Outer Appearance and its limitations

Looks matter a great deal. But that is only half the story. I noticed this when watching a video titled something like “looking like a Victoria’s Secret Model”. The woman in the video did do her make up and hair and I didn’t particularly like either, but when she did the final shots, to totally bought that she might be a model. It was not her hair or make up, it was her vibes, her aura and ultimately her confidence in the person she is.

They say that the prettiest thing a woman can wear is her smile (or confidence, the opinions differ). But it is not about appearance. It is about happiness affecting a woman’s appearance. The thing is: When we are looking good, we feel more confident and when we feel more confident we look better. It is a cycle.

How do we break that cycle? We dress for both who we are and who we want to be, because that is what makes us come across as the most authentic and it is what will make us the happiest and most magnetic in the long run. This starts with taking stock of who we are and what we want.

We can dress like a runner all day, but if we don’t start running, we are fooling ourselves, but the thing is: we will not be fooling others. People notice very quickly if our appearance does not match our personality and character. It definitely is a good idea to use appearance to remind ourselves of who we want to be, but not only that. It should also be a reminder for us to do what it takes in order for us to become who we want to be.

When our characters match our appearance and we are at peace with who we are, that is when we are the most handsome or beautiful. The most magnetic. Happiest. This is not something that is achieved over night. It requires a lot of emotional and psychological work first to figure out who we want to be. And after that it requires further work either emotional, psychological or physiological to transform ourselves.

The beauty of it all is, that once we figure out who we want to be and start working on becoming that person our confidence rises and dressing the part does not feel fake anymore either. Most humans on this earth never get to that point, and therefore with every day that we spend working ourselves we become more extraordinary.

Being in a bad headspace. Being in a rut.


As with anything understanding a rut can help us, deal with it more effectively.

What causes ruts?

Ruts are normal. Human beings experience them. No one is always perfectly on point, even though, we all wish we were. There are numerous causes to being in a bad headspace. Sometimes it has to do with the basics like sleep and hydration not being taken care of. And sometimes, it is a game that we lost, that tips us off, or a fight with a loved one. This may sound funny, but the weather can play a huge roll, as well hormones. We are incredibly complex beings, and everything that we are exposed to has an effect on us, therefore also everything we are exposed to might cause a rut. Sometimes a rut is caused by overwhelm. We have a lot to do and start avoiding it, which ends up getting us into a rut.

Our mindset in and of itself, will (most likely) not cause a rut, but if we tend to think negatively we are more prone to ruts and if we tend to overdo the positive thinking, we might overwhelm ourselves causing a rut as well.

How do ruts make us feel and act?

To be clear: A rut is NOT depression. While we can feel a little “depressed” when we are in a rut, this is still very different from actually being depressed. If you feel as if your rut is more than just a rut and seems to be more like an actual depression, seek professional help!

How a rut makes us feel depends on the person. Feelings of sadness, a lack of motivation, constantly being annoyed or very irritable are quite usual. It is also common to engage in some form of avoidance. I personally tend to sleep in and play Age of Empires all day long. We do tend to reach for our addiction of choice when we are avoiding. It helps to explicitly know that in order to be able to counteract it. We might also feel worthless, lazy and ugly.

How to get out of a rut?

I am sorry, I do not have a magic pill to cure a rut. Getting out of a rut can feel like very hard work. And there is no one-size-fits-all approach. I would even argue, that getting out of a rut, heavily depends on the cause of the rut.

Do a refresh/reset

Sometimes all it takes is a little change. This can be achieved a number of different ways. I would advice to try, what feels right for you in any given moment:


  • Change your environment -move furniture, change decorations-
  • Clean
  • Declutter
  • Wear different clothes
  • Shower
  • Have a new experience


  • Try getting into a different mindset
  • change up your routine

Remember the Goal/Make a plan

This is very closely related to a mindset refresh and it is highly effective. Remember who we want to be. Reevaluate our lives. Set a plan for the next 3 months. Maybe make a new habit tracker. But remember where we want to be going.

