Sophrosyne

How do you want to live your life?

Who Matters?

A very good friend posted this on her facebook and it moved me because in a few simple words; it described clearly what should be our attitude towards the people around us.

“There comes a point in our lives when we realise who really matters, who never did, and who always will”  – Sri Aryani

I see it this way; we have moments like this many times in our lives. When people let us down, or at the extreme end of the scale, they were there for us when we least expect it. The question to ask ourselves is this: how do we decide how much to give or whether they are worth it or not? For some, consistency plays a very important role, if the person have been consistent, a slip-up could be overlooked as an one-off situation. For others, it is whether they came to us when we needed them the most, it goes to show that this person may not be hanging around all the time but when it’s crunch time, you know they can be relied upon.

How do you decide who is important to you? I mentioned these 2 methods because I employ them both. Let’s be realistic here, everyone has their own lives to live. We have to be understanding about that as well as accept that there are other things that are higher on their priority list. I know who are my friends because when I really need them; all I need to do is to call then and tell them I need to see them. Does that happen every single time? No, but they would have tried to move things around to try and fit me in. I have mentioned several times on this site that people should be rewarded for their efforts and not outcomes; simply because we may not have control over the final result.

The same can be said about the friends we have. I am sure you have different categories of friends. Very good ones whom you would drop whatever you are doing and go to them if they needed you. And those who you see when you have spare time and have nothing much to do.

The intention behind this post is this: Be very clear about who matters, and who doesn’t. Many times people feel hurt and get themselves all upset because they are unclear about the quality of their friendships and their own attitudes towards it.

What you put into a friendship is what you sow (hang on, this is only part one); so if you have not put in enough for it to bear fruit, then it is your bad. However, if you have put in all effort and it still refused to bear fruits; then you need to decide whether you are happy doing what you are doing; knowing full well that you may not get anything back from it (this is part 2).

Life is such that we do not have control over the other party’s thoughts and actions; but we do have control over our own. If we enjoy doing nice things for someone and we feel good about it, then by all means do it. This is independent of the other party’s reactions and contributions. But if you need something in return and this one way traffic upsets up, then I humbly suggest that you stop. And one last thing; after you have evaluated the relationships where you have been the contributor, take the time to think about what your friends have done for you. And if you value these friendships, then you must treat them well. One of the most awful feeling is to be taken for granted; and it is too easy to take someone for granted.

Lots to think about! Happy Monday!

 

 

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Gratefulness

I was inspired to write today’s post when I was watching the movie ‘unbreakable’; but the key is not the storyline but a little detail within it. There are 2 main characters in the movie; the supposed hero played by Bruce Willis and the villain played by Samuel L. Jackson.

You must be wondering what connects this movie and today’s theme about gratefulness? At the beginning of the movie; the scene showed the delivery of Samuel’s character who was born with broken limbs and the devastation experienced by his mother. It made me realised how lucky I am that my children are healthy! Just earlier in the day, I had to go to their school to attend a parent-teacher’s conference. For those of you who do not know what this is; twice a year, parents have a meeting with teachers so that both parties can have a discussion about the child and their progress in school and how to help them do better.

We place a lot of emphasis on achievements because that is the reality of life. In order to live a reasonably comfortable life, everyone, well almost everyone has to work hard. As parents, it is our duty to ensure that our children acquire the necessary skills to live the kind of life they desire in the future.

We often overlook or take for granted a very important point, especially when our children are born ‘normal”. We want them to be exceptional! Normal is not good enough. Take a moment to consider this; they are healthy!! We should be so grateful for that!But we are not!

My humble suggestion for today is this: for today, be grateful that our children is normal, even if their school results are not great. Be thankful that they can run up and down and annoy us. It is a gift but we find it annoying but they are on their feet, aren’t they? Instead of a wheelchair? Change your perspective, and you will see that we are so lucky to have seemingly normal children.

 

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Thoughts and Actions

I was reminded once again by a very close friend that there is a very intimate relationship between thoughts and actions. In her very own words:

“Think about who you want to be, then do what you need to do to get there.” – Audrey Teo

Very often we go about our daily routines because there are chores that needed to be done; thus we do not put much thought into what we have to do. What she is referring to here is something different. We all have goals and hopes that we dream of. A lot of the time, we think that we have put enough thoughts into it. Afterall, we did plan on how to reach that goal eventually.

But this exercise is different. And I found it especially useful when I feel bogged down by the things that I had to get done. What I would like you to do is this: Think about what you want to be, and how badly you want to get there. Then ask yourself if whatever you are doing is getting you there. This exercise serves 2 purposes: (1) It can help to create clarity as to whether you are actually doing the right thing. (2) It helps to renew your motivation after you review your actions and see that you are indeed on the right path to your grand prize. We are humans; we get sidetracked. Very normal.

