3 Things

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There is so much drama in the world that we actually forget to fully appreciate our environment and all the blessings we receive in our daily lives. For the time being, I have had a realization on the 3 most dangerous things that we must avoid to do in living in this perfectly imperfect world.

Before I head on to those things, I just want to let you know that these are just based on my perspective.

1. Never expect too much (“Nobody’s perfect”)

No matter how idealistic I may be in giving so much hope in humanity’s ability to regain its values as beings of this world, I have wholeheartedly acknowledged that I must never EVER expect people to be perfect. We all have different experiences and we came from all kinds of backgrounds. Even if people are of the same family, each individual still has their own way of thinking and thus, has his/her perception on life and approaching its challenges.

There is NEVER one way out and with that being said, we must look at everything with an open mind. It is hard enough to come up with a solution.. what more when you are only given one way to get it right. The problem with our current society is that we expect everyone to do their jobs or tasks perfectly perfect, which is ever highly unlikely.. especially if we have imposed that rule on them. It is already challenging enough to understand who we are that who gives us the right to know that we already understand everyone.

2. Never attach yourself (“Let it go”)

In this temporary world, we would not want to depend our happiness on material and worldly things that will only disappoint our understanding of how life should be lived. It is definitely difficult to face this reality. This can sometimes apply to people as well. Growing in a collectivist culture and a strong sense of family ties, I was not able to succumb the thought of having to see each person totally separated and different from me that I cannot have the full capability of getting to know them unless I have a use for them. That’s what media and society has taught me.. I hope that there is more to it than this. (I’ll further elaborate on my next post)

Then again, I have been hurt by not being able to get what I have worked hard for, whom I have given my trust to, and the future that I thought I will have. At the end of the day, it’s me against the world. Or at least.. my family against everyone else. There is nothing personal with this realization rather it is more of an observation that I wanted to share to you. This world is a place of detachment and if you attach yourself to everything that you do, you might forget what true happiness is. For me, it is my family. I have been blinded in the past because of the said promises after my commitment.. that I lost sight of spending quality time with my loved ones. It was definitely a heavy burden but once I acknowledged that this is something that I treasure, I made sure not to make the same mistake.

And it felt great, a relief!

3. Never aim for success

This is actually quite surprising.. even to see me typing this myself. I was once a firm believer that we have to focus on our goals and to not be distracted by “life”. However, life is the reason why we have those goals in the first place, right? What is the point of achieving them if we would not be able to enjoy the ride and learn from the process of getting there? Does the title or achievement simply satisfies us? YES.. but until when?

I used to be so hungry for achievement because I thought it would help me boost my confidence. Don’t get me wrong, it did but then it easily vanished and I had a higher goal to achieve, which made me feel more hungry than before.. until I reach a certain point where I understood that I am just simply collecting certificates, acknowledgements, recognition, and well, trying to “fit in”. It made me more distant to who I am than ever.

I lost myself.

Establish your values and principles in life. Let everything happen on its own, treat every problem as a challenge to make your stronger. Have goals set but do not ever have those hinder you from experiencing the great, amazing things that are happening around you.

Productivity

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Winter just drives our motivation away since the cold makes you want to sleep in and watch your favorite and try on different TV shows! (by the way, I am totally into the Walking Dead after having been told by kazillion times on how amazing it is.. next up is Breaking Bad) However, knowing that this is what Winter mentality is.. we should have acknowledged that already and thus, have taken a different path to increase our productivity while still being able to do what we want to do.

Here are some thing that I thought helped me a lot in keeping track of what I have to do.. especially in University (while working and staying involved)

1. Find your study/work playlist

For some people, it is easier to concentrate once you get your beat moving. However, I will suggest the music that will actually make you work.. not dance/sing like crazy. Honestly.. I have learned it the hard way. I have been browsing youtube and ended up watching almost 20 music videos/cover. #whatawaste #enjoyeditthough

LOL so yes, it is better to stick to a playlist. It will be a rough ride to get the right one so I’ll help you. I suggest looking up for Boyce Avenue playlist since their acoustic covers are the best songs to play if you want to concentrate OR if you like instrumentals, look for study music OR if you want upbeat songs, go for Ariana Grande Your Truly Full Album. Those worked well for me so I hope it also does for you!

