Wednesday, 23 July 2014

15 Day Affirmation Challenge: Day 14 [Self Image]

I am taking part in PE's 15 Day Affirmation Challenge. For more information, click here.

Today is day 14 of the challenge (already!) and we'll be covering the topic of self image. We have already covered physical looks as part of the challenge, however, self image is a more all-encompassing trait which includes the way we think of ourselves as a whole, including looks.

"Identify at least one negative self-belief."
  • One nagging thought I've always had in the back of my mind is that I'm not worthy of all the goals and dreams I have for myself, that I don't deserve, that I'm not good enough for them.
"When did this negative self-belief start?"
  • As I've written in Day 2's post, I'm not entirely sure why or how I started to think this. I think perhaps it is a combination of several things including my own personality traits, the reactions of other people as well as circumstances and situations in my life. It's difficult for me to pinpoint exactly one reason or moment in my life that led to this, but I would venture to guess that it started somewhere around early teenage hood (as I was a pretty confident child, but things went downhill from secondary school), which grew and grew as I faced certain disappointments and setbacks in my life, especially in my relationships. I began to feel like everything I hoped for, no matter how small, would just not materialize in the way I wanted it to. That led me to feeling like getting anything I wanted was just too good to be true, that only luck would bring me to my goals and dreams. Then there were many times I've faced rejection (many happening in the last few years) which has led me to question my worth, and whether or not I'm good enough, for anyone, or for any goal I want to achieve. 
"Challenge this negative self-belief."
  •  Well, it's certainly true that there were many things I wanted that always seemed out of my reach, and that many a time I would be hopeful for a certain outcome, only to have it go poof right in front of me. It's also true that I've had to face rejection several times, especially in the last few years which, among other experiences in university, battered my self confidence. I think the only way for redemption is to change the way I see these experiences. I have to trust that the reason things didn't go as planned was because there was a better outcome another way, even if I don't immediately see what it was. And as for the rejection, perhaps these people were not the right people for me, at that time, or ever. It's difficult to truly believe in your own worth when what feels like the whole world is telling you otherwise, but the truth is these people didn't stop and take the time to get to know me. They didn't know the core of who I am, my likes and dislikes, the deeper side of me. So it was only a shallow rejection. It tells me that they weren't worth grieving over because I was not in their hearts anyway. If someone can reject another based on a shallow perception of who they are, then they aren't worth that person's time or care or love. In the end, love has to come from myself first, and then it won't matter if people are shallow and narrow minded in their rejection.
"Create new positive beliefs."
  •  I am worthy of achieving my goals and dreams. I am capable and competent and have the power to make them come true.
  • I deserve loving, caring, genuine people in my life who take the time to get to know me. I deserve people who will stick around to get to know the deeper side of me and love and accept me for it.

 Themes of self image and other related things are always difficult for me, which I suppose is an indicator that there is a wound that needs healing there. It's an uphill battle, but I look forward to facing those demons and winning the war.

"I'm perfect as myself."

Monday, 21 July 2014

15 Day Affirmation Challenge: Day 13 [Health]

I am taking part in PE's 15 Day Affirmation Challenge. For more information, click here.

Today's task is concerning health. Lately I have been becoming increasingly aware of the need to keep my body healthy and fit, including both nutrition and exercise. It is something I have struggled with my whole entire life, and which keeps falling apart whenever I start something new. However, as I'm becoming more aware of potential lifestyle diseases, especially some that run in our family, I want to take extra care to take care of myself - body and mind - and nutrition and exercise are a major part in doing so. I want to be fit and healthy for as long as I live, and not be plagued by illnesses that could have been avoided if I had only started to take care of my health earlier in life.

