I participated in the Happiness Program in November 2019. I heard about it while I was in California looking for wellness classes to take. Unfortunately I didn't have the time to take the Happiness Program there and fortunately this program is also offered in Hong Kong so I enrolled. The original program I enrolled in was cancelled in the last minute and so I was moved to another weekend. I didn't have the best experience the first time around, mainly because I was very preoccupied and could not relax. I also found the teacher to be too young to be credible so I did not follow the practices after the program.
Recently I've been enrolling in online formats of programs that I attended previously to refresh my understanding. It just so happens that the Happiness Program also went online and I decided to try again. My second time joining the Happiness Program was a much better experience. The teacher was more experienced and our group was smaller so I was a lot more engaged. This time around I am doing the breathing exercises everyday. I'm really happy that I gave Happiness Program another shot. I'm seeing really good results from the breathing exercises.
This experience reminds me of what I learned in day 1 of law school. We were given a book about how to study law. One of the advice given was that if you read anything in the textbooks that you don't understand, don't move on, reread the paragraph again until you understand what it says. Sometimes when I'm reading, my mind is elsewhere, so even if I finished "reading" a paragraph, I might not have paid attention -- during those times, I've now learned that you must go back to the beginning and reread the paragraph, reread as many times as necessary so you understand what it says. Similarly, even if I attended a program, I may not have paid attention the entire time to fully learn all the concepts taught, so it is beneficial for me to retake the program, especially in a virtual format and at a cheaper price.
The silver lining to the coronavirus situation is now I have virtual access to so many programs conducted in the US and UK. It's a great opportunity for me to soak up knowledge like a sponge.
2. Love of Learning
7. Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence
Using your signature strengths at work can turn your job into a calling. The more the merrier but studies show that especially using 4 out of the top 7 of your signature character strengths give you the best happiness outcome. What is the best profession for me?
I was watching a lot of youtube videos about North Korea and came across the TED talk about Hyeonseo Lee who wrote the book "The Girl with Seven Names". It's a very easy read because it is written more like a fictional novel and each chapter ended with a cliffhanger. I finished reading in 24 hours because I was so captivated by her story.
There were a few bits of the book that really struck me. First, she was insanely lucky. She was never forced to work as a sex worker. She didn't have to sneak into China or Mongolia or South East Asia because she had family in China and she managed to buy herself a PRC ID card which allowed her to fly to Seoul to claim asylum. Her first serious boyfriend in China was a young and rich South Korean who lived in Gangnam. In fact, she has been very lucky in love. She always seem to run into really good guys who liked and respected her. Her second boyfriend is her current American husband who is patient and understanding. And of course there was that famous encounter with the Australian Dick Stolp who gave her hundreds of dollars in Laos in order to bribe the officials to release her brother and her mother.
I was also really into her stories about her childhood. The brainwashing in North Korea is real. First, it confirmed to me that children are vulnerable. If you tell kids that santa claus exists, then santa claus exists. Of course for North Korea, the fairy tale is that the Kims are such supernational beings who can change the weather with their minds. I was also kinda inspired by it. My thinking goes, if kids or adults can be tricked into believing in ridiculous lies then I can also re-program or trick my mind into more positive messages. Brain plasticity, you know? Never too late to reprogram better vocabs and better habits.
I met the author Damien Echols at the Sounds True Gathering in Sept 2019. I was so impressed by him and his story and bought this book and got his autograph too. When I returned to HK, I watched all the documentaries about him.
Meditation empowers you to notice where your attention is going to and steer it accordingly. Most people aren't aware of just how much they're missing from life. They're distracted by so much stimulation, trapped in loops of internal dialogue, reliving past events, and feeling anxious about what's going to happen tomorrow. And it's so easy to carry on like this until the grave, never actually experiencing the richness of life, of the present moment. Meditation changes all of this. It enables you to pay attention to the present moment and train your mind to do what you want it to do. Meditation enhances your natural ability to be alert and aware.