Sometimes, we just need to take a little action. I am not talking about moving mountains. I am talking about taking a shower, taking out the trash or writing the first paragraph of that essay that we have been putting off. Make a plan. But do not stop there, take action on the first item!

Opposite Action

This is a skill that is actually taught in DBT. It suggests that we do the exact opposite of what we feel like doing. That way, we conquer our inner demons and actually make meaningful progress. And therefore we end up with a positive memory.

Practice Self-Compassion

This is probably the most important of them all. Because ruts tend to make us feel worthless, it is very easy to be down on ourselves. And that will only get us down even more. Always remember that regret is only fruitful, if we manage to improve in the future. It is merely detrimental, if we use regret to self-loath. Try to assess your emotions rationally. They probably have some sort of reason. And they are valid. The trick is to not give power to sadness and self-loathing. Which is a lot easier said then done, but nevertheless, maybe there is something, that would make us feel better, and no matter if the emotion “makes perfect sense ” or not, we should definitely do the thing that makes us feel better. Sometimes taking a break is the only right course of action.

Start Small

This is especially effective, if part of why we are in a rut is that we feel overwhelmed. Learn to take your to do list one step at a time. Learn to prioritize. Understand that it is never big deeds that make us as a person. It is the small daily things that we do. They compound over time and turn us into the person we are. One run, does not make me an athlete. Nor does one glass of wine make me an alcoholic.

In Conclusion

Ruts are part of being human. They suck. But they are not the end of our lives. Taking a break, taking care of the basics, refreshing and tackling our to-do lists one piece at a time are incredibly powerful tools in handling a rut. And always remember: Our value as a person, does not depend on our emotion, nor on our current level of energy or on how good we think we are. Our value as a person is intrinsic. That means no matter what we do, or how we feel, we are still incredibly valuable

Just another excuse

We often think to ourselves: “I am not as good, as that other person, because I don’t really like the thing I need to do, to achieve my goal.” or “I am just not as talented.” We allow those excuses to hold us back. And while I do think that everyone has at least one passion, and I also think that we all should pursue that passion, there is one thing, we tend to overlook. Even with talent and passion no road is going to be entirely easy. We always try to make ourselves believe that for people other than us, achieving greatness is so easy and effortless. That is probably because they make it look easy and effortless, as well as the fact that in this social media world we only share our personal highlights, rather than the tough journey. But really the truth is: When we want to excel at anything. And even if we only want to be good at it, we will need to put a lot of hard work into it.

Talent may have an impact on how big or small the hurdles are and passion impacts, how easily we can overcome those, but there always comes a point, where things turn hard. Even if you are a talented runner and you love running, after a few kilometers, you will start to feel tired, you will feel like giving up. That is normal. And it applies to anything. No good habit will always be easy to execute. Regardless of whether we study or work or are in training, there will come a point, where it feels hard and we will have to make the choice of either pushing through or give up. But when we make that choice, we can not let our current levels of passion and talent decide for us. Because when things get hard, our passion often drops.

We should always remember that anyone who achieved anything did so by working hard. Yes, the result can be incredibly inspiring, when we see it on social media. But we need to realize that we can do it as well, we don’t have to be on the side-lines. We put ourselves there, by making excuses for not going out and working on getting, what we really want.

This especially applies to our own happiness. We see countless happy people online. And we get jealous, because they are so happy and we even struggle with getting out of bed in the morning. But how did these people become happy? Well first of all: they might not be, since social media only contains this perfectly curated picture of them. But if they truly are happy, then it is because they put in the work. Because they payed attention and figured out, what activities make them happy. The figured out, what the version of themselves they would like to be and figured out what habits will help them get there.

But they did not stop there. Once they knew all the steps they need to take, they started taking control of their life. Their time, their bodies and their minds as well as their priorities and their physical world. By adjusting their surroundings, their mindsets and the way they spend their time. In short they curated both their physical and mental world to be closer to the ideal that they are trying to achieve.

Anyone who has ever tried to implement a new habit knows how tough this is. We all have asked ourselves who we are and struggled to find an answer. That is what I mean, when I say that being happy requires a lot of work, just like anything else that is above average. We find out who we are by raising our awareness. For how we feel. But it does not stop there, since we can control who we are by setting priorities and habits. But of course, these things have to be implemented and adjusted. Which takes time. A lot of time. And it takes a lot of self-compassion. Because we are not going to get it right right away. Maybe that is the toughest part of them all.

There are two key take-aways: Respect and honor those who made it, because no one is born great and it took them a lot of work to get there. As well as: We can all make it, we just have to put in the work. Let’s stop making excuses. Let’s stop comparing ourselves. Let’s start being inspired by the success of others and start changing the way how we behave (and think) such that we become a little more successful ourselves, today.

Mindfulness: The practice of curating the life you want

There are a number of buzzwords on the internet: Minimalism, Essentialism and Intentionalism. Mindfulness is what they all have in common. When practicing minimalism we are being mindful with the focus on our surroundings, when practicing essentialism, we are focusing on how we spend our time. Mindfulness can make us very happy. And I would go as far as saying many people are unhappy, because they are not being mindful.

But what does being mindful really mean? A minimalist, does not have less stuff, because he or she hates stuff. An essentialist, does not carefully choose what he will work on next, because he is lazy. We practice minimalism, because we want to appreciate the things we own. And we want to only own things that add value. And we focus on the essential 20% that produce 80% of the result, because we want to be effective rather than efficient. We want to do the right thing, rather than a lot of thing. It is the difference between being productive and being busy. It really is about value.

Why are things related to mindfulness such buzzwords? Truth is: we now need it more than ever. In today’s day and age it is so incredibly easy to not be mindful. To go shopping and impulse buy all the things that we think are awesome, but we really don’t need them. It is so easy to just spend hours on the couch watching TV and being genuinely bored. We do it because it is the path of least resistance. And then when it gets real bad, we get addicted to shopping and watching TV. Our brains get stimulated by pretty colors and release feel good hormones, why would we ever do anything else? Because we are unhappy.

We often wonder why we are unhappy. But are not even mindful enough to notice why it is we are unhappy. Or perhaps, we are just not willing to admit why it is we are feeling unhappy. We may even have a vision of who we want to be and it might even literally include “I am not someone who spends all day binging TV.”, and yet we turn a blind eye to what could actually make us feel happier and more fulfilled.

But how can we become more mindful? It is all about value and realizing our own limitations. The space we have in our homes is limited. Our time, attention and emotional capacity are limited. So we must learn to spend those resources on “things” that add value to our lives. That can mean different things. Some things make life easier, those are mostly tools, but if we don’t use them, there is really no point in keeping them. Some things add value by making us smile. If we are excited to read that novel that is on our shelf, we should read it. Otherwise, we don’t need that pile of paper. And if that TV show that we are watching is making us smile or ponder deep philosophical topics, go for it!

Maybe one of the most stigmatized thing is to “get rid” of people who don’t add value to your life. Yes, I know this sound very harsh. And no, “getting rid” of those people does not mean killing them. But it means to spend significantly less or better yet no time with them.

So for being mindful about possessions I recommend reading Marie Kondo’s Life Changing Magic of Tidying up. But in essence it is about questioning whether an item “sparks joy” or is useful. And useful means we have used it in the last few months.

For being mindful how we spend our time, consider this: “Priorities are what we spend your time on.” And “We are what we do on a regular basis.” Let’s think about who we want to be. Figure out our goals and your vision. Because unless we do, we don’t know what it means to spend time on something that adds value. I am not saying to never ever do the dishes again. But quit that emotional shopping habit and get a dishwasher. And once we know who we want to be, we will know what we want to be spending our time on. No worries, it’s okay if that changes. But we have to start somewhere. Then every time we go to do something, whatever that may be, we must ask ourselves: is this who I want to be? Do I really want to spend my precious time on this? This also means that we will not be multitasking. I have mad a whole post about this, so I will not be elaborating on it.

