December 2018: The Gratitude Journal

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Hey guys, happy December🌷✨

It’s the end of the year! There’s SO much to talk about but I want to start off this month by giving you a gentle reminder: 

Never compromise who you are in order to fit in. Simply by being yourself, you’re enough! Imagine how boring the world would be if everyone was exactly the  same. Think about some of the amazing, unforgettable people you know and you’ll realize that they have one thing in common- they stayed true to themselves. The world needs more genuine people. You are going to experience people who don’t understand you but you’ll also meet those who see your value. Life is way too short to mould yourself into something you’re not. So rather than emulating someone else, let’s strive to be the best version of ourselves. You want to live you life your knowing that you stayed true to yourself and your purpose on this earth. 

How are you feeling about this year coming to an end?  

Love Ash, xx 

 

Copyright © AshAlves 2018, All Rights Reserved

Toxic Family

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There comes a time when you start to analyze your family relationships and ask yourself whether they are fulfilling or not.  It’s painful to admit that certain family members are toxic and don’t always have our best interest at heart. You might have to make a decision whether to cut ties completely or maintain a relationship from a distance.

Speaking up about toxic family members is a very difficult. There’s an unspoken rule that some things are kept within the family. As a result we maintain unhealthy and unfulfilling relationships simply because you share the same DNA. But what’s the point of family if they aren’t compassionate, caring, understanding, kind and loving?

There’s plenty of conversations around toxic friends or partners but not enough about toxic family relationships. This is something I’ve been very reluctant to talk about because of the stigma I’ve placed around talking about family affairs publicly.  However I no longer believe people should be shamed for speaking their truth. I refuse to tolerate any abusive behaviour simply because we share the same blood. I don’t want to keeping hiding the fact that some family members have inflicted more harm than good and have negatively impacted my well-being. I came to the conclusion that if maintaining certain relationships means to compromise with own sanity and well-being then it’s not worth it. I know people close to me who are struggling with having toxic family members around them but feel obliged to put up with abusive behaviour.

For any one who’s currently stuck in a predicament where they feel obligated to put up with a family members abuse, i’m here to tell you that it’s not your responsibility to deal with their demons. You should not feel obligated to put up with abuse simply because they bear the title of your parent or have your last name.

4 things you should know about your toxic family:

1. If someone is abusing you they are not loving you. Love is not abusive. When someone is inflicting violence onto another, it is not a display of love. That family member may have treated you with care or could have even provided a roof over your head but that doesn’t excuse their abusive behavior. Bell Hooks summed this up in All About Love
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2. Putting yourself first is not selfish.  You are not obligated to sacrifice your peace of mind for your family. It can be difficult to release the notion that we have to be self-sacrificial for our family members, having to put our feelings aside to maintain the family image. However by doing this you compromise your integrity and normalise dysfunction that should not exist in the first place. Sometimes family issues make life more difficult and stressful than it needs to be. If they are affecting your well being and put you in a negative space then you have a right to keep your distance.

3. Quit trying to change them if they don’t want to change. You might have expressed  to them that you don’t like the way they treat you but they still have not corrected their behaviour. You can tell someone to change plenty of times but they won’t until they make that decision to change themselves. It might be time to accept them for who they are and lower your expectations that they will change. By lowering our expectations we won’t be constantly hurt by their wrongdoings and we find peace with our circumstances.

4. You don’t have to carry the burden of their issues. People who inflict abuse onto others have typically been victims of some form of violence themselves. Whilst we should acknowledge the reasons why people inflict violence onto others and the fact that they’ve normalised that said violence, we must not excuse their behaviour when it’s detrimental to our own well being. You can emphasize and understand someone’s pain but it can’t come at the expense of your own happiness. That person has some form of agency and ultimately you’re not obligated to coddle someone who cannot recognize the depth of how their issues affect others around them.

Have you experienced a toxic family member?

What advice would you offer someone going through this dilemma?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Love Ash, xx

 

Copyright © AshAlves 2018, All Rights Reserved

Social Media is draining: How to preserve your energy and keep engaged online.

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Do you sometimes feel drained by social media? You experience days where being online felt more like an obligation than fun. However, it feels impossible to escape due to your personal and career goals. 

We all know the importance of online branding and posting content frequently to engage with other like-minded people. There’s a whole industry dedicated to helping people improve their online presence and becoming a successful brand. We are told that by constantly posting and interacting with others we can grow our brands and create a lasting impact on those who support us. However, this dependency on social media and this desire to be constantly visible can have negative impacts on our own well-being. Navigating in such a fast pace environment where it never switches off can be detrimental to our own inner peace.

