New Year. Not New You; Lets Focus On Growing

Happy New Year! So it's that time again, we've reflected on the past year, made our New Years Resolutions and seeing 'New Year New You' messages everywhere. It all seems innocent enough with intentions to be uplifting, motivating and fill us with positivity and excitement for the year ahead. There's nothing wrong with that - if it works for you.

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But judging by the number of self-help 'how to stick to your NYR' articles that pop up and that stats suggest that only 8% of people do, I get the feeling that for a lot of people, it doesn't. I know that it hasn't for me in the past, and perhaps you feel the same?

Don't worry, this isn't another one of those posts. But more of a reminder that you don't need to remake yourself and transform into a 'New You' - because you're already good enough.

Now please don't get me wrong, it's more than okay to want to make changes to your life and have dreams and make plans, it's actually very healthy. But I can't help but feel as though NYR brings along a certain kind of pressure and draws us into focusing on all the negatives. Our resolutions are mostly centred around our insecurities and an idea that we need to be better. 

I began to fall into this trap myself a couple of weeks ago. To say the least 2017 was a hard year for me and there were moments where I really felt at breaking point and as though my life was falling apart. I was ready for 2017 to be done with. And as it was drawing to an end I found myself dwelling on all the shit things that had happened, all the 'mistakes' I had made, all the plans I hadn't achieved and on all of my weaknesses. I had completely drowned out that there was good in those things too. Yes, shit things did happen, yes, I did make mistakes, yes, I didn't achieve what I wanted to and yes, I had many weaknesses highlighted back to me quite dramatically - I had a year full of some of the worst anxiety I have felt in many years - and although some of it was out of my control, I do believe that a lot of it happened because of the pressure, high expectations and should be's I continued to place upon myself.

As you know, you can only stretch a rubber band so far until it snaps and pings back to hurt you. 

The idea of kicking off the New Year with huge changes can place an awful lot of pressure on yourself with expectations of immediate results, and of course, if it doesn't have immediate results (which is more than often the case) it can easily lead to feelings of failure, not being good enough, uselessness and a lack of self-belief. And the sad truth is those feelings will feel even more intense if the goal is linked to something of which you already feel insecure about.

So how about you and I try something different this year? 

Let's not work on becoming a 'New You', you don't need that. I guarantee you already have so many amazing qualities and characteristics that make you who you are. And rather than focusing on changing the negatives, let's focus on building upon the positives already in place and allowing change to take its natural course.

For me, this means focusing on the fact that last year brought about many lessons that I know will serve me well. I learnt how to start being more compassionate towards myself and without that, I could have really spiralled, but it also led to even more compassion and understanding towards others. I learnt how to genuinely forgive people even when it was literally impossible to ever receive an apology because I learnt that forgiveness is for yourself and not for others. I've learnt how to be more open and honest with people and how amazing that can be. I've learnt how to be more present and that when I just 'be' that's when things fall into place and start moving forward in the right direction. And amongst many other things, I've learnt that I don't necessarily function or work in the same way to some other people and that trying to force myself into a box to fit a 'conventional' method causes nothing but stress but anxiety and standing still, so I guess this year, I'll just have to do things my way.

So how about you? Will you continue to learn and grow with me this year? 

Check out our upcoming workshops to see if we can help with that!

Love Stacie x

How Time Away Helped Me Be More Present

Hello beautiful! Gosh it's been super quiet around here lately hasn't it? Well, I do have good reason... I went off gallivanting around Barbados during November 🌞 And let me tell you, it was GORGEOUS!

In the months leading up to my holiday I was increasingly being worn down and down every day and as I realised that this whole year had tested and challenged pretty much every aspect of me and my life, I knew I was on the cusp of change (and that change was going to awesome and amazing - once I had refreshed!), so I can't explain how perfectly timed this break was, and how for me, it was like this significant period between what was going to be 'Then' & 'Now' ❤

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So, hello world, I'm back! And I'm feeling rejuvenated, inspired and ready to make unbelievable shit happen.

But the most important thing I feel that I have taken away from Barbados is, how to be more present.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm the type of person who can easily become 'stuck' in the past, especially when the past hurts. I can often feel tormented by it, whilst simultaneously feel comfortable because feeling that way is something I have been used to for years. 

In contrast, I'm also always eager for the future and can become incredibly impatient and frustrated waiting.

What I struggle with though, is the Present - and I know I'm not alone here.

But guess what? It's the best place to be.

Now of course, this would obviously seem easier experiencing this whilst in Barbados, after all, the country is beautiful, I was doing new things and I wanted to make the most out of every second. But why shouldn't that apply to every day life? And where you are right now?

By focusing on the present I realised that, that was all that mattered. Everything else that had happened before no longer needed to have a hold on me, because I'm still here, I'm still standing and therefore, it has no power.

I found that time slowed down a little, I realised how much I loved people, I appreciated how amazing life can be, I was proud of all the little things I had tried, even though they may have scared me, and most importantly, living in the moment left me open to be happy.

I've been remaining to focus on this little epiphany since I've been back. It sounds so simple and it's obviously not revolutionary, but for so many of us, it's hard to live life by. And of course, there have been moments where my mind has slipped back into the past, you cannot prevent that, in fact it's crucial to deal with past hurt to be able to heal and move on, but you can control how long you spend within that mindset. If you feel you're beginning to become 'stuck', just take a second to pause, breathe and slowly begin to refocus on what is in front of you this very second. What can you appreciate?

Love Stacie x

 

Seeing The Good In You

 

Yes. For just a moment, imagine if you obsessed about the things you loved about yourself? How would you feel? Put simply, you would feel pretty fucking awesome right?

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But hold on, it's not that easy I hear you say. Well, I know. In fact, I know this all too well. I have spent most of my life being fixated on the things I hated about myself. My personality, my laugh, my voice, my face, my body, even hobbies, movies, music and topics that interested me (actual things that I liked!) - I eventually hated it all. There was a time when I literally could not hear compliments, assuming anything of the sort was actually some twisted joke and that I was being ridiculed. I lived like this for so many years, believing I wasn't capable of achieving or doing anything. That I was never going to be good enough.

The sad truth is.... I know so many of you are feeling this way, right, this, second. If you just nodded, I feel ya. I really do. Because it sucks and it's robbing you of living the life you truly deserve - and it's robbing the world of all the amazing talents and gifts that you have to offer! (We want those, seriously, we do!)

The good news is, it doesn't have to be this way forever. If I have been able to dig deep and find genuine love for myself, then I have absolutely every bit of faith that so can you.

What might that mean to you; Achieving your goals? Living your dreams? Making that career move? Travelling the world? Adventure? Love? Just being comfortable in your own skin? (<--- that's always been my ultimate goal). 

It took me a long time, but I slowly began to realise that I had a lot of strengths - and most are not very traditional strengths that a lot of society value, but more unique ones; unique to me (because I certainly am not organised, tidy, urgent, logical or constantly sociable ahah and I have had many insecurities about that in my life). What I bring, is me. I am somebody who see's the world in every shade of colour and every side of the story. I am somebody who lives life with their heart and feels emotions so deeply that so often I can't even express them. And I am somebody who finds enjoyment in the smallest of things (not to mention I'm also very easily amused!) - and that is only the start of my list. 

We are all so different, with so much to offer. And no one skill, talent or capability is any better than the other. It's just about recognising what makes you, you, and celebrating the shit out of it!

So how can you start seeing the good in you?

1. Become aware of when you are comparing yourself to others

I personally feel this is one of the most important steps you can take. We naturally compare ourselves CONSTANTLY - it is ingrained in us as humans. But comparisons can damage your view of yourself, especially if you're already not feeling very positive. If you can begin to learn to notice when this happens and how that is making you feel, you can begin to start catching yourself and prevent those comparisons from feeling like the truth.

2. Make a list or a brainstorm

A completely frivolous list at that - list everything, from the smallest to the biggest, and even the things that make you think 'yeah that's okay'. If this is hard for you, begin with just 1-2 things and build your list gradually. Feel free to ask friends what they would put on your list and add them to it

3. Keep your list, look at it and celebrate it!

I keep a brainstorm in my notebook, and every now and again if I'm having a bad day I will whip it out and focus on it for a good 5 minutes. It takes time to let go of old negative beliefs and begin believing in new positive ones - you have most likely spent years giving strength to the negativity, so allow time for your positive ones to grow too. So, little reminders are great and we all need them!

Your confidence will naturally start to grow when you start nourishing your individuality and recognising that you are awesome simply the way you are

If you're based in Cornwall and would like help with exploring your strengths and values (and getting creative with a project to celebrate them!), then keep an eye out for mine and Hayley from Quiet Connections Seeing The Good In You workshops!

Or feel free to get in touch if you would like some further info (or simply fancy a chat!) You can email me at stacieclarkdesign@gmail.com

Love Stacie x

 

 

Growing My Own Self-Compassion

I've not always been very compassionate towards myself. In fact, as an INFP personality type, self-hate, punishment and criticism is a speciality of mine. However, personality type aside, this is something that can plague every single one of us - I know this because, you have told me.

