How to fall in love… with yourself

Lao Tzu quote

We live in a world where finding “The One” is more important than finding yourself, when in reality, it should be the other way around. I think it’s starting to be higher on our priorities now more than ever, but there’s still work to be done.

We are all familiar with the typical things we say to ourselves when we’re feeling low. I’m fat. I’ll never good enough. I’m not smart enough. I’ll never be able to do that job. My writing sucks. My art sucks. I suck.

Stop. Seriously.

Don’t get me wrong, I am so guilty of doing this. Sometimes I wake up and feel great, like I can take on the world. And other days, I feel ugly and boring and so far from who I want to be.

But what makes me think any of the things about me are bad? What is beautiful? Smart? Exciting? Brave? Fun?

It’s different for everyone. So on that note, let’s jump in.

Practice positive self-talk

This will always be number one because it’s the most important lesson of all. Next time you’re having a bad day, listen to the things you’re saying to yourself.

I know this is going to sound cliché, but if your friend was saying nasty things about herself/himself, would you stand there and agree? No! You’d probably give them a long speech about how awesome, gorgeous, fun, smart and amazing they are. So why the heck don’t we say that to ourselves when we’re blue?

Write down what you love. Put it on a post it. Hang it on your bedside table, mirror or by your door so it’s the first thing you see before you start your day. If you’re not feeling fab, remember, you are your own best friend, so treat yourself like one. Don’t worsen the pain by calling yourself mean things. Pep yourself up.

Did you know, if you buy two of the same plant, give it the same amount of sun and water and care, but you say hate to one plant and loving things to another, the hate one will die faster? Don’t kill your soul. Be nice.

Appreciate other people’s qualities, but don’t compare yourself

“There’s room for everyone.”

This is another big one. There’s nothing wrong with thinking someone is admirable or gorgeous. And just because they are those things, doesn’t mean you aren’t. Nobody’s success takes away from your own. Nobody’s magic takes away from your magic. There’s room for everyone. So love that person up and then do the same for yourself.

Do things that make you feel happy and empowered

If you’re not feeling your best, then do something about it. Do something comforting if you’re anxious, sad, self-conscious. Exercise, cook, go out with your friends.

If you’re bored with your life, take that class you’ve always wanted to try, apply to that job. Take a risk.

“Your confidence will soar if you put yourself first sometimes.”

Just do something. You have control over your life even when it feels chaotic. It starts in your mind and changes when you take action. Some things take longer to change, but you’re never going to move forward or feel better if you keep doing what you’re doing. Practice self-care and go get what you want. Your confidence will soar if you put yourself first sometimes.

And remember, you can’t take care of your loved ones if you’re constantly low on fuel.

Don’t try to fit in

We have this notion in our minds that if we’re different, something is wrong with us. But how boring would life be if you met the same, cookie cutter person all the time? We’d be miserable.

I’m convinced the world would literally end because we need different people to make shit happen. Sounds dramatic, but think about it. If we all liked the same look, we’d be fighting over the same person. If we all had the same skill, this world would be seriously one dimensional and a lot of things would fail. We wouldn’t make much progress.

The point is, you will make a difference because there is nobody like you. Isn’t that great?

At the end of the day, we need to stop the emotional violence that takes control of our mind, body and soul. Replace it with positivity and kindness. There is absolutely nothing wrong with doing something for you. You’ll be a better friend, mother, father, lover, etc.

And the best part? You’ll find yourself falling in love with the wonderful, brave and amazing you.

How to become fearless with your writing

….or anything else you love.

A desk with a coffee, flowers, pen and paper. The paper says, "Just do it."

Creating something new to share with the world can be hard. You’ll face criticism, sometimes it will be constructive, other times it won’t be. You might fail. You might succeed. It’s all a guessing game. But let’s not forget the positives and how to stay focused.

Don’t aim to please

This is a big one. As a writer, there’s always someone telling me to change something because they didn’t like it. I’m not talking about workshopping and passing on helpful feedback – that’s a God send. I’m talking about the people who want to change you and your craft to match their needs, not yours and potentially everyone else’s.

But have you ever thought, maybe they’re just not your target audience?

I have a friend who is a painter. She paints beautiful moody pictures with dark colours and wistful strokes. But when she showed her friend, she was quickly met with, “Why don’t you paint happier pictures? These are too dark.”

