Photography: Kyle Galvin
We’re gonna have to be a little bit selfish in todays post, because well sometimes you just have to look out for number one first. I’m really not a selfish person in my demeanour, actually, which is weird because while I do take a lot of measures to try and ensure some self-love, i’m pretty selfless in putting other people first, always. It’s not a bad thing to be selfish sometimes with yourself and your own personal happiness though, and that’s where a little bit of learning about ‘me’ comes in today. I think there is always more to learn about ‘me’ and there’s always chapters to grow and blossom.
Big question this one, but on the whole, are you happy? If not, why not? What can you do to change this? I don’t think any humans out there are truly 100% happy all the time, and really it’s a bit of an unrealistic goal to shoot for. Don’t aim low, but set manageable expectations. There will be good and bad in every single day. If your bad begins to outweigh the good, let’s change it! Why not? There’s no time like the present. For me right now, quite a lot of my days are getting pretty good at being happy. But there are things that are not, and those are what I am currently striving to change, to make better and to keep evolving into a better ‘me’. For me, step one is more exercise, step two is to look less at others and compare myself less, and step three is to remember i am blessed with what I have. Step four is to make more time for myself, and step five is to make more time for family. They’re not really in any sort of order, just things i’m working on all at the same time.
One of the things that has changed my life overwhelmingly in the last couple of years, is a proper switch up in my home environment. This has come both physically and mentally. Physically, I invested a little bit more into making our house more of a ‘home’ – there really is a difference – and you can do this cheaply. We go to IKEA, Sainsburys, Wilkos and HM Home, all of which have loads of home things that are only a few quid. You would not believe the difference a couple of £3 fake plants and £5 fairy lights can make on how cosy and comfy you feel. I didn’t care enough about our home before, just saw it as a place to sleep, and I learned the hard way this was making me unhappy. Make it a place you want to sit, read a book or watch TV. This is going to add tenfold to how you feel about you. Trust me, I feel it.
For a long time I was really good at saying ‘no’. Too good, actually. I had it almost down to an art form. Because of this I missed out on so much, and in the last six months i’ve been making an effort to rectify this, and realise the error of my previous ways. A lot shifted in my personal life and I stopped going out as much as before. I wanted to focus on work. There’s a balance though, and you can work hard and play hard too. This doesn’t even mean drinking loads. I barely drink at all any more and not only do I feel better in myself, I feel happier, too. You can of course do whatever makes you happy, but for me I stopped worrying about the pressures of having to drink and getting anxious because of this = therefore saying ‘no’, and started thinking more about missing out on life, the adventures and the people in it. I now say ‘yes’ a lot more, and i’ve noticed my inner happiness reaping the benefits. I now have a completely new set of loyal, hilarious and amazing friends who have turned my life upside down from being indoors by myself all the time worrying about blogging, to living a normal, free, and exciting life. It’s cliche, but say ‘yes’ more!
Perhaps right now you’re the other way and you’re out too much, not giving yourself enough time to breathe. I know that some people don’t always like to be by themselves and that’s totally fine – again, always do what’s right for you – but I always think that a good afternoon spent alone reading, writing, relaxing in whatever form it takes for you, is such good food for the soul. I think you always learn more about yourself and what you want to improve when you are able to take time for some well needed breathing space. I do this at least once a week and sit on the sofa daydreaming about what I want to achieve, where I want to go, what I need to do to get there. I write it all down, for me this is very cathartic. You’ll find something that works for you, too. And don’t ever feel guilty for that. Look, say ‘yes’ as much as you can, but never feel guilty for saying ‘no’. I learned this recently too, and my inner turmoils over FOMOs and severed ties are much lessened. The best and right friends for you are the ones that truly understand when you say you just need a little alone time. For our mental health sake, it’s healthy and good to be alone. Enjoy those blissful moments.
This one is particularly tough for me at the moment and i’d be a liar if I said I was fine with this. It can be so hard to truly love yourself and what you see looking back at you in that mirror. But, it needn’t always be tough. I firmly believe it’s so important to switch off everything else around you, the TV, those magazines, that damned Insta page you always go back to, and at least once a week, look in the mirror and find something you love. I looked the other day and noticed how pretty my eye colour was. It made me feel so unique and so special just taking those 15 minutes to myself to look. There will always be something that is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen, and don’t take any shame in admitting that. I’m also a big firm believer in changing whatever feels right for you. Talk to your friends, your family, and others – and if you know it will make you happy – change it. Look, I did a tiny thing recently, I got my lashes lifted (pre this photo set unfortunately!) I spoke to my friends that had done it, and I decided to do it too. I feel better in myself. My makeup looks nicer and my eyes are more opened up. It’s not gonna happen overnight, but the more you look at yourself with admiration and awe, the more you’ll begin to believe it. The more you believe it, the better.
None of these things are a quick fix, but they are a booster in getting to know ‘me’. A little shot of happiness. I’m getting so much better at finding happiness in life, and I firmly believe my troublesome and sad teenage years are long behind me now. If you’re worrying about yours or you’re currently in a rough patch, I want you to know that it does get better. And you have to listen to me i’m afraid because well, i’m older than you. And i’ve always wanted an excuse to play that card.