"Identify at least one negative health habit you currently have."
  • I have many, but I will just post a couple. I have utterly horrible sleeping patterns. I have tried many times to get back in sync, but it always falls back into a bad cycle. 
  • I don't exercise enough.
"Identify reasons supporting each negative habit."
  • Since young, I've had abnormal sleep patterns, but the problem got worse in university when I was on my own schedule and when stress, anxiety and depression crept up on me. Now it's a hard habit to break, because of how long it's been going on. Since I've been home from university, it's been especially bad since I haven't yet found a job and hence don't have a "reason" to get up early in the morning. Sadly it causes my mood to plummet and makes me irritable, but even on those nights I am in bed early, I tend to lie there awake for several hours before falling asleep, then in the mornings, it is excruciatingly difficult to wake up, no matter how many hours I've slept.
  • Sometimes the reason is sheer laziness. Other times it's because I haven't planned my day properly and end up just having eaten when I had previously intended to exercise. Also, with the bad sleeping patterns, I also don't eat properly and this causes dizziness when I do try to exercise. Another reason is that when I start looking up for exercises to do, I get overwhelmed by all the different kinds and what they're good for.
 "Identify steps to correct each negative habit."
  • I have tried many things to help this, but nothing has worked yet. However, I will begin again, and try to be in bed at least by midnight, and will try the melatonin again. I will attempt to stop using electronics at least an hour before bed. Unfortunately I don't have a chair that fits well at my desk so I'm stuck using my laptop on my bed. Hopefully in the future I'll be able to get a chair that is tall enough for my desk.
  • The first step to this is correcting my sleeping. Then I will make a plan for what exercise I am going to do for the week or month. In the meantime, I can also focus on low intensity exercises, such as weights, that will hopefully not make me dizzy.
Health and nutrition are something I have been wanting to get right for so very long now. It's so easy to fall back into bad habits just because they're easy or because you forget you had planned to do things differently. Visual reminders will help, as well as making a list of healthy recipes to try, as well as the various exercises I would like to try in order to meet my fitness goals. I have to remind myself that I am worthy of my dream level of fitness, and I am capable of making this dream a reality.

"I am growing healthier and stronger every day."

15 Day Affirmation Challenge: Day 12 [Wealth]

I am taking part in PE's 15 Day Affirmation Challenge. For more information, click here.

Today's challenge is about wealth. Thankfully, up til now in my life, I haven't had to think too much about money since we've been living comfortably on what we have, something I'm very grateful for. However, as a recent graduate looking to get into the working world, I've begun to think more about what it would mean, and what it would take to be financially independent.

"Identify at least one self-limiting belief about money that you have."
  • To be honest, I don't have many thoughts about money as an entity. Perhaps the most common thought about money is that it's "evil."
  • My second thought might be that I don't know how to make money or make enough so that I can live independently and comfortably, but this is more of a subconscious thought rather than a conscious one (at least up til now).
"Challenge these beliefs."
  •  What I really mean in reference to the statement above, is that it can cause people to do evil things (e.g. scam others, be dishonest, steal, lie, cheat etc.) to get more of it. And in this case, it's not the money that is bad, but a person's reaction to it. Having a lot of money is not a bad thing; how you use it is what counts.
  • Maybe I don't know right now how to make money, but I can put an effort into learning about the various avenues through which one can create an income, whether active or passive.
"Create new positive beliefs."
  • Money is a neutral agent; it is what we make it out to be. It is not evil.
  • Earning money is a skill that anyone can learn 
"Identify one positive step you can take towards your financial goal."
  • I've had a book called Nice Girl Don't Get Rich for a while now, and although I've flipped through it before, I'll start reading it with intent and learning about the steps I can take to start earning an income. Also, getting a job will be a good start. 
As I said above, I haven't had to think much about money before, but now that I'm going to working soon and earning, I would like to make the best of it, and learn how to meet my financial goals. One of the reasons I look forward to making money is so that I can give in charity, because I believe that this is a very important part of life. Although, no matter what little we have, it is also good to be generous, since by giving, you are earning good :)

"I am financially abundant and money comes to me naturally."

Sunday, 20 July 2014

15 Day Affirmation Challenge: Day 11 [Career]

I am taking part in PE's 15 Day Affirmation Challenge. For more information, click here.

Today's challenge is about career. As a recent university graduate, and in fact for many years prior to graduating, career options have been something I've been thinking about for a long, long time. Although I have a vague notion of what I want to do, I'm still confused as to what career I will actually fit well into. Especially now with just a BA, I don't think there is a lot of scope for what I want to do.

"Identify your ideal career."

