5 Things I’m Grateful For This March (2021)

For some reason, the last month has seemed to stretch out for eternity. It feels like more than a month ago I was here writing about my February gratitude! I’m convinced it’s a lockdown thing, but I’m super excited as things are starting to open up now in the UK.

So, let’s get started on the positivity!


Summer-Like Days

Or should I say day?

Just in time for the end of the month, yesterday was one of the warmest days we’ve had in March in the UK for 53 years – crazy! So I knew I had to make the most of it. This meant spending almost the entire day outdoors – working on the patio, playing table tennis, yoga on the grass, the lot! It felt really good to switch up my routine and get lots of fresh air, especially after the year we’ve all had. Here’s hoping to more days like this in April (once the weather forecast stops predicting snow…)

Freedom On The Horizon

As dramatic as it sounds (but I’m sure we’re all thinking it), we can now actually see people in the flesh! Of course, there are still many covid restrictions still in place, but I’m really looking forward to meeting up with friends and family outdoors. I think in lockdown my way of coping was to just shut out the possibility of these things happening so that it would be easier to cope, but now things are opening up I’ve realised just how much I missed simply going out to see people. I hope you all enjoy the freedom of the Easter weekend too!

New Work Space

This month I’ve moved to a different area of the house for work and, although I’ve only spent a few days here so far, I much prefer it! I’ve moved things around a little so that the desk faces the window, with lots of natural light, which I think has really improved my mood. It’s nice to also have a proper desk that I can organise with notebooks, pens etc. rather than a curved dining room table, where there was limited space. Sometimes it’s nice to simply have a different perspective, especially when working from home for long periods of time. Has anyone else changed their work space too?

Endless Tea

If you know me well, you’ll know I’m a bit obsessed with herbal tea. During lockdown especially, it’s a constant cycle between working and getting tea and working and getting food. I’m making my way through my herbal tea collection, and even tried a new Twinings tea called Heart Tea this month, with blackcurrants, rosemary, honey and hibiscus. I’m grateful to have stumbled across all these wonderful teas to keep me feeling warm and comfy. If you’re also a tea-lover, let me know your favourite one in the comments below!

Sleep

For some reason, I’ve struggled a bit with sleep this month. A few nights of not falling asleep well and the brain automatically associates the bed with staying awake, which is never helpful! However, I think it’s reinforced how important sleep really is for me (and for anyone!). Even after one night’s good sleep, I feel calmer, less anxious, happier, and of course have more energy. Often I think one thing is the cause of something (e.g. anxiety causing me to not sleep well), when actually the opposite is the case (the not sleeping well is causing more anxiety). The mind and body is so complicated, but so so interesting! Long story short: I’m truly grateful for sleep.

What are you grateful for this March?

Let me know in the comments below!


5 Things I’m Grateful For This February (2021)

As usual, here’s my monthly gratitude reflection!


Walking

This month (well, halfway through the month), I set myself the goal of going for a daily walk at lunchtime. It’s a good way to get myself out of the house during the week, plus it drags me away from screens for some much-needed nature time. I’ve been really enjoying these 30 minute walks because I put in earphones and motivate myself with upbeat music. I feel like it brings back a bit of my independence that I feel I have lost since lockdown and moving back home, so it’s nice to get out there by myself and just bask in the fresh air.

Embracing Relaxation

As you may have seen in my post a couple weeks ago, I used to feel guilty about relaxing. This month I’ve really let myself enjoy the weekends and not feel bad for just sitting on the sofa and watching TV! I’ve been laughing over Parks and Recreation, which I can’t believe I haven’t watched until now. Plus, I’ve been loving Emily in Paris and This Is Us. Let me know what you’ve been watching in the comments!

Yoga

This month I started a 30 day yoga challenge with my Mum. It’s from the YouTuber Yoga with Adrienne and each episode is titled with a different theme, all aiming to focus on the breath. Although we have, admittedly, missed quite a few days, it’s been amazing to get some good stretches in almost everyday and it’s helped me enter relaxation mode after work.

Starting A New Job

This month I started a new job which is always a new learning curve, especially in the current lockdown environment! I’m really grateful to have the opportunity to work in a completely different industry and to challenge myself to take on more responsibility. It’s always interesting translating skills from past tasks to the new situation at hand.

