Removing Toxic Labels That Others Have Assigned To You

Have you ever had someone tell you that you’re something so many times that you’ve believed you are defined by it?

Perhaps someone has told you that you’re bossy, impatient, sensitive, that you don’t think about others. Perhaps you’ve been labelled as smart, funny, but these things have become something to live up to. How has it changed the way you live your life?

The truth is that we often define ourselves through the lens of someone else. When we are asked to describe ourselves we often use adjectives we’ve heard other people say to us, because we think they know us better than we know ourselves, but is that really true?

When we use labels other people have given us, we are focusing on them so much that they become the truth, even if they’re not. It’s the law of attraction in play. We are constantly giving these thoughts attention and unintentionally they are becoming detrimental to the way we live our lives.

Personal Example

For me, the one label that has become toxic in my life is being called “Quiet”. It’s something that I was told throughout my whole time at school. I would go to Parents Evening and I would feel good because I was doing well in class and I was getting the right grades, but the teachers would constantly tell me that I was never putting my hand up in class. I’d heard it so many times across countless years that being “quiet” became something negative. It became a limitation. It made me feel like being a good student didn’t matter because I wasn’t very good at talking about it.

Turns out, there are so many positives to being “quiet”, but I forgot what these were because I was told so many times that it was bad. I forgot that quiet could mean reflective, observant, calm. I forgot that it could mean being conscientious, intuitive, sensible. But it can mean all of these things and so much more!

Finding our True Selves

It’s interesting because the labels that become toxic in our lives don’t often stem from a singular source, and even when we know roughly where they came from, we can’t blame those circumstances. I’m sure no one intended for the word “quiet” to completely change the way I lived most of my life, but it did, because of the way I personally experienced it, and that’s okay, but it’s about breaking the mould and fighting to regain our true values, not those other’s have given us.

When we start to believe we are the labels others have given us, that’s when we lose who we are and that’s when the label we’ve been given is then accentuated by our behaviour because we feel like that’s all that we are. Or, we go in the opposite direction and try to become someone we’re not, because we think that’s what the world demands of us. But there is no limitation to who we can become, and one label doesn’t mean you will be that kind of person forever. We must accept ourselves as we are.

What is the Solution?

I don’t think there is any simple solution to this; I just wanted to share my thoughts on the topic. But I do think it starts with getting to know yourself and exploring what does make you a good person. It’s about letting other people’s thoughts of you go, because they don’t matter. You know who you are inside, and if someone doesn’t understand that, that’s not your problem, right?

So, next time you have a free moment, sit down and think about what labels have been given to you over the course of your life. They could be negative, or they could even be positive, but what negative experiences have occurred as a result of them? Has it caused you anxiety in a certain situation, or have you felt like you are defined by the negative parts of yourself?

If you’re feeling confident, share it with me in the comments below. Let anything you’ve been holding in go and encourage positive change.


You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

What is the Law of Attraction and How Can it Change Your Life?

Over the past few weeks I have been reading the book The Secret. For those of you who don’t know, it is a book filled with quotes and stories rooted in the law of attraction. It is so inspiring and has so much wisdom and insight into how we can go about changing our lives.

An overview of the law of attraction:

  • Whatever your mind focuses on most is what you attract in your life (e.g. if you spend time thinking about bad memories and negative thoughts, you will attract more of this, and vice versa)
  • The law of attraction is about taking responsibility for your life – no longer seeing yourself as a “victim” but as someone with enough power to change your circumstances 
  • Removing any “limitations” from your mind – instead of saying “I can’t” saying “I can” – there is no limit to what you can achieve 

 

I find the law of attraction super interesting because it is fuelled by energy, and the belief that we are all made up of energy. We give off positive and negative energies when we interact with others and this can change the way we receive things in return. 

When you think of times of struggle in your life, it’s so easy to focus on what you can’t do and what is causing your pain, but this only makes the pain worse.  I’ve found in my own life that when I started to focus on good and positive and healthy changes I could make, that the bad and negative and unhealthy thoughts went away, because I was actively striving to be better, not dwelling on everything I already was. This is the basis of the law of attraction in action.

