Be kind. Even on your bad days

Quote Anon

Today’s post isn’t long and its message is simple. We all have battles that we face, both internal personal battles and external battles that we may find ourselves in through no fault of our own…so do other people.

It’s easy to be consumed by the now and even the toxicity of the past, it’s much harder to smile on days when you don’t feel like smiling and even harder to push that smile into the world towards strangers.

However, in my experience it’s the light in the darkest of moments, the kindness that comes from people that don’t need to care that is truly special.

As the Christmas season approaches and we all become consumed by…well, consumerism, perhaps in this crazy world of 2020 that we all find ourselves in, the best gift we can give ourselves and those around us is a little extra kindness. It often doesn’t cost a lot and it doesn’t always get noticed but I truly believe the future of the world depends on it (that totally sounded like a marvel film intro)

As the last few weeks of 2020 past and we step into 2021 with a little more hope and a dollop of joy, please add a gallon of kindness to those who need it. You can never be sure who needs it, so aim for everyone. Let the car out of the side road if it’s safe to do so, let the man in a rush pass you by and don’t judge him – you don’t know why he is rushing. Kindness is checking on friends with a quick phone call and knocking on vulnerable neighbours doors to check if they need anything. Open doors and smile.

Smile when people give you eye contact, increase your manners (it’s something adults generally suck at), tell people you love them and give compliments like you’re PollyAnna. Over the years I’ve written a lot about this topic, gratitude and kindness truly matter and usually I write to remind myself.

So if nobody has told you today, your hair looks fab, I love that jumper and I’d like to thank you for dropping by, it’s means the world.

Humble with a hint of Kanye

Quote Anon

This week we said hello (and then goodbye) to Friday 13th in 2020. The meme game was high and it made reflect on the year a little, was 2020 really that horrendous? For me personally we have said goodbye to loved ones (not pandemic related), we’ve been affected by the lockdown restrictions and I updated my passport unnecessarily but we’ve also had so many awesome moments. The UK had a summer that seemed to last forever and it was joyful sunny! We used our garden and lockdown gave us family time that I couldn’t have imagined possible. I stepped over fear and went for an interview on zoom (so 2020) got the job, that led to a huge lifestyle change and well…there were a lot of good moments weaved in between.

In the last few weeks of 2020 make sure you’re your own hype man, don’t get caught in only reflecting on this year in a negative manner. All years, months and days have contrast of both good and bad moments, in fact I’ve learnt from experience that sometimes laughter in the darker moments is all the more precious. Some years are a little sweeter and now as it turns out, some have memories of banging on pans with wooden spoons and not seeing extended family as much as we would have liked.

But we’re still here, unless you’re reading this from beyond the grave, which would be pretty cool. We are still here and we still have time to create more awesome memories and remember this year with some Kanye flair – he ran for president, which lets me honest is both bold and so Kanye. Imagine if the world had as much self esteem as Mr West, although as the quote suggests a little humbleness often goes a long way too and it’s a delicate balance. Here are a few quotes from the man himself.

“For me to say I wasn’t a genius would just be me lying to myself and you”

“Everything I am made me everything i am” nope I don’t understand this either?

“I feel I’m too busy writing history to read it”

Then every now and then he says something that makes me cherish 2020 a little more…

“The only luxury we have is time. The time you get to spend with your family” count your blessings as much as you count your hardships and when the New Year’s Eve bells ring you can step into 2021 with gratitude (and a dash of relief)

Beauty is in the mind and not in the mirror

Quote from me! @fridgesays

I feel like every bathroom facility across the globe that has basins with mirrors above should have this around it. As I typed the quote out I internally thought, I know that but I’m not sure I always implement it.

For this reason, today’s post is a reminder that you are unique. You are beautiful. You have features that are superior to others and flaws that make you an individual. When we look at images from silicone valley or we forget that people in the media’s eye often use more filters that Lego have made plastic blocks, be kind to yourself and how you talk to yourself.

Sometimes I feel good in certain outfits at other times they feel like they don’t reflect how I feel and can have the opposite effect.

I can purchase beauty products, buy new clothes, exercise, sleep, eat well and at the end of the day look in the mirror and feel mortified by what I see reflected back. When you catch yourself giving yourself a hard time, you need to become your own fairy god mother – we all should go to the ball. If a girl with pumpkins and rats can do it, I’m sure we all can. I’m a woman with a goldfish, a gecko, a dog, two African snails and a tank of stick insects.

Here’s my godmother recipe:

First, stare in the mirror and laugh at how privileged you are to have a mirror.