If you’re someone like me who’s hyper-sensitive to other peoples energy, being online can sometimes be draining. I find this is especially the case with my social media accounts like Instagram and Facebook. To be honest, I’ve never experienced this with my blog and I think this is because I don’t feel the same pressures to be constantly visible like I do on other sites. Over the past year, I’ve actively surrounded myself with people who talk about well-being and self-care to help me on my own journey. However, I’ve found that so many of us offer a lot of advice to others but don’t talk much about our own self-care practices.  Or at least I find that there’s a lack of transparency when it comes to talking about how we cultivate the time to practice these things we talk about. It leads me to ask the question- If we are constantly posting and offering other people advice on how to practice self-care then when do we really get the time to practice these things ourselves?  

Recently I’ve made a commitment to use social media in a way that is better suited to my own personal needs. I love connecting with others and I want to maximize the benefits of social media. However, I want to be able to switch off without feeling guilty. I don’t want to feel like I’m missing out and I don’t want to feel drained.  I’ve been practicing a few things over the past few months and they seem to be working well so far. For anyone who finds themselves in this dilemma, this list should be helpful to you. 

5 things you can do to not feel drained by social media:

1. Take breaks- Plan a day every month where you go completely social media free. If your brand/business is reliant on you constantly posting, then plan your posts in advance and set a timer to post them on that specific day. That way all of your work is done for you and you can enjoy your social media free day without feeling guilty. More importantly, taking breaks is good for your mental health. It makes you realize that there’s a life beyond social media to explore and needs nurturing.

2. Plan the amount of time you want to spend using social media- Prioritize certain time periods throughout the day or the number of hours you spend on your phone. Set yourself a maximum amount of time you want to use being online and aim not to exceed that limit. The chances are that when you’re exceeding that limit it’s because you’re wasting time aimlessly scrolling on your socials out of boredom.

3. Set times where you absolutely do not check social media- I have this rule that I don’t check any of my social media accounts first thing in the morning. In fact, I won’t check my socials until after 9:30am. I am a firm believer that what you consume as soon as you wake up can have a lasting impact on the rest of your day. If you’re feeling pressure to post or you see something negative first thing in the morning, you’re going to be anxious and overwhelmed. You want to start your day in the best state of mind possible. I’ve found that by implementing this rule especially I feel much more confident and less drained.

4. Have a hobby that does not involve using social media- I find reading and doing crafty activities keeps me grounded. It’s important to enjoy other things outside of being online. Imagine if the internet goes down for a whole week? You have to think about other things you’d enjoy doing and do those things on a frequent basis.

5. Decide whether being constantly active on social media is necessary- If you find being overly present on social media more draining than fun and you aren’t using it for business purposes or to push a greater cause then you should re-evaluate whether it’s necessary to use so frequently. I know there’s a lot of pressure to be on social media but you don’t have to use it because of everyone else. You are in control of how much you use it and you get to decide when you want to switch off.

Questions for you: 

How do you carve out time for yourself?

Can you relate to anything above? Or if not what is your perspective on this topic?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Love Ash, xx

Copyright © AshAlves 2018, All Rights Reserved

November 2018: The Gratitude Journal

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Just a gentle reminder- Maybe the person you’re aspiring to be is the present you all along!

We spend so much time planning to become this ideal version of ourselves that we forget that we can embody our greatest version in the present moment. Every single day is an opportunity to live a completely different version of your reality. You don’t need to have the perfect job, a huge income or notoriety to be satisfied with who you are. At any stage of your journey, no matter what resources you have available to you, you can be this amazing, abundant, self-fulfilled person you’ve always wanted to be.

Instead of chasing this idea of perfection, we should just ‘be’ that awesome person we’ve envisioned for our life. As the year is coming to an end, may we live everyday  appreciating the person we are right at this moment.

So guys, what are your plans for this month?

Have a blessed month! ✨☀️

 

Copyright © AshAlves 2018, All Rights Reserved

Free Printable Worksheets

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Hey guys,

I have made 5 printable worksheets. Download your own FREE printable PDF worksheets here. You can print the pages in their original A4 format. LINK- Ashs Worksheet Printouts

This document consists of 5 worksheets:

  1. Short term goals- listing your goal and 5 mini goals to aim towards it
  2. Gratitude- Listing things you’re grateful for.
  3. “I keep my cup full”- Affirmation task
  4. Non-judgemental space- Debunking limiting beliefs that stop you from your own growth
  5. “Trash Thoughts”- Debunking negative thoughts

Worksheets are an amazing tool for self-reflection and exploration. Follow the notes on each page and work through the sheets. This task is helpful for understanding self-defeatist thoughts and replacing negative narratives we tell ourselves with positive ones. If you are working on a project, a business, finances or personal growth there’s an exercise called ‘short term goals’ that is recommended to be used to track your progress, motivate you and set attainable targets. 

 

I Hope they’re helpful 😊✨

 

Copyright © AshAlves 2018, All Rights Reserved

How to overcome feelings of Jealousy: Tips & Practical Steps

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Have you ever seen images or heard of someone’s success and instantly felt a wave of jealously overwhelm you? Has this made you feel inadequate and made you doubt your own accomplishments? Well you’re not alone. We all have our own demons and i’ve tussled with this one.

I’ve battled with jealous thoughts for years. I didn’t know how to reach out and talk about it to anyone because I found it quite embarrassing. No one want’s to be perceived as a “hater” so I suffered in silence. Over the years my jealous thoughts became self-destructive and severely affected my self-esteem. It evaded and destroyed all aspects of my life. I didn’t want to pursue my career goals because I felt like others were smarter,  more experienced and had better connections than me. Seeing other people pursue the career goals I was struggling to achieve made me insecure about my own capabilities. Being on social media sites, especially Instagram, made me more self-conscious about my body. I never really suffered from body insecurities growing up- I fell into societies perception of desirable ‘slim bodies’. Then slim-thick hourglass shapes became the new trend and now every image of this body made made me despise my own.

It affected my friendships. My jealousy inhibited me from being a supportive friend to others. If someone came to me with good news, i’d express how happy I was for them. However deep down inside my intentions did not match my words- I felt jealous and their success reminded me of the things I wanted in my life.  I think this was the most painful part of experiencing jealously. I couldn’t truly celebrate my friends as I was so blinded by my own insecurities.

I had a realisation one night after torturing myself with negative self-talk that if I continue to feel low about myself because of what others are doing, I would eventually destroy myself. Apart of me knew I couldn’t let it get that far. I wanted to unconditionally love myself and genuinely be happy for other people’s achievements.

I began my journey of understanding my jealously and getting to the root causes of it. I realised that the things that I envied in others had a direct correlation to my own personal insecurities. To defeat jealously I had to get to the root causes of the things that inhibited me from accepting and loving myself. This year I must say i’ve made significant strides with addressing this issue and it was only possible by doing a few things to help along the way.

If you’re currently battling with jealously here’s 4 practical techniques that might help you:

1.Writing- When you start to feel jealous, write down your feelings. You need to write unfiltered and get it all off your chest. Don’t judge yourself whilst you write. Once you’ve written your thoughts down, go through what you’ve written and begin to fact check everything. Ask yourself, how much of this is true? Am I being too harsh on myself or the other person? Begin to deconstruct what you’ve written and you’ll begin to unravel the reasons you feel jealous and might begin to realise that you have nothing to feel jealous about. I’ve written an example of how to do this below in ‘debunking your jealous thoughts’.

2. Affirmations- Affirmations are a great way to reprogram your mind to focus on positive and affirming thoughts about yourself. Part of the reason why we feel jealous is due to our own insecurities, so by reciting words that make us feel good about ourselves we begin to undermine our negative self-talk. I’ve listed a few affirmations below for you to use but I recommend finding ones that uplight and empower you.

3. Mindfulness- Go into a quite space and take 10-15minutes doing mindful meditation or breathing exercises. I find that when i’m overwhelmed by jealous thoughts, meditating allows me to think rationally and find peace with the present moment. There’s apps you can use such as Headspace if you aren’t used to meditating and need some guidance.

4. Stay in action- If you are envious that someone has achieved something that you want, work towards attaining that goal. For example, if you have a fitness goal or want to pursue a creative venture, work on getting better at your craft on a daily basis. If you focus your energy on being your own best version then you start to feel more satisfied with your own life.

Debunking your jealous thoughts:

1. You’re making the assumption that someone’s life is better than yours because of the ‘perfect’ images they display of themselves. You don’t know the struggle’s they’re going through or are currently experiencing. People aren’t going to post the ‘bad’ parts of their life. Begin accepting the fact that social media sites like Instagram are just filtered, distorted versions of reality. It only does disservice to yourself and that person when you compare your life to a filtered snippet of their life.

2. Their success does not undermine yours. You are jealous of someone making huge milestones (successful creative venture, popularity, career, physical glow up) and it’s making you feel like you’ve barely accomplished anything. Does that mean you’ve barely accomplished anything or that you’ve got plenty of things that you are yet to achieve? Don’t let other people’s timelines of ‘when’ you should reach a certain level of success deter you from achieving your goals. You might not be there yet but you certainly will be soon. The position you are in now is part of your journey and you should embrace it. All in good timing! Remember you belong in the realm of success just by virtue of being who you are. There’s room for all of us to win.

3. “They’re more desirable than me”- by who’s standard? You’re being harsh on yourself based on a standard that was not created to benefit you. You have to begin to create your own standard of what your best version looks like and live everyday being that person. No one can be better than you because you’re uniquely made.

