Photography: Kaye Ford | Words: Zoe London
I’m learning so much every day and I’m getting there with defining a set of ‘rules’ (loose term) to live by.
I don’t think it’s a set in stone thing, probably more of a somewhat clickbait title to say you need rules to live by, but well, if you’re anything like me it’s nice to have a firm list of things to refer to for self growth and happiness. Well, i’m not the most qualified but today i’m gonna make us a list, even if the term ‘rules’ is a bit strict, perhaps we need to be a bit stricter on ourselves in implementing happiness. I honestly always thought that thing where you cared less as you got older became a myth, but it’s definitely true. I’m still a paranoid little thing, but i’ve got a lot better about not caring, living happier and trying to do the best I can to keep it that way. Let’s get through this together, and here’s my list of ‘rules’ we should live by to maintain personal strength and a happy life.
1 – Live in the moment.
This is something i’m not always good at. I think it’s so easy to get wrapped up in everything going on, everything uploading to socials and enveloping yourself in future or past stresses means you don’t quite enjoy the present. The actual moment you’re in. In 2017 I had several successful trips with George where we just existed. Sure, we did spend some of our time shooting photos or video, but we spent 90% of it talking to each other, leaving our phones in the hotel room for dinner or just driving along that highway singing at the top of our lungs. I’m really good at doing this abroad, but not so much in daily life. You know little kids and children just running about all the time are so happy because they’re just living for whats infront of them, taking each step as it comes and dedicating all their time to the people around them. I’m not saying it’s time to regress, but I think as adults we take the weight of the world on our shoulders when we don’t always need to. It’s not about growing up, it’s about enjoying the life you have while you have it.
2 – See positives in every situation.
Again, i’m not always good at this but i’m trying to get better. It’s hard to always see a positive, especially when you do feel sad, or negative. But well, not everything is going to be perfect, not everything will be easy. That’s just how it is. There is always a choice, and if you face problems with a positive outlook, it weighs less on your mental health, less on your shoulders and usually results in quicker resolutions. I used to be a lot more negative than I am now, because i’m trying to turn every situation into a positive. I think the choice you have to ground yourself into a hole of negativity vs trying to focus on the positives is always one you need to step back and choose. All negative experiences are learning lessons, and they always leave you with some kind of personal education to better yourself. Man, i’ve been in some very low and negative experiences, but I learned from them and made myself a better person. It’s fine to have down days and to get frustrated and cry or not leave your duvet for a whole day, but when it comes to waking up afresh the next morning and tackling it, take it in a positive stride. You got this.
3 – Appreciate what you have and stop comparing.
I’m absolutely bloody rubbish at this. I always think i’m a failure because i’m comparing myself to others. More so to do with my career rather than my personal life, i’m so proud of the things i’ve achieved personally. Being such a career driven girl means i’m constantly looking at others in the same career and comparing myself. It’s not good, nor healthy. No matter how many times I tell myself this, I know I always need to hear it again, so here goes: you will never be happy if you always look at what others have. You will never be happy if you wish for things you don’t have or need. This will always make you sad, and make you feel like something is missing from your life when really you have everything you need in front of you. If you are miserable in your job or relationship, make positive steps to achieve what it is you do want, but don’t compare your success to someone else’s success. It’s not relative. I am so bad at this and I need to hear it so many times because I always want to achieve more than what I have. If you read above, you can see where I even say how happy I am with my personal life! I am so thrilled and my heart is happy. But in terms of a career? I know I can achieve more. Turn this into positive reenforcement, into inspiration, into motivation. Don’t burn your own bridges with demotivation or jealousy before you even have a chance to build them. I think if you remind yourself constantly that what you have is amazing, even if it seems like the smallest thing, you will feel happier.
4 – Be comfortable in your own skin, and be true to yourself.
This is one of the only ones I truly start to feel like i’ve made great headway with. For years i’ve felt uncomfortable in my own skin, through school I was so depressed that my eyes needed glasses and my teeth needed braces and ugh, I still do very much have issues with certain parts of my body. But, on the plus side, i’ve got a lot more comfortable owning who I am and living in it. Sure, we make cosmetic adjustments, but you gotta do whatever you need to to make your skin feel like you, to hit that sweet spot where you feel happy, but not narcissistic or egotistical – those things will only make you more negative in the long run. Staying true to who you want to be as a person on the outside and close to what your mind and heart tells you on the inside means you’re never lying, never keeping up a faux facade, not pretending to be someone you’re not. It’s gotta be exhausting for one, and not something that’s going to bring you much long term happiness. I’ve defo fluctuated with my style in the past – look at me here i’m in a skirt! – and I still do struggle with that, taking the lead from others often a bit too much when I should remember to stick to my hearts style, but as the years go on I can feel myself finally getting to grips with being more comfortable in my skin. No one is perfect, and everyone has their own personal struggles. Switching the mentality away from this being your every day life to being a quirk about you that you own can do absolute wonders for your mental state. It’s not as easy as 1, 2, 3.. and no one should expect it to be. But love yourself more. Accept yourself for who you are. Distance yourself from people who make you feel bad, and make peace with your soul. Do not let anyone make you feel like you are not worthy.
It’s not the longest or most comprehensive set of rules, but I think bombarding yourself with too many is overwhelming. I’m focussing on some inner happiness today and there’s so much more we can expand on. I have so much work to do myself and sharing it with you makes me feel so much better. I don’t feel alone. You’re never alone in this, self improvement, knowing self worth and inner happiness is something every single person on this planet can relate to. Talk more, be honest, be true. Open up. It’s not a shameful thing to talk, it’s not any detriment to you. It’s a sign of strength, wanting to change, to better yourself. There’s so many things like this out there but I wanted to just break it down a bit honestly, candidly. Also I know that if I write them down, I can look back on them in a couple of years and see how well I did. See if I pushed myself to be a happier person as much as I wanted to. You’ve absolutely got this, and I know you can make a difference to a positive outlook if you want to.
Let me know what you think of this in the comments and what steps you do to keep a positive, happy mind.