To my 14-year-old Self

muni muni

To my 14-year-old self:

One day you will realize the things you believe important and attractive are trivial and superficial. Hence, take it easy. Forgive yourself when you can’t rewind, replace, redo. We are all unfinished products.

Find your own happiness. Your happiness should be independent from what your parents, your friends, or others think. It should be free from what society expects. Our capitalist culture has a way of reshaping our beliefs on happiness. Listen to your inner voice. It may not give you the best answers but it will give you the honest answers.

Fulfilling a childhood dream or a bucket list is more of an ego fulfillment than a calling. Ego fulfillment is all about yourself. It is a personal sense of accomplishment or sense of worth. Calling is not all about yourself. Calling is not unrequited love. It shouldn’t be I-love-music-but-music-hates-me. It means you want something that wants you back.

You will like to hear a lot of inspiring quotes about life like these: “If you work hard, you will succeed. If you are persistent, you will get it. If you can conceive it, you can achieve it. If you are very passionate, you will excel. If you are nice to people, they will not do harm to you.” Sorry to burst your bubble, life has no formula. We keep on finding ways to make it perfect but no one writes his own life like an equation. It is a result of many drafts. We can only plan life to a certain extent but there will always be a hand of God pointing you to where you should be.

Here are four top life events you have to go through.

From the lyrics of  Fix You– Coldplay

  1. When you try your best but don’t succeed
  2. When you get what you want but not what you need
  3. When you lose something you can’t replace
  4. When you love someone but goes to waste

Thus, when things don’t work out in favor of you, you learn to reinvent yourself.

If you make a mistake, do it with dignity. Be a professional actor. Don’t let other people know your weakness unless you can no longer keep it to yourself. Hide the things that haunt you. Be a swan, struggling underneath but graceful on the surface. It takes time to master this craft.

Savor every feeling whether it’s good or bad. If someone cuts you, let it bleed. Laugh if it tickles. Be amused even if you are the only one who can appreciate it. If someone tricks you, good for you. You just witness magic. If you hate something, punch the wind.

Fight for what you love, even if you are not sure it is worth fighting for. The only time you know it’s not worth fighting for when you lose the battle. Hence, you don’t know if you don’t try. We call this 1st level bravery. The second level of bravery is when you give up the things you used to dream and love after fighting a hard battle. Warriors do not mention the word “surrender”. But there is victory in surrender. It is something both heroes and losers shared.

Lastly, don’t be in a hurry to grow up.

Yours truly,

The Aging Self

Soul Pancake

Other than Button Poetry, and Tedx, I’ve been watching a lot of videos of Soul Pancake. They make videos that talk about philosophy, culture and  art. Soul Pancake tries to answer deep life questions but the videos are light-hearted.  Here are some of my favorites so far in Soul Pancake.

The Single Life

I was smiling the entire time I was watching this video. For the people who don’t know why they are single, watch this.

 Have a Little Faith – Reunion

During this episode,  Soul Pancake invited two Mormons, two Baha’is, one Jewish person, a Quaker, a Muslim and one Baptist on the show. The group discussion is very pleasant.   Listening to these different religions in one room will strengthen whatever you believe in.

 Holding  a Human Heart

Whether you are thinking of heart as a real heart or as a metaphor, this interview with the heart surgeon gives so many insights.

 

Stop

This is my rant to many rants. How ironic!

There is so much wickedness, bitterness in this world. Do your part to save the world by  not adding another problem. We do not need a  lot of rants, bad words, or trivial complaints. Of course, we need  to practice critical thought and discernment but there is a proper place and time for everything.

I hate ‘hate.’  Being pessimistic over a lot of things is not making the world a better place to live. Before you rant and before you critique, ask yourself: What will I gain and what will people gain out of it? Am I making the world  a better place to live?

I’m still pessimistic especially when my bratty self wants to come out.  We are a work in progress.

Here are some of my bad habits I want to unlearn.

Stop questioning people’s kindness
We always read news on corruption and crime. We have our personal stories of betrayal and trust issues.  It is hard to identify who are genuinely good. Sometimes, I ask: Is this person good to me because s/he wants something from me? Is this person nice only on the surface? Is this person building a charity to help or to improve his/her image? But who are we to judge a person’s intentions or motives? We can’t surely say what they want to get in return.  If we haven’t proved such judgement or claim is right, it is wise to give people an opportunity to do good before we shut our doors.

maleficent

Stop stealing people’s happiness
In other words, don’t be such a killjoy.  If someone is so happy over a chocolate bar, comics, soap opera, TV series, Justin Bieber, One Direction, chick flick, zombie movies, let that person be. People have different tastes and interests. We don’t have to like what others like to live peacefully. In fact, we can like one another without sharing the same interests or backgrounds . Let and let live.

Stop finding answers
You don’t have to know everything. It’s human nature that we want to make sense of the world but you do not need to have an answer for every life question. It is physically and emotionally draining to answer why does this have to happen to me? No explanation will ever be enough for life’s uncertainties. On what life does not entitle you to know, you let it go.

what happened

Stop glorifying busy
I’ve posted this twice but I think  this should be a constant reminder. We define productivity by the number of tasks we have in a day or by the number of roles we play but we should always put premium on quality or quantity. Being busy is not worth bragging and a lame excuse for not having time for yourself, and loved ones and time to rest. If you put your heart and soul into one activity in a day, consider yourself productive. And if you can’t comply all your to-do list, forgive yourself.

busy

Stop looking for things you don’t have
While ambitions and aspiration give motivation and meaning in life, too much thinking of what you do not have is a mental torture.

Stop looking at other people’s flaws
People have good and bad side. We always have a choice to magnify which side we want to see in people. I try not to judge someone’s value based on their shortcomings or their mistakes. It does not mean he is not a good student, he is not a good son. It does not mean he does not have a good temper, he is not generous. Ideally, we want people to be consistently good but reality tells us that people have different shades of goodness.

Stop talking negatively about yourself
Venting out your frustration about yourself is cathartic. It’s true that sometimes we just want to fish compliments. Every human being according to Maslow has this need for acceptance and affirmation. And sometimes we want a cheerleader or someone who can empathize. But too much negative talk about yourself can be damaging. I realize the more I talk negatively about myself, the more I remember the negative feelings I have for myself.  Hence, it prolongs agony and self-loathing. We can be very self-absorbed that we fail to notice that some people have more needs and failures but they choose not to see themselves as worthless.

Stop using What-if phrases
The what-if phrases are poisoning our minds. But then again, let go of what you cannot change.

Stop spreading the idea that men are polygamous by nature
We’ve heard a lot of real life stories of men having many women. It is happening but I will never buy the idea that it’s natural for men to have two women or more. It is not a call of nature. It is deviance. And spreading this idea that it’s so normal for men encourages more men to be like one. I simply don’t like it because it’s gender biased.

polygamy

Stop complaining
I am very guilty of this. I love to complain. When I’m bored, I want to argue. We like to complain because it’s also cathartic. Ranting may help us unload our stress and anxiety but you’ll never know you might be passing stress to your listeners. Be sensitive to others. As painful as this may sound but not everybody likes to listen to your problems or even world problems.

14 Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16 as you hold out the word of life–in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.

Philippians 2:14-16

 

I know complete abstinence from these bad habits is easier said than done but we can change our mindset gradually. Maybe we can have a quota for bad words, negative words, criticisms, gossips in a day or make sure pleasant words outnumber negative vibes.