How To Believe In Yourself (Actionable Steps)

When was the last time you truly believed in yourself?

When was the last time you had complete faith in what you were doing and where you would end up?

The truth is: a lot of us struggle with belief, whether we like to admit to it or not. Whether we are super confident or quiet in nature, we often get that niggling doubt that seeps in at any given moment. It’s like something is sitting on our shoulder telling us that we could be wrong. Sometimes we give in to it more than we should. Sometimes we let it control our lives.

But we don’t have to.

If I was to explain what it felt like to have complete faith in myself, I don’t think I could explain it. I don’t think any of us could. I don’t think anyone on this earth has ever been 100% certain of what they’re doing 100% of the time. We all have doubts.

However, I think to live the life you want to live, you can come close to it. You can work at self-belief to the point where, yes, you still have those moments of doubt, but you’re better at tuning in to the process, at ignoring that negative self-talk and at having confidence in yourself as a unique being.

We’re all on a journey of self-belief, whether we realise it or not, and I’d like to share some actionable steps for how you can become more confident in your ability to simply be you!

Practice Positive Self-Talk

This is the most important step you can take towards working on self-belief, but, unfortunately, it’s also the most difficult! With our brains working at a hundred miles per hour all of the time, it’s not an easy task to control our thoughts. Sometimes we may feel like they are, in fact, controlling us.

Practicing positive self-talk is the best method of eliminating negativity and all the emotions that appear alongside it. It’s something I’ve been working on personally over the past year, and I can say from experience that it helps enormously. However, you can’t expect to make the jump overnight; it takes time.

Try these two methods of practicing positive self-talk:

  1. Positive Affirmations – Speak positive phrases out loud to yourself in front of the mirror (or mime them, if you’re worried about anyone hearing!) – “I am successful, I am confident, I can do this” etc. It feels super strange and unnatural at first, and will most likely make you cringe, but it is a great way of securing positive words into your thoughts. The more you say them, the more you believe them.
  2. Reframe Negative Self-Talk – Every time you notice yourself speaking about a situation, a person or yourself in a negative light, reframe it. Change your perspective to the positive/realistic side of the situation. For example, instead of beating yourself up for getting something wrong at work, remind yourself that you’re human, that it’s okay, that it’s a learning curve for the future.

Remember Your Achievements

Often, in life, we forget about all of the amazing things we’ve done. We’re constantly pressured by society and education into thinking about the future – what we’re going to do next – that we forget about everything that came before that. As a result, we often gloss over our achievements.

TASK: Try writing down all of your achievements (both big and small!) It could be as simple as starting a new hobby, to as great as getting a promotion! At first, you may think the list will be small, but you’ll be surprised at how many things you have achieved. And it’ll motivate you to go out and do more too!

Embrace Your Unique Self

Sometimes, it’s really difficult to accept ourselves for who we are. In a world of constant comparisons, we often define our value based on other people – whether that’s how we view them, what they say about us, or what we think they think! At the end of the day, it’s only about perspective – and this is changeable!

TASK: Challenge yourself to write a list of your best qualities. These are qualities that matter throughout your life, that are consistent and at the core of who you are as a person. It could be kindness, a good sense of humour, intelligence or modesty. These qualities are the reason you excel in communicating with those close to you.

Many of us struggle praising ourselves, but it is only when we acknowledge our strengths that we can have true belief in who we are. Ask family and friends to help you if you’re feeling stuck. There are so many good things about every single person on this planet. You are no exception.

What steps do you take (or want to take) to help you believe in yourself?

Feel free to share your experience and/or tips in the comments below!


6 Things I Learnt From 3 Years at University

Earlier this year, I graduated from university and, what with lockdown and no proper graduation, it’s been an odd end to 3 years, but an end nonetheless. Looking back, it’s hard to put 3 years worth of memories into a singular blog post, so instead I’ve decided to write about 6 key things I’ve learnt during my time at university – perhaps some of you can relate!


1. How To Be Responsible

This is an obvious one to start with, but it is what university teaches us all to do – how to become independent and live apart from our family. For some this is more difficult than others, but for all of us it’s new territory. I remember the first night staying at university and it felt like I was in a hotel, yet all of my stuff was there. It’s a scary moment for us all, but then the food shopping, utility bills and renting rooms becomes normality, and quicker than we know it, we become adults.