This book by Ryan Holiday was recommended to me by Amazon. It's a very motivating piece of work. I read the preface and was captivated. He asked, "Whatever we face, we have a choice: Will we be blocked by obstacles, or will we advance through and over them? ... Will you stand up and show us what you're made of?"
Bad companies are destroyed by crisis. Good companies survive them. Great companies are improved by them. Great individuals like great companies find a way to transform weakness into strength. It's a rather amazing and even touching feat. They took what should have held them back--what in fact might be holding you back right this very second--and used it to move forward.
Not "be positive" but learn to be ceaselessly creative and opportunities. Not: This is not so bad. But: I can make this good.
We decide what we will make of each and every situation. We decide whether we'll break or whether we'll resist. We decide whether we'll assent or reject. No one can force us to give up or to believe something that is untrue (such as, that a situation is absolutely hopeless or impossible to improve). Our perceptions are the thing that we're in complete control of. They can throw us in jail, label us, deprive us of our possessions, but they'll never control our thoughts, our beliefs, our reactions. Which is to say, we are never completely powerless.
If we have our wits fully about us, we can step back and remember that situations, by themselves, cannot be good or bad. This is a judgment that we as human beings bring to them with our perceptions. There is no good or bad without us, there is only perception. There is the event itself and the story we tell ourselves about what it means. A mistake becomes training.
Just because your mind tells you that something is awful or evil or unplanned or otherwise negative doesn't mean you have to agree. Just because other people say that something is hopeless or crazy or broken to pieces doesn't mean it is. We decide what story to tell ourselves. Or whether we will tell one at all.
The observing eye sees events, clear of distractions, exaggerations, and misperceptions. The perceiving eye sees "insurmountable obstacles" or "major setbacks" or even just "issues". It brings its own issues to the fight. The former is helpful, the latter is not.
Not exactly my favourite quote but Mark Manson's words empower me to make decisions that are not necessarily popular or attractive for other people but vibes with me. In the end, I am responsible for curating the most ideal life experiences for me.
"It is the perpetual pursuit of fulfilling our ideal selves which grants us happiness, regardless of superficial pleasures or pain, regardless of positive or negative emotions. This is why some people are happy in war and others are sad at weddings. It's why some are excited to work and others hate parties. The traits they're inhabiting don't align with their ideal selves."
I finished this book by Meg Jay in April 2020, almost within 2 days. This book was recommended by an influencer that I follow, Ashley of bestdressed, and I find her to be an inspirational figure for adulting so gave this book a shot. Some of the ideas presented in the book I had intuitively knew but didn't quite have the vocabulary to explain it such as the concept of "identity capital". Overall a great book that succinctly presented a few areas of life that would be ideal to prioritise in your twenties.
More often, identities and careers are made not out of college majors and GPAs but out of a couple of door-opening pieces of identify capital. Identity Capital is our collection of personal assets. It is the repertoire of individual resources that we assemble over time. These are the investments we make in ourselves, the things we do well enough, or long enough, that they become part of who we are. Some identity capital goes on a resume, such as degrees, jobs, test scores, and clubs. Other identity capital is more personal, such as how we speak, where we are from, how we solve problems, how we look. Identity capital is how we build ourselves--bit by bit, over time. Most important, identity capital is what we bring to the adult marketplace. It is the currency we use to metaphorically purchase jobs and relationships and other things we want.
While your closest friends help us survive, it does not help us thrive. However, weak ties promote, and sometimes even force, thoughtful growth and change. As we look for jobs or relationships or opportunities of any kind, it is the people we know the least well who will be the most transformative.
When we make choices, we open ourselves up to hard work and failure and heartbreak, so sometimes it feels easier not to know, not to choose, and not to do. Not making choices isn't safe. The consequences are just further away in time, like in your thirties or forties. If you don't say yes to something, your life will become unremarkable and limited. You can't pull some great career out of a hat in your thirties. You've got to start in your twenties.
Neuroticism, or the tendency to be anxious, stressed, critical, and moody, is far more predictive of relationship unhappiness and dissolution than is personality dissimilarity. While personality similarity can help the years run smoothly, any two people will be different in some way or another. How a person responds to these differences can be more important than the differences themselves. To a person who runs high in Neuroticism, differences are seen in a negative light. Anxiety and judgments about these differences then lead to criticism and contempt, two leading relationship killers.
