I haven’t written in a while due to a number of factors. My final year, incorporating study and a busy season of reports, reading and exams that will end up determining my degree classification. Running a sports club. Struggles with both physical and mental issues. That dreaded word – dissertation. However with all these things that have been going on a huge factor which has hindered me working through this is amounting excess pressure on myself. Whether it’s during revision, trying to keep tabs with friends, physical fitness in the gym and on court, we put pressure on ourselves to get the most out of abilities. This isn’t a bad trait, I think everyone should strive to achieve their maximum potential, but when you say miss a goal or aren’t satisfied with how you perform you take it out on yourself. This is can lead to beating yourself up about somethings that seems major at the time, but with hindsight can be quite minor. I know this from personal experience that during training sessions with badminton I try to win every point, rather than focus on improving my game – this lead to me physically screaming and having to take myself off court on occasion.

What I’m trying to say here is that many issues that rise within ones self can be solved through being kind. Here I mean this in two different ways.

1. Be Kind to Yourself

It’s so easy to focus on the negatives. This very second I could rattle a list off for you about what I could improve on, a few being; I’m bad at staying in contact with friends and family, I’m not happy with my physique and think I look too skinny, I wish I could write better (whatever that means), I constantly put myself down and have had a hard time getting back to a clear state of mind, I do too much at one time and panic about not being able to get a certain amount of things done in a day, I let lists cage me where finishing a list becomes a be all or end all motif, I find it hard to be able to talk about how I feel sometimes, I can be petty over the stupidest things.

It’s easy to focus on the negatives. But where does that get you? Nowhere. I know it’s hard focussing on the positives of yourself, trust me, however I think the reasons for this come from two mistaken identities. Mistaking selfishness and being good to yourself. Putting yourself first in a situation isn’t a crime, but people can see it as a selfish act by putting your own interests above others. Many of us find it difficult to say a very simple word. No. However if you say yes to too much, then all your best efforts can’t help you burning the candle at both ends. No one likes letting people down, but if you stretch yourself too far with pleasing everybody else you end up not being able to even please yourself.

Taking time for yourself is necessary to find peace of mind and to be able to let you discover things you might not have known about yourself.  Whether it’s finding time to read a book you’ve been meaning to for a while, running a bath for yourself or going to the pub with friends. If we don’t take time out for ourselves, we end up running ourselves into the ground and end up pretty unhappy.

Mistaking arrogance for self confidence. Granted this comes under a fine line, but admitting that you’re good at something doesn’t make you cocky – providing that it’s not to demean someone else’s ability. Everyone should be proud of what they’re good at. Some people overlook what they’re good at because either they think they’re being big-headed or they’re not content at whatever level they’re at and always look to improve. Everyone wants to improve, but it’s hard to see progress when looking from the inside. I know various people who are amazing at so many different things and they don’t even realise it. Whether performing in many different sports, writing blogs, being creative in all manner of ways, going the extra mile with friends, being organised the list goes one.

Take a minute, and make a wee list of the things that you’re good at. Or better yet, get someone close to you to make a list of things your good at at the same time and compare. I guarantee people close to you will see things that you’re good at that you never even knew about.

2. Be Kind to Others

There are many things that can lead to being spiteful towards others, whether they be strangers or close friends. One being the holding of grudges between two people. I understand that if someone does something to displease another it’s never a nice feeling. However if it’s trivial and holding a grudge from that causes conflict and the breaking of a close relationship, who does that benefit? No one. People can hold grudges over the silliest of things, I know I have. I’ve been petty and held a grudge based on friends leaving a reply to a message for hours (which I have no leg to stand on as I’m terrible myself for replying to messages). Grudges can be direct between two people, but it can also effect a wider group of people close to the two in question. Tip-toeing around what is said to whom can happen and before you know it, all hell can break loose. Some grudges are justifiable, however a large percentage of them are over topics that almost take you back to days back in high school. Leave the grudges, and focus on the bigger picture of what’s really important.

Admiration for someone else’s ability should make you want to better yourself, whether it’s a friend or a role model being able to admire an ability of theirs should be something that makes you think ‘I want to be able to be that good’. However, admiration can lead into envy and jealousy and that’s where things can get ugly. If you become envious of how good someone is at something, it can make you resent that person and put yourself down at the same time. I’ve done this with people very close to me in a variety of things; physicality, social ability, problem solving, thinking outside the box in an abstract manner, others as well. There’s a moment in everyones life when they deal with things like this and realise something that is so simple. Everyone is different. Peoples height, weight, range of abilities. Some people are better at certain things than others based on these factors and more. It all ends up to the same problem where people compare themselves to others. But the main thing to remember when you compare yourself to someone else as well as the above is this. Be a first rate version of yourself rather than a second rate version of someone else.  

Lastly is the concept of pride. Pride can be amazing when we look at things either ourselves or others have achieved and can make you feel the happiest you’ve ever felt on occasions when it’s something that really matters you people close to you. However pride is a double-edged sword. I’ve seen pride work in a way where it has torn apart friendships by people being too proud to be ‘the bigger person’ in either a matter of conflict or an argument amounting from petty circumstances. Trust me, they happen a lot more than you think. If you’re in the person in the wrong in these moments, it’s better to just admit what has happened and to move on from the situation. However it takes two people to form a conversation, meeting people half way if someone it reaching out to mend matters is the one way things can be resolved. It’s a lot better than two people spatting over nothing and resulting in possibly losing relations. I know I’ve let pride rule my judgment and turn me into a narrow-minded fool, whether arguing a point (and finding out I’m wrong part way through but continuing to shoot someone down left right and centre) talking about a moment of conflict to try and resolve it or just having a discussion. Don’t let pride get in the way of what really matters, and more often than not that’s keeping the people you’re close to.

Looking further up the page if you got anything from reading this, I hope that it’s to be kind of yourself and to others and to focus more on the positives than the negatives in life.

If anything else, t’is the season eh? See if makes it’s way into anyones resolutions for next year!

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