Toxic Friends

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The company we keep plays an important role in our lives. A good friendship should consistent of these overarching characteristics; supportive, considerate, trustworthy, generous, honest and understanding. Great friends growth together. They should make you feel good inside. They share moments of joy and are great support systems.

But what about if your friend/s are toxic? Unfortunately many of us have experienced a toxic friendship. If you have never experienced a toxic friend then you’re extremely lucky or…delusional lol! When a certain friendship becomes detrimental to your well-being and puts you in a negative space, you have to consider whether the friendship is worth maintaining or not. This is not an easy process especially when you extremely care for that person and once had close friendship.

This is something I’ve personally experienced. I found myself feeling like certain friendships became more like a chore. I never felt like they supported my endeavours and that they would project their insecurities onto me. Friends should never make you feel like you’re not good enough or that your feelings do not matter. I often felt compelled to maintain our friendship because they have previously shown me care and had them for a significant period of time. But when I started to attract people in my life that were loving, considerate and caring, I realised how dysfunctional a few of my  friendships were and decided that I had to make changes in order to preserve my well-being.

However, saying all of this I have also been a toxic friend! As painful as it is to admit it, I am guilty for the very things I’ve experienced. We don’t like to admit when we are the problem however in order for us to grow we have to hold ourselves accountable and live in our truth. I have been that jealous, un-supportive, bitchy, negative friend. The reasons why I was so toxic was because I was unsatisfied with the person I was inside. The way I treated others was mostly a reflection of how I felt about myself.  When you are a toxic person, it’s common to believe that you’re a great friend who does little wrong. It’s very important that we sit with ourselves and analyse how we interact within our friendships. Admitting that you’ve made mistakes is the first step for transforming yourself and becoming a better person and friend to those around you.

I’ve stood on both sides of the fence- being the toxic friend and having toxic friends. Because of this I feel like I can offer some humbling advice.

Your friend is Toxic:

Signs that they’re toxic: don’t support your endeavours, gaslight you, picks on your personality, thrives off of your insecurities, projects insecurities onto you, lack empathy, untrustworthy, gossipy, self-centred, stubborn, rude to you, doesn’t admit when they’re wrong.

Words of advice:

  • You deserve to have friends who genuinely supports and shows you love (not just says it). You are not obligated to settle for less than you deserve within your friendship. You shouldn’t accept abusive behaviour under the guise of ‘love’. Ultimately you get to choose the company you keep. You have agency over your life and get to either create a circle of friends who are helping or hindering your growth.

 

  • If being around them makes you feel negative then you need to seriously consider distancing yourself or removing them from your life. Growth takes some people time and your friend probably isn’t a bad person. In fact you’ve probably shared plenty of great moments together in the past. Experiencing good times with someone or knowing someone for a significant period does not give them an excuse to treat you badly. Your needs and desires come first and you should be selfish in preserving that. There’s people out there who will be loving, supportive and trustworthy, so you are not obligated to settle for those who don’t.

You are the toxic friend:

Signs that you’re toxic: you put your insecurities onto them, you’re not supportive, you gossip about them, you’re possessive, you’re unforgiving, you don’t admit when you’re wrong, you copy them, you don’t ask them how they are, you undermine their goals.

Words of advice:

  • When you put your friend down and have something negative to say about them, most of the time it’s only  mirroring your own insecurities. It might make you feel better finding flaws in someone so you don’t have to deal with your own insecurities, but you’re the only person who loses in the situation. The next time you find yourself feeling triggered by someone’s achievements, ask yourself whether you are 100% satisfied within that area of your life. Chances are you are not. Figure out what’s missing inside of you that’s causing you to act this way. What do you need to do more of to feel better about yourself?  If you truly love your friend and yourself, you’d take some time out to become a better you. Use those feelings as a guide to where you need to work and develop on yourself.

 

  • You are probably an amazing person deep down inside who is currently going through a difficult time. That being said, you going through something doesn’t mean you can’t apologise for the ways you’ve hurt others. If you’ve really hurt someone you should admit when you’re wrong and say sorry. Even if your apology is not accept by them, accept and forgive yourself. The best form of apology is by demonstrating that you can be better.

In conclusion

Ultimately the message is if we love ourselves more we will naturally treat others better and we would expect better from the company we keep. Keep people around you where love is reciprocated, where you both want to grow and glo together.

Questions to you:

Have you had a toxic friend?

Have you been a bad friend to someone?

I would love to hear your experiences & thoughts.

Love Ash, xx

 

 

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January 2019: The Gratitude Journal

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It’s the first month of 2019! I just want to send out a gentle reminder to kick start the year

Every experience of rejection you face brings you closer to yourself. Do you know why? Because it forces you to decide whether to base your worth on that negative experience or use it to strengthen your self-belief. You have two choices in the face of rejection- either you stay knocked down or get back up and try again. Turn all that rejection into a muscle of determination and self-belief. Use it to become ruthless. Knocked down 7 times stand up 8!

Rejection is hurtful, I know, but it’s a part of life. Instead of seeing rejection as your worst enemy, you should see it as the perfect opportunity for personal development. Remember that rejection is leading you towards something more profound.

I will be practising this myself in 2019. I am making a declaration to no longer allow rejection to stop me from pursuing my goals.

Who’s with me? 

Love Ash, xx

2018 Overview: The Gratitude Journal

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As we wait patiently to usher in the new year, many of us take this time to reflect and make plans for the year ahead. I always find this time of the year very intense. Not only is it the holidays and my birthday month, I typically find myself in deep contemplative mood throughout December. The previous years I would have spent this time critiquing myself and pointing out all the thing’s that I have not achieved. However, this time around I made a conscious effort to show gratitude and celebrate my achievements.

I wanted to remind you (and myself) that whilst you consider what goals would like to achieve in the new year, it’s really important that we take the time out to acknowledge our accomplishments, even if they’re small. After all, celebrating yourself encourages you to continue making positive steps and builds self-confidence.

5 things I’m proud of in 2018:

1. Blogging- I started taking my blogging seriously at the beginning of the year. I can honestly say blogging has saved my life. It has given me a platform to finally express myself and use my experiences to help others. I owe a lot of my personal progress to blogging as it has allowed me to really look into myself and actively work on becoming a better person. I am extremely grateful for the continuous support that I’ve received and to all the people that I’ve connected with. I’m so thankful for this space and for all other bloggers who inspire me to do better.

2. Battling low moods- This year I did not allow my moods to stop me from living my day to day life. I was able to be more honest with myself about my moods and really sit with my feelings. I proactively did things to make me feel better. I minimized the number of times I used my mood as an excuse. This year taught me that I’m in control of my reaction and response to life’s negative events.

3. Moving out of my family home- I finally moved into my own apartment. I’m looking forward to the lessons that it will teach me (not so much about bills lol). I’m super excited for the memories that I will make in my own place and the solace it will bring.

4. Therapy- I finally came to the conclusion that I need to take my well being seriously, so I went to therapy. I’ve only had a few sessions so far but I already feel a weight lifted. I’m excited to see what revelations will come from going to therapy and how it will contribute towards my growth.

5. Travel- I traveled in South Africa and New York this year. I had an amazing experience in both places. I am happy I had the opportunity to immerse myself with the culture, the people and got to see such astonishing views.

My 5 hopes for 2019:

  • More self-discovery
  • Plant-based living
  • Improve my blogging
  • Experience lots of joy
  • Build fulfilling/positive friendships with others

A reminder to you

If you had a great year: Well done love! You should be so proud of yourself. You accomplished milestones and made some amazing memories. You have demonstrated that you can do anything you put your mind to. 2019 is going to the year where you reap the benefits of the seeds you planted. Cheers to a prosperous 2019!

If you had a not so good year: There is something you can find to be proud of achieving this year, like deciding to get out of bed despite your depression or making a new friend. This year for you created a foundation for you to build on. It’s through your struggles that you will make 2019 a better year. What’s below rock bottom? You’ve already been there- now it’s time to claim what’s yours in 2019.

What are a few things you are proud of yourself for achieving this year?

What are you looking forward to in 2019?

I wish you all a prosperous new year and see you all in 2019!!

Love Ash, x

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

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 

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
bell hooks

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

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