Judith and the Ignorant Independence

Judith was walking through the streets and scowling in dismay.

There was litter everywhere ranging from dog poo to bottles to food remains. People seemed to easily discard things and walk away nonchalantly.

This frustrated her especially as there were bins readily available everywhere. 

She expressed her irritation to her brother Jude.

‘Well, it’s a free country. People can do what they want’. 

Judith glared at him. 

‘I mean, I’m not saying it’s right. I’m just saying people do what they want. Whether it’s right or not.’ 

She reflected on this. What was the point of being free and independent if you didn’t use it for good? 

Dear you, 

Independence is esteemed highly in society. From a young age, we are taught to do things by ourselves and think for ourselves. 

When we reach the young adult stage, we ourselves passionately take on that fight for independence. 

This is a positive occurrence, it helps us develop our beliefs and hopefully to act out against injustice. 

But our independence can very easily be taken for granted and abused. 

Sometimes we can adopt the mentality that we can do whatever we want without fully considering the consequences. This means that we are only indulging in our independence and not upholding the responsibility that comes along with it. 

It is therefore important to realise that our independence carries with it a responsibility. A responsibility to do what is right. And not just what you think is right but what you think is for the greater good for everyone.

Let us also remember that people in the past fought bravely for the freedom and opportunities we experience today. This is another reason to honour our independence. 

We can try to be more mindful of what we are doing and how it affects others around us as well as the environment. 

Thank you for reading. And don’t forget, spread your smile 😊

Judith and the Heart-warming Hound

Judith was people watching. 

As usual, people were rushing past laden with shopping bags. Everyone seemed to be in a hurry. 

Apart from one elderly gentleman. 

He was taking his time and using his walking aid which alerted people to the fact he was visually impaired. 

He was also accompanied by a furry companion. 

Judith watched in awe as the dog directed the man efficiently. 

After a few minutes, he came over and sat on the same bench as her. 

‘Wow, your dog’s really clever’. 

The man smiled. 

‘Yes, she is. My Bella. But much more than that, she’s really loving.’

Right on cue, Bella started wagging her tail. 

‘Look at that, she understands you.’

‘Of course. She’s the only one who loves me unconditionally’. 

Dear you,

This post is dedicated to my amazing dog Snickers as he came into our lives three years ago today.

It would be impossible to describe all the things I’ve learnt from Snickers. He honestly has had a massive impact on my life.

One of his finest traits is his ability to love unconditionally.

He doesn’t judge people. He doesn’t hold grudges. He doesn’t care about your flaws.

He just loves.

This is remarkable and admirable. On top of that, Snickers is extremely loyal, loving and perceptive with human emotions. 

Dogs seem to be very attuned to how we are feeling and they know how to comfort us at the right time.

They are very relaxed and easy going, happily staring out of the window and watching the world go by. It’s a much needed reminder to just breathe and live in the moment. 

They are also extremely entertaining and Snickers has provided our family with an endless supply of joy and laughter.

There is so much that human beings can learn from dogs. I feel that dogs are more ‘human’ than humans are as they show qualities such as kindness and compassion better than humans do!

Thank you for reading. And don’t forget, spread your smile 😊

Judith and the One Step

Judith was feeling overwhelmed.

There just seemed to be so much to do. She had so many tasks to get done, so many responsibilities to fulfill. 

And that was just the case for now. There were so many other things she had to figure out about her future plans. 

‘One step at a time’, her friend Ingrid said to her simply. 

Judith raised her eyebrows. 

‘Well, it’s true. You can only do one thing at one time anyway. So just do that’, Ingrid explained.

‘But there’s so much to get done’, Judith moaned. 

‘Okay, that’s why it’s important to take one step at a time. Rather than feeling stuck, worrying and not doing anything at all.’

‘So what do I need to do then? Just take the first step…?’

‘And then another, then another one. Soon you’ll get there and you won’t have wasted too much time worrying’. 

Dear you,

We can all feel easily overwhelmed by the demands placed on us. 

There always seems to be a lot of things to get done. And even before we finish one thing, the next thing is on our mind.

However, as Judith’s situation highlights, it is important to remember to focus on one thing at once. 

If we don’t do this, we get distracted and consumed by the enormity of what lies ahead. 

Even the biggest task can be split into smaller chunks making it much more manageable. 

“One step at a time” is always a good motto for life. It reassures us that we are only capable of small steps but that is enough and that we need to be patient with ourselves. 

So today, let’s take one step towards something we need to get done. 

Thank you for reading. And don’t forget, spread your smile 😊

Judith and the Pressure of Performance

‘I got a new job’, her friend screeched.

‘And we’re moving to a new house’, chirped another.

‘Well, we’re really settled now. So next step is kids’, stated someone else.

Judith looked around at all the people around her. She was happy for everyone’s accomplishments, she really was.

But she also wondered why it felt like a competition rather than just everyone sharing news and catching up.

She had noticed it at work and other settings too. People seemed to think life was a competition.

But who were they competing against?

Everyone had their own personal attributes, skills, experiences and circumstances. So every person’s life was different and unique.

So then, it made no sense that life was treated as a competition. When in fact it was a journey we all go through at different paces.

Dear you,

Chances are that you’ve felt the same as Judith at some point. You’ve felt that life is like a competition and people around you seem to be achieving things and then shouting about it.

But this is a very limited and flawed way of looking at life. A competition implies a level playing field. However, we know that life is far from fair and some people start off with many opportunities and rights given to them whereas others don’t.

A competition also infers some sort of victory and prize. We certainly do have many victories in life but there is no one thing we can say makes our life victorious as life is made up of so many different parts.

Achieving things is good in itself but I want to emphasise that this should be done in a healthy way. The mindset should not be of achieving more things than someone else but trying your best and challenging yourself to grow as a person.

Seeing life as a competition puts unnecessary pressure on ourselves and causes us to compare ourselves with others which is harmful.

Instead, let us strive to encourage and support each other in our different life journeys.

Thank you for reading. And don’t forget, spread your smile 😊

Judith and the Foundation of Friendship

‘Why do mum and dad always wanna know who I’m with? They’re so nosy’, her teenage cousin sighed and rolled her eyes at Judith. 

Judith remembered caring a lot about her friends as a teenager. Her parents were fairly relaxed but they would be wary about who she spent time with. She didn’t understand this back then but she did now. 

‘Actually, who you spend time with matters a lot. It has a big impact on the person you become. In good ways and bad ways too.’ 

Her cousin groaned.

‘Not you too. My friends are fine, we’re not going to get into any trouble.’ 

‘What you all spend time talking about and doing, it moulds you. Your brain is still developing and your friends are influencing the adult you will become.’ 

‘So what do you want me to do?’

‘Pick your friends carefully. There may be people who you can have a laugh with and that’s great. But when you’re struggling with things, are they still there for you?’

‘Hmmm…’

‘Also consider if your friends are supportive of you and your goals? If they are helping you grow as a person or if they want you to just fit in with them.’

‘I don’t know.. I guess I never really thought about it much’. 

‘I didn’t either. But now, I realise I should’ve thought about it more’.

Dear you, 

A lot of things change as we grow older and our friendships are part of that. 

When we’re young, we want everyone to be our friend. As we get into the teenage years, we place a lot of importance on who we hang out with and it even seems to define our life. 

It is important to realise that we are influenced by those around us, especially if we spend a lot of time with them. We pick up mannerisms and habits from others without even realising. 

This highlights the necessity of surrounding ourselves with good role models. 

We have the ability to encourage and build each other up. Let’s take that opportunity!

Thank you for reading. And don’t forget, spread your smile 😊

Judith and the Definite Death

Judith was reeling from shock. She had just heard about the death of someone she knew. 

She did not know how to respond, what to do or feel. 

She thought of her friend, the memories they had shared, the life she had lived. 

But most of all, she thought about death. 

‘Why?’, her mind immediately screamed. Why did this have to happen? 

She knew that death was a certainty, in fact the only thing we can be certain of in this life. 

But she chose not to think about it and lived under the impression that it’s something to think about much later in life.

Days like today made her realise with a sickening jolt that death could happen at any minute to anyone. 

Rather than seeing this as terrifying, she tried to think of it another way. 

If she knew she would die soon, how would she live her life? 

Dear you,

Death is a difficult and sensitive topic and we all have differing ways of dealing with grief.

We all have experiences of dealing with the death of others to some extent.

In this blog post, I want to focus on our own death and why being mindful of this can be important. 

We all are sometimes in a state of blissful ignorance when it comes to death as the majority of people do live to old age. 

However, if we really think about death, it forces us to really think about life.

Are we living our life in a way that we want and should? 

We hear of people who are told they only have a short period of time left to live. They then go on to do the things they really want in life. 

What if we just did that each day? 

We would spend each day doing the things we love, living a meaningful life rather than wasting it away. 

The inevitability of death should cause in us an appreciation for our lives. Each day, the people we meet, the experiences we have are all precious. 

Let’s live well so that when we are near death, we don’t look back in regret but with gratitude. 

Thank you for reading. And don’t forget, spread your smile 😊

Judith and the Seriousness of the Struggle

Judith was scrolling through social media. She thought about life as it appeared on screen versus life as it actually happened. 

Online it seemed everyone was in a competition to show off how great their life was. But when she spoke to those people in real life, they talked of many struggles.

One thing she had noticed being said a lot was “But others have it a lot worse, I should be coping but I’m not, what’s wrong with me?”

This was a question she had often asked herself too but she did not anymore because it was not useful. 

Yes, others may have things a lot worse in theory. But that does not make your struggle any less painful. 

And when you’re already struggling, it is not helpful to beat yourself up further and blame yourself for your response. 

Judith knew now what she did not for many years. She knew the truth. 

There was NO shame in struggling. None at all. It was merely human. 

Dear you, 

With our world collectively and individually being consumed by a life behind screens, we may be tempted to judge others based on their online presence. 