Next, step back slightly and decide whether the lighting is doing you any favours or is it more like a light box game from the 1980’s, remember not all light is flattering.

Step three: Like a good friend, reason with yourself. How’s the day gone? Does the frizzy hair represent the rainy school run, are the bags under your eyes due to night feeds and are the spots hormonal? if so..remind yourself that you succeeded to collect your child from school, feed your child and that hormones are a sign of health.

Challenge time, rather than focus on the spots, frizzy hair and bags under the eyes. Look in the mirror and pick THREE features you love. Perhaps it’s your laughter lines that remind you of good times, or your lips, maybe you like your hair up, down or are just glad you found time to wash it.

Lastly, look at your features and think about your loved ones. Do you have the same eyes as your Dad, the curve of your nose is the same as your daughters, how blessed we are to have reminders so near to us…unless your family are douche bags in which case casually miss this step.

Lastly and totally nonnegotiable…create time for some self care. A hot bath child free, a hair wrap or time to do your nails…because like this post stated at the beginning, your beautifully perfect just the way you are and deserve to be treated so.

Of course I talk to myself, sometimes I need expert advice

Quote Anon

Before I’m certified crazy and confess all my sins, this quote inspired two thoughts that I’d like to share.

Be cautious of how you talk to yourself: That could be out loud or could be your internal voice. The universe, God, Allah – whatever you refer to it as, doesn’t know the difference between you setting intentions and meaning it, putting yourself down or being sarcastic. It often means we align with negative emotions that we don’t want to keep repeating. I’ve often said in posts that the best advice is to talk to yourself like you wouldn’t your best friend. You wouldn’t watch her/him in the mirror and call out all of their flaws, if you did you could at the very least expect the friendship to end. Instead highlight the good, thank people when they give you compliments rather than feel the need to justify how much you paid for the outfit, look in the mirror and although instinct may lead you to a negative – take a breath and then name two things you like about yourself. The great think about our brain is it’s constantly regenerating new neurone pathways, so make sure those pathways are positive and lead you towards a life you love.

Don’t doubt your own expertise: Again, I often feel this comes down to confidence but so often we don’t own the room. We don’t say ‘we’ve got this’ or we hesitate and minimalise our contribution. We all have unique skills and some we are insanely awesome at – own it. The truth is you’ve probably worked extremely hard to develop that skill set over a number of years, it’s usually a passion that brings us joy. As a teacher I know the best thing I can do with my knowledge is to share it. There are also things we are ‘okay’ at, however often you may be the expert in the room with your ‘okay’ level hat on. Own it. The world would be a much more joyful place if we were keen to shine our love, share our passion and enjoy watching other people’s shadows light up under our light.

Before you head in to the world write down three things you are an expert in. It might be be geology, quantum physics or coding…it might also be cooking eggs (this is one of mine), peeling a satsuma in one go or brick laying – the skills are all neutrally awesome. If you need a wall built, someone who’s skill is ballet isn’t going to cut it. Armed with your own expertise, go out of your way to share it this week and if your skill is making the perfect cup of tea, swing by my house at some point because sharing is caring

Be kind. It’s gangsta

Quote Anon

#kindness matters is my favourite hashtag. Simply because it does matter, many people think it’s overlooked and unappreciated but in my experience often people have remembered the smallest of actions years later.

I asked my seven year old son what stories he knew that were about kindness, he told me one about a prince and a goose and then about a king and a mango…well actually a lot of mangoes, the more he retold the story the more mangoes seemed to appear. To the point where he wasn’t sure why the story was about kindness? He walked away and I thought the conversation had ended, he then sat back down on the sofa next to me and said that kindness in real life was like whispers. ‘You can’t always see them, sometimes you can feel them – they feel like a tickle, but mostly they’re invisible’

He of course is right. True kindness that makes an impact isn’t about large gesture (or using his metaphor tsunami winds) but usually unthought moments of love. Holding a door; staying to help pack the chairs away, making a cup of tea, buying a gift because you’re reminded of that person rather than for an occasion, taking time to say hello, sharing crisps (something I’m not great at), the list is endless.

Who’s the kindest person you know? My advice, be more like them.

It’s often free and makes a huge impact on one individual, if the world was kinder we wouldn’t have so many people who are lonely, mental health figures would reduce and there would be less judgement…sign me up for that kind of world, it’ll take a few small actions from everybody…are you in?

Don’t be eye candy, be soul food

Quote by…

This quote makes me overflow, it makes me excited and I feel the need to put this in neon lights (* adds that to my to do list).

Physical appearances are subjective, they change with and like the seasons. Also, different people are attractive to different people. Now, before you stop reading this because you feel I’m stating the obvious, Im writing this because there are multi billion pound corporations preaching to us what is assethitically pleasing? That I find odd. 

I don’t need a chef to tell me if I like the food I’m eating, but it would seem humanity likes to be told what’s fashionable, what’s acceptable – the eyebrows are in and they are huge. Working in an all girl school for over a decade I can tell you that they can look gorgeous or absolutely terrifying. 

I once had to collect a girl from a lesson as she took the ‘natural’ make up policy to a new level. She began to cry, her reaction to me offering wipes and the time to ‘tone it down’ devastated her. So we spoke it through and she explained that she’d woke up early to apply the ‘many’ layers as she was meeting a boy after school and clearly she really liked him. As I helped her wipe away the ‘concealer’ we spoke about what she liked about him. I asked her what his eyebrows were like, she wasn’t sure. I altered the conversation and highlighted why I thought she was soul food, her assets. On the Monday morning she came to tell me something I already knew – he prefered her without the make up. For a 14 yr old girl this was a revelation, for anyone that’s actually spoken to member of the male population its common news that they aren’t a fan of excessive make up. Whilst they lived happily ever after for a handful of weeks until she moved on to someone ‘even fitter’ it made me reflect on what she had learnt about herself, that said full on make up can be fun to in the right setting and I think its essential that we try to keep judgements on peoples appearances to ourselves, comments that are often meant with love can shatter hearts and leave our confidence in a puddle at our feet. 

Perhaps your soul food is wearing bright colours or expressing yourself through tattoo’s or maybe you feel your best in comfy pjs and rocking a messy bun….the look is irrelevant, its how you use that look to fuel your soul that matters. When we know we look good, a giddy smile beams out of us like a search light and it highlights other peoples joy too. When we receive a compliment we are much more likely to see that energy reflected back to us.

When you focus on the good, the good gets better

Anon

This quote makes me smile and then makes in practise is frustrating, like all things – it’s much harder to apply.

To master this it’s best to break it down into two parts, let’s begin with focusing on the good.

Focusing on the good: as mentioned previously I keep a gratitude diary and begin my day by scribbling down three things that I’m grateful for, for me personally it’s an instant energy boost to what I have, before I roll out of bed and any potential dread from the day ahead can creep in.

There are other ways you can focus on the good, during early lockdown I sent many handwritten letters to friends thanking them for the part they play in my life. Saying thank you is underrated energy booster for everyone (you and the recipient) but again instantly makes you feel a sense of positive connection.

Meditation can also help to refocus on the good when you feel imbalanced, or simply planning an indulgent meal to look forward to can help you to focus on the good and raise your vibration.

The good gets better: now we have established some appreciation with a dash of gratitude and a dollop of good will, you’ll notice that the next bits effortless. Much like riding a bike or any new skill the learning bit at the start is hard work, often feels like hard work and takes hard work BUT once you’ve acquired the skill, you’re off! The enjoyment increases and you can sit back and feel fabulous.

Forgive me for sounding like Pollyanna (the Disney film is in my top 5 Disney films of joy and my favourite childhood film) but once you give out good will, good vibes and general positive energy – you attract even more with little effort. Just keep noticing it and you’ll see even more to be grateful for.

A warning: before you send me a list of reasons why your life is horrendous and you’ve nothing to be grateful for. You found this post, which means you have internet access and you can read. Many don’t have these * I did warn you the Pollyanna affect can be irritating.

Extra warning: just because you chose to see good, focus on good and in doing so align with seeing more good, DOESN’T mean life won’t be bad. Sadly, good things happen to bad people and vice versa. However as good and bad events are going to enter our life anyway, I’d rather see them with my Pollyanna spectacles than sink in doom and gloom.

Is your glass half full or half empty?

Don’t make change too complex, just begin.

Quote Anon

When I was a child and had to revise for exams or complete homework of little interest, I would procrastinate like my life depended on it. I’d sit down, stand up, get a drink, go back for a snack, doodle…anything to delay the revision, until I was so tired or it was too late to bother.

Luckily along the way I grew a little more patience, a cup full of endurance and a scattering or resilience to help me power up as an adult me…but I still have my moments.

Currently across the nation / world the majority of children are still home schooling, well meant to be. In the last few weeks I’ve met with children and their parents and similar messages were echoed out “She started off well but…” or “Unfortunately we never found a routine” others have thrived, particularly without social pressures lifted from them or the demand of being up early and ready to learn in the classroom before 9am.

The great news, I promise from a teacher to you, is nobody is behind. We’re all in this together and come a time when our classes are back to bursting the magical skills of a teacher will prevail. Every child is unique, learns in different ways about a range of different things to a future carved out specifically for them.

