Be nice to yourself at least once every day

You are your worst enemy.

So the saying goes. Pretty much because it’s easier to beat yourself up much more than anyone can. Very soon, it becomes noise in the head and you can’t even differentiate on whether it’s about the present, past or way-back-there-past.

And the theory goes that if you are harder on yourself than anyone else is on you, one nice thing a day can’t really spoil you.

It’s nice because it’s a way of celebrating who you are, instead of berating who you are.

Daily, at least once, any item below:
• Congratulate yourself on having taken one step when you could have taken none.
• Celebrate one failure as a way of learning.
• Take one promise made to yourself and keep it.
• Breathe. Deeply.
• Say thank you to yourself for one thing you are grateful for.
• Smile at yourself as if to say “I appreciate you”.

Just once a day. Be nice to yourself. That would be more than what most of us do, wouldn’t it? And if so, wouldn’t that be a major life changer?


It still fazes me

Once in a while, open authentic conversations with friends who are also open minded and authentic draw our key insights from myself (that’s why it’s important to have positive people around you, but that’s another story for another day.

I used to be very tentative and over-think, slink back, when activities come out that involve more “extrovert qualities” or putting myself “out there”. Recently, I received some coaching in an experiential course that help me see where that was holding me back and not aligned with what I wanted to achieve for areas in my life important to me. She asked what had worked since energy in the team activities was visibly higher when I usually look quite deflated.

I said the first thing that came to my mind:
“It still fazes me, but it doesn’t stop me.”

(This is one of those instances when you say something, and suddenly seem to look at yourself from the outside in as a third party, seeing things more clearly.) It doesn’t have to stop me. I won’t change into someone else extroverted, which is why it still fazes me. But what matters is that it doesn’t stop me.

And if it does stop me next time – the next time I withdraw and pass ok the opportunity to take part in life?

Then I pick myself up again. Because what matters is that it doesn’t stop me.

Not just about loving what you do

(I was travelling to the other side of the world for a business trip the last two days – from Singapore to US. While jetlag wasn’t a major problem, the coordination of travelling between cities, trying to adjust to the time zone to coordinate with things back home, is a little topsy turvy.)

Now that’s aside…

I was thinking about my friend who recently had a chance to live 6 months abroad (along with her family) for a study program in her profession. I didn’t know you could do that for her chosen profession – she is a medical doctor.

But I think such ‘rare’ possibilities happen for because people can truly sense the dedication and passion.  And in turn, whatever you choose to do, will be rewarded.

You see, this is the same friend that was the only one amongst us group of friends, who answered the following question without a complaint or a justification: “At this point of your life, any regrets with what you have chosen to do (profession)?”

I had a few “buts”.  Yes, I like what I do but… It’s really not that bad but…

She is someone I have known for a decade at tha point on time, and she is truly someone who is humble and honest. So when it came to her turn, she said truthfully, “Nothing. No regrets. I really like what I do.” She as a medical officer then, taking on crazy hospital hours and training.  But she had no complaints and was truly content.

That sparked off my search for finding meaning in what I do, perhaps the better description of ‘meaning’ might have been ‘passion’.  I wanted to know what it meant to be in that present place, with no regrets (looking back) and no fantacizing of what else could be better (looking forward), with what you choose to do.

It wasn’t just about loving what you do, but knowing that you were doing now exactly what you meant to do, in that now.  And that would be a very powerful way to live your life.


If tired, sleep

Short of sounding too zen, it really is quite simple.

The strange thing is I have, more often than not, complicated the process.

Turns out when you remove the mind chatter and the stories, and just bring your awareness to the present, it becomes a simple theory and a powerful way of life.

If tired, sleep.
If hungry, eat.
If sad, cry.
If happy, laugh.

If complicated, simplify.

Showing up

There are many reasons why I don’t show up.

No time. No energy.
Don’t think anything will work.
Don’t think it matters.
Don’t think anyone will notice.
Don’t know what to do.
Don’t know how.

While I had to be shoved into showing up for something today, I realized something hilarious (at least to me) – you know that energy it took to debate if I should or should not show up?

Way lesser than sitting on my behind, debating, and not showing up.

So the maths adds up: show up first and spend the rest of the energy creating, instead of debating.

Can I “catch” you for a few minutes?

So the day has been steadily going downhill and nothing seems to work right.

The photocopier jams three times and when it works, halfway through you run out of ink. In replacing it, you shuffle some on the floor and have to clean up the dirty toxic powder. When you finally print the full set of companies, you stain the copies with your printer-powder-stained fingers.

And so on.. I guess you get the picture.

So in between, to short circuit another raging meltdown, all it takes is a few minutes to interrupt the process and make that shift.

So it’s good to have handy:
A picture of a loved one or favorite scenery, a packet of sweets (though I hardly encourage this in the long term as it’s contrary to keeping healthy), a 2 minute walk. Whatever works for you.

And my favorite, easy to carry along with today’s smartphones, a song to get your groove back.

Catch yourself for a few minutes, pop the earphones, tap your feet… and get back in the game.

Building My Library

In searching for the path to “loving Monday mornings”, I read. A lot.

That pretty much sums up my immediate backup plan to anything. Read.

Although being a bookworm pretty much meant I am a nerd, through learning to embrace that part of myself meant I could always have something to fall back on.

Maybe for others it’s colors & painting, photography, long drives, food.  For me, those made up the richness of life but what truly made sense at my core were books.

Fellow bookworms will understand …

why the smell of libraries and bookstores can calm me down, inspire me to possibilities, feels like magic is in the air.

why I had to carry a book around all. the. time.  (annoyed the heck out of my parents, because had to be hugged in arms and I would plonk my nose in a book, supported by one hand, oblivious to whether I was spilling food from my spoon in the other hand).

why despite loving books, one would struggle between whether or not to buy a Kindle because having pages to flip was a real enjoyment.

why the dream room of a house we could have unlimited space would be the “library”, with a comfortable couch to curl up for reading, bright sunlight streaming into the windows, with a wonderful view of nature outside.

Building my library

So I never quite found a house big enough to have one room, just mine to build a library. With the constraints of space (I mainly stay in apartments) and that maintaining space and reducing stuff was becoming a real challenge (another story for another day), I gradually gave away more books, graduated some to Kindle versions, and relied on the neighbourhood library a lot more.

With two kids now, I wonder if there will be any ‘legacy’ I can leave for them – to show them, these are the ‘must read’ books in your lifetime.

So I figured, I’d do it in cyberspace. I’ll place what I read about each book on various posts here.  They will get to see a side of me through what I love. We’ll get to flip the “bookshelves” and re-read any book.  And a good book warms your day, and keeps you in the game – and you’d want inspiration of what to read, simply browse this “library” and take your pick.

<PS. To get the administrative stuff clear, I’ll tag my book review posts as “build my library”.  If they have links to any books on Amazon, it will be linked through the Amazon affiliate program.  That means, that items bought through these links will result in a small percentage of advertising fees to me.  I don’t have other affiliate programs on my blog.  While there will be ads that are shown from time to time, these are from wordpress and are not shown to logged in users, nor have fees paid to me.> Edit: The Amazon affliate program application apparently did not go through so when I do make another application, I will clarify on this blog.

When all else fails, look at the small things

My friend called me the other day, going all along about how work was overwhelming, papers all over the desk, feedback from his supervisor that he just can’t get the paperwork right which means less confidence in handling him “bigger work”. He was getting more overwhelmed by the minute, sitting in the middle of a messy pile of paper at his work desk.

And it caught me. That, simply, it’s about the small things.

Just when you think you can’t breathe, it’s too much, start on the small things.

It’s the small things, one at a time, that builds the entire picture.

One paper at a time, leads to a decluttered desk.

One snark remark at time, leads to the distancing of relationships.

One smile at a time, leads to a child running to your arms because she knows it’s safe just as when she really needs it.

One blog post at a time, and a story is built.

One day at a time… And a life forms.

Whether that is a life of different days and experiences, or a life of just the same day over and over again, you get to choose.

Aren’t the small things amazing?