How to be brave

1. Stand tall. Really tall. The kind of tall that pushes your shoulders back and makes all the little bones in your back pop from having been hunched over for so long. Put your hands on your hips and just hold it. For like 2 minutes. There’s a science behind how a power stance held for a small amount of time can make you literally feel more powerful. It’s time to fake it until you make it. YOU ARE NOT A FRAUD!

 2. Go through all your previous successes. Met a deadline at work? You get a gold star. Climbed the stairs instead of taking the escalator? Gold star. Woke up this morning and got out of bed? Go you, gold star. Didn’t get out of bed? Doesn’t matter, you woke up which means you are brave enough to live (okay, maybe you had no choice to wake up but you did it anyway) GOLD STAR!!! Sometimes you need to celebrate your achievements no matter the size to remind yourself that you are capable of anything.

 3. Remember the last time you said ‘I can’t’ and did it anyway. This is my go-to method to get through anything. You’ve finished exams, work days and difficult situations you thought would be the end of you and came out unscathed at the end. People have marched barefoot across Europe during wartime, dealt with the grief of a lost one and completed a rubix cube in 5.5 seconds. YOU CAN DO THIS!

 4. Talk to yourself. Yes, actually talk to yourself. This goes back to the ‘fake it until your make it’ mentality. Pick anyone of these phrases – or all of them – and start speaking out loud.

– “I am here, and I am doing this.”

– “I can’t, but I will.”

– “I deserve this.”

– “I am capable.”

– “Happiness is not reserved for the slim/wealthy/deserving.”

 5. Never restrain your emotions – don’t be afraid to feel. We are chemically designed to feel. Think about it. Humans and animals alike all have been built to process information through a series of chemicals given off by our bodies. So it’s important to process your feelings as they come and confront them head on. This will give you room to breathe and deal with the task at hand. Trying to avoid or repress an uncomfortable emotion could lead to more destructive behaviour. Take an emotional eater for example. They receive news that there’s a possibility of being made redundant at work. Rather than confront feeling distressed and worried they make haste for the nearest vending machine to create a distraction, avoid the shock and possibly consume a snack that will chemically light up the reward and pleasure centres in their brain. This creates a temporary high from what has just happened and negates from having to feel bad.

To make light of this example, this hypothetical person almost has to be brave about being brave!

 6. Think of the bigger picture. I am not suggesting you dull the importance of your circumstance by reminding yourself of big issues like famine or war. I am however suggesting you get a bit of perspective. You need to roll all the above mentioned points into one for this final tip to work and really cut to why you want to be brave. Are you scared? Are you nervous? Why are you feeling these things? Will they destroy you? The answer at the end will almost certainly be no so try to dwell on that rather than the issue. It can sometimes help to ask yourself, ‘Will this matter to me in a week?’

7. Imagine the end goal or your desired outcome. As airy fairy as this sounds it helps to visualise what you want to achieve. You can almost always find strength to be brave if you know exactly what it is you need to do.

So there you have it. These are my 7 top tips on how to be brave and I’m sticking to them. They have helped me through countless situations including confrontation, overcoming fear, dealing with lack of motivation and everything else that requires a little bit of gumption. I hope whatever has led you to this page will be made a little easier and you are able to use these tips too.

Side note: Always remember when you need to be brave that everyone’s problems are their own and are as big and important to their owner. What seems easy or complicated to you will not affect everyone else in the same way. For example; Public speaking may be a breeze for some but for others it is the single most terrifying thing you could do. Don’t compare yourself to how others would deal with anything because it’s not a fair measure. You are unique and just like you and I, being brave comes in all shapes and sizes.

Take Courage!

I don’t know about you but …

I'm feeling 22

So yesterday I spent my last day ever as a 21 year old. I can now look back and go ‘oh, I wish I was 21 again’ like all my middle aged co-workers who are slightly nostalgic with a hint of jealous when the subject of my age comes up.

So what did being 21 have to offer me? I can tell you that 21 has really been a year of learning rather than doing. In the three years previous I finished high school, moved to the UK, met Matt, got engaged and did a lot of travelling in between. But this year, having slowed down I’ve had the opportunity to appreciate the small comforts that come with being still, content.

In the beginning I found this challenging as my wanderlust and natural aversion to sitting still started to niggle at me while I worked day to day in my life. But slowly I began to accept that for this time, in this season, I am here. In this job, with this man, in our house and in my packaging.

After I had come to accept these things, real change started to happen as I became more receptive and accepting to the moving forces around me. I reacted differently to change. Apologised more often. Exercised patience and forgiveness beyond the capacity I believed I had. Sought answers to difficult issues. Accepted situations I didn’t think I could and even learned to like people I didn’t think I would.

And now as I write this I kind of realise that you don’t have to going anywhere to get somewhere. I can see now that this year I have gotten to a higher place of self-assuredness + worldliness because I chose to grow. At 21, every day I chose to walk my own path and own it like a mother bitch.

So although I had a really kick ass year doing kick ass things I admit that the best thing that happened to me during the year of 21 was personal growth. And I hope I can look back at 22 through the same coloured glasses … jokes, I’m getting married next week so no doubt that’s going to be next years’ highlight.

Hollatcha gurl.

P.s. can’t stop singing this G-damn song!

The one article every 20-something year old MUST read

I am so about to get into a mini bitch fit. This week alone I have seen various friends sharing and liking articles from Buzzfeed and Thought Catalog that are peppered with 20-something year old women embarking on risqué activities like flashing their breasts in bikinis + jumping fences that say ‘no trespassing’. The article title is always something similar; ‘why 20-something women need to stop thinking like 30-something women, ‘Relax – you’re only 25′ and my personal favourite, ’10 reasons why getting married at 22 is like leaving the party at 9pm.’

It doesn’t take a genius to realise why these kind of articles get the bee under my bonnet buzzing. I always click on them because I would like to think I could relate to them being a 21 but I always get half way through and notice that they are geared towards two things; painting a carefree picture of 20-something year old life and avoiding monogamy like the plague.

One of the articles I read was just a giant list of why you shouldn’t even THINK about being in a relationship with someone when you are in your twenties because being in your twenties is for having fun and fun only. And everyone knows that being with someone means you aren’t having fun.

I feel these articles are created to make some girls feel good about their existence while victimising and ridiculing others. And it worked because for a split second it made me think; gosh I seem to have my shit pretty well put together … maybe I am missing out?

You see the effect of reading shit like this creates? It has the potential to be very destructive. For both types of women who read them. If you don’t have your shit together and are wandering around aimlessly these articles might serve as a reminder that you are doing everything you should be because you are 20-something. You don’t need to think of the future, have career prospects and you most definitely don’t need to be in a relationship because you should be sleeping around and binge drinking yourself into oblivion every Thursday night.

On the flip side if you do seem to be on a path that seems a little older than your age because life handed you lemons and you grabbed hold of them this article serves as a reminder that you might be too grown and out of touch for your age. You are missing out on all the fun because you are getting married and leaving the party at 9 whiles the rest of us just settling in.

I mean come on! Life isn’t made from a cookie-cutter and not everyone needs to have identical experiences in order to have lived. You may have travelled to Europe, got a degree, jumped out of a plane, paid into your pension, entered a wet T shirt competition, got engaged, bought a car, gone backpacking, moved out of home, discovered you were gay, started a cake business … all this stuff isn’t on some checklist that’s being held in the heavens for when you pass on into the next life. God isn’t going to be waiting for you at the pearly gates to tell you that you can’t come in because you didn’t tick donkey riding in Peru off ‘the life list.’

And doing any of these things out of the sociably acceptable sequence does not mean you are a success or failure. It means you did life the way it came to you. I mean, I was fortunate to have met Matt when I was 20 and I sure as hell wasn’t going to lose him because I was young and thought there was more to be done or had or tasted in the world.

These articles may seem harmless on the surface but they are just another way in which society is imparting its voice on who, what, when, where and how you should be. And in reading them we are choosing to accept these imposed rules.

I’m definitely not saying don’t read them, not by a long stretch. I know that it’s nice to feel connected particularly when you haven’t got your shit together. To know that perhaps someone out there doesn’t too and it’s okay and you’re not off track. I’m just saying, don’t mold your life around these ideals. You are a human and someone else’s idea of living doesn’t have to be your own.

If you want to go on safari and live in a tent for the rest of your life … do it.

If you want to live in your home town & marry your high school sweet heart … do it.

If you want to dress up as the opposite sex and sing ‘I shot the sheriff’ … do it.
(please, I will pay to see.)

