and non-vegan gelato, it is absolutely delicious.

Till tomorrow.

Listening.

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30th of December 2016 Yerrabi Pond, Canberra, Australia – Driving and glancing to my left I saw this beautiful sunset. My destination was immediately altered as I took a left to observe the days magnificent close.

‘Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.’ – Stephen R. Covey

Listening and communicating are two of the most important things a person can learn in their life. It strengthens relationships, cures misunderstandings, releases stress and promotes overall better mental health.

All of us know how to listen and communicate, yet we don’t.

Personally, I am much better at the listening than the communicating. Letting people down, confrontation and saying ‘no’ are three things I struggle with the most. Three things I hope to not struggle with for much longer. They take the life out of me because I end up doing things with the wrong intention and a negative mindset.

Recently, a situation occurred where I sat and did the listening while someone close to me communicated how they felt. I did too much listening and they conveyed the message in a way they did not intend, the result – a misunderstanding.

This misunderstanding not only damaged our relationship but affected the life of a third party, a consequence that cannot be reversed.

Over the years I have learnt the following things:

  1. Humans don’t listen enough.
  2. Humans are excellent at talking about other people, putting others and themselves down and not owning up to their mistakes i.e. they communicate for all the wrong reasons.
  3. Humans don’t think before they talk – we were given a brain , let us use it wisely.
  4. Humans don’t ask enough questions, they assume.
  5. Humans struggle to put things into perspective – we are so caught up with ourselves.

I am guilty of all of the above, at some point in my life I have made those mistakes and because I am not perfect, I am sure I will at some point in the future. What I do know is that I try my best to be aware, to think, to listen, to not assume and to look for the best in people whenever I can. If you are trying your best, that is enough. There will come a time (I hope) when these processes will be running in the background, where I no longer have to be actively aware all the time and it becomes a life-changing habit. A protective factor that will not only strengthen my relationships but myself as a person as well as cause the least harm to others (humans, animals & the earth) mentally and physically.

5 things I am grateful for today:

  1. The sound of rain hitting my window – It hasn’t rained in a while, I am not particularly fond of rain but as I was awoken this morning to the sound of rain, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of calm.
  2. Hot showers – Showers not only leave me feeling cleansed physically but also mentally. On a bad day, a shower is my best cure.
  3. Food – Yesterday I ate way too much to make an ‘all you can eat’ menu worth my money. It wasn’t wise but I thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed it.
  4. Nature – Even at its worst, it carries beauty.
  5. Company – Good company makes a splendid day.

Till tomorrow.