That, my friends, is an opinion. That is not constructive, and it’s potentially hindering the artist’s individual style. One that might actually make them stand out and become successful in the future.

Why don’t I write happier stories? Because that’s not what it’s about.

David Bowie once said, “All my big mistakes are when I try to second-guess or please an audience.” I couldn’t agree more. Anytime someone shared only their opinion, without constructive criticism, it would have potentially killed my writing if bent to their words.

If you tried to alter your original idea to meet someone else’s expectations, it could soon become inauthentic and weak. Staying true to your gut will automatically make it more genuine, and in the long run, more successful.

Your intention will reach other people who relate, but that’s only possible if you believe in your own craft.

Just because someone doesn’t click with your style or idea, doesn’t mean it should change. I’ve met so many people who decided to not pursue their passion for fear of being disliked, but the only person they hurt was themselves.

Think about it this way: trends happen because something new and exciting has come about. That new show you love? It had an original story line. That book you can’t put down? It was a refreshing take on a classic.

Why do you think the new thing you want to introduce to the world will fail? Why do we think if something isn’t popular right now, then people will hate it?

That trend used to be something new and unpopular. It became a trend because people loved it. Just like they could love you and your idea.

Just do it

I’m sure many of you have seen the video of Shia LeBouf screaming, “Just do it!” If you haven’t, here’s a link.

This is how loved ones feel when you second-guess yourself. Frustrated. You want to know why they’re frustrated? Because they believe in you.

The only way you’re going to make this happen for yourself is if you just do it.

Scared that what you write is going to be crap? Just get it on paper and then edit it. Workshop it. Get support from loved ones and other writer friends. People who want you to succeed will help you.

If you go to a constructive workshop for your writing, it doesn’t matter if your story isn’t their style, they will help you shape it to something even stronger, without tainting your intentions.

Scared that your idea isn’t good enough? If you start working on it, it will grow. A first draft is never perfect, but that’s part of the process. That is a stepping stone to something better.

Remember, you’ll start with an idea and then after a few drafts, it will bloom. It will become complex and moving and beautiful. So, why stop before you even reach that step?

Just do it!

Educate yourself

If you’re a writer, write and read as much as possible. If you’re a painter, paint as much as possible. If you’re an IT expert, keep researching and working on your skill.

You can be great at what you do, but there is always something new to learn. And how wonderful is that? No matter how skilled you are, you will always have something to look forward to. You can consistently grow.

Join a class, get a degree, meet up with like-minded people. Practice, practice, practice. Watch YouTube videos, read articles. Buy a masterclass on www.masterclass.com (review coming soon – it’s amazing).

Never stop learning and you’ll always have somewhere to go.

Click here to learn some important life lessons to lead a happy life.

Stop thinking you’re the only one

You’re not the only one trying to chase their dreams. You’re not the only one being rejected or accepted. You’re not the only one who feels like everyone they pitch their idea to is annoyed by them. You’re not the only one struggling, failing, getting back up and trying again.

You’re not the only one. So share the experience, keep going, stay humble, be tenacious, fight for what you want and don’t be afraid to keep trying.

At the end of the day, we’re all in this together.

How to fall in love with change

There are three kinds of people in this world. The first fears change, the second thrives on the new and unexpected. The third, well, they’re somewhere in the middle. It’s okay to be scared of the unknown, but it’s also important to know how to face change and use it for the better.

Whether you’re fearing what’s ahead or you’re just not excited, I’ve come up with some tips to help you overcome that hump and get you to the sunny side of something new.

Write a list – of only the pros

Comparison is a helpful tool for many things, especially when you need to make an important decision. But once you’ve made that choice, it’s time to focus on the positives.

For example, if you’re starting a new job, but love your current one, there are obviously reasons you’re moving on. Maybe the pay is better, the role is more exciting, the location is more convenient or the benefits are a plus. Either way, remember why you went to that interview – something drove you there. Write it down. Reading it to yourself when doubt sneaks in will help you find confidence in your choice.

Realise your goals and manifest them

Sometimes, change is thrown at us with little say. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it. With every experience comes a lesson. Sometimes that lesson is a hard one, but the hard ones are usually the best. Rather than viewing this unexpected change as an obstacle, think of it as a stepping stone toward your ultimate goal.

