As part of my mini challenges for 2019 I have just completed Appreciation April! During the month of April I would write down each day at least 5 things that I appreciate or am grateful for. It could have been things that happened during that day, or it could just be more general.
There were evenings where I would forget to write down my 5 things. I am a stickler for habit, and may be bordering OCD but I would tell myself that it is ok if I missed a day. The world is not going to come to an end. If I felt the need I would add a few extra appreciation points instead of just writing 5.
What did I learn from Appreciation April?
That it really is the small things that count! Obviously not big and grand things happen every day, but the little things that occur each day can be the things that bring a smile to our face – blue skies, birds chirping, an elderly couple holding hands, a kid stomping through the autumn leaves in his gumboots. All of these small acts fill up happy spaces within your heart. I found that reflecting on them and really taking the time to write about it and appreciate it made me more aware of what was going on around me throughout the day.
So what’s next?
I am so excited for this one! For 31 days I will be participating in mindful meditation. I will be doing a short meditation in the morning to set off the day and a longer one in the evening before bed. Will report on changes, and anything that I have noticed at the end of the month. Please feel free to join along and share your experiences too!
As you get older you “do you” and you get involved in the mundane routine that is life. It may feel like you are just going through the motions that you aren’t aware of what is going on around you. Sure you might have set yourself some goals and you are chipping away at them slowly but surely but what you may not realise is that someone is watching you. Not in a creepy way. In a way that they admire you.
Do you remember when you were a kid and you did something that you thought was really cool? Like a trick on the monkey bars, mastered the cartwheel or learnt how to spell a new word? And you use to say to your Mum or Dad, or anyone that you looked up to for that matter “look at me! Watch me!” Your parents, or the adult that you called upon would smile and give you words of encouragement and tell you how spectacular your new trick was, or they will acknowledge how hard you worked for something. As you age, you learn not to ask people to watch you, and you seek to find that intrinsic motivation where you are proud of yourself. Of course, we are human beings and most of us do well by having our efforts recognised be it in a professional sense or in our personal lives, however we don’t hear it as often and sometimes it can take you by surprise.
If you have ever had the opportunity to be around small children you will realise that they are tiny sponges that soak up everything! And I mean everything! They are watching everything that you do and listening to every word you say (even if it doesn’t appear that they are) and out of nowhere they will mimic you. They will say a phase that comes out of your mouth in the exact same tone in which you say it. They might grab a cloth and wipe the coffee table because they have seen you do it, or grab a tissue for their sibling and try and wipe their nose because they have seen their parents do it.
However as adults we are much more modest and humble. We are taught not to boast. We keep our heads down and our bums up and we continually chip away. While we observe others we often keep our opinions and thoughts to ourselves. To receive a compliment for some can be confronting, for others they take it in their stride. If you notice someone is kicking life’s goals, let them know. Encourage them. Tell them how proud you are of them. Tell them how much they motivate you to set your own goals. Tell them that you have noticed. It’s easy to become complacent and to just assume that people ‘know’ they are doing well, but it is certainly another thing to be told. To hear it, to read it, and then in turn to feel it.
My point is that we often want what we don’t have, and more often than not there is someone watching you thinking that they want exactly what you have at this present time. So be grateful and thankful for all that you have, keep your chin up, hold your head high, and keep working towards those goals. Be kind; be respectful, because no matter how old or how young you are, you never know who is following in your footsteps.
It is often believed that self-esteem issues are heightened during our teenage years, due to a surge in hormones and that phase in your life where you are working out who you are as a human being. However, self-esteem issues are rife all throughout life – whether you are a 5 year old, a 15 year old, 35 year old etc etc. These issues can take you by surprise. You may not even notice that you have them until you become aware of the words that come out of your mouth, or you notice that you develop negative or uncomfortable feelings towards a situation.