However, as the quote above suggests some momentum is needed. For pupils that have lost their way and are overwhelmed with deadlines – I’ve emailed support by asking them to complete one piece of work and then to show me…a sense of completing something, recognition in making progress and a step (no matter how small) towards the never ending mountain is sometimes enough to take another step…a few more and change occurs. It’s a magical moment between and idea and a result. It can’t be pinpointed but it’s a sweet spot of success that occurs before the challenge or change is complete.

Better still, it can be applied to anything at any age; learning a new skill, stopping a bad habit, altering your life to align with your dreams, it all begins with a tiny thought and a small gesture – the rest is called living.

*Best of luck if you are a home schooler or are the adult with no idea what you should, shouldn’t be doing and perhaps even google can’t tell you how to do it…you care enough to worry and that’s all you need to do. Keep them safe, loved and healthy. Nothing else matters.

I’m not ageing, I just need repotting.

Quote Anon.

Many of us over the last few months have spent more time at home than ever before. Its given me more time to reflect, be present and show my house plants more love.

Each plant has its own needs, much like humans. Some explode in colour, take up all the room and fight for the light. Others, slowly grow, creep and stay snug in their pots. To nourish the plants I often give them a little feed, again some prefer regular watering, but most like their roots to dry out. I’ve also now got a window sill full of babies ready to be rehomed, as I pot each offspring in their own pot, much like my son I do love watching them flourish.

It made me think about my own ‘pot’ and I’ve taken to a daily yoga practise to make room. Ive also meditated more (something I find hard to make part of my daily practise, even though I know its super good for me on many levels). On reassessment of my pot, I guess I am ready to move pots – I need new challenges and the view has become a little stale.

Bravely, I’ve taken action and am planning new pot adventures, giving nourishment to my roots, making space and prioritising what its important to my core, it’s time to top up the soil and move on to bigger things.

Today I was blessed to receive an email from an ex-pupil who updated me on her adventures, at eighteen she’s realised that adult life isn’t mapped out (no shizzle) and that a sense of purpose isn’t as accessible as an amazon prime delivery. I was extremely proud that she has been using this time to reflect, to make plans to leave her ‘pot’ in hope for more enriched and a deeper sense of joy. We don’t have to all live BIG. We don’t all need to be loud. In fact, as I age – I realise that my house plants who are brave enough to grow a new leaf, to reach out into the light…they are some of my favourites.

Make time to restore your pot, nourish the soil, eat well, stay hydrated – we are all just plants with complex emotions.

Do whatever you need to do to flourish – but don’t allow yourself to become pot bound, to wonder the ‘what ifs’ and rot over watered and stagnant just because your pot is comfortable.

You approached it like it was heavy, so it was

Have you ever worked your socks off on a project and it’s gone nowhere, done something by accident and it’s been a huge success?

Perhaps you’ve put huge effort into a meal for your family and nobody said a thing, threw some random things in a pan (that not even you know what’s in there) and the family couldn’t compliment it enough.

Or the worst of all…you saw a challenge, thought it looked too big and walked away without even trying, as a result you’ll never know if it would of worked out or not?

Yesterday morning my son called me downstairs to ‘see his new trick’ I put my best ‘Mummy cares’ face on and humoured him. He then blew my mind and lifted the sofa. Apparently he has been secretly practising for sometime and yesterday was the day of success. I called his Daddy down (who adores lifting anything of any weight) and once again my son lifted the sofa… I then tried, knowing it was blooming heavy as I usually ask the Mr to lift it for me when I’m hoovering. I failed. My son beamed and my mind was blown that my seven year old is now stronger than me…I mean it’s not a huge surprise but still it took a moment to adjust. Later that day when sat snug on the sofa I asked him how long he had been practising ‘just a few days really, I’d seen Daddy do it and thought I’d give it a go’….then I realised that he’d approached it with a can do attitude. I had not. I realise for the benefit of this story I should now write that I then adjusted my attitude and voila we are like Disney’s incredible, but seriously how many people need to lift a sofa in one house (plus I’m aware of the dust that this new craze is creating)

However, I learnt a new phrase this week that is ‘reframe’ and it’s an alternative to perspective. My son reframed his view of the sofa and what I do think is valuable is reframing goals that are important to you. When you are feeling low, gradually reframe your view with drops of joy. When a task seems to large like lifting an elephant (or in our house a sofa) perhaps break down the task to bite size actions.

Give it a go this week, when you feel a negative itch or feel a sense of being overwhelmed… reframe and perhaps those giant goals will seem as light as a feather.