However, ultimately I have a vision of the type of career I want; that of a helping job. I want to be able to help people, both in the short term but more so in the long term. With a BA in Psychology, I've been veering toward a career in Counseling (which needs a further degree). However, I'm not 100% set on that, plus there is pressure from parental forces who are not in complete agreement with that choice. I am also interested in the coaching field, which seems like something I may enjoy doing as well.

I would love to incorporate my love of writing into my job, and have a self development blog that can bring in income where I share my insights with others, as well as, as a more long term goal, publish a book (or several?!) on the theme of self development.

My *ultimate* dream job would somehow incorporate music into what I do. Music was my first love, the first thing I became passionate about and it's something I'm very good at. It brings a lot of joy into my life and it makes me sad to see it fall by the wayside.

Right now, in the interim between my BA and my Master's I'm considering doing a certification course in TESOL. I'm sort of dragging my feet on it, because even though it'll allow me to travel as well as to earn, I'm a bit (or very much -__-') scared of the unknown.

"Identify 3 things blocking you from pursuing your ideal career now."
  •  confusion. My confusion over what I really want to do always leads thoughts about my future into a black hole. I start with the good intention of figuring it out, but then end up confused at all the things I want to do and not knowing what I should put first, or what I would actually enjoy or be good at doing. I'm a person who generally tries to follow my heart, but I've lost confidence that I actually know what that is, and to some people to whom I have to justify my decisions, this is not good enough, they want more "rational" thinking. But I don't want to do something just because it's a good idea to do it, or because it'll make a lot of money; I want to do something I'm passionate about, that I enjoy doing and that I'm good at and in which I'm actually making a difference in people's lives.
  • fear/anxiety. I'm afraid of the unknown, and I'm afraid that I won't live up to my expectations, or that I fail at reaching my dreams. I'm afraid of bad things happening if I do go after my dreams. I'm afraid that I won't be any good at what I do and that I won't be making as much of a difference in people's lives as I want or in relation to the amount of time/money/resources spent on trying to do that.
  •  knowledge. the first being a lack of knowledge of the ins and outs of the areas I want to have a career in. Also, for some of my future aspirations such as either becoming a coach or a counselor, I need further study in these areas.

"Identify solutions for these obstacles."
  •  To be honest, I'm not entirely sure how to solve the problem around my confusion. I think perhaps one way is to find out the daily ins and outs of the lives of those in the careers I"m looking into. One way would potentially be to get in touch with these careers and with the qualifications I have or intend to get and ask them about their jobs and their responsibilities, etc.
  • For the fear part of it, this is difficult because while there are larger fears that I mentioned above, I also struggle with anxiety at times, which can affect the "little" things, such as making phone calls to people I don't know, or meeting with others I haven't met before, etc. The one thing I try to do is talk to myself, and remind myself that everything is going to be okay. Even if I make a little slip up, it's not the end of the world. And I can gain a whole lot more from facing my fears than from hiding behind them. I have to act in my brave moments, before the fear takes over again. Still, it's a struggle, but one I'm trying to fight.
  • I think this links back to the first solution: getting in touch with people in these careers. Having a better idea of what's involved will hopefully make it easier to figure out where my niche lies. Also, further study in the areas I want to advance in.

Clearly this is something that has been on my mind for a long time, and that has been bothering me for as long as it has. The place I get stuck is not having  a clear goal, for example, a particular role  or an organization I'd like to work for. Sometimes I think I'd like to do something, work somewhere, but then my mind goes on a series of what-ifs and more often I feel like I don't have what it takes. Perhaps the main reason behind my stagnancy in this area is my self doubt, that I'm not sure I can actually live out my dreams. For as long as I've known, I've always had this nagging feeling that I'd never get what I want. And perhaps that stops me from working towards it. I think I have past experiences where I've tried but failed at things, and I've taken that as the gospel so to speak to mean I'll fail at everything.

But that can't be true, because there are things I've succeeded at. There are things I've accomplished that I'm proud of. It's just the negative voice in my head telling me I can't do what I want. I think I have to work from the inside out in trying to change the dialogue in my head and within my self as a first step to achieving my dreams and goals.

