This world is both a strange, scary and complex place as well as being the most beautiful, amazing and inspiring one. How you view it will impact how much you enjoy it and how much you can and are able to achieve. How we approach our situations allows us to either be prepared for the pressures it throws at us or be renewed by the new experiences. We can learn from our failures and successes. Every one of us will experience dark days and great days and resilience is a muscle that we can build on. Taking time to reflect and learn will help us and to do so isn’t selfish in the least. I hope these steps help you as they have helped me.
1) You cannot run a car on empty so don’t try to push your body to do the same.
You need to rest and recharge. Now that means body, mind and soul. Yes, you may get enough hours sleep but are you giving yourself time to think things through and plan next steps? Eating the foods that help you? Exercising regularly? Developing that interest you have? All these things are part of a balance that you need to give yourself. It may be there are others who need you and demand your time but you cannot help anyone if you can’t first help yourself. Look after yourself.
2) You cannot do everything.
Sorry to break this news to you but you are human and you have to say no to some things! Choose what you want to do, say no to the things you can’t or don’t want to do. Saying no is needed and you don’t have to feel guilty. Saying no is accepting you are a finite resource. You are managing yourself and your time. Remember: guilt is a wasted emotion.
3) Let go of what is in the past
Accept it happened and move forward. Once you have made a decision you have to move on. Reflecting is great but once that reflection is complete you have to let the baggage go or it will weigh you down. What you cannot change you should accept. Make peace with your past or it will nag at you. If you are still struggling it is worth talking the issue through with a counsellor who can help you to reconcile yourself to what has happen and help you decode your feelings.
4) Perfection doesn’t exist.
You cannot be perfect no matter how hard you try. Chasing an impossible dream is pointless. Think what you would tell a friend who tried to do this, you wouldn’t expect them to keep chasing after the impossible. Be a friend to yourself and accept that trying hard is enough. Do your best but don’t wear yourself out on a fool’s errand.
5) Make time for yourself (and guard this time jealously).
That time could be spent meditating, walking, exercising or just switching off from the rest of the planet. So, allow yourself time away from your mobile, let the answerphone pick up the call. Don’t check work emails when you are on leave. The world will not end. Making this a regular, planned decision, will help. Even if it is just an hour once a week it will recharge you and your thinking.
6) You deserve the best too.
Often we make sacrifices for others. We put our families first. That’s lovely but sometimes we need to put ourselves first too. This isn’t being selfish but it is self-protection. Also, continual self-sacrifice can lead us to think we need a thank you when it was our decision to do this. Be realistic.
7) Asking for help is a sign of strength.
It is not a weakness – quite the reverse. If you are struggling then reach out. As someone who battles with depression I did once feel talking or asking for help was a sign I was not coping. I have come to realise that actually it is a mechanism to help me cope. When I feel under pressure I chat to friends by text, face to face or via messenger. It helps to actually say how I am feeling and get that fear out in the open. Having a friendly voice suggesting ideas is part of the process and I can take their suggestions and advice on board.
All of these things are suggestions. But the aim of this blog is to say that you are not being selfish for thinking about yourself. This is actually a pretty wonderful world but at times it can seem dark, complex and worrying. Helping yourself to face it in the best condition will help you deal with what life brings you. Good luck and keep going forward.