Life can drain and tire us out. Most of the time, we know innately that we are doing what we are supposed to be doing but never really took the time to actively review our plans. We act on auto-pilot and rely heavily on our instincts which have served us well so far. Or we unconsciously refused to review our plans because we don’t really want to know how far more we have to plow on. If we just keep going, going….. surely we will get there….

However, there are days when we are tired or face certain setbacks; could be so minor but because we lost clarity on our direction and process; we might risk getting derailed and unmotivated. This can also happen when we have to do things that we dislike but it is a necessary step to get us closer to our goal. Knowing that it is part of the process and being very clear about it can make the whole journey so much easier.

Take the example of my boys; they hate doing assessment books and practise papers but they know that if they want to get the desired results which will lead to their grand prize, they were willing to do it. It was just a means to an end. The aim is to know that; here is where many people give up and fail. Perhaps this example is better for readers without children; you hate your current job. But you need the money so that you can start your own business. So, going to work and saving the money will eventually enable your dream of having your own business!

Am I getting the message across to you?? If so then, pause here before you go about doing the next thing on your list. Have a think about some of the things you detest doing; then think about the final outcome. Key point: Keep your eye on the prize! It will all be worth it in the end!

If I confused you today by making the message too complicated, then maybe this simpler message might work better:

“Keep your eyes open and your feet moving forward. You’ll find what you need.” _ Author unknown

 

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Salute to our inner crazys!

Today I am choosing to acknowledge the crazys in all of us. I truly believe that in every one of us; there is one of these. For some of us, we are unable to contain the crazy and it escapes; for others they choose to deny the existence of such an alter-ego. But if we are honest with ourselves; I am sure that you will be able to remember a time when you ‘accidentally’ let loose the crazy and did something that is utterly out of character yet strangely liberating. Whether we allow it to surface daily or whenever necessary; it is good to know that the potential is there; just within reach and our control.

Here’s to the crazy ones! The Misfits. The Rebels. The Troublemakers. The Round Pegs in The Square Holes. The Ones Who See Things Differently. They’re Not Fond of Rules. And They have NO Respect For Status Quo. You Can Quote Them, Disagree With Them, Disbelieve Them, Glorify Them or Vilify Them. About The Only Thing That You Can’t Do, is Ignore Them. Because They Invent. They Imagine. They Heal. They Explore. They Create. They Inspire. They Push The Human Race Forward. Maybe They Have To Be Crazy. Because The Ones Who Are Crazy Enough To Think That They Can Change The World, ARE THE ONES WHO DO.” – Author Unknown

There you go; found anything that sounds like you yet? It’s okay because you can quietly admit it to yourself, and you don’t have to tell anyone. My intention is this: We all have the potential for change and greatness. By greatness I am not referring to discovering the cure to Aids; I am saying it can be as simple as keeping your mind open to possibilities and being willing to step out of your box to attempt it. Do not underestimate the power of little baby steps; after all, Rome wasn’t built in a single day…..

 

 

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Tips for mums

Today’s post is dedicated to a new friend I met recently; I suppose it was serendipity that we became friends because I’m sure her intention at that point was just to engage in small talk with me so that I do not feel out-of-place. We soon realised that we had a lot in common and yesterday’ she posted a message on Facebook because it was her mum’s death anniversary. The content of this post is not about death and all that; it is about how to make your life easier as a mum. I read the following tips somewhere and thought it might lighten your day. Here goes:

Tips for being a Happy Mum:

1. Admit that you don’t know everything.

2. Believe you know everything you need to know.

3. Surrender to the fact that you will eventually  repeat every mum cliché ever spoken.

4. Play

5. Forget “right’ and “wrong”, and aim for the happy and sane medium.

6. Remember, this too shall pass.

7. Listen more than you talk.

8. Find some perspective and hang on to it.

9. Have a drink and relax.

10. You are entitled to hate being a mum once in a while.

Thought this is not the exact list that I read; I have amended and added a few of my own. I had a laugh when I read the original list because it is so true. Don’t get fixated with what is the right thing and the worse thing you can do is to criticise other parents because you will never know when your child is going to play up and you end up suffering their fate!

I only have a mere 10 years of parenting experience but from what I have learnt and what I have observed so far; this is how I see it. Parenting is a very personal and experiential journey; every day is different and everyone does it differently. There is definitely no right or wrong way to get things done. The keynote here is: Love your children and show them in ways so that there is no doubt in their hearts that you love them. And because you love them, make sure that you have raised them in such a way that after you are gone; your legacy lives on with them.

To end this in the light note that I intended: I leave you with this e-card message; read it, believe in it, and commit it to your memory so that on the days when you feel tired or defeated; you can call upon this quote and see the lighter side of things! Enjoy your children; not everyone was given the privilege of having them.