The only thing I ask is that you don’t ever put someone down for not walking in your shoes.

Fuck a fake friend, where your real friends at?

Seriously though – fuck fake friends.

Fuck those who only want you to play pawn in their egotistical game of friendship chess. Fuck the ones who talk smack behind your back. Fuck the ones who never apologise. Fuck the ones who you always have to be in contact with for them to know that your relationship is valid. Fuck the ones who don’t understand what it is to connect on a real level. Fuck those people you can’t speak to without getting caught up in their drama. Fuck the people who never stand up for you. Fuck the ones who embarrass you. Fuck the ones who never grew up. Fuck the people who tell you ‘you’ve changed.’ Fuck the Queen Bees. Fuck the hierarchy. Fuck the ones who belittle your accomplishments. Fuck the ones who can’t keep secrets. Fuck those who medal in your life with the intention to hurt. Fuck the ones who can’t forgive. Fuck the ones who can’t forget. Fuck those who make you feel as if you have to stoop to their mental capacity to be a part of the group. Fuck those who think you have to talk about someone else to be interesting. Fuck the people who make you feel bad for being weird. Fuck the negative ones. Fuck the people you dread going to see. Fuck those who make you feel fat. Fuck those who make you feel like you’re too good for them. Fuck people who aren’t happy for you. Fuck those who bring the worst out in you. Fuck the people who make you feel like you need them. Fuck the small minded people. Fuck bitches. Fuck gossip. Fuck egos. Fuck jealousy. Fuck the flaky. Fuck the freeloaders. Fuck the people who tarnish your name. Fuck the people who take your shine. Fuck the ones who don’t bring out anything but the best in you. Fuck the friends who are disguised as your enemies. Fuck the ones who only call when they need something. Fuck the people who think you need them.
Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck a fake friend.

Drizzy

Did you know …

Did you know that the best time to give a compliment is the exact time you think it?
I stole that quote from the movie Don Hemingway but that’s not the point.

When was the last time you thought something positive about a beautiful woman who walked past or a man wearing a super sharp suit and said something to them? Did the urge to stop them and say, ‘Red is really your colour. You look fantastic!’ prevail or did you saunter back into your own life letting them and that moment pass?

I can tell you that yesterday I handed out 4 sincere compliments. 2 were to people on the street, 1 was to a colleague and 1 was on Facebook (don’t know if it still counts.) Not because I am a saint but because I would like to think that I could, only for a moment, build a connection between someone who doesn’t and may never know my name. Have a moment with them that is completely selfless. A moment I created in an act of unselfish service to make a stranger feel better. Feel important. Feel valuable and noticed. Isn’t that what we all want? To be noticed …

Well here’s the kicker, if you want to be noticed you’ve got to notice.
Start with seeing the big things like the height of buildings. The sky. The sound of a passing lorry. And work yourself into seeing the small things like the wrinkles that have formed on your parents faces since you’ve been away. The flick of a woman’s hair. The cackle of your co workers laugh.

From there you might even be compelled to FEEL things. The sting of a chilly autumn wind. The legs of your trousers on your skin. Your fingers tapping on a keyboard. The thrum of a heartbeat as you drift off to sleep. What is it to physically feel something?

Once you can see and feel, maybe just maybe the sensory blinders that had been blocking you from noticing life would lift and you would be able to start to appreciate little things. And everything would become magnified as if you had been in a freak accident and you now have super hero noticing powers. Not in a noisy sense though. Not as if you were on ecstasy and everything is louder and brighter and beautiful – but as if you just had the power to hone in on things you knew existed but never really noticed.

Once you can really see and feel and appreciate everyone and everything in its essence and being – wouldn’t you stop feeling so ashamed or nervous about shooting a compliment to a deserving stranger? Wouldn’t you feel compelled to notice the beauty of their skin, perfume, eyes, trouser suit, pocket square and let them know
‘Hey you riding that hotdog. I notice you and I think what you got going on is impeccable.’

Could it be possible that the steps to being noticed is to feel, see, appreciate, learn to notice and then, and only then be noticed yourself? Wouldn’t your appreciation for yourself allow you to inadvertently be noticed by yourself? I don’t know, maybe I am just rambling … my initial blog post was going to be about the correlation between Nutella cupcakes and the Big Bang Theory so I guess you could say I am rambling.

#foodforthought #foodformouth #foodforuniverse?

pauladeen