This article is part two of a trilogy. Last week, you read about morning routines, exercising and learning about the world in My 11 Habits for Daily Inspiration – Trilogy Part 1.
Not coincidentally, my favourite moments this week is in one of the habits in today’s article – family time. We celebrated a special occasion by visiting an acquaintance’s restaurant and dining out as a family. I was secretly pleased to have someone else do the cooking instead. The Christmas celebrations have also picked up and we are marking our calendars with Christmas concerts and sing-along’s.
It is easy to be inspired when you’ve got a new job, are going on holiday, or have just walked out of an amazing seminar. Unfortunately, for most of us, these moments are the exception rather than the norm. What do you do to keep your spirits up on a regular day, as you commute to work in a packed train or queue up at the supermarket checkout to pay for your groceries? How do you not just manage your responsibilities, but to put the fire back in your days?
If you live in the Nordics, you would understand why they say this is the most depressing time of the year. Here in Helsinki, the sun rises at 9am and sets at 3pm, and it gets pitch black soon after. On most days, you don’t even see the sun at all and what greets you is a dull shade of grey or rain. The Finns talk about the weather a lot and it is really a personal responsibility to keep your spirits up. And yes, it is true that the weather does affect your mood.
Friends and relatives have asked me: “Isn’t it boring to stay home all day with a new baby? How are you coping without the help of your family?”
Thankfully, we are blessed to have supportive friends and neighbours here, and I actually do enjoy my time and life a lot. I credit it to having habits that create daily inspiration. Here, I share some of them, divided into parts because I realised halfway through the writing that it was turning into a thesis. Never knew I was this long-winded!
Have you ever been at a crossroad in your life and found it difficult to choose which direction to focus on?
Or have you had too many things on your plate and could not decide on what to prioritise?
How did you eventually decide, and what did you learn about yourself in the process?
I have those moments all the time. Some are smaller daily matters, some are turning points in life. Most of the time, I have not been mindful and end up spending more time hanging around the decision – either procrastinating, or jumping too fast into it and then having to re-decide because of doubts or regrets after the jump.
What if you are able to meet such moments with clarity and confidence? How much time and unnecessary worries would it save you? How much more energy would it bring you as you work towards your dreams and goals?
The door to your soul’s clarity and confidence can be accessed by a few keys, one of which is knowing your values. Knowing your values means being clear on these: what is important to you? What are you naturally motivated by? What drives your emotions, behaviour and decisions?
With clarity, comes focus. With focus, things get done faster. When things get done, the momentum inspires and springs you into a cycle of productivity and confidence.
Ah… like an old friend, isn’t it? This part of us that loves comparing ourselves to others. This is something that we all do and one of the things that makes us so human. I wonder if this is an innate tendency that we are born with, or have we acquired it from the society as we grew? Interestingly, we more often ‘compare up’ rather than ‘compare down’. The main benefit for such a behaviour is that it serves as a benchmark for our growth and evolution. Otherwise, for the most part, it dampens our sense of worthiness.
This week’s article is a longer one as it touches on a few related topics that I’m sure many of you would identify with.
The two things that you likely compare most frequently are possessions (what they have) and achievements (what they do). I used to experience jealousy whenever I compare myself to others whom I regard as being better off. Thankfully, that jealousy has subsided and healthier feelings of envy or admiration have taken its place instead. I must admit that they are regular visitors in my mind more often than I would like to! Oh… look at that dream wedding that she just had; or that successful business that is generating a remarkable income; or that perfect body that looks good in any attire; or that beautiful house by the sea that they live in… oh how I wish… and the list goes on. Can you identify with these voices too?
The third thing that we compare, to a lesser degree, is attitude and personality (who they are).
A few days ago I told my husband something which left him baffled. I had this little hypothesis in my head that being with me has brought more pain rather than joy into his life and I wanted to check the validity of that thought. This was after I had gone through an emotional phase which I now attribute to hormones and stress, and that thought had emerged during an evening of reflection.
What was the story that brewed in my mind? Before we got together, he was a single man and could freely steer his life, career and dreams in whatever direction he wishes. Now that it is a shared life, there are more things for him to consider, sacrifices to make, expectations to manage, and a woman to handle. He had signed up for a package which also includes a monthly dose of emotional spells that show up like clockwork. Being the patient, thoughtful and solution-oriented person he is, he would take it upon himself to resolve the crisis that his woman seems to be going through, which is ironically being further expressed because of the safe space that he provides.
If you have ever been in a relationship, you would likely have gone through a similar experience and realised that this ‘suffering’ is part of the deal.