Fear of not being Good Enough

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Living in your passion is what many of us strive to achieve in this life. When you decide to take that first step into doing what you love, it can be the most liberating feeling ever. However doing something out of your comfort zone and playing bigger than ever before can evoke unintended feelings of inadequacy. You find that the very thing you’re passion about is shared among other people. You find yourself competing among people who are very established in your industry and appear to have it all figured out.

I’ve had my fair share of negative experiences when trying to finally show myself to the world and step into my passion/s (politics, blogging). One instance that stuck with me was going to a networking event which turned out to be more like a popularity contest. If you didn’t dress a certain way or have a social media following, you were quite frankly overlooked and ignored. As someone who had just started putting myself out there I quickly felt like I didn’t belong and started believing that I lacked the ability to be successful. This experience in particular made me scared to put myself out there in fear of rejection. But by suppressing what I loved I missed out on some good opportunities that could have been beneficial to my personal growth and development.

At the beginning of the year I decided that I wasn’t going to hide away any longer just because I’m new to an industry/space. Even if I’m only recognised by a few I told myself I would produce unapologetically. This gave birth my blogging journey which I put off for a few years. I was adamant not to let anyone make me feel like I don’t belong. To test this new mantra I started going to a few events/talks that I’m passionate about so that I could better my craft. My highlight so far this year was going to my first my bloggers event called #blackbloggersuk where I met some amazing, genuine people.

These are a few words of advice I am interchangeably learning from others and through my own experiences:

1. We all start from somewhere- Whether you’re trying to grow a business, a blog or break into a particular industry, we all start from somewhere. A lot of people who you perceive as successful have been doing the work for many years and built their way up. You can’t compare the beginning or interim part of your journey to someone who’s been in the game longer than you.  And yes there will be people who receive their lucky break overnight or at a quicker pace than you through connections or by chance. However just because someone’s got their quicker than you, it doesn’t mean you won’t either. Our journeys aren’t meant to look the same. Trust that your journey will lead you to somewhere profound.

2. There’s room for all of us to win- Don’t let anyone make you feel like you don’t belong. Conflated egos and huge personalities can sometimes makes us feel inferior and as though we are playing where we don’t compete. Remember that just by virtue of being your true self, you have something special to add to any space you’re entering!

3. Feel the fear and do it anyways- It can be super scary getting out of your comfort zone. You might have to start talking to people you never imagined, or go to that networking event and finally promote that business you’ve been planning for years. The fear of failure can force us into convincing ourselves that it’s not worth stepping into our passion or stalling for the ‘right time’. But remember that any loss you take you can rise back from. You have to believe that no failure is big enough to stop you from living your potential. You don’t want to live your life constantly regretting your inaction so just what you love anyways and have faith that things will eventually figure itself out.

4. Every mistake is a lesson- Your blog layout isn’t the best (coming for myself lol) or you’re unsure whether your mixtape bangs. But who said you’re going to figure out everything overnight? Don’t be afraid to try different things and see what works for you. All the mistakes/ misjudgments you make will be a lessons that can be used to your benefit. Instead of striving for perfection, just experiment. Remember this is a learning process so don’t be harsh on yourself!

Have you ever experienced this feeling before?

What advice would you give to someone who’s starting a new career/hobby and feelings out of place?

Leave your thoughts!

 

Copyright © AshAlves 2018, All Rights Reserved

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?

Love Ash, xx

Copyright © AshAlves 2018, All Rights Reserved

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

Copyright © AshAlves 2018, 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!

Copyright © AshAlves 2018, All Rights Reserved

You’re too Sensitive!

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If you’re sensitive you’re probably well accustomed to hearing phrases like “it’s not that deep” or “you take everything so personal”. This may be true! However for us sensitive folks it’s much more complex than just simply getting over ourselves. Deciphering between whether our emotional responses are valid verses taking things too seriously is very difficult to figure out (well for me anyways lol).

Hyper-sensitivity feels like being an unwrapped lollipop (weird analogy I know). You feel exposed to everything and easily contaminated. Negative experiences or words just stick to you and you have a hard time convincing yourself that it’s not worth your energy nor concern.

This affects different aspects of your life, especially when it comes to expressing your feelings in relationships (Family/Friends etc). There’s a fear of not being taken seriously or having your feelings undermined. Trying to build and maintain emotionally healthy relationships can often get complicated and draining. This can also have negative effects on your self-esteem. It can make you distrust of your own feelings and intuition, causing you doubt who you are as a person.

But despite the challenges, I believe being a sensitive person makes you extremely empathetic. Within a world that’s callous and unjust, being sensitive can be used as a tool to make a positive impact on the world. Growing up I was constantly told that I had to be ‘tough’ in order to survive and for the longest time felt like my sensitiveness made me a liability. Now I’ve started to see it as a blessing not a curse. When I get told that I’m sensitive, I can confidently admit to it without feeling shame or guilt about who I am. What has helped me get to this point is exploring ways to deal with it especially when I get overwhelmed by emotion.

For my fellow sensitive ones, I’ve thought of a few coping mechanisms that have helped me along the way:

  1. Establishing boundaries in relationships– People who are sensitive often have a hard time creating appropriate boundaries for themselves. There’s so many times that I’ve felt bad for saying what I will and will not accept because I felt like I would be considered “extra” or “too sensitive”. This led to me accepting unfulfilling relationships and caused a lot of distress.  Realize this, you decide what you will and will not accept within your relationships! Your needs are important no matter how trivial someone else may think they are. Don’t be afraid to set appropriate boundaries. It will save you a lot less emotional turmoil and constantly doubting yourself.
  2. Own your sensitiveness- The next time someone calls you sensitive to derail your feelings, turn around and say “yes I am sensitive”. Be proud of it! That way when someone tells your you’re being sensitive it will have minimal affect on your mood because you’ve already accepted that it’s part of who you are. Remember that your sensitiveness is a blessing not a curse.
  3. Find an outlet to express your feelings- I write my feelings down to filter through my thoughts and understand them better. This is really helpful especially when you have to make important decisions or confronted with conflict. Instead of reacting based on our immediate feelings, we get to make more informed and rational responses. If writing isn’t your thing, find a means to express your feelings, whether that’s confiding in someone, making music or painting etc. Do whatever helps you to deal with your feelings in a healthy, productive way.

Are you a sensitive person? How do you cope with your feelings?

Is there anything you would add to this list?  I Would love to know your thoughts..x

Copyright © AshAlves 2018, All Rights Reserved

Think Piece: Wellness industries and Capitalism

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I must confess that I’m a HUGE fan of all things self help. I often spend my mornings watching Lisa Nicols videos and looking at P’Diddy’s tweets to get me riled up (don’t come for my fav lol). On many occasions reading a self-help book made me feel powerful and installed faith in me that I am the driver of my own destiny. Despite all of the positives that self-help/ wellness industries offer, I can’t seem to turn a blind eye away from the hyper-capitalism and naivety that plagues the industry.

I think that it is necessary to understand that self-manifesting can have its limits based on socio-economic realities and histories. Structural inequalities including classism, racism, gender oppression, transphobia and so forth play a huge role in our inability to self-actualize to our fullest potential.

Under capitalism, especially if you’re poor, being told things like “if you work hard you can manifest anything you want”  can feel like a slap in the face. There’s plenty of ways to dispel this logic  but one problem is that there’s plenty of hard working people with jobs who are still struggling to make ends meat. Conditions under capitalism such as austerity, lack of upward mobility, low paying jobs make the idea of attracting “abundant finances” feel like a fantasy.

Living within a society which is very anti-wellness i.e. climate change, GMO foods, poverty, materialism, the narrative of wellness/ self-care ideologies cannot seek just individual solutions to healing but collective and structural transformations too.

I believe that there needs to be a balance between acknowledging certain histories and structural inequalities whilst understanding that we have agency over the trajectory of our own lives. If we see ourselves as passive victims we begin to impose certain limitations upon ourselves. We are not merely passive victims and I refuse to let that narrative consume my reality. I think we owe it to our predecessors/ancestors and those who constantly fight against the odds to see ourselves as victors not victims. It is truly in personal and collective power that we can transform society into one which values self-actualization. Oh and just before I end, BUN CAPITALISM!!!

Copyright © AshAlves 2018, All Rights Reserved

Feeling Invisible and Overshadowed

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In a world with so many huge personalities, it’s easy to feel overshadowed and invisible. This can cripple us into thinking we aren’t good enough or even worse, that hardly anyone cares about our existence. I just want to remind you that you are not alone.

I believe that living in the shadows gives you a unique vantage point to the rest of the world. It can be used as an opportunity to do a lot of internal work and gain greater awareness of self.  Whilst we shouldn’t accept the narrative of being invisible as our destiny, we can use it as a tool to become better people and most importantly work on validating our own existence. Also, other people’s inability to recognize us never will determine our worth. If people don’t recognize your greatness, it’s always their loss not yours. Being slept on is upsetting, but I always try to remind myself that the people who matter will always pay attention and will never make you feel invisible.

So for those of us who battle with feeling invisible- lets’ try to be an example of someone who will commit to being brave enough to be themselves, regardless of being recognized, to remind the millions of people who feel the exact same way that we are all worthy of existing.

Copyright © AshAlves 2018, All Rights Reserved