2. Know the time when you’re most productive

Trying so HARD to concentrate when you are obviously distracted does not help at all. I have learned this the hard way too.. As I’ve mentioned in my old post, I used to be a competitive swimmer who trains everyday in the afternoon, which sooner or later made my productivity time become late at night or after dinner around 7:30-11:00 PM. Once I arrived in Canada, I thought I would have more time to concentrate but.. nah. My body knows when I’m most productive so going against it does not help.

This is my timeline:
morning (9-11) – most productive doing household chores and easy tasks like calling for appointments/paying bills/organizing my planner
mid-afternoon (11-3) – most productive doing medium creative tasks like playing an instrument/reading/blogging/responding to e-mails
afternoon (3-6) – most productive doing easy-medium school tasks like reviewing/answering some practice q’s/research
evening (7-11) – most productive doing hard/challenging school tasks like memorizing/typing for a paper/studying for a test AND easy creative task like reflecting/writing on my journal

Even if I know these, it does not mean that I’m perfectly fine with my time management skillzzz. I still have so much to improve on but taking the first step is the way to go! YOU SHOULD CREATE YOUR PRODUCTIVITY SCHEDULE TOO! 🙂

3. Sleep/eat right!

Need I say more? With the stress the world gives to us.. never indulge. I will say it again, never indulge! You will regret it right after. Sleep consistently at the same time every night so that your body clock will be consistent as well. Do not oversleep all the time because it will cause you to be more lazy.. it’s better to sleep early and wake up early than sleep really late and wake up super late. You will feel refreshed too!

4. Exercise (or at least move around as if you’re in the gym taking your Zumba classes)

We are all busy.. that’s for sure. Especially with all the stress this season brings to the way we perceive our responsibilities. Nonetheless, it should now stop us from treating our body right. Doesn’t it feel great to feel comfortable with the way you move? I am not implying that you have to be skinny and lean rather healthy. Sweat if off in the gym, dance in your room, do some yogilates via youtube (search it up), jump/skip/hop, walk instead of waiting for long hours for your commute (an exception will be when you’re experiencing a snow storm..), swim.

Feel like a superstaaaar! Plus, summer is coming so you’d want to strut your summer clothes, am I right?

5. Chill sometimes

Go watch a movie with your family or friends, celebrate your hard work, go downtown to take some beautiful and refreshing photographs, and just give yourself some time to stop and reflect on how you are currently feeling. 🙂

I hope I was able to help you in some way. It feels great to write these posts because it’s kind of a refresher course for me as well. If you think I’m living a stress-free life, you are wrong. I am on my journey towards that good life. Challenges are part of it and it’s better to recognize that nothing is perfect in this world so that we can keep trying to improve.

The Irony of “Happiness”

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There are two things that have been in my mind for quite some time. Just an observation based on my own experiences. Getting to understand the meaning of happiness and how it can lead to success is quite a big idea deal with. We may get the understanding that this is how it all works but actually, after having to watch Shawn Achor’s TEDtalk video about “The Happiness Advantage”, it does make sense to create a better analogy on how happiness can lead to success and not the other way around.

However, it is easier said than done. No matter how much we strive to do what we love, we always come to a point where it does not seem right anymore or your aspirations seem to be at a different path. Now, no one can really say which one is which.. only you. Before we get to the realization of what happiness should feel like, we have to understand ourselves more than our surroundings. (our strengths, our weaknesses, our background, our culture, and most importantly, our values that creates that foundation towards our thought and behaviour)

2 things I came to think of when it came to knowing what will make me “happy” are quite ironic.. well according to how I have been feeling the past few months, here they go:

“The more people I know, the more lonely I feel.” 
It is confusing but that’s how I feel. I am a friendly person by nature and I just love to meet new people. In the longer run though, I don’t feel as connected to them like I used to. This is no generalization, just a situation. I treasure these people whom I have met and there is no way that I would replace their friendships with anyone else. There are just moments when I feel that it is so difficult to keep up with each person’s life. I know the quality of he relationship is always more important than quantity of times you have met; however, we can’t deny how the friendship goes deeper through the memories you have spent together, which equals the time you make time to be with them.