We may not have control over every situation but we could control how we interpret them and how we react to them. Jobs and relationships usually aren't that fragile. For those with a growth mindset, failures may sting but they are also viewed as opportunities for improvement and change. Real confidence comes from mastery experiences, which are actual, lived moments of success, especially when things seem difficult. Feeling better doesn't come from avoiding adulthood, it comes from investing in adulthood.
"Yes is how you get your first job, and your next job, and your spouse, and even your kids. Even if it's a bit edgy, a bit out of your comfort zone, saying yes means you will do something new, meet someone new, and make a difference."
Conversation between Molly and her estranged father.
Dad: I get that I'm not welcome in your life right now as your father, though you should know I could give a shit if I'm welcome or not. But I'm not here in my capacity as your father. I'm indifferent to whether your father lives or dies. I'm a very expensive therapist, and I'm here to give you one free session.
Molly: You think what I need right now is a therapist?
Dad: (laughs) Yeah.
Molly: I have to be back at my lawyer's office soon.
Dad: Do you like your lawyer?
Molly: I wasn't asking for money when I called you, Dad. I just needed my dad. God forbid you part with a nickel.
Dad: Yeah, Tiny Tim, you grew up on a lake and you've skied all over the world. Were those workhouses tough?
Molly: I gotta go.
Molly: I gotta go.
Dad: Molly, sit the fuck down. ... All right, we're gonna do three years of therapy in three minutes.
Dad: I'm gonna go what patients have been begging therapists to do for 100 years. I'm just gonna give you the answers.
Molly: To what
Dad: Let's start with this. Why does a young woman who, at 22, has a gold-plated resume, why does she run poker games?
Molly: Why did I choose to make a ton of money? That's a head-scratcher.
Dad: You were gonna be a success at anything you wanted. You know it. If you'd gone to law school, you'd have owned a law firm by now. Why did you do the other thing instead?
Molly: I don't know. Drugs.
Dad: You didn't start with the drugs until the end. They weren't the problem, they were the medicine. It was so you could control powerful men. Your addiction was having power over powerful men.
Molly: Is that what you really think?
Dad: No. I know it for sure. You've now completed your first year of therapy.
Molly: I saw an opportunity. It wasn't about you.
Dad: Nah, it wasn't just about me.
Molly: It wasn't at all about you.
Dad: It was. Second year, second question.
Molly: Do you think you were a good husband?
Dad: What do you care?
Molly: I care because you were married to my mother. I care because my father's an asshole.
Dad: Congratulations. You've completed year two. And for the record, your father raised three kids on a college professor's salary. One of them is a two-time Olympian, a sixth-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles, and a leading philanthropist. The other is a cardiothoracic surgeon at Mass General, and the third managed to build a multimillion-dollar business using not much more than her wits.
Molly: I'm about to plead guilty in Federal court.
Dad: Well, nobody's perfect. The point is, I did a few things right. Last question.
Molly: No, I have to go.
Dad: Last question, Mol. I'll answer it, but you have to ask it. You have to ask it.
Molly: Why didn't you like me as much as my brothers?
Dad: There it is. (sighs) I did. It only from time to time appeared that I didn't.
Molly: It only appeared that you didn't?
Molly: That is some Schedule 1 bullshit. Why would... "It only appeared" what? Okay, I had an attitude problem. I talked back. I broke some normal adolescent rules. I snuck phone time after curfew. I took your car when I wasn't allowed to...
Dad: You drove it into a McDonald's.
Molly: Kids get punished for that, but they don't...
Dad: Did you not see the McDonald's? Did you misunderstand what drive-thru meant?
Molly: You turn into a different person, your voice, your face...
Dad: It was because I knew you knew.
Molly: I didn't hear what you said.
Dad: I said, I knew you knew.
Molly: You knew I knew what?
Dad: That I was cheating on Mom. I knew you knew.
Molly: No. I didn't know until I was 20.
