Where is your self-worth?

Recently I had an interesting discussion with my friend on how people value themselves in society. We agreed there are many factors to consider, all of which impact greatly on the way in which we perceive ourselves.  Society tells us what is acceptable, what is beautiful, what is successful. We are fed this via television programmes (particularly reality shows which I have a major dislike to), radio, social media platforms, newspapers, magazines and so on.

If we are not careful, we can get sucked into the belief that if we do not fall into a particular category – you know, being able to tick off the checklist which “the world” has set, then we are of little value. Our self-worth should not be based on our beauty, salary, ranking in the workplace, weight, connections but unfortunately it often is. People tend to look on the outside in order to identify whether they feel someone is to be accepted.

Other attributes such as a kind heart, humility, generosity, emotional intelligence and integrity are often overlooked yet these are the very characteristics which make up a person. Many well known figures possess these characteristics and they impact greatly in the world, they put changes into place so we can live as we do.

In secondary school I remember we had regular “own clothes” days – I am sure there is a more appropriate term but I cannot recall it right now.  I would feel anxious as the day approached because I knew my peers would give everyone the once over and decide whether you passed or not. A few girls in the years above would stand by the front gates as you entered and say “yes” or “no” to your outfit. It was humiliating and down right wrong but they did so because they could. I can picture the smiling faces of my peers who were given the heads up and the sad faces of my peers who were laughed at for wearing clothes that were clearly not approved of. One “own clothes” day I absconded from school as my mum was unable to buy me a new outfit and I felt the selection of clothes I had in my wardrobe were not good enough. I was 14/15 and I was pulled into the notion that appearance was everything.

So how can we improve on our self-worth? How can we grow to believe we in fact are of value and have a lot to offer despite what society feeds us?

1. Redefine success. It is far more than money and possessions. Think about your relationships – are they fruitful and positive? Do you invest in others as this is how you leave your mark.

2. Stop comparing right now! Comparison is the thief of joy because you will either feel superior to those who have less or inferior to those who have more. Neither are a good place to be. Take your eyes off of others and focus on what you would like to do. By all means strive for more but do not compete with others.

3. Look at your positive characteristics. What do others say about you? Write them down.

Do you have a good self-worth? What has contributed to this?
Was it ingrained in you from a young age or did you develop it over time?
How would you encourage a friend/acquaintance who struggled with low self-worth?

Advertisements

Add a little routine to your life!

Routine can be boring, extremely boring but without it, many of us would struggle to stay on top of our load. I only manage due to sticking to a tight routine and even then, some days I feel I am barely keeping afloat.

I think back to my teens and twenties when life was so carefree, sure I had some responsibilities but not like I do now.  Now almost every minute of my time is on demand and from various people. The only time which is truly mine is first thing in the morning when I pray and exercise, my commute when I catch up with administration/network and late at night when the children are fast asleep.

Routine becomes tedious, monotonous and so familiar. There are days when I resent routine and days when I fully appreciate the order it brings to not only my life but my family’s also. Routine the night before rules out panic in the morning when time appears to move incredibly fast. Routine means you have identified what works for you and stick with it.

Just a few of my routines;

Packing my daughter’s packed lunch the night before and placing in her school bag in the morning

Laying out mine and my children’s clothes the night before school/work and church, bags and shoes are placed near the front door

Draft my blog posts on Tuesday
Source pictures on Friday/Saturday
Spell and grammar check draft on Saturday
Post blog on Sunday

The number of times I have asked myself would it really matter if I skipped blogging on some Sundays. Of course it would not to the majority of people who have a wealth of blogs to choose from. It would however have a major impact on me and my progression.  We can deceive ourselves into thinking what we do or do not do is minor when in fact it holds major implications. Every small step contributes to a bigger picture.

Two tips to embrace routine;

Remind yourself just how much routine brings balance and ease to your life

When carrying out routine tasks, listen to music or the radio to put a spring in your step

Do you get bored with routine?
How does routine benefit you?

Enjoy the moment – you will not get it back!

 

Last Tuesday my train was cancelled which meant a 30 minute delay.  I was understandably annoyed. It was cold and I was now late for work. Thank you South Eastern trains – you never fail to cancel trains at random in the winter months! Anyway, I suddenly felt down and disheartened and this was at 8.10am, I still had to get through the rest of the day with a good spirit. After grumbling in my head whilst wearing a face like a wet weekend, I retrieved my mobile phone and began to read my online bible. I will not have you believe I was instantly uplifted but I certainly felt better in myself after ten minutes or so.