Sometimes it is obvious as to where these self-esteem issues have arisen from. Other times you have to dig deeper to uncover where these beliefs about yourself have come from. Whether you are well aware of where they stem from or if you do have to do a bit of digging around it is a rather confronting experience.
Social media is a breeding ground for uncovering these personal demons. We are human beings and we can’t help but compare our lives to others. Often feeling like our life isn’t ‘good enough’ or feeling that by a certain age we ‘should be’ doing and achieving certain things – the marriage, the house, the babies, the endless bank account, the exotic holidays, the redecorating, the smoking hot bod. It’s an endless pit of things that society has painted as being the ‘norm.’
I am going to be totally raw and honest here – body image. Never bothered me growing up. As a teenager I was a happy, naive individual. Life was bliss. As a 32 year old woman, I struggle with body image, and the funniest thing about that, is that I am the fittest I have ever been. Scrolling through social media can be dangerous. Whilst I know I could tidy up my diet, I also know that it isn’t all that bad. Furthermore, having a solid reminder that we are all different and two people can be following the exact same diet, doing the exact same exercises but have two completely different body shapes, and that is totally fine. We are all individuals and we are not supposed to look the same.
In relation to dating I have noticed that I have a type. I always thought that I didn’t have one, but with the whole online dating extravaganza some friends of mine pointed out that I did have a type. The most concerning thing that came out of my mouth when I was talking to a friend about a potential date was “I don’t think someone like him would go for someone like me.” I think my friend’s reaction of “and why not?!” with the look of horror on her face made me realise that I didn’t think I was good enough – not attractive enough, not fit enough, and not interesting enough. There are a lot of things obviously going on here – 1. I’ve already judged someone I haven’t met, and 2. I don’t think I am good enough for certain ‘types’ of people, and I’ve resigned to less than I deserve.
So how do we address these issues? How do we build our self-esteem to appreciate the person that we are? How do we start telling ourselves that we are good enough? It begins with changing your thought patterns. It is important to acknowledge these thoughts and feelings as they arise acknowledge them without judgement and then let them go. Like any thought or feeling, they are fleeting, they are not permanent. Following up with a positive affirmation or saying some kind words to yourself helps change the thought patterns in your mind “you’re smart, you’ve got this, you know what you’re doing, your hair looks good today, I’m a great Mum, I’ve worked really hard” ect. Are all examples of things you can say to yourself to help change your thought patterns from the negative to the positive. It takes time, practice and persistence to change these thought patterns but it is possible!
“I am me, nothing more, nothing less, and that is enough” Harpreet M Dayal
Minimisation March was an interesting one. I had intended on getting rid of things that no gave me joy lol. Now not too long ago I actually went through all of my clothes and donated what I no longer wore to charity, and if house hold items broke and were beyond repair I got rid of them straight away as opposed to letting them pile up. I have started collecting a pile of ‘hard rubbish’ for when the time comes, it will all be together and easy to dispose of. I still have a whole heap of cardboard boxes that I need to dispose of from when I moved house…almost a year and a half ago. However, life happens things get ridiculously busy and we all have other priorities, so for now when I get a spare minute to do that they can wait. The world will not come to an end.
A major aspect of minimisation March was cutting down on spending. I looked at my budget. I looked at my outgoings vs my income and looked at how I can cut down on what I spend. If you haven’t done this already, I highly recommend that you do. Look at where you can cut costs on utility bills, insurance, subscriptions ect. For instance – I don’t watch Netflix (I will give you a moment while you pick your mouth up off the floor lol). So I ended my subscription. No use paying for something that I don’t use! Same with online dating. I made the most of my subscription by chatting and going on these so called ‘dates.’ However once the subscription ended I made the conscious decision to cease the membership because 1. It was not bringing me joy and 2. It was a waste of money.
I also made the conscious decision to cut down on the amount of procrastination and time wasting that is consumed by social media. At the end of March I decided to sign out of Instagram and Snap Chat and only use what I needed for business purposes. Have I missed it? To be honest, no I haven’t. Have I felt the need to check it? No I haven’t. This is really surprising for me. I thought I would be suffering from FOMO but I’m not. I’m just keeping calm and carrying on which has been all sorts of wonderful! Things are getting done.
Now I have entered Appreciation April. This involves writing down 5 things a day that I appreciate and am grateful for. Will be interesting to reflect on my findings at the end of the month, and if doing this task has made a difference to my overall wellbeing.
Until next time,
The moment you have all been waiting for has arrived! Part 2 of The Online Dating Chronicles! Be warned, they are not a juicy as the originals, maybe I’ve filtered through the riff raff, but don’t you worry, these apps are the gifts that keep giving all of the wrong things. Again, names and phone numbers (yes phone numbers – things have escalated people!) have been changed for privacy reasons.
Here is what else I have had to endure…
Oscar: “Gday Melissa, I just wanted to say hi and hope to have a chat with you. Hope to hear from u soon, cheers” (Then this keen bee wrote another message) “Hey Melissa, my number just to cut to the chase 123456789, thought it might be easier” (Listen up Master of Manipulation. I have the sneaky suspicion that YOU cut to the chase and not your number – I know, I’m a genius).
Peter: Hi Melissa. I think you’re beautiful and I like you. I hope you write back…(Friends…I did not write back)
Quin: “Hey Melissa, where are you coming from?” (Ahh…Mars?)
Rodger: “Hi Melissa. What keeps you awake like me?” (Oh! So many things! The difference between alpacas and llamas, what my dog thinks about when his watching the rain, if chickens had legs like giraffes…you know all the normal things)
Stanley: “Hi mel you look cute in the pics. I can feel a good vibe and a great energy from you. How’s your weekend going?” (Vibes and energy via no conversation…I don’t know…)
Timothy: “wow u are absolutely gorgeous” (Oh stop it! *insert eye roll*)
Uranus: “Hey morning hun x” (Umm have I missed something? Are we already in a relationship?)
Victor: “Hi there Melissa, how’s your Universe looking today? What sorts of adventures have you got planned for the month of March? Would you like to engage in a textual conversation that could potentially transform into a real-life conversation should the textual conversation satisfy both parties? (Whoa! WTF? Bahahahaha)
I think we all have to agree that Victor takes the cake this time around.
Now, I have some sad news for you all, but feel due to your loyal following and interest in my online dating chronicles that I need to explain that I have decided to jump off the online dating platforms. So far I have met a couple of men, and they have not worked out. I can’t stand the “ghosting,” the “catfishing,” the “spaghetting” (ok…I may have made that last one up, but surely it could become a thing?!). I understand that this is a normal part of the process, but I do feel it is impacting my emotional and psychological wellbeing in a negative way, so I think it is best that I look after myself in the best way that I can. I’ve given it a go, and while I do accept and acknowledge that so many people have successfully met and fell in love with someone they met online, I don’t think it is for me. So I am going to carry on, living my best life dating app free and see where life takes me.
I’ve never considered myself much of a ‘Sales’ woman. I’m not sure whether I was brought up to not trust sales people, or whether it comes from watching Harry Wormwood selling dodgy cars to the likes of Miss Trunchbull. The art of manipulation or the thought of being forced into purchasing something I didn’t particularly want made me nervous. I don’t want to be an Eskimo feeling forced into buying ice.
I was always of the opinion that if someone wants something they will buy it, if not, well they won’t and it’s no skin off anyone’s nose (apart from maybe the person trying to make the sale). However, in recent times I have realised that I do have the ability to sell things…and scarily enough…and I kind of don’t know if I like admitting it…I’m rather good at it. Now some of you might think – but Mel…you were in the debating team in high school, of course you can spin shite. My own Mother was astounded about the amount of Hogswash I would put into a persuasive essay.