I have to somehow make myself believe that I am worthy and I am capable.

 "I'm doing what I love, and earning lots of money doing it."

Friday, 18 July 2014

15 Day Affirmation Challenge: Day 10 [Love]

I am taking part in PE's 15 Day Affirmation Challenge. For more information, click here.

Today's challenge is about love. Unlike yesterday's challenge which focused on relationships in the broadest sense of the word, today's focuses on romantic love. I should have known this would show up in the challenge somewhere, ha. Not that I have anything against love per se, but I just have a whole lot of feelings about it, thanks to some previous experiences as well as my observations of relationships around me. Although when I think about it, it's not love I have the problem with, but rather the way some relationships tend to play out. Love in its truest sense is a beautiful thing, but it can become tainted when a relationships lacks other essential things such as trust, communication and respect. Thankfully I'm not in a place where I'm desperate for love but am content in my singleness. Although there are sometimes moments when I wish for companionship, on the whole I am happy to be where I am relationship-wise. But I digress. Let's see what today's tasks are.

"Imagine your ideal romantic relationship."
  • My top quality for a future mate is someone who shares my faith. My faith is a hugely important part of my life and has influenced who I am by many degrees. I want to be able to connect with my partner on a spiritual level. Sharing the same faith will allow him to understand me and the choices I make on a deeper level than someone who does not. I want to be able to pray with my partner, and use this to build the foundation of our relationship.
  • Effective communication is a must, especially in times of conflict. My past experience with a stone-waller has led me to realize the absolute necessity of being able to discuss and talk about the problems that come up in a relationship. Communication includes both talking and listening. I've realized that much conflict and bad feelings come up because of miscommunication in the relationship - making assumptions, not saying how you feel or what you really think, not trying to understand the other person's perspective, etc.
  • Respect. I think this is absolutely necessary in every relationship. I think perhaps people do not always understand the true meaning of what it means to respect someone. If respect is there, a lot of problems will be more easily solved. If you respect your partner, you listen when they speak, you validate their emotions even if you have different opinions, you strive to do or not do things that you know will hurt or upset them, etc. etc. Part of respect is pulling your weight in the relationship and this includes the mundane such as chores and errands.
  • I would love to be with someone who is patient, understanding, supportive and gentle. As a sensitive, emotional person, I need my partner to not be afraid of emotion - whether mine or his - and understand that it is part of who I am, the way I express myself and not something to be "fixed" or stopped the minute it starts. 
  • Simply put, a nice guy. Someone who is respectful to all, kind, helpful, ambitious but not at the expense of others, and strong in his faith.
"Identify simple steps you can take to make this relationship happen."
  • On reading the article referenced, I think the main thing for me right now is to begin developing my whole self, and reaching my fullest potential. Lately I'd had the feeling that it is time to make positive changes in my life (for my own sake) because I wasn't living up to who I could be, and I was just tired of living the way I was. I think finding myself is the first step to finding that person. To be honest, I feel like I haven't made much progress in my self development journey, however, and it's been soul crushing to keep feeling like a failure. I feel stifled by my physical surroundings and in other ways and despite reading many articles on change and making positive changes, I still feel like I don't really know how to make them happen. But I won't give up hope, and will start to make plans for the things I want to achieve in the near and far future. I'm a believer that people come into your life when you're ready, so I'm trying to make myself ready, but not (only) with the intention of love, but with my personal well being at the core of that intention.
 I can write for days on the topic of love and relationships, my opinions of them, how I feel about them, but I think at the end of the day, all I want is a respectful, loving and supportive companion when the time is right. I don't think there is one way or path to finding this person; they are as varied as there are people, and for some, it may not even be guaranteed. But I think the best way is to be the kind of person you'd want to be with, live or at least strive to your highest potential and never forget that the one person who is first worthy of all your love and attention is yourself.

"From this moment on, I'm attracting my soul mate, and in time to come, we'll meet and forever be bound in love and light."

Thursday, 17 July 2014

15 Day Affirmation Challenge: Day 9 [Relationships]

I am taking part in PE's 15 Day Affirmation Challenge. For more information, click here.