There is one more category that we have not yet addressed. And that is our mindsets. We have to be mindful about those as well. The mindset is the sum of our thinking habits. That includes anything from how we think about ourselves to our attitude towards the world and our work. The way we think reveals a lot about who we are. Therefore curating our thoughts will impact who we are. This one might be the most difficult one because we often don’t catch what we are thinking in each given moment and often we have multiple thoughts at the same time. Once we also have our emotions mix in with our thoughts, it becomes even more complex. And yet, being aware of how we tend to think has a huge impact on our mood, our image of ourselves and therefore also our confidence. I hence recommend trying to be mindful about our thoughts and curate them.

One more thing we need to talk about: Being mindful of our emotions. Our emotions are very strong. And is alright. But we need to learn to express them. We are unable to deal with emotions, if we are not capable of explaining them at least to some degree. I am currently doing a simple exercise that helps with identifying emotions: It is a bullet point journal (no, not a bullet journal). Each bullet point refers to one thing that happened and how it made me feel. I keep it in two columns one for negative and one for positive emotions. I will write 1-3 bullets in each column each night. This is of course very customizable and allows us to learn to identify emotions, but also is a nice journal to look back at and design your life around. Of course more traditional journaling as in: writing down what happened, how it made you feel and how to proceed in more detail is also a great way to become more mindful of our emotions.

In summary we need mindfulness to allocate our limited resources in the way that will create the most value. This is why I think that making a significant difference between the buzzwords I mentioned in the beginning makes no sense. Of course minimalism has as lightly different focus than essentialism, but they come from the same place. And that really is not a mindset of scarcity. It is about being grateful and fully present in the moment. It is about choosing and curating the life we want, rather than going the unhappy path of least resistance. It is about building your happiness.

Effective Communication

There are two sides to the communication coin. Talking and listening. A while ago I discussed the relationship between them and how we don’t really listen anymore in a blog post called “The amount of talking we do”, so I will not go into details here.

Effective communication is important in all sorts of relationships. From romantic relationships, to the relationships with your friends and families, the relationships with your boss and even the relationship with yourself. We need to learn the skill. If we don’t we run the risk of getting hurt severely. Not being understood is the cause for loneliness but bad communication can also lead to misunderstanding and painful inter-human conflicts.

However, effective communication does not only rely on talking and listening, but also on honesty and clarity. This means we need to have a certain degree of openness, about what we think, how we feel and why. This is important. If I claim a fact and don’t specify that this is only a guess that I am making because it would make sense, it can easily happen that I will be considered a liar if it turns out I was wrong. This however can destroy any relationship, since relationships build on trust. And you cannot trust a liar. The more truthful and specific we are, even if that means confessing, that we are not sure how you feel, the more effective our communication can be.

But only your communication with others benefits from honesty and clarity. The more clearly you are able to express how we feel and what we want, the more we get to know ourselves and the better we can make ourselves happy. It is a matter of mindfulness and it has huge benefits. We need to learn to be honest with ourselves first. Find a way to be honest. This is really tough. Because it includes acknowledging our own shortcomings. But if we cannot be honest with ourselves, we will never be able to be honest with other people and if we cannot be honest with other people we will likely fail at effective communication which will probably lead us to fail at relationships. And we really do not want that.

In context of people talking to much there is one crucial observation left to make: We tend to talk about everything and anything, but the things that are truly relevant. The reason for that is likely our desire to present ourselves in the best possible light. However how we really feel or what exactly is we want is often not so glorious, so we hide it and talk about that trip that we made.

Everyone complains about how fake people are. How society is just full of hypocrites. But they forget to open up and be honest themselves and therefor turn into the exact thing they despise so much. I get it. We try to gain other people’s approval, we try to impress people. But tying back in with talking too much and never listening: Chances are that no one really cares, because everyone is talking and no one is listening and in addition to that, everyone is claiming the same approval-seeking stuff. Why listen when the internet is full of people telling the same sort of lies? But if no one cares, why not be honest? Nothing can happen other than we learn to be honest which will benefit any real relations that we have.

We all must learn to tell the truth and nothing but the truth and tell it as precisely as humanly possible. There will always be slip ups. And of course not everyone needs to know everything. But let’s be very mindful of our words.

Inspiration & Ownership

When we start our lives, we are all about surviving. It is not even something we learn. It is an instinct embedded into us. The thing is: as we grow and surviving really happens passively, we are at risk of starting to drift. Since our survival is ensured, there really is no reason to improve. There is no reason to struggle hard and we simply drift through life.

There is nothing wrong with taking a break and enjoying one’s life for a bit. Everyone needs that. But if we stop having a vision, a goal to work towards, we will slowly but surely end up loosing our purpose. And when there is no purpose why would we get out of bed in the morning? Why would we leave this perfectly cuddly world that is so kind to us? It makes me feel depressed. And I end up feeling more dead than alive. When we are at this point is it high time we do something about our lethargy.

The first step is to find inspiration. It is about what we enjoy. It is about listening to podcasts, reading books and watching You Tube videos to figure out what it is we want. Or at least in what direction we want to go. We need to figure out, what makes us happy. We need to envision the life, we would love to live. The kind of life, that would have us be excited to get out of bed at 8am rather than at noon.

But inspiration is not enough. It is very nice to know what we want and then just go off and drift in the comfort of our lives some more. There are many reasons for this. Fear of failure, laziness and a sense of pointlessness to name just a few. Overcoming these is very difficult and every human being struggles. But there is no point in giving in to those obstacles. Because every day that we spend sleeping until 11am has us feeling a little bit worse about ourselves and makes it more difficult for us to actually be able to achieve our goals.

Truth is: we need to take ownership. When we get inspired, we are all motivated and want to go get whatever is the cause of our inspiration, but that only applies while we are in some sort of fantasy about our own lives. The moment we come back to reality, we fall back into our comfort. And this is where we need to be doing some work. We need to take ownership of our lives. We are the only ones living our lives. Which means we are the only one’s in charge. No one will ever do anything to improve our lives for us. No one can. There is this very powerful realization, that we are alone. No one cares. Yes, this can be incredibly devastating. If no one cares, why would I get out of bed? It doesn’t matter. Well… no one cares except us. It doesn’t matter except to ourselves. Yes, if we don’t get to achieve what we wanted to achieve, no one will care, but us. And this is powerful. It means that the relationship we have to ourselves and our lives is crucial. It means that the only person who we ever have to ask forgiveness of is ourselves.

And there is another big misunderstanding: to achieve our goals and take ownership, we need to get out of bed and off our butts. But other than that there does not need to be grand changes. Changing and adjusting our routines little by little will have a major positive impact on our lives. It is mostly the mindset that needs to be changed fundamentally. We need to adjust our mindset to be focused on owning our lives. We need to monitor our thinking. And this is important. The things we think is like talking to ourselves and if we say something often enough we will end up believing it. That can be very powerful if we control the way we talk to ourselves.

More often than not however we are blissfully unaware of what we are thinking at any given moment. There are a few things that can help. One of them is having a conversation with ourselves about what we think and how we feel. No one needs to know other than us. We need to be brutally honest with ourselves. And if we feel like a complete failure, maybe we can redirect our attention to the things that we haven’t failed, or even better find a way to improve. One more very effective way to monitor what we think is journalling. This can be in the form of regular check-ins with ourselves, or just random journalling about anything that is on our minds.

We need to ban negativity from our minds, that often comes in the form of perfectionism or realism and it causes a lot of stress which in turn costs us a lot of energy and has as drift into lethargy which is not what we want. We want to be inspired and take ownership. Never forget that we need regular boosts of inspiration, otherwise we might forget, why we are striving to build a certain life every day. Ownership of our thoughts, our mindset, our habits our daily actions. Ownership of our lives. Living and surviving are two different things. One is inspired and full of deliberation and happiness. The other is purposeless. It is up to us to choose. Only us.

Reasons. Misconceptions.

I am sure for everyone there is a different mechanism at play when they cut. No two individuals are the same. I can only speak for myself when I explain what might be happening inside someone who cuts.

