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Monday, 20 February 2017

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others #SelfLove


At the start of the year, I was a woman on a mission. 2017 was going to be the year I got my mojo back, the year I would feel normal again, and the year I would dedicate to the personal development of my mind, body, and soul.

I’ve already made positive progress towards nurturing my mental and physical health. However, during my mindfully-infused sessions where I take the time to learn and grow, I’ve noticed an uncomfortable trend – comparison. We all do it, but it’s in varying degrees of intensity. I’ve often wished that I could live in a warm country like my hugely successful cousin, Becky. Or that I drove a super sexy Land Rover Evoque like my bestie, Liz. These are the kind of comparisons that are merely fleeting thoughts rather than crippling destruction for our self-esteem. I love these thoughts because they shape my ambitions. I want to earn enough to buy a lovely car, and I want to travel to interesting places.

In January I bought a couple of life planners to help me plot out my world domination. As a stationery geek, this was no hardship, and I quickly filled each one with the relevant information. On a side note, I’ve yet to find a life planner that contains everything I want/need to satisfy my organisational needs. However, the planners helped because I was writing everything down and could, therefore, see at a glance what I was hoping to achieve, the date I wanted to complete the goal, and all the other SMART* necessities that go hand in hand with reclaiming your mojo.

At the same time, I joined some Facebook groups dedicated to boosting your inspiration, motivating you to achieve your goals, and empowering you to succeed. All the things that I value in my life and strive to pass on to others. The fit was perfect, and I became as active as time allowed in these groups.

Roll the clock forward a couple of weeks, and I started to feel twitchy about some of the groups I joined. Don’t get me wrong; there is absolutely nothing wrong with blowing your own trumpet. I’ve posted about my own success on more than one occasion. If we don’t share our achievements, especially if you run an online business, then nobody will know you exist.

I, therefore, think that it’s not the groups that have changed, it’s me. My inner monolog of destruction is reading these ‘look at what I’ve launched/sold/done’ as a way to prove I’m not ‘there’ yet, wherever there may be! Perhaps I'm overly sensitive, or in need of re-reading my CBT notes but the feel of these groups has shifted for me.

Instead of feeling motivated, I feel drained. Instead of being inspired to achieve, I feel useless and defeated. I know that my depression has something to do with this, the cognitive settings in my brain are overloading with the ‘I’m not good enough’ chatter. So what can I do?

I’ve backed away from the groups. Some of them I left so the notifications no longer appear in my feed, and others I stopped interacting with, so the algorithms do their job and bury the posts until I might need them again. I feel better already.

I surprised myself with the intensity of my comparisons. I was so sure that being a part of those communities would be the best thing for my personal development and yet it backfired, leaving me feeling empty.

Comparing ourselves to others is dangerous. We are unique in every way, and we should embrace this fact. I worry about my daughter who, at fourteen, can be influenced by the celebrities she loves, and the body image that is portrayed on the cover of every magazine (that rant is for another post!).

I’m incredibly active in blogging and book circles online, and one group, in particular, has boosted my confidence and helped me to shake off those ‘not good enough’ thoughts. It’s these kind of communities that matter.

Surrounding ourselves (online or in real life) with people who support us is important. Learning to recognise negative thoughts and releasing them is another factor in boosting our self-love. Understanding how much damage comparing ourselves to others can be the first step in correcting these thoughts.

It’s another lesson I’ve learned on my current journey. I’m still healing, still recovering, and obviously I’m still vulnerable. That’s okay. Realising that fact has helped me to act accordingly. There may be a time in the future when I re-join these empowering groups and throw myself into the mix, but for now, I’m going to concentrate my efforts on the people/groups/activities that nurture my mind, body, and soul.

Over to you: I’ve chosen to talk about Facebook groups in this post, but perhaps you find yourself comparing your life to just one person or a set of friends. What could you do to correct this?

Here are a few ideas I’ve come up with to help:

  • Be kinder to yourself – notice the negative talk and release these thoughts.
  • Write it down – I’ve mentioned my love of journaling before, but I can’t stress enough the benefits of writing down what you are grateful for, or using a happiness jar (read my post about that HERE).
  • Focus on what you have – cherish your family/home/job and don’t focus your attention on what others have.
  • Commit to self-love – take care of your physical, emotional, spiritual needs every day. Commit to nurturing yourself to be the best version of you.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Do you find yourself comparing you to friends? Can you recognise the negative talk and correct it? What tips can you share that might help someone to break the comparison trap? Please feel free to share in the comments box below.


*SMART goals are:

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Realistic

Time Based



Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest

Monday, 13 February 2017

Ditch the Guilt #SelfLove #Happiness


February is the month of love, but here on Motivate Me! we’re looking at loving ourselves rather than joining the masses who are celebrating with their one and only. If you do have a true love close to hand, then feel free to engage in the odd snuggle, a romantic meal, or a deep and meaningful discussion about your relationship. Communication, interaction, and respect are key elements to any successful partnership.

If, however, you want to join me on a journey of self-discovery and take a deeper look at how we can love ourselves first, then stick with me.

Last week I shared my 5 Top Tips for Working on Self-Love, you can read that post HERE. This week I wanted to discuss an area that might impact on our personal development, and hold up our well-laid plans of loving ourselves unconditionally.