Current situation: still in the path of understanding the art of balancing relationships

“The more effort I put into pushing myself to get out and discover who I am, the more I feel lost.”
It is believed that it is extremely important to get to know yourself first before you head out for the world. I have always had this thought that once I create my goal, I must focus towards achieving it even if it meant that I have to give up some things. This is how I was brought up. My parents would always talk about sacrifice and service and how these two things can lead to happiness and later on, success with achieving the life you have always wanted to have. However, this kind of wisdom is not working for me right now. I am craving to do the things that I used to do.. unfortunately, I do not have enough time for them. It’s just sad to realize how I have to comply to this path when i could have traveled the road less traveled by. I have been involved in almost anything and everything but nothing seems to fill my heart and my satisfaction.. I have been thinking that maybe, just maybe time would tell. That once I get to that phase, I would understand and I would experience the greater happiness. I was just wondering, until how long?

Current situation: still in the path of either realizing or creating my own identity

Overload

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What is success? Does it bring happiness? What is happiness? But then how can one experience happiness.. is it through wealth, accomplishments, or relationships? Have you experienced having to achieve a lot of things but still feeling empty inside? How about spending a lot of time with other people but no time for yourself? Of course, that’s a different matter. Besides anything too much is bad for us. But is too much happiness wrong? Is it wrong to want to be happy but not knowing what makes you happy? What is the difference between interests and dreams? If you are lucky, they would match.. If you are flexible, they will try to match.. If they differ, that would be complicated but at least you know which is which.

In life, take charge and stick to your decisions. Stand by them and FOLLOW THROUGH. It is easier said than done, that’s for sure but it’s not impossible. All you need to have is an understanding of your values, your commitments, and your passion. Live as though you are on a journey of learning not a journey of proving yourself. How can you prove yourself if you still haven’t found out who you really are?

Who are you? What is your identity? Do we have a planned out destination or do we make them? But how about those who experience bad things that make them in the end.. bad people? Is it their fault that they became who they are? Yes, it is us who creates our future but what if the influence of our environment is just too strong to become the person we have always wanted to be. Where does the pursuit of happiness come? I don’t know.. nobody knows but I guess, we should stop thinking about happiness so that we can expect less from it and in the end, just become content with what is in front of us. What if we are presented with a lot of options? To be happy or to be accepted? Which one will you choose?

Relationships can consume a huge amount of time in our daily lives. We may love it but sometimes it can pull us away from our own individual dreams. Moderation is the key.. The complication starts when you are to decide between career and relationships. Which is which? What if those two do not align your own dreams for yourself? Interests > Career & Relationships, is that something you have experienced? How did you face it? What is your drive? Maybe, just maybe the reason why you are neglecting your interests and concentrating on your career is because you want to improve your relationship/s (may it be to make your parents proud or to make sure that you will be able to sustain your family) Through the process though.. you alienate yourself from yourself and from your environment. Time spent is all on work just to make sure that money is coming in and everyone is happy but actually, it is only temporary happiness. They don’t feel your presence because you’re always busy and you don’t understand yourself because emotions have to be removed when it comes to work. Why? Where is happiness now? What is success?

Some things are just too complicated to think about.. so just live your life and when the right time comes, when you have learned to live to the fullest, just then you will gain the right wisdom and find out YOUR definition of success, happiness, and identity.

Let go and move on

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Better write a blog post before classes start again, right? I have always thought that blogging my thoughts and opinions is better than keeping it all to myself or writing them all down in my journal. Well, there are some extent to it, I guess? I’m still understanding vulnerability and its limitation (if there are any) so the topics that I’ve been sharing are more of what bothers me or keeps me awake at night rather than the things that makes me tear up. However, I’m just really happy that blogs were invented because it helps those who have a hard time in expressing themselves out to the world from being a mere observer to an excellent thinker. <- that is a really good idea to bring up for my future post, I’ll definitely share how being a wallflower is more than an advantage than being seen as a ‘quiet’ or ‘shy’ person.

As I said, it won’t be too long before I go back to school again. Actually, my summer classes starts tomorrow!! Last weekend was great, that’s not doubt. Perfect ending for my one week break -_- (ONE WEEK.) I expected too much. My Sunday ended with a bittersweet talk with my mom. Honestly, I somewhat expected for it to come anytime soon. Recently, I have observed how I changed in how I talk and act in front of them. It started when she came into my room asking, “Can I talk to you about something?” I was annoyed at first because I know how she will bring up my wrongdoings. And she did but there was a twist to that night. At first, we were arguing as if there was nothing right in the way we saw each other’s actions. It was crazy because I was never that open to my mom before. I felt guilty. However, as the conversation progressed, our mood changed. Instead of tackling the “What” of the situation, we went to the “Why”, which was a tougher question to answer.

