Give Yourself A Break

Give Yourself A Break

Here she is. So, I feel like I need to take a moment to explain myself, or rather explain my absence. Numerous people have mentioned to me that they haven’t received a notification for any of my posts recently, and in truth, there are two reasons for this. One being that after nearly six months, I’m still having technical problems with my blog (sob) and two… Well, for the the past few weeks, I’ve been failing at life. Okay, slight exaggeration, but I’ve found myself getting caught up and feeling like I desperately needed a break.

You see the thing is, sometimes life can be a bit of a howler – it can make you feel like you’re on top of the world one minute and can get right on top of you the next. Sometimes you spend great big chunks of your life second guessing yourself; your thoughts, your abilities, your ambitions. Sometimes you find yourself questioning whether you’re simply enough.

But what does it mean to be enough? In this generation there is so much pressure; not only in what we expect of ourselves (we’re our own worst enemies after all), but in what others expect of us too. We’re expected to live our lives to their full potential – to be the best version of ourselves. To take risks, challenge ourselves and simply try our best, always. And to basically learn how to adult successfully on a daily basis. Simple, right?

Well, not exactly.

Honestly, I think the only thing that anyone really expects from life, is that one day they will find happiness. Be it finding their dream job, dream house, dream partner, having the family that they always dreamed of – whatever our heart desires. You know, the kind of things that you think about when you plan your life as a child. Those “when I grow up…” moments. Hell, I thought I’d be married with kids at 24! That is, until I realised that 24 isn’t actually “really old” like I first thought and that there is no way in hell I’d have my shit together by then (I can confirm at the grand old age of 24 that I definitely do not have my shit together).

Lately I’ve started to feel like the stakes are getting much higher; the bar has been taken up a notch and the pressure is continuing to rise. As a generation we’re high achievers (generally speaking). We want to succeed, which is great. It’s amazing. I’m not one for wanting others to fail so that I can flourish. There is something so rewarding in seeing others completely smash the bejesus out of their dreams. And yet at the same time, you compare yourself. You start to question everything, asking yourself, “What am I doing wrong?” Well… at least I do. Anyone else?

In truth, I feel like social media has played a big part in the rise of the comparison game. I saw a quote recently that really hit the nail on the head for me, “Don’t compare your real life, to somebody else’s highlight reel.” It’s so easy to forget that social media is simply the pretty bits, the best bits. People choose the best versions of themselves and their lives to post online, including myself.

The majority of our lives revolve around the internet, consuming us on a daily basis. We find ourselves checking our phones simply out of habit, aimlessly scrolling through posts and doing things just ‘for the gram’. We strive for an aesthetically pleasing grid that fits our theme, a house that is ‘Pinterest goals’ and long for the latest ‘Instagram made me do it’ purchases. We base our worth and success on numbers and obsess over our engagement (or lack of in my case). We start to feel like we constantly need to compete.

But behind the filters, everyone has their own flaws and imperfections. They go through their own struggles; have fights with their partner, have bad days at work and may occasionally suffer from low self esteem, just like you. Chances are, they simply choose not to post about them online, just like you.

Recently I came to the realisation that I had become obsessed with the internet and technology. I’d be having a conversation with someone and would realise halfway through that I’d zoned out and hadn’t actually heard half the things that they’d said because I was on my phone. Or I’d sit down to watch something with Joe and found that I was practically itching to check Instagram. I desperately felt the need to be so present online that I’d started to switch off – I started to feel completely absent in real life. I felt like I was disengaging from the world around me on a regular basis and like I just needed to take a step back.

It probably hasn’t helped that I’ve been going through a few personal things too. Some personal things which I’m sure I’ll delve into at some point or another. But the thought of taking a break really scared me, which was a big warning sign that I needed to. I won’t lie, the first few days were hard and FOMO well and truly kicked in. Then one day I asked myself, “realistically, what was I going to miss if I just unplugged for a bit?” My answer? Nothing, absolutely sweet FA.

For the past week I’ve been on a social media/phone hiatus whilst I’ve been away in Devon and I feel so much happier for it. Sure I’ve checked in now and then, but I feel like so much pressure has been lifted. I haven’t had my phone on me at all times, I haven’t been refreshing Instagram every five minutes and I haven’t been stressing over the amount of followers I’ve lost (which has been quite a lot, FYI. Damn you Instagram). In fact, I haven’t really stressed about anything. But most importantly, I’ve been focussing on myself – something I haven’t really done in a long time. And hot damn has it felt good.

Sometimes all it takes is a slight change of perspective to see the world around you in a different light. The internet can completely consume you once you start to spend a lot of time absorbed in it. Even though I love Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and occasionally Facey B, I’ve realised that there really is so much more to life than social media. We don’t need to constantly update everyone on what we’re doing, where we’re going or check up on what everyone else is doing.

I want the internet to be a happy place; a place where I can be passionate, share my thoughts and discover like-minded creative people. And it is, 99% of the time (like anything it has its moments). I’ve met so many amazing people through those little squares, who never fail to inspire me. I’ve had countless messages from people sending love and checking I’m okay, which has honestly left me speechless at times. Kindness really does know no boundaries and I genuinely couldn’t be more grateful. I’ve just felt a little lost lately, that’s all.

Last year I wrote a post called The Self Love Club {You Are Good Enough} – a post that I had completely forgotten about, up until recently. In the post I admitted that there have been times when I’ve looked at the people that I follow and I’ve questioned whether I’m interesting enough, whether I simply am enough. I said that I wanted to try and focus on the things that set me apart from everyone else – the things that make me, me. I spend so much time comparing my Chapter One with someone else’s Chapter Twelve, questioning whether I need to have a niché, just because I feel like everybody else does. I find myself doubting my self worth, rather than embracing my uniqueness.

So, how do we stop comparing ourselves? Well the truth is, you can’t – I mean not really. We all have our good days and our bad days, because we’re human. And do you know what? That’s okay. Because we’re all perfect in our own way, just the way we are – unedited and completely unfiltered. We need to take time out occasionally to focus on ourselves, particularly in the moments when we feel like we’re not good enough. Those moments when someone else’s life seems so much lighter, brighter and happier than our own. Chances are, they’re feeling exactly the same way as you.

Note to self: It’s important to remember that it’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not. Sometimes we just need to show ourselves the love that we deserve. We need to take some time to find our spark again, to feel inspired again, to believe again. Sometimes we need to take a step back, particularly when it all feels too much. When you find yourself second guessing yourself; your thoughts, your abilities, your ambitions… Give yourself a break. Because you’re so good enough, just the way you are.

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