Reading is, alongside running, my way of escape! With books, not only can you allow yourself to get completely lost and engulfed in another world but you also learn, grow and change with each one you read.
The biggest gift you can give your children, in my opinion, is that of loving books. Be it the world atlas, a cartoon, the dictionary, cookbooks or even scrapbooks! They are creative, stir the mind and imagination and teach many of life’s greatest lessons.
The other evening I was reading a book called The Very Ugly Bug to our three. A very simple book with fantastic illustrations and a great lesson to be learned – LOVE WHO YOU ARE.
“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you” (Lao Tzu)
The Very Ugly Bug is about a very ugly bug that compares itself to other bugs and tries to become like them by disguising itself and dressing up in order to be as special as they are. In the end, when almost eaten by a bird, it discovers why it is so very ugly (not even the bird wants to eat it as it is so scary looking!). Upon understanding its own qualities, the little bug finds peace and subsequently love with Mr Ugly Bug. Lesson taught: love the skin you are in!
We grow up and go to nursery and school and instantly comparisons start; “She has longer hair, I want long hair. I hate my curls, I want straight hair. Why is her skin so white and mine brown? Look at her mum, she is fat. Mum, she can’t even spell sky yet…” and so it continues.
From school, university and then jobs, marriage, property buying and having children, (not necessarily in that order!) the comparisons are still there, just in much larger scales. Suddenly it becomes a way of life. Judging and comparing; always looking outward instead of inward. The gossiping, the negative comments about others and how they do things. Wanting to be something you are not without even realising the potential of what you already are!
So how can you go about getting to know yourself and loving what you find? Here are a few tips from my own learning journey!
- Be and think kind! Try to think good thoughts about those around you. Everyone has good aspects to them, everyone, it is just about finding them and focussing on them.
- Lend a helping hand to people and give more than you get! From picking up items that drop out of bags to carrying a heavy load for someone to just lending your ear if someone is upset. It will make you feel great about yourself and give those you help a boost also. By giving instead of taking you build on the positive feeling – and give simply to give. Do not expect anything in return. Do it because it is the right thing to do. There is nothing better than knowing you have made someone else’s day and it does not require much.
- Don’t gossip. Focus on yourself rather than on others. Gossiping usually becomes negative and comparative, and ultimately does not make you feel good – it radiates from you and people will spot a gossiper from miles away! What is the point of spending so much time worrying about what others are doing or saying or how they are living? Let them be and focus on how you are living, feeling and thinking! If you have to gossip, maybe do it about the positive aspects of people or the good things they do and say. Spread positivity instead of negativity.
- Focus on yourself and what you do with your time. Everyone around you has their own life and will be busy doing what they need to do to be happy and fulfilled. They are probably not spending their time thinking about you or what you are doing so
don’t worry about their reactions or thoughts when you do what you like! If you accept this, that not everyone focusses their world around you, it will liberate you to just be yourself. This in turn will make you interesting and people will come to you!
- Finally, stop comparing yourself to others. Our differences are what make us fascinating. If we all try to be like everyone else what a boring place we will be creating. You are unique and have gifts that no-one else does.
So go on – be brave enough to follow your heart and embrace what you find. Stop analysing and comparing yourself to the outside world. Instead, take a step back, slow down and let your inner light shine.