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Dealing with Loss of a Loved One

Hey,

I hope you are keeping well – more than ever I mean this!

MY LOSS

When I was much younger I lost my grandfather on my mothers side and an uncle on my dads side, I knew and loved them both, but I was also a child who could not fully grasp the magnitude of grief or was I able to build deep meaningful relationships beyond the people I saw daily. I say all this to say I experienced my first real loss of a loved one in 2020. My grandmother had been on and off ill for the last two years and sadly passed away mid-June and my aunty suddenly passed away the day we were expecting her at our house to spend a month, in early July. Both these events are truly devastating on their own – and to happen in such a short time frame was the biggest shock to my system.

Neither one of my relatives passed away due to Covid-19 however, in some strange and twisted way the pandemic has almost acted as a buffer; before they passed, I had seen so many “RIP” posts and sent so many condolence messages that at least the thought of death was not entirely foreign.

Both my aunt and my grandma lived full lives and hearing what people have said about them in the past few months is a testament to that. One lesson I have learnt in my own mourning is that you can be consumed by your perspective. So I have adopted the mindset that my grandma and aunt had to go because they have made their mark and fulfilled their God-given purpose.

“The only way to get over a death is by seeing it as a life completed, instead of a life interrupted.” ― Anonymous

During this pandemic most of us will have experienced and/or witnessed more loss than ever. For myself it has been a journey with a lot of tears but slowly I have been able to laugh again so I thought I’d share some tips for those who may be experiencing something similar. If you have lost a loved one, I am so sorry for your loss, I hope you find comfort and I hope this post is helpful.

“We never truly get over a loss, but we can move forward and evolve from it.”— Elizabeth Berrien

BE IN YOUR FEELINGS

“Be strong for XYZ” “You are so strong” “Stay strong”

While I can recognise these statements are often said with good intent, the truth is they are often very unproductive for those dealing with loss. The truth is when you are in agony the last thing you want to be is “strong” and that’s okay. Take the time you need to grieve and heal, when you spend so much time being strong for those around you… one day your feelings will catch up with you. So start the process and grief the way you want to not what others expect from you.

“While grief is fresh, every attempt to divert only irritates. You must wait till it be digested, and then amusement will dissipate the remains of it.” — Samuel Johnson

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. – Psalm 73:26

TAKE A BREAK

For someone like me who started a new job during lockdown this one was very difficult and frankly I failed. When my grandmother passed I took 2 days off work and still actually worked during one of those days off. When my aunt passed, I took 1 week and 2 days off work. I remember my GP asking me “Are you sure? You’ve gone through a lot I think you need more time”. But I felt so much pressure to just “get on with it”, each time I went back I was flooding my keyboard in tears between meetings and pretending I was okay because I did not want to seem incapable of doing my job.

Truly there is no right or wrong amount of time to take off work. What is important is that you spend this time actually resting – not feeling guilty for it, not distracting yourself, not worrying about work but just resting!

COMMUNICATE

For those people in your life who are yet to experience loss, they may struggle to empathise with you no matter how much they try to. To ensure people are showing up for you in the way you would like… tell them how you feel so they can make informed choices on how best to show up for you. However, I say this with caution; there have been people I have cried to and those I have expressed my weakness to that just left it there, no follow up call or text… nothing, so brace yourself.

Don’t focus on those who are not there for you

As mentioned above, some people simply will not be there for you in the way you expected or would like. No matter how “close” you are to people you expect a certain level of compassion in these times. At first you may doubt yourself, doubt your friendships, doubt everything, but I want you to know you are not alone. In fact, from doing my own research a very common part of the grieving process is getting rid of certain relationships. While I won’t advise burning bridges left, right and centre – life changing incidents truly open our eyes to who has our back and who is just there for once in a while banter. So don’t spend time chasing and stressing over those who don’t show you the compassion you desire and focus on the ones that that do, most especially God.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit – Psalm 34:18

Gratitude & good memories

As mentioned earlier, an important part of mourning is perspective. Focus on all the amazing memories and less on their passing itself. Focus on all the times you saw them happy rather than the times you saw them weak.

 “Remember me with smiles and laughter, for that is how I will remember you all. If you can only remember me with tears, then don’t remember me at all.”– Laura Ingles Wilder

TAKE HOME

There is no manual on how to mourn or grieve, when it all comes down to it we won’t always do everything right especially in the height of our emotions. What we all can do is learn from the ones we have lost and live a life ourselves and they can be truly proud of.

“Grief is in two parts. The first is loss. The second is the remaking of life.” – Anne Roiphe

Another thing we can all do is remember how precious and short life is, and from this learning to live each day to the fullest and not letting the small and petty things of life steal our peace.

“Never take life for granted. Savor every sunrise, because no one is promised tomorrow…or even the rest of today.” ― Eleanor Brownn

Kind Regards,

Sis x

Tool that helped me: Bible plan on You Version Bible app: Finding Meaning in Mourning: Walking through Grief.

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The SELF Series: Making a Living Vs The Reason you are Living

Hey Guys,

We hope you are keeping well and staying safe.

We hope you have enjoyed reading these posts as much as we have enjoyed writing them. But it’s not over yet! So far we have been able to highlight some of our insecurities and how they may manifest. We were then able to realise that the best way to grow and move forward from them is to be compassionate towards ourselves and to avoid any distractions and we have come to the realisation our only real competition should be ourselves.

Even though this series is called The SELF Series… it’s time to take that step into things bigger than ourselves. Purpose!

Purpose the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.

This journey of knowing and loving who we are is so important but of what good is it if our SELF as no impact on things and people around us? We strongly believe the first steps we have taken in this series are stepping stones to us being the whole beings we need to be in order to successfully pursue our purpose.

“Everyone has been made for some particular work and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.”

“The heart of human excellence often begins to beat when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, or gives you a sense of meaning, joy, or passion.”

So before we begin to delve deeper into purpose, let us take a look at the current place we are in.

The Now

Making a living will be defined differently for us all, but essentially it is the thing that you do to help you survive, and it will always result in receiving some financial gain.

So, let us consider where we are now, currently, circumstances will be different for all of us, especially with the effect the pandemic has had on many places of work. It may be that you are employed, or you have been furloughed by work. For others, you may have been made unemployed, for which we offer our sincerest apologies and wish you all the best finding new employment, for some you may have a side hustle in addition to Untitled design (5)the aforementioned (claps in appreciation), however, mutually we can say we are all doing something to try and make a living.

Making a living is necessary, but it should not be your ‘be all and end all’. It should be a feature in your whole life and it should support you in living out your purpose, once you have discovered it.

When thinking about the jobs, activities, and actions you take to make a living it is important to note that there is much to be taken from these and they can carry you a long way. These skills are transferrable. They will help you later down the line and can merge effectively later in other aspects of your life. Disclaimer: we recognise for some of us, the impact we have in our day job is us fulfilling purpose.

In employment, many of us work to deadlines or targets, this has taught us the skill of things like time management and prioritising. If you have a business or do other extracurricular work servicing others you know how this is important. This has been crucially helpful for me personally (Eni), as it actually highlighted areas I need to improve on. I can confidently say the job I currently work, as a Psychological Therapist, has massively improved my skills of empathy and understanding and these have been transferrable to the other areas of my life.

We want to encourage you to make a list of skills you have found to be useful from your Untitled design (4)job/ business or other forms of making a living. Furthermore, create a list of areas you want to improve on that are not job-specific, i.e. organisation, punctuality, maybe how you make your living has highlighted these for you and you may well find these are seeping into the other areas of your life.