Interesting Books

Although I haven’t read as many books in February as in January, I’ve read a really interesting self-development book. It’s called Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers and I’ve been reading a bit each day for a bit of positivity! It’s a really enlightening piece of work on how to overcome fear – how we can experience it from either a place of pain or power, and how that’s totally up to us to choose! I’m really grateful for books like this that change my perspective on life and encourage inner work.

What are you grateful for this February?

Let me know in the comments below.


5 Things I’m Grateful For This January (2021)

Starting the new year off with my monthly gratitude!

Let me know what you’re grateful for in the comments below – this is a time where it’s so beneficial to connect and join together to share the small yet meaningful moments in our lives.


Moments of Calm

I’ve been focusing a lot on promoting moments of calm this month. I think when we’re rushing about, doing things, we don’t really tune into our bodies. Sometimes, in our minds, we’re at peace, but in our bodies we’re still feeling the consequences of past stress, whether it’s tension in our shoulders or a racing heart. This month I’ve been trying to pay more attention to the way my body is reacting to stresses that have built over time and making sure I take those quiet moments to release myself out of it, whether that’s through yoga, meditation or simply sitting and living in the moment, without the need to get up and do things. And I think it’s a constant journey, but I feel like I’m getting somewhere, and I’m grateful for that.

Connecting With Others

This month I feel like I’ve made more of an effort to reach out to friends and video call which has been really lovely. My friend and I did a virtual baking session together where we picked the same recipe, gathered the ingredients and made it together over video call (and then ate it over tea afterwards!), which I really enjoyed. We’ve also recently started a family quiz which has been fun (although my brother and I are still yet to win!). I think lockdown really does encourage you to get creative in terms of how to connect with people whilst making it more of an exciting experience.

The Act Of Goal-Setting

I started 2021 with a list of goals I wanted to achieve this year. My Mum and I sat down and discussed it, sharing our thoughts, and we are planning on reviewing them on the last day of every month so that we stay accountable. I’m really grateful for the act of goal-setting because I think it’s really helped me this month, knowing I have them at the back of my mind. Some of them have already been put into action in various ways, from using my phone less, to getting a job offer, to prioritising relaxation. It proves that mindset can have a huge difference on the opportunities and experiences you attract in your life. I’m grateful to everything that lead me up to the point of realising this.

Snow Day!

In England, we get used to seeing weather forecasts and not believing it, because the weather is in constant fluctuation. However, last week we were told it was going to snow and, surprisingly, it did. It’s the most snow we’ve had in years, and I think it was perfect timing to cheer everyone up during lockdown. I went out to the forest with my Mum and it was really beautiful. It honestly felt like something out of a film!

Goodreads Challenge

At the start of January, I chose the number of books I wanted to read for 2021 as part of the Goodreads Challenge. I wanted to make it a little higher than last year, so I can try to improve, so I’ve chosen 45. This would be around 3.75 books a month to stay on track. However, I’ve surprised myself and read 5 this January, which is probably the most books I’ve read in a month in a really long time, if ever (although, arguably, one of the books was quite short). I’m hoping to keep up the good pace next month and get through all the books on my shelves!

What are you grateful for this January?

Let me know in the comments below…


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!


The Power Of Gratitude Journalling (And Why You Should Try It!)

It’s been 1 year since I started gratitude journalling and, no word of a lie, it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

When we hear of the task gratitude journalling, many of us may think: but I’m already grateful for everything in my life, so I don’t need it.

However, gratitude journalling is for everyone, regardless of whether you’re grateful for your life or not. It is not just about being grateful; it is about forming a positive inner dialogue and focusing on the good moments of life, rather than succumbing to the struggles – something which we all like to think that we do, but most of the time is a lot more difficult to master than we think.

I’d like to share a few tips on how to start gratitude journalling and how gratitude journalling has positively affected my life. I hope it will be helpful for anyone who is looking to reduce stress/anxiety, or simply live a happier and more positive life.


How To Start A Gratitude Journal

  1. Choose a notebook to start your journey. I would recommend picking one that you really love as you’re more likely to gravitate towards using it!
  2. Place it beside your bed with a pen, so that it is in easy reach for you to fill in before you go to sleep.
  3. Every evening, carve out some quiet space for yourself, without phones or other distractions, to reflect on your day. What did you do? What conversations did you have? What went well? What didn’t?
  4. There are many ways you can go about writing in your gratitude journal, but I would recommend the following sequence, which is inspired by Dr Chatterjee’s book Feel Better In 5:

3 Things That Went Well Today

Write down 3 things that went well for you today, focusing on gratitude and embracing the feelings that arise. It can be something as small as someone saying good morning to you on your walk, or as big as receiving a promotion at work. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you write down how it made you feel.

For example: When I went on my morning walk today, a man stopped to let me know that I could walk in the adjacent field rather than the path so that I’d avoid the mud. It was so lovely and thoughtful of him to stop specifically to help me out, and I really appreciated his kindness.

Reframe A Moment

It’s inevitable that there are moments in our day that don’t go as well as we’d hoped. Perhaps we snapped at someone, spent too much time on our phone, or didn’t do that exercise class we said we would do. Pick one moment in your day to write about and reframe it. Explain what didn’t go to plan and what you will do next time instead.

For example: I would like to reframe the moment I reached for my phone whilst chatting to my friend. I wasn’t listening properly to what they were saying. Next time, I will give them my undivided attention so we can really connect over mindful conversation.

TOP TIP: Always write in a positive tone of voice, even if you don’t feel positive. The more you practice it, the more you rewire your brain to think in this manner.


The Benefits Of Gratitude Journalling

Gratitude journalling is one of, if not the most, effective way of feeling genuinely appreciative for your life and everyone/everything in it. In our busy day-to-day lives, we often forget to take time out to think about what we like about our lives, what we don’t, and what we want to change.

Gratitude journalling decreases stress/anxiety because it helps put situations into perspective. Often, when we have a particularly stressful or anxiety-inducing day, we go to bed thinking about how bad we feel. However, if we are gratitude journalling, we are forced to recognise the good parts of the day, rather than wallow in our struggles. And if we’re focusing on the good, in true law of attraction fashion, we then attract more good and positivity in our lives.

For me, personally, gratitude journalling has really helped me rewire the voice in my head. Every time I’ve had a difficult situation, it’s encouraged me to flip it on its head and see it as a learning opportunity for growth. A month ago, I tried a different kind of journalling – writing out all my bad thoughts to get rid of my negative feelings – and found that, surprisingly, every negative thought I wrote down I was counteracting with something positive. I had officially trained my brain with gratitude journalling so much that I actually couldn’t write down a fully negative piece of writing. I was shocked, but I also felt proud of the progress I’d made.


Perhaps you’re reading this and love the idea of getting started on your gratitude journal. Perhaps you’re reading this and you’re a little bit sceptical about whether it could actually be effective…

Whoever you are, I would recommend starting with a month, or even just a week. Give it a go, and notice how you feel.

It only takes 5 minutes out of your day, but 5 minutes can make all the difference.

Have you tried gratitude journalling before?

Or are you willing to give it a go?

Let me know in the comments below!


5 Things I’m Grateful For This November (2020)

It hasn’t been a typical month for a lot of us, due to lockdown, but I think that’s even more reason to focus on the parts of the month that did go well. So, as usual, here’s my monthly gratitude reflection!


Books

I watched a video earlier this month that completely changed my perspective of an overflowing bookcase… it said that the positive to buying too many books is that the possessor is simply a curious person who just wants to absorb more knowledge about people, the world and everything in it.

I really like this perspective and I think it’s one of the reasons why I love reading, but it definitely made me feel less bad about having a never ending to-be-read list!

This month I’ve got through books a lot quicker than usual and I’ve really appreciated those moments of downtime. I’ve experimented a little with speaking my thoughts out loud in a podcast format, which I might not do anything with, but it was fun to try something different.

Walking to a Podcast

This is something I used to do ALL the time at university, but I seem to have got out of the habit since graduating. Admittedly, this is likely because I’m not walking as frequently during weekdays (which I want to improve!) or I’ve been walking with others and chatting instead.

However, during lockdown I’ve been going out for more independent walks which has been a lovely way to get fresh air, admire the scenery, all whilst listening to something productive that I can learn from.

Music

Music has always been a huge part of my life, whether it’s playing instruments or simply listening to a song. I always find it helps me in times that are difficult because it instantly boosts my mood and just makes me feel super happy.

This month, I’ve been doing a lot of cooking and my favourite thing to do is to combine this with music, playing it loud on my speakers and singing along (if no one’s listening!). It’s definitely helped increase my energy in those classic lockdown moments when I’ve been stuck indoors for too long.

The Build-Up To Christmas

Yes, it is only November, but the combination of seeing Christmas adverts everywhere and working on Christmas content for work has made me feel like it’s December already. Something I really love about Christmas is buying presents for family and friends, so I’ve been scouring the internet this month to find the perfect gift for everyone and (admittedly) I may have actually wrapped them already…

Meditation

Meditation is something I always seem to dip in and out of at various moments in my life when I feel like I’m craving that space and inner-reflection. I think, particularly during lockdown, it’s important to have these moments with yourself where you can tune into how you’re really feeling and work to overcome any emotional blockages you’ve unintentionally stored up.

It’s never an easy process. A lot of the time I sit there with my thoughts placing way too much emphasis on my pounding heart and it’s like suddenly all that restlessness arises to the surface. But I think that’s also the point – to be aware of what’s going on. It may not always feel great, but it’s about learning to accept and lean into the feeling.

What are you grateful for this month?

Let me know in the comments below!


4 Wellbeing Tips To Help You Through Lockdown

For those of us in the UK, we are now in a national lockdown. We’ve been there before, we made it and we can do it again, but that doesn’t always make it easy. I thought I would put together some tips to help any of you struggling with your wellbeing, and to remind myself of the ways I can stay in a positive mindset too!


Find a Purpose

When we think of finding a purpose in our lives, it can seem super daunting. We think of it as this giant thing looming in front of us, trying to work out what it is that is actually driving us forward. However, finding a purpose doesn’t have to be some “big goal” – it can be as little as playing your favourite song each morning.

I found that, during the previous lockdown, finding a purpose was what helped me each day. It took me outside of the situation and helped me focus on a project, rather than think about the uncertainties of the future. For me, this was finally writing the first draft of a book. For others, it may be an exercise regime. For some, it could be starting up a new hobby, like cooking, or art, or starting a blog! Find that little something that makes you excited.

Embrace the Quiet

Lockdown gives us a lot of time to sit with empty space. I think this is one of the reasons why it can seem terrifying; when we’re busy with our lives, we often don’t give ourselves time to think, and it’s only when we think that we face emotions and circumstances that perhaps we were trying to avoid.

As a result, this time is necessary. For some it may be uncomfortable. Emotions may rise we didn’t know we felt. It teaches you how to breathe when there is only the present moment, and I think that is really powerful.

Get Moving

This is undoubtedly an obvious tip, but I find that it’s so easy to let the days pass and forget to go on that walk that I’ve been planning to do all week! And during lockdown, it can sometimes feel like the world is on a go-slow.

Getting moving doesn’t have to be about doing a 10 mile run. It doesn’t even have to be about leaving the house if you don’t want to (although fresh air helps). It can be finding a YouTube workout, or dancing to your favourite music, or walking up and down the stairs before lunch. Just a little something to get your heart rate up and release positive endorphins.

Stay Connected

In an age as technologically advanced as this one, it should be easy to stay connected, but sometimes it can be a little challenging. Keeping up with text messages, wanting to reduce screen time, not feeling like it’s quite the same as in person – however, it is so important for our wellbeing.

Staying connected doesn’t have to mean being glued to your phone 24/7; staying connected means dialling in when it really matters. Schedule in video calls with people you want to see, or reach out and message when you have a free moment. No one is expecting you to be there all the time, even during lockdown, so make sure to give yourself some space amidst it all.

What is your number 1 wellbeing tip for lockdown?

Share your advice in the comments and let’s help each other out!


5 Things I’m Grateful For This October (2020)

Here’s my monthly gratitude reflection – a little late, but here nonetheless!


Autumn Leaves

One thing I really love about Autumn: the beautiful colours of the Autumn leaves. I’ve done a fair amount of walking this month (mostly on the weekends) and it’s super nice walking through crunchy leaves, which sounds almost childlike, but it’s nature coming alive in its own sort of way.

I’ve been wanting to stop and collect Autumn leaves for some book photography too, but haven’t had a chance yet! Will hopefully take this task into November.

Resilience

This is something I’ve really been working at lately and I think this October, more than any month, I’ve surprised myself in the way I’ve dealt with things that haven’t gone to plan. It makes me grateful for opportunities of self-development where I’ve really pushed myself to be more and do more than I ever could have thought. This is something I hope to take into the following month of lockdown, despite any difficulties.

Celebrations

This month I turned 22 and I was super lucky to be able to take a day off to go to The Ritz for the first time with my Mum! I feel like it’s been so long since we’ve had a chance to dress up for something nice, and I don’t often go to fancy places so it was amazing just admiring the building! The afternoon tea was delicious, and there was unexpectedly a live pianist too, which was very atmospheric. I feel like this will be an experience I’ll be grateful for for a while!

“Spa Day”

Earlier this month, my Mum and I re-created a spa day in our home to have a day full of relaxation! We did yoga, meditation, listened to a podcast with tea, cake and a candle, and even did back massages with hot stones and aromatherapy oils! It was such a peaceful day, and it was a really lovely way to unwind after a busy week. I’m very grateful for these simple yet happy moments.

Music

This month I’ve been flicking back to old music on my iPod and re-visiting all these songs I used to listen to all the time! I forgot how much I love them and it’s so nice to reignite that feeling you get when you hear a song for the first time. It’s a weird sort of way to travel back in time.

I’m hoping to do more of this over the next month, as I’ve missed my daily walks at university when I would listen to music all the time. It’s nice to turn on the speaker and blast something whilst doing the cooking, or even putting the washing up. Makes anything that bit more exciting!

What are you grateful for this month?

Let me know in the comments!


You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

5 Things I’m Grateful For This September (2020)

Here’s my monthly gratitude reflection!


Meeting Friends

At the end of every month, I write in my journal how I feel about the month just gone – what went well, what didn’t, but also what I want to achieve in the next month. At the end of August, I set out to make more social plans in September because, now that I’m working from home, it’s easy to get into the habit of just following a routine and forgetting to leave the house!

I’m so glad I set out this intention because, in true law of attraction fashion, I had a few friends reach out to me and I organised meet ups with friends I hadn’t seen in ages! It meant that I had something to look forward to in the evenings and at the weekend, whether that was going out or simply video calling a friend!

Trying Something New

This is something I try to do every month, because it’s always great to extend your capacity to do things! However, this month, I did some particularly unexpected new things. One of these was embracing a life without cow’s milk – sounds a lot more dramatic than it was! I’ve now replaced cow’s milk with oat milk and have been trying out lots of meals with this new variation. Turns out having oats milk in macaroni cheese tastes exactly the same. And the same for porridge too!

I also baked French baguettes with my Dad a couple weeks ago! We watched Youtube videos on how to perfect the kneading technique and then gave it our best shot! It was something different to try on the weekend, and it’s so easy to get lost in the cooking that the time just flies by!

My Cats

Although my cats can sometimes be a little distracting, it’s really nice having them around during the day when I’m working! Jasper has already introduced himself to the team with his super loud purring, and I love going downstairs at the end of the day to be greeted by Monty’s loving enthusiasm!

Having Lunch with Mum

Sometimes, when working from home, it’s easy to get sucked into the laptop screen and forget to make time for in-person contact. Luckily, my Mum and I have had our lunches this month at the same time during the day, despite our different schedules. I’m really grateful that we can have that time to chat, recharge and motivate each other for the rest of the day!

New TV Shows

I’m sure I’m not the only one who was excited about The Great British Bake Off coming back to TV this month! It’s such a homely and inspiring show that I always find perfect for relaxing in the evening.

I also started watching the TV series of Little Fires Everywhere, which I read the book of a couple months ago – check out my book review here! Although it took me a while to make adjustments between the in-my-head version of the characters and those on screen, I’m now really enjoying seeing one of my favourite books brought to life! So far, it’s stayed very faithful to the book.

Monty being his usual cute self!

What are you grateful for this month?

Let me know in the comments below!


You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

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.


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