The problem is that if you think negative thoughts 24/7, it comes as no surprise that everything in life is seen through a negative lens – your brain doesn’t know how else to function, because that’s all you’ve ever told it to do. However, if you try to focus on what you want (to be happy, to make friends, to get a job), then your brain is tuning in to positive thoughts and you are unconsciously seeking positivity wherever you go. 

You don’t have to already have all these perfect things (happiness, stability, independence) to become these things. You just have to think about having them in the future, to let yourself feel what it is like every moment of your life, until you retrieve it. If you can feel it as real, the universe will make it real. 

 

How do you Reframe Negative Thoughts?

One of the best ways to put the law of attraction into action is to start reframing all your negative thoughts. This way you can change your mindset to one of predominantly positive thinking and attract positive people and events as a result.

Perhaps your internal dialogue looks something like this:

I’m feeling so sad. I am alone. No one understands me.

Try changing it to:

I will be happy and I deserve to be happy. I will connect with people, accept myself as I am, and I will be understood. 

You can even change it so that it becomes a “fact” in the present moment:

I am happy and I deserve to be happy. I connect with people, accept myself as I am, and I am understood.

And yes, it’s not quite as easy as that, because you do have to think these thoughts constantly, reframing your negative thoughts until your brain has learnt to ignore them. But, if you keep repeating it, your brain will start believing it, and you will start believing it. And it’s only once you believe it yourself that you can go out and actually make it happen.

 

But “I can’t do this”?

You might be thinking right now: I’m an exception. You might be thinking: I can’t do this because of [insert problem]. And I think this is where the biggest setback takes place. None of us like to think we are at fault for our unhappiness. It’s triggering. We like to blame exterior things in order to push our responsibilities onto something or someone else. Because that’s the easy option, right?

But, stop for a minute and think: What makes you so unique that you can’t do something? What about all the other people who have that same problem and have succeeded? Do you really think that’s an act of pure chance? If they can do it, why can’t you?

It’s easy to let definitions define you. I think I used to do this a lot with anxiety: “I can’t do the presentation because I have anxiety.”

But you know what?

I can.

Many people who struggle with anxiety have done presentations and that’s proof in itself. I don’t have anxiety; I have anxious thoughts, and that can be changed. 

This is the same with anything – any symptom or problem or issue you have is horrible, yes, and it feels horrible, yes, and it does provide some limitation, but it doesn’t make anything impossible. Why can’t you be an exception?

So break down that thought inside of you that thinks you are a limited being with no potential. No one is limited. We all have things that hold us back, but it doesn’t mean becoming happy is impossible (even if it feels like it at that very moment in time).

Notice your thought patterns over the next week. Perhaps jot them down.

Are you focusing more on the good or the bad?

And what is life bringing you in return?

 

The Secret

 

Have you read The Secret?

Do you follow the law of attraction, or want to?

Let me know in the comments below!

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

What is a Fixed vs Growth Mindset?

The mind is super powerful – more powerful than we often give it credit for. Not only does it allow us to do everything we do in everyday life – speak, walk, make decisions – it also produces thoughts.

The act of thinking is something that comes naturally to all of us. None of us have to think about thinking. It just happens. Or does it?

Turns out, thinking about thinking is probably one of the greatest things you could ever do. Taking time to stop and think: what am I really thinking? And why am I thinking this? And is this productive to who I want to be as a person?

The truth is that thoughts can seem like the truth, but they’re not. They’re not really real. The trouble is that a lot of humans fall into the trap of believing their thoughts define who they are, whilst the others have learnt that thoughts can be changed and overcome.

This is where the fixed vs growth mindset begins.

 

Definition of Fixed Mindset = 

This person often believes that the way they are – their thought patterns and behaviours – cannot be changed. They may see things as “impossible” or use the phrase “I can’t do this”. People with this mindset are often stuck in their ways, won’t accept the idea that a better version of themselves, or a better version of their life, can exist. They might think they will be and feel the same forever, and they often have negative self-talk.