What you do for a living could also be a way for you to fund what you need to do for your purpose. This is good! Having something fund your purpose (should it require it) is great whilst you work towards reaching external financial aid and if you do not enjoy the work you do to earn a living, seeing your labour go to something you love is definitely rewarding.

So we have mentioned the word purpose a few times now… now let’s delve a little deeper.

Looking for Purpose

Are we ready for that conversation?

Or does the word invoke an uncomfortable emotion for you? It’s okay if it does, it did for such a long time for me (Eni) also. During those times, I would just throw the word about anyhow “I just want to know what my purpose is? I feel that until I’m living my purpose I won’t be happy” and I would pray intermittently that God would show me what it was. It genuinely felt like every aspect of my life was in direct correlation to my purpose or lack of it should I say. It felt to me that I wouldn’t feel pure happiness or joy until I had found and was living in my purpose.

We can say this isn’t true, well not entirely. It’s okay to have a process of discovery to your purpose and it is even more okay to enjoy your life in that process. There is no benefit in being miserable whilst you figure out what your purpose is, I would even go so far as to say it’s unhelpful. When you are happy or in a state of contentment, it is easier to think, process, and plan which are all important for using your purpose effectively. So make peace with not knowing; “ignorance is bliss” on this occasion and be patient and kind to yourself as you wait.

So, we imagine you are wondering how to seek your purpose?

It is already in you.

We’re of the belief that your purpose is already in you, you are just yet to tap into it. Every one of us has a purpose and gifts to accompany and materialise this purpose, it may just take some time realising what it is. It could even be that it is something you have been doing, that you don’t feel could even be your purpose; i.e being a good friend, being a good listener, and or being a persuasive and likable speaker.

I was walking home from work the day I acknowledged my purpose, and I remember just feeling the urge to record myself speaking my thoughts – weird right? LOL. Anyway, when I listened to the voice memo I was surprised to hear how assured and confident I was in what I knew I needed to be doing, but even more so in the fact I had been doing it for a long time anyway. It was as clear to me as ever. It was something I had been doing naturally and not giving much thought to, it was the thing that kept niggling in my spirit and remained persistent. It was the thing that even though sometimes I felt reluctant to do the good of it negated my feelings. In summary, my purpose has always urged to burst out. Your purpose will always urge to burst out. For me (Eni), I know I was called to help others – that is my purpose. More specifically through writing (the gift that materialises my purpose).

This may not be everyone’s experience and in no way was this the only day my purpose was confirmed, but it had a huge contribution. Before this day though, I didn’t think I had many ways of finding and discovering this purpose, in hindsight, I wish I had someone simply break it down to me.

With consideration of this, we have put together some practical questions to ask yourself. These could guide your search within yourself to what your purpose may be;

  1. What do I love to do?

What is that thing you use as escapism, what brings you joy and makes you happy as you are doing it?

  1. What difference do I want to see in the world?

When thinking about this life and your society, or even on a smaller scale your community, what change do you think needs to be brought about? What needs to be different where you are?

  1. How can I help someone else?

Please do not be roped into becoming selfish when you discover your purpose, we agree it should make you happy and bring you joy, but remember the true benefit in having a purpose, is someone else benefitting from it.

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of another.” – Charles Dickens

PURPOSE

Applying Purpose to our Daily Life

Insecurity vs Confidence 

In order to get to that place, we want to be and to make that impact we are called to make we need to replace our insecurities with confidence. When we discussed insecurity in the first post we saw how it can have a huge impact on how we see ourselves, how we relate to other people, and even our mental health. None of which will aid us no matter what we feel our life purpose is we need a certain level of self-confidence to achieve it.

Self-confidence a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment.

How will you start that degree, apply for that position or even quit that job, start that business, accept that speaking engagement, buy that tripod without a feeling of trust for your own abilities, qualities, and judgment? Our call is that it is very difficult and near impossible.

Tips for becoming more self-confident in order to pursue purpose:

    • Identify your weaknesses – own them and work on them, as we said before… “Knowing your weaknesses can only ever be a good thing, as it shows you your blind spots and knowing these show you where to begin first in your journey of growth.
    • Educate yourself – You ever been in a meeting and have no idea what’s going on? …Makes you lack the confidence to speak up and get involved in the discussion doesn’t it? Whatever it is you feel your life purpose is, academic or not you are going to need a certain level of knowledge to execute purpose especially if you want to trust yourself and in turn for others to trust you.
    • Be mindful of what you take in – Do your friends uplift and encourage you? Does your family believe in you? Is anyone around you ambitious / striving for better? Do you spend hours on end watching trash TV? Look at your life and the people and see what ways you can actively take-in more positive messages.
    • Be a go-getterDon’t feel like it?… Still do it. As much as we encourage rest and balance to avoid burnouts, truth is our mind and our body won’t always feel like doing the things we need to get done. Having the discipline to get things done regardless will certainly boost your confidence in your judgment and abilities especially when you start seeing results.

Self-criticism Vs Self-compassion 

Taking the bold step to pursue purpose or passion is merely the beginning. It’s a journey and there will be roadblocks, renovations, diversions, potholes, missed turns, low petrol, and traffic along the way. But we will never reach our destination if we break down at every challenge. When we are overly self-critical it makes it impossible to move forward and pursue purpose because we have exhausted ourselves with our negative thoughts and words. On this journey to fulfilling purpose it is important to be kind to ourselves along the way even when we miss a turn or two because the road rage only delays us further.

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Competition vs Collaboration 

“You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously.”― Steve Maraboli

Read it again and again… your greatest SELF. Not Beyonce, not Michelle, not Megan, Not Sarah but the greatest YOU!

We believe we can all be great to someone for something, the problem comes when we apply someone else’s greatness and take it as our own. Have you ever followed a recipe… you swore you followed it step by step and your dish just doesn’t come out quite right? You can have all the recipes in the world but sometimes it means nothing if you don’t have the grace.

We all have something that no one else can do quite like us some of us have found it and some haven’t. Listening to a podcast recently (She’s in a Pod) and the ladies were asked if they ever feel like they lacking creativity / the need to step up their creativity compared to other creatives. One of the ladies gave an answer that really made us think… she simply stated that she may be okay at graphic designing but she recognises that is not her calling so when she wants something done to a certain standard she would pay someone. Everyone might be doing the same thing as you… but what makes you worth the charge? Instead of competing with them… compete with you… how can I make my work even better than it was yesterday. How can I find my niche? How can I become more consistent? In that, you will find that when you are creating/building something great you often need a helping hand. We can’t do everything on our own… so the next person may be really great at something we haven’t quite mastered, but rather than comparing ourselves why don’t we reach out and see if we collaborate to do something great together? Even if the answer is no, it is a better feeling than constantly measuring ourselves against someone else’s ruler.

Tips for being more collaborative in order to purse purpose:

  • Recognise not everyone is a competitor
  • Aim to be inspired by others
  • Work with other people that support your vision
  • Remember no one does what you do quite like you do
  • Ask for help/watch those who have accomplished something similar to what you wish to and challenge your inspiration (more on this in last week’s post)

Step into yourSELF

Throughout this series, we have covered various topics that we felt are crucial to address in order to improve our self-development. We have journeyed through insecurities and then combatted these by building a voice of self -compassion, we then placed focus on comparison and competition, making sure we focus on ourselves along the way and finally we stepped into purpose. When we created The SELF Series we had you in mind, it was intended to help you use this time locked down to place attention on the one thing consistent through this continuously changing period. You are the thing that remains even when times start to shift and change and that is why you have to look after you, you have to prioritise looking after your mind and your body and we hope this series has brought about realisation and practical steps in which to do so.

