July282016

Accepting Yourself, and Why it’s Important

 

Closeup portrait of a happy young woman smiling isolated on white background

Ask yourself – how can you be truly happy if you don’t accept who you are? You might have an incredible life – great job, amazing friends, fabulous partner and engaging hobbies – but if you aren’t content with yourself then there will always be a small part of you preventing the journey to real, complete happiness. So, self-acceptance is crucial to living a wholly successful life. If you already accept and even love yourself then you’re on the fast track to fulfilment. For those that haven’t reached this point yet, there are a couple of things you should consider.

 

Humble Humanity

The number one thing to remember: we are all human. No human is alike, and no human is perfect. We all come with flaws and issues, we all have different mindsets and we all have a past. Each and every one of us is unique. There is no one else like you or I in the entire world. Comparing yourself to others or putting yourself on a pedestal does absolutely nothing for your self-esteem and self-worth. Once you realise that being human doesn’t mean fitting some idealised depiction of what ‘perfect’ is, your mind can find peacefulness. So what if you have bad traits? Everyone has a ‘bad’ trait, or a trait they aren’t too thrilled about. Instead of letting that get you down, focus on your wonderful traits – I bet there are many! And remember, anything you dislike about yourself you have the power to change. The first step? Change your mindset, and truly believe that you are capable of doing this.

 

Good Vibes Only

Without positivity, you’re going to struggle to find acceptance. Ever heard the saying “when you love someone, you love everything about them?” Well, this is how you need to think about yourself! You cannot truly accept yourself if you are only accepting the things that you like, or approve of. You need to accept your whole self – every little part of you that makes you into the unique person you are. Ask yourself what it is you cannot accept. Maybe it’s something to do with your appearance, or a bad habit you have. Maybe it’s a personality trait. Whatever it is, contemplate it, really consider every angle to it, then let it go. Just let go. Understand that it is part of your identity. Once you feel this acceptance – truly believe it – then you free your mind and soul, and release yourself to the possibility of complete happiness and fulfilment. Author and psychotherapist Amy Bloom was correct in saying: “you are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.”

July222016

Growing Up: One for the Teens

Growing Up

Growing up is a fact of life, but it’s not always easy. Your teenage years and early twenties are often the most up-and-down years of your life, with pressures amounting from personal change, employment, relationships and more. You will experience many different emotions and situations during this time, some bad and some great. The important thing to remember is that you have the power to shape the direction of your life, and it is up to you to do this while you are young and have your whole future ahead of you.

 

Direction

No one expects you to have a clear sense of direction when you’re in high school. Some people do, some people don’t – that doesn’t mean either is right or wrong. Figuring out what you want to do with your life might not come to you until you are well into your twenties. Don’t stress about it – the journey to self-realisation is an important learning process. You get to connect with yourself, discover what you love most, what kind of person you are and where you foresee yourself going. Don’t leave high school behind thinking you should know immediately what job you’re going to have in ten years’ time. It doesn’t work like that. If you leave school without a clue of what to do, get a job, save your penny’s and go overseas. Travelling enhances your sense of independence and broadens the mind in a way that no other experience can. Remember that you don’t need to have everything sorted when you’re young. You will take wrong turns, but that is all part of the experience of growing up and discovering yourself. Embrace the change!

 

Love

Relationships will come and go throughout your young years – friends, partners, family. You will probably experience at least one breakup, which will change your perceptions and help you grow as a person. Breakups can feel like the absolute worst thing in the world, but they are also valuable because they allow you to mature and gain a sense of what you are really looking for in a romantic relationship. When a breakup is fresh you might feel like you wish you had never met that person at all. Thought you can’t see it at the time, know that each and every person who walks into our lives can teach us something, whether we realise it or not. Maybe it was a hurtful relationships, so you learn to be more careful and to stand up for yourself. Maybe you were hurtful, so you realise you need to change your actions. Maybe you just became too absorbed too quickly, and understand now that you need to put yourself and your life first. Don’t wish things away that you can’t. Appreciate the lessons and experiences you have been given from this person. It hurts, but sometimes painful memories are the most beautiful.

 

Five Things to Tell Your Younger Self

If, like me, you are no longer in your twenties, there may be a few things you would tell yourself as a young adult. Here’s my list – what’s yours?