 

Definition of Growth Mindset =

This person acknowledges that whatever is in the mind is a construct. Beliefs can be changed and new thought patterns formed. People with this mindset are often willing to change and learn new things. They are welcome to criticism – it gives them a chance to work towards being a better person – and they see everything as a learning opportunity (even things that are negative/bad). They often have (or actively try to) have positive self-talk.

 

My Story

I think everyone experiences a fixed mindset at some point in their life. We all have times when we feel stuck, as if the world is out to get us, as if we really believe nothing better can happen. However, it is also these experiences that can drive us into growth.

For the first nineteen or twenty years of my life, I believe I had a fixed mindset (I’m currently twenty one), but especially in the last four of those years. I saw the struggles I had as this overwhelming thing that meant I could never do this and I could never do that. I saw this idealistic version of myself as an impossibility. And I was extremely negative all the time. But to myself, not to others. I would beat myself up for every mistake I made and talk to myself in ways I would never dare to speak to anyone else. And I accepted it as reality. I accepted it so much that it only drowned me further and further until the negativity produced more negativity, and I found myself in a lot of internal pain.

Skip ahead to the last year and I’ve begun to really understand the value of a growth mindset. During my journey to overcome the struggles I’ve had with anxiety, stress and fatigue, I’ve realised that there is no such thing as impossible – that is simply your mind creating limitations that are not present in reality. My thoughts have stopped becoming something that control me, but rather I try to control them, reigning in the bad thoughts and reframing them with positivity until they will slowly dissipate. The bad thoughts still creep in sometimes, but I’m learning to push them away with self-love and accepting a new positive reality.

 

Moving from Fixed to Growth Mindset

I think the problem with gaining a growth mindset is that a fixed mindset is so comfortable. It’s so comfortable – and moving into growth seems like so much effort – that it’s easy to just sit and take the easy option. I know I did this for a long time. I think we’re all guilty of doing this at some point in our lives. Why risk everything for growth when you can just sit and accept things as they are?

Because this is your chance at real happiness.

Real happiness.

In my own experience – and I know this may be different for everybody – I only really experienced real and full and overwhelming happiness when I started to move into a growth mindset. This doesn’t mean I never had happy moments before – I had lots of happy moments before! But I never felt wholly happy and accepting and fully myself until now, until after this journey of self-development, and I think that says a lot in itself. Your mindset really does affect your emotions and mental health.

As I’ve mentioned above, I’m twenty one. I don’t know all there is about the world and self-development and whether you can jump between the mindsets like the flick of a switch. I sure hope I never jump back into my fixed mindset! But I think everyone has some sort of value in what they experience, and I hope that perhaps this will inspire you to look a little differently at your own life. Do you let your thoughts limit you? Do you tell yourself you can’t do something, until your mind believes it is real?

 

img_6598
Be the candle of positivity in the dark 🙂 

 

I felt a little wary publishing this post, because I think talking about a fixed mindset and reframing negative thoughts can sometimes trigger people. No one can be forced to change their mindset – you have to do it off your own accord. So this post is simply here to give you a perspective, to perhaps enlighten you, but at the very least to make you think.

And if you relate, have something to say, or have a positive story of your own, please share your thoughts in the comments below – I would love to have a longer discussion about this!

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

Discovering the Purpose of Our Lives

Hello! This is Kiran from Pro Investivity. I am glad to share with you a guest post on this topic. I am a personal development and an investment blogger. I write explicitly in various ways and proven methods for personal growth and also help you with your investing journey.

I consider myself determined to learn more and engraved into development. As they say, every person is born with a purpose, we also need to discover it. Before starting out, I would like to personally thank Alice for providing this wonderful opportunity of letting me guest post in her amazing blog. 

 

Why Most People Can’t Find Their Purpose?

photo on goal
It is always easier to say that I have a stated goal. More often, we can hear from people that they want to be a millionaire, they want to have a big house and so on. I can’t see the ultimate purpose behind their statement. If you consider the statements like these as your purpose then, I have a big question for you,

What will you do after becoming a millionaire or having a big house?

