Creativity, Self Empowerment

Journal prompts: Home

I’m a real homebody. I love winter time, because it’s the perfect excuse to stay in, wrapped up warm and cosy.

I think it’s important that we make our home a safe and comfortable space, especially if we spend a lot of time there.

This is particularly important for people like me – HSPs and introverts. We need a safe space to retreat after being out in the world. We need a place to feel that we can just relax and be ourselves, a place where we are inspired and our creativity is nurtured, and a place to be safe.

For me, the feel of my environment home 3is important. At home, I want it to feel inviting, warm, inspiring, cosy, light, safe and comfortable.

A lot of this comes down to the way the place looks, including the colours, images, light, and arrangement of the furniture. I’m careful to include images on my wall that make me smile or think. I use colours that lift me up and also colours that soothe. I keep the place tidy and have objects on display that inspire me.

Besides my desk, where I do most of my creative work, my bed is my favourite place. It has to be just the right level of comfort – it’s a little like Goldilocks – not too hard and not too soft. I have a lovely duck down duvet (or ‘comforter’ for my North American friends), big pillows and a beautiful bedspread cover. I have extra blankets for winter and hot water bottles.

Some people see the kitchen as the hub of the home, a place to entertain guests, the most important part of the house. For me, the bed is the symbol for a cosy house. As a highly sensitive person, I need to know that I have somewhere warm, safe and delicious that I can go when the world becomes too much. The bed symbolises rest and renewal, safety and security.

This way, when I am out in the world dealing with stress at work, traffic jams, difficult people, bad weather or just a plain bad mood, I know that I have my wonderful haven to come back to – my home – and things seem a little more manageable.

>>> Prompts:

What does ‘home’ mean to you? What do you associate with the word?

What do you love about your home?

What would you like to change about your home?

Describe your ideal home. Include the way it looks, sounds, smells and feels.

Note: this post was originally part of a series of 30 life lessons and journal prompts for my 30th birthday. You can access the rest of the lessons and prompts here.

Creativity, Self Empowerment

Journal prompts: Making yourself happy

This has taken me years to learn, and even now I need to keep reminding myself of this truth:

It is my job, and mine alone, to make myself happy.

lesson 16It is not my partner’s job to make me happy. It is not up to my friends to make me happy. It is not my family’s job to make me happy.

Of course, that’s not to say that these things can’t make me happy – they certainly do!

But ultimately, it is up to me to make myself happy – it is my job to fill myself up.

That means, when I’m feeling crappy, the first thing I need to do is check in with myself. I need to know what my core needs are, and I need to check that they are being filled – and here’s the hard part – by me.

Some of my core needs are:

  • Love
  • Security
  • Solitude
  • Freedom
  • Creativity
  • Self-expression
  • Inspiration
  • Contribution

How do I know my core needs? Because I’ve taken the time out to think about these things, to work out what really fills me up. If I’m not aware of the things I need in my life to be happy, then I can’t make sure I’m happy.

If I’m feeling crappy in my life, most of the time it’s because I’m not meeting my own core needs. It’s not fair for me to pass the expectation onto my partner or friends to make me feel better, when I’m not doing that for myself.

There’s something really empowering about being able to fill yourself up. It doesn’t mean you can’t accept help or anything from others, but it means you don’t need it. It totally changes the nature of a relationship when you come to it already satisfied with your life. You have a lot more to offer others.

>>> Prompts:

What are your core needs? Start by making a list of all the things you like to do, the things that fill you up, big or small. Then, try to identify the core needs underneath. Usually it will be stated as an abstract noun.

In what ways do you rely on others to make you happy?

How can you do more to fill yourself up and meet your core needs?

Note: this post was originally part of a series of 30 life lessons and journal prompts for my 30th birthday. You can access the rest of the lessons and prompts here.

Creativity

Journal prompts: Money and debt

I guess this is more of a practical topic, a bit different from the others.

But I can’t overstate how much better I feel when I have no debt, and money in the bank.

The more money I save and the less debt I have, the more I feel both secure and free. Secure in the sense that things can be taken care of, that I have more than enough. Free in the sense that I know if I really want to walk out of my job, or buy a plane ticket to somewhere else, I can.

It’s all about peace of mind.

My parents taught me from a young age how debilitating debt can be. Obviously some forms of debt are ok, like a mortgage that is manageable. But having ongoing car repayments, credit card bills, personal loans and so on can be like walking around in shackles. You can’t do much but work to repay the debt. Sometimes it’s necessary, like when your car breaks down and you have no money. But as much as possible, I avoid debt.

I value freedom a great deal. As soon as I feel trapped in some form, I start to feel myself wither.

I also value abundance and fear scarcity, which I think we are taught to do in our culture.

lesson 8It has been a really big deal for me to purchase a property recently, knowing that I am now stuck in one place with ongoing mortgage payments. But the payments are very low and easily manageable, which allows me the freedom to change my job or cut back my hours. Not only that, having my own land provides me with the freedom to build my own art studio and start working from home – something I couldn’t do while renting. So it’s about striking a compromise.

Now I’m focusing on getting more money in the bank to have a cushion of security for the future. Ultimately I’d like to work for myself full time, so each time I put aside a portion of my pay cheque, I know that I’m creating my future.

>>> Prompts:

Take a moment to think about your finances. How do you feel when you think about this? Are you satisfied and happy with your current financial situation?

If you’re not happy with your finances, how would you like things to be different? What can you do to make that happen?

For me, money represents freedom and security. What does money represent for you? It might be the same as me, or it might be luxury, fun, contribution, self-love, generosity, fear, scarcity, abundance, etc. Consider doing an art journal/visual spread about this.

Note: this post was originally part of a series of 30 life lessons and journal prompts for my 30th birthday. You can access the rest of the lessons and prompts here.