Today's challenge is about relationships. Not necessarily the romantic kind, but in the broadest sense of the word. Our connection to others, whether it be family, friends, co-workers, etc.

"Identify your ideal relationship."
  • Someone I can form a deep connection with, beyond superficial layers.
  • Someone I can be myself around and feel comfortable with, and who accepts me as I am - flaws and all.
  • Someone I can have deep, fulfilling conversations with but with whom I can also have fun (basically someone I can laugh and cry with).
  • Someone I can go to in my down moments, and who will do the same with me when they need a friend.
  • Someone who listens
  • Someone who make me a priority in their life.
"Identify places where you can find such people."
  • This is tricky for me. My first thought to this question would literally be "I have no idea." My second thought is whether people like this actually exist, or at least if they do in my geographical area. Websites like don't have much of a following in my country, and it's difficult to find groups of like minded people such as clubs or organizations, etc. I'd have to do some research to find out what is really out there. Unfortunately as well, right now I have limited mobility (and live in a country with minimal public transport) so even if I could find a group, it would be difficult for me to get out there and meet people.
  • I am hoping that when I find a job, this will (at least a little) open up the opportunity to meet people and I can hopefully branch out from there.

Today's task is a little challenging given my geographical location as well as other factors that make it difficult for me to get out there and meet people. But I hope in the future things will change to allow this to be easier for me.

"I'm in conscious relationships that elevate and support me."

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

15 Day Affirmation Challenge: Day 8 [Physical Looks]

I am taking part in PE's 15 Day Affirmation Challenge. For more information, click here.

Today's task concerns physical looks. I would like to think I'm not overly concerned, or at least not obsessed with my looks. However, I will admit that like most people, I fall prey to insecurities regarding the way I look at times.

"Rate yourself on your physical looks on a scale of 1 to10."
  • I will be honest and say this feels totally awkward for me. I am typically opposed to being asked to rate people, and although I know the purpose of this exercise is not the same as if someone were to ask me to rate someone else on physical appearance, it still feels a bit uncomfortable. I think I will settle on a 6.
"Is this score 10/10? Why not?"
  • Definitely not a 10/10. Perhaps I am comparing myself to my ideal self, or to others with features I sometimes wish I had. Also, I find that for every feature I like about myself, there is something that counters it. For example, although I love my hair, it has become very thin lately and is quite flat and takes very long to grow. I love my large eyes, but long-term sleep trouble has caused them to look tired all the time. Etc. etc.
 "Examine your reflection"

At this point I realize that many times on looking in the mirror, I'd be quick to point out a particular flaw (my cheeks are so fat), or something more general (wow, you look like sh*t today!) and even as I was doing the exercise I found myself criticizing my flaws. In fact, the more I looked at my reflection, the worse I felt. I'm surprised at how difficult this actually felt because for most of my life, I considered myself fairly pretty (at least on my terms) and I didn't bother too much with how I looked or any of my individual features. But I think the past few years' struggle has really pulled me down in so many areas of my life that I'm even struggling with something I thought I was okay with. I actually glimpsed today's task and thought I'd be able to do it fairly quickly and easily, but now I'm seeing that there is something buried beneath that feeling of security I thought I had about my looks.

I think it's not necessarily about being beautiful, but about accepting yourself fully no matter how you look. Perhaps it was just easier to accept my looks when I liked how I looked as opposed to now that I'm a little older and not as blemish-free as I was before.

But I do think it's something I shall have to work on some more, especially as I am only going to be getting older and my features will definitely be changing as I age.

"I'm beautiful just the way I am."

Monday, 14 July 2014

15 Day Affirmation Challenge: Day 7

I am participating in PE's 15 Day Affirmation Challenge. For more information, click here.

Day 7's task is about opportunities.