“You can’t scare me; I’m a mum! Seen it, Smelled it, Heard it, Changed it, Cleaned it!”

 

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Trust the present

Today’s post was inspired by something my yoga teacher said in class yesterday;

“Trust that you are where you are supposed to be, right here, right now.” – Christine Blackwell.

Many people can choose to apply this to different aspects of their lives; be it in the yoga class at that point or if you are going through a rough patch in your relationship. I have often mentioned on this website that things happen for a reason. And another interpretation of that is this. We are where we are right now because we are supposed to be there. All that is required of us is to trust that. There is a reason and it may not manifest itself in the short-term but know that there is a time and place for things to happen.

So instead of getting frustrated and upset about where you are; see it from a different perspective. Trust me, it is always about the perspective; it plays such an important role in how we cope with our lives and situations that we get thrown into. Why not start to trust that there is indeed a higher power, and our job is to make lemonade out of lemons? At the risk of sounding religious; there is a plan for us and our job is to help ourselves when help is sent to us. Ever heard of the story of the man who was stuck on his roof during a flood. A speedboat came along and he said: “I’m okay, God will save me, you go ahead and save someone else!” The same thing happened when the rescue team and helicopter came by. He eventually drowned. After he died and met God, he asked God: “Why didn’t you save me?” God replied: “I did! I send you the speedboat, the rescue team, and the helicopter!”

The moral of the story is this: Do not expect grand gestures from whatever divine source you believe in. The aim of religion is to give you hope and to help you become a better person. And it is up to you to make that decision to help yourself when God sends you the help! A good start is to trust that you are where you are because there is something here that will benefit you. The intention of today’s post is to share this mindset with you. Take each day positively, you may not like what you are doing or where you are at this point in your life but you are placed here for a reason. Be open to that possibility and life might just surprise you!

Have a beautiful Tuesday!

 

 

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Being our true selves

Every so often we get a shove from life when we become too comfortable with ourselves. It is life’s way of ensuring that we do not end up in a rut. What do I mean by being too comfortable with ourselves? It can be anything, from the way we think to the way we eat, talk….Simply put, we fall into a routine, everything we do becomes a habit. It is a very natural thing because humans love habits; we hate changes. Change requires a lot from us and even the most open to adventurous person would have some form of routine that they adhere to. It is how we can gauge whether our lives are still within our control; by constantly checking that some form of routine and ‘normality’ is still in place.

So, you ask, what inspired this post? To be honest, ever since I started this website, I had suggestions and comments about how I can improve what I am currently doing. What I feel is in line with who I am and what I want to impart; I take on. I do really appreciate the comments, and it is not arrogance when I choose to stay with what I have initially began with. The whole point of this website is to share what I have learnt and observed to date; and I do not want to impose on others by taking absolute stands in many issues; only because I understand that everyone is different and we all need different things.

Having clarified all that; back to why I am writing this. I feel that there is a need to let people know that underneath all my bravado; I can still feel insecure. Despite all my positive posts about being yourself….you can do it…. All those are a form of positive affirmation. But it comes to crunch time; when you are concerned about how others see you or what kind of impression you are setting. It is challenging to stand your ground. I am currently feeling a bit of pressure to conform; as we all do at some point in our lives. It took me a few days to find myself again. I had to meet new people who might have an impact on my future and naturally I want to impress; and I begin to worry about whether or not I had done a good job in creating the impression I wanted to.

What I realised from this is that we will always be put in situations like that. It is natural that we want people to like us; even more so if they have the power to change certain things in our lives. But what we must know and accept is this: we cannot please every one and not every one is going to like us. But as long as we can accept that and do what is required of us then the rest we leave it to fate. If we keep changing who we are to fit into the groups that we want to fit in; that is when confusions and discrepancies occur.

Just a quick Psychology lesson here (very simplified); we have a true self and an ideal self. The true self is who we really are and the ideal self is who we think we want to be. Very often, people get disappointed with themselves because there is a discrepancy between the true self and the ideal self. We strive to reach our ideal self but at the same time we accept that who we are right now is just as good. In this way, you are able to attain contentment without settling for meritocracy. We often try too hard because we assume we know what others what of us. I have learnt that those who love you will; those who don’t never will.

600 words later, I hope you got my message; again this may not be for everyone. I brought this topic up just to share that I continue to struggle with trying to win everyone over. But lucky for me I managed to choose to win me over. I leave you with this quote that sums up everything I have said:

Fake people have an image to maintain, real people just don’t give a shit.”

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State of Mind

My older son asked me a question yesterday which got me thinking. He asked:” What is the perfect state of mind?”

My first answer that came instinctively to me was – calmness. A few moments later, the full impact of the question hit me. I realised that like most people I assumed that the perfect state of mind refers to someone who is calm, collected and unaffected by the chaos around them. I was wrong. Therefore, I amended my response to him. This was my reply:

“The perfect state of mind is one that is contented, grateful, and happy.” I stand by that when any combinations of these 3 conditions are fulfilled; one would have achieved their perfect state of mind. Today’s post is going to be as simple as this; take some time to consider this – “What is your perfect state of mind? And how are you going to achieve it?” Not what someone else thinks is the right way, but what is uniquely yours.

 

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The art of complimenting

Let’s keep this one nice and simple; beginning with the purpose behind giving someone a compliment. Why do people compliment others? The reasons varies; so that others might like us better? To make the other person feel better about themselves? To provide support and encouragement? In the hope of gaining back some compliments ourselves? But whatever your reasons or intentions; the bottom line is to make the other party feel good, to increase their self-esteem and self-confidence.

Therefore, in my humble opinion, there is only one way to give a compliment. Compliments need to be worded positively in other to be effective. Today, our concern is not about whether the compliment is genuine or not, it is about how effective it is. Of course, the genuine ones are most effective. But stay with me on this one, positively worded compliments are the most effective! I understand that for some people, whilst their intention is to provide encouragement, they cannot help but feel that it is their duty to also provide a safety net. In this case, a safety net refers to providing warning to possible unwanted/undesired outcome.

Take for example someone starting a new job; my ideal way of giving a compliment or encouragement is to say: “You will be great! Just do what you do best!” An encouragement with a safety net will sound like this:”You will make mistakes but everyone makes mistakes.” See the difference? Although the intention of the latter comment is to provide an acceptance that it is okay if you make mistakes and people will overlook it. It sounds condescending and lack of conviction in the person’s abilities.

Maybe that was the type of compliments or encouragements they have been receiving all their lives but have a think about this and decide which type you prefer. One man’s treat is another man’s poison. A word of caution, the style you like may not be applicable to the person you are trying to help. Therefore, when you are planning to give positive feedback, think of the other party’s communication style and do not blindly rush into it. In this case, it may not be advisable to do unto others what you want others to do unto you.

Remember, the aim of giving compliments and encouragements is to make the receiving party feel good about themselves. Keep this in mind and always try to keep it as positive as you possibly can. In that way, you shouldn’t go wrong.

 

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It’s the first day of November; so instead of the me posting about my observations, today I am going to pose you a question.

‘What would you rather? Regret something you have done? Or something that you haven’t?’

This is the type of question people ask themselves before the beginning of a new year so that they can start a whole list of new year resolutions that many do not keep in the end. I chose to bring this question 2 months ahead because the way you choose your answer is going to change your life. And new behaviour needs time to take root and getting used to. So, it’s safer to start now so that it can be carried forward into the new year!

Needless to say; my answer to this question will be: I would rather regret something that I have done because I am the sort who needs to know. Put another way, I would rather die trying than not knowing. Up to now, I have done many things that many in my position would have regretted ten times over. Lucky for me, I have survived through it all to learn that things happen for a reason. If I have not done what I did then; I would not be where I am right now. Therefore, I stand by the ‘regret what I did’ side.

Nothing is worse than to regret something you haven’t done. Many times when the opportunity passes you by; it will never return again. So, I would rather leap first then worry about the safety net. Rather than stay hanging and looking out but never to experience the exhilaration of freedom.

Lucky for all of us, we all have choices ( I am constantly reminded by my husband every time I whine about doing things that I do not like; moaning about not having any choice but to do it that we all have a choice. It is whether we want to exercise that choice or not). Like I said earlier in this post, the way you answer this question can tell you alot about how you are living your life. There is no right or wrong answer, of course. However, there is happy and unhappy. If you are happy to play it safe; by all means stay there. It is working for you, then why change?

But if this question tugs at your heartstrings; leaving a bitter taste in your mouth. Then ask yourself if it is time to make a change. Remember this though, changes takes time, even if you are the one who wants that change. Your mind and body runs on auto-pilot most of the time, doing what it thinks is best for you. So, it does struggle abit when you want to take over the driver seat. But a little of persistence should do it.

My intention for today is to create an awareness for you; crack open your inner self and have a peek. Hopefully this can help you understand you better. If your inner desire matches your current behaviour, this exercise should help you reaffirm who you are and set a stronger foundation. If there are some discrepancies; which is very common, then decide if what you are doing is working out for you. Remember, let your happiness level guide you in whatever choices you make. Happiness do not necessarily translate to only doing things for yourself. It means that whatever you have chosen to do leaves you with a sense of contentment.

Enough said….Start pondering when you are ready….

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