Recommit.

Every now and then, life will throw us a curve ball.  When we go through hard times, it’s easy to forget that we have the tools within us to make ourselves feel better. When life is good, self-care practises feel easier to follow out of pure enjoyment. However, when we are feeling low we can become complacent with feeling stuck in our pain.

Just because you fall short at times doesn’t take away from the progress you have made in your life. Self-love isn’t a linear progress. It’s a journey which has multiple bumps in the road. Don’t beat yourself up when you fall short and find yourself reverting back to an unhealthy place. Instead, make a detour back to practicing constructive things that will make you feel better.

Recently I’ve been going through a rough couple of weeks due to personal issues and I found myself completely neglecting my personal needs. The things I’d usually do like meditate, exercise and pray were being supplemented by unhealthy practices i.e brain numbing tv shows. Instead of beating myself up about it, I decided to get back on track and try again.

There’s still enough time for you to recommit to your own growth. We may fall off sometimes, but we must not be discouraged. Don’t be afraid to give yourself a 1000x second chances.

A Gentle Reminder:

Don’t forget that you’ve got the resources within you to help your healing.

Self-care is how we take our power back.

Sometimes there will be bumps in the road that will throw you off course. What matters most is whether we choose to get back up.

Question to you

How are you doing today?

Love, Ash xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Cope with a Friendship Breakup

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Have you ever drifted apart from a friend? They say some friends are for seasons but there are certain friendships that we thought would last forever. When I was younger, I used to visualize me and my friends raising our kids together, exploring the world and seeing each other reach the height of our success but life had its own plans.

Ending a friendship is extremely heartbreaking especially if they were a close friend. Unfortunately some relationships take a turn for the worst overtime. When it becomes unbearable to be around them or if their presence/ energy brings you down, it may be a sign to walk away. Friendships should make you feel loved, valued and respected. A great friend genuinely cares about your well-being and won’t be the cause of your stress. It’s normal to go through rough patches with our friends but if the common theme is more negative than positive then it’s an indication that something is wrong with the foundation of the friendship.

In saying that, just because your friendship has taken a turn for the worst doesn’t mean that it’ll always be that way. There’s still an opportunity to rebuild and resurrect old friendships. As we enter different seasons in our life, inevitably our friendships won’t always align with who we are at that present moment.

To make room for new relationships in our lives, we need to let go of what’s no longer serving us. I don’t believe in cutting people off because we all make mistakes and have the capacity to change our ways. If you decide to part ways and if the circumstances allow you to, it’s best to have a conversation about it so you both can engage in a constructive dialogue. Irrespective of how the friendship ended, you can’t undermine the value that person had in your life. Use the experience to draw on the positives and celebrate the contributions they made to help you become the person you are today.

From my personal experiences, I have conducted a list of tips to help people deal with friendship breakups.

How to cope with a friendship breakup:

  1. Give yourself space to mourn- Give yourself the time to mourn the loss of the friendship just like you would an intimate relationship. It’s okay to cry or feel bitter feelings towards the way things transpired. You should let it all out than to build resentment towards them.
  2. Confide in someone- Speak to someone you can confide in about how you feel. Maybe another friend can give you insight into what went wrong in the friendship and how to gain closure from the situation.
  3. Make new friends- Go to a social event, reach out to someone new and make friends. Losing a friend especially a close one can make us feel lonely and isolated. Give yourself permission to get to know new people because they can add value to your life. Making new friends isn’t always easy but if you start opening yourself up to others, you will naturally attract your community.
  4. Accountability- Take accountability for ways you participated in the breakup of the friendship. This is a great way for you to figure out what lessons you need to take from the experience so that they are not repeated in your other friendships. Maybe there’s things you need to be honest with yourself about in order to become a better comrade to others.
  5. Gratitude- Express gratitude for the lessons and experiences you gained from your friendship. Write down all the ways the friendship added value to your life. Showing gratitude allows you to see the breakup of the friendship as a blessing.