In this fast pace of life, we are driven to fulfill our materialistic desire. By being in a job for long hours with a motive to earn more, we feel that we don’t have sufficient time to discover our real purpose in life. Waking up, going to school (or job), returning home. We continue the same cycle every day. Even though we make a daily routine to follow, we are deviating from it with the uncertainty of our own objectives. The wiser are getting wiser than earlier not because they are selfish but because they have found the purpose of their lives. 

I don’t have to find somewhere to find an example, as I would like to provide my own illustration. It was me stating my purpose of living as to just get a proper job to run my family. I thought this was all I had to do throughout my whole life. I would like to describe my real transformation in the following paragraphs.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for a newer and richer experience.”

― Eleanor Roosevelt

 

How To Find The Reason For Your Life?

question mark

Well, if you are the kind of person who wants to utilize the best from your life (I know you want to), you don’t necessarily have to be an intelligent person. Even though you are in school, work, or hassling around, you can live your life with a true purpose. 

Giving sufficient time to know about yourself is the grand step you should take to discover your life’s purpose. If the problem is with time, you could think about this when you are commuting. You could go through your past and find out what you have achieved so far. 

You may raise a point here, it is easier said than done. At the time, I question you,

Does this mean we should be the slave of our false purpose?

Likewise, reading books can also assist you to find the purpose of your life, just like it did for me. Who knows if reading books would be a game-changer for your life? While reading Start With Why by Simon Sinek, I was shocked to know how foolishly I had been stating the purpose of my life. It was me dreaming of landing at a proper job and calling myself a purposeful engineer. It was a challenge for me as a millennial to get the path to my ultimate purpose. After much thinking afterward, I realized I wanted to work for the people who have been deprived of education and other basic amenities of life. Even if I could help 10 people enhance their lives, I would consider myself as a life well-lived.

Besides, learn from experienced people from different fields. They might have unfolded the secret of their growth which in turn can benefit you. I have met so many people who were dedicated to achieving the goal they believed in their life’s sole purpose. Only later did they discover it as the incorrect path and then had to change their life’s direction. 

 

“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.”

― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

 

Take your time and don’t forget to enjoy the process of finding your purpose. Live your life gracefully, with determination. I would like to sum up with the quote that has inspired me immensely, and I’m sure you would feel the same way.

 

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

―  Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Once again, I would like to thank Alice for giving me this opportunity to feature my article in her marvellous blog. 

If you like to soak yourself into your personal growth and unfold the steps to overcome challenges, you may also love to visit:

Challenges for Millennials In Personal Development

My Morning Routine During this CoronaVirus Pandemic

Secrets To Personal Development As Per Your Age

Gaining the Confidence to Speak Up When No One is Listening

Today I want to share more of a rambling post about the act of listening. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why people speak and why people listen and how these traits differ from person to person. I’ve always been more of a listener than a talker myself. I would always read books as a child, observing the characters and their feelings, and I would start reading people in real life like that too, pulling out all this information from people without ever really having to say anything at all. I think this is where my passion for writing started – I just loved observing how the world works and creating my own version of it.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve realised the importance in speaking up. I used to be quiet and anxious and this is probably because I let listening become my default – it was the easier option. Now, I’m on my journey to subvert this and becomes confident in the words that I have to say, but one of the things I particularly struggle with is speaking up when I feel like no one is listening.

How many of you have been in a conversation with someone for them to then start using their phone, or diverting the discussion over to something they want to talk about instead?

I find this extremely frustrating, and it’s also kind of rude, but not only this, it knocks the other person’s confidence straight out the window. When someone isn’t listening to what I have to say I start thinking: Am I not interesting enough? Oh, I guess you have better things to do. Why do I even bother?

When it reaches this point, I feel like I might as well be invisible. This is something especially sensitive to me, since I used to feel this way a lot, but I’m sure a few of you out there can relate. It makes you feel like your efforts just aren’t worth the time.

I think the main reason this has become a problem is because of the immediacy of modern society and our want to consume information instantly. It’s as if we must look at our phones as soon as we get a notification. It completely drives us away from normal chats where you just sit and talk with someone with absolutely no distraction. I bet our friendships and relationships would be so much more happy and healthy this way, if we took the time to connect face to face with our undivided attention. I’m lucky to have a few friends and family members who do chat like this with me and I really appreciate it.

