week two: set yourself up
Similar to the popular sayings, ‘you are the company you keep’ or ‘you are what you eat’ – the same concept applies to flourishing. Without having the right environment and nutrients how do you expect yourself to grow and flourish into the best possible version of yourself? Small, simple changes to the environment you spend your time in can make the world of a difference when it comes to your journey.
Look around you right now – ideally you’re at home or maybe at work (we won’t tell) – how does this space feed you? Or does it stifle you? Humans are creatures of our environment and we need to surround ourselves with things that bring us up, whether that be beautiful artwork, sunshine streaming in or small table top plants that bring nature indoors. These small things can have a huge impact on your daily habits and mental outlook – especially your ability to flourish.
Similar to last week, using a sliding scale from 1-10, take time to look at the home and workspace you’ve created for yourself and rate it based on how inspiring, beneficial, positive or reflective of you it is. What feels like it’s missing? Is it more colour and patterns in your living space, or just the action of opening up your blinds first thing in the morning to allow the sunlight to come in and impact your mood. You don’t need to spend a lot of money, or even time, on creating a space that is reflective of you that also allows you to feel safe and secure to rest and connect with yourself. Get creative – swap decor pieces with friends, look on facebook marketplace or at a local thrift store, maybe even tackle a DIY project you’ve had on your mind for a while. Take time to invest into your physical space, where you spend a lot of time, so that environment can positively impact your ability to flourish.
Similar to your space, the people you spend time with the most will have a major impact on you and your outlook on life. Do you spend time with friends who are always complaining and not taking action to better themselves? Do you have friends or family that feed into you, with compliments, encouragement and positivity? Taking an inventory of the people you spend your time with may seem impersonal but it’s necessary to ensure you’re creating the right environment and space to grow. Having friends who encourage you, push you and inspire you to be the best version of yourself is what a true friend is – they always want what's best for you, and vice versa. Don’t be afraid to take a step back from some people and reflect on what that space gives you – maybe you realize how positive their impact is or maybe you finally feel free to explore a new version of yourself without their opinions of you affecting your choices.
One of the most important environments is one no one can see – it's your mindset and inner monologue. For many of us we are in constant conversation with ourselves all day long in our mind – noticing what’s happening around us, what we’re feeling, encouraging ourselves or tearing ourselves down. For me, I find when my mindset is stuck in a negative loop my outer world feels dull, bland and disappointing. Even though I can see this when I reflect on my low days, I have a hard time seeing it as it’s happening. Once I start on a negative thought pattern it takes actual work – and commitment – to change that path and shift it into positivity. For me, I speak to myself in third person to redirect my thoughts off a negative path and back onto a positive one. I imagine as if I’m speaking to my dearest friend – I would never let her say those things about herself, or anyone else for that matter, so why do I let myself think those negative thoughts? On the days that my mindset is not a positive environment, I’ll say something along the lines of, ‘Mary, this is not serving you and you are lying to yourself about these things. You have the power to look at this differently and change how you feel about yourself and this situation’. From there I will often write out or say aloud three things I’m good at, that I’m proud of or that I believe in myself. By choosing to focus on these positive facts (key word, they are facts and the truth and the sooner you believe that the better your mindset will be) I am able to shift myself from having a negative mindset to refreshing myself and getting back on track with a positive mindset.
As you head into this week and look at your environment don’t be afraid to question every area of your life and ask yourself, ‘does this encourage or discourage my ability to flourish?’. Small changes can even be getting rid of that sweater you feel like a blob in – if it’s not serving you then it needs to go! Be ruthless, be real and remember the power to create an environment of positivity and growth is in your hands.