Did you lose your job? That means you can try to go for something even closer to your ultimate role. Or, it will teach you how to budget better. Or, maybe it ended something that was actually toxic to you this whole time and you never admitted it.

When the going gets tough, it’s only temporary so focus on the positives that can come from it and use it to get what you want. For example, you have to move but you love where you live. It’s just another opportunity to view the world in a different way. Maybe that new place will be the door to what you’ve been looking for. Who knows – the point is, the unexpected isn’t all doom and gloom. It can be pretty freaking awesome (even if it starts out rocky – trust me, I know).

If you can’t live without the past, keep it

The past can be a heavy weight on change’s shoulders, and it’s important to realise when to leave it behind. But just because something isn’t the same anymore, doesn’t mean you have to ditch everything that feeds your soul.

Think of it this way, if you moved far away, would you just stop talking to your best friend? No, you’d text them, call them, Skype with them. You’d find a way, so do the same for other things that make you happy, even if it’s located in your new city (i.e. a cool class, writer’s group, a good hiking spot, etc).

Immerse yourself in the new

Whether you’re moving to a new town, starting a new job, or going to a new school, it can be intimidating to put yourself out there. But the more you lock yourself away from the new, the more stagnant you become. You won’t mesh with everyone you meet, but you’ll find someone who will show you around, introduce you to more like-minded people and places you may not have found on your own. Maybe they’ll even teach you some really cool stuff and bring out another side in you. The new isn’t always worse.

Be honest with yourself

When change comes a knockin’ we often slam the door in its face. It’s disrupting your routine and we’ve been programmed to think that’s a bad thing. But is your current routine actually good for you? Consistency might be comfortable, but is it only comfortable because you’ve been doing it for so long? Or because it’s actually making you happy?

We tend to glamourise the past or the present that’s about to leave us, but take a moment to think about everything that is uncomfortable right now. Maybe this change will make it better, or it’ll simply force you to change more than just one thing in your life.

Let’s be honest, it could be time to do some spring cleaning.

Do you have a hack for embracing change? Comment below!

Sincerely,

Sally

P.S. If you’re going through a change right now and it’s making you anxious, check out my top tips for reducing anxiety.

top tips for reducing anxiety

Let’s be honest, everyone feels anxious sometimes, and for many, it’s not something that just comes and goes. You might be feeling great, confident, happy… and then it hits you. It can be hard to pinpoint why, but for me, it’s usually possible to know what caused it. Although it’s something I have to constantly work on, here are some things that have helped.

Make peace with the fact that you have anxiety

Acknowledge it, befriend it, and nurture it. One of the biggest ways to fuel anxiety is to have anxiety about having anxiety. It sounds funny, but we all do it. We worry about how long it will last, if we’ll forever be haunted by it. But even if this isn’t going to be the only time we suffer, it won’t be constant. Everyone has their highs and lows, and maybe right now you’re in the peak of it. But as they say, this too shall pass. And most importantly: You’re not alone. Seriously.

Get to the root of it

There’s usually something that causes your initial panic, and then it spirals into a web of worries. But if you take a minute and really think about what started it, you might just surprise yourself with the clarity and calm that follows.

Try Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

I have this weird time of year where my anxiety comes out to play – and man, does it throw some serious punches. When I was in the heat of it, I spoke to my doctor about what I could do to break this pattern and he referred me to a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist. Unfortunately, it took months to actually see the doctor and I was doing much better by then. But I still went and it was really helpful. She asked me if I knew what caused the panic attacks and I told her, and how it seemed to spiral into even more worries, and how random and illogical the triggers were. I know that it can feel really vulnerable being that honest with someone, but she didn’t laugh, she didn’t make a comment about it being unusual. She just threw a ton of questions at me, slowly changing my thinking pattern. She gave me a bunch of exercises and a packet of ways to conquer my fears and manage my attacks. How to shift my reactions. I became more aware of the triggers and was able to open a dialogue within myself. It was really refreshing. I’ve since used some of her suggestions and I’ve noticed a big difference in my thinking patterns. If you live in the UK, you may have to wait, but it was free and the wait was worth it. There’s nothing wrong with speaking to someone – sometimes it could be the thing that leads to a breakthrough.

