Perception

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When something goes wrong in your life, how do you deal with it? Does your heart automatically sink into a pool of despair and anger? Are you rushed with emotions that put you down and leave you no way to escape? Do you feel like the walls are closing in on your life, you’re left with no more options and no one, I mean absolutely no one can ever come close to understanding how you feel?

This is the way most of us deal with pain, heartbreak, and disappointments. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t an easy thing to deal with but if we only stopped to take a breath of air, think clearly, and reflect on why we are in this scenario, we would save our self from a lot of heartache.

When something goes wrong in my life, my heart pounds with nervousness and fear and the way I used to deal with it is by running to people and things for distraction. To numb my mind from the pain and lingering thoughts. This worked for a little while, but you are not getting to the root of the problem. Sure, you’ll distract yourself, you’ll create other dialogues and situations, and you’ll try to tell yourself you’re fine.

Truth is, you’re not fine.

In order to move forward from a negative situation in your life, you must be honest with yourself.

Come clean to yourself.

Why did this happen? What were the actions you took in this situation and what are the actions you can now take to sort things out or to move forward in the most positive way?

Reflect on reasons as to why this could have happened and ponder on what doors of opportunity it could have opened for you.

If you are constantly thinking about why things went wrong and stay there- never allowing your mind to move forward in its though process, then how can you possibly be at peace?

Perception.

A horrible situation in your eyes can be seen as the complete opposite in another person’s mind. It depends on how you choose to look at it, how you decide to deal with it.

Personally, meeting with God, asking for His help, putting my sole trust in Him and His words is what helps me. For me, I know there is no one greater who can guide me to betterment, I know that people can get tired from relentlessly hearing you “complain”. For me, I find my peace in solitude with Him.

Sometimes we are put in certain situations to learn something about ourselves we could have not known otherwise.

Sometimes we believe we are ready for something, when in reality we are not.

Sometimes, we need to have faith and know that there is a plan for us-something bigger and better than our small minds can even imagine.

It isn’t easy. It is filled with challenges. It’s an emotional roller coaster. Lost, confused, questioning.

But sometimes, we just need to believe.

Is Ideal Real?

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The ideal life.

We all have an image in our mind as to what “ideal” means to us and most of the ideas are fed to us by the media. Whether it is in advertisements, movies, even books- it’s always present wherever we are.

The concept of the ideal life, to me, is similar to the American Dream. For those unfamiliar with this term, it means work hard, persevere, and you will eventually attain your “dream”.

The ideal life to me as a student is to pursue an education, graduate and attain a career that will be of great benefit. Then, get married, move in together, raise children, grow old and retire at some point. And in the middle of all that, travel, attend your best friends wedding, and maybe get a promotion? At some point, you’ll grow old, be unable to work, and spend the last of your days sitting on a rocking chair, on your porch, staring out into the golden sunset drowning in nostalgia and reminiscing of “that time when I…”

This is an exaggerated and cliche version of the ideal life. However, many people abide by this dogma, live inside the box where a way of life has already been socially constructed by the society we live in. To me, this world and life is far more vast than the idealized version just mentioned. To me, it is much more than serving myself and to me, this life is a temporary place, which I’ll one day leave but return to something greater.

In thinking this way, when things don’t go as planned, it reminds me that I have the freewill to make decisions and take action, but what I am destined for has already been written for me (enter the  “whatever happens is meant to happen” association here)

This is quite comforting because it reminds me that whatever is meant for me, I will get and whatever is not meant for me, I will never receive. Of course we as individuals must work incredibly hard, we must make tough decisions and carry out difficult tasks BUT… whatever the outcome of our efforts is what is supposed to befall us.

We all get our comfort from somewhere. 

Some seek it in people, some seek it in their careers, friends, family, but I seek it in faith.

Like Steve Jobs once said, “don’t be trapped by dogma”, I don’t think it could be anymore true.

We may not always realize it, but we are constantly falling into media’s deception- a deception that barks at us to buy a certain product, look a certain way, earn a specific job position and then we will be happy, then we will be satisfied and then, wait for it… we will be complete.

Be honest with yourself in this moment and ask yourself, do you feel complete?

These are fleeting things. Things which will make us happy for a few minutes, a day or so, but after a while it loses its sentiment and meaning and you end up seeking something else to fill this deepening void.

If we allow ourselves to attach our hearts to material things, we can never be forever happy-for happiness is a fleeting emotion. Happiness isn’t a destination. Happiness, just like all other emotions goes and comes.

Seek happiness in the mundane. Seek meaning in a higher purpose, for this life and this entire world is greater than your existence, than your being.

Don’t be afraid to explore, don’t be afraid to step outside society’s box of “norms”.

Don’t be afraid to stand out, speak up and don’t be afraid to seek that which is greater.

Reviving Confidence

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Most people pride themselves on material things. For example, the degree of education you possess, the place you work, the amount of money you make, how attractive you are, and so forth. This isn’t to say these are unimportant topics, but we place so much emphasis on it that we let other things slip.

For example, your character, how you treat others, how you handle situations, controlling your anger, being generous, giving, as opposed to expecting to receive.

I’m in the middle of a situation in my life where things that I valued has slipped away unexpectedly. This goes to show, when you make plans for yourself, these plans can often change when you least expect them to.

You pride yourself on certain things, these things make you feel a sense of worth, but when it gets taken from you, you’re left to yourself. In this moment, you realize and you reflect and you question a lot about yourself.

Personally, I think it’s okay to have a period of time where you are upset. After all, we are all human and it’s normal. However, it becomes deadly to let yourself stay in this phase.

Deadly may seem like an exaggeration, but it can emotionally drain you.

The constant feeling of disappointment and failure. Idle thoughts and moments of weakness that makes you think to yourself… what’s the point?

In this state of mind, patience is hard to maintain. Rather, negativity and bitterness becomes part of the bubble you live in and in most cases, you just want to be alone.

Being alone with these negative thoughts don’t get you anywhere.

Get up and get out there. Surround yourself with people, be honest with them, and don’t hide from your current situation.

The situation you are in is the one you are meant to be in.

However, this does not mean you must remain here. In fact, this is an opportunity to expand your horizons, do something different, or find new ways of getting to where you want to be. It’s a challenge you must accept and the thoughts of disappointment, allow them to flee.

Be good to yourself. Try before you quit.

No, these are not typical and cliche lines.

If you don’t try to change things for yourself, no one will do it for you.

Do it for yourself.

The Company You Keep

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It has dawned on me,

The importance of the people you surround yourself with

When you’re young, you have a need to be around people and even if your personalities aren’t so compatible. I remember being in middle school and not so much caring about the type of people I spent my time with, but just the fact that I had people to hang out, eat lunch with and so forth was good enough.

Of course, as your grow older, situations unfold in various ways and forces you to open your eyes to what matters.

After these pre-teen years, you come to a point where you no longer care about the amount of people who’s around you. In fact, you’d rather spend time alone than to spend it with unproductive or even toxic company.

If you’re constantly spending your time with people who aren’t working hard to make things happen or make their lives better, then where do you stand?

We all go through different phases with different people, and it’s always a learning experience. But, if you want to get ahead, expand your horizons, and make those dreams of yours come true, you can’t be in the company of people who don’t feel the adrenaline rush as you do. The ones who don’t reevaluate themselves to perfect their characters (or at least try), take risks, and strive for what is important to them.

Other people have the power to constrain you, if you allow them.

They have the power to belittle your dreams and efforts, but it is up to you, if you will diminish those dreams of yours or build them stronger and better. 

Here’s where I was going with this, your company defines you.

Say what you will, but take some time to reflect on who you spend most of your time with, why you choose to, what you mostly talk about, and how you feel when you are with them.

Be honest with yourself, you owe yourself that much.

The Elephant in the Room

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I remember when I was in elementary school and “Religion” was a class that was mandated by the curriculum at the time.

I loved it.

We were kids learning about faith and every week I’d come in with a book of mine sharing what I loved the most and leaving with knowledge of other faiths, other practices, and appreciated all of my classmates.

Now, that all seems like sunshine and rainbows.

Now that I’m in my 20’s the piercing topic of religion has been faced with so much controversy that I personally believe many people would rather not talk about it to avoid, well, the elephant in the room.

Religion is beautiful.

The misconception lies where people do not understand certain concepts or are uneducated about rituals, practices, and so forth. Because of this, the term “religion” is shackled to a stone age time of cavemen walking around dumbfounded.

My point? People believe religion is outdated or “made up”

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but really think about this the next time you hear a remark from a friend, on the news, or anyone for that matter.

It isn’t fair to base a persons religion on what you may think or what you may fear or what you don’t understand. If you have questions, research. If you have questions after that, kindly ask someone of that faith.

It really isn’t that big of a deal.

My faith puts me at ease and at peace. My faith is a guideline as to how I choose to live my life. My faith teaches me to be dignified, confident, and liberated (like many religious practices teach)

My faith teaches to not mock others for what they believe in

[Quran 29:46] Do not argue with the people of the scripture (Jews, Christians, and Muslims) except in the nicest possible manner – unless they transgress – and say, “We believe in what was revealed to us and in what was revealed to you, and our god and your god is one and the same; to Him we are submitters.”

It is easy to jump to conclusions and to judge others. However, I along with many others feel liberated to practice religion. It is just common sense to respect others.

At the end of the day, we are ALL living together in this world and we will all interact with people who have come from all walks of life and from diverse backgrounds.

Think first, educate yourself, and be kind.

We shouldn’t treat others differently because they have different beliefs.

The world would be a better place if we were all a little kinder to one another.

When Things Don’t go as Planned

36d357f33751da45d2a2d57038324c28 It isn’t easy to plan, but once you do have a vision and create a plan towards achieving this newfound vision, it can be difficult when things don’t fall into place.

Things don’t always fall into place. 

It’s true and you and I need to accept it. I’m personally going through a few hurdles of my own at this time, where I had a concrete plan that unraveled very differently than I had planned. It made things hard, it invaded when I had no idea, and it is sure a test of patience. When things don’t go our way, it’s very easy to think it’s because you aren’t good enough and your goals weren’t concrete enough and if ONLY you had done that really great thing at that really great time.

Get over it. 

It doesn’t men to give up, but it means get over the fact that your plan didn’t work out and move forward creating a different plan. What puts me at ease is my faith. My faith teaches that everything that happens has a purpose, whether I have come to understand it or not. Perhaps I’ll understand it next week, perhaps next year. Perhaps this is a testament of patience and a doorway to a new opportunity.

Perhaps this is your wake up call. 

The truth is, things have come pretty easy (for the most part) and the hardship I’m now facing is pushing me to take charge.

The way I see it? You’ve got 2 options

1. Sulk 

2. Do something about it 

I’m finding it difficult to move past the fact that what I had planned for myself is no longer going to work the way I thought it would. It’s normal to be disappointed and discouraged, so allow yourself to feel it for a little while. However, do not linger on feelings that will not benefit you.

After this short period, figure out all your options. Prioritize them from first to second to third choice and so forth. Next, speak to someone. I know, it’s difficult to open up to someone else and be vulnerable about what you may call failure. Speak to someone you trust and confide in.

But remember, what you choose is always your choice alone.

Now that you have a plan, write it out. Having it on paper, making it visual (check out my older Mood Board post), and seeing it often will remind you to work for this. There are always other ways and sometimes when we’ve been holding on to a certain and specific way, it can be difficult to acknowledge that.

Use this time to grow. 

For me, it’s increasing my faith, patience, and ideas for where I will take my future. Take control, but most importantly, don’t give up because once you’ve given up on your own self, who else will believe in you? Perhaps my hardship can bring you some ease, relief, or just a thought to ponder on.

Get up and get working.

What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

ImageProductivity.

Student, entrepreneur, worker, parent… We all seek self-satisfaction in our days, but how much effort do you put into feeling productive?

Are you the type of person who wakes up and has no idea what the rest of the day will bring you or are you the person who’s created a list of tasks to get done for the following day? Preparation is key to getting anything done, whether it be your overflowing pile of assignments school or work related, a daily jog, exercise, or working on a personal project of yours.

I was the type of person who would go with the flow (for the lack of better words) and instead of planning, I’d see what the world had waiting for me.

Don’t be this person.

This person often procrastinates and wastes an abundance of blessed time in which you could be doing so much more with your time and getting ahead in your life.

I’ve just started reading “What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast” and I’m savoring the pages of this short read, whilst devouring its ideas. Laura Vanderkam does an excellent job at providing very useful tips to having a productive morning, which essentially leads to a productive day, ultimately a productive life.

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I kid you not.

In addition to her tips, she uses real successful people she has interviewed who lead “average” lives, own their own business, and so forth. Pulling on their experiences, she gives us a peak into their life and what they do to remain successful and maintain productivity.

I personally enjoy the morning hours before the sun peaks up. It’s one of the greatest times to seek God, reflection, and spend time with your thoughts. Waking up early, as Vanderkam tells us in her book, allows you to have time to yourself-before the rest of the world wakes up and your priorities may shift.

Pursuing my final year of study, I have learned the importance of time management. Of course, it is essential in getting things done, but it’s also important to value time for your own well being. Whether that is gaining spirituality, exercising, spending a little more time to meal prep for the day, or reading more about your career path.

Time is precious.

Although I am not yet finished Vanderkam’s great read, I highly suggest it if you need to spruce up your morning, and your days in general. If you’re looking to make a change, to get things done and put new life skills into practice.

Happy reading!

New Year, New You?

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As the holiday season is winding down, many people are getting excited about new years- particularly, new years eve.

It’s become this huge event- where most people (and I am generalizing here), are concerned about what party/event to attend, who will be there, and of course… what are you wearing? So the party happens, the night fades into dawn, and… it’s a new year.

I don’t have anything against anyone who chooses to go out and have “fun” (depending on your definition of fun), but soon after one reflects and what was the main purpose of that glam event? You’ll eventually come home, wash the heavy make up off, kick off your shoes, and wonder “why did I do *insert really awkward scenario from that night* or “why didn’t I do *insert something useful you would have rather done*

Soon after, you take your sheet of paper out of the drawer or pile of books that it’s been sitting under and look at the long list of things to do.

  • Go to the gym everyday
  • Eat clean
  • Travel

Again, I am generalizing, but you understand the main point (hopefully…)

As you look through this overwhelming list, you realize each of your resolutions will take an abundance of time and a procedural method to meet. This leaves you feeling intimidated, perhaps you pursue one or two things on your list, but soon after you’re filled with lethargy and that list gets lost in the chores and errands that you have to get done.

The point?

You don’t meet your resolutions.

The Solution

No, this isn’t meant to discourage you, but instead think about your actions.

Think about where you go, what you do, and who you spend your time with. This often reflects who you are and upon questioning these things, you may come to realize you do certain things “just because” with no particular reason, whilst you could be doing something you truly wish to be doing.

This was where I found myself when I realized a lot of things I indulged in, I did because of the people around me, not because I truly enjoyed it.

Everything is a learning experience-you learn and move on.

Question yourself, ask why, and do those things you want to get done.

The New Years Resolution Cliche… 

Just don’t join the bandwagon. Who says you have to wait until the new year to have resolutions and goals?

New year, fresh slate? Everyday is a new day that you’re blessed to see and blessed to start over on.

Make Things Happen

Think of your main goal- now break it down into categories and from categories into realistic sections and have a weekly plan, then break it down to a daily plan.

By doing this, you’ll know what you have planned everyday so you’ll get 2 things out of this:

1. Productivity

2. Less procrastination 

You don’t have to be part of the whole new year, new me stigma. You have the power to decide, decide what you want to do and what you don’t wish to do.

So, break out of it. Get things done sooner.

Some may anticipate the fireworks, as the ball drops and confetti pours from the sky…

I say, appreciate everyday- instead of caving into socially constructed rules, make your own and make things happen.

Your Mood Board

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Visuals are powerful. 

It’s true that visual cues help us to remember and retrieve information better than words. Words are abstract and is therefore more difficult for the brain to retain. Visuals have a way of allowing us to remember by associating ideas and memories with imageries.

An example

Just the other day, I was going through my old pieces of writing and found written pieces I wrote for my campus newspaper. Not only did this intrigue me to write more and question why I stopped, but it reminded me of the enjoyment I got from writing. I wanted to have my pieces of writing somewhere to remind me, to inspire me… thus, The Mood Board.

All you need is a bulletin board that can be found at your local craft store. If you’re creative, you can spray paint it to rid yourself of the traditional bulletin board image. Along with your board, you will need… visuals.

This can be tokens of work that reminds you of your goals and dreams. It can be quotations if you’re a wordy person, or just pictures of places you’ve been, places you want to go to, things you’ve done and things you once day wish to accomplish.

It’s your board, design it to your own liking.

Plan how you will like to have it arranged and use thumb tacks to set  everything into place. I suggest you hang it somewhere you’ll see it everyday, such as your office or bedroom.

 

I believe our experiences shape who we are. The tears, the heartbreak, and the misfortunes all play a perfect place in our life. You wish in that moment to break down, to fall to your knees and give up, but little do you know those same challenges, those fears, which builds its way into the deep and dark corners of your mind is meant to happen to you.  You don’t know what’s right for you all the time, and sometimes those mistakes and experiences that we wish we could erase have all happened for a purpose. Don’t let it overcome you-these tarnished emotions. Come out better, stronger, happier-because you made it. You made it through.