But first and foremost I want people to understand that cutting itself is not the problem. This goes hand in hand with thinking that a person is at their worst, when they are about to cut. Trying to help me, when I have just chosen to cut myself does not make sense. Because I have been trying to fight my mental pain, my stress and my anxiety for so long, that I feel helpless. I feel like they have no control over my life at all. So I decide to take control back. A number of different things might happen. I might finally have a reason to hate myself. But really I have just given myself a target to aim my hatred at. Or I might be disappointed because my emotional state has not changed at all. Or maybe I realized that if I can beat the survival instinct, I can also beat my anxiety.

Here with what emotions I think people think, when I tell them I cut. Pity. Judgment. Worry. And willingness to help. The first three will not do any good. Again: Someone pities me for cutting? Why? Cutting is the thing that helps me, not the thing that is tormenting me. Judgement… Ah well… I have enough of that myself. And worry. Don’t. I beat my survival instincts by cutting. If I wanted to kill myself, I would not be alive anymore. And just because I cut does not mean I am stupid. I have seen enough cuts to know when something is off. And that is when I will make sure to not die of an infected cut.

As for willingness to help, I am sure there are a number of ways that might help. For some that may be distraction and fun. For others that may mean a shoulder to cry. And I bet, it depends on the situation as well. But what I have found, is that I am in a stressful situation. I am anxious and I worry. I start showing all sorts of symptoms from extreme jumpiness and nightmares to a messy room and constant crying. Then I get into a situation that triggers all of my fears. And all I want is to escape. I blame myself for being in this situation to begin with. So I cut. On one hand it is my fault I am in this situation, so I deserve the pain, on the other hand it is a coping skill. I am not afraid of cutting. I am not even afraid of triggers. Because they are powerless, when I am alright.

The reason I want to stop cutting is not primarily that it is violent, or that it hurts. It is because it triggers so much fear in the people around me. And because of the stigma. I can talk about this all I want but there will always be a stigma surrounding self harm. Of course I want to learn how to deal with stress and anxiety without hurting myself, but not because I am afraid of hurting myself, but because those techniques might be able to relief stress before it becomes such a dreadful mental pain. I would love to find a way to treat myself with more respect. But the reality is: cutting may be a lot less harmful than other coping mechanisms like drinking alcohol in excess. Too much alcohol will harm the liver permanently. Cutting has no permanent damage other than scars and those aren’t a risk to one’s health. Of course cutting in itself isn’t optimal. But not because of the cutting itself, but because of how we feel before and the fact that we seem to be unable to deal with that mental state.

So helping really means two things: Allowing me to let myself off the hock. This is crucial. As long as I am busy blaming myself for being anxious and in consequence for cutting myself, there is no way I am getting better. And the next step is to actually deal with the stressors. And to learn techniques to deal with stress in general, but unless the person trying to help us is a therapist or very experienced with such issues themselves they cannot help us with that.

Maybe we need professional help. The thing is: when we are at a point of self harm, we will not have the mental energy to go out and get that help. and therefore we might not even allow ourselves to realize that we do need help. And when we are better again, there is no reason to get help. So our bad times come and go as stress comes and goes.

Taking Responsibility vs. Hating

I have found one highly negative pattern within myself: Every time I failed in any kind of way, I would use this very failure to fuel my self-hate. Why would anyone do that? It seemingly makes no sense. Seemingly.

Humans can get used to almost anything. Including hating ourselves. And humans also do not particularly like change. So once we have gotten used to hating ourselves, we do not want to stop hating ourselves anymore. So we start finding reasons to hate ourselves and we end up in a negative cycle.

The important thing here is that we act as if we wanted the reason for hate to vanish but not actually taking any steps towards it. While this may seem very hypocritical it is actually not something we consciously do. And even if we know we have that problem, it may be almost impossible, to get rid of it, because to do so, we need to catch this negative behavior in the moment.

This ties in with general negativity. If we are able to eliminate negativity from our lives, we also get rid of our self-hate. So how can we catch this behavior? It is important to acknowledge our flaws, but it is not an excuse to go down the road of self-hate. We need to acknowledge our flaws, in order to improve. This is work. I am sorry. But the only sensible thing to do, when we catch ourselves talking to ourselves negatively and pointing out everything we did wrong, is to figure out ways to make it better next time. Sometimes our minds are too clouded by self-hatred, then it makes sense to write this down. This is productive and it gives us a better chance of breaking the cycle of negativity.

