1. the way in which a person lives

I’ve never wanted to be one of those people who has a ‘lifestyle blog’ because I had a preconception of what this was, however since Googling and finding the above definition I feel comfortable that this is the correct term for my site: the general thoughts, experiences, places and people which make up my life and through this sharing useful and hopefully interesting information. Below are my initial thoughts on starting, and intending to grow, my new blog.

I was quite nervous to start putting time and effort into a blog again. I first started blogging in 2014 whilst in my final year of Uni and really enjoyed it. I really hated my degree (Law at Warwick) and was keen to have something to do with my time apart from either do my uni work or begrudge the fact I needed to do it. I enjoy writing and sharing experiences and advice, particularly around things I am passionate about. After a few weeks of blogging and lots of positive comments and kind words from people I knew and didn’t know as well, I got one piece of negative feedback and felt so self-conscious and embarrassed that I pretty much stopped in that moment and never really re-started. I’m really interested in the reason that many of us place so much importance on the opinions of people that we aren’t friends with and who we don’t have any relationship with. Why do I put so much emphasis on people’s opinions when actually, when I break it down, I shouldn’t care what they think? If I got a genuine piece of advice on how to better my blog that would be beneficial to me and I’d learn from it however, a throw away bitchy comment from someone who has no real right or qualification to say it should actually have very little power over me, so why does it?

The thing with blogging is that it requires you to put yourself out there which can make you feel really vulnerable. Even if you aren’t blogging about personal things in your life, you are still opening yourself up for the world to have opinions, and while that can be great, it can also be unpleasant. If you’re blogging about any topic you are expressing that you have thoughts and opinions on that topic, which then can be perceived that you believe yourself to be an expert in that area, even if that isn’t how you feel or what you’re trying to get across. So if you blog about fashion, for example, people may then say ‘she thinks she’s really fashionable’, these same people can then turn this into a negative and criticise you for it. I had a conversation with my cousin about this and he gave me a really good piece of advice. He said that when I scroll through my Facebook or check my Instagram, how much time do I actually spend on each post, thinking about that person, forming an opinion. The answer was in fact, not that much, and that gave me the freedom to start blogging again. People actually aren’t thinking about us that much, and I’m pretty happy about that. Those that are, you have to almost feel sorry for that they would spend their time not only reading what you think, but then negatively commenting on it. And those that criticise without having read what you write are the most pathetic of all, criticing you for just doing something. I actually have really close friends that do this, and although I love them, I think it’s a shame that their go-to is to take the piss when someone does anything different but work a 9-6 job and get drunk every, and all, weekend. This is, unfortunately, the ‘normal’ way to live in our current society and those doing different to this are the ones seen as breaking the status quo and therefore, apparently, deserve criticism. If you don’t believe me, go out sober on the next night out with your friends or colleagues and see what the reaction is.

I had a similar conversation with my Mum, that I want to blog again about things I’m interested in, from fashion and beauty to the hormonal disorder I suffer from, to general thoughts on life, to technology, to anything at all. I explained to her that I was nervous to do it due to opening myself up to criticism from people. She sent me a message after our conversation with her thoughts and advice and a quote she had read from another blog…

‘Stop making yourself small so someone else can feel big’. 

I’m sure some people will come across my site and think ‘oh great, another blog’ or ‘what does this girl think she knows’ however, I’m going to try my absolute hardest to focus on the positive comments. The ‘that post was really interesting’ or ‘your tips on this were really useful’. It’s frustrating that as humans we aren’t built to remember the positive and ignore the negative, in fact we’re trained in the reverse. I mentioned above that when I started my blog before I was excited until I got a negative comment which ruined it for me. The comment was a message which was sent to me, but meant to go to someone else, by a girl I went to Uni with. The message had a link to my blog and the message ‘why are so many people we know writing rubbish blogs?’. Very awkward for her, but also hurtful for me. I have now decided to use this criticism, of which I am sure I will experience more, as motivation and to try to learn a new skill, which is the ‘art of not caring what other people think’, a very valuable skill. There are people that would say that the reason the aforementioned person makes comments like this is down to a fear of doing something bold themselves or a jealousy that you’ve decided to do something different. This may be true, but it isn’t an excuse. If we could only celebrate each other a bit more we’d all be a lot happier and positive change would happen a lot faster because we would have the fear not to do it. I do think this is a mindset change we all need to go through so that our initial reaction when someone does something different is positive and supportive rather than negative and critical.

Here I publicly pledge to make a conscious effort to care less about what people think and to focus on the positive comments and the enjoyment I have when writing this blog. I am excited to develop my blog and to spend time writing and sharing experiences with people who want to read them, that’s the great thing about a website isn’t it, reading it is optional so if you don’t like it, you don’t have to read it. Fairly logical, yet something missed by so many as they trawl Kim Kardashian’s Instagram page leaving the most obscene comments you’d have to read to believe, forgetting that they don’t HAVE to spend so much time hating someone and putting negativity into the world. They could just let these feelings drift past them and focus their energy on something positive. Maybe one day…

Keen to hear thoughts and advice on this if you have any you’d like to share.

Hannah x