How do you want to live your life?

Making the tough decision to choose you

“Don’t ever feel bad for making a decision about your own life that upsets other people. You are not responsible for their happiness. You’re responsible for your own happiness. Anyone who wants you to live in misery for their happiness should not be in your life anyway.” – Isaiah Hankel

I read this short passage on facebook today and it resonates very strongly with my values. Growing up, I had the same insecurities as any typical adolescent. That said, it meant that my top priority was to ensure that the people around me were happy; because that means that as long as I can keep them happy, they will remain my friends. Sounds familiar?

Over the years, I learnt many hard lessons about life. The single most valuable wisdom that I have gained is that people who truly cares about you will not begrudge you for choosing your happiness. But this is not to say that you covert your friends’ boyfriend and is dead sure that he is the love of your life and proceeds to take him away from your friend. Common sense and the rule of ‘nonmaleficence’ (means to first do no harm) does apply. Now, why would you purpose break your friends’ heart just because you lust after her boyfriend?

To help you gain a better understanding of what I am trying to say, allow me to give you an example: now, we all like to be around people who makes us feel good about ourselves. In my case, I love being around people who genuinely cares for and validates me, and these people are generally happy with their lives as well. For some, they use others to make themselves feel good. They constantly criticise others in the guise of having better knowledge. They also get upset when decisions are not made in their favour. In other words, they expect you to be responsible for their happiness. Always needing you to put them ahead of you.

During my ‘need to please others’ years, I was miserable. I was constantly walking on egg shells, worrying if I had made the right decision or even said the right thing. There were times that even when I had chosen their happiness over mine, it still did not guarantee the friendship. It was awful. Fortunately, as I grew older and with the help of amazing friends who helped me realise that the more genuine the care, the less they need for you to sacrifice for them. You can make choices as an individual with no sense of guilt or misgiving.

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the highest level that we all yearn to achieve is self actualisation. In my humble opinion, that means we live the life that is meaningful to us and we are happy because we are the best that we can be. Therefore, in each and every one of us, there is an innate pull to achieve our personal self actualisation. We all want to be happy, and we want to live a meaningful life. Place this in contrast with trying to please others whilst holding on to our miseries. How far is that from our natural calling? No wonder we cannot achieve self actualisation from pleasing others.

Of course the most crucial part of this post is the acknowledgement that such choices are not easy to make. This is especially if the people involved are friends for many years or even family members. It takes time and a lot of courage in order to do so. Personally, I find that spending time with like-minded friends or simply those who truly cares about you will lead you to making the right decisions eventually. So do not be disheartened if you did not find the courage to walk away from those who are not good for you. It will happen but first you must choose it.

That said, have a wonderful rest of the week!



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Treating our bodies with respect and mindfulness

I read this post on my facebook page yesterday and woke up this morning with a renew sense of awareness and respect for my body. I hope that I am able to reach out to more people and help you see yourself in a new light like the way I did. This was what I read:

My dear, dedicated body,

From this moment forward, I vow to feed you with clean food and positive thoughts. I will water you religiously. I’ll seek nourishment for your physical form, but also for the spirit you so tirelessly protect. I will strive to understand you, in all your delicate complexities, so that I may serve you into our old age.

From this moment on, I will hold in my heart that you are doing your best for me, and I will not expect more. From this moment on, we are a team and I will repay your best with my best; and we will be brave together.

With deepest gratitude,

Now, all I ask is that you spend a few moments thinking about what I am about to say. How many of us take our bodies for granted? Choosing to satisfy the few inches in our mouth instead of taking care of the overall body? We eat whatever we feel like and overeat on occasions just because we can, and we wonder why our bodies refuse to cooperate sometimes.
I have never looked at my body in this way. I take it for granted, often abusing it with too much yummy but unnecessary food, or worse still drinking too much alcohol. I was actually ashamed when I read this. I stepped out of my body for the briefest moment and looked at it as a separate entity. In all honesty, I don’t think I would even treat the person I dislike most so shabbily.
Another inspiration I received in tandem to this letter was the travel photos that was posted on facebook daily. These photos featured a loving couple, retired and having a great time travelling in Japan. I met Raymond in Singapore when I first moved back there and fell in love with the way he taught children how to swim. Subsequently, we engaged him to teach our boys how to swim. I suppose you could say that he is athletic his whole life but I have read of athletes who do not keep up on their physical exercise after they reach a certain age. I am proud to say that both Raymond and his wife, Sally maintains a very active lifestyle which enables them to travel around Japan with such ease. Think about it. You have spent more than half of your life in the rat race, and raising children. You have finally reached your golden years where you can do whatever you want to without concerns and with the money you have saved! Wouldn’t it be nice if your body would allow you to still do whatever you wished?
I hope that this post will find its way to your heart and open your eyes to see the special relationship you have with your body. You and you alone have the power to determine the quality of life you can have in the years to come. You don’t have to get out there and do a 10km run. Start small, every little bit counts. Start with something you enjoy doing; or if exercise is just not for you, start with walking a little bit more to the shops? Or even power walking whilst you are window shopping at the local mall. Just promise me you will have a think about this.
‘Be kind to your body, treat it like you would your best friend and it will reward you with many more years of quality living’ – Karen Foote
In the end
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Truth behind staying happy

I want to start off the post by sharing this piece that I read recently:

‘Once you learn to be happy, you won’t tolerate being around people who make you feel anything less.’

Yes, I can see some of you smiling in acknowledgement. I would like to break today’s post into 2 parts. First part examines why we feel a certain way about some people; second part is aimed at helping those who find it difficult to defend their own happiness.

Just last week I had some friends come over for dinner and after they left, I was in great spirit, gushing about how wonderful dinner was…etc. My husband in response to my lovely mood, commented:” Well, you do choose friends who adores you.” My immediate response was to defend my integrity as a person! I most definitely do not choose friends based on how much they adored me! Piff! Ah, but I have learnt over the years that a good response is usually not made in haste. So I sat on it and had an honest conversation with myself. I concluded that yes I do choose friends who adores me. I mean who would want to be around people who says hateful things about you all the time? But these friends also had to meet certain criteria. They had to be real, share common value systems, great sense of humor, smart, compassionate, passionate about life…yes it seems like it is an impossible list but you will be surprised how many people possess such qualities!

We NEED to be around friends who validate who we are, yet unafraid to speak the truth when required. Yes, this post is not called the definition of a true friend. But it is a fact that a true friend also validates you; they are sincerely happy about your successes and are there for you in times of need. One without the other will not work. It is, in my humble opinion very much a give and take relationship. All these circles back to the quote today, once you had a taste of great friendships that leaves you giddy with happiness, why would one go back to those who cannot provide such happiness? We are drawn to certain friends because of the way they make us feel.

Now, let’s move on to the next part, we all have different types of friendships. Those aforementioned, and the ones that we hold on to because ‘it is the right thing to do’. How often have you come away from these obligations and felt dejected and lousy about yourself. People who are supposedly your friend but cannot validate or inspire you to be better are not good for your self-esteem. And yet, time and again we find it difficult to cut the cord and set ourselves free. I am still trying. But how about this for a start? Begin by trying to spend more time with those who lifts you. And do your best to minimise contact with the ‘not so healthy’ friends. In order for this to work, you need to be honest with yourself. Remember, all relationships need to have an almost equal amount of give and take. A friend who gives all the time is not good, nor is one who takes and drain you all the time. For me, it is so important that good friends can share your glorious moments as well as help you sweep up your mess. Again they need to be able to do both. You do not need a ‘fixer’ friend who is super helpful when you are in trouble, because you are not broken, just need a little help to clean up some mess. Similarly, you do not want party friends who are only good when things are going well.

I hope that I am making sense to you and that you feel more equipped and empowered to select the friends around you. In all honesty, a bad friend is not better than no friend. You are better off without until the right one comes along! Good luck and choose to stay happy!


anything less



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