Be active

There’s nothing in this world that helps me as much as exercise. I grew up watching my mother work out – in fact, she went into labour with me while doing leg lifts – so it’s in my blood. You don’t have to leave your house, just do it right in your living room. It’s a perfect way to do something 100% for yourself, without interruption or justification. It’s healthy, it feels great, releases tension and the endorphins are lovely. Do some research. Look around at different workout programmes. Find one that speaks to you and do it. Not only will you be helping your mood and mind, you’ll be creating a healthier, stronger body and that’s always a good thing.

Learn breathing techniques

This is particularly good if you’re about to have a panic attack. I often find it helps to lay down, or go somewhere quiet, and breathe in through your nose for five counts, filling your belly with air, then exhaling through your mouth for five counts. By breathing air into your belly, you’re massaging your “fight or flight” nerve. Be sure to focus on your breath. You can even put a hand on your stomach to feel it rise as you inhale and drop as you exhale. After a few rounds you will suddenly feel calm and light. It works so well.

Create a comfort ritual

Feeling anxious? Keep those feelings at bay by finding small ways to create a comfortable environment.

  • Aromatherapy. I love to use my oil diffuser with lavender or rosemary essential oils, or even Women’s Balance by Neal’s Yard. If you don’t have a diffuser, get a candle with a scent that immediately comforts you. It might be one from your childhood or a classic calming scent like lavender. One of my favourites is This Works’ Deep Sleep Heavenly Candle. I also use their Deep Sleep Pillow Spray by spraying it into a paper towel or cloth and inhaling it, then spraying it on my sheets. It instantly calms me and really does help me sleep if I use it at night.
  • Watch a show that inspires you or makes you laugh.
  • Read a book, either a fiction novel you can get lost in or maybe a self-help book. I personally love Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed. It’s a collection of all her best quotes, and you’ll be amazed how there’s a perfect quote for every situation. It’s my bible. I strongly suggest you pick up a copy.
  • Do something pampering. Take a bath, use a face mask, paint your nails, etc.
  • Listen to calming, soulful music that won’t cause angst or sadness, but will make you feel relaxed. Check out my zen playlist here.
  • Journal: Focus on the things you’re grateful for, the highlights of your day, week, month or year. Shift your thoughts to the positives.
  • And like I said before: Exercise! Do some yoga, pilates or maybe even a hard core workout that gets anger, tension and stress out. It’s amazing was some movement can do.

Try some CBD

I’ll start by saying I’m not a doctor and I suggest speaking to yours before taking anything. But my brother got me onto CBD oil, which is cannabis oil – it doesn’t have THC so no, it won’t get you high. It’s completely legal and natural and has amazing benefits. One of them being: it calms anxiety. There are so many brands you can choose from that are really affordable, but the first time I tried it, my brother shared the CBDistillery CBD oil (500mg, 30mL) and it was liquid magic. It doesn’t make you feel heavy and foggy like some medication might. I felt happy. And light. And clear. It was as if someone just sucked out the negative energy and I carried on with my day. Plus, when I take it at night, I sleep like a baby. You can take a regimen of this every morning or night, but I tend to take it when I need it, mainly due to the price. But it’s worth it.

Anxiety doesn’t mean you live in a deep, dark hole. Sometimes it might feel that way, but there’s a lot of ways you can control it. These are just some simple things that work for me, and maybe they’ll work for you too.

Do you have any of your own tips? Comment below!

The five biggest lessons I’ve learned …so far

With every lesson, comes a lot of learning. Here are the ones I live by.

Trust your intuition

“We think we’re mundane beings with no powers, but in reality, our superpower is our intuition.”

This is the rule to live by – it encompasses all other rules. Does something feel right? Trust it. Does something feel wrong? Trust it. We think we’re mundane beings with no powers, but in reality, our superpower is our intuition… our natural instinct. There have been times my intuition has saved my life, and other times where it opened up wonderful opportunities. I wrote and published my first short story Rust based on a real experience I had. It’s the biggest lesson I’ve ever learned, and I honestly believe nothing will ever beat it.

Let go of toxic people

Feeling anxious, unhappy, maybe even sick? Look at the company you keep. You’ll probably make excuses at first.

“But if I let them go, I’ll have no friends?” However, if you let them go, you might actually be happier and attract healthier people, you know, the ones who are actually good friends.

