In the second half of last year I struggled a lot with self-doubt and frustration. I was frustrated that my Little Grey Box world didn’t look or feel how I wanted it to and I put that down to my abilities. I spent a lot of time analysing how I photograph, write and create, deciding the reason I wasn’t where I wanted to be was because I wasn’t good enough.
Those thoughts spiralled and I had quite a few dark days where it felt like I would never get to where I want be. But something else came out of those dark days. I had to face up to something. One day I asked myself, “What will you do if LGB never grows to where you want it to be and it stays exactly at this level forever. Will you stop? Will you get an office job?” The answer was immediate, there wasn’t a second of hesitation, “I’ll keep doing it because I love it and it makes me so happy.”
That answer simplified things for me. I still felt frustrated, but I was more at peace, knowing there was no way I would ever walk away from LGB because I love it so, so much. That thought shifted my focus. Instead of focusing on all the things that weren’t matching up with how I envisioned or wanted them, I started focusing on right now.
Don’t get me wrong, it was (and is) still hard not to look sideways and think, “Why didn’t I get that opportunity? Why didn’t that brand want to work with me? What’s wrong with what I do? Do I not offer enough? Do they hate my photography or think my blog is shit?” Yea, all those kind of vile thoughts. I even had thoughts like, “Maybe If I lost weight and looked better, things would work out for me.” WTF? That’s so stupid! If any of my girlfriends said they had those thoughts, I’d immediately be chastising them for being so silly.
So I guess it has been a big lesson for me, trying to work through these thoughts and feelings.
I firmly believe that if you aren’t where you want to be, there are blocks in your way and you have to work out what they are, why they’re there and remove them. We each have the ability to do that, we can change and shape our lives however we like and if things aren’t matching up with what we want, we gotta take a sec to think about why.
For me, I felt like LGB wasn’t experiencing the growth I wanted it to. I kept staring at the detail of it, because that’s how my over-thinking, perfectionist mind works. (Note: if you really, truly are a perfectionist you’ll understand that it isn’t something to aspire to. It’s awful.) I’d think things, “If LGB isn’t growing how you want it to, you’re doing things wrong. Change it. Fix it. NOW.” Argh, my mind can be so mean!!
You guys, I spent hours over-thinking the shit out of things. I thought about my content, the way it’s all laid out, how I write, my photographs, how I edit them and how I put my videos together. I thought about everything and at the end of all that thinking, my conclusion was, “Well, you just aren’t good enough. Sorry.” #depressing.
But at the end of last year I had my planning day for LGB, which you can read more about here. The theme that came out of that, for me, was ‘Live Your Truth’. I was being urged to let go and just enjoy. I’ve spent years working really hard on LGB to get it set up properly, from the way I write and share content, to the layout of the website, my photography style, my videography style, how I work with and talk to brands, what I offer, when and how I post and everything else in between. I’ve been setting up a business, but what I forgot to do was stop and enjoy it.
On January 1, during planning day, I made the decision that this year is the year of LGB. Everything will happen as I see it in my mind. It’s not a matter of ‘it’ll happen if I’m good enough’ it’s a matter of ‘it IS happening and the surprise is when‘. That thought took a lot of the pressure off me. It gave me the freedom to stop worrying and start enjoying, to trust everything I want is on its way to me and just chill out and wait happily for it to happen.
Since that moment I’ve felt a really big shift in energy. It took a few weeks for me to let myself relax and I had to say it out allowed quite a lot, reassure myself that I’ve done all the hard work setting LGB up and my job now is to enjoy it, let everything I’ve established work together in harmony and wait for it all to happen.
How do you know if it’s working? You feel it. Things are easy, they click together seamlessly. I have this slight buzzing in my chest, a tingle of excitement and happiness that is there every morning when I wake up and stays with me throughout the day. As soon as my eyes open, I know it’s there. I’m excited to check my emails and see what I’ve missed overnight. I felt content and peacefully expectant, but not frustrated anymore.
Every day feels like it brings new opportunities. Instead of me focusing on all the things I don’t have, but want, I focus on all the amazing things I have and the excitement of things to come. There’s no pressure on me to be better or do more. I’ve accepted that I love what I create and it will bring everything I want at exactly the right time.
A big part of it has to do with resistance. I was holding onto a lot of tension and frustration, which was bringing more of the same into my mind and heart. I was desiring things, but focusing on their absence. My resistance to all I wanted was the idea I wasn’t good enough to have it. Learning to banish those thoughts has had a huge impact! Now that I’ve stopped worrying about them and enjoying the crap out of all the good things and accepting that I’m proud of what I create, things have become a lot easier.
Like I said, it all lies within us. We have the ability to change the focus of our minds and that brings with it a whole lot of power.
I should take a moment here to say that all this strong-minded positive-thinking, saying things like “I will have everything I desire,” isn’t natural for me. By nature I tend to second guess myself a lot and be very self-deprecating. It feels ‘rude’ to say things so bold and self-supporting, another thing I’ve had to learn to stop doing. It’s okay to say nice things about yourself. It’s okay to support yourself. That isn’t vain or narcissistic…. it’s good mental health!!! (I think that’s another blog post in itself… maybe next week?)
I have no doubt that there are still going to be times when those niggling little nasty thoughts and doubts creep into my mind. In a way, they’re good. They make you question what you’re doing and make you fight for it harder. They remind you that you’re alive and, when you take the time to work through them, they can make you even stronger than before.
Just remember, when these frustrations appear they’re trying to show you something. Whatever it is, you can overcome it, you just have to work through it and find a way to drop your resistance. Let go. Give in. Surrender. Accept your own worth and enjoy all the beautiful, wonderful things you offer the world and the things that come your way. Simply changing your focus really can change everything. Trust yourself.
Watch: My ‘Searching for skaters in Singapore’ video
Phoebe Lee is a travel writer and award-winning blogger with a love for storytelling. Phoebe creates practical, fun and engaging written content designed to inspire and energise travel-lovers and dreamers. Follow her and Matt’s adventures at home and around the world, right here on Little Grey Box and through Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.