I’ve come to the realisation that I have spent my whole adult career ‘selling’ things to people without even realising that was what I was doing! I spent 13 years working in Child Care Centres and Kindergartens. During my time I did many tours for prospective families, without consciously knowing it, taking families through the Centre and pointing out all of its highlights, was in fact ‘selling’ the service that we provided. I loved the Centres that I worked in so I was able to speak about the service that was provided in such a positive and enthusiastic light that it was infectious and encouraged families to return. Is that manipulative? I think not. If I didn’t believe in where I was working it would make the whole idea of selling the place difficult, almost impossible, but because I legitimately believed in those places it made it easier to make other people fall in love with it too.
I’m able to sell the gym that I go to. Why? Because I love it! I love everything about it! I’m coming up to my 2 year anniversary of joining the Gym and I still bang on about how good it is to anyone who will listen. It would be very difficult to sell just any gym to someone if I hadn’t stepped foot in it. Dragging your butt out of bed at 5am to go to the gym on a regular basis says something in itself – if I didn’t see results, if I didn’t feel physically or emotionally better, if I didn’t love the fact that it doesn’t matter if you are a beginner to exercise or an athlete to work out there, or the community feel that radiates from every aspect of the place, I wouldn’t be getting up that early now would I? I think not!
Now I have my own business, and of course there is an element of Sales. If you want people to come to you, you have to sell yourself. I am aware that I am not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, and that is totally fine and understandable. It comes with the territory. Again, if I didn’t believe in the benefits of massage and how they can assist so many people, it would be impossible to sell.
The moral of this story friends? If you are passionate about something, you can sell it. Find your passion – what makes you smile? What gets you excited? What do you like to talk about a lot? What do you find yourself doing in your spare time? You never know, you might encourage someone to start a hobby because of the love and enthusiasm you spoke about it with.
Have you got a hidden talent that you didn’t realise you had?
Mindful Mel xo
In this day and age we are instantly granted whatever we wish, particularly in the material sense. With the constant upgrade of technology we are doing things today that our Ancestors could have only dreamed of. We are able to shop online 24/7. You don’t have the money? Just apply for a credit card and that will take care of that! If we have a question we can just type it into good old Google and Ta-Da! The answer to our question is revealed. We have access to games, online where there is a reward of a finished product. If you can’t work it out you can look up ‘cheats’ to get to the next level, to increase how many ‘coin’s’ you have, and so on and so forth.
You no longer need to listen to the Hot 30 Countdown on the radio and tape your favourite songs onto a cassette tape. With the likes of Spotify, YouTube, Pandora and so many more you can listen to your favourite song over and over and over again until you are sick of it and you want to listen to something else.
However, there are still instances in life where you have to work towards what you want. You can’t just have that thing that you want in an instant. You have to work hard to get the job that you want, you might have to study, go through a whole key selection criterion while you are applying for jobs, and then go through a gruelling interview process. To save money for a holiday, a car, a house, or whatever else it is that you desire you have to get up and go to work, you have to carefully plan how much you need to put away to save for that desire.
Then there are relationships, they involve a process too. From communicating with someone, then maintaining the friendship like a garden. It needs to be tended to. It needs to be a 2 way street. If we go deeper and look at romantic relationships, they are different again. They take time to develop. You can’t just meet someone and the next day you are ready to walk down the aisle, planned the breed of your next dog, and named your future kids Asparagus and Dill. It takes time. Humans are complex creatures. To truly understand the in’s and out’s of someone you need to take the time to get to know them, by spending time with them, participating in a wide range of activities and purely just participating in everyday life. “As we get past our superficial material wants and instant gratification we connect to a deeper part of ourselves, as well as to others, and the universe” Judith Wright.
While we are becoming immune and expectant in getting what we want, we need to channel our inner patience and understand that good things, which we shouldn’t take for granted take time, persistence, work and patience.
“The ability to discipline yourself to delay gratification in the short term in order to enjoy greater rewards in the long term is the indispensable prerequisite for success” Maxwell Maltz.