There is truly no role that is ever established or completed without a person and behind a person is individual logic, morality and heart.

Before you are a sister/brother, a wife/husband, a mother/father, a friend or lover you are you. So we urge you to remember this and hope that this series has blessed you a small or large scale.

Your feedback and thoughts have meant so much to us in the past 4 weeks and we do not want that to stop now, so please share your thoughts on the series as a whole or let us know whether there are other topics you want to read from us.

We also understand that in the process of self-development discomfort can arise, and so we want you to know that there are services you can access to support you through this, please see below.

Best Wishes,

Tami & Eni x

 


Samaritans;
Tel: 116 123

They can also be emailed, in the event, you feel more comfortable doing this.

Email: jo@samaritans.org

Therapy;

You can make a referral at your local Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) service. They offer assessments and then go on to offer suitable forms of therapy should you agree with them that you need this support. Therapy types can vary from, Counselling to  Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (of which there is a vast array of types). Please note these services are still available to access in spite of the current global pandemic.

Please see the link below, offering assistance on how to find your local service;

https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/other-services/Psychological%20therapies%20(IAPT)/LocationSearch/10008

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you want to talk more about the topics we have covered. For now, I hope you have been blessed and remember to come back to this as many times as you need to.

 

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The SELF Series: The Only Competition is Me

Hi hi People,

I’m praying you are all well and keeping safe!

A big thank you for staying with us on this journey so far and a huge welcome if this is the first piece you are reading. Don’t miss out on all the gems we’ve dropped in the last two weeks in parts 1& 2 – we’ve touched on insecurity and self-compassion so far.

Last week Tami led us down a passage to self-compassion and there was so much to be gained. Cultivating a habit of being self-compassionate can guide us through so many situations in life and really help us to change our perspectives from crippled to caring.  I know I took so much from last week, especially the self-compassion affirmations. Have you gone on to practice those or have you started creating your own ones? If you have not, then get started. Please and thanks x

In keeping with the purpose of The Self Series, today’s piece is all about you focusing on you, and just you. We’re going to need our skills of self-compassion to brace us for the realisation that this piece may bring. I want us to think about competition today, particularly competition with ourselves as opposed to against others.

When thinking about our achievements we can appreciate them when we are doing well, however when we consider the areas in which we feel we aren’t flourishing, we resort to different ways to soothe this sense of disappointment. Linking back to last week, where Tami touched on Downward Social Comparison, keeping note of other people’s shortcomings and our successes is a way for us to feel superior or better about ourselves, as a result, it helps us to soothe the disappointment in ourselves.

What this brings to mind for me though, is that naturally we all have an element of competition navigating our sense of self. This competition is always usually attributed to other people.

How often do you find yourself measuring your accomplishments and value against other people’s?

Is competition against others a big driving force towards you working hard?

Do you compare and contrast yourself with your neighbour, and constantly strive to be better than them?

In automatically thinking about competition, some individuals get pumped, they feel driven and it can even stir up motivation. Whereas, on the flip side others feel defeated, shy and pressured. There is no correct way to receive competition, for so long as you can flourish through circumstances and the outcomes get you what you want.

Competition isn’t bad and I want to make that profoundly clear, it’s all a matter of perspective.

However, what I feel we need to consider is how effective constantly being in competition with others really is. To what degree is consistently working to be better than the person next to you really aiding in your self- development?

I can tell you for free, it is not.

In truth only a small part of being competitive against others will be useful for you and that is that it highlights something you want, or something you think you want.

I (Eni) remember a time when I was so fixated on winning. I wanted to be the best at everything and if I wasn’t then I had failed. I would look at people doing things and even if I didn’t like it, I wanted to be the best at it, just so I could say I was. LOL, reading this now it’s sad to even admit and as you can guess, yes I was very unhappy.

Competition has a direct link to comparison.

In the example above, the act of comparison came as easy to me as breathing did. Thank God for growth! But that took time and is still something I have to work on till this day.

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Remember in Part 1 when I said “The saying “Comparison is the thief of joy” isn’t just a renowned saying by chance, think deeply about this and consider what you may be stealing from yourself.” Yeah go and write that down! Because it is the truth! Constantly being in competition with others only steals your joy away from you. It sets you up to feel undervalued, underachieving and unappreciated. You keep focus on where you lack and not on what you have. You literally quash any spirit of contentment or satisfaction.

In the times we are living in, where social media consumption is at an all time high, and now being in QUARANTINE, QUARANTINE QUARANTINE … we have more time to scroll on Instagram and Twitter,  we are endlessly taking in information that we rank at a standard and just giving ourselves more people to make competitors in our minds.

The problem with this is that if you are looking at these images/ people as things that are ‘important’ to you; things you want to get or things you want to achieve, instead of using these as inspiration you may register them as competition. They become something to beat, surpass or even be equal to. You may find yourself saying things such as “I need to get this, but the better version; I need to look better than them, they ain’t even that nice, I’m nicer or  I can do that, they didn’t even do it that well” or just resorting to being ‘bad vibes’ and ‘hating’, if these thoughts or similar are familiar to you, I can say the healthy competitive spirit is not in you… yet.  I hope by the end of this you feel prepared to make the change to healthy competition.

The big problem here is that when you compete with these images, or with other people, you are marking yourself by their metrics and values, not yours. Many of us are disillusioned by other people’s values. Meaning that what we see, becomes the influence for measuring our standards, values and worth. This way of living can never bring happiness or success that you can be proud of, because it will always be at the expense of your true self. When you ‘win’ in these situations you are only serving other people, because you did something that is important to them, not you.  It’s easy for us to do this, but easy has not always been right.

Individual Competition

That’s why the only competition you should have is yourself. 

“I’m my own competition, I’m competing with myself” – Cardi B

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That’s the key to live our best life 😉

Life shouldn’t be a race against other people. Rather the real competition is only against yourself, your set goals and your untapped potential. When looking in the mirror the only opponent that should be acknowledged is the one looking back at you. Instead of focusing on outdoing the next person, place your attention on chasing your future and better self and this will keep you in check.

I listened to an acceptance speech by Matthew McConaughey (actor) and he said he chases his hero, ten years in the future. The hero is himself. Due to this, he is constantly striving to work harder and better than his current self, but the marker is always him. When I heard this, I thought how admirable, but more importantly how sustainable. When you make yourself your marker, you can trust it will be reliable and attainable.  People can be too fickle to want to ground your values in them, everybody’s mind will change, so why would you base your value and worth on something that can shift?

With all of this being said, this not to say do not draw inspiration from others, having role models has always been a great example for achieving goals or journeying through a process. However, the first step in being inspired or knowing your role model is knowing what you, yourself want. How can they inspire you if it is not in accordance with something you already believe in?? Challenge what you consider inspiration, there will be more on how to do this below.

So you’re probably thinking, well do you have Eni advice (pun intended lol), or what can I do to make myself my only competitor?

Below are some steps I feel could be taken;

Steps towards Self- Competition:

  1. Know your morals, standards and values

The importance of this is that is guides everything you do. Every goal you make should be in line with these. So when you do find you slip up and do begin competing or comparing, it will be a lot easier for you to analyse whether 9BB3D7FD-FDA1-486F-A017-0ED86D596009what you are comparing yourself to even matches your values or standards. You will be able to spot whether it is in line with your goals.

“For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks”- Matthew 12:34

 

 

 

 

  1. Visualise what you want for yourself

Visualising what you want for you creates perspective, it gives you your metrics and sets your standards. It gives you the power of being in control of how you achieve these things and it forces you to learn more about yourself.

“Competition whose motive is merely to compete, to drive some other fellow out, never carries very far. The competitor to be feared is one who never bothers about you at all, but goes on making his own business better all the time.” – Henry Ford

  1. Define competition for you personally

Know what competition means for you and be watchful of what it drives you to do.

Healthy vs. Unhealthy

  • Healthy motivates it does not match, it inspires it does not imitate, it promotes growth it does not compare.
  • Being anything but you is a disservice to your life and so I would encourage you to only compare to your capacity.
  • Unhealthy is jealous, envious and ugly, it belittles and is bitter.

“My only competition is the person I was yesterday” – Unknown

  1. Be intentional with your inspiration & challenge it
  • It’s fine to have role models, but remember what I said above.

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  • Make sure your role models are positive – they need to influence you in a positive way.
  • Note what you like about them, whether that be their work ethic, morals, presentation, and then note what they do that you would do differently. (I don’t believe in putting others down)

 

  1. Set realistic goals and review them often

Set yourself BIG, MASSIVE & HEART-FLUTTERING GOALS

I say this because a vision worth having often scares you and this can evoke the same emotions competitions have, where it drives you to work hard for the win.

  • But break them down into small, attainable short-term goals this should keep you always focused on you. There is no time to watch others when you are doing what needs to be done, for you sis (sis is a gender neutral term, ok?)
  • Your goal should encourage you, not defeat you.
  • You should make yourself the marker for your goals, ask yourself questions about where you are, is it in accordance with where you plan on heading if not, review them.

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Steps for effective self- competition

  1. Reward yourself

I don’t need to tell you how to enjoy yourself, so please, do this after each of your accomplishments. Rewards are positive reinforcement, it promotes the incentive to continue.

These are just a few steps that can aid in containing your competition, if you can think of any others I would love for you to share them in the comments box below, or with myself or Tami on socials.

In the meantime, understand that things take time, you cannot compare where you are now with where it appears someone else is. You can however, keep your eye on your lane and keep your goal in sight.

Your processes are different to other peoples’, that is why you are you and they are them. Comparing and competing against others is unfair. Moreover, when you are truly focused on you, it is no longer about the competition, it’s about you. It’s about how far you can push yourself.

Know that every step of the way in your journey, you are enough as you are.

So, I want to leave you with you. I want you to run your race, at your speed and with only yourself as the competition. Be careful to not live in competition with other people, this is fuelled by fear of defeat and is psychologically damaging, it can leave you feeling stressed, dissatisfied and miserable, no one should live life that way. We (Eni & Tami) definitely do not want that for you, so apply these steps above and revisit this blog whenever you need a reminder.

Take care and I hope this helps!

Lots of love Eni & Tami x

(Written by Eni)

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Opening up is a scam ?!

“Guys don’t open up, it’s a scam!’

Well I guess that’s the old me talking, I might have changed just a bit and there were reasons why I didn’t open up but now I see the negative effects of not effectively expressing yourself.

Not opening up and *gulp*  expressing  feelings can be detrimental to one’s mental health. Let me make this clear. It doesn’t make you a bad guy for not speaking about certain things, it’s true you can’t just be saying anything to anyone just for the sake of it. However, suppressing everything isn’t healthy.

“Silence does not always mark wisdom.” ― Samuel Taylor Coleridge 

I’ve always thought what does talking to people about your problems and fears actually do for you? More time they can’t even help. I guess it is nice to have someone that listens to you, but sometimes you just cant get those words out

*Alexa play Roddy Ricch – Cant Express*

I think the main problem for people like myself who struggle to “open up” is having people / a person that you can wholeheartedly trust. You want to be confident that whatever you say will stay safe with them and they are not going judge you. I guess a lot of us have been closed off since having putting trust in the wrong people in the past but there are people that have genuine care for you and even sometimes they misunderstand you. Unfortunately our loved ones are not mind readers so you gotta speak up and express yourself if you are looking to be understood.

“If you never bother to say the words, why should anyone believe you ever felt them?” Richelle E. Goodrich,

“When you give yourself permission to communicate what matters to you in every situation you will have peace despite rejection or disapproval. Putting a voice to your soul helps you to let go of the negative energy of fear and regret.” ― Shannon L. Alder

I’ve definitely been an opening up is a scam merchant in the past, and I know I definitely did have my reasons. But you know what I’m changing that, I don’t want to be screaming opening up is a scam as a grown man as you can’t allow one traumatic or bad experience to have a hold over you forever. For myself on this never ending walk with Christ I’m putting my faith and trust in Him as He will always be there so I can talk to Him at all times. I’m not writing this to tell you that you should start to tell everyone your business LOL believe me, I just know that suppressing everything isn’t healthy at all, hope we all find peace in the end.

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The SELF Series: The Passage to Self-Compassion

Hi guys,

I hope you are well and staying safe.

So happy you have decided to come on this SELF-journey with us.

In the previous post, we (Tami and Eni) outlined some tell-tale signs you may be battling with one insecurity or another. Although we did give some pointers we would now like to dig a little deeper and really explore how we can get rid of some of these insecurities and move into a healthy state of self-compassion.

Do You Have Self-Compassion?

Before we go any further it may be useful for you to complete the Self-compassion scale to see if you have a healthy amount of self-compassion or not.

When I (Tami) first took this test, I scored a 1.72 which indicates my self-compassion was quite low. Now, what does that look like? It meant I used to beat myself up for months on end for any mistake I would make. In fact, if I forgot to beat myself up I would beat myself up about forgetting to beat myself. I wish I was joking lol. I felt the need to feel guilty because that’s what makes me a good person right? Remorse? haha! More like crucifixion and even Jesus rose after 3 days. My low self-compassion meant that I always felt alone in my problems… everyone in the world is living their absolute best life and I am the only one suffering. Not only does it demonstrate some form of mild narcissism – it’s selfish and demonstrates a lack of compassion for others. Low self-compassion meant I was not allowed to have a bad day, if I did not feel my best in my appearance then I looked like sh*t. My filter was pretty black and white, so no in-between and nothing but the best was satisfactory.

“We need to feel special and above average to feel worthy. Anything less seems like a failure.”

My lack of self-compassion meant than any “shortcoming” in relation to life, career, relationships, finances were my fault ultimately because I had made some bad decision somewhere down the line.

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Having self-compassion does not actually negate us being wrong or making mistakes – but how do we treat/speak to ourselves after making a mistake or feeling like we are not perfect?

So, What is Self-Compassion?

“Having compassion for oneself is really no different than having compassion for others. Think about what the experience of compassion feels like. First, to have compassion for others you must notice that they are suffering. Second, compassion involves feeling moved by others’ suffering so that your heart responds to their pain (the word compassion literally means to “suffer with”). When this occurs, you feel warmth, caring, and the desire to help the suffering person in some way. Having compassion also means that you offer understanding and kindness to others when they fail or make mistakes, rather than judging them harshly. Finally, when you feel compassion for another (rather than mere pity), it means that you realize that suffering, failure, and imperfection is part of the shared human experience.

Self-compassion involves acting the same way towards yourself when you are having a difficult time, fail, or notice something you don’t like about yourself. Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?”

Kristin Neff

I am Better Than You

If we are lacking self-compassion how could we possibly feel better than others? Well, that’s sometimes the method of making ourselves feel better.

“People compare themselves to those who are better when they want inspiration to improve, and compare themselves to those who are worse when they want to feel better about themselves.”

Modern society can be described as individualistic and self-promotion is common. All you need to do is scroll on Twitter for 60 seconds and you would have encountered a “drag” a “cancel” and a “brag”.

In fact, what some of us may describe a “brag” or even a “humblebrag” is actually Downward Social Comparison; which simply means “we paint others in a negative light so we can feel superior by contrast”… “enjoy the hood”. I am reading Kristin Neff’s book “Self-Compassion” (Recommended read) and she compares Downward Social Comparison to the “burn book” in Mean Girls. The “it” girls kept this book with embarrassing facts or rumors about others as a way to feel superior. While most of us (I hope) won’t go to the lengths of keeping a burn book, we often look for and point out shortcomings/flaws in others as a way to feel better about ourselves. When it’s put like that it seems real ugly and our first reaction is to deny, deny deny.

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But it’s common, usually subconscious but the good news is that it is a behavior we can unlearn.

In no way is downward comparison a sufficient or healthy replacement of self-compassion. When we have an adequate amount of self-compassion we don’t feel the need to make ourselves feel better by effectively turning down another.

“The art of being yourself at your best is the art of unfolding your personality into the person you want to be…Be gentle with yourself, learn to love yourself, to forgive yourself, for only as we have the right attitude toward ourselves can we have the right attitude toward others.” – Wilferd A. Peterson

Applying Self-compassion: A Word with Your Bestie 

Imagine your closest friend has come to you with an issue – maybe he/she failed an exam, got fired from his/her job, missed an application deadline, did not get into their university of choice, realised they hate something about their physical appearance, got dumped by their partner, failed their saving goal… whatever.

Now imagine you responding with something along the lines of, “You are such a failure, you mess everything up, you are ugly and unworthy, you should be upset for a really long time because you really messed up. No one else ever messes up this bad, or has a life as bad as yours”.

How much of a terrible person, let alone friend could you be right? You would NEVER, right? Your response would probably be more along the lines of “I understand this is a really difficult time for you right now, but you will get through this. This does not define you, you will move on to bigger and better. We all make mistakes from time to time, you are not alone. You will get other opportunities, what is for you will be for you. Remember everything happens for a reason. I wish you saw what I saw in you, you are so beautiful inside and out”.

So how do you respond to your own life’s “shortcomings” the former or the latter? If it is not the latter, I suggest you change that… for many reasons.

“If your compassion does not include yourself, it’s incomplete” – Jack Kornfeild

You need to be your first love; you can’t keep pouring from an empty cup. The same way your best friend is a valued human, though imperfect, still deserving of love, happiness, and success, so are you!

Three main elements of self-compassion

Some important questions to really ask yourself:

  • How do you generally react to yourself and your life?
  • How do you typically react to events in your life especially difficult ones?
  • Do you show the same compassion to yourself as you would others?

Ultimately, the message we want to pass on is that we understand, we have compassion for you in everything you go through. But have you ever had someone give you a compliment you don’t agree with… goes in one ear and out the other? But have you had Screen Shot 2020-04-22 at 19.53.08those days you know you looked GOODT… you receive compliments with so much love and no one can tell you otherwise? You feel good so you spend time more time admiring yourself in the mirror than comparing. Well, that’s how we believe self-compassion should work; when you are compassionate towards yourself you are less closed off and isolated, you are able to properly receive the love and compassion from others and not easily phased by the negative opinions of others. You feel confident in yourself and your abilities and see no desire to compare yourself to the next person. 

Techniques to imoprove self-compassion:

Gratitude

Forgiveness

Positive affirmations/ manifestation

Journaling

Mindfulness

Exercise / healthy eating

Educating ourselves

Prayer

We all have difficulties in our lives at one point or another. We all face one insecurity too. Sometimes these battles are physical and other times it is mental. The passage to self-compassion is just facing these difficulties with a friend, and that friend is you first and foremost. You can see yourself as worthy of all the good things life has to offer whilst also aiming to improve on the areas of yourself and your life you know need work. So, turn down the volume of ‘Negative Nancy’ over your shoulders and turn up the voice of your new best friend… you.

Lots of love,

Eni & Tami x

(Written by Tami)

Similar post’s worth taking a read!: Forgiveness Begins At Home and You Are a Bully!

11 Self-Compassion Affirmations to Practice

Try these if you’re a believer in the power of affirmations, and use them to replace self-criticism or remind yourself to be kind to Number One.

  1. I accept the best and worst aspects of who I am.
  2. Changing is never simple but it’s easier if I stop being hard on myself.
  3. My mistakes just show that I’m growing and learning.
  4. It’s okay to make mistakes and forgive myself.
  5. I am free to let go of others’ judgments.
  6. It’s safe for me to show kindness to myself.
  7. I deserve compassion, tenderness, and empathy from myself.
  8. I release myself with forgiveness from today and move forward with self-love to tomorrow.
  9. Every day is a new opportunity. I won’t let self-doubt or judgment hold me back from the future.
  10. I forgive myself and accept my flaws because nobody is perfect.
  11. I’m not the first person to have felt this way, and I won’t be the last, but I’m growing.

https://positivepsychology.com/how-to-practice-self-compassion/

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The SELF Series: Signs you are Battling Insecurity

Hey,

Despite the current global state of affairs, we hope you are well. What a time to be alive…

A lot of us are stuck indoors with not much to do during this time. We want to encourage you to try and find the silver lining in every day, stay as active as possible and stay connected with your loved ones.

With all the time we now have, it’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole of doing everything for others, picking up the never-ending to-do list you had made whilst you had a commute to work, or even just find yourself binge-watching Netflix (but that ain’t no problem).

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But we would love to add that we think it’s important to use the more time you have to yourself wisely. Now it’s not our thing to say – learn about investments, stock, trading getting an online degree, although if these are things you want to do, by all means, do so.

Howeveverrrrr, what we will say is with all this time to yourselves, it’s the perfect time to do the inside work. To really take a look at your inner thoughts and feelings and see how you are really doing, not just what you are selling to everyone else.

We really believe each and every one of us should have a healthy amount of self-compassion.

Self-compassion is the extension of kindness, care, warmth, and understanding (instead of beratement and criticism) towards oneself when faced with shortcomings, inadequacies, or failures.

Many people can extend compassion toward others but find it difficult to extend the same compassion toward themselves, so we thought we’d start a mini-series helping you find a way to love and admire yourself first, in the same way, you love and admire others. The first way to do that is to analyse where you are.  Knowing your weaknesses can only ever be a good thing, as it shows you your blind spots and knowing these show you where to begin first in your journey of growth.

Below we have touched on some tell-tale signs that show you may be dealing with insecurities…

  • Trouble looking at yourself / Not wanting to take pictures 

You may find looking in the mirror is difficult, especially in your natural state. Looking at your pictures or attempting to take pictures brings about discomfort and you may result in avoidance in an attempt to not have to experience those feelings.

It’s crucial to remember that you are formed of so much more than your physical, in the words of Emma Watson “feeling beautiful is nothing to do with what you look like”. The problem is not with your body, the problem is what you think of it and how you think of yourself.

  • Social Anxiety / Not wanting to be seen 

Some of you have been on lockdown and social distancing way before the pandemic. This one is not just for the introverts, extroverts too… liking your own company is not a bad thing in fact it is the very thing we want to encourage with this series. However, avoiding being around people for a fear of the unknown relates to a deeper problem. If you are struggling with social anxiety you may find it difficult to socialize, make eye contact and form new relationships. You may be overly self-conscious about the way people perceive you or what they think of your looks/ personality. So you would rather not be seen. In this current day and age, it may not always be physical socialising, it may manifest in ways like having a low social media presence / or just avoiding posting any pictures of yourself because you fear being seen and therefore judged. 

What many of us fail to remember is that the people we converse with, the people at the party, the people on the train, and the people you on Instagram that just posted 10 pictures today are probably thinking about themselves just as much as we are and often don’t even care to notice the things we so desperately want to hide.

  • Comparing yourself negatively

Comparison can be detrimental in many ways, especially because we usually compare ourselves negatively and perceive the other person as better in one way or another. In other words, in a room filled with others, you are keeping score.

The saying “Comparison is the thief of joy” isn’t just a renowned saying by chance, think deeply about this and consider what you may be stealing from yourself.

 “Comparison is an act of violence against the self.” – Iyanla Vanzant

  • Your internal voice is negative

Your internal voice is essentially your thoughts. They are often negative. You are often critical of yourself and never really give yourself any praise or when you do acknowledge your achievements you discount them by offering an additional external reason as to why it came about. Your internal voice always feeds you with a narrative that you are “not good enough”; “not worthy” or “undeserving” – this shows up in various areas of your life.

Censoring and invalidating yourself is common here when your internal voice is critical, you limit yourself and your capabilities. A tree never grew large by having a tiny planter, give yourself room to spread out and grow, this starts by not limiting yourself and feeding yourself with positive thoughts.

  • You self-sabotage

This could relate to any area of your life especially those that require you to build and maintain relationships. Because of your insecurities, you tend to push people away, overthink things, lack trust and find a flaw in everything, you undo your good because you are fearful of experiencing the disappointment you expect.

“Don’t let insecure thoughts ruin something amazing.” – Unknown

  • You lack trust / You need a lot of reassurance

As mentioned because of your lack of belief in yourself you tend not to trust others. Especially those kindest to you and showing you the most love (it’s to do with feeling undeserving, consequently making you skeptical). Because your first love should always be yourself, it can feel unfamiliar and dishonest when someone claims to love the things about yourself you are accustomed to taking for granted. Often this disbelief means a person needs to reassure they still hold these feelings more often than not, as you equate silence to the feelings no longer existing EVEN IF they are expressing love in other non-verbal ways. Whew.

Verbal reassurance holds a lot of weight in these situations, but essentially this is unsustainable. Complacency and comfort occur in all areas of life and as much as it would be lovely to have a cheerleader on our shoulders at all times, it’s not possible. So if you are dealing with insecurity in this way, before your confidence wanes, switch your method and make your voice of reassurance the loudest – stay with us, more to come on how to do this throughout the series!

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” – Wayne Dyer

  • You have unhealthy forms of “escape”/ You always need an escape

From drugs to alcohol, to excessive sleep and bad relationships. You may find that being alone with yourself is too much and so you constantly distract yourself with the examples we mentioned, or you keep yourself occupied by constantly being on the phone or out and about with others.

The sheer idea of being left to just you has you believing you wouldn’t cope or you don’t want to deal with what you may think about.

  • You are sensitive/defensive which can lead to projection

You often take a lot personally and to heart. Even when the perceived negativity is not directed at you you often feel that it is. Psychological projection can occur as a result of this, this is a defense mechanism that makes you attribute undesirable feelings unto other people, as opposed to admitting or handling the unwanted emotions by yourself.

First-step, face the issue head-on. Approach with understanding and compassion towards yourself and the other. Think of the facts and do not become defensive

  • You often feel anxious

You often feel a fear of the unknown. You often have this overwhelming feeling that something bad is going to happen or is happening. You often feel like your goals and aspirations for the future are farfetched and unobtainable.

  • You often feel jealous 

JealousyFeeling or showing an envious resentment of someone or their achievements, possessions, or perceived advantages.”

Whew. I know no one likes to talk about this because frankly, jealousy is UGLY. But jealously does NOT make you evil or a witch and it’s not an incurable disease. When you feel a lot of the feelings above – being that you do not look at yourself or your achievements positively and you often compare yourselves to others. It is actually a very fast and slippery slope to feelings like jealousy.

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not”. – Ann Brashares

  • Overcompensation becomes second nature

Because of your internal voice telling you, “you’re not good enough” or you don’t deserve to be here when you find yourself in situations where you feel underserving you take extra measures to prove your worthiness. This can also occur in relationships/ interactions, where you find yourself doing more to satisfy the other.

Don’t!

  • You have difficulties enforcing non-negotiables

You may find that your boundaries are not fixed and so you are easily swayed and/or often overstep your own boundaries. Or worse, other people overstep your boundaries. Some things in this life shouldn’t be negotiated, especially those that are put in place to protect you, by you. Respect the importance of your boundaries and do not trade these for nothing.

Reflect…

Now have a real one on one talk with yourself. Which applies to me? If only one applies to you, you are still facing some sort of insecurity. The next couple of posts will focus on how we can move away from these negative thoughts about ourselves and really move into a state of self-love, confidence and self-compassion.

Sometimes the hardest battle is against yourself. But believe in yourself, you can win.” – Unknown

One of the greatest journeys in life is overcoming insecurity and learning to truly not give a shit.
– J. A. Konrath

Till next week Friday & Lots of Love,

Eni & Tami x

Check out Eni’s page on Instagram @HerWordsTheirMinds. 

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A Tears to Laughter Story #5: Oyin Morgan

Tell us a little about yourself…

Hey! My name is Oyin, I am 26 years young and I genuinely love deep and meaningful conversations. My friends would describe me as passionate, thoughtful and extremely impulsive (though that’s changing this 2020!)

Tell us about a challenging time in your life…

If I could choose a challenging time in my life, hands down the award would go to years 2017-2018; my life (in every area) came crashing! So, to give bit of context, in 2016 I graduated from University. Life was seemingly happy – girl goes to Uni, gets a 2.1, gets the grad job of her dreams and makes her parents proud. What could go wrong? I mean everything seem to be working perfectly, I was making good money, someone’s son was making me happy (for the most part ha) and my skin was glowing. Things were genuinely making sense as they had been for the past 22 years. But then (and I don’t know why) I began feeling anxious. Anxious about everything but mainly about work. ‘You got this job by accident’ and ‘You’re not good enough’ were anthems on shuffle in my head. These words started getting to my head so much that I remember working from home for 4 weeks straight just because I wasn’t prepared to face any of my colleagues. This feeling was new to me, I was confused as to what was happening. Was I experiencing the preliminary stages of depression or was I just lazy? Was it just a bad day? A low mood? Can prayer fix it? and if I share will I be paraded with a bunch of “aww’s”, “sorry’s” and ‘I didn’t know you were going through that’ These were questions I didn’t have the answer to so I pretended it didn’t exist for a while.

So anyway, I quit my ‘good’ job as I thought it was the problem and trusted God to come through. I had no clue I was in for a journey of patience and resilience. For 7 excruciating months I was unemployed and although my savings were going down by the day, I continued to live a life as though I was employed 😂 I went to interview after interview but would always get turned down after the 2nd or 3rd stage. All in all I think I went to about 18 interviews only to be told that I was unsuccessful. Then one month, I received the news I had been waiting for- a company wanted to employ ME! So, of course I grabbed the offer with both hands, I was sure this was my big break. Boy was I wrong lol. Due to the fact that I was still in a terrible place mentally that job lasted for 4 months and there I was back to square one, unemployed again for a further 6 months.

Other areas contributed to the dark space I was in. In fact, I had no emotional stability which was affecting my romantic relationships. I kept leaving and re-entering toxic spaces that weren’t good for me mentally, but it was all I knew and therefore all I kept finding myself in. And as for spiritually? Don’t get me started on where I was with God. I left my Church for about 3 months and questioned nearly everything I believed to be true. I had no clue who I was anymore.

It hurt more because my elder sisters were great role models, they were married, had good jobs and had two kids each. I couldn’t understand why I, being the last girl was so different to them. Why I couldn’t keep a job? Why I was in situationship after situationship and why my relationship with God was on the rocks. It was no surprise that I thought my life was going to be an endless cycle of short-term jobs and failed relationships.

How did this affect you or make you feel?

My depression hit me bad. Many days I spent hours fantasying about being hurt, injured and dying altogether. It got so bad that I began envying people that would have the balls to hurt themselves, like why couldn’t I run in front of a car? Why couldn’t I overdose? And if I couldn’t, was I really depressed. I began telling myself that I wasn’t that depressed, I mean after all I wasn’t self-harming nor was I actively seeking therapy. I didn’t seem to have the qualifications for REAL depression in my eyes and the mismatch between what I was feeling and what I knew to be depression gnawed at me daily.

Coupled with the unpleasant thoughts, I stayed in my room A LOT and being so susceptible to my emotions, my room was the only safe place for the state I was in. I couldn’t afford to accidentally cry when I was watching TV with my mum or dad so I tried to avoid both parents at all costs. In fact, texting my parents who were just downstairs to confirm ‘I had already eaten’ was the norm for me. I had no energy to do anything- my room would be a mess for days on end and I’d sleep with clothes on my bed, books, my laptop- anything. My room was a complete reflection of my mind- cluttered, hazardous and in desperate need of a tidy up.

And although I’m not really a foodie in general nothing could prepare me for the lack of appetite I had over this period. I hardly ate and dropped two dress sizes. People noticed and kept asking ‘Oyin, how did you do it’ as if I had been on some amazingly life changing diet and I had to brush it off with ‘I don’t know’ when I fully well knew I weren’t eating.

I think the worst effect of all is that I actively self-sabotaged every potential relationship that came my way. There would be times I believed I was happy enough to date, so I would. I’d get to know someone, like them but when it started becoming real and by real, I mean they had a duty to check in on how my job search was going, I’d literally want to terminate the conversation. At the time, my emotions were all over the place and the last thing I wanted to do was talk about being unemployed for more than 20 seconds. But of course, due to the caring nature of who I was talking to, they would probe and press to see how my mental state was. Looking back I can see why any loved one would do this but the truth is, it really just made me feel embarrassed and powerless. So, as a result, every talking stage ended in ‘I don’t think I can do this right now’

Are you in a better space now? How did you overcome this? 

A much better space. I am at PEACE.

If I’m to be honest, I think it all happened so fast that I’d be lying if I said I knew the day things got better. However, I do remember having a deep conversation with my Pastor in which I just cried. Literally there were no words just tears (he must have thought I was mad lol) but he literally encouraged me that all would be well. That week I must have had extra faith boy because I went from having 0 offers to 3 offers and even one from a job that had previously turned me down. I’ll spare you the details but the takeaway from here is that I knew that my story was about to change because my job breakthrough came with such heavy vengeance.

I had seen the results of faith so this allowed me to further trust in God even though areas in my life still needed improvement. I went back to my church, I got involved in serving and committed to coming every week despite how I felt. Low moods became manageable because I realised, I had power over it and it didn’t have power over me. Having a job gave me an in-explainable confidence boost because I was interacting with people for 7-8 hours a day again and not to mention how the pay rise made me feel lol.

My family and friends played a HUGE part in my growth too because they constantly encouraged me, were patient with me even when I was unresponsive or snappy. They took time to educate themselves on what was going on with me and I can honestly say every single person in my life was helpful in their own little way.

What good came from your challenging period? 

Now, I can honestly say I am genuinely happy with where I am in life, I mean I have my ups and downs as any human would but I’m honestly in a great place. I’m in a better space with God, love my job and I’m in the process of healing from emotional scars. That’s a sentence I thought would never come out of my mouth!

Upon reflection, I learnt that I had to be patient with myself and let God do his work in me (Read Philippians 1:6). I didn’t create myself so I was sure he had the manual for ‘fixing’ me. As unsettling as it sounded, my job was just to be STILL. I didn’t need to force conversations about my situation or update people on how I was feeling because that  wasn’t therapeutic to me – and that was OK.

A big one for me was I had to unlearn my impulsive nature. I verbally told myself “you can’t just quit a job because you aren’t feeling it Oyin”. I pushed myself to ‘dig deeper, what don’t you like? What can be done to improve how you feel?’ Because in life, you’re gonna face trials and sometimes it be your own personality type preventing you from overcoming.

All in all, I learnt that with depression, the help you receive is so dependent on how well you can communicate your pain but many people (including myself) do not understand their pain let alone know how to articulate what they’re feeling to someone else. They just know it’s heavy, it’s real and can’t seem to get out of it. So I put together some bullet points for anyone going through a hard time below.

What advice would you give to someone currently going through a difficult time?

  • Tell your loved ones to be present but not intrusive
  • Write down things you’re grateful for and make it visible
  • Don’t force yourself to be happy (You’ll be frustrated at yourself)
  • Take a social media break for at least 28 days (Too much of social media when you’re depressed is unbelievably damaging)
  • Most importantly PRAY (I can’t stress how much this changed my life- God hears and cares)

Remember: what you’re feeling has an expiry date

Any last words?

Confession: I took a while to write this because writing in the past has never been therapeutic to me. I used to hate writing and cried as I did it because it reminded me that my pain is real and isn’t just some thoughts I’ve put together. It’s a compilation of my realities and the experiences concerning the not so nice things life has thrown at me; ones I’d rather forget. I also felt at one point in my life that writing made me feel like a baby, a baby for even feeling the way I do, a baby for complaining and a baby for needing help. But writing this has honestly stirred up a well of gratitude in me, I have been able to reflect on my journey through this one piece and hopefully I have given hope to those who are on theirs. It gets better – I promise you.

Kind Regards,

Oyin & Tami

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20/20 Vision 24/7?

Hello All and Happy New Year! I know I’m eleven days late LOL!

It’s the start of a new year and the start of a new decade some may say this may be the most defining one in our lives where we graduate, begin are careers, start our own families, etc.

I’d like to believe we all have goals we would like to achieve this year, I know I do! Whether it’s an educational goal, financial or even personal goal, like acquiring a driving license no goal is too big or too small. Your goals are about …YOU, these goals should scare you a little, I wouldn’t consider a goal something that can be easily achieved, hard work, and consistency is definitely involved in the process of achieving a goal.

A goal should scare you a little, and excite you a lot.― Joe Vitale

The hardest thing about attaining a goal for a lot of people is remaining motivated throughout the process of attaining a goal. Sometimes we lose motivation and that hinders us and may even cause us to alter the goal originally set to something that can be easily achieved so we don’t get that sense of failure. Or sometimes we even just forget about the goal completely. In the end, we’re all human and there are times that we lack motivation and confidence to achieve goals we have set for ourselves. Myself for example; whenever I get close to a deadline I begin to get anxious and nervous, no matter how much work I know I have put in, I begin to doubt myself and the work I have produced.

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, and others make it happen.”―Michael Jordan

A bit of advice from me is to remember why you chose this goal and what achieving this goal would bring to you so we regain that focus and drive. It is important not to lose sight and allow fear of failure to overcome us. Fear is not an option when we are pursuing our goals, we must endeavour to reach these goals we have set ourselves even if we end up failing, just like the cliché saying something along the lines of “doesn’t matter how many times you fall it’s about how many times you can get back up“. *Alexa play Meek Mill – Wins & Losses*.

Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.— Robert F. Kennedy

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Some of the ways you can remain motivated:

  • As well as your large goals for the year, throughout the year set small measurable goals
  • Celebrate your small wins
  • Regular reflection
  • Read things like this – So important what we feed our minds with
  • Do not be too hard on yourself

In the end, we all want THAT feeling of reaching a goal. A feeling that really is unmatched. The relief and joy of finally reaching something you have worked so hard for and seeing others proud of you is just a GOAT feeling. God willing we all have this feeling throughout and especially at the end of the year!!

You’ve just got to persevere if you really want to achieve something. At the same time don’t put too much pressure on yourself, as it’s okay to take breaks. Working on something that means a lot to you all the time can sometimes feel overwhelming. Spend time relaxing, get your mind off it by doing something you love. Then when you are recharged… go again and repeat.

All who have accomplished great things have had a great aim, have fixed their gaze on a goal which was high, one which sometimes seemed impossible. —Orison Swett Marden

Good luck for the year.

David A

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Having Hope When Hope is Gone

Hey,

I hope you are well!

Hope is defined as “a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen” or “a feeling of trust“. Most of us with ambition, goals, and dreams have some element of hope. Some would argue that hope and/or faith is what gets us through our day to day lives.

To live without Hope is to Cease to live. Fyodor Dostoevsky

Yet with all the hopes, we seem to have that tomorrow is better why do so many of us so often struggle with hopelessness?

Hopelessness – a feeling or state of despair; lack of hope.

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We are walking contradictions! But I think I may have found out one of the reasons this is and how to make sure we live more with hope rather than hopelessness.

The definition of hope I provided above simply outlines that we have desires and expectations. This is completely fine because we should have aspirations and goals and equally, we should plan and take steps to achieve our goals and aspirations. Now, this is where it gets a little tricky. Often because we have made plans our “expectation” is that things will go exactly as planned, despite us having the knowledge life has a way of throwing curveballs, and sometimes just straight kicks in the gut.

I am saying all of this because… as we come to the end of the year and some will even argue a decade it’s easy for us to fall into the trap of focusing only on the hopes we have for the coming year/decade, in this neglecting our character.  Some of you may have a perfect year next year, but for the other 99.99% of us, things will not always be perfect. Does that mean we should not hope to avoid disappointment? No, of course not.

However, I want to encourage us to remember resilience in all things we hope and plan for.

Resiliance – the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

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And maybe it’s just me, but I am guilty of starting the new year on such a high full of hope and then as soon as life throws an inconvenience at me I become “hopeless”. When we are in a state of hopelessness we waste so much time and get so much more off-track than what the initial inconvenience could have caused. If you are like me… you will eventually come around and get back on track but unfortunately, we can’t get all the time we have wasted back. This is why I particularly like the definition of resilience provided above, because it is not just about the recovery it is the speed of the recovery that qualifies you as resilient and or tough.

I hope you have an amazing 2020, but more than anything I hope we can all develop resilience, and ditch hopelessness. I hope we stay grounded and focused on our hopes, dreams, and plans – understanding that this is not with the absence of life’s “distractions”, so that we may hope for the sunshine in the midst of the storm.

 Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut offProverbs 23:18

Kind Regards,

Sis x

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19 Things I am Leaving in 2019

Let’s jump straight in…

1. Negative Self-Talk

For those of us that have struggled with one insecurity or another, we will be all too familiar with this one right here. “I’m not smart enough” “I’m will never lose this weight” “I am the ugly friend” “I will never get promoted”. Negative self-talk is just evidence of fear. It’s the easy route to believe the negative, that way you never get disappointed right? Actually, it means we set ourselves up for a life we don’t really want.. how about we believe good things about ourselves and say those things instead of the negative? Bye bye to jatti jatti!

2. Fear

Speaking of fear… not only does it create a space for negative self-talk, but it also creates a space that leaves us stagnant. The “what ifs” in our lives are always negative, but how liberating would it be if the “what ifs” became positives. “What if my business thrives” “what if my event sells out” “What if I get a new job” “What if I nail that exam”.

3. Pride 

I would say I am someone with quite a bit of pride. It’s taking me a while to admit that I guess because of my… yup you guessed it. But when it comes to the relationships you have with your loved ones there is no room for it. Fall out’s will happen… but I am determined next year to try and put my pride aside as much as I can and resolve issues through effective communication.

4. Camera Shyness

I have said this one the last couple of years, but in 2020 I am dedicated to sticking to my word. I am expectant to make so many beautiful memories with my loved ones and wouldn’t it be great if I could actually have pictures to look back on? And I…

Oop…

5. Balding Edges

I never thought I would be one of those people with hair issues especially in relation to my edges. My forehead was always known for being small because my hairline was so far forward … now with constant wigs, slicked edges and got2be glue… my edges are vanishing and my forehead is growing. So I am promising myself in 2020 to not take my hair for granted, and make more of an active effort in taking care of my natural hair.

6. Inconsistency

This one could literally relate to anything but the three main inconsistencies I would like to put a focus on in 2020 is God, Blogging / Tears to Laughter and Gym. The thought of the outcome of staying consistent in these three things really excites me! What in your life with a little more consistency could be so amazing?

7. Stale Friendships 

I don’t mean to be bad vibes with this one, I am definitely not one of those cut people off for the new year sorta people. However, I think it’s important to know who are your REAL friends.. not the people you were close to a couple years ago, not the people you have known the longest but the people who truly value you and vice versa. For me nothing dramatic needs to happen, it’s just about knowing at the back of my mind who those people are that I would go above and beyond for.

8. Lateness

For me this is just about adding an extra 30 mins to my get-ready time… because more often than not something seems to go wrong and I end up leaving later than planned. And if by some miracle I get ready with extra time… Picture time! Hello punctuality!

9. Pessimism

“It’s much more fun to be full of hope than pessimism any day of the week” – Lemmy

10. Procrastination

That’s it. That’s the bullet point.

11. Disorganisation

For me this is anything from… being on time to things like doing my meal prep for the week. It all boils down to disorganisation. To-do lists will be my friend in 2020.

12. Poor Money Management

I never thought I would say this… but… not every event needs a new outfit. Yes, I said it. I have found that when I buy things impulsively for a particular event I tend not to get much wear of it later. So taking my time to shop for things I like with a budget rather than ordering clothes every other week. Again, there are so many things poor money management could relate to… so I will try my best with those too.

13. Laziness

It gets so easy to blame everything on external factors, but I have learned in 2019 we have way more control than we think! It’s just about being determined to get up and make those moves.

14. Forgetfulness

I like to think of myself as a thoughtful person, however sometimes when life is being.. well life… it’s easy to get caught up in your own little bubble. This year I have forgotten a few birthdays and felt really crap about it. 2020, I will aim to stay on top of things by writing things down and setting reminders.

15. Perfectionism

“If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.”― Ecclesiastes 11:4

16. Ungratefulness

“Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul.” – Amy Collette

17. Indecisiveness

If you have ever been to a restaurant with me or even just Tesco, you’ll know the vibes. Because I am such a perfectionist it means I struggle to make decisions a lot because I am always scared to make the wrong one. I have learned that indecisiveness is just the cousin of procrastination and fear. So in 2020, I am going to be confident and concise in my decision making.

18. Irresponsibility / Carelessness

I can’t even count the number of times I have lost my bank card this year. I have lost my driving license, my keys… you name it. I think at 24 there is no excuse to misplace things so often. So in 2020, I want to prove to myself that I can be a responsible adult by being more careful and cautious.

19. Comparison

The new age of media / social media makes this one very difficult. But there is so much peace found in being grateful for WHO you are and WHERE you are. Comparison only robs us of peace and not in a way that’s productive at all. So try appreciating someone else’s looks or achievements, WITHOUT diminishing your own.