I have been quite guilty of rolling my eyes at ‘inspirational quotes’, seeing them as cliché and pointless; the same empty words constantly regurgitated. To a certain extent, I think this is possibly a valid way of seeing them, as quite often they don’t really seem to hold any meaning. The flip side of this, however, is that I am seeing things that have been created with the intent of spreading a positive message, and my default reaction has been a negative one. Which feels so silly. So recently, I’ve been making more of a conscious effort to not be so dismissive of them, and I’m genuinely seeing the difference.
I’ve got a folder on Instagram in which I save motivational posts (whether that be quotes, pictures, captions) with the intention of looking at them when I feel like I need picking up a bit- or a kick up the ass to get things done, as is the case with the more motivational ones! It’s interesting how quickly I’ve noticed myself looking through them to boost my mood and attitude, and also hugely helpful as I have a number of uni deadlines coming up and I’m finding the folder to be a bit of a reminder that I need to get myself in gear and stay focused on the tasks at hand. Although, admittedly, the fact I have to go on Instagram in order to see them provides a very immediate distraction…!
Here are a few of the most helpful quotes I’ve found for when we’re feeling anxious:
“Confidence is not ‘they will like me’, confidence is ‘I will be fine if they don’t.”
This is SO important!! I am rapidly approaching the end of my first year of uni and am thinking very seriously about internships and work experience within the big and slightly scary world of publishing, and an obscenely prominent thought I keep finding myself harbouring is ‘what if they don’t like me?’. The truth is, all this thought is doing is holding me back from ever finding out. My self-worth doesn’t depend on whether other people like me, and besides, who’s to say they won’t?!
“Take that self-doubt and kick its ass.”
Following on in the same vein as the previous quote, it is helpful sometimes to have a quick reminder that the doubting voices in our heads are merely that: voices. They aren’t oracles, they aren’t spouting prophecies that are destined come true, and they don’t actually have the power they sound as though they do. We can take what they are saying and we can accept that challenge, proving them wrong through perseverance and determination.
“Never be afraid to try something new because life gets boring when you stay within the limits of what you already know.”
This is one that I keep repeating to myself, because as my first year of uni comes to a close I am increasingly aware that I want to be filling my time with doing as much as I can, trying as many different avenues as I can to figure out what it is I might want to do. I’m conscious that this time presents a golden opportunity for me to be doing so, and I desperately don’t want to let a fear of new and different things be what stops me from finding something that might make my heart and soul glow.
“Somewhere there is a past you overflowing with so much pride looking at how far you’ve come.”
I don’t have any big revelations about this one- it’s just a beautifully prominent quote that’s true for me. If your younger self would be proud or amazed at how far you’ve come and all you’ve achieved, then you might want to keep this quote where you can always see it 🙂
“Baby steps still move you forward.”
We often get so caught up in the big picture that we have in our head of what we want to achieve and how far we still have to go to reach it, that we lose track of the fact that small progress is still progress. Something that I am finding hugely helpful in showing myself compassion for taking smaller steps toward success is making the most of my time. It is very easy to see small portions of time and get defeated by the amount we have to do in the time we have to do it and allow this defeat to take over us, but by making the most of little gaps of time we can use small bursts of motivation to push us that little bit further forward, even if it doesn’t seem very much. By getting work done gradually in little bits here and there, we enable ourselves the time to get things done slowly but efficiently, and this leaves us with time to spend on things we want to do without stressing about the growing workload that we may have to try and stay on top of.
“Note to self: do not give up (especially when it gets hard).”
Something that we are probably all guilty of is letting work pile up and seem so daunting that we feel our only choice is to just give up. I know I do this, and I find it adds unnecessary stress to things that I know for a fact I am capable of doing without the pressure. Something that I have started doing recently is setting my own deadlines on my university assignments, for example aiming to have an essay finished a day or two before the official deadline so that it doesn’t become a stressed mad rush to cram 3000 words into the night before. The thing with setting personal deadlines is to be strict and hold ourselves to them, but be realistic as well. Deadlines shouldn’t come at the detriment of our mental health, and so the aim is to get work finished whilst still remembering to be kind, compassionate, and patient with ourselves. It’s all about practice, and I will admit that I do occasionally still find myself furiously typing away at assignments mere hours before they’re due (oops), but I am working on keeping my word with myself to stick to slightly earlier personal deadlines.
I find it quite encouraging as well to be honest, there’s something so satisfying about submitting an assignment a couple days early and no longer having to worry about it, knowing I have free time that would previously have been filled with last minute stress. Giving up isn’t the answer: accepting circumstances and rolling with them in the best ways that we can with the resources that we have available to us is. (It is also just really motivating to have this quote up near my workspace to remind myself ‘I’ve GOT this!!’.
“You would be surprised what you’re capable of.”
I find to-do lists to be the biggest saviour of my life when everything starts piling up. I am a slightly forgetful and unorganised person at heart, so it has been a tremendously big help having a weekly planner whiteboard on my wall for me to continue referring back to in order to keep track of things I need to do. I have a constantly growing to-do list in the notes section of my phone, but a handy little tip that I have for you regarding to-do lists is to always make the first point ‘write a to-do list’. It gives you something to tick off right off the bat and is a small step towards encouraging you to complete the rest of them.
Another tip is to include things you actually want to do in amongst the more boring things! We often see to-do lists as a compilation of things we don’t want to do, and so by including more fun things to tick off, it becomes less of a chore and more of a positive thing. I also include things that aren’t necessarily pressing things that need doing, but are things that the voice in my head tells me I’m not capable of, and so ticking off every other part of a to-do list fills me with the motivation to have a crack at the thing I have doubts about, and it always results in exactly this quote- surprise at how capable I actually am in the face of my self doubt. I urge you all to give this a try, I think you too will be surprised by just how much you’re capable of!
“Bad news: a lot can change in a year. Good news: a lot can change in a year.”
This resonates with me a hell of a lot. This time last year I was in the middle of an unintentional gap year having dropped out of university, and so was focusing on growing myself and my comfort zone in a way I never had before. Whilst that year out did absolute wonders for me in terms of working on coping with my anxiousness, I will admit that I was a bit lonely. This past 9 months at university has filled me with so much love and life that considering who I was this time last year almost seems like looking back at a different person. This past year has seen me grow so much, and I’m positive the next year will do so too, and where I’m usually quite intimidated and daunted by change, I can’t help but be excited in the face of this newfound realisation that change can hold so much more goodness than not.
“Accept failure as part of the process. It’s okay to take your time.”
As much as we don’t want to fail, it is often inevitable, and it is perfectly normal! If we were all meant to be perfect then the idea of failure wouldn’t exist, and it really is another instance of showing yourself the same kindness and compassion that you would show other people. We often can’t see our own efforts in the face of failure, and what’s important isn’t that we ace everything always, but that we pick ourselves up following failure and we keep trying. That’s how we learn, it’s how we grow, and it’s absolutely okay.
What are your favourite inspiring quotes? Share them with me in the comments below.
Georgina has personally experienced anxiety and low confidence in the past, and she now strives to expand her comfort zone as much as she can. She is passionate about turning her past experiences into fuel for her creative endeavours in both art and creative writing, as she is still learning to manage feelings of anxiety and low confidence. Georgina hopes to be able to use her past experiences to positively impact others, as she understands how valuable it is to know that other people share similar experiences.