I think we are all guilty of being too hard on ourselves at some point in our lives. For some like me, it is a constant struggle that can go unnoticed or forgotten as we are so consumed by live moving by awfully quickly. The stress of everyday life or important tasks can build up and there is also a lot of social pressure and competition that many people of all ages face. This means we can form such high expectations and eventually exhaust ourselves with the constant thinking and worrying if we will meet these expectations.
Depending on the context or circumstances there are a range of ways to handle yourself so that you are not too hard on yourself. I think what is most important for me and possibly a lot of other people is AWARENESS. I am referring to the ability to recognise the problem at hand, but also to acknowledge where we are at currently in our lives in comparison to where we have been. When you have been at rock bottom you know just how bad it can be. I have tried to use similiar negative experiences to this as a means of pushing myself forward. It makes me want to work hard so that I can grow and not be in bad places. If you are able to acknowledge the past like this but not dwell on it, then I think it is of incredible value to your self-growth.
I would like to think that the majority of people are striving for the best versions of themselves, but any kind of progress is progress really. If you are moving forward at your own pace then you are doing something right in my opinion. Make realistic goals for yourself so that you have an idea of what you are working towards but do not get too upset if things do not work out the way you had planned. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. There is time to adapt and change, there is time to grow.
Don’t think that you have to do EVERYTHING the ‘right way’. Be realistic and stay true to yourself. There are likely to be setbacks but you are incredibly strong and can do this in your own time. Focus on the most important things that will bring you immediate happiness so that you can get started on the right foot.
Many people discuss the harmful effects or concerns around drinking alcohol from a physical perspective. But in my opinion, more should be done to discuss them from a mental or social perspective too.
Drinking alcohol seems like such a normalized event worldwide -especially if you are from a country like England for me where it is EVERYWHERE. People will drink whatever mood they are in, happy or sad, excited or nervous and so forth. But they rarely ever grasp the true dangers of it. Sometimes it can be too late and they are stuck in a difficult phase of trying to get out of it. Others may never realise how destructive their habits are.
It is nice to have a drink in moderation, or even get drunk now and then. But as I grow older I am starting to get extremely bored when I see this regularly. It is the same people in the pub almost every night, sipping on their warm beer and probably reheated food. I cannot help but feel sorry. Is this all they have for a social life? We are all welcome to our differing interests of course. But something I can not fathom when behaving like this is how self-growth is actually possible.
Maybe some people are just not ready for change. Maybe this is what they are like. But if you are like me then you always want to be moving forward. I am an ‘outdoorsy’ kind of guy (as you can tell by many of my previous blog entries) so this kind of sedentary, repetitive lifestyle drives me crazy. But now I have gotten a good idea of what my interests are and what is good for me. I know for sure now I can enjoy a drink or many as infrequently as I choose. I know now how easy it is to say no to plans that will not benefit me, or make me feel worse.
When you have been towards rock bottom or have started to make the necessary positive changes in your lifestyle, you will do anything in the future to help prevent a relapse of it. It is, of course, a difficult thing to do for many people but persevering through this transition of change is key, as it will reap many benefits for you. For instance, when I am not drinking I feel better as I feel like myself… I am not reliant on this ‘magical social juice’ to engage with others. I am quite happy now being introverted and I do not need a few drinks to be able to talk to people. I realise now that if I need to then perhaps I just do not have the interest in or enough in common with these people to engage with them.
Right now I am focused on healthy behaviours with a clearer mindset from drinking less. My social skills or events will not be centred around alcohol like they used to. This is not me. I aim to continue travelling as much as possible and drink as it feels healthy and natural. Peer pressure is a horrible thing as it is too easy to get sucked into its vicious nature, especially when you are not well or secure enough to say no. I have explored so much this summer without the need for alcohol, and I have had so many unforgettable days. Long may this strive for better change continue.
LIVE IN THE MOMENT. I mean, I always try to do this. But it does not come without difficulties. It is too easy to get tangled up in the past or to have two eyes on the future, what with all the pressure we face in our everyday lives. This year though, more than any I have started to realise the importance of just enjoying the present day. I guess part of this is due to the pandemic and the realisation that things are unpredictable and can change at any moment.
It is nice to have some kind of an eye on the future though, so you have a rough idea of where you are headed. But as plans change and your interests develop, we do not always know the path we will end up on. We can strive for a certain goal or path and in fact, end up taking off to a different destination. We cannot change the past, we cannot ALWAYS predict our future. I feel that the one thing we can do though is to make sure we enjoy our time right now.
It is a hard thing to do though I must admit when you feel or know that something can change. But if you are constantly waiting for that change, you are rapidly losing the time and moment. The best thing you can do in my opinion is to enjoy the things happening to you right now for what they are, as they may not last forever. Happiness is the key, and why let it wait?
For me, my plans have changed significantly due to COVID-19 but that does not have to be a bad thing. I never thought I would be studying abroad in my life and I certainly did not imagine being here so long. But the choice to do it and to stay in Sweden has paid off. I now get to experience a Swedish summer after braving the cold and windy months earlier in the year. This is just one example of living in the moment and trying to make the most of a different situation.
“Get off the mother flipping Xbox”. That is the first thing I can think of. In my younger years, I was very different from how I am now. I would game for many hours a day, now I haven’t played a console of my own for several years. It is is easy to have unhealthy obsessions like this in our young and potentially more naive years. That is okay for me as long as you are able to acknowledge it now and obtain healthier behaviours.
Maybe I am alone in this thought but I do not think that there is much that I would want to say if I could speak to my younger self. I try to look ahead to the future more than reflecting on the past. It would be far too easy for me to change a lot of things that went wrong. But I think things have to fall apart sometimes to make way for better things and to help you to learn and grow for sure. That being said, maybe one piece of advice I would have loved to hear is to work on my self-esteem so I can surround myself with better people.
I am a lot healthier mentally wise now than I have been in the past. I put that down to the self-growth, determination and fight that comes from not wanting to ‘relapse’ or return to a previous state of unhealthiness. When you have hit ‘rock bottom’ for whatever reason it may be, then you sure as heck do not want to go back. This is like being aware of your past and mistakes, but not allowing yourself to think about too much as it is gone and you cannot change it. I feel that it is important to recognise the past somewhat though, so I can realise how far I have come and to continue such progress.
I think my younger self would want to know what he is capable of as what I have achieved so far in my life. Our life is forever changing and it is important to move forward and not stagnate. He would want to know to hold out for meaningful friendships and to enjoy his time outside more.
Please share with me your feelings and what you would say to your younger self.
A blog for documenting my personal life experiences and thoughts featuring a pun from my avid interest in sport.