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Being a better person

I sometimes feel reticent to share personal thoughts and feelings on here, and certainly much moreso than I used to.  As a person generally I don't shy away from talking about these things - I think open, honest communication is the foundation of a good relationship - and I never used to feel uncomfortable doing so on here.  But now that the net is wider than it used to be and friends, family, acquaintances, friends of friends, and so on, read this, it makes me take a conscious pause before committing to the keyboard.  I wrote about anxiety and confidence recently and it felt natural and comfortable to do so but afterwards I had friends of friends contacting me to see if I was okay, PR people asking if I needed to drop off campaigns, old Uni friends texting me to let me know they'd read it... it felt like 'a big deal' - like I'd just announced some major weakness or illness.  People were just being kind and thoughtful, and I so appreciate that, but to me it was just a chat about some things I'd been musing over and my personal efforts to improve my self-confidence.  I didn't want it to be a 'big thing', just to chat with other people who felt the same things and share some thoughts with you guys, many of whom I call friends and and know will take my thoughts in the way they're intended.  As many other bloggers have reflected lately, other bloggers, blog readers, Twitter followers and so on are an amazing support group and I feel really privileged that there are people out there who I can talk about these things with.  I feel like you guys 'get' that people can share things on the internet and talk about personal things and it doesn't mean they're 'not okay'.  I guess that's what makes us such a close-knit group, that we understand why we blog and what it means to do so.  So, thankyou.

photo credit: lomographic society

I have been feeling more introspective lately.  For a combination of reasons.  Going away on holiday always makes me feel that way - I feel like I can't reflect on things whilst they're all around me and so when I'm out of a situation and free from the constraints of my daily routine it gives me great perspective.  Being away in France gave me a great opportunity to look at areas of my life I want to improve and gave me huge motivation to drive changes, from things like being excited to make our house lovely and tackle the DIY, to bigger things like wanting to work harder at maintaining friendships and supporting my family.  Also, my major project at work at the moment is about leadership and self-awareness, a lot of which stems from thinking about being a better person and being more positive and having passion and purpose.  I can't help but let some of those ideas and aspirations rub off on me.

With this in mind, I've started to make a list of things I want to do over the next few months (and forever, really!).  They're things I want to 'work on' rather than a to-do list.  I thought I would share it here.

1. Be Mensch 

In Yiddish, "Mensch" is "someone to admire and emulate, someone of noble character. The key to being 'a real mensch' is nothing less than character, rectitude, dignity, a sense of what is right, responsible, decorous" A lot of my leadership research has led to me thinking about being a better person generally - having integrity and being known as someone who can be relied on.  I really want to work hard at this in all areas of my life. I've been thinking of things that I do that don't fit with this (being judgemental based on what other people say about people, talking about people, etc) and I want to stop these and be someone I can feel be proud to be.

2. Be positive

I am not always a positive person.  I like to let people know when I'm not feeling very well, when I'm cold, when I'm hungry, when my feet hurt, when I don't like my food at a restaurant, when I didn't sleep well - and so on.  I guess the truth of it is, I can be a bit of a whinger.  When I'm not having a good time at work, I'll tell colleagues and complain about it to my boss.  When I'm cross about something that happened on my journey into work, in a shop, or with someone I know, I am that person who tells everyone about it.  Granted, everyone needs a whinge every now and then, but I want to be known as a more positive person.  I was recently building some training on networking and found a section on 'being a positive influence' that I loved - I want to take on board all of these points:

Be positive.  Use positive language.  See the good in people.
Be known as a really positive person.  It rubs off on others and people will warm to you for being so.
Keep your emotional criticisms of others and personal hang-ups to yourself.
Speak ill of no-one.
Be passionate and enthusiastic but not emotional or subjective.
Avoid personalising situations.  Remain objective.
Seek feedback and criticism about yourself and your ideas from others.  It is the most valuable market research you can obtain – and it’s totally free.
Be tolerant.  Be patient.  Be calm and serene – especially when others become agitated.
Followers gather around people who remain positive and calm under pressure and who resist the herding tendencies of weaker souls.

source unknown - please let me know if you own this image and I will credit/remove

3. Be present

One of my greatest frustrations with my own character is that I overanalyse, worry, and overthink things.  I worry about things I've said after I've said them (or sometimes weeks later), I worry about the dog when he's at home alone, I worry about putting on weight, I worry about losing friends, I worry about hurting myself, or looking silly - and so on.  All of these worries and stresses are barriers to me enjoying the present moment.  Even blogging sometimes stops me 'being present' - if I'm having a great day out I feel pressure to photograph it, when I go to dinner I'm rifling in my bag for my phone to take a photo rather than just enjoying the moment (and enjoying the food!)  I need to stop thinking about things that have happened in the past and worrying about things that might happen in the future and just 'be'.