2. Who I Am As A Person

I think most people have some sort of idea about who they are as a person before university, but during university is when you truly experiment with hobbies, societies, meeting new people, and you learn how you react to all these fluctuating circumstances. I think we all try out at least one different version of ourselves at university, just to see what it’s like, whether that’s pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone or befriending someone we wouldn’t usually talk to. Eventually, you figure out how you actually want to spend your time, and I felt like I left knowing a lot more about who I am and who I want to be.

3. Self-Discipline

It’s no surprise that university teaches you how to take control of your life. Because no one’s going to do that for you. The teachers no longer spoon-feed you exam content, and no one is there to tell you to study. It really is down to yourself to manage your time effectively to get work done. I think this is something I was already fairly good at, but it did help me set up a schedule and be more proactive in seeking help and guidance when I needed it.

4. Who Your Genuine Friends Are

As cliché as it sounds, university makes you realise the kind of people you want to surround yourself with. It’s crazy the amount of people you meet when you first get there, and it’s so different to anything I had ever experienced, but it was so interesting seeing the similarities and differences between everyone. I often found myself in those stages of “friend acquaintances” and not knowing who was a proper friend and who wasn’t. But ultimately, it’s those that still make the effort to contact you and who are there when you need support. I’ve always preferred having a few really close friendships than lots of surface-level acquaintances, and I found that by the end of university, even after experimenting with both, I was back to my roots.

5. Confidence

This one plays a massive role in my time at university. I used to be a really shy person (and still can be, in some ways), but exposing myself to so many new people and new situations, which were way out of my comfort zone, really helped me become more confident. One of the things I learnt during university – mostly towards the end – is that it’s good to do things that scare you. That’s how you overcome those mental limitations you put on yourself. So now I am actively trying to do things that scare me, and letting myself lean into them with confidence.

6. The Importance of Self-Development

The university fresher in me would look at this one with utter confusion, but I think that’s a statement as to how far I’ve grown since beginning university to now. Particularly in my third year, I realised how important it was to work on my self-development. After struggles throughout university with my mental health, alongside falling ill in the middle of second year, I learnt that overcoming these difficult moments in life require self-care, self-acceptance and a desire to take action and make positive change. Self-development is called self-development for a reason – only us, the self, can do it. And when we put our mind to it, we can achieve a lot more than we think.

We take steps, not knowing where we’ll go or where we’ll end up, but knowing one day it’ll mean something.

Have you also been to (or currently go to) university? What have you learnt during your time there?

Let me know in the comments below!


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

How False is your Facebook Profile?

If I was told to imagine myself on a page, I would not imagine my Facebook profile. I would not imagine specifically chosen photos and an endless list of ‘friends’. I wouldn’t imagine birthday messages from fake people or tagged posts of empty happiness. I wouldn’t imagine any of that because, in reality, it doesn’t sum up me.

I find it so weird when I look at my Facebook profile. I want to say it is me but it isn’t, not really. I’ve chosen photos I genuinely love to feature on my page, and yet it still doesn’t feel real. That’s because everything on Facebook is shared due to a chosen decision. The user decides to share it and that’s why it pops up on our newsfeed. It makes sense that we want to share the happy moments. We want to remember the good times so we can look back on it and smile. But, ironically, we look at others and frown.

Social media is something I have a love-hate relationship with. There are days when I have to switch it off. There are days when I can feel the lives of other’s creeping into my head and those are the days I have to stop myself from endlessly scrolling. You’d think my profile is a more confident version of me – I think for a lot of people it is. But a lot of the time I feel like it is a weak version of me. It is the type of me who isn’t completely myself. It is the type of me who is aware of all these people and feels scared to confront them all at the same time. Equally, I feel like I don’t owe it to them. Most of my friends on Facebook I’m not that close with, so why should they see the real me? How would I even go about presenting the real me on Facebook without posting all the time? And if I did post all the time, wouldn’t that just be an act of justification, as if I have to prove to others that this is how I am? It’s all just an elaborate game and there’s no way to win.

Social media would be a lot different if we shared our lows. It would actually be a real portrayal of life. However, imagine scrolling through your newsfeed to look at a bunch of crying faces or depressed statuses. Wouldn’t that make us just as sad, if not more sad, than seeing other’s happy when we ourselves are depressed? It seems there’s no way to avoid negativity when it comes to social media. We are either saddened by other people’s tragedies, or we are saddened by the fact that we can’t be as happy as others.