Affirmations to use when feeling jealous:

1. Other people’s success does not diminish my own

2. I have all the capabilities within me to achieve greatness

3. I trust my own journey

4. I am uniquely made

5. I will focus my energy on abundance and being the best that I can be.

6. By virtue of being myself I am enough

7. I am beautiful, I am strong, I am powerful, I am talented

8. I congratulate other people’s success and use their journey as inspiration to develop my own.

 

Thank you for reading!

Have you ever experienced jealousy before? OR been the victim of a jealous person?

Let me know your thoughts 🙂

Love Ash x 

 

Copyright © AshAlves 2018, All Rights Reserved

October 1st: The Gratitude Journal

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It’s October guys! I hope that everyone has a blissful month 🌻. The theme of this month is all about transition. Embracing change and making room for something greater. As the leaves fall on the ground and birth new ones, may this season remind us of the importance of letting go and allowing change to make the necessary shifts in our lives.

Octobers Affirmation:

You might not understand the chain of events or the transition you’re currently undergoing in your life right now. You might be wary of whether things will work out in your best interest. Note to self; not understanding your current circumstances is completely normal! Although things might not be clear to you at the moment, you will eventually understand why it was necessary to go through. Transition creates space for something greater. Uncomfortable change makes room for a necessary transformation in your life. Personal growth arrives when you embrace change and allow it to make you greater.

“I will take on this transitional phrase with ease. I may not make sense of it now but I will come to understand it in time.”

Question for you:

What changes are you currently undergoing?

What changes do you need to make room for?

Love Ash xx

 

Copyright © AshAlves 2018, All Rights Reserved

Downplaying Compliments and Low Self-Esteem: A confessional

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Do you ever receive a compliment and instantly deflect the conversation away from yourself? I can relate. To give myself credit, this past year I have made a conscious effort to accept nice things said about me. However, I still catch myself feeling uncomfortable or deflecting from compliments especially when I receive them in real life.

Just a little background into why I am talking about this topic. I was out one night with a few friends and one of my friends complimented my hair. I began to downplay it and ended up rabbling on about how I purchased the hair. She replied back to me and said: “take the compliment and go”. I was shocked at her abrasiveness but I’m happy that she said it as her words led me to certain revelations that I had not yet realised.

The resistance I feel towards praise stems from many years of low self-esteem. The truth is for a long time I never felt like I was enough and would always find fault in my achievements. When I receive a compliment it’s unfamiliar language to me because I’ve become accustomed to believing my negative self-talk. When I get told nice things I automatically want to respond by saying “are you sure you’re talking about me”. I know that sounds negative but this was my thought process.

Another reason why I don’t respond to praise well is that I hardly celebrate myself. Rarely do I say ‘well done’ or reward me for my accomplishments. For example, I didn’t go to my graduation despite doing very well and being the first in my immediate family to go to university. I didn’t even acknowledge the fact that finally got a new job, one which brings me more joy. Not once did I organize a meal or self-care days to really celebrate my accomplishments.

Another revelation I had was that I’ve somehow conflated self-praise with bragging. I steered away from publicly sharing my accomplishments because I didn’t want to be perceived as showing off. There’s definitely merit in celebrating privately and knowing that we don’t need to be validated externally to feel proud of ourselves. But I think that I was being unnecessarily unkind to myself by downplaying and hiding my achievements from the world. I’m starting to realize that you can be a humble person whilst receiving praise and celebrating yourself openly.

I’m trying each day to tell myself I deserve happiness. I deserve to be complimented. I deserve to receive and believe nice things about me. Irrespective of what I’ve done in the past, right here and now I deserve to be celebrated. Breaking this learned behaviour which I’ve become accustomed to is proving to be harder than I anticipated. However each day I commit to being more aware of my response to compliments and to consciously celebrate my accomplishments, right down to the smallest things.

A Question for you:

How well do you take compliments?

If anyone can relate let me know your thoughts x

Gratitude list: Sept 2018

1. My ability to bounce back from adversity

2. For discovering writing as a form of therapy and healing

3. Waking up and seeing the sunrise

4. My travel experiences and being able to experience the richness of the black diaspora

5. Growing up on India. Arie’s music

6. Having friends who support and inspire me

7. For discovering Toni Morrison,my favourite author

8. Recently being exposed to the Tarot card world

9. For trees that give me oxygen

10. All the spiritual teachers in my life- my partner, my friends, strangers, the ancestors & people who battle with adversity on a daily basis but are brave enough to live within a love ethic.

 

HEY guys! At the beginning of each month I will upload a post on expressing gratitude. It’ll either be a written post, a video, link etc. I think it’s necessary that I utilise this space not only for self-analysis but somewhere to celebrate and appreciate the beauty and wonders of life.

 

Copyright © AshAlves 2018, All Rights Reserved