“But he has been good to me in the past, like.. remember that one time?” Whether it be a boyfriend, girlfriend, best friend or family member, emotional abuse is a real and very valid thing and I’ve had strong firsthand experiences with it. Do I remember the occasional good time with that person? Sure. Does it override the bad? Absolutely not. And to be honest, I’m so much happier without them – and that’s not a bad thing to admit.

Never live up to other’s expectations over your own

“If you stay true to yourself, you won’t regret your choice when you’re on your deathbed.”

People will clobber you with their own opinions, limitations and expectations. But your right as a living, breathing human is to own your choices and your path. If you have a vision for your life, one that will make your soul sing, then go for it. If someone else thinks it’s boring, small, lame or out of reach – don’t listen. Lead a life you value. The right people will support you. And maybe the people you love the most won’t understand and that’s okay. If you stay true to yourself, you won’t regret your choices when you’re on your deathbed.

Believe in the impossible, because it’s possible

This is kind of linked to the previous point, but it’s an important lesson to learn.

I want to be a screenwriter. The first thought in your head was probably, “But Sal, nobody makes it.” You’re actually wrong, tons of people make it. You know that show you’re binging on Netflix? Whoever wrote it was told the exact same thing. But guess what? They didn’t believe you. They believed in themselves. And now they have a show on Netflix.

There are people who love you …and people who won’t

“Stop tearing yourself down just because someone else doesn’t click with your uniqueness.”

….and that’s okay! You will never make everyone happy. You will never click with every single person. It may be uncomfortable, but that’s the beauty in life. You think you’re an outcast? You’re not! There’s someone out there who will totally dig you. Feel like you can’t make someone happy? Stop trying! You’ll be enough for someone else. Your crush isn’t into you? Next! There will be someone who shares your feelings.

Stop tearing yourself down just because someone else doesn’t click with your uniqueness. Think about everyone you’ve ever disliked – are they bad people or just not your cup of tea? Striving for someone’s affection and approval when they just won’t give it is toxic and exhausting. If you accept it, you’ll be a happier person, and you’ll have more time to appreciate the ones who adore you.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned? Comment below.

Sincerely,

Sally

 

What were the wisest words someone has ever said to you?

I know, I know. It can be hard to pin down the most perfect set of syllables you’ve ever heard. But deep down you know what they are, even if you haven’t implemented them.

They could be massive, mind-blowing pieces of advice, or something you probably would have missed if you were lost in a daydream. The answer is different for everyone. It all depends on who you are, where you are from, where you want to be and how to get there.

For me, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. The voice of fear will sit uncomfortably on my shoulder, smugly and so far from silently it makes my blood boil. It will say, “Don’t do that… you’ll fail” or “You’re not good enough”. And for some of you, that voice overrides all others. You won’t hear the praise, compliments, encouraging words. And this is where I stop you. Why would you listen to that?

Think about it. If this was a boyfriend or girlfriend of yours – no wait, not yours, your best friend’s (because we all know it’s easier to see other people’s relationships clearer than our own), would you let that voice keep talking? Not a chance. That voice is the murderer of all voices. I give you full permission to pull a Dexter and kill that voice. (*Quick interruption: if you haven’t watched Dexter, you probably should. It’s hilariously intriguing and brilliant… anyway, back to the topic at hand.)

I may be better at dishing out advice than actually taking it myself, but I’m working on killing my bad voice. I think I’ve always been pretty good at trying things even if I’m fearful, but self-doubt occasionally creeps in.

So, what were the wisest words someone has ever said to me? Well, if you know me, you know who those words came from…. and that would be my mother. Mother of all mothers, she really does know what to say and when to say it. But a golden one will be her nonchalant, beautiful, free words: “Ooo awesome. Yes! Just do it!”

It’s like clockwork. I’ll think of an idea and she’ll support it. She’s my story board for everything. I’ll empty my thoughts onto her and she’ll give me honest, amazing (and sometimes brutal) feedback. And even if something’s not quite right, she’ll guide me to a fix.

If you don’t have someone like that, find one. Or keep reading my blog, I’m happy to be that person… it’s the reason I made this blog.

So hi. I’m Sally. I’m a writer, just like millions of other writers in this city, but I think I have what it takes because, screw it, I’m trying.

We’ll see where this blog takes me, but in the meantime, stay tuned for some feel-good posts, fun reviews, random shit, and stories that I couldn’t keep hidden.