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I hear it everywhere I go; on my daily travels, in passing conversations, strangers in a cafe. I see it all over Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And I sense it in chats with friends and the people I love most. Not to mention, I hear it constantly within my own head.

Being mean to yourself for not being 'good enough', for 'failing', for making 'mistakes', for 'disappointing', for not living up to 'expectations' and anything else you find beating yourself up over - that's the easy part, right? I know it is. It's easy to assume and think the worst, and in the process bring ourselves down and feel guilty and terrible about it. 

Interestingly though, I'm sure you have no problem in showing compassion and kindness to your friends? And probably even strangers? Because most of us don't!

Self-compassion is essentially treating yourself as your own bestie. It's extending that kindness, acceptance, understanding and empathy you so easily give to others back in towards yourself as well. Think of all the negative thoughts you fire at the target on your own back, and ask yourself, would you ever say this to someone you care about? I suspect the answer will be no. 

Self-compassion is something I have been practising a lot recently. To be frank, this month has been shit (inside that little head of mine anyway) and I've found the last couple of weeks a bit difficult. 

So this is what self-compassion has been looking like for me:

Allowing Myself To Feel My Emotions

I cried every single day last week. I cried because I was sad, I was anxious and I was feeling disconnected. And I cried without judging myself.

I allowed those tears to fall without being frustrated that I was an 'emotional mess', once again (something I used to always judge). I didn't tell myself to "Pull it together" or "Sort yourself out". Instead, I accepted and found understanding that yes; I was emotional, because I am an emotional person (in a good way, and a bad way), and that I was overwhelmed by a lot of things. But that doesn't make me a mess - it just needed to get out!

And besides, I feel damn good after an explosive ugly cry, so why would I rob myself of that? LET THE TEARS ROLL I SAY!

Taking The Pressure Off

I've been struggling with motivation, concentration and focus lately. I fell ill for a week at the start of this month which really disrupted my flow and schedule. The lasting result was a feeling of guilt, disorganisation, failure and that I'm fated to always be a disappointment.

My boyfriend very wisely reminded me that being ill was not taking time off (see the compassion he extended to me?), which made me think about how much pressure I place on myself and how stressed that makes me feel. In this moment, I stopped beating myself up and kindly asked myself what I needed to help. The answer, funnily enough, was giving myself some time off! So for 1.5 hours, I turned my music up LOUD and I sang and danced my little heart out!

I gave myself permission to put aside work for that morning, to not even think about it and do something that would feed my soul, get me moving and boost my mood!

 

Challenging My Own Thoughts

My calendar has been quite full with meetings, social events, and a lot of people this month! As an introvert, this is draining for me (suuuper draining) and with hardly any good quality alone and quiet time, it began to take its toll (I'm still not fully recharged from this yet either). I could feel the tension bubbling up and beginning to be directed at people.

As I was thinking "Eurgh, I can't stand people", I couldn't help but laugh at myself as I realised that's not true at all, I love learning about people and often find myself in awe with inspiration - I simply needed some silence in the comfort of my own company. I don't feel bad for thinking that, nor do I believe it means you're a horrible person. We all have our limits stretched at times.

 

Being Patient With Myself

I have found very little time this month to work on designing and crocheting - negativity has a way of stifling creativity. In this space I often start hearing a tidal wave of self-doubt and insecurity telling me that "I'm not creative, I'm a fraud, I'm not capable!", making it even harder to start creating again.

I find the best way to approach these situations is to build it up gradually again, in a way that's out of public display and just for me personally. So I've been focusing on art journaling! It's been great for having a little play around, for experimenting, trying things out and more importantly processing how I've been feeling. My favourite things I've done are a couple of collages that I feel really captured my emotions at that point!

I believe allowing yourself time and space is one of the most compassionate things you can do for yourself.

By the way - Art Journaling is never about creating pieces of 'artwork' or being artistic (because creativity is not limited to artistic capabilities in the slightest!) - I'll be doing a blog post about this in the future in case you're interested in trying it out!

You might have noticed that alongside compassion came self-care activities - I believe the 2 go hand in hand!

So what might self-compassion look like for you? 

Keep an eye out for my Quietening Your Inner Critic workshop with Hayley from Quiet Connections which will help guide you in exploring self-compassion for yourself ❤ - So that next time you find yourself treating yourself more like your worst enemy rather than your best friend, you'll have your own individual toolkit and POA to begin being kinder, accepting and more understanding towards yourself!

Love Stacie x