  • Everything will work out eventually. It certainly won’t seem like it while everything is topsey-turvey and upside-down, but one way or another, it will. One day when you’re in your thirties living life you will suddenly look back and say, “oh! Here I am. Right where I’m supposed to be.”
  • Follow your passions. Don’t stop dreaming or doing what you love because it’s scary. Life is far too short to settle for safety. Do what you enjoy, do what excites you, and do what you are good at. Understand that we are on this Earth to enjoy our time. Happiness must be an imperative.
  • You can do anything, if you believe. I was lucky enough to realise early on that if I put my mind to it and believed in my power to create change, I could actually do just that. Once you are aware of your capabilities, the world is your oyster. You can go anywhere, create anything and be anyone.
  • Don’t let good people slip out of your life. You’ll get busier and busier as you move into your twenties, and finding time to catch up with friends becomes much harder. Hold onto your good friends and don’t let go. You don’t need lots of friends in life, but having a handful of close ones who will be there for you through thick and thin is crucial. Treat them with respect and love, and don’t give up.
  • You are stronger than you think. You will go through tough times during these years – no doubt. But you will get through them, no matter how badly they seem. Pain is a beautiful thing, because it opens our eyes to the reality of life. When you think back to those dark days, you will be thankful because they helped turn you into the strong, capable person you are today.

July202016

Women’s Day 2016 – RHOAKL

July152016

Revive the Mind

Revive the Mind

“Mindfulness – it isn’t a trick or a gimmick. It’s being present in the moment.” Author Will Schawlbe couldn’t have put it any better. If we are not mindful, we are not really present. Without pausing to admire the beauty of the world we live in and acknowledge the little things, we cannot really appreciate and understand life. Thus, taking time out of our busy routines is crucial to finding happiness and being truly content. The best part? It’s really quite simple to achieve. I’ve put together a few basic ways to broaden, relax and rejuvenate the mind on a daily basis. They’ll have you mastering mindfulness before you know it.

 

Meditate, Deliberate

You’ve got to meditate. I recommend meditating for at least fifteen minutes a day, preferably more like half an hour. I make sure I meditate every morning before I begin my day, and cannot stress enough how much it does. Meditation connects your soul, mind and body. You will soothe and refresh your very being, opening yourself to new possibilities. Similarly, it is important to spend some time thinking each day. With meditation, all thoughts stop. Allowing time to also contemplate our position on Earth, our purpose and our direction is an equally valuable activity. Recognise where you are right now, and appreciate it. Gratitude and acknowledgement are key components of a life well lived.

 

Technology Holiday

Yes, that’s right. Getting a break from our (many) digital devices is crucial to reviving the mind. We are surrounded by phones, tablets and computers throughout most of the day. Because we constantly carry out digital companions, we constantly use them. Think about it – before the smart phone came along, coffee with friends would mean an hour or two of straight talking and bonding. Now, it probably wouldn’t be more than ten minutes before someone reaches for their phone – for whatever reason. We are not only reliant on our phones and tablets, but in many ways addicted to them. We can’t seem to function without them. If you get lost, you no longer need to use initiative or communicate with strangers to ask for help – you can Google map it on your smart phone. If you want to check your bank balance, you don’t have to stroll down the street to an ATM – you can do it on your smart phone. Getting away from technology forces you to experience life properly. Allocate two hours a day (at least) where you don’t have any electronics with you. Go for a walk on the beach, do yoga, read a book – anything. Live in the real world, not behind your device.

 

Explore, a Little

“The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself” – Henry Miller. Lastly, an effective way to revive the mind is to spend time outdoors. Embrace nature. Go adventuring, and explore somewhere new. Take a hike in your nearest regional park (New Zealand has tons of them!), go for a bike ride or find a new beach. Realising how diverse and beautiful our natural world is truly opens your mind. You realise there is more to life than a daily routine, and many, many more places to explore.

 

 

July142016

Eye Magazine Winter Ball 2016

July142016

Angela Stone & Louise Wallace talk RHOAKL – July 2016

 

Read the Women’s Day article and watch the video here.

July072016

Four Traits to Embrace

Four Traits to Embrace

As we go through life, our personality traits very much define who we are and how we are perceived by others. What makes us unique is that we each have a range of different traits. While it’s important to be different, there are a few traits that everyone could do with encapsulating. If we all embraced the four traits below, the world would be a much better place, built on not just fairness but both passion and compassion.

 

Patience

We live in a mile-a-minute world, where we think fast, talk fast and move even faster. Learning to be patient is the only way to step back and allow yourself to breathe. Don’t rush through life. Relax. Yes, it’s certainly frustrating when you’re stuck in traffic and have somewhere you need to be – but stressing about it doesn’t get you anywhere. Similarly, if things don’t go your way there is no need to panic. Trust that, in time, everything will work out the way it is supposed to. We make mistakes so that we can grow stronger and wiser. Ever heard the saying ‘good things come to those who wait’? You can’t wait without patience – so get practicing!

 

Kindness

The incredible designer Oscar de la Renta once said: “the qualities I most admire in women are confidence and kindness.” Of all these traits, kindness, to me, is the most important one to master. Kindness is what fuels any good human act. It is our thoughtfulness, our selflessness and our compassion that in fact renders us human. A world without kindness would be no place to live. You will encounter people throughout your life that aren’t always friendly or polite, but if you rise above and respond with kindness then you spread warmth and positivity. Focus on being a better person, and live by the rule: be kind.

 

Enthusiasm

Our goals cannot be achieved without passion and drive. Be fierce about what you stand for. Enthusiasm is contagious – be upbeat, be excited and those around you will feel it, too. It’s not only our goals that need passion to survive, however. If you want to enjoy your life, to really live your life – then you have to be enthusiastic. Don’t just drift through life without any overwhelming sensation of joy. Get excited! Try new things, because life is short. Laugh, play, sing and dance. If you love something, show it. Don’t hold back!

 

Responsibility

With any life there must be some responsibility. A person cannot grow if they don’t take responsibility for their actions, and a person that doesn’t grow is not living a successful life. Acknowledge your impact on the world around you, be it good or bad. If you have done something great, don’t brush it aside – you don’t have to brag to realise an accomplishment and feel proud. Likewise, if you have done something unsavoury, accept that you are responsible for it. Doing so will allow you to learn from your mistake and improve for the future.

July012016

Crossroads: Where to from Here?

Black woman hugging her knees

 

At some point in your life you will find yourself at a crossroads. This crossroads presents you with a choice, and forces you to make big decisions that will effect the direction your life will take. While you may encounter several crossroads throughout your life’s journey, it is most common to be faced with one in your twenties. This is the age where everything changes. You have finished high school, and are now ready to step out into the world. There’s a sense of possibility and freedom, but also, for many, a sense of apprehension. Like many, I went through an experience such as this when I was younger. And I’m here to tell you – it’s okay. It will be okay.

 

Lostness

It is not uncommon to feel lost when you are at this age and time in your life. Maybe some of your friends from school are at university studying to be lawyers or doctors, and this scares you because just don’t know what you want to do in ten, twenty, thirty years time. Maybe your newsfeed is littered with photos of people you know travelling the world, but you aren’t sure that an overseas excursion is for you right now. Maybe, you see familiar faces in the same job they’ve been in for years. All of these scenarios can be scary. You feel like you are getting left behind, and don’t have a place in the world. Where do I go from here? What happens next? What am I doing? What do I want to do? I guarantee, you are not the only person feeling this way. The important thing to realise is that you can’t become consumed with worry. The truth is, no one really knows what they will be doing in ten or twenty years. Maybe your old friends who studied to be lawyers and doctors will have completely different careers. All you can do is establish what you want at this time, and follow that path. If you can’t figure even that out, then an OE is a valuable option. Travelling broadens your mind and increases your sense of independence. You will learn things about yourself and about the world that you can only discover by getting out of your comfort zone. You will make friends for life, and gain a deeper perspective of what life is really like. So at this point, try not to stress too much. You don’t need to have everything figured out right now. You will gain a sense of direction as you progress through your twenties – just maybe not the way you thought you would.

 

Love

This is something nearly everyone will grapple with during their twenties. If you’re single, you will probably wonder if you are ever going to find the right person, or if you will be alone forever (not likely). You might think that there is no one out there for you, or that when you do meet them it will be too late to start a family. If this is the case, don’t sweat it – there is someone out there for each and every one of us. When you find that person can’t be answered, but know that you will have love in your life. Alternatively, if you’re in a relationship already the stigma of being in your twenties and needing to sort your life out can put a lot of strain on a couple. Some decide early on that this is it, and begin building their lives together. Others might panic, wondering if they really want to spend their lives with this person, if they need to be with other people since they’re so young, if they need to be on their own for part of this momentous decade. You can’t think like that. Just like you can’t know what career your future self will have, you can’t know for sure who you will end up marrying or spending your life with. You can, however, know how you feel. Do you love this person? Do they make you happy and enhance your life? Does the thought of losing them make you feel sick? Can you picture yourself eventually settling down with them? If you answered no, or doubted any of those questions then maybe you do need to consider what is best for you and your partner. But if you answered yes, then take the chance. Most people who give up on love because they think they need to be on their own regret it further down the track. If you are lucky enough to have real love now, then you go for it – and you might have everything.

 

Everything Happens the Way it is Supposed To

This is one of my favourite mottos, and it definitely applies to the crossroads of your twenties, as well as any crossroads you may face later in life. You must believe that their is a greater force out there which guides us on the journey of life. When you are in your twenties, you are still discovering things about yourself, your wants and needs, and life in general. What means something to you is unique. There’s no right way to do things. It will unfold naturally and you will end up where you are supposed to be. If something bad happens to you, know that is happening for a reason – to make your stronger, to build your sense of self-confidence, to increase your independence or to teach you a valuable life lesson. To make way for bigger and better things. Life has ups and downs, which is what makes it such an exciting adventure. It’s unpredictable. Rest assured that while things may seem uncertain now, in ten years time you will be exactly where you are meant to, and you will look back at your twenties and be thankful.

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