Dad: No, you've known since you were five. You saw me in my car, and you really didn't know what you saw. You knew, honey. And I knew you knew. And that's... that's how I reacted to the shame. And you reacted by showing seething contempt for me. Driving my car into McDonald's.
Molly: And wanting to have power over powerful men?
Dad: No, that was a red-herring just to make you mad.
Molly: You're such a...
Dad: You tripped over a stick. Okay? Twelve years ago, you tripped over a stick. It was a one-in-a-million thing. You tripped over a stick. That's what you did wrong. There's your session. It's funny how much faster you can go when you're not charging by the hour. I'm your father. Trying to comprehend how much I love you would be like trying to visualize the size of the universe. I didn't know... you'd gotten beaten up until I read it in your book. It was a hell of a way to learn about it. You should know that I'm hiring someone to find the guy who did it, then I'm hiring someone to kill him.
Molly: Don't even joke about that.
Dad: I'm not.
Molly: It wasn't a purse-snatcher, Dad. It was the mafia...
Dad: I don't care if it's the leader of Hamas. Someone put their hands on you, they're going to suffer. (cries)
Molly: Dad, I'm fine.
Dad: No, they're gonna suffer.
Molly: Dad... I'm all right.
Dad: No, they're gonna suffer.
Molly: Really, I'm fine.
Inspirational exchange between Vivi and Tupas in "Starving for Affection" episode of Terrace House.
Tupas: It's a challenge to love someone else when you've never felt loved before.
Vivi: That's incorrect. If you don't love yourself, you can't love someone else.
Tupas: The opposite is also true. You wouldn't know how to love someone else if you didn't know what it is like to be loved.
Vivi: You're saying if you've never received love, you'll never be able to love?
Tupas: Of course that's the case.
Vivi: But it's not.
Tupas: But it is.
Vivi: No it's not. Because...
Tupas: You've got it backwards.
Vivi: You first have to discover love within yourself.
Tupas: That's not possible.
Tupas: For example, your parents... they show you love for the first time and you learn what it is. Then you can exemplify that for others.
Vivi: That's not true. What if you grew up without your parents?
Tupas: How is someone supposed to understand love out of thin air?
Vivi: You first focus on nourishing yourself.
Tupas: Well, that's a beautiful theory.
Vivi: It's not a theory. It comes from my own experience.
Tupas: Your personality and the person you become is mostly dictated by how your parents and family treat you and the environment you grow up in.
Vivi: But from that point of view, you'll always be at the mercy of the decisions of others. You've given up control over your life. I don't agree with what you're saying. I don't want to live life according to someone else's decisions. I make my own decisions. I don't have to live the way people expect me to.
Tupas: That would be ideal.
Vivi: It's not just ideal...
Tupas: If I never learned how to be loved, how am I supposed to know how to express that?
Vivi: If you think that way, you'll continue to make excuses and pity yourself, even when you're at fault. If you accept a victim mindset... it's easy to make excuses for yourself and deny opportunities for growth. When you're in that cycle, there's no end to it. At some point, we all have to grow up. You have a responsibility in every decision you make in your life. Whether you choose good or bad, the decision is your responsibility. It takes the weight off to think this way. Don't you think? Instead of blaming things on others. No one else can fix your life for you. How long are you going to wait for someone to show you love? You have to create it yourself.
Tupas: That is ideal.
Vivi: No, there's no other way. You can't change other people. Even if you find someone you love, if they don't want to reciprocate that, there's nothing you can do.
Tupas: Of course.
Vivi: Right? Your security is then at the whim of whether someone loves you or not. I don't want that. So we have to be courageous and proactive in finding love within ourselves. What else can we do?We'd be waiting forever. Isn't that a waste of life?
Vivi: Hoping love will come and feeling dejected when it doesn't is lame. So, look... you're a good person and I know you're resilient. So please don't talk about yourself in such a sad way. You've "never been loved, so you don't know how to love"? Of course you do. The first thing you do when you wake up is come in here and clean all the dishes. Don't you think that's a loving gesture? You're able to show kindness to people. So stop lying about yourself. Stop saying you don't know how to love. You know how. You've learned plenty.
This very short book is written by Robert Glazer. I almost went to his meet & greet in New York but unfortunately it coincided with my NYCNVC nonviolent communication practice group. It's a short read and I highly recommend this book.
"Capacity Building" means the method by which individuals seek, acquire and develop the skills and abilities to consistently perform at a higher level in pursuit of their innate potential. It is not about doing more but doing more of the right things. The art of capacity building is knowing where you need to invest your energy and where you need to pull away.
Peter Drucker once wrote, "There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all."
When you see two people of seemingly equal intellectual and physical capacity achieving very different outcomes, it is quite likely due to an imbalance in emotional capacity. Great relationships encourage you to be better and give you energy. Relationships advance our personal and professional lives, contributing greatly to our successes. We focus on long-time outcomes, meaningful relationships, and genuine connections with our clients, teammates, and partners. We believe that competence and character are fundamental to relationships built on trust and that quality relationships allow us to achieve more.
It is vital to be intentional about surrounding yourself with like-minded people who can help you grow and fulfil your potential. As Jim Rohn once said, "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with."
I wish I knew about this book by John Bradshaw years ago. This book was written in 1992 and I feel like most inner child therapy books or programs these days just copy bits and pieces from John's methodology. Most practitioners just refer to inner child as some younger version of yourself who was dependent and didn't get the love that you needed. The issue with that is that childhood is over many years and lots of different things happen over the course of those 10+ years. John does a great job of breaking down childhood to different stages and specifically addresses our different needs at each stage of childhood.
Until we do the original pain work, our future will always be contaminated by the pain from our past. For example, a person who never learned to trust confuses intensity with intimacy, obsession with care and control with security. Also, a witness to violence is a victim of violence. Acting out, or reenacting, is one of the most devastating ways in which our wounded inner child sabotages our lives.
When a child is wounded through neglect or abuse, his boundaries are violated. This sets the child up for fears of being either abandoned or engulfed. When a person know who he is, he doesn't fear being engulfed. When he has a sense of self-value and self-confidence, he doesn't fear being abandoned. Without strong boundaries, we cannot know where we end and others begin. We have trouble saying no and knowing what we want, which are crucial behaviours for establishing intimacy.
When our inner child is wounded, we feel empty and depressed. Life has a sense of unreality about it; we are there, but we are not in it. This emptiness leads to loneliness. Because we are never who we really are, we are never truly present. And even if people admire and hang on to us, we feel alone.
The frustration of a child's desire to be loved as a person and to have his love accepted is the greatest trauma that a child can experience. Parents need to give their children time, attention and direction, not use them to fill their own need. Use is abuse.
The wounded inner child is filled with unresolved energy resulting from the sadness of childhood trauma. One of the reasons we have sadness is to complete painful events of the past, so that our energy can be available for the present. When we are not allowed to grieve, the energy is frozen. Something that is actually trivial or quite innocuous is reacted to with intense emotion. This is a case of responding to what isn't there on the outside because it is still there on the inside.
These are the stages of childhood that we need to reclaim:
Infant Self: 0-9 months old
Toddler Self: 9 months - 3 years old
Preschool Self: 3 years - 6 years old
School-Age Self: 6 years to puberty
Adolescence: 13 years - 26 years old
This book is by Gabrielle Bernstein. She believes that the moment you choose to disconnect from the loving presence of the Universe, you lose sight of the safety, security, and clear guidance that is otherwise available to you. The moment you realign with love and stop relying on your own strength, clear direction will be presented. The presence of love will always cast out fear.
Success is an inside job. Whenever you notice yourself discount from the presence of love, simply say this prayer to come back to peace, "I witness that I'm out of alignment with my power. I choose to see peace instead of this." This prayer will reconnect you to your desire to be in union with your creative power. Remember that your intentions create your reality.
You are the dreamer of your dream.
This book is written by Sue Johnson who came up with Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT). I found her ideas to be groundbreaking in its fresh perspective in viewing relationships and how our need to feel securely attached to our romantic partner is reasonable and acceptable. Her concept does not judge one's neediness as "codependent" but break downs how we need our partner to be available to us when it counts and how to communicate our need to our partner.
We all sometimes miss our loved ones’ calls for closeness. We all find ourselves distracted. We all get stuck in our own fear or anger and fail to catch loved ones as they fall. There is no perfect soul mate, no flawless lover. We are all stumbling around, treading on each other’s toes as we are learning to love.
If you do not see how you have hurt me, how can I depend on you or feel safe with you?
Near the end of Season 2, Alyssa says of Bonnie, “The problem with a person having a lack of love is that they don't know what it looks like. So it's easy for them to get tricked, to see things that aren’t there. But I guess we all lie to ourselves all the time.”
My favourite poem by Mother Teresa.
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway.
Just like me, you are seeking some happiness for your life.
Just like me, you are trying to avoid suffering in your life.
Just like me, you have known sadness, loneliness, and despair.
Just like me, you are seeking to fill your needs.
Just like me, you are learning about life.
I came across this poem by Oriah while I was travelling in Mongolia in April 2019 and parts of it really resonated with me. Here are the parts that I like.
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.
I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself and not betray your own soul.
I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.
Excerpts from “The Invitation” by Oriah
I read this book when I was in Nagoya in 2013. This was probably the first book that sparked my interest in psychology. I was so intrigued by Shirzad Chamine's proposition that we perform better when we are not under stress. At the time I still thought that I needed an inner voice to criticise myself in order to motivate myself to study harder, work more, etc. when in fact, I would succeed if I was chill and had clarity of mind. Most successful, high achieving people are privately tortured by their own Judges.
The Judge's most damaging lie is that we are not worthy of love or respect by just being who we are. Instead, it forces us to constantly perform for them; this forms the construct of "conditional love". Only the Sage lets you achieve success without sacrificing happiness and peace of mind. Only the Sage knows that in his essence he is worthy of love, always. He is to never worry that he might lose it, regardless of his successes or failures and the ups and downs of life. The Sage perspective accepts every outcome and circumstances as a gift and opportunity. There is no such thing as a bad circumstance or outcome. Every outcome simply points to the first step towards the next positive outcome. The Sage moves you one positive step at a time, regardless of what life throws at you.
Ask yourself, what do we need to do so that within three years we can say this current crisis was the best thing that could have happened?
While the judge might push you into action through threats, fear, shame, or guilt, the Sage pulls you into action through anticipation of the joy of exploration and discovery; through the compelling and deeply seated human urge to find meaning in life and to matter; through the joy of creativity and possibility; through the longing of the human heart to connect, care, and be cared for; through appreciation of the mystery of life; and through a desire for clearheaded action toward desired outcomes. If you are feeling upset, disappointed, anxious, or resentful, you are judging. Indeed, that is how the Judge causes much of your distress in any situation. Your distress is not caused by what happened; it's caused by your Judge's reaction to it.
Shirzad Chamine proposes that there are five powers to the Sage:
1. To explore with great curiosity
2. To empathise with yourself and others and bring compassion and understanding to any situation
3. To innovate and create new perspectives and outside the box solutions
4. To navigate and choose a path that best aligns with your deeper underlying values and mission
5. To activate and take decisive action without the distress, interference or distractions of the Saboteurs
I listened to the audible version of this book by Karyl McBride in early 2014. She has the most soothing and nurturing voice. I was so captivated by the tenderness in the way she speaks and really resonated with the symptoms she described for a daughter of a narcissistic mother.
The most important step for recovering from childhood neglect that most people often skip is to process your feelings. For the longest time, I couldn't understand what "processing your feelings" mean. What are the actual steps or actions you need to take in order to process your feelings? Karyl McBride explained that it is about acceptance and grief and feeling your feelings, i.e. don't distract yourself from feeling bad. She also recommends EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) to help with the processing. I have been listening to EMDR music which provides bilateral stimulation of the brain from time to time and it does help desensitise the emotions so it feels less overwhelming to revisit old trauma.
Processing feelings is very different from just talking about them. To process means to talk about the trauma, and simultaneously feel the pain in a cacophonous, blasting, rock concert. You can tell something in a story without feeling it, but that is not processing. This is the only way to release trauma from your body.
The grief process begins with another decision: to let your feelings be there. Sit with those feelings. Sit with the pain. Manage the anxiety and depression that come with it so you can work through it. Don't try to talk yourself out of it. Others around you may try to do this. No one wants to see you hurt, and your loved ones may not understand how important this is, so don't listen to them. Let yourself feel!
You may begin to try to rationalise away the pain. "I shouldn't feel this way," or "I didn't have it that bad." This won't help. Whatever is there you need to release. Let it be. Sometimes in order to do this you have to be quiet and take time to be alone.
I finished reading this book in May 2019 but have not done all the exercises proposed by the book. Bill Burnett and Dave Evans are the famous professors at the Stanford d.school that came up with this groundbreaking idea that we can apply design thinking principles to our life design. The first chapter about starting where you are is quite inspiring. The authors divide our life into four dimensions: Work, Play, Love and Health. In these four areas, you can decide if you are where you want to be. If not, that's what you want to pay attention to.
The authors also break down dysfunctional beliefs to be reframed. One that resonated with me the most is the belief that if you are successful, you will be happy. It's not true. No matter how much you accomplish, it doesn't mean anything if you don't actually care about the accomplishment. Th reframe they suggest is that true happiness comes from designing a life that works for you. Another one that resonated is the belief that happiness is having it all. The reframe they suggest is that happiness is letting go of what you don't need.
I also quite like the idea of logging your failures and identifying growth insights. The premise is that life is not a finite game with winners and losers - it is a process and there are no winners and losers. The goal is to become a more you version of you. Become more you over time.
I read this world famous book maybe around 2012. Gary Chapman proposes that there are five main categories of how people show love to each other:
1. Words of Affirmation
2. Quality Time
3. Receiving Gifts
4. Acts of Service
5. Physical Touch
Due to the fact that people show love in different ways, we may not always feel loved by the other person who has a primary love language different to you. The names of the love languages are quite self explanatory but the book gives examples and scenarios of how these love languages manifest itself. It's quite useful to know the primary love language of your friends and romantic partner so that you can adjust your behaviour to fit their needs.
I also quite like Gary Chapman's idea of a love tank. When you feel like you can't love this person you used to love because of what he or she did or say, Gary Chapman proposes a six month experiment. He explains that when our love tank is low, we have no love feelings but only experience emptiness and pain. Since love is such a deep emotional need, the lack of it is perhaps our deepest emotional pain. If we could learn to speak the other person's primary love language, that emotional need could be met and positive feelings could grow again. For six months, speak your significant other's primary love language consistently, somewhere on the line, that person's emotional need for love would begin to be met and as their love tank gets filled, they will reciprocate their love to you. That hypothesis is built upon the idea that the emotional need for love is our deepest emotional need and when that need is being met, we tend to respond positively to the person who is meeting it.
For the longest time, I didn't understand what being judgmental means. Friends have proposed that it is making judgments that hurt the other person's feelings. That could be the case but it's pretty to hard to know what statement would hurt someone''s feelings. We often say things that unintentionally hurt people. Fortunately, I came across nonviolent communication and Marshall Rosenberg's poem perfectly captures the meaning of "judgmental".
I can handle your telling me
What I did or didn’t do.
And I can handle your interpretations
But please don’t mix the two.
If you want to confuse any issue,
I can tell you how to do it:
Mix together what I do
With how you react to it.
Tell me you’re disappointed
With the unfinished chores you see,
But calling me “irresponsible”
Is no way to motivate me.
And tell me that you’re feeling hurt
When I say “no” to your advances,
But calling me a frigid man
Won’t increase your future chances.
Yes, I can handle your telling me
What I did or didn’t do,
And I can handle your interpretations,
But please don’t mix the two.
I read Louise Hay's book quite awhile back. When I read the book, she was still alive. I was very inspired by her idea that all disease comes from stress. If you caught a cold, it's not because you got exposed to germs or a virus - we get exposed to germs and viruses everyday - the real reason is because we were stressed and our immune system wasn't strong enough to defend our bodies against those intruding disease.
She provides a list of ailments and what their probable cause is and what our new thought pattern should be. For example, the probable cause of anxiety is not trusting the flow and the process of life. The new thought pattern should be "I love and approve of myself and I trust the process of life. I am safe." The probable cause of blackheads is small bursts of anger and the new thought pattern should be "I calm my thoughts and I am serene." Or if you have breathing problems, it is probably due to fear or refusal to take in life or not feeling the right to take up space or even exist. The new thought pattern should be "It is my birthright to live fully and freely. I am worth loving. I now choose to live life fully,"
She is the queen of affirmations and recommends everyone to write, say, sing affirmations everyday. From the moment you wake up, repeat affirmations over and over.
I am wonderful and I love you. This is one of the best days of my life. Everything is working out for mi highest good. Whatever I need to know is revealed to me. Whatever I need comes to me. All my relationships are harmonious. I am deeply fulfilled by all that I do.
She also advocates feeding the body with good nutrition as part of self love, which probably inspired me to study nutrition. Go on a diet of negative thoughts, and your weight will take care of itself.
I listened to the audible version of this book around December 2017. This book was recommended to me by my beauty therapist who is really into hypnotherapy. Joe Vitale starts the book introducing the famous story of a therapist who cured an entire ward of mentally disturbed patients by healing himself while looking at pictures of these patients in his office. It was phenomenal. That man is Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len who explained that he took 100% responsibility for the problems in these patients and resolved their problems using Ho'oponopono, a Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. There is now an updated format of this method known as Self I-dentity Through Ho'oponopono (SITH). I hope to attend a SITH training one day.
The simplest way to practice Ho'oponopono is to set your intention to heal and repeat the following:
I'm sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.
Alternatively, you can listen to the absolutely beautiful Ho'oponopono song sung by Susan Osborn, Hanayo and Aman. The song repeats those phrases in English and Japanese.
The premise of Ho'oponopono is as follows:
1. The physical universe is an actualisation of my thoughts.
2. If my thoughts are cancerous, they create a cancerous physical reality.
3. If my thoughts are perfect, they create a physical reality filled with love.
4. I am 100% responsible for creating my physical universe the way it is.
5. I am 100% responsible for correcting the cancerous thoughts that create a diseased reality.
6. There is no such thing as out there. Everything exists as thoughts in my mind.
I read this very short book in July 2019. It is a spin off of Marshall Rosenberg's world famous book 'Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life' and specifically focuses on how to handle anger the NVC way. I learned that how we feel is the result of how we interpret the behaviour of others at any given moment.
The first step in handling our anger using NVC is to be conscious that the stimulus, or trigger, of our anger is not the cause of our anger. That is to say that it isn't simply what people do that makes us angry, but it's something within us that responds to what they do that is really that cause of the anger. This requires us to be able to separate the trigger from the cause. The second step is to be conscious that it is our evaluation of people--in the form of judgments that imply wrongness--that causes our anger. The third step involves looking for the need that is the root of our anger. The judgments we make of other people--which cause our anger--are really alienated expressions of unmet needs. The fourth step is to make a clear, present request of what we want from the other person in relationship to our feelings and unmet needs. We need to ask ourselves: "What do we want the other person to do differently than what they are now doing?" and "What do we want the other person's reasons to be for doing what we want them to do?"
Marshall Rosenberg proposes that vengeance is a distorted cry for empathy. Our real need is for those who hurt us to understand how we have suffered. We want them to hear the pain that goes on in our heart when they said certain things. We want them to see what needs of ours do not get met when he said that. We do not want to blame that person. To fully express our anger means putting our entire consciousness on the need that isn't getting met. There is a need that isn't getting met in there. We have to get that need met. We need the energy to motivate us to get that need met.
1. Identify the stimulus for our anger, without confusing it with the evaluation.
2. Identify the internal image or judgment that is making us angry.
3. Transform this judgmental image into the need that it is expressing; in other words, bring our full attention to the need that is behind the judgment.