I’m really glad I started blogging because, although WordPress is a community similar to social media, it is a place where I share the real me – both the highs and lows. It is a place where I don’t feel afraid to say that I’m feeling down. It is a place where if I see another blogger’s post and it saddens me, I don’t scroll but I actively involve myself in trying to help. It’s the kind of interaction that you just don’t get on Facebook – at least, not with those you’re not close to. On WordPress, it’s as if everyone is a friend – a real friend – whether you know them or not. And that’s what I love about it. It’s the kind of social media we never had.

If you’re reading this post and you think your Facebook profile does sum up you, look again. Look harder. Because an online profile can never live up to your life as a person, as much as you try. It can never replicate the pure joy of laughing until you cry; endless conversations into early hours of the morning; silent car journeys that are more meaningful than talk. It can never replicate the most important parts of being human. It can never replicate the unique personality that is you.

My Favourite Mental Health Books

Today is World Book Day, but it is also University Mental Health Day. Since I am a huge lover of reading and have struggled a lot with my mental health whilst at university, this day is really important to me. Therefore, what better to do than list some of my favourite mental health books?

1. Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig Image result for reasons to stay alive

I know what you’re thinking, I’m talking about Matt Haig again, but his books have been really helpful to me over the past couple of years. He gives an account of his struggle with mental health with no filter and that’s what I love about it. He doesn’t make it seem cool or sugarcoat it – it is his raw feelings in book form and I really admire that. For people who struggle with anxiety and/or depression, this may be really useful to you. Read my book review here.

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2. Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

If you thought I’d just stop at one of Matt Haig’s books, you’d be very wrong. Whilst this one also tackles mental health, it is vaster in its approach to technology and social media. These are things that have become second nature to us and Haig discusses how this affects our minds. I think anyone who finds themselves even mildly attached to the internet can relate to this book. Read my book review here.

3. How to Survive the End of the World by Aaron GilliesImage result for how to survive the end of the world

Technically I haven’t actually finished this book yet, but I’m in the process of reading it, so that counts, right? This book focuses on topics similar to Matt Haig, but has more of a focus on anxiety. I really like the humour that Gillies brings to this book and the informal way it is written. It is split into categories, such as “My anxious brain vs the morning” and “My anxious brain vs socialising” which makes it really easy to pick out the parts as and when you need them. This one doesn’t have a book review yet (sorry).

4. Your journal

So I got to number four and realised that I haven’t actually read as many mental health books as I thought. Go me. However, having your own notebook and jotting down your thoughts is just as much a mental health book as any. It’s a way to release tension, to rationalise your thoughts, and you don’t even have to read it. Sometimes writing out your inner thoughts can be scary because you don’t know what’s lurking there, but it is unbelievably rewarding. Trust me.

 

I really hope this list was somewhat helpful, despite my slight downfall at the end with my lack of ideas. Today is a day about sharing books and caring for others, and I think that’s the perfect day.

400 Followers?!

I write this every year but I mean it every year that I’m so overwhelmed this many people are interested in reading my thoughts. Since a young age, I’ve always been known as “the quiet one”. I used to be a really confident and outgoing child but somewhere amidst a whole lot of change I became very isolated with my words. I hate when people call me “quiet” because a lot of people use it in an insulting tone. I associate it with criticism at parents evening when I was told I didn’t put my hand up enough in class. And a lot of that is down to social anxiety which most people at the time didn’t understand. So it makes sense that I’ve come to see “quiet” as an insult.

However, creating this blog was a way of proving that I do have a voice and learning to believe in that voice. If it wasn’t for the multitude of book and film and music reviews I wouldn’t have anywhere to share my thoughts that don’t quite seem to fit into everyday conversation. It’s nice knowing that even if my voice isn’t heard in person, it can still be heard through words.

So whilst 400 is just a number, imagining 400 people standing before me listening to something I have to say is quite unbelievable, because I’ve always found it hard to find worth in my voice. But I’m getting there. And a lot of that is down to all of you out there who support me in sharing my ideas by liking, leaving nice comments, or even just secretly reading my work in the corner.

I really cannot thank you all enough ❤

Do you care what people think?

One of my flaws which I’m very aware of is that I always seem to mind read. I decide what others are thinking and feeling based on minimal evidence and my mood is then reflected as a result of it. I’m not sure why I do it. I guess I just don’t trust people all that much. But most importantly, I think I need to trust in myself and in my own self-confidence to change this.