It is inevitable that we have moments when we get distracted, because society has taught us to be this way and we don’t know how to live otherwise. I have moments where I’m also not paying attention, and I feel guilty even thinking about it, but I think, due to being a listener by default, I often wish other people would listen to me as much as I listen to them. I love understanding people, giving advice and helping them, but it reaches a point when sometimes I’ve had enough of listening. It reaches a point when, I’m dedicated to having a conversation without phones or any distractions, but the other person just won’t match that, or I have something to say, but no one will listen to it for more than a  minute.

It seems that in society we overlook the power of listening. I wish that listening could be taught in the same way that we are taught to speak up for ourselves (for I was always told off for not speaking at school, but never praised for listening well). After all, both talking and listening go hand in hand.

If everyone is talking, then what is the point of talking at all?

What do you think about the act of listening?

Let me know in the comments below!

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

Are you on a Journey to Happiness?

A few weeks ago I discovered a new You Tuber – Rowena Tsai. I instantly felt connected to what she was sharing and I could relate a lot, particularly at this moment in my life. So here is a piece inspired by her discussions, but also by my own journey with happiness, where I am trying to maintain the happiest version of myself. I hope this might help in creating and maintaining your own happiest version of yourself too.

I think it’s interesting how we’re all on our own journey of happiness. We all exist on our separate scales – some people are right at the bottom, some people are right at the top, and then there’s a range of people dotted about the middle. Every now and again it’s beneficial to take a mini time out and contemplate where you are on this scale. Why are you at this mark on the scale? Why are you not higher or lower on this scale? What are you doing that consciously makes you a happier person? Sometimes life is so busy we don’t stop to contemplate what we are actually doing with our lives.

I think contemplating happiness and being aware of your own happiness is the first step in actually creating a journey to increase it, but even at this stage it is hardly enough to motivate you to change anything. When I was feeling low, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to change, it was that I didn’t know how to change, and even when I did, I was fearful of it. When your mind says to you ‘you can’t change’ or ‘there’s nothing you can do’ it is putting up a barrier because it’s afraid of what’s out there. The mind’s habits have become so comforting that it doesn’t want to lose them. Sometimes I feel myself wanting to drift back to lower mood for no reason and I think it’s because that’s what my mind has been used to for so long – the mind does not eradicate negativity overnight.

It’s weird because, when I look back on how I used to be (before I decided to make positive changes to my life),  I didn’t feel like I was that depressed at the time. The saying of “losing interest in things you used to enjoy” I believed didn’t apply to me, since I was still doing all my hobbies and I was still going about my everyday life. What I didn’t realise was that the happiness that used to come from these activities was like a numbed version of happiness – an exterior happiness that I believed was there but inside was empty. I was just existing in a cycle I was doing only because I thought it was what I wanted – and partially it was what I wanted, but the problem wasn’t with the activities, it was with my mindset.

It’s only now, in the present, that I can feel and understand the difference in my mood. Now, when I do those same hobbies it’s like a completely different experience. I take part in them not because they are part of my routine, but because I genuinely want to take part in them – I feel excited by the prospect of them. If you are partaking in a hobby and your body isn’t genuinely thrilled to be doing it, then ask yourself why are you even doing it? Does it make you feel good? Are you doing it for yourself not other people? This can be used in all areas of life too – why do you do any of the habits that you do? If you don’t have a sufficient answer, then maybe that’s a habit to adapt or eliminate from your life.

Sometimes, it’s hard to know what happiness is. If you’ve felt the same way for a long time you know no different. But from my experience, I can tell I’m happier because the world and the future excites me. I can tell I’m happier simply because I’m motivated to get up and do things and explore the world, rather than sit in a monotonous pattern. And wow, is it so freeing. It is so freeing to just sit and think about my life, smile and not have anything bad to say about it. It’s a state of peace and acceptance. Accepting the bad for what it is and allowing it to change myself as a person, because that is the reason why it is there.