Regardless of minor mishaps and delays, we should enjoy the moment and look at the positive side of life. We can choose not to but this will do absolutely nothing to change the situation. Whether miserable or cheerful I had to stand on that platform and wait for the next available train. As a child I did not fully  understand the saying “there is no use crying over spilt milk”. I did not care much about the saying. If I felt upset,  surely I had the right to express this until I felt a little better.

Worrying about our future and events we have no control over can hinder us enjoying today. We can tell ourselves that once we have X, Y and Z then we can be happy and then we can enjoy life.  We can all fall foul of waiting impatiently for the next stage in life to come believing it will be so much better than the last; a couple with young children willing for their children to become teenagers and less dependant on them, an employee miserable in their current job assuming they will be doing cartwheels in a new job, a young person tired of being told what to do and craving adulthood. Choose to enjoy the here and now as life does not quite pan out the way we expect it to.  I refrained from using the word “never” as there may well be some of you who have ticked off every box on your list of life goals.

Five ways you can work towards enjoying each moment;

1. Try not to take yourself so seriously – learn to laugh at yourself.

2. Stop seeking perfection as it will never come. By all means put back up plans in place wherever possible.

3. Work with an element of flexibility

4. Each morning write five reasons to be thankful

5. Once a week, factor in an activity you enjoy doing

How do you enjoy the moment with the daily  challenges of life?

What advice would you give to someone who finds it difficult to see the positive in life?

Five tips to stay focused!

I was thinking the other day how easy it is for one to be distracted. So many people, activities, tasks, businesses are vying for our attention (and our hard earned money!) If like me you exist on various platforms of social media, you need a level of discipline in order to maintain balance in your life. I use social media to network with family, friends and acquaintances as well as promote my blog. I frequent on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. I am joined to twitter and Periscope but for some reason they did not “work” for me. Perhaps I needed to increase my “fanbase” first – who knows.

Anyway back to the point, I try to minimise the amount of time I spend generally surfing the internet.  If I do not caution myself, I can lose an hour or two just looking at photographs on Instagram. As great as some of them are, it is not a good use of my time. Rather unproductive and does nothing to enhance my blog or other projects I am working on.

It is good to remind ourselves of the importance of keeping our eye on the prize; remembering what we are aiming for and working towards it.  This will mean sacrificing your time and perhaps your money. Only you know the goals you are working towards and only you are responsible for ensuring you meet them.

There will always be distractions and we need to acknowledge them for what they are, choose to say no and place our focus where it needs to be. Taking time out to reflect and plan ahead is essential yet how many of us can put our hands up and confirm we do this?  I read that Bill Gates, co founder of Microsoft Corporation travels for at least one week every year to a remote location in order to plan.  His time out is clearly paying off (and then some!)

My five tips below will better equip you to remaining focused;

1. Refrain from logging onto social media the minute you wake up – easy trap to fall into. Instead pray or speak affirmations over your life and then do some light exercise.

2. Assign 15 minute time slots during the day in which to log onto social media.

3. Do not allow others to monopolise or plan your time whether they be family or friends.

4. Plan your time around work/running your business. Be productive and honour it.

5. Write a daily “to do” list noting the most basic of tasks to the more complex tasks. Any tasks you do not complete that day, simply carry over to the following day.

I hope my five tips will help to steer you in the right direction.

Perhaps you can share your experience of not yielding to the many distractions in life;

What worked for you?
In which area did you/do you struggle in?

Get some order in your life!

The majority of people I meet all seem to have one thing in common – there are simply not enough hours in the day.  We can underestimate just how much responsibility we have on a day to day basis; running a home, working, running your own business, raising children, being a carer, church ministry, voluntary work, administration and so on. In all of this you really can lose yourself and feel utterly exhausted too.

I have woken on many a Saturday mornings and felt completely overwhelmed with the number of tasks I have to do. Generally I use my Saturday mornings to clean and bulk cook. If my Saturday is full on, I will clean on a Friday night and bulk cook on a Sunday.  Working full-time with a long commute means I have little time to do more than a quick tidy up each evening. The same goes for my husband who regularly falls asleep holding his work laptop in the late evening. He knows he is tired but is over optimistic about logging on to finish up on a few tasks!

One could suggest you cut down on the number of activities you do which will work for some and not so much for others. Those who cannot “drop” any area of responsibility may feel trapped, lose hope and accept they will be run ragged for years to come. 

My suggestions for keeping everything in order are;

1. Hire a cleaner
2. Hire someone to iron your clothes
3. Hire a gardener

I am totally serious! Whatever you can offload to save you time – do it! I have considered it and when childcare commitments are no more (cannot bear to calculate the years we have left), I will be onto it without hesitation. I have spoken to several friends who outsource household tasks and they cannot recommend it enough.

If the above is not feasible, there is no need to lose hope. I have listed nine tips;

1. Identify a day/time in which to thoroughly clean your home
2. Identify a day/time to iron
3. Bulk cook your meat and fish for the week and place into separate containers.  Prepare rice/pasta salad/vegetables on the day
4.Tidy up as you go along – never ever leave mess to mount up
5. Have a place for every single item in your home
6. Do at least one load of washing a day
7. Declutter every month
8. Read letters and invitations as they arrive then;
A. File
B. Take photograph and bin
C. Note in your diary and bin
9. Ensure you note all appointments in your phone/diary and your spouse or partner has the exact same information

(This list is in no way exhaustive)

How do you maintain order in your home and work life?
What are your views on outsourcing tasks?

 

Do you self-blame?

Recently I drafted an itinerary for an event. I checked it several times before confirming it was finalised. On the day of the event there was a little confusion with which session would take place next as the timings were slightly out of sync.  I felt a little embarrassed and took a long look at the itinerary to identify if I had indeed made an error. I had not but it brought something to light. I have a strong tendency to assume I am to blame if something does not go to plan. Without knowing why, where, how or who I quickly point the finger at myself and leave it there until I can gather substantial evidence to prove I was not in the wrong. It does not matter how many people are involved, I instantly volunteer to take some of the blame. I feel responsible and have the desire to find a solution.

Whilst it may be seen as commendable not to run away when you may have a part to play, there is also something quite damaging about self-blame.   People who self-blame tend to live with guilt. They feel guilty even when everything is running smoothly. They tend to assume the worst whether there is any evidence of wrong doing or not.

I have in the past attended ad-hoc meetings with my managers and wondered what on earth they needed to speak to me about. I would wrack my brain trying to recall any incidences or exchange of words that may have taken place. Did I speak to someone out of tone, did I display an attitude without realising, am I underperforming? Nine times out of ten, they wanted to discuss a matter the  complete opposite of the thoughts running around in my head.

Where did these thoughts come from?
Why was I so open to thinking the worst?
Why do I self-blame?

There is always a root and it is our responsibility to find it.  Until we find this root, we will be unable to deal with the problem.

As a child I had a constant feeling of guilt. Guilty for being born to a young mother of 20, guilty for being raised in a single parent household, guilty for my mother’s struggles – both financially and emotionally.  I also felt I was a burden and was to blame for everything that did not go according to plan.

So, how can we work on minimising self-blame?

1. Accept that you will make mistakes and it is okay to do so as long as we do not consistently repeat them.

2. Avoid taking responsibility when it is not yours to take

3. Setting boundaries for yourself – at work and with friends and family

4. Arrange to speak to a counsellor or therapist to talk through your feelings and explore where the self-blame started

Have you battled with self-blame or do you know someone who has?
What advice would you offer?

Do it scared!

ĺ

The presentation to 50 colleagues, a job interview, holidaying alone for the first time, sitting an exam – all of these can be daunting. It is perfectly okay to feel nervous about stepping into unknown territory. I would have thought each of us become a little wobbly at times – it may not appear so to outsiders but the feelings are certainly there!  Personally I believe a little nervousness helps to keep us on our toes. How easy it would be for one to grow arrogant if they did not experience fear or apprehension from time to time.

I remember watching a film in which the storyline focused on a publisher and speaker. Just before he entered the doors to the large conference room, he took a deep breath, got his thoughts together all with a rather fixed and worried face. As he entered the conference room he instantly beamed from ear to ear whilst looking left to right at his audience – I expect this gave him an element of confidence. Looking directly at your audience, connecting with them even before you present.

The first time I was due to give an exhortation at church, I felt nervous.  I prepared beforehand and read through my notes again and again. On the morning I led praise and worship with my fellow worship team as usual but felt anxious about giving the exhortation. As I was called forward my stomach did somersaults – actual somersaults.  The exhortation was not as painful as I first thought – sure I could have looked at my audience a little more as well as slowed down my speech but I survived.  I have improved on my public speaking since then by taking up opportunities that come my way. 

I tell myself what is the worst that could happen?  It helps to put life into perspective. Choosing NOT to step out would have a far more detrimental effect on my life, my progression and the way in which I view myself.   I refuse to allow my insecurities and sometimes irrational thoughts to hinder me from doing what I know I should be. 

Will you?

Do you put yourself forward for opportunities?
Do you allow your fears to hold you back?
What advice would you offer someone who struggles to step out of the boat?

Light hearted tips and advice from an organised lady!

Word Bank Writing & Editing

Make Every Word Count

Emotionally Resilient Living

It's about making this life your own!

theracetoread

Children's Literature and Issues of Race

%d bloggers like this: