I'm lucky to know a lot of wise and amazing people.
My mother is a constant source of inspiration; the most brilliant and accomplished woman I know. She can solve any problem and never fails to make me feel empowered. My Father overflows with wisdom from a phenomenal amount of life experience and is always there if I need his advice or help. I'm currently living with my best friend Dan and he is the smartest, wisest, most compassionate person you'll ever be lucky enough to enter a conversation with. Finally, I have a network of incredible girlfriends and when we get together to unpack each others lives, it's brilliant and complex and inspiring. I want to record everything we say for posts just like these.
My loved ones are constantly helping me. I take little pieces of them all when I need help, a pep-talk or just to feel better as I go about my day. (Especially needed now I live in another country!) I think, thanks to all their wonderful advice over the years and my own life experience, I'm finally starting to understand how to make the most out of life. How to ENJOY it. How to CONQUER it.
It's an amazing feeling.
So, here is a little summary of some of the BEST advice I've received. Some from myself, some from others, some from midnight revelations....
All of which help me on a day-to-day basis.
YOU Are In the Drivers Seat - Don't be a Passenger.
How empowering to just accept the reality that we are in control of our lives? 100%.
That may sound simplistic, but I like to not over-complicate things. Over-complicating can be detrimental, especially when talking about a very simple fact. YOU are the only person who has to live your life. If you're not happy with something, you CAN change it. If you are feeling overworked, you CAN take something off your plate. If you don't like your relationship, you CAN leave it. If you are bored, you CAN find something that excites you. I know life isn't simple, but for the most part - we don't do things because we can't be bothered, or we think it's too hard, or we are worrying about others, or we are simply afraid....
Fear has a lot to answer for.
I find personal control empowering, especially when I'm not happy with decisions I've made. It means I can look at my involvement getting there, instead of just feeling like a victim and being unhappy with my circumstances.
I'll never forget the Skype session when Dan explained this concept to me. He said: "Hannah, on some level, you've chosen this. You WANT to do this, even if it's subconscious ... It's okay to not be happy right now, or regret making that choice, but don't act like you're trapped. You're not. Just start making new choices...."
And he was right. As soon as I realized I didn't want to be doing that anymore - I made new decisions, that eventually took me on a new path. It wasn't overnight, but I did it.
Because I'm in the drivers seat.
Commit to Your Feelings
My Mother always taught me gratitude.
We are some of the luckiest people in the world and we should always be aware of that.
I'm conscious every day to keep my "problems" in perspective. If my "problem" is that I've double booked myself, or I'm having a bad day at work or I'm worried I've pissed someone off, it's a pretty good life, isn't it? My problems aren't how I'm going to feed myself, or how I'm going to leave my abusive relationship or how I'm going to look after my children. I am grateful every single day.
My Mum is so selfless that when she's having a bad day, she will fob it off because "we are so lucky" and it doesn't compare to the suffering of others. I love this amazing woman. What a role model, huh? On these days I'll make her a cup of tea, hold her hand and then say, "Mother, just because people are worse off, doesn't mean you don't deserve to feel upset sometimes, or hard done by."
By denying feelings it makes them harder to get over. It's okay to have bad days and to be upset and give time to our emotions.
We are all human! As long as we spend most of our time being grateful, I think we certainly are entitled to the odd bad day. Better that then let it build up into something far worse. You are not ungrateful for all your blessings if you have a bad day or want to have a cry. I love having a cry!
At least a cup of tea and a hug can solve most of our bad days. Let's be grateful for that.
Self Sabotage is a Safety Net
How terrifying to be confident. To just be really super confident and happy with yourself? Isn't it easier to fail yourself before others can?
I am guilty of this. If everything feels like it's going well and I have no problems, sometimes I'll just create one. I'll start worrying about my body, something that hasn't happened yet, something that MAY happen, money... Things I wouldn't even be thinking of if I had an ACTUAL issue to focus on.
I self sabotage.
I know I can do something, I know I can nail this audition, I know I can talk to that guy, know I can wear that dress ... but I'll talk myself down or make myself feel bad and, essentially, take myself out of the running.
And I finally know why. Thanks to great advice ;)
Because if I was just "happy" with everything: I had my dream body, was the best actress in the world, had flawless confidence, money to burn.... and I STILL failed... I STILL didn't make it ..... Then what do I have to blame? What can I blame if I never become a successful actor? What can I blame if I never fall in love?
Well... nothing. How much easier it is to have a scapegoat. How much easier it would be to say: well, I'm a bit chubby, so I'm not gonna be famous. Or - well, I missed a lot of auditions, so maybe one of those was the big one.
Imagine not having ANYTHING to blame? That's scary.
We need to stop self-sabotaging and let go of the scapegoats. By putting them in front of us, they will become more and more real.
It's Okay To Be Selfish
You will be the best "you" for everyone else around you, when you are well, happy, content, energized and looked after. No question.
Being selfish is NOT a bad thing.
It means you are investing in yourself so you can give more to those in your life. Be better for everyone who is relying on you, who enjoys your company, who needs your help. You can only do these things if you're looked after yourself.
Be selfish. Take time for yourself. Put yourself first. Ironically - it's quite selfless.
No One Is Watching You
(Just a quick hilarious note - I love this photo I took in a coffee-shop of this woman, looking so peaceful and zen. She was in her own little world and it inspired me. I wanted to use it for this point - but it's ironically called "No One is Watching You".... even though I was doing just that. Hehe. Okay, hilarious point made, now on with the wisdom!)
Are you doing anything for other people? Are you still in a degree you don't want to do because you're afraid of what people will think? Are you still in a relationship because you don't want to seem like a failure? Are you not doing what you want to do because you're afraid of judgement?
I'm sorry to sound harsh... but NO ONE CARES WHAT YOU DO WITH YOUR LIFE. If anyone truly cares - it should only be caring that you are happy. Anyone who wants you to do something that is stressful or negative or unsatisfying - are not worth bothering about.
If you are someone who compares your life to others, making assumptions based on news-feeds and engagement rings and happy selfies, I promise - those people are probably comparing their lives to yours and likely not as happy as they seem. The grass is always greener. One person's success is another person's failure. Everyone is (and should be!) too bogged down in their own worries to think about your life.
My friends and I all lead completely different lives. If I chose to - I could get upset thinking: "gosh, I'm just an unpaid actress, still making coffees, living alone ... all my friends have partners and are thinking about buying houses and making so much more money than I am.... " BLAH BLAH BLAH. But what is the point of that? Who knows? Maybe those amazing successful women envy parts of my life that I happen to treasure? Like my freedom, my creativity, my travel? I have DESIGNED my life to be exactly what I want at this point in time. Just as they all have. We all love these differences; it's what gives us our dynamic, our perspective and our empowering conversations! We all come from different perspectives and priorities.
Take inspiration from others, but never comparison. And remember you are in the drivers seat ..... do what YOU truly want to. Whether that's being the President, a Teacher or running a little cafe. People only want you to be happy.
(In my opinion) we only live once. So don't do it for anyone else.
Don't Question What Makes You Happy
I'm through with sweating the small stuff. I'm through with questioning why a Soy Mocha, a few hours and my laptop makes me happy. I'm through with questioning why I don't enjoy wearing make up. I'm through with questioning why I so much prefer to have a night in with friends rather than going out and get smashed.
I know what makes me happy.... IT MAKES ME HAPPY. So, why stress about it?
If you have things that make you happy, provided they don't hurt others, why stress about it? Why question it or worry about it? If having a glass of wine with your friends makes you happy, don't stress about it. If being a waitress makes you happy, don't worry you have to do anything more than just that! If sitting in a coffee-shop makes you happy, don't stress you should be out walking or doing more with your time.
All we really want is happiness. If you're enjoying something - you are succeeding where most of us are searching.
Kick back, relax.... don't question what makes you happy. Whether it's a job, a person, a past-time, an activity.
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