Just trying to change the world, one blogpost at a time.

5 July 2016

You vs You

Friend 1: I think I might buy this outfit, I really like it!
Friend 2: Nah you're too fat to wear that.

Friend 1: I'm thinking of applying for this job, I reckon I might be good at it!
Friend 2: Nah you'd be rubbish, don't even bother.

Friend 1: I met these really cool people the other day, think I might ask them to hang out.
Friend 2: Don't be silly, they don't actually like you, they talk about you behind your back.

If you were Friend 1, and this was your regular experience with Friend 2, eventually you'd just cut them off right? You'd get tired of the negativity and feel drained, reaching a breaking point that would allow you to free yourself of this toxic relationship. But what happens when not only are you friend 1. but you're also friend 2. When you are the one constantly tearing yourself down? You can't take space from yourself so what do you do?

I think we all have two voices; one positive, one negative - one that says 'Yes you can do this' and one that says 'Don't even try'. More often than not, one voice screams louder than the other and wins, determining how we make decisions. Truth be told, I think we need both but in the right ratio.
As a mathematician my magic formula is this:

As long as 0 < N < P where  N + P =100% then you're good.

Put simply, if you imagine that 100% of your brain is split between positive thoughts and negative thoughts, as long the positive is always more than the negative but the negative is always bigger than 0, then you should be okay.

50:50 doesn't work because in that case neither side wins and this is what happens when no decision is made.

100:0 doesn't work either because then you have no concept of reality. Things go wrong, that's just a part of life and we need something to keep us grounded and aware of this so that we can be prepared in advance.

So if you're someone with a mix that fits the formula, whether it's 51-49 (realist) or 80-20 (optimist), I think you're in a healthy balance. The positive is always louder than the negative, even if just a tiny bit, but you are aware of the negatives also. 

Now if the negative voice shouts louder than the positive, then don't worry! Or even if you just want to increase your positive:negative ratio, then there a few things that have really helped me that may also work for you. 

1. Keep the space around you positive. 
Good energy is key. Obviously we can't always avoid negativity and sometimes you just have to deal with it, but I'd say for the most part just keep yourself around good energy. Where you have the ability to, keep people around you that you can bounce positive vibes off. When you're in a down space, it can be easy to isolate yourself, and I have definitely been guilty of being somewhat reclusive, but I found that having people around who genuinely cared kept me in good spirits even if I wasn't feeling particularly great that day. It also works in the reverse, if you find yourself in a situation or around people that heighten your anxiousness or negativity, then leave if you can - as time goes on and you get a slightly better handle on your mind, tackling more challenging situations becomes easier.
Additionally, good energy is not only exclusive to people - your room, your desk at work, your place of study, all of these places can have an effect on your mood and how you operate. I personally find that scented candles and diffusers really help me to relax whilst at home.

2. Air it out.
I am so thankful for my friends who would listen to me vent/rant about stuff sometimes over and over again. I've been on the other side before and know it can be super annoying but it is extremely helpful to just get your feelings/emotions of your chest. To be honest, sometimes when we talk we don't necessarily want a response, we just want a release. Though the 'you shouldn't feel like that' and 'I'm here for you;s' are comforting at the time, that sigh of relief comes because you've just let go of everything that you were bottling up.
When I feel like I'm bothering my friends too much, (cause let's just be real you can't expect anyone to dedicate all their time to hearing you out, its draining), I turned to a diary - which is perfect because it doesn't speak. Sometimes writing things down can make you realise just how ridiculous your thoughts are and other times, just like talking, it simply just lifts a weight from your shoulders.
Finally, if neither of those help, I'd say talk to a professional.
 No it doesn't mean you're crazy, no it doesn't mean you're weak. It simply shows that you are dedicated to yourself enough to want to do better and that is admirable. Why we don't like to admit when we need help is something I don't understand though I am definitely guilty of it too. But sometimes you need an outsiders opinion, someone who can be straight with you and give you a perspective that perhaps someone close to you can't. The only thing about counselling is that it can be expensive, however there are many initiatives and charities that offer free help services as well as referrals from doctors. Do whatever you need to to help yourself.

3. Find something you like. 
For me, writing is my therapy, my entertainment, my passion in many ways. It is for me what basketball is to young boys who need to stay out of trouble (actually let's say football cause I'm British) or what music is to people who need a way to express themselves. I am blessed to have found something that works for me and I think there is something for everyone. Find an interest and follow it as far as you can. You might not necessarily be able to quit your day job but having something to do during the day that you actually enjoy, can make you feel, if even only for a moment, that you have something in life to look forward to. The days where I literally didn't want to get out of bed, having an obligation or a task to do that I actually enjoyed really helped! It could be drawing, it could be sport, it could be doing hair literally anything you like, as long as it gets you focused on something else other than your uncontrollable thoughts, it's good! 

4. Work it out
For some people, sports are their release anyway but even if you're not too keen on sweat, working out in someway can really help with your mental state. There are so many different ways to work out these days that there has to be something out there that is suited to you. Whether you enjoy yoga and find that it relaxes you or love a bit of boxing to help work out your inner aggression or if a simple walk around the park works for you - it really doesn't matter. Exercise is always high on the list of things to do to make you feel good about yourself, because it releases endorphins that kind of get you on a natural high and that is a great feeling indeed. Granted there have been some times during gym classes where I'm literally cussing out the instructor in my head, but afterwards I always feel amazing, like I can do anything. Also with exercise you don't necessarily need to leave the house so if you aren't in the mood to be outside, you can find some videos on Youtube or get a dvd workout and follow a routine in the comfort of your own home. 

5. Slow & Steady
That warm fuzzy feeling of contentedness and peace, won't come over night and even when it does come, it may not come to stay forever. The battle with your mind is everlasting and some rounds you will win more easily than others, whilst others will leave you panting on the ground wondering if you can take anymore...You can and you will, as long as you keep trying! It can be frustrating, knowing where you want to be, who you want to be and yet feeling like you are no more closer to it than you were before, but every day counts, every step, no matter no small, takes you further along your journey. Go at your own pace, regardless of what that looks like to anyone else. Be grateful for the people who support you but remember that this is, first and foremost, your journey and one that'll improve the relationship that matters most, (after God of course), which is the one you have with yourself. You are the only one guaranteed to be with you, the only one who is literally there 24/7 and you have to start thinking and treating yourself as you would a loved one. Be kind to yourself, be gentle but honest, be patient, be encouraging, everything you would want a good friend to do or you would want to do for a good friend you should also do for yourself. Whenever you are, however bad your days have been, how ever close you are to the edge, you can move forward. Though you can't control every thought and it may take some time to adjust the ratios you can definitely 100% transition into a more positive state of mind. Trust me, I would know.

I hope perhaps this has helped you.
Wishing you all days of happiness and peace.
Stay fighting,

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Wow Selorm ;). What a great article, you're quite the writer I see! A positive attitude can breed positive results, I totally agree 👍.

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