That issue is GUILT. Not in an ‘oh my god, I slept with my husband’s brother!’ way, although if you did do that, then you might want to skip off and sort that issue out!

The guilt I’m talking about today includes all the mistakes or mundane nonsense we beat ourselves up about. It could be that we weren’t there when someone needed us, or you’ve shouted at the kids over something trivial. For me, I feel guilty about my overwhelming ironing pile (I know, it sounds ridiculous doesn’t it!). In truth it makes me feel like I’m neglecting my family, failing as a mother and adds to my ever present ‘I’m not good enough’ limiting belief, I mean, seriously, who beats themselves up because of the ironing?

Monday, 6 February 2017

5 Top Tips for Working on Self-Love #wellbeing #happiness


February is upon us, and everywhere you turn there are hearts, overpriced chocolates, and an explosion of cuddly toys. It can only mean one thing – Valentine’s Day is imminent.

Fluffy teddies and flowers aside, the theme of ‘love’ that invades all of our senses at this time of year doesn’t necessarily have to be directed at a partner, lover, or spouse. It’s perfectly okay to indulge in a spot of self-love.

I recently attended a networking group for women where we had the opportunity to briefly talk about ourselves and our businesses. It was interesting to observe each lady proudly talking about their family but then clamming up when the conversation turned to themselves. We were all successful business women, but the thought of ‘bigging’ ourselves up, and selling ourselves was visibly tough.

I observed this and then fell into the same trap when it was my time to talk. I introduced myself and launched comfortably into ‘my name’s Shelley, and I’m a single mum to three lovely teenagers,' cue the oohs and aahs of my fellow networkers as we laugh/share/commiserate over the teen years and motherhood in general. Then when the group leader asked me about my work, I automatically dropped my head, avoided eye contact and mumbled something about being an author and blogger and selling a ton of books, but eer, well, umm, I’m not sure who buys them *nervous giggle*. OMG!

How is it possible that I can sit in front of a computer and share with the world how much I adore writing, how my books are aimed at women who want to make the best of themselves, as well as write articles about feeling empowered. Then, when I’m given the opportunity to confirm this face-to-face I lose all confidence, and my self-esteem takes a tumble.

Has this happened to you? If so, then I’m happy to say that you’re not alone. We all do it!

On the drive home, I finally understood that to have the confidence to sell myself, I needed to believe that I’m worthy of my success. It’s not a fluke that I’ve sold over 10,000 copies of my first non-fiction book. It’s not a one-off that 15,000 people visit my blog in the space of one month. These statistics came about through hard work, dedication, and a passion for what I do. I just need to believe that!

One of the goals I’ve set myself for 2017 is to learn to love myself more. It might sound like a lame goal, but judging from my reaction at the networking group, it’s a goal I need to be working on.

Self-love. What is it? The definition is ‘regard for one’s own well-being and happiness.’ Wow, can you see how we as women fail to love ourselves? We are always making sure that our husband/wife, children, and friends are happy, healthy, and cared for but then we never leave enough time to ensure we give ourselves the same amount of care and attention. This is why it was so easy for the women in the group to share their pride about family but not express the same confidence in themselves – we haven’t learned how to self-love.

How on earth do you learn such a skill, I hear you ask, well, allow me to share my top five tips:

Community Matters

Although we were all guilty of a lack of personal confidence, the ladies at my networking group were more than capable of encouraging each other and offering guidance and support. Finding a community such as this will help you build, or re-build, those feelings of self-esteem and conviction.

Stop Negative Talk

When we put ourselves down, we are only reinforcing that lack of self-esteem. Telling ourselves (or even just thinking) that we are boring/unattractive/fat/stupid feeds our mind to believe this even more. STOP! Take notice of the language you use when referring to yourself, turn everything into a positive affirmation. ‘I am successful,' or ‘I am happy and healthy in my skin.' The more you talk about yourself in a positive way, the faster you’ll believe it to be true.

De-Clutter

Yep, I’m sharing my love of de-cluttering yet again, but the benefits of clearing out your cupboard space, Facebook friends list or garden shed are monumental. It also leave you with a clearer mind.

No More Comparisons

I could dedicate an entire blog post to this (which I might still do), but the fast-paced life of social media means that we are always in a position to compare our life/career/family to that of the online communities we are a part of. Be honest, who has followed someone on Facebook and wished for just a second that your life looked like theirs? Stop comparing yourself to others. You are a unique individual and need to start embracing the positivity in your life.

Let Go

I blogged about releasing negative energy through Acupuncture a few weeks ago, you can read that post HERE. Letting go of past hurts is hugely important when building up our self-love. We can’t move forward when clinging onto pain, heartache, anger, or frustration about the past. Find a therapy that works for you and let go of the past. Acupuncture is a great therapy to try, as is EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). Coaching, Reiki, and journaling are also powerful therapies.

What does self-love mean to you? Do you take the time to nurture your own needs? If so, what do you do? I’d love to hear your thoughts so please add a comment below.

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you enjoyed this post. Want more? Connect with me here:  Twitter @ShelleyWilson72, Instagram or check out my Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/FantasyAuthorSLWilson and http://www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog. You can also find me on Pinterest