I feel like the last few years has been a journey of turning my mindset upside down. I used to wonder how people could be so positive – it seemed unrealistic and impractical – but now I realise that those people are positive because that’s the only way they can live happy lives. They’ve been let in on the secret that the only way to move past difficult patches in your life is to train your mind out of the negativity in order to overcome it. And it’s not a secret at all – it just takes a while for some of us to really understand it. Certain events in life happen and you can let them tear you down, but why choose to be unhappy when you can make changes to improve your life?

I think the journey of happiness is hardly a straight forward path. There are ups and downs and I guarantee you I will fall back down at some point in my life. But I’m no longer scared of it. I trust that the world will run its course and I trust that I will be able to get myself out of it just like I’ve done before.

Where are you on your journey of happiness?

And what did you change to get there?

4BC935E5-310F-4D5A-841B-5BD4869F4221

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

Contradictions of the INFJ Personality Type!

I thought I would write a post today about something I find super interesting – the Myers Briggs personality test! It involves answering a number of questions to determine what kind of personality type you are.

There’s been a lot of research on this so it’s more than just your average Buzzfeed quiz (although I do really love Buzzfeed quizzes). Ever since I came across it, I’ve found it to be so accurate, for both my own personality and in terms of people I know. It is easy to be mistyped and end up with a personality that is not true for you, but once you’ve got the correct one, it feels like you’re reading a diary entry from inside your brain that’s been broadcasted all over the internet for everyone to see. It really did blow my mind.

The main reason why I love this personality test is because it’s a great way to accept and understand yourself, but also learn to tolerate and understand other people too. Not everyone is the same as you and sometimes knowing the intentions behind someone’s actions can be reassuring and enlightening.

As the title suggests, I am an INFJ. I thought it would be interesting to share the paradox that is this personality type because I often feel like I’m the most confusing person – even to myself. If you’re an INFJ, it’s likely you’ll relate. If you’re not, maybe it’ll help you understand an INFJ friend.

You can check out my other blog post, where two INFJ’s compare their lives, here.

 

I’m social yet antisocial at the same time

This is definitely the most confusing aspect of me. I’m the kind of person you can find in bed at home watching a movie with a hot chocolate and refusing to leave the house, but I’m also the kind of person who will join lots of clubs to meet new people and make friends. I seem to jump from one end straight to the other, socialising when I feel energetic and motivated and then “recovering” by removing myself from people for a day.

 

I’m an extroverted introvert

There’s no denying that I’m an introvert – I can easily go hours without talking to anyone and socialising tires me out – but it seems that with some people I do mould into an extrovert. When I’m around people I’m close with, they see a more outgoing side of me because I don’t need to be fearful of holding anything back – I trust them. I also have moments of being an extrovert when it comes to meeting new people – initiating conversations, asking questions – but it all depends on my mood. If I’m speaking to an extrovert I automatically take backseat, especially when I’m drowned out by a group of extroverts, but if I’m speaking to a quiet introvert I somehow evolve into an extrovert to make up for the role. Sometimes I even confuse myself with how I can be outgoing one minute and quiet the next. I think it confuses people because those who see me as quiet are surprised when I’m chatty, and those who see me as chatty are surprised when I’m quiet. I guess I’m just very selective with who I am social with – some people I could socialise with for hours or days and not get drained, whereas others I have to take a time out.

 

I hate attention yet I want to be seen

I absolutely hate attention. At school, my friends used to try and convince me to wear a badge on my birthday so everyone would know, but I refused to. If you start to sing happy birthday to me in a restaurant, I would probably run out the room. The idea of someone staring at me too long just freaks me out. And yet at the same time, I want for people to see and understand me. I try and explain myself a lot (for fear of being misunderstood as someone that I’m not), but sometimes I just want people to pay attention and understand/appreciate my perspective.

