Working out who you are: Step 1
Three years ago, I barely knew myself. I thought I did but, as it would turn out, I had no idea. I always thought I was happy but this largely stemmed from the fact that I had no real reason to be unhappy. Then, through a series of small changes, I became someone who knows and loves themselves. And it was surprisingly easy.
It boils down to this simple action:
Get rid of the distractions.
The best thing I ever did was get rid of my television. I did this purely because I didn't want to pay my TV license anymore and thought all I would get from this decision was an extra £140 in my back pocket. It would turn out that I would end up with more time, more focus and less noise cluttering my brain.
I'm sure it is possible to have a television and only use it mindfully but, for me, this was not the case. It would be turned on when I got home from work and it would stay on until I went to bed. I would watch whatever was on; hypnotised by the dancing lights and the exciting lives lived by other people. It would tell me that I wasn't good enough as I was and that I needed to buy products to make me happy. It would show me images that defined success in a way I had absolutely no way of reaching. It would harp on and on about things that stopped my own mind from working.
What I needed was some space; a little bit of room to work out who I was and an opportunity to spend time in my own head. And what a relief it was to live my days without being told I wasn't good enough by a box in the living room. I started finding joy in the peace. My head was quieter and less cluttered. I found that I focus on things I cared about and started to work out what my priorities were. I was less irritable, less anxious and started to fall back in love with creating.
We are liquid and we take up the space of the container we're given. External influences encroach on our already limited space and, once we remove them, we can start to figure out who we are, what makes us that way and why that's important.
There will always be external influences affecting us in ways we would rather they wouldn't; whether it's television, social media, family, friends, colleagues or advertisements - but it's important to be mindful and to be careful about what we let in. If we can limit any of it, we create room for us to grow.
If you have a moment, think about which distractions you can get rid of to give yourself a bit more space in your life.