So far, my second year at uni is going really well and I think this is mostly because I’ve let myself be more myself. I’ve found it easier to open up and speak to people and so far it’s had a positive impact. I think taking a break over summer to figure out my mindset and also push myself to do things way out of my comfort zone (for example, travelling alone to go volunteer in Romania) has really helped. I also feel more at home in a house rather than halls. It sounds stupid but it makes a bigger difference than you think. If you feel comfortable in your home life, then you’re more likely to feel better in general.

There are still moments, of course, where I jump to conclusions when it comes to people, but is there really anyone out there who doesn’t care what people think at all? It’s impossible to completely eliminate this when we all have an innate want to be liked. We can’t help it. And I’m trying to remind myself every time I speak to someone that “hey, you don’t have to make them like you because if they don’t like you, then who even cares?” I’m already lucky to have people in my life who I really care about and one person not liking me isn’t going to change that at all.

Honestly, I’m freaking myself out over how positive this post is because a year ago this is probably the last thing I would have written. But I’m in a really good place right now and I can feel myself changing a lot but only in the best way. Knowing there’s some sort of progress going on makes me really really happy.

Do you care what people think?

Do you let it stop you from being yourself?

5 Traits That Are Important For Being Successful

Yesterday one of my friends introduced me to an exercise from a book that involves naming 5 chief assets for being successful and then giving examples of people/types of people that don’t have this asset/have less of this asset than you, but are still successful. I think this is really important in figuring out what your goals are – improving these 5 things but also thinking more positively about your position. If you fail at something, knowing someone else has succeeded anyway gives you a lot of hope.

Here are the 5 traits that instantly struck me as most important:

1. Intelligence

Image result for intelligence cat
be as intelligent as this intelligent cat

I think to be successful you need intelligence to some degree. I wouldn’t say you have to have achieved all A’s and a 1st degree to succeed, but having knowledge about something is really important. I think intelligence is often misunderstood as we’re told by society that intelligence does involve getting high grades, but I disagree. There are different kinds of intelligence, whether that be dealing with customers, or being arty. I also think that everyone has intelligence in them – it’s just up to them whether they allow it to shine.

2. Confidence

This one is an absolute must for being successful. If you have no confidence in yourself to succeed, you’re never going to be able to succeed, as there will be nothing driving or pushing you forward. I am aware I am not one of the most confident people, but there are certain times when you need to put up this front, even if you’re internally insecure. For example, interviews. If you go in putting yourself down they’re not going to hire you. When you write a CV you have to write positively about yourself because if you wouldn’t hire yourself, then why would anyone else?

3. Ambition

Ambition is pretty much what drives you into doing well. If you have no goals for yourself, then it’s really hard to actually achieve what you want (partly because you don’t even know what you want). Of course, it’s not easy to know exactly what career or lifestyle you desire, but by picking smaller goals you can work towards them first.

4. Friendly/Caring Person

Image result for friendly dog
be as friendly as this friendly pup

There are quite a few people who you may consider to be successful but don’t come across as friendly/caring, but I think this trait really does help you to succeed. If you’re kind towards others and respect them they are more likely to want to connect with you, and having connections and a good network is important in finding jobs and getting references.

5. Initiative

Initiative is probably the most important on this list because if you have no initiative, you likely will not take action, and with no action, comes no result. When you’re younger your parents likely persuade you to do work experience or volunteering, but you won’t always have someone there pushing you to do things. Instead, you need to have the initiative to seek these things out on your own. Opportunities don’t always fall right in front of you and so sometimes you have to take the lead, no matter how daunting it may seem.


So these are my 5 assets for being successful and whilst I may have missed some important ones, I hope to improve the ones I’m lacking over the course of the next few years to be as successful as possible.

I think the whole idea of being successful in life is highly subjective and depends on the person. There are a lot of stereotypes that success involves perfect happiness, or being rich, but I think a lot of successful people do struggle with happiness and a lot of successful people don’t earn thousands – I think you can be successful even if you’re not earning anything. Not everyone is lucky enough to have foundations built of money or good families and friends but that doesn’t mean they are incapable of succeeding. If anything, they are driven more so that they can create these things themselves.

You all have the possibility of success and I think this is an important time to remember this, especially during exam season.

What are your 5 assets for success?

Please comment them below – I’m so interested in what you all think!