 

I’m happy but I’m sad

I feel like my whole life has been me trying to make sense of the happiness and sadness in my brain. I can honestly say that right now in my life is the happiest I’ve ever been, but despite this, I still always feel this inner nudging of sadness that seems to spill over the edges at any given time. And sometimes it even seems like I want it to, as if I want to feel it to know it’s still there. And I don’t understand it. I can be happy all the time and yet as soon as I go for a walk in the dark I’m whipping out the sad music and living in my own little world for a while. It’s a weird comfort. I’ve always been drawn to sadness, even when I’m happy – in music, in films, in TV shows – and I can never really explain why, except that it’s just real.

 

I help others but I don’t help myself

This has honestly been such a huge downfall in my life. I’ve always put other people first – going out of my way to give advice, to be a shoulder to cry on, to do anything I can to make people feel just a slightly bit better – and my own mind and body was neglected a lot during this process. It is only now that I’m beginning to change this. Why should someone listen to my advice if I don’t even follow my own advice? This may be an INFJ contradiction but it is one of the few contradictions that I can actually change.

 

I seem calm but inside I’m a storm

When you imagine an anxious person you may think of someone tapping their foot or pacing the room or sweating profusely. Sometimes, the times I am most anxious I am completely still – you wouldn’t even know. I think this is what makes it so hard for me to open up sometimes, because it may seem like I’m pretending since I seem so “together”, but I just have an inner world that is so much more alive than what is perceived from the outside.

 

So that’s a bit of insight into the life of an INFJ!

I’d love to know what personality type you are – comment below!

And you can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

Creating a Good/Positive Aura in your Life

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all heard of the phrase “positive vibes”; it’s used so much across social media and in everyday life (inauthentically at times). It’s easy to say that being positive attracts positive things and sometimes it does seem too cliche to be true, but I’ve found that being positive actually makes a huge difference.

The other day in my yoga class, we were told a story about two dogs in a room full of mirrors. The happy dog saw happy dogs looking back at him, and the angry dog saw angry dogs looking back at him. Life is the same; what we give out is what we get in return. If we’re angry, other people will feel that energy and retract from us. That’s why it’s so important to work on your own wellbeing before you can expect anything from anyone else.

This year, I’ve really felt the force of a positive aura. I’ve worked so hard on overcoming a tough 6 + months of being unwell, where I honestly did feel really low, but coming out the other side has motivated me more than ever to self-develop and to combat stress and anxiety (as you might have seen in my goals for tackling stress/anxiety post). It is true that difficult moments in your life make you into a better and stronger person, as I’ve felt this for sure, but it also makes positivity a necessity – sometimes being positive is the only way out.

If you think about all of the people you’ve met in your life, there are probably some people who you instantly felt warmth and happiness from when you first met them – those are the positive people. And because of this, you probably felt more inclined to speak to them or become friends. The same goes with yourself – the better you feel about yourself, the better others feel around you. People are attracted to good and positive auras.

I’ve really felt this to be true lately. A few years ago I was a very negative person – I found it so hard to focus on the good things that were going on in my life and I think because of this I wasn’t attracting anything particularly good in my life either. Since I’ve worked on my happiness, I’ve noticed a change in the way I interact with people – I feel like people want to talk to me more and I feel connected to people more. It’s as if they feel the positive energy I’ve worked so hard to create and it makes all of it worthwhile.

I think it’s easy to dismiss this sort of thing until you’ve experienced it for yourself. I know for a fact that the version of me that existed a few years ago would have read this blog post and sarcastically said “yeah right“. Because when you’re feeling negative, you don’t want to admit that your attitude is the reason life isn’t working out for you, because then you have too much responsibility and that’s scary. But it’s also the truth.

Creating a good and positive aura is not something you can instantly make present in your life. You have to start by dealing with your emotions and your wellbeing and this always takes time, but it also always will take time. There’s never an ending point or result – it’s a constant progression. I’m still progressing now and I always expect to be.

So next time you go to a new place and meet new people, think about the energy each person in the room is giving off. Who are you drawn to? Why are you drawn to them? And focus on your own aura too. How can you share the best version of yourself with the world?