This would be a mistake. Human beings are far too complex to be quantified by what they post online. 

One thing is for sure. Every single person struggles and suffers. This is natural.

Shame can creep in easily when we ourselves realise we are not coping or struggling. 

This can then lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms as we feel we need to hide our true feelings and just ‘get on with it’. 

I can tell you this, there is no shame in struggling, there is no shame in speaking about it and there is absolutely no shame in struggling over and over again. 

Remember, our struggles and sufferings, the way we deal with them, the perseverance and endurance we learn is what propels us and makes us grow as people.

Embrace the struggle. And in hindsight, you’ll be thankful for your struggles because it led you to where you are now. 

Thank you for reading. And don’t forget, spread your smile 😊

Judith and the Fallible Focus

Judith had noticed that one of her friends seemed to be ignoring her. 

She wasn’t sure what she had done wrong but she had been thinking intensely about it. 

Being a natural people pleaser, she found it hard when people weren’t happy with her. 

She always assumed it was her fault somehow. 

Later on that day, her friend called Judith to talk. 

‘I have some bad news, a lot of bad news actually’, she said. 

It turned out that her friend was going through a really difficult time and was struggling to cope. None of it was about Judith. 

Judith berated herself for being so self-centred and vowed not to make the same mistake again. 

Dear you, 

We all tend to judge others in various ways, sometimes without even meaning to do so. 

People have such a vast spectrum of personalities and characteristics, not everyone is going to act the way you would want them to and not everyone is going to be your friend.

Often, we may make certain assumptions about people, even the people close to us without realising that there is much more to the story. 

What we think is the problem may often not be the problem. Like Judith, we may focus on ourselves more rather than thinking about it from the other person’s perspective.

It’s very important therefore to be non-judgemental and empathetic when dealing with people. This applies to all the people we meet and deal with. 

Others are going through difficulties and struggles that we don’t know anything about. We don’t want to add to their troubles but rather be a supportive and encouraging presence.

If people don’t talk to you or seem off, don’t make the situation worse by imagining things in your head. Having a frank and honest conversation is probably what is most needed. 

It is comforting in a way to realise that everyone is struggling, it is not just you. Let’s help each other bear our struggles better. 

Thank you for reading. And don’t forget, spread your smile 😊

Judith and the Highlights of History

“But history is so boring”, her cousin cried out. 

“It’s not, it can be interesting”, Judith countered.

“Well, do you want to do my history homework for me then?”

“I’ll help you with it”.

Judith tried to explain to her cousin why seemingly obscure events of the past actually mattered a great deal. 

“We learn from history not to repeat the mistakes of our past”.

“But people still make lots of the same mistakes today”, her cousin pointed out.

Judith sighed. 

“Yes, you’re right. But we can still choose to try again and learn from those mistakes. And there’s so many inspiring people who did just that”.

Dear you,

Recently, in the UK, the platinum jubilee of the Queen’s reign was celebrated in spectacular fashion. 

We are all aware of the traditions of celebrating anniversaries in our personal life and more momentous occasions as a country or even globally.

But, what is the significance of this? What is the point of looking at things that happened so long ago? 

As human beings, we are capable of both good and evil and this has been highlighted throughout history. 

The progress and discoveries humanity has made over the years have been remarkable. There is a lot to be learnt from our predecessors. 

There are also many areas where improvement is required. Our knowledge of some things such as the human impact on nature and climate is always evolving. 

It is up to us to learn from both the good and bad in our history. We learn how we can achieve many things through hard work and perseverance. But we are also made aware of how much more we need to progress and develop as humans. 

Inspirational figures and events from history can inspire us. 

And who knows, our actions may go down in history and be looked at by the future generations. Thus telling us how important it really can be. 

Thank you for reading. And don’t forget, spread your smile 😊

Judith and Opening Oneself

Why do we only show one side of ourselves? 

This is something Judith has often wondered, time and time again. 

There were so many people in who seemed confident, self – assured and comfortable with life. 

But when she had gotten to know these people better, she realised how many insecurities and issues they battled with daily. 

Judith wished more people would be “real”.

She had to admit that she herself would not find it comfortable sharing personal things with strangers. 

However, she felt that it would be helpful if people talked more openly about feeling sad or insecure. This would normalise these emotions and reassure people that: Yes, we’re all human and this is part of that.

Dear you,

“Vulnerability” is a word with many connotations and most of them are probably negative. 

We all experience pain and hurt which have been caused by others and this can affect our ability to be open with others. 

However, if we only show one side of ourselves, we are not being our true authentic self. 

Sometimes, it can be tempting to think that others have their life all sorted out. But this is most likely, an illusion.

I struggle. You struggle. We all struggle.

There’s no shame in saying that and being honest.

In fact, accepting that is the first step to dealing with it better. It is better than denying it, ignoring it or taking it out on others.

I hope we can all try and be more ‘real’ and honest with ourselves and others.

Thank you for reading. And don’t forget, spread your smile 😊