One of the most useful skills I learnt during over a decade in prison was to be thankful that things weren't even worse. In psychology this is known as comparing down and helps make you grateful for what you have. Comparing down was a skill that I learnt in New Zealand's toughest maximum-security prison, Paremero.
My mother-in-law cured me of my spoilt behaviour, but it was a baptism of fire. I was lazy and incapable, and her son deserved more than the teenager who was dumb enough to fall pregnant on the first date, and who wanted grand things in life rather than knuckling down to being a mother, taking care of the family the proper way.
We can look at some of the poorest poverty-stricken families in the world, yet they seem to find joy and happiness in their daily lives. Happiness doesn't come from outside of ourselves it comes from within. It's a mindset shift. It's a decision that no matter what is going on around us, you choose to look for happiness.
You've got so much to look forward to. You naïve little fresher, keep safe, don't overdo it on nights out, do not buy a hip flask or order mayonnaise on chips after nights out. Have fun, relax, try not to worry too much, apply for that work experience you think you won't get. Make the most of university how you want to spend your time. I'm sending you lots of love. You'll be fine. I know you will.
This loss of everything I took for granted in my adult life was much more overwhelming to me than the love I felt for my baby. I know, I said it, shoot me world - and what a world we live in when it comes to 'views' on mothers. How we should feel, how we should look, how we should react... the expectations are real and they are fired at a new mother like arrows from a bow.
Highly confident people are their own master and are best friends with their inner voice. They are comfortable being in charge of what they think, do and say, as they trust themselves. They ask for guidance, support and often flesh things out with advisers, coaches, and mentors but at the end of the day they trust their intuition as they know it will never let them down.
Spring is here and love is in the air! Flowers are blooming, trees are turning green again, birds are building their nests and we all naturally become more interested in love, sex and romance. With longer, lighter and brighter days, you have a spring in your step as you start to think about new beginnings.