Give out a metaphorical thumbs up to everyone you meet 🙂

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

“Real art has the capacity to make us nervous”

A while ago, I came across the quote “Real art has the capacity to make us nervous.” It has stuck with me for a long time, reappearing every now and again when I contemplate the vulnerabilities and sensitivities behind a piece of artwork.

When speaking of art, I think this can relate not only to images, paintings or sketches, but also writing and blogging. They all involve creative sharing. So what makes them real enough to make us nervous, and why do they make us nervous?

Arguably, all art is real. It exists, therefore it’s real, right? However, in the context of this quote, real is perhaps referring to a depth of emotion. It is real because it originates from real feelings and experiences. It is real because it is the artist’s soul on a page.

I think real art makes us nervous because it acknowledges pain that we haven’t yet acknowledged in ourselves. It may be seen as a weakness or a shocking revelation, but if it is seen in this way, perhaps it is only because the onlooker hasn’t yet acknowledged their own struggles. Real art reveals the repressed. It challenges your thoughts in order to find ways you can relate to it. And if not relatable to yourself, to someone in your life.

Real art can be scary. It throws emotions at your face that, ironically, you don’t want to face. It embodies the kind of bravery and confidence we all wish we had. And I think this is what makes real art so beautiful. It doesn’t make me nervous, but it makes me happy – to see someone else accept and embrace themselves regardless of judgements.

How do you feel about real art? Does it make you nervous?

My Views on Body Image

To end Mental Health Awareness week, I wanted to write a more freeing post on my views on body image. There might be a bit of ranting and some personal stuff thrown in, but I think it’s important to share your opinion to help change people’s perspectives.

I feel like there’s so much out there that focuses on “the perfect body image” – there’s no denying this. It’s all over the media and the internet and advertisements. There’s no escaping it. I hate that the world has come to believe that someone should look a certain way, as if personalities are not important at all. Phrases are thrown around like “oh she shouldn’t be wearing that when she’s so overweight” and it makes me so mad because who decided there had to be a set of criteria for a body to wear anything? Everyone is always saying “don’t care about what anyone else thinks” and yet when people who may be considered overweight wear what makes them feel happy and confident, other people judge it and make them feel like they need to fit their rules of “appropriate clothing”. This means that they end up wearing clothes based on what they know other people will deem acceptable, rather than what they honestly want to wear themselves. And this is not okay.

It is understandable that people want others to be healthy and this is why they advise people to lose weight etc. but there is definitely a limit to what constitutes genuine, kind advice and full on abuse. I think that the person whose body it is has a choice and if they want to be healthy they can be healthy and if they choose not to then that’s okay too, as long as they’re willing to take the consequences. You can’t decide that someone else should be a certain way – they make that decision.

There are many people out there that don’t love their body and it’s easy to think that all of these people fit the stereotypical overweight person, but this is totally not the case. In my personal experience, I’ve always been super skinny and I used to always feel really self-conscious about myself. People would make remarks like “wow, your legs are so thin” but I never really took it as a compliment because I thought, if I was just an average weight, then surely no one would comment at all? Sometimes I tried to put on more weight but because of my high metabolism, nothing ever made an effect. When I was around 14/15 years old a teacher sat me down and asked me what I ate for each meal every day. I know they had good intentions, but it made me feel really bad about myself. I knew they thought I was starving myself but in reality I was eating totally fine. I went home and looked in the mirror and thought: do I really look that bad that someone had to ask me that?

Now, I don’t feel nearly as bad about myself. I still have days when I dislike certain parts of my body but I know that I’m at a healthy weight now and I shouldn’t worry about it. The thing is, no one else notices your insecurities but you always notice yourself. And so you should focus on other people’s perceptions of you. They don’t care about what you look like because a) they’re too busy worrying about how they look themselves and b) they only care about your personality and the way you’re interacting with them.

With this in mind, I really want to reiterate how body image does not matter. The world makes it into something that should matter through media and stereotypical remarks, but it does not. It’s good to remind yourself of this every time you look in the mirror. You are so much more than what you look like and you are so much more than what you think of yourself. 

You can view my other posts for Mental Health Awareness Week here:

How Would You Define Anxiety?

help me see the real me. [poem]