I had a good test bed for some of these things when I went stand-up paddle boarding on Sunday - when we were invited to go I worried about falling in and getting cold, being rubbish at it, being self-conscious about not wearing make-up and wearing little board shorts, taking expensive sunglasses and losing them, etc.  And then I told myself to be positive and be present.  I had a go, and I loved it! I did fall in, but I just pulled myself out, up onto the board, and got on with it.  It was so much more of a better experience for me (and for Tom) because I didn't constantly go on about being cold and wet, being hungry, thinking about the cost of it, saying "I can't do it" and so on.  I thought about the sort of person I wanted to be in that situation, and did it.  Because I wanted to enjoy it and pushed those concerns and worries out of my head, I enjoyed it more.

I hope this post hasn't been too longwinded and boring... I'm conscious that I've done a bit of a 'brain dump' of all of the things on my mind at the moment.  This is my little space on the interweb and I want to make room for all of these things in my life, so it makes sense to make room for them and talk about them here.

Do you set yourself personal goals? Do any of these resonate with you?

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35 comments

  1. I could take the advice to be ore positive too to be honest. I'm a bit of a moaner in general and sometimes I annoy myself! I need to stop winging about things I can't do and think more about how I can do it.
    Sophie
    x

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    1. I am exactly the same! I annoy myself sometimes and the more you moan the more you feel negative and unhappy, it's a vicious circle! I definitely feel better when I try and be more positive!xo

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    1. Thanks Natasha, glad you enjoyed it! xo

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  3. I've loved reading this post Rosie, I think sometimes we all feel we have to be wary when posting on our blogs as so many friends of friends read then and they might think you're going mad. That said I think it's good to get it all out there and I applaud you for trying to be a more positive person, I know I'm guilty of over-analysing things and sometimes I think I need to take a step back and just let it be.

    Good luck with your adventure!

    Hannah
    www.cagneyandlace.com

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    1. Thanks Hannah. I do definitely feel like that sometimes, like I want to write an honest post about things I'm feeling without people thinking I'm going mad or worrying I'm depressed or really upset! I'm trying really hard to be more positive, over-analysing things and worrying about things is really not getting me anywhere and I feel happier when I try and, as you said, 'let it be' :) xo

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  4. Another great post from you Rosie. We seem to share a lot of the same thinking and it's refreshing to see someone put into words what I think about most of the time. I think personal goals are only a good thing - they give you something to work towards, and results are good whatever the outcome, because at least you've gained perspective, experience and hopefully more things to make goals for. x

    LittleGlitter.org

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    1. Thanks Tamsin, I'm really glad you enjoyed it, also glad there are others out there whose brain works like mine does! I agree that personal goals are a good thing; that's just who I am that I'm constantly trying to better myself - it doesn't always work and I have to keep myself in check but like you said, it's good to have that perspective and experience even if it's not 100% successful! xo

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  5. I loved reading this and I totally agree about being positive and trying to see the good in people.It will attract good things

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    1. I agree, I always think positivity breeds positivity and people flock to naturally positive people, I know I do! xo

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  6. I used to be a self-confessed negative person, I would always think the worst would happen or at the very least I would think about the worst possible outcome of every situation just so I could prepare myself and not feel too disappointed if it actually happened. It came to the point where that was SO draining and I was missing out on SO much. I never thought that a little bit of positive thinking would make such a big difference, but it really has in pretty much every aspect of life.

    Positivity attracts positivity <3

    Jennie xo | sailorjennie.com

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    1. I completely agree, I think that's where I've come to, that I'm missing out on things and bringing myself down with my negative attitude. It's amazing how changing your outlook and attitude can have so much impact! xo

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  7. I do worry and stress about things which I don't really have any control over. I know I shouldn't, but despite being the Queen of Lists, I make list after list of things I should do and then beat myself up when I haven't ticked everything off in about two days.

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    1. I know exactly what you mean Char. It's difficult when you have a tendency to be hard on yourself. I try and learn to 'give myself a break' every now and then. No-one expects us to be superwomen! I worry about my health long-term if I pile all this pressure on myself, it makes me feel better when I'm kinder to myself xo

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  8. Great post Rosie. I am a totally goal list maker - even if it's a list of highly unachievable goals, I like to have them written down to help me remember to try and get to them one day - hence my birthday lists each year!
    Co-incidentally, I went Paddle boarding with work the other week - we had to wear wet suits (I was so self conscious about that one) but as soon as I was on the water I loved it - I wish we had more places up here to do it! I'll be honest too - I made myself fall in so I wasn't the only dry member of the team! x

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    1. Thanks Em. I love lists too, it helps me organise my thoughts and keeps me from waking up in the middle of the night remembering things I haven't done or ideas I haven't written down! :) Paddleboarding is so much fun isn't it? I definitely want to go again! Also, if it helps, NO-ONE looks good in a wetsuit! xo

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  9. Another post where I find myself nodding along to all you write Rosie. I've been having many of the same kind of thoughts over the last few months. When I decided that I didn't want to be a lawyer, and worked out that I'm not hugely career driven, I started to think about what I DO want my legacy to be. And honestly, I just want to be a good person. To be like the people that I really like and respect, to be remembered for my good qualities. Its going to be a long journey, but I guess many of the inspirations I have, have had a little more time to get to where they are :) Thank you for the reminder
    xxx

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    1. Thanks Laura, I'm really glad you enjoyed it. I think it's really important to think of what you want to leave behind and what your goals are - we tend to be very defined by our work and our career but being a good person and being known as someone positive and reliable definitely makes more of an impact and is the sort of thing I'd want to proudly remember when I look back on my life. Thanks for sharing that. xo

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  10. From another whinger, I literally couldn't agree more. We all need a bit of a kick up the bum to become better people! Personally, I would really recommend starting yoga- since beginning daily practice, I've been a hell of a lot nicer, calmer, less judgmental and all that jazz. Definitely one to try out if you're at all interested! B xxx

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    2. Thanks so much for your comments Beth. I don't suppose you could share those YouTube videos again? I saw them last night but didn't get a chance to watch (email me perhaps?) I really want to try yoga, I wish there were a club or class a bit nearer to me (or that I had someone to go with!) xo

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  11. Some of what you have said in this post ring so true with me, Rosie. I am really introspective, and I'm also a huge worrier and a bit of a pessimist, which I hate. I am constantly trying to change those things about myself too, as I'm very aware of how these things can affect the people around me as well as myself. It's definitely easier said than done changing these things completely though, as some things are just a natural instinct. I think the hardest part is changing how you feel inside, as that is what influences everything else.
    I don't know whether you have ever heard of The Secret, and I'm not usually into such things as they come across as a bit of a money-making gimmick, but I actually find their concepts really motivational and great ones to live by. I haven't bought anything from them (and I won't, either), but I do follow their Facebook page, as they post little nuggets every day, and it's basically about like attracting like - so basically you exude what you want for yourself. If you want positive things to happen for you, be positive yourself, and if you want love then love other people, etc. It does sound a bit cheesy but if you can get beyond that I think it's really helpful.
    Anyway, good luck with all of this, sounds like you're off to a good start.
    Mel xx

    melswallofmirrors.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. It is so hard to break out of that cycle if you're naturally a worrier and a pessimist (as I am too), I think that taking little steps in the right direction helps though as I do believe that if you act the way you want to feel, it just naturally happens. Pushing worries out of your head is a tough one to combat, it's why it's so frustrating when you share worries with people and they say 'Don't worry about it' - I wish I could just turn them off! Thank you for sharing The Secret, I'm definitely going to check them out. xo

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  12. from one worrier to another I am going to take your advice and stop over thinking things and just enjoy it!

    Personally I really enjoy reading these types of posts it is scary putting your more personal thoughts out there for all to read! You're braver than me - still building up confidence with my own blog!

    Nic xx

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    1. It is tough to overcome being a worrier but I try and remember that nothing good ever comes from it and I feel happier and calmer when I make an effort not to let my brain run wild! :) Thanks very much for your kind comments about posting personal things, it is scary but it's really rewarding when people come forward who feel the same as you, it's such amazing support to be able to chat about it and share how you feel!xo

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  13. I really enjoyed and related to this post. I find myself dwelling constantly over things I've said, how I said them and things I d. There's so much more to life than this, this blog post really made me feel that I'm not on my own with my feelings.

    www.crazylins.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Thanks Anya. I do exactly the same. It's a hard one to overcome but I do believe it's possible, sometimes you just have to let things go and try and move on and stop dwelling on things. Nothing good ever comes of it! :) xo

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  14. I would love to feel like I could be a better person or a good person but I find it so hard to take a step back and be positive :(

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  15. I really love the points you made about being a more positive person and a positive influence. After some recent past experiences I could quite easily sit here and talk ill of a particular person who has done me wrong, but they're not around to hear me so it does not affect them, and only makes me feel worse in the long run. I'm definitely going to take your points on board. Thank you for sharing this with us xx

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  16. I really enjoyed this post, thank you Rosie xx
    I too am a terrible worrier, I over-analyse, I give myself a hard time and I am constantly asking myself, 'what if, what if, what if'. I recently went through a terrible time that was out of my control and no amount of worrying would have helped me prepare for that situation, it just happend and I realised that actually, I'm a lot braver and stronger that I thought I ever was. I am trying to now to be more positive, I'm keeping a journal and everyday writing a good thing that has happend that day, sometimes it's as simple as 'had the best cup of tea this morning' :) writing this last thing at night, makes me smile and reminds me that there's positivity and happiness in everyday. Xx

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  17. Amazing post Rosie, I love when bloggers get honest and real.

    I still need to work on being more 'present' as I daydream a lot and I'm so bad at controlling my body language that its so obvious when I'd rather be somewhere else. Saying that I have become a much more positive person in recent years - and the first step I took wasn't to bitch on Facebook, and then not complain about food, then when it came to activism to only choose certain issues and don't bring yourself down with ALL the causes. I took baby steps.

    Good luck! xxx

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  18. Just wrote the longest reply to a blog post ever and lost it aaargh....

    I went to the beach on Sunday and wore a swimming costume, swam in the sea, didn't wear make up and didn't moan about the heat. I never leave the house without make up, I always cover myself from my neck to feet in tights and a cardi because I feel self conscious, I have a fear of what's in the sea and hate being hot because I don't want to look like a red fatty mess. But I just got on with it. My friend who drove dropped me off home last and noted how positive I was all day and seemed to enjoy myself and she was happy to see that. I also only took one photo the whole day and tried to enjoy it rather than document it.

    It made me realise I just need to get on with it more often. I can't be much fun when I wont dance all night because I'm worried about my make up coming off and my acne scars showing.

    I just wrote a little post about positive things to do xx

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  19. Beautifully written Rosie, I know it's nerve-racking to take the plunge and talk about difficult things but every time you do there is so much that completely resonates with me (and tons of other lovely ladies, judging by the comments).

    I have a motto which is be kind, be kinder. Being a nice person is actually SO hard, as a society we are quite conditioned to whinge, fret and have a good bitch, non of which are very healthy or uplifting. I certainly felt that when I started consiously cutting out the areas of my life (and sadly, certain people) who plunged me into those behaviours... my chest feels lighter and my heart feels happier!

    You already seem pretty damn swell to me, but good luck on your happy-quest!

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  20. I completely agree with everything you've written here - recently as I am going through some quite significant changes I'm finding it incredibly hard to live in the present and am instead worrying way too much about the future, which is useless as I cannot know what will happen. I'm trying to stop myself from letting my worries consume me when the future is out of my control and instead appreciate what I have around me right now, it's something that is not as easy as it can seem. I have no doubt that with your kindness and many qualities you will soon reach your goals xxx

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  21. This is so great- I definitely need to try to do these things. I think I am becoming more of a positive person though, as I work with a VERY negative person and it drives me up the wall hearing complaints all the time- so that's inspired me to be better in itself! Brilliant post Rosie :) xx

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Thank you in advance for your lovely comments, they mean the world to me! If you have a question or want to get in touch, tweet me at @rosieoutlook.