Stop. Look. Listen. Think.

When I learnt to cross the road it never once occurred to me it was a metaphor for the rest of my life. True though, isn’t it?

Last year I took a month out to travel. I was an absolute cliché. I learnt that I didn’t need to travel a zillion miles to find myself. Classic.

When I returned from my travels however I made the conscious effort to slow down. Literally. I just stopped. I  watched people and I listened to everything they said. When I sat back to think I saw life in a completely new light.

The fundamental fact of life is that we are inherently selfish. Full stop. No debate required.

Our outlook is determined by our individual experiences and our natural state of being. What do we worry about most? Ourselves. Who do we think of first, even if it is subconscious? Oh, care to guess. Yep. Indeed. Ourselves.

The thing is, this isn’t wrong. This isn’t bad. And it damn well isn’t something we should change.

I learnt, that from stopping, observing, listening and reflecting, we all need to take the time to do it. Just for today stop. Take the time to watch everyone around you, and to listen to what they are saying. Stop and really think about what you have seen, and what you have heard.

Life is never black and white. People are never one dimensional.

You may worry about things that aren’t even there. You may realise that the person you thought has it all actually has nothing. Or maybe you may see that life is actually quite simple. You will definitely see that you are no better or worse than the next person.

Only you can understand yourself. No matter who you choose to love, there is no one who will ever know you the way in which you know yourself. Do not kid yourself thinking anything else.

Learn to see others then you will truly be able to see yourself. You do not need validation from anyone except yourself.

Do you really think the photographer of the supermodel/actress/pop star is 100% happy, really? The person who spends their lifetime capturing & creating beauty through a lens. The person who tells us how much sex we should be having. The person who tells us what we should be earning, wearing and caring about. The person who declares they have all the answers, that we can have anything we want, and that we are perfect, just as we are. Or, are these people just as fragile and vulnerable as you and I.

Yes, I genuinely believe we do have the power within us all to lead the lives we desire but we will never, ever, get there unless we stop, look, listen and think about the lives we currently lead.

I do not necessarily have many more answers than I had ten years ago but, I have grown. I see the world differently and I will not stop listening to its whispers.

My alarm goes off every day. I go to work. I come home. And in the spaces in between I live, learn and love a little bit more.

Just for today, stop, look, listen and think. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll witness the unexpected.