Quotes for reflection:

“Release and detach from every person, every circumstance, every condition, and every situation that no longer serves a divine purpose in your life. All things have a season, and all seasons must come to an end. Choose a new season, filled with purposeful thoughts and activities.”- Iyanla Vanzant

“I am thankful for the lessons you have taught me. Thank you for contributing to the person I am today and for ushering me into this new season in my life.” – Ash Alves

“Some may have one single purpose in our lives and then move along after they fulfilled whatever that purpose was; they came for a reason and a season.”- Unknown

“Some friends may be a solitary season. Their presence was important at the moment, but seasons change and people change. We come to realize that even though the friendship may have been good, it was fleeting and it ended for a reason.” – Unknown

Quotes to you:

Have you experienced a friendship breakup?

How would you deal with conflict within your friendship/s?

I’d love to hear what you think!

Love Ash, xx

Impromptu Post: My Terrible Day!

I spent this morning deep in prayer. I prayed for my negative thoughts to be replaced with positive ones. I asked my higher power for confidence and more self-belief. I topped off my grounding ritual by writing a gratitude list, burning sage and listening to Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday.

An hour later, my phone was stolen whilst I was outside. I felt so good after my morning spiritual practice but shortly fell into feeling extremely saddened by the fact I was phone-less. All I could of think is “I have such bad luck” and “My photos are gone”. The worst thing is I had to go to work shortly afterwards, leaving me no alone time to grieve the loss of my phone ha!

After I calmed down, I started to reflect on my day and something came to me. I prayed for my negative thoughts to be replaced with positive ones, NOT for my challenges to be removed from my life. I began interpreting losing my phone as a test to see whether I was going to succumb to the “woe is me” mentality or commit to overcoming this challenges.

“No one said life was going to be easy. You can start your day off on a perfect note but an obstacle may come in your way to knock you off course. The test isn’t about how well you perform without adversity but whether you choose to stand tall in the face of it.” – Ash

If your phone was stolen like mine (doubt it lol) or you are currently going through some adversity, I want you to remember this: No one guaranteed the road would be easy! What matters is what we do in the face of adversity.

Anyhoo, enough about my day!

Question to you:

How are you doing?

Much love, Ash xx

 

Copyright © 2019 AshAlves All Rights Reserved

 

FEAR OF MISSING OUT: SOCIAL MEDIA WOES

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Have you ever been on social media and saw people having the time of their lives and felt like you were missing out? The fear of missing out aka (FOMO), often derives from feeling like others are experiencing better things than you are. It has become more prevalent in the age of social media where you are constantly paraded with the highlights of other people’s lives.

Social media exacerbates this feeling of missing out. It leads people to compare their ordinary lives to others online who they perceive to be leading more abundant, fulfilling lives. Sites like Instagram and Facebook place emphasis on the reel highlights of someone’s life. People use it as a tool to brag about all the amazing things they are doing, intentionally leaving out all the very normal things that most people experience. This creates space for people to feel envious and dissatisfied with their own life’s.

You suffer from FOMO if you do or feel any of the following:

 

  • Feeling like everyone is having more fun, and experiencing more joy than you
  • Overcompensating by posting content to make you feel better about your life and to convince others that you have it all together
  • Constantly watching what other people are doing and keeping tabs to feel like we are a part of the action
  • Feeling pressured to be visible on social media
  • Feeling like no one can relate their struggles

This fear of missing out can harm people’s self-esteem. It can make us feel like we are not good enough and unfortunate in comparison. The constant wave of picturesque pictures and celebratory statuses can make us ungrateful for the life that we lead.

I think in some way many of us fear missing out. If you are a content creator, the pressure to be constantly visible and produce content can keep us in a constant hamster wheel. I know I’ve felt like I can’t take a social media break or that I must engage in certain conversations in fear of missing my window of opportunity to promote my brand. As humans, we have a desire to be valued and loved. Experiencing joy is fundamental for self-preservation and being a part of something makes us feel less lonely. However, the feeling of missing out leads us to seek validation in unhealthy ways by constantly ‘performing’ online. It brings us back to the very school-like dynamics of feeling left out and trying to fit in.

