Room for Improvement

It’s unsurprising that there a very few people who feel 100% happy with themselves – be that of their physical appearance, mental state, achievements, wealth, and more. With unfair media representations, everyone has expectations which are often unattainable. Personally, I’ve struggled with feeling happy in my own skin, as mentioned in several posts(see here and here and here), but over the past few years I’ve been able to feel more confident about my work achievements and, every now and then, I feel better about my looks.

However, there is always room for improvement – or, at least, that’s what my mind tells me. It just doesn’t matter where I get to, I’m still making comparisons with everyone I see. Why can’t I be as effortless as her why do I have acne why I am I podgy in really inconvenient places why why why. 

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It can be a pretty nasty cycle to get stuck in, looking at everyone else and wondering why they are all so much better than you in completely different ways. But I came across some inspiring quotes – probably discovered through late-night scrolling on the internet – that gave me a bit of a kick up the arse. Instead of just wallowing in self-pity, why not actually try to do something about it?

Some things have quick remedies. For example, I hated the fact that my heels were so rough with dry skin. One trip to lush to buy a foot scrub and some lotion, I had one less problem to obsess over. Earlier on in the year, I was panicking about my future, but after sending several emails and spending a couple months in sheer panic, I secured an internship.

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Now I’m onto physical appearance, and that’s a bit more tricky to deal with. I decided that I wanted to be leaner and fitter, rather than thinking about weighing less because focussing on my weight just depresses me more than anything else. For some people looking at weight helps them focus and gets them motivated, whereas for me I see that number, crawl into bed, and eat some crappy food to try and cheer myself up – which really doesn’t help the initial problem.

At the beginning of this year, I started doing yoga in an effort to do some exercise during the week and although I don’t always manage to fit it in (sometimes due to being busy, other times due to sheer laziness), it has helped me a lot. Now entering the new year, I’m debating between starting up running or joining a different sports society, so we’ll see how that goes. To try and help the rest of the ‘podgy in inconvenient places’, I’m trying to eat slightly healthier from here on out. Normally I’m not bad with what I eat, but I could probably do with eating some better, nutritious meals to help my body out.

So, yes, ‘room for improvement’ can be a bit of a risky mantra, especially as it implies that you are never perfect, but who the hell is perfect? Striving for better is hopefully going to do more good than harm, so we’ll see if this new regime manages to stick. Though I’m sure that serving of chips and mayonnaise I had yesterday doesn’t really help (it’s ok, I had a really healthy breakfast to balance it out – I mean, that’s how healthy eating works, right?).

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On Being Happy – Balancing Emotions

I haven’t written an ‘On Being Happy’ post for a while now, and after the past few months I’ve had I think I really really need one.

I started this series because of a few comments from friends about how I’m the ‘happy’ one, or the one who ‘never gets sad’. Don’t get me wrong, it’s lovely to be that for my friends, that I can be the positive one they can turn to, but being happy all of the time, at least for me, is an impossibility. Life throws you curve balls, and sometimes there is nothing better than just having a bit of a cry to let it all out.

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Sometimes, and it may surprise some people, I’m sad. At least twice a month, on bad moments it can be once or twice a week. Anything from small ‘sigh’ moments, like a rude customer, to full blown crying fits. It’s so hard in those moments to stop, to just flick a switch and boom, you’re happy again, chin up chuck, etc. It’s one of the reasons I started this series, so I could look back on the things that do make me happy. I like being known as a happy person – my Grandma used to call me ‘sunshine girl’, and every day I think of that and tell myself that that is who I want to be.

Yet, balance is important. Sooner or later, if you’re forcing yourself to not deal with all your other very important emotions, you’ll burst. You need all of the emotions to function, even the ones that suck – in this case, I like to think of the Disney film Inside Out because it really goes into how everyone needs their emotions to work in harmony. Again, and I’ll say this several times in this post so brace yourself, it’s about that balance.

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Letting out emotions is good, or at least that’s what I tell myself. It’s so when I look in a mirror and notice all my podgy bits look slightly more prominent or I have a few extra spots of my hair is a mess or I think I’m ugly or a failure or just not a good enough human being, I can either choose to shrug it off or sit down and have a bit of a cry. I can go to my ‘safe areas’, like home with my family and dog, or tucked up in bed with a good book and chocolate, and by the next day I feel better. I can talk to a few close friends and family, let it all hang out and let them be the ones to help me through it – which varies from hugs and deep conversations to rolling eyes and calling me an idiot.

Still, I think it’s important to acknowledge that although everyone aspires to be happy, we need to appreciate the simple fact that that’s just not possible all of the time. Everyone has moments of sadness, dejection, depression, and so on, some far more than others, so longing for constant happiness will just be a let down. It’s like having a dream to one day suddenly sprout wings after drinking redbull or to be the one to discover a unicorn – face it, it’s just not going to happen.

So while I love writing about all of the things that make me happy in an effort to make other people happy, I feel that it’s important to make clear that whilst that’s all well and good, you need balance to get through this maze we call life. Or something profound like that. Hell, just look up ‘inspiring quotes’ on google and have a field day. Whatever makes you happy – and, well, that’s the point I guess.

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