Here are some other things I like to keep in mind to break negativity:

Watching what I say. (I talk to myself a lot.) Especially watch out for whining and complaining. These are often just ways to give voice to negativity, without changing anything for the better. The goal is to become a more positive person, so yes, we need to acknowledge the things going wrong, but if we cannot change it, there is no point to get emotionally invested in it, since it will only drain our energy and make us more negative. This especially applies to talking about other people. If it is not something nice or at least very interesting we want to say, it would be wise to refrain from saying anything at all. Complaining, whining and bad-mouthing other people does not only make us more negative, but it also makes us a lot less pleasant to be around. Of course sometimes we just need to vent. It is perfectly human. But remember: there is ALWAYS something we could vent about. And it is one of the easiest negative traits to catch and correct.

Don’t seek out distraction when I feel crappy. This sounds a little counter-intuitive. But hear me out: I am not talking about taking a break or finishing the day off with a little bit of a nice TV series. I am talking about spending hours in front of the TV procrastinating. This can have all sorts of causes. My favorite ones are “I am tired” and “I am feeling nauseous”. The problem is: After I have wasted a few hours I will feel just as tired and in addition to that I will also not have done anything productive and that will have me feel even worse than where I was at the beginning.

Focus on improvement. This one is probably the most trivial one. But it is very important to remember that it is okay not only make small steps into the right direction. I once tried to talk myself down because I was sore after a workout, because it meant, that I was weak, even if that was true, me being sore was a sign I was on the right path. It is normal to have setbacks, but then it makes much more sense to focus on the long way we have come than on “how far we’ve fallen”. The first has a better chance at getting us up on our feet again.

Monitor what I think. This is very similar to watching what I say, just a lot more subtle. It is about training ourselves to be mindful of our thoughts and to alternate negative thoughts with something more nice and positive.

Take care of my physical self: Sleep, Exercise, Hydrate! This is pretty self-explanatory. It is all about feeling good in our bodies. If we feel good, it is easier to focus on how good we feel, than on how life is unfair and not worth being lived. It is also about being kind to ourselves and taking care of ourselves. Because that is inherently positive. It is consciously taking action to shower our bodies in positivity and that is a perfect first step to more positivity.

This list is not complete, there are countless other little things, that have us become more positive. And in the end it is a very individual journey, but for me breaking out of negativity was long overdue and these tips come straight out of my personal journal. I know that negativity is the one thing that if I do not get rid of, I don’t even have a single shot a happiness.

Body-Positivity: Excuse or Remedy?

Let’s talk about a buzzword: body positivity. What is it all about? Body positivity is about having a positive view of one’s body. It can be helpful in fighting the self-hate my feel towards our bodies. It is a topic especially prominent among people with a high BMI. The goal is to not feel bad about how much we weigh, or how we look.

This is a double-edged sword. The thing is: the way we look influences the way we feel. That is a fact. And while self-acceptance is a huge part for anyone not only those fighting mental disease, if taken over the top it can become toxic. If our body is not healthy we will naturally not feel as good. We will not feel as confident. And that, I believe, is a good thing. If we are out of shape, we should be putting in the work to get back into shape. Not because of what other people might think of ourselves. But because we respect ourselves. Body positivity can turn off that voice inside our heads that’s telling us to get off the sofa and work out, even though a work out would be really beneficial to us. Way more beneficial than just trying to accept us. Body positivity therefore stops us from trying to get the body we dream of. And while of course we cannot work in order to become taller, we can work in order to become slimmer. And the good thing is: if we manage to do so, we will get to be so proud of ourselves. And it will be real. It will not be some mantra that we believe because we repeated it every other hour.

The thing is: Confidence isn’t about how we look. There are countless people out there who have a near perfect body but are not happy. Body positivity makes it sound like a lower BMI would be the one thing that could make us happy, but really we don’t have to work for it, since we are positive about our bodies. But that is not true. We can be way more positive about our bodies, if we keep improving them. The reason exercising consistently makes happy, is that it’s tough, but once we are done we have achieved something. And that is what we get to be proud of. This is also why exercise boosts confidence. Because it teaches us, that if we put our minds to something we can make it.

Taking care of ourselves and our bodies is a matter of self-respect. Body positivity makes it seem like not taking care of our bodies by watching our nutrition and exercising is a matter of confidence and individuality and confidence. And that is a problem, in fact, not taking care of ourselves is all about laziness and will actually decrease our confidence.

I am very much against shaming others for their bodies, but really we should all be very much against shaming anyone for any reason. It is just no our place. And we never know how much someone has been working on something. We might be grossly misjudging and hurting someone. They might be overweight due to a medication. Or any other reason, that we cannot see. So while bodypositivity can be missused in order to stay lazy, let’s not jump to any conclusions.

While I do believe a body positivity can be misunderstood and used to promote laziness there is the other side to it: The part where we come to terms with our height or the size of our feet. Body positivity can help us to accept that when we go for a run for the first time in a year, we don’t get to run 5 Miles. Body positivity is a great way to fight perfectionism and focus on growing instead. And that is so vital. Perfectionism does not only make us not feel good but eventually will also make us stop trying to become better, since we can never be perfect.

Body positivity helps us focus on the good parts. It helps fight negativity. And that is great. When it comes down to it, it is all about balance. Body positivity won’t make us happy. Neither will having the perfect body. But improving will. Taking care of ourselves will communicate to ourselves, that we value ourselves way more than just saying that we value ourselves.

Maturing vs. Growing up

We can be grow up without gaining maturity. Growing up happens inevitably, but maturity is so much more than becoming independent and having a sex-life. Maturity is the thing most adults fake to have. The reason for that partially is, that part of maturity is to be confident. The other part is, taking responsibility and understanding that no one cares.

No one cares about how well we are doing at our jobs, or how well our studies are going. Yes, we do try to help each other and we do try to keep each other accountable. And that is all great. But it is just not enough. Unless we realize that we are the ones responsible for how our lives turn out, I can guarantee, it won’t turn out great. Taking responsibility is synonym with effort. And we humans do not like effort. So we’d rather resort to feel-good-quotes and keep telling ourselves, that everything will be fine. But it won’t. Unless we make sure it will.

Even if someone else wanted to deal with the fact, that we are not doing our job well. Even if someone else wanted to read more instead of watching TV, they can never make us. That is the draw-back of living independently. Yes, the people around us, can remind us, of where we want to go. But we have to walk there ourselves.

Do you want to know a secret? I hate it. So much. Taking responsibility for even just my life is so exhausting. And more often than not it does not exactly go well. But we all have to start somewhere, right? I believe maturity is about understanding who we are as an individual and about understanding that that is what matters the most.

Do not make the mistake of thinking that maturity means to never have fun. We can goof around in the weirdest way, but the important thing is, that this goofing around does not endanger anything important: our career, our relationships, or our health. To phrase it in other words: there is nothing wrong with having some fun. There is nothing wrong with making ourselves feel good. In fact, I am all for doing more of what makes as feel good, unless it is at the expense of our overall quality of life or honesty. We should not have to lie to ourselves in order to feel good.

Part of being mature is being able to make our own decisions in a way that benefits us not only short term, but long term. It is about taking responsibility of our health and minds. Our relationship and our surroundings. It is about not only knowing what kind of life we want to live, but also working up the discipline to follow through on working towards that life. Being unreliable is not only annoying and disrespectful to others, but also childish. Children do whatever they want unless they are told not to. Adults do whatever they want unless they tell themselves not to.

There is nothing wrong, with changing one’s opinion. But wanting something and not working towards it, or giving it up, is not taking responsibility for ourselves. No one will hand us the lives we crave. The relationships we want, or the physical appearance we have always dreamed of. We need to understand, that either we take charge or nothing is going to change. Ever.