The reality is even if you were able to acquire the things you envy from others (i.e. a relationship, a great social life or material success), it doesn’t guarantee that your life will be more fulfilled. You may end up in a loving relationship but may not be enough because you lack self confidence. Also, things aren’t always what it seems online. There have been times when I posted myself going out but wasn’t feeling that great about myself. You can’t make assumptions based on what you see online.

If you are suffering from FOMO I want you to remember this: 

People are online showing their reel highlights. We all have them. Comparing ourselves to other people’s highlights is unfair and unkind. You never know what others are going through. All that matters are that your life is in alignment with what you envision for it.

Remember, you get to live life on your terms. Your life is incomparable to others and you slay in your own lane. Nothing can fill a void that’s within you other than you. Find peace and joy within your own life and make a declaration that other people’s lives will not disrupt that peace.

Now over to you! Questions for you: 

Do you suffer from FOMO?

What are your thoughts?

Much love, Ash xx

 

Copyright © 2019 AshAlves All Rights Reserved

The Gratitude Journal: August 19’

Happy August,

For this month’s gratitude topic, I want to talk about uncertainty!

When we are uncertain about a decision we need to make, it can make us feel stuck and unsettled. The fear of missing out or potentially making the wrong decision can be very daunting. We all feel uncertain at times and somehow we always figure it out. If you are currently feeling stuck, just remember that it will not last forever.

Perhaps we need to feel uncertain at times to get us to pause and really think. When we are sure about where we are heading, we are less inclined to take time out to observe all areas of our lives. Uncertainty allows us to take a birds eye view at our life and begs us to ask the questions; What area in my life do I need to pour more energy into?, Am I happy?, What needs shifting?

Uncertainty doesn’t last forever so take advantage of the need to pause in order to re-evaluate your life. Consider it as an opportunity to prioritize self care and put joy at the centre of your life. Don’t feel compelled to make an instant decision if you have the privilege of stalling it until you’re more certain. Life isn’t about getting to a destination “fast” but it’s about enjoying the ride. Maybe you’re uncertain because you need to show more gratitude for where you currently are in order to invite in something new and abundant into your life.

So whilst you’re feeling stuck, frustrated and uncertain, remind yourself that it won’t last forever and allow your intuition to guide you into making the best decision for you. Don’t be so attached to the outcome. And remember that you can always make another decision.

What are you focusing on this Month?

Have a great one!

Love Ash, xx

 

Copyright © 2019 AshAlves All Rights Reserved

Legal Action against your Abuser UK

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Hi all,

I created a document for Domestic Violence victims with information about how to get a Non-Molestation Order against your abuser. I have a couple of years experience within the Law Sector and have utilised the knowledge I have gained. This is applicable for those under UK law.

PDF document can be found here:

LEGAL ACTION AGAINST YOUR ABUSER UK

 

There are a list of charities that you can contact for additional support and guidance. Here’s a few charities that you can contact:

https://www.refuge.org.uk/

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/family/gender-violence/domestic-violence-and-abuse-organisations-which-give-information-and-advice/

https://www.victimsupport.org.uk/crime-info/types-crime/domestic-abuse

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/abuse/domestic-violence/#.Wscw-qKdCvU

http://www.reducingtherisk.org.uk/cms/content/support-services-and-agencies-victimssurvivors (additional directory) 

https://www.buttleuk.org/ (for children affected by domestic violence) 

http://www.niaendingviolence.org.uk/

www.havenrefuge.org.uk

 

LGBTQIA Charities 

http://www.galop.org.uk/domesticabuse/

https://lgbt.foundation/

http://www.stonewallhousing.org/

 

Black women and Women of Colour

http://www.bawso.org.uk/our-services/women/

https://southallblacksisters.org.uk/

 

Refugees/Asylum Seekers

www.niaproject.info

www.havenrefuge.org.uk

www.refuge.org.uk

 

Copyright © AshAlves 2019, All Rights Reserved

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 ❤

 

Copyright © AshAlves 2019, All Rights Reserved

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 

 

Copyright © AshAlves 2019, All Rights Reserved

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 appreciation for the little things in life.

2. Stop yourself when you start comparing yourself- 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 your 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 will provide you with 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