Identify an area of your life where you feel blocked by lack of opportunities.
  • For this task, I'd have to come back to career opportunities. Right now, as a recent university graduate, I'm still unsure of what I want to do with my life, so much so that it is a constant source of anxiety. I think the main reason I feel this way is that I don't see any opportunities that really excite me. I would love to somehow combine my passion for writing and wanting to help people into a career. But I can't really see anything that would lead me there. To top it off, there are other areas in my life such as music and travel that I would also love to add in to the mix but it just feels very mixed up and confusing for me to imagine a role that could potentially combine everything. A lot of my confusion about the issue is that I have passion for areas that are not "traditional" and there is a lot of pressure from parental forces for me to get a "real job."
"Ask yourself, 'How can I create the opportunity to succeed in this area?'"
  • I think I need to discern what is "career opportunity" material from something I can potentially do on the side, even though saying this is both painful and confusing, because I feel like no matter what road I take, I'd have to be sacrificing something I love and want to do. A good first step would be to do some research on the various areas I am interested in. The best way would be to actually speak to people in said fields. Therefore, I have to find people and reach out to them to get an idea of what it is like in their respective fields. 
  • Possibly a good way to know what career I should go into would be to ask myself truly and honestly what I want from my life. To sum up in a sentence, I'd say that I want to help people. I can look into these fields and see what the scope for this (helping) is, and if it doesn't fall into that category, perhaps it will have to be relegated to the side.

 This has been and still is a huge source of anxiety in my life. As I had mentioned in one of my previous posts, I tend to avoid things that make me anxious, which while shielding me from something scary at the moment, has dire long term consequences. Working on my anxiety (in general) will also hopefully be a step in the right direction not only concerning my career opportunities, but many other aspects of my life.

"Opportunities are everywhere. It's up to me to find or create them and make things happen."

Saturday, 12 July 2014

15 Day Affirmation Challenge: Day 6 [Self Worth]

I am participating in PE's 15 Day Affirmation Challenge. For more information, click here.

Today's challenge is about self worth. In some ways this is similar to self love, or at the least, is tied to it. All feelings of the self, self-esteem, self-love, self-worth, etc. are all tied up with each other, and a struggle with one usually means a struggle with all. Of course the opposite is true as well.

"Identify an area in your life where you are experiencing some self doubt right now."
  •  right now I'm experiencing self doubt in the social arena. I've always been a bit unsure of myself in this area, but after a particularly difficult few years in this area in university, I really began to struggle with myself in wondering whether I was capable of socializing and forging close connections with others. It seemed as though it were something others were able to do effortlessly but with which I was left floundering. This led to anxiety surrounding anything remotely social and is still something I get anxious about to this day.
"Identify your dream vision for this area."
  • my absolute dream vision for this area would be to find what people refer to as their "tribe". I would love to find a group of like minded individuals; people who understand me, accept me and love me for who I am. People I can be myself around, those with whom I can share my deepest thoughts and who will reciprocate in both feeling and action. Additionally I would like to be at ease in knowing I am indeed capable of forging deep connections, as well as being confident in less intimate social settings.
 "Create your affirmative belief in this area."
  • I deserve deep and fulfilling friendships with people who truly care about me, accept me and love me for who I am. I deserve to be confident in knowing I am socially capable and competent and that my worth does not depend on anyone else's opinion of me. I deserve to never feel isolated and abandoned or rejected. I deserve love in all forms.

This task was a bit challenging for me, to be honest. There are so many ingrained negative beliefs in my mind that I need to weed out and replace with positive, more loving ones. I'm grateful for the opportunity to be doing this, however, and I think it's both the kick I need to start making positive changes as well as a chance to really dig deep and solve the mystery of the origin of these negative self beliefs.

"I'm worthy of love, success and happiness."

Friday, 11 July 2014

15 Day Affirmation Challenge: Day 5 [Gratitude]

I am participating in PE's 15 Day Affirmation Challenge. For more information, click here.

Today's challenge is about gratitude! I'm happy to see this on the list of challenges because it's something I've been wanting to bring about into my life lately. I have been facing some setbacks, and have been reminded to focus on the good in each day and what I take for granted in order to feel better about my circumstances and to uplift my mood. In addition, I believe gratitude is one of the most important things in life, as we've done little to deserve the good things, whether material or not, in our lives and are thus gifts to us. What matters isn't whether we deserve these things or not, but how we respond to them once we have them.

"Identify three things you tend to take for granted."
  • my limbs (arms and legs). Thankfully, I am blessed with the use of all my limbs. