How to Love Yourself More

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Loving myself has been a bit of a trial and error experience for me over the years. Deep within me seems to be an intrinsic feeling of inadequacy that no matter how hard I try, I find difficult to shake. Now, I’m not a fan of self-deprecation. I know there are people out there with real struggles in life; people who wake up every day knowing that life will be a struggle, yet find the strength to greet the day anyway. Those people make us realise how lucky we are to be us, to have the life that we have and be the person that we are.

Yet even so, like everyone, I have those days. You know the ones, right? The days where getting out of bed seems like a chore. Those days where you look into the mirror and despise your refection. Those days where every action you make seems to hinder your progress. Those days where nothing you do feels enough. Those days where someone can utter one constructive criticism and you feel your insides shrivel into a painful, crushing ball of hopelessness.

But why should we live through those days a victim of our insecurities? Why should we wish the day over so that we may wake up hoping that tomorrow goes well enough to forget? Life is too short, too fleeting to accept unnecessary negativity. In order to live a happier life we must purge ourselves of toxins that take up the room that positivity should reside.

How to Love Yourself and Be Happier in 14 Easy Steps

  1. Switch off your phone. Too many of us sacrifice hours of sleep, hours of mental rest, through our addiction to technology. Switch off your phone and let your body relax from the agitation and overstimulation for at least an hour a day.
  2. Accept that the only person whose life you are entitled an influence to is your own. It doesn’t matter what anyone is doing, or whether or not you agree with it; their life is their own. Focus only on your own decisions.
  3. Daydream. I used to think it was just me who did this, but let yourself zone out of reality for a little while and lose yourself in the make-believe. Life can feel like a heavy weight upon our shoulders and sometimes, all it takes is a break from reality to give you the drive and motivation to make it through to better times.
  4. Purge the negative people and invite in the positive. You can’t change some people, but you can change their influence on your life. Cast them aside and invite people whose outlook on life makes a positive impact on your own.
  5. Spend a little money. We all seem to be saving our hard-earned dollar for ‘one day’, but the longer we save it, the further that day becomes. You can always make more money; you can’t always make more memories.
  6. Do one spontaneous thing every day. We live life so restricted by routines, obligations, expectations. But big or small, there is always time to do one spontaneous thing every day to keep your life exciting.
  7. Let yourself feel what you feel. Happy or sad, frustrated or lonely, let yourself feel your emotions rather than push them aside; not only will this free your mind and relax your tensions, but you’ll begin to accept yourself for who you are, emotions and all.
  8. Rip off the band-aid. We get setbacks in life, but living in denial won’t make our problems go away, only prolong the effect they have on our lives. Deal with things immediately and watch yourself heal quicker.
  9. Remember the things that you love. Writing, reading, gardening, cooking… Our hobbies are the first things we sacrifice when life gets busy. It’s important to make time for the things that you love; one day, you’ll need them.
  10. Be your own person. You might want to compare yourself to another out of jealousy, envy, insecurity… But every other person in the world has their own challenges and insecurities that are concealed from you. Be your own person, because you are enough.
  11. Remember that there are no time limits in life. We might aspire to achieve something within a certain time period, but what happens when we do achieve that thing we focus our whole lives on? Take your time to enjoy the journey rather than focusing entirely on the destination.
  12. Spend time with your children. Perhaps you have your own children. Nieces. Nephews. Cousins. God-children. Spend time with the younger generation. Lord knows, their innocence is a blessing in this cynical adult-world.
  13. Pamper yourself. No one feels their best when they’re in need of a shower, a good sleep and an over-due haircut. Make time for your outward appearance as the little things can go a long way in giving you confidence.
  14. Be nice. Most of us don’t mean to, but sometimes, we act impulsively and sell our worst selves to others. Being nice goes a long way in leaving great lasting impressions and helping you feel happy in yourself.

 

Accepting the Truth About Loving Someone

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It’s amazing how a smell, a whisper, the slightest touch, no matter how fleeting, can bring upon a stream of memories.

When we’ve been hurt, we push them aside, try to lock them away and persuade ourselves to forget them, to move on, but memories are unable to dissipate because they are the foundations for who we are. And memories come back, not in pieces, but in waves of emotions that stretch out beneath us, lifting us up in their tides and bringing us back down in an endless cycle, at nature’s prerogative.

I opened my box of memories the other night and that scent hit me.  For one, fleeting moment, I was home. How can it be that we can live an eternity without realising our lack of fulfilment? I found mine with you.

It’s amazing that the very moment I first caught your eye feels so fresh in my mind that I can still smell your scent, despite the years that stretch between that moment and now. You brought me to my knees and exposed me from the inside out. You opened my eyes to the best and worst versions of myself and asked me to embrace them.

If I had only known then what I know now, I’d have clung to you with every fibre of my being, because you changed my world so irrevocably in an infinitely small space of time. We lived a lifetime together; saw sunrises and sunsets; argued and made up; loved, hated, feared and rejoiced and then what? Could we really not be more?

Can we ever truly fill the space that grew between us? It is possible to really love with the fear of losing?

Questions that haunt my mind. Questions I know the answer to.

Is it not better to try and overcome that fear than to live without colour in our world?

Miss Me, But Let Me Go

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I read your obituary today. The picture they used looked like you, but not really. The condolences were written about you, but not really. The people who stood around you, smiling blankly towards the camera were there for you, but not really.

Because when you passed, it wasn’t you we were thinking of anymore. Not really.

Your picture looked far from the little bird I watched struggling to fly with two broken wings. The condolences spoke of you but didn’t sound anything like you. The people stood around you, but this time they were thinking of themselves, not you. Of what they had lost in losing you.

When I read your obituary, it was like I was reading about someone else. Anyone else. Why is it that when someone passes away, they become one in a world of faceless figures already gone? Why do we miss them, yet remember them as someone else? Why do we disguise who we lost with memories conceived out of grief?

I don’t need to remember you as a woman surrounded by people singing praises of wisdom and saintlike kindness. I know who you are, I know what you gave and I know that if you could say anything to ease the pain of losing you now, it would be this:

Miss me a little, but not too long.

And I’m trying.

To the best man I know: my Dad…

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I am writing to you because out of everyone I have ever encountered, everyone who has ever shed light or inspiration into my life, your unconditional support is so often taken for granted. Never unnoticed, yet never given credit. I have never gone a day without a father in my life; I appreciate that because in a day and age where it becomes easy for parents to cast their kids aside and put themselves first, your devotion is a scarcity I so rarely see.

A father becomes the embodiment of what every little girl will grow up searching for in a man of their own. A father teaches a girl what it means to be loved; protected. A father teaches a girl what a father is, what they should look for in the father of her own children. You have set the bar high for every other man I encounter; you have made sure I look up to a man I am proud of.

You are the one who has stood quietly and watched me grow. You are the one whose pinky I clung to as I took my first steps. You are the one who showed up to each and every sport’s day at school and participated in the Father’s race, winning each one, just to see me smile and boast to my peers that my dad was the greatest dad in the world; that my dad was my superhero.

You are the one who bandaged my grazes, and the one who made the double school-run every time I forgot my lunch box. You are the one who placed a second blanket over me when it was cold at night and polished my shoes before school photographs. You are the one who would beam at me and make rude jokes when I was down. You are the one who gave me loan after loan when I left school and took all of my responsibilities on your shoulders, without me ever asking.

You are the one man who has stood by my side through everything life has thrown my way. You are the man who gave up his own hopes and dreams and conceived new ones, born through the love you have for your children. You are the man who works tirelessly every single day to ensure that no matter what, I can fall back on you if life gets hard.

And one day, you’re going to walk me down the aisle with my arm laced through yours and give me away to another. But we both know that you could never really give me away. Because no matter how many years go by, no matter how many men promise to cherish me, you will always be the first man I ever loved, and the only man who has never broken my heart.

And so Dad, I’m taking this moment to cast light on each and every intricate and beautiful way you have taught me to love and to shine.

Your daughter.

Things You Learn From Having Siblings

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Whether you’re a twin, a sister, a brother, a sibling of one or a sibling or many, there are a number of things you learn from having siblings.

  1. You will fight. You can’t live with someone and not squabble every now and then. 
  2. You will make up. The benefit of living with someone means there is no escape. Sooner or later, that argument will dissolve as a new one arises or you come across a joke or a meme that is just too funny to not share. 
  3. Your clothes will mysteriously go missing. And you will find them shoved roughly in someone else’s wardrobe, crinkled, torn or stained.
  4. You will become each other’s excuse for every time you feel too lazy to go out.
  5. They will embarrass you. Whether it’s by forgetting their public etiquette or by accidentally letting slip about something you really didn’t want sharing with an outsider, consider embarrassment as something you learn to live with when you have siblings.
  6. They will spark a fiercely competitive streak in you. Whether it’s through your need for parental attention or not to feel left behind, you will find yourself feeling competitive at some stage in your life.
  7. They will try to parent you. This is especially true if you have older siblings. When it comes to keeping you on the straight and narrow, sometimes it can feel like you have a pseudo parent.
  8. You are first and foremost: a team. Whether it’s during conflict with parents, getting the house chores done as a child or needing a shoulder to cry on during heartbreak – siblings stand by your side through it all.
  9. You will have to prioritise family events over anniversaries, friend’s birthdays and general busyness. No matter how much we’d like to bail on a sibling’s birthday or graduation for a night in with our SO or a night out with our friends, you learn how important it is to put family first. 
  10. Sometimes, they are your only support. No matter what happens in this world, siblings are generally always there. And since they know you almost as well as you know yourself, their advice is pivotal to help support you into seeing better days.

 

Will 2017 Be The Year ‘New Year, New Me’ Comes True?

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Let’s face it: 2016 has been a truly pants year. Whether you are hung up on Brexit, Trump, the devastation in Aleppo, the death of Harambe or even the countless celebrity losses we have faced – 2016 has not been all sunshine and daisies (and like the meme says – someone please place 24/7 care around our beloved David Attenborough as we see the year out).

On a personal level, I began the year by losing my bunny after 10 long years of life. To end the year, I lost the closest I can say to a Grandmother, aunt, and friend, all in one amazing woman, through an intense 3 month battle with cancer.

The  saying goes that how you begin the year, you’ll end it and so this year, I plan to begin 2017 with a determination to enhance my outlook on life, and enhance my actions in life. I say enhance rather than change because I’m a firm believer that we are who we are – we can’t change that and no amount of New Years we see will change that either. Instead, we can strive to enhance the best qualities of ourselves.

So, I don’t know about you, but here are my hopes for 2017:

I will go on adventures.

I will let go of the last strands of a past that already said goodbye to the future.

I will put in enough effort to achieve and less effort than it takes to burn out.

I will put more energy into the hobbies and talents I find rewarding.

I will celebrate the small achievements that make me smile.

I will continue to do my part in the help of global issues.

I will have the same faith in my intuition that I place in others.

I will make more time to listen to others.

I will make special gestures of appreciation for those I love.

I will continue to remind myself that life is 50% in my hands, and 50% down to Karma.

And since we’re all about good luck, here’s one more:

I will start feeling accountable for my own happiness, rather than the happiness of others.

Perhaps a hefty list of resolutions, but if I achieve only one, I will be making steps to enhance my future.

What are yours?

 

 

You Don’t Lose Love Because A Relationship is Over

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Energy can not be destroyed, it can only be recycled.

This ten word phrase has come back to me, time and again, since the moment a very special someone uttered it, so calmly, so whimsically, so nonchalantly. And never has it been more true than in the context of love.

So many people lose good relationships, bad relationships, even stepping-stone relationships, all the while believing a little less in the existence of love; losing hope and mourning love’s death when what they really should be grieving is the death of relationships not destined to last, and recycling that love into an electrical charge, an energy, fuelled stronger by the power of experience.

When we love someone, it isn’t guaranteed that our relationships with that person will last forever. Sometimes, life and circumstances get in the way. He likes yellow, you like orange. She likes hot, you like cold. Sometimes, you want different things; your relationship can’t seem to function outside of the bubble, and you combust.

But that love doesn’t just disappear. It’s still there, it’s function has just altered. You still care, you still hurt, you still hope. Perhaps that love continues to exist in the feelings you can’t seem to shake. Perhaps it exists in the love you have for the idea of love. It’s still there, in a different form, but never lost, never destroyed.

One day, that love will flourish with vitality again. And one day, you will give your heart to another once more.

Don’t close your mind to the idea of love because you sure as hell can’t close your heart to the feelings of it.