It took some time when I came to a familiar answer.

My Past.

I will not elaborate because it’s a really really long story but a short summary states how my confidence was never brought back after an incident that completely changed my life 360 degrees from being a jolly kid to a meticulous observer. I had no regrets, I did learn something. You cannot please everyone. I learned that.. in a way that ruined how I perceived my environment. Trust issues came about, self-consciousness rose to being too shy, my sensitivity later became a weakness. Before that incident, I knew that my concern towards the people around me gave an advantage towards how they appreciated my kindness and how I loved the feeling of helping out other people even if it meant that I should put my interests as a second choice. It was nothing that kept me from seeing the beauty of everyone whom I met. That was not the case in that scenario because they saw my kindness as a threat and my innocence as a humor.

My self-confidence was shattered ever since that day. I never trusted anyone or myself. It was hard.. I am glad that my parents introduced me to swimming the following year, which as I have mentioned in my previous blogs changed my life back to happiness again. It was nothing permanent though because well, it’s quite typical that the negative things stick longer to our minds/hearts than the positive ones because it the sting is still there. Also considering how I stopped swimming training for this school year because I’m just new in this country.

My mom and I discussed the possible solution to building up my confidence and her say was “ALWAYS COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS.” Now, that’s something that I have done before. When I was a kid, I was told to have a notebook where I will list the things that I am thankful for everyday. It was surreal at first but I did see the effect on it.. unfortunately, I stopped and forgot about it. But now, I remember! 🙂 Another solution that was brought up was that the only way you can get over it is to accept that it has already happened. Now it’s not that easy because my mom continued with an idea that acceptance only happens when you yourself is capable of going back to what had happened without feeling the pain it gave to you. How can that be possible if it was really that bad? Well, good news “Anything is possible as long as you put your heart in it and have the will to do it.”

This will be a big challenge but I am willing to try. Actually, this school year, I have been quite involved in University just to be able to adjust to the new environment and to go beyond my comfort zone. I am happy with my performance and well, I need more drive to be better. 🙂 To finish off, I just want to thank you for reading my post and being open to what I have got to say. Just remember that you are never alone in your problems and that..

“We are products of our past, but that does not mean that we have to be prisoners of it.” – Purpose Driven

Have a great summer, WordPressers!

P.S. I LOVE MY MOM. It’s almost mother’s day. Don’t forget to show your love to your mommy-es/moms/mamas! They did in fact, risked their life when they gave birth to you. 🙂

Complexity of Contentment

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Contentment has always been one of my problems and I believe, it is too to most people without them knowing that it actually is. Okay, let us put a more positive vibe into this topic because I don’t want to always put out the gloomy side of reality. I will rephrase my first sentence then.. Contentment has always been a concern for most of us without even realizing that it is. Contentment, for me, can be defined as a mere satisfaction with the things and people that we already have in our lives. I have discussed the measurements of happiness during my last post and now I realized that contentment in each of those aspects can also lead to happiness. If we are satisfied with the attention we are receiving, with the money we are earning, with the people who surrounds us, with our own achievements, and with the things that we already know, then we can actually gain true happiness. 

I had all my ideas laid out in my head last night before going to sleep, but I guess my fatigue won over my instinct to stand up and write all of them. Next time, I will push myself to actually do because it looked so amazing in my head. Anyway, let’s go back to this issue. When I was back in my home country, I used to finish my day with a swim and doing my assignments. My life was simple. I worked hard to get into a prestigious school and I worked hard to train everyday. and lived in an old house with my parents and grandparents. I may have had the typical problems about friends, school, and whatnot, but if you asked me if I was happy, I would say yes. I did not feel any weight that I had to carry everywhere I go because I was contented with what I had. However, you know, life loves to keep on changing lanes without putting up signal lights. It drove me crazy how people suddenly changed, how society suddenly changed, how I suddenly changed. As I grew up, I saw more things that I wanted for myself, traits that I wanted to see in people, and value I wanted to see in the things that I have. Maybe my environment did not change, maybe it is how I viewed my environment that changed.

