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I wonder how often we judge ourselves and how often we allow ourselves to be loved, simple...?

I also wonder if there is a link between anxiety and self-esteem?

It seems there may be in that often we experience anxiety when we are in moments when we question ourselves, our ‘voice’ quiet, or silenced, and so doubts are stronger, our self-confidence weakens and so continues the cycle…

Often if we feel our self-esteem is low, we may find that we label ourselves, in very black and white terms – for example,

• I’m rubbish at this

• I am ugly

• I’m always making mistakes

Or we might become ‘perfectionists’ believing that anything less than perfection is not acceptable.

The reality is, when we compare ourselves to others, we usually do it in ways that have a negative impact on ourselves

And Social Medía has a lot to answer for!

So here’s what we want to do…

 BUILD a full picture of yourself – one that takes into accounts all the parts of you – the parts you like, the parts you’re not too keen on

 TALK and meet others – people from different age groups, with different interests, from different social groups, other cultures - and REALISE that our perceptions – so the things we say to ourselves, and the things we believe to be TRUE – are, for the most part, ideas that we have been brought up with, they are ideas that we have taken on, sometimes from family, sometimes from the media around us – TV programmes, music, SOCIAL MEDIA – and we believe them sometimes in a way that ends up hurting us

 SHOULDS!!! THROW them away! Take away the ‘shoulds’ and find out what you really like, what you enjoy, what makes you happy, discover what is important to you…for most people it is having friends, family, a network of people who understand you and you enjoy being with, it is having time to do what you enjoy most, it is having fun, it is being kind both to yourself and to others

 ACCEPT yourself … and how do you do that?

1. You need to stop comparing yourself to others

2. You need to stop believing the labels you give yourself, and we do that by asking if these labels help us? If you tell yourself you are stupid then is that helpful? Does it make you happy? No! So it’s not helpful!

Change the label!

You can’t be stupid all the time, maybe we are all stupid some of the time but NONE of us are stupid ALL the time! So think of a time when you did something you felt good about, and start to challenge the label!

Wanting to be a better version of ourselves is a good thing, but we need it to be motivational so choose an Ultimate Goal that is specific – I want to save £734 so I can buy a mountain bike by the end of July, because my friends and I have the chance to go away for a week cycling in August- is much more motivational than - I want to save some money for a bike!

But we may also want to keep in mind the reality that we can’t learn, we can’t grow, we can’t become a better version of ourselves unless we make mistakes!

If we are learning, we NEED to make mistakes, so we need to have people around us who give advice when we make mistakes, rather than folks who judge and criticise. When someone gives you into trouble, the last thing you want to do is to try again!

So…when you make a mistake WRITE it down! Go over the event, and write about it. Why? Because writing it down helps you process it and so will help you do things differently in the future and will help you grow.

Write about what you didn’t like about the event, but also write about what was OK

Write about whether anything was out of your control and also how much you were responsible for

Write about what you think was a mistake but also what you can do differently next time

Write about what you have LEARNED!

And build a FULL picture of yourself, and discover what you value about yourself

BUILD your self-confidence, build your self-esteem and let yourself be less anxious

And, perhaps, then if we love ourselves more, are kinder to ourselves, judge ourselves less we allowing ourselves to be happier...

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It feels quite a relevant quote during these unpredictable times that we find ourselves in, whilst the COVID-19 virus is amongst us.

We are constantly being encouraged to stay safe, to keep our distance, to look after ourselves and this is, indeed, good advice. 

However, it may also be important to stay safe by keeping in touch with those around us, to look after ourselves by keeping a certain closeness with those we can...

We are all finding new ways to do that, people using Skype, Zoom, on their phones more than usual, people writing letters, cards, the local shops selling out of 1st stamps perhaps an indicator of how important it is to stay in touch.

I’ve noticed that when I go out to run, some people look and say Hi! They look happy and eager for a bit of human interaction, a wee bit of chat, even if it is with this stranger who probably looks a bit red in the face, hair is all over the place and can hardly lift her 2 feet up to go any faster than a snail’s pace!

Anyways, there’s a willingness to connect and it’s lovely to be able to shout out that the weather is great, that it’s a lovely day, and I don’t feel quite so alone in the streets that are quiet early in the morning.

Sadly, I’ve also noticed that some people I pass look straight ahead, their faces look tired and they seem to be focused on something I’m not seeing. I might suggest they look scared, fearful, but I’m not quite sure what of...rationally, I understand there are lots of things to be fearful of as in the best of times there are lots of things, a whole variety of things, we can be fearful about, and whilst our communities are full of reminders of the C word (the virus!), of course people are struggling with all sorts of worries, from health concerns for themselves or other loved ones, financial concerns, the list may be endless...

But I also believe that now, more than ever, that it is so important to remain optimistic. We want to be hopeful that this too will pass, because when we are hopeful we look out for the signs that are positive and they lead us to find brighter outcomes.

It feels so important, when our world of media through newspapers, TV, social feeds, is full of fearful messages that we maintain a balance, that we don’t get lost in fear. Because I can see in the fear that we start to turn away from others, we start to become suspicious of others, we turn inward and we limit ourselves.

What if we are like ships in the sea? Ultimately, we can’t control the weather, the storms that we encounter, but we can control how we react to what is happening around us. Our power is in that choice, because if we choose to move out of the Port and sail the unpredictable seas, chances are high that we will discover new lands, new sights, and we will meet new friends and in our adventures we will feel alive and we will have a purpose.

It is maybe silly to start writing about a simple passing conversation with a stranger, and end comparing that to an adventure at sea! But when we can’t literally travel that far from our doorsteps maybe it’s ok to think of those passing conversations as opportunities for adventure and new experiences...

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