The Gratitude Journal: July 19′

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Happy July! ❤

Sending you gentle reminder for this month:

Trust and believe in your growth. No one can take that away from you. You know your heart and what goodness it carries. The only time you become a prisoner to the older version of you is when you decide to make that choice. Trust yourself and don’t take on other people’s negative perceptions of you. No one can bound you to that person but you!

Don’t be ashamed of who you once were because they laid the foundation to who you are now. You did your best with what you knew, and you’ve learned from those experiences. When people try to bring you into the place you once were, it is a test to see whether you are embodying the change that you talk about. Rise above the naysayers and show them who you are!

What are you focusing on this July?

Love Ash, xx

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Body Image and Social Media

Copy of The ugly truth about self love (5).pngSocial media has distorted the way we perceive real bodies yet most people are afraid to talk about it. Having an hourglass body with a small waist and big butt has become the new norm. There has been a drastic increase in people getting BBL (Brazilian Butt Lift) surgery or going to extreme lengths to photoshop their body in order to fit this standard. Instagram has become a hub for this body sculpting obsession and influences/ celebrities have played a significant role in creating this trend. These beauty norms are making some of us feel pressured to change our bodies. It’s undeniable that a lot of people especially young people are suffering from body dysmorphia and negative body image issues as a direct result of social media.

Before I delve into this topic, I want to send out a disclaimer that I am not against people getting surgery or using other means to change their bodies. If someone decides to change their body to make them feel more confident, that is their choice. They do not owe anyone an explanation into why they made that decision. I made this post to speak up on the pressures to look a particular way due to social media.

We can’t undermine the impact this popular trend is having on people’s psyche and their self-esteem. I have personally been affected by these pressures. When I started using Instagram, I became obsessed with losing belly fat so I can look more slim and curvy. I toiled with the idea of getting surgery to alleviate the pressure of having to stay a certain weight. I became super obsessive over my eating and spiraled into the crash diets to achieve instant results. Scrolling on Instagram and seeing these perfectly sculpted bodies made me feel worse about my body. Although I have agency over the way I feel about myself, constant exposure to these images changed my perception of my own body and I believe social media is partly to blame. After having conversations with a friend about my struggles, it made me realise that I’m not alone. People are scared to speak up talk about this endemic in fear of being judged. However, being honest and open about how we feel is very important for our overall well-being and to help others realise that they’re not alone. 

My two big questions when it comes to people changing their bodies, is WHY? and most importantly, Would you have this surgery if social media didn’t exist? I want young women to know that their bodies are enough already regardless of whether it fits the standard or not. A person who is well sculpted is no better than you or no more attractive than you. Being the best version of yourself and rocky what you have is what makes you unique. Even though the pressure is super hard to escape, remind yourself that norms change constantly. Choose to live by your own standards and remember that social media is just a snippet of people’s life. Just because someone changes their body, doesn’t mean it will eradicate insecurities or exempt you from life’s problems. Don’t get caught up in the trends now that are forever changing and that can have a long term impact.

For influencers/ celebs who do decide to sculpt their bodies, just remember that people are looking up to you. You probably didn’t ask to be anyone’s role model but unfortunately what you choose to do affects others. You have a lot of power over shifting the culture. I believe we all have a social responsibility to the younger generation and we have to make decisions or at least have more conversations promoting body acceptance.  

There’s no way to turn your nose up at your own body or to put these really small boundaries on what’s socially acceptable for body types that are displayed that should be celebrated and that you’re not turning around and turning your nose up at other people – Joulzy on Body Image and Insecurities.

To truly accept all body types, it’s important that we practice loving our own bodies. Believe it or not, having a negative self-body image has an impact on your perception of other people’s body types. If you are critical about your own appearance, for example; don’t like your bum size or belly, how would you look at others and genuinely think it’s beautiful? Practising self-acceptance is tantamount to loving others holistically.

Three tips help when getting overwhelmed over body image:

  • Social media break- Delete your apps or log out for at least a day every so often. Arrange social media free days. Taking a break is good for your mental and physical well-being. Being constantly exposed to these reel highlights of other people’s lives can eat away at your confidence if it’s already quite low. It takes the focus off what you look like and more into things in your daily life that are important.

  • Unfollow unrealistic body types & follow diverse ones- In order to feel better about your body, start following people with similar body types as your own or more diverse ones. The more you see yourself reflected online, the more you are inclined to accept yourself.  Remember, you get to choose what crowd you engage with and what people on Instagram you decide to follow.

  • Learn more- learn more about your relationship with your body. Ask yourself this; how do I feel about my looks? What is my relationship with food? Where do those thoughts about my body come from? When you become clear on who you are and your own positive/ negative habits, it will help you to start developing a healthier relationship with your body.

Questions to you:

Have you felt pressured to look a certain way because of social media?

Would love to hear what you think!

 

Love, Ash ❤

 

The Gratitude Journal: June 19′

 

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Hello you!

The theme of this month: BEING PRESENT 

Are you really present or are you just running on autopilot?

Too often we try to effectively attend to multiple things at once. Many of us spend a lot of our day multitasking and going through the motions without being present in the moment. After a conversation with my partner around this topic, I realised that too often I was physically present but not actually living in it. Recently I started to tune into what I am focusing on throughout my day. I caught myself having a conversation with a loved one but thinking about other pending tasks I had to complete all throughout our interaction. I was present in person but I was not present in spirit. I was not enjoying the entirety of the moment that I was experiencing. Planning and staying proactive is great, however the life we want to manifest for ourselves is hidden within the little things we do every single day. Having a conversation with a friend is just as important as your work obligations. Do you know why? Because it brings us joy, love and warmth which is so important for our overall well being. In order to maintain or invite loving relationships into your life, you have to be present and appreciate the love that you are currently surrounded by. This means eliminating distractions and focusing on the presence of the moment you are sharing with them. Showing that you are present with others sends off a message that you are appreciative of their time and you cherish the relationship. The same applies to everything else in your life, whether that’s focusing on self care or walking to work in the morning. 

Take a moment right now to be aware of the time, what you are doing with your body and mind in this present moment. When we turn into the present moment, we realise how much power we have over our choices and interaction. We begin to see the joy that exists and the blessings in our lives. It allows us to become clear about the energy we put towards things that does not serve us. 

Mini challenges for us to try together:

  • Count to 10 before you start a new task; This has been proven to helps you to become mindful and present. It’s an excellent way to de-clutter your mind and help improve your attention span. 
  • Focus your whole energy into one thing; watch a programme without checking your phone, read a book in a quiet space with no distractions.

 

Question to you: 

How are you?

What are you focusing on this month?

 

Have a blessed month.

Love, Ash xx 

 

 

I found myself

What about if I told you that those moments when you’re alone exist for you to rediscover yourself again? Appreciate those quiet moments as they will bring you closer to yourself.

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I hope you all have a lovely week ahead.

Love Ash, xx

Do you attract what you are? Let’s talk!

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You are all probably familiar with the famous line “You attract what you are”. I remember the first time hearing this line when I was younger and not resonating with it. My thought process was “So I don’t love myself, does that mean I will attract people who will treat me badly?”. I couldn’t resonate with it because at the time I didn’t love myself. At the same time, did not feel like my lack of self love  justified being mistreated by others. I felt like this quote lead to victim blaming, rather than putting agency and accountability onto the person who has done the mistreating.

When I started my self-discovering journey, I began to see this same line crop up consistently. Funnily enough, I didn’t feel as disconnected with the words as I previously did. Over a period of months, I delved into my teenage years to figure out any patterns that had contributed to my peak depression after I graduated. I wanted to start forming healthy, fulfilling relationships with others but I first had to figure out where the break down began in this department of my life. Through this self reflection process, I noticed a direct correlation between my lack of self-love and the types of relationships I accepted.

My lack of self-love and acceptance showed up in a multitude of ways.  I noticed certain people in my life would feel comfortable speaking to me the way I talked to myself. For example; I would say stuff like ‘I’m dumb’ and people around me would be comfortable using the same language towards me. My lack of self-love showed up in what I accepted from others. My need to please others lead to people taking advantage of me. On the flip side, the negative relationship I had with myself made me comfortable being bitchy, jealous towards my friends. I felt a lack of self-love and this showed up in the way people treated me and how I treated others.

Lisa Nichols- “Your job is to be the first example of how the world is supposed to love and treat you. It’s your job to give the world the best example possible. The people in your life will follow your example on how they get to treat you.”

Quote from Lisa Nichols book: Abundance Now

It became very clear during my self-love journey that treating myself badly made people feel comfortable in treating me the same way. When I started to affirm, love and redefine myself to become my best version, I was forced to change the conditions of my relationships. I was no longer was willing to accept being mistreated. I began to heal myself and be real about my own toxicity which naturally helped me stop projecting my toxicity onto others. As a result, I began to attract loving, healthy relationships into my life. This revelation has bought me so much peace and completely redefined my relationship with myself and the way I treat others.

I have definitely grown a greater understanding and appreciation for this old saying. However whilst I now agree with it I still don’t believe in victim shaming. I adamantly believe that we are entitled to love in its highest capacity even at times when we don’t quite love ourselves. I don’t believe that anyone is deserving of ill-treatment simply because they treat themselves badly. The way people treat us has much more to say about them than it does about us.

There are people suffer from debilitating mental health and/or self-esteem issues. It may take some people years to start truly loving or start accepting themselves. I don’t feel like this means that they should have people around them to meet them where they are at. When I had people treating me badly, I didn’t think I deserved it and I don’t think anyone does simply because they don’t love themselves. I don’t encourage a culture of blame. I think it’s important to be compassionate and treat others respectfully.

To end, it’s so important that you are good to people and take accountability for your mistreatment of others. Ask yourself more whether you’d want to be treated in the way you’re treating others. I want to create a conversation around this question, so I’d love to hear your thoughts or your experiences. I am still in the process of learning and my opinion on this topic is subject to change. This is my understanding thus far and I am still in the early stages of my self-love journey so I’d love to know your thoughts.

A Question to you: 

Do you think that you are what you attract?

Thank you for reading!

 

Much Love, Ash xx

Hey! Back from a Mini Break

Heyyy all 😊,

I don’t know about you but this May has been so intense! I’ve been feeling a multitude of emotions and have experienced some deep revelations. My internal world is shifting- for the better. The full moon has just moved into Scorpio. According to gurus this is supposed to be a time of releasing any negative energy. But I’ve felt the need to release, cleanse and address some unwanted energy all month. I’ve been doing a lot of personal writing. I think when you get so used to blogging publicly you tend to censor yourself in some way. This month I’ve allowed myself to write unfiltered and just for my eyes only.

This personal development work is so tough at times right? My intuition has pulled me towards delving into my childhood and teen years, forcing me to finally make peace with certain things that I’ve experienced. Sometimes we think we’ve gotten over something but end up being triggered later in life. Lately when I feel triggered I’ve sat with it and gotten to the root of the issue. I am working currently on making peace with my pain.

Did I tell you that I live by myself? Well that’s added a whole layer of intensity to this month. My partner stays with me occasionally but he lives in another city so I spend most of my time alone unless I am with my friends. I always thought I was comfortable being alone but being by yourself with no one else in the house is a whole other level of intensity. I’ll be honest, I am still getting used to it. I have cried, felt lonely and scared. But over the past week, I’ve felt at peace being alone. I know this is bringing me greater self-acceptance and the opportunity to truly appreciate my own company.

So yes this month has been so intense for me hence my absence from the blogging world. Also I am happy to announce that I will be doing a workshop in London called Challenging Low Self-Esteem on June 1st! So excited to finally talk publicly about something that is so dearest to me. Planning and preparing for that workshop has also occupied my time. Anyhoo, I have a blog post coming out this Sunday so keep an eye out!

Questions to you: 

How are YOU doing today?

What is your mental health like today?

 

Love always, Ash xx