Monthly Archives: August 2013

You’re an inspiration to the world

P1050508 low rseThe thing that has surprised me most since I started blogging a few months ago, is the number of friends who said they were inspired by my blog.

Not specifically by the writing itself, but different things:

– One friend loved the clear and elegant design of the site.

– Another was impressed with my “technical skills” in setting up a website and social media pages from scratch.

– Someone said how brave I was to share my writing publicly (she is herself a wonderful closet writer).

– Someone else still said she was inspired to see me posting on a regular basis while having a full time job.

Of course I would be lying if I said I didn’t get huge encouragement from such positive feedback. My friends’ kind comments went a long way to keeping me writing.

But the thing is none of those specific things seemed at all special to me. In fact, they seemed very banal, and as I explained to everyone:

The design of my site is a template.

I set it up using a “for dummies” PDF guide and countless video tutorials.

It did take courage to start sharing my writing – but since I am not very courageous, I couldn’t have done it without the support of my 30 Days Challenge friends.

I sometimes barely manage to do a post a week. Sometimes it takes such willpower that I don’t do anything else. I haven’t been to the gym in ages – I put on five kilos.

So this tells me something important:

If we consistently fail to acknowledge, or underestimate the things that we’re good at (“if we can do it, surely anyone can?”), who knows how many people are totally inspired by our seemingly banal skills, and what we see as our routine daily lives?

Therefore:

It is virtually certain that you are an inspiration to the people around you, in some way or other, for reasons you may not realise.

It could be that people admire your effortless style, or your sense of humour.

Maybe you have a special talent for bringing people together wherever you are, and you always bring the party with you.

Or maybe you are quiet, and have a wonderful aura of calm and balance.

Your colleagues might think you’re a genius organiser, or a born leader. Unbeknownst to you, they might admire how sorted your career plans are.

Even at times when you feel your life is a mess, it is not impossible that others will have noticed your grace, your courage, your honesty going through tough times.

Or someone might just wish their house was kept as well as yours.

Whoever you are, someone somewhere will be in awe of you. For being you.

Just as you are.

I love the poetic notion that each of us was put on this Earth for a very good reason. 

It takes all sorts to make the world go round.

We need you to be yourself and shine.

Go on. INSPIRE US.

 

READ ON Other similar posts you might like:
You’re okay, really: what it feels like to love yourself
We are one
The importance of Being You

“You’re okay, really”: what it feels like to love yourself

P1050662 low resI’ve always wondered what self-acceptance feels like. That great big love for yourself you always hear about in women’s magazines, and in the interviews of successful people who seem to have everything you wish for… and will never attain.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve yet to wake up in the morning feeling overwhelmed by self-love. I might wake up feeling love for my partner, my cat, or the world at large. But for myself…

“Love your neighbour as yourself”, Jesus said in what seemed simple enough instructions. Yet, many people, myself included, go through life treating themselves like their least favourite friend, not showing much patience or kindness and occasionally calling themselves names.

So a few days ago, as I was washing my face and pondering a difficult decision (to quit or not to quit my job), I was surprised to hear a gentle interior voice say to me: “you’re okay, really“.

This may seem like nothing to you, but it reminded me of something. I once had a boyfriend who was the coolest thing in the universe, with a cheeky smile and a punkrocker’s attitude to everything. Whenever he’d come across something great, not wanting to lose his cool by showing enthusiasm, he’d say “that’s okay, really”.

Just like him now, I’m not going for full-blown enthusiasm. My inner critic may not be going all BFF on me just yet, but at least we’re finally rooting for the same team. Of course it lasted only a few minutes. But it felt wonderful.

Now let me tell you something. If this happened to me, for no reason while I wasn’t even trying, it can happen to anybody. You better be prepared.

Some day, out of the blue…

You might look back upon your life so far and think you haven’t done too badly, overall.

You might be happy knowing you have done your best.

You might look into the mirror and no longer see the extra pounds or wrinkles (yes, the ones other people swear never existed but you just know are there).

You might see someone beautiful in their own, unique way.

You might look at the work you do and think, perhaps you’re doing enough.

You might no longer feel like a fraud, and let go of the fear of being found out.

IT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND

You will shed the illusion of your own criticism like you take off a heavy winter coat.

You will feel lighter.

There will be a new breeze on your skin, which you never knew was there because of the big coat

You will feel so alive that you will wonder how to contain so much joy.

You will no longer feel the need to be or act different.

You will be at home in your own skin.

Even if the doubts return after a moment, you and I both will know that it IS possible be our own best friends.

And once we’ve done it once, there must be a way we can do it again.