Jolly kid I used to be without any worries and trust issues because I knew that everyone was good, everything that I saw was good. Nothing to be afraid of. But of course, that will probably be every person’s dream — to live in a world of peace and equality where people respect one another and don’t have to judge one person for what he has or for who he is. That is probably never the case in this reality. But I believe we can change this way of thinking.  

What is Happiness?

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We all have different perceptions on what happiness is and what are those things that can bring us happiness. This may be quite a big question to cover in just one blog post, so I just want to discuss the bigger picture where I have observed as to how happiness is measured.. in my observations and my perspective.

Fame & Power
          These are the most common things people seek to achieve in order to experience the happiness that they have been looking for. However, can these really satisfy that hunger? It can for a while, but at some point, it will stop providing their “happiness”. The saying goes “with greater power comes greater responsibility” and that is the reason that it is so much easier to fall the higher you go to that ladder. Some may have the strength to cope and probably, just naturally gifted to climb so fast. However, some of us may have thought how lucky these people are, but honestly, they will have to sacrifice so many things and one of them is privacy.. when they reach the top. If you are one of the people who is able to muster the courage to reach this sense of accomplishment, then why not, right? It’s all about you and your capabilities. But if you are the person who just wants the happiness this can possibly entitle you, then I suggest that you stay low and look for another way. Why? When you reach the top, you will start to expect how everything will fall in place when people acknowledge you and recognize you. Don’t bother.. because in the first place, you cannot please everyone. The best reason for wanting to reach those things will be all about being able to express yourself, not to make an impression, as one of my favorite quote goes.

Money
            You might wonder why I did not include money with fame and power. Honestly, just recently, I realized how this did not belong with those intangible desires. Money, undoubtedly, can satisfy our needs and possibly, most of our wants. It is the source of almost all the tangible and intangible things in the world that we have always dreamed of — from all those technologies, to buying our own car to getting a house to paying for our education to playing sports to travelling around the world. All of these are basically things that we put in our bucket list. They are all great and wee, as humans, tend to rely on those things for our happiness to be fulfilled. However, we have to think that everything has a price where the logic is the more we work, the more money we have. But then, as we take too much time in working our way up to get that money, we have had already forgotten what we have wanted in the first place. You see, money is very powerful. It is dangerously powerful too when we work just for the money. Next thing we’ll know, we are already retired and realize that we had let money freeze the ocean where our ships are travelling towards their destinations. In short, have a goal at hand and never let money run your life.

Emotional Security
           In this world, there is no such thing as emotional security. Changes will occur day by day and the best way to live is by being flexible. Treat every turbulence as an added spice in your life. Fear and doubt may hinder you to go back where you stopped but understand that, you only live once to have too much regrets of not having to try those things that you’ve always wanted to try. (excluding the bad things that might harm you and and your health of course) As the saying goes, it is better to fail than to regret. If you have always wanted to go sky-diving but have too much work to do.. make sure that you allot a time for you to actually go sky-diving. This is just one example and I am sure that there are kabillion (if that’s even a word) more things that can be used in that situation. It is never wrong to go for your dreams and the best part is listing some things off your bucket list that has probably been there for years and years. Enjoy life as it is and do not let change scare you. You are the pilot of your airplane. You are the writer of your story. You are the engineer of your dream house. Let those pursuits motivate you to understand life and your purpose in it. It may cost some money, but better to use it than waste it when you get old and got nothing to do anymore. Happiness is just a few feet away for you, run for it.

Relationships
            I just want to share the thought that the best things in the world are free, we are just too blinded by all the “bling”. Relationships, I believe, are the most precious of them all and the hardest to take care of. As I have matured, I learned to never take advantage of those people who already love us. By those people, I mean our family, our true-est friends, and of course, God. They are the ones that have never left our sides, but did we have enough time to thank them or even acknowledge their love for us? Sometimes, but not as much as we give attention to ourselves and to other people that we want to receive that same love. The world works that way, unfortunately. Our minds work that way too, unfortunately. However, our heart does not. “The heart is stronger than you think, like it can go through anything” (Just Stand Up, Various Artists) tells us that we usually underestimate the strength of our hearts. If only we could stop and go with its beat, then only we can realize that the greatest way to live is to cherish and treasure those people who have always been there for us.

**I can’t wait for my next post when I talk about the complexity of contentment so that I can elaborate more on relationships**
Hope you enjoyed! Please do not hesitate to share some thoughts/experiences. (: