Comparing Yourself to Others: Tips to Help and Affirmations

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Have you ever looked at someone’s social media account and found yourself comparing your life to theirs?  Suddenly your weaknesses are amplified and what you have is not good enough. Or maybe you have that one friend who seems to have it all together and reminds you of all the things you lack in your life.

Yes, I’ve been there! Plenty of times actually. Unfortunately, it’s something that many people experience and social media has made it even harder to escape this need to compare ourselves. We usually feel comparison the most when we perceive someone else as having something we want. For example: wanting a particular career and constantly seeing Tweets from people celebrating their achievements in that field. This can trigger us into feeling inadequate and lead us to wonder if it’s even going to happen for us.

Reasons why we compare ourselves:

  • Unsatisfied with your life
  • You feel like you’re working hard but not getting the results
  • Pressure from society; market capitalism telling us that everything that we lack in life can be remedied by buying products thus causing us to feel like we are always in a deficit
  • Lack of trust in your ability to receive those things someone else has
  • Your definition of success and happiness is based on other people’s perceptions

Sound familiar?

Here’s why you should stop comparing yourself:

Unfairly fleshing out your weaknesses and judging yourself based on someone else’s strengths is unkind and unfair. What you are failing to do in those moments is appreciate the blessings that are currently in your life.  Just because someone has what you want right now doesn’t mean it won’t happen for you eventually. Trust that things will fall into place when the time is right for you. Just do your best and continue to have faith that things will work out eventually. 

You might be comparing yourself to someone else’s middle. We are all at different stages of our journey called life. You never know the hurdles and sacrifices that person went through to get to where they are now. The majority of the time there’s a whole struggle behind what we see.  Even if you think or know that things came easy to a person and it feels like you are constantly struggling to obtain what they have, it’s a waste of time comparing yourself to them. Unfortunately for most of us, things don’t come easy and we have to go through plenty of obstacles to get to where we want to be in life. Don’t make those small examples (even though social media has a way of making them look like the majority) distort your reality. Don’t lose your ability to appreciate where you are now by solely focusing on the next destination.

Practical steps to help you stop comparing yourself:

1. Take social media breaks- I can’t emphasize this enough. Social media is a distorted version of reality with people trying to outdo the other. 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 nurture. Taking breaks allows you to gain an appreciation for the little things in life.

2. Stop yourself when you have negative thoughts- When you find yourself sinking into comparing yourself, say to yourself ‘stop’. grab a pen and paper or even your notes on your phone and answer these questions: 1. What happened to make you feel this way? 2. How do you feel? 3. What can I do to make myself feel better about this? If you do this every time, you will train yourself to deal with those feelings much better when they arise or even let them go completely.

3. Tune out the noise and focus on you- You need to be so focused on what you need to do and appreciate each step of the way that there’s absolutely no room for comparison to derail you. Imagine yourself in a bubble doing whatever makes you happy and pursuing your inner passion- focus on doing that or at least working towards it. Say no to any thoughts or people that ruin that peace.

4. Affirmations- Find affirmations that make you feel better about the insecurities you have about yourself and keep repeating them on a daily basis until you start to feel their positive effect. Affirmations are an excellent way to put things into perspective and give us that reassurance that things will work out fine.

Affirmations:

“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anyone” – Maya Angelou

“Don’t compare your life to others. There’s no comparison between the sun and the moon. They shine within their own time” – Unknown

“Admire her beauty without questioning your own” – Ashley Welborne

“Compare yourself to the person you were yesterday”- Unknown

“Comparison is and will always be the thief of all joy.”  Lisa Nichols

 

Questions to You:

Have you ever compared yourself to others?

 

Thanks for reading Love Ash, xx

 

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Lack of Self-Belief: Personal Confessional and Tips to Help

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Is your lack of self-belief holding you back? You might want to create a wonderful life for yourself but a part of you feels like you are not good enough to achieve it. As 2018 is coming to an end I think it’s the perfect time to talk about something that can really have an impact on the upcoming year.

Low self-belief comes from an overarching message that you aren’t good enough. Suffering from low self-belief takes different forms in a person’s life. For example; avoiding pursuing your dreams because you don’t believe you can pull it off or feel uncomfortable to talk about yourself at social events. For some of us, self-belief doesn’t come naturally and is one of our biggest obstacles coming in the way of manifesting the life we want.

A lack of self-belief does not come in a vacuum. Many of us who suffer or have suffered from low self-esteem can trace the root causes back to our childhood or a negative experience that has affected the way we see ourselves. This is definitely true from my experience. I can trace this back to my school experiences. I always I tried hard in school but I would never get the grades to reflect my efforts. I didn’t have the experience of teachers who believed in me- in fact, they would usually undermine my capabilities by giving me low targets to meet. I believed I had the potential to do really well but my efforts were never acknowledged nor rewarded. When you’re the only one in your corner fighting to be better, it can be isolating and debilitating to one’s self-esteem especially when you put effort behind what you want to do. This experience ultimately created a sense of doubt in my ability to pursue my dreams.

At the end of 2017 I decided to embark on a journey of self-discovery which became the catalyst for working on my self-belief. I wanted to be self-confident and have believe in my potential to pursue my passion. I began searching for information that would help me and I remember coming across a video. She said something so simple yet it shifted my way of thinking: “ No Matter What”. For me those words mean having unwavering faith in my potential and capabilities no matter what obstacles I faced.  No matter what means believing in myself when others don’t recognize my potential. Those words mean that negative experiences are simply adding character to my journey and not evidence against my capabilities.

I wrote down a few declarations at the beginning of 2018 to help me on my journey towards truly believing in myself and they’re working extremely well. If you’re currently going through this battle, they should help you too.

Here are three declarations to make to yourself:

  1. No matter what- No matter what you go through you have to believe that you will make it through anything and be victorious. You have to make a declaration that nothing is going to take you out of this thing called life, despite how painful and hard it can be at times. Even if it takes you a long time to achieve your goals, you will not give up on yourself and will continue to take steps towards manifesting your dreams. The failures that you experience are lessons and teach you important life lessons that will ultimately lead to your success.
  2. If others can do it, so can I- There’s so much information available now that you can create a life for yourself unimaginable before. There are people out there who have experienced similar obstacles as you but have still been able to live their dreams. Even if you’re still figuring out how (I’m in the same boat), just know that we all start somewhere and sometimes you’ve just got to do it anyways and figure it out along the way. You possess all the qualities within you to live your version of success and happiness. There’s room for all of us to win, and a spot has been made for you to fill, if you put in the consistency and patience required.
  3. I am deserving of a great life- You deserve to wake up every morning and feel grateful for the things you have in your life. You deserve to live the life you’ve always envisioned for yourself. This is your world! Look at all the obstacles you’ve had to overcome to get to this point. You’re not on this earth to suffer but to live your best life.

And finally…

Having self-belief certainly does not come overnight. It’s still something that I struggle with and just like any other part of self-development, it’s a process which takes time. If you’re struggling with this, I want you to know that it’s not too late to start now. Even if you don’t fully believe in yourself, try living like you already have self-believe and trust me your life will change. Why not try a new feeling outside of doubt, worry and lack of self-confidence?

10 Affirmations: 

  • I am my biggest supporter
  • No matter what happens in life I can handle it
  • Nothing is going to take me out of this race called life
  • I refused to believe I am on this earth to suffer
  • I am not going to stop until I live my purpose
  • My faith in self is too big for anything to stop me!
  • In times of uncertainty, I will allow my inner child to guide me into following my dreams
  • I am proud of all of my accomplishments, even when they’re small
  • No matter how it takes me, I will manifest the life that I want
  • I will move towards my dreams, even if it’s a crawl on some days

Have you suffered or are currently suffering from a lack of self-belief? What are your experiences?

What is your personal development goal for 2019?

Love Ash, xx

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

Loneliness

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Loneliness has been the darkness in my life that always finds its way to haunt me. When I begin to feel like I’ve finally overcome it, I find myself feeling isolated and lonely all over again.

The truth is I’ve always enjoyed my own company. However for the past few years I spent long periods of time in isolation due to experiencing low-moods which has resulted in me frequently battling with loneliness and feeling detached from others. I’ve always struggled with feeling like I have no one who understands me nor I can connect to on an emotional level.  Loneliness is such a horrible feeling.  It feels like you’re invisible and no one cares enough to help.

I’ve come to realize that my battles with loneliness are partly rooted in certain childhood and adolescent experiences. This is an area of my life that I’m only now beginning to explore and I look forward to the possibility of gaining a better understanding of how these issues have affected me. Another root cause I’ve identified comes from my current reality. I work 9-5, with friends all over the country and I don’t get an opportunity to see people often. Somedays I just crave going out for Friday drinks or having intimate conversations with my friends in person but this rarely happens these days as everyone is so busy. When experiencing loneliness what has helped me is using a few coping mechanisms to go through the motions a little bit easier.

Here’s a list of (tried) practical things to do when feeling lonely:

1.  Show gratitude- This is probably the thing you want to do the least when you’re feeling lonely but focusing on being thankful for the things you have in your life puts things into perspective. Instead of focusing on what you lack, showing your appreciation for the mundane things like waking up in the morning, hearing a song you like, will help re-shift your energy so that you feel more positive.  Try writing down 10 things you’re grateful for or say it through prayer/meditation. You will begin to realize that your current feelings are just another hurdle you will eventually overcome.

2. Contact someone you love- Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone and express how you feel. If they have time, ask to meet with them or send them a message. Having that human interaction helps a lot.  You’ll be surprised to learn that there’s people out there who feel the same way as you so you reaching out could also be helping them!

3. Get out the house- Avoid spending too much time in isolation because it’s not good for your mental wellbeing. Your environment can consume that energy, so if you’re constantly inside feeling lonely and sorry for yourself then your environment will start to feel negative. This will make it harder to deal with your emotions in a productive way.  Walk down the road, take yourself out to the museum or go out to eat. Do something outside of the house so you can clear your mind. And don’t be afraid to do this all by yourself.

4. Write down your feelings- You don’t have to be a writer. Just write down how you feel unfiltered. Don’t judge yourself whilst you write. It’s your opportunity to express yourself. Writing your feelings down can really help put things into perspective. It’s an opportunity to dig deeper at the root causes of why you’re feel lonely and to identify areas that need healing in your life.

5. Declare the day as “me day”- If you don’t have anyone to reach out to in that present moment, rather than wallowing in self-pity, get up and declare it as a day dedicated to you alone. This is where the power of perspective comes in. Spend the day pampering yourself and doing what you love (vibing to music, drawing etc). Maybe those days you feel lonely is a sign to fall deeply in love with your own company. So spend it getting to know yourself at a little bit better. Be your own best friends for those lonely days (this might sound silly but i’d literally envision myself spending time with my clone). This will help you cope better when it comes to those days you’re feeling hella lonely.

Do you ever feel lonely? What are your coping mechanisms, if you have any at all?

Gentrification in Birmingham, UK

Copy of Copy of The ugly truth about self loveOver the last few years, my city has continued to undergo some drastic changes. From luxury apartments, food stores, John Lewis, and a tram system, Birmingham’s city centre is barely recognizable! Having the option to buy vegan hotdogs, or picking up a juice from Jo the Juice bar certainly beats the days of just Nando’s and McDonald’s.

In 2013 they opened up the biggest library in Europe in my city. They are currently in the process of building HSBC’s main headquarters in Birmingham at the end of 2018. The HS2 high speed trains project is predicted to make Birmingham a popular destination to live for professionals over the next few years.

But what people are not talking about is the process of gentrification emerging in Birmingham as a result of these changes. In Ladywood, an area in close proximity to the city centre, housing prices have risen by a whopping 17% in 2017. This is the same area that was ranked as the worst area for child poverty in 2016, according to End Child Poverty Campaign. The irony of this ‘development’ is that many working class, poor communities are forgotten about in the process.

Luxury apartments and hotels are being built everywhere whilst many people struggle to pay their rent. Homelessness is on the rise, as evident simply by walking around the city centre. The amount of people facing the threat of eviction or drowning in rent arrears is a common occurrence. Toppled with a highly competitive job market, cuts to universal credit and low wages,  survival for low-income families is getting harder by the day.

I recently came across a white-owned hipster ‘games shop’ on monument road, a corner that is known for prostitution and drug addicts.  Even though the area is very diverse, I have never seen a local from the community inside the shop- mostly white students and professionals. They stand out like a sore thumb, making no effort to attract or engage with the locals. This is a common example of white gentrifiers exploiting rent prices in poor, working class areas whilst making locals feel like outsiders in their communities. Urban regeneration in Birmingham is starting to mimic the early stages of gentrification that took place in areas like Brixton or Hackney in London.

For the purpose of being nuanced, there are many people who have moved to Birmingham due to the extortionate housing prices in other parts of the country, particularly London. People who have been victims of gentrification themselves have been forced to move to places like Birmingham not out of choice, but as a matter of survival. Essentially this problem is rooted in the class inequalities and government austerity measures that discriminates against the poor.

Whilst I can empathize with those people who have been forced to move for that reason, I cannot support luxury apartments being built within communities that are experiencing high child poverty, lack of job opportunities and high rent prices.

To conclude, it’s time to start looking closely at how this is going to develop in Birmingham and what impact it is going to have on low-income communities over the next few years. Change is a good thing but only when it’s not at the expense of the poor!

 

 

References-

https://www.birminghampost.co.uk/business/business-news/gentrification-could-spell-death-jewellery-

11673037https://www.theguardian.com/money/2017/nov/28/birmingham-area-named-poorest-in-uk-fastest-house-price-rises-

ladywoodhttp://www.endchildpoverty.org.uk/poverty-in-your-area-2016/

https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/info/50028/transport_information/502/high_speed_2_hs2/3

© 2018 Ashanty Alves All Rights Reserved

A reminder: You are not defined by your mistakes

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You can’t keep holding yourself hostage to your previous wrongdoings. They do not define you but add character to your life’s story. You owe it to yourself to let go and forgive. You can’t beat yourself down about something you know better about now. That version of you no longer exists anymore.

Whilst you have to take responsibility over your previous actions, the only thing you can do is strive to a better version of yourself in the present moment and learn from your mistakes.  Beating yourself up about them will only steal your joy and take up energy that could be used for personal development. Don’t allow guilt to stagnate you or fool you into making the same bad choices over and over again.

Remind yourself that you have full control over your present actions. Use your past mistakes to motivate you to do and be better. Mistakes usually set us up for something more profound if we use them in a constructive way. Maybe one day you can use your experiences to inspire and help others. So let’s be more compassionate and kinder to ourselves mmm kay!

© 2018 Ashanty Alves All Rights Reserved