 

READ ON Other similar posts you might like:
Should I stay or should I go? 
Living life at your own pace
Everyday meditations: A cup of green tea

 

Books that will change you life: “Eat, Pray, Love”

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I wasn’t sure about writing on Eat, Pray, Love, seeing that the entire world has already read it – or so it seems – or so they should, because it’s so awsomely good that they made a film adaptation with Julia Roberts. But I recently met a few friends who hadn’t read it yet, so here goes and I hope to convince you to pick up a copy.

 

The book

This is the memoir of American 30-something author Liz Gilbert, as she takes a year off to travel to Italy, India and Bali to reconnect with herself following a nasty divorce and disastrous rebound relationship. Hence the title – hers is a story of eating delicious foods of Italy, praying and meditating in an Ashram in India, and finally enjoying a balanced life and finding love in Bali. All the while discovering new cultures, making awsome friends and going on mini-adventures.

The big idea

The reason I love this book is that it is a honest, hide-nothing account of a woman falling apart, experiencing depression, loneliness and despair, and finally coming through to the other side through spiritual seeking and a good dose of courage.

As well as being authentic, it is also tremedously funny and very clever. It is not only about introspection, but also about beautiful people and gorgeous places – it takes you from the best pizza restaurant in the back streets of Naples to stunning Indonesian beaches – all embraced with great enthusiasm and curiosity. The friends she makes along the way are wonderful and it altogether makes for a really fun, refreshing read.

Why it will change your life

Wherever you’re at in your life (and well, most especially if you are female), you will be touched by at least some of this story. Those 12 months in the company of Liz will make you want to follow in her footsteps and live life to the full. You will find (or reawaken) an urge to travel, to find God, to cherish your friends old and new, to explore and to grow.

You will be reminded of how the simplest things can make you tremendously happy, if you know to appreciate them. 

I can pretty much guarantee you will love yourself and the world more. And you will feel as though you have made a new best friend, in the person the amazing Liz.

I, for one, have read it twice. Are you convinced yet? Let me know what you think.

 

READ ON View my booshelf

Should I stay or should I go? (Knowing what you want is sometimes harder than you think)

P1040433 low resEarlier this week, I resigned from my job of five years.

Or at least, this is what would have happened if things had gone according to plan. Instead, what happened is this:

Over the last few months, have been getting an ever bigger urge to shake things up. For no particular reason – the job itself is ok. But in work like in relationships, sometimes the love goes, and you know it’s time to move on.

So I told my boss how I felt – that this relationship had run its course, and that I thought we both deserved better.

I carefully rehearsed the argument in my head.

I gathered the courage to speak to her.

She was super nice.

She said that she really would like me to stay, and she is open to restructuring my job according to my suggestions so that I am happy there.

Hell – I wasn’t entirely prepared for that. I thought I was ready to stick to my decision. I’d been thinking about it for a while already. But when it came to actually making it real, I got cold feet and didn’t know what to say, apart from “Yeah, I’ll think about it”.

As I have mentioned before, I’m not terribly good at decision making. There are so many factors to consider, not all of them very rational. And of course it is infinitely easier to complain about what’s wrong, than it is to try and make it right.

What I truly, desperately want now, is a couple of months off, to sleep away the stress of a rather intense 9 to 5, and not to hear the word “job” for a while. But that’s not all.

Right now in my head, pulling me in the opposite direction, there is also:

what I feel I should want (a steady income)
what I think would be acceptable (wait until I get another job)
what I can’t possibly know or control (how long will I be out of work? what job will I find next?)
And crucially, what I am afraid of (the list long – will I ever find another job? will I look stupid? etc)

My situation is not particularly bad. Some of it is good, some of it is bad. And I don’t know about you, but the listing of both in two opposite columns never really did it for me. Somehow, all this is clouding my feelings, and standing in the way of me knowing what I want. I am at a standstill.

I am stuck on the fence because I know that, just as when you don’t know what you want, you never get anything, the minute you decide what you want, it tends to materialise. Be careful what you wish for.

I have come across useful advice from several coaches like Martha Beck here or Marie Forleo there, and a number of wise friends, who say you should just try and feel your answer.

Forget the constant dialogue in your head. Close your eyes, relax, and think of option A. How does it make you feel? Do you feel a wonderful feeling of peace, warmth or expansion in your every cell? Do you feel cold, nervous, choked, like you are shrinking?

This is almost failproof, as it quickly becomes obvious which scenarios tickle our happy cells, and which make us want to cry and puke at the same time (sorry).

The next step of course, is finding the courage – the faith – to act on a feeling.

I don’t feel quite there yet. Don’t mind me, I will probably remain on that fence for a while. Then, if I’m still not sure, I will pick either option and stick to it, because I know at this point I have no other choice but shake the status quo.

After all, once you’ve had a taste of the future, you cannot go back.

 

READ ON Other similar posts you might like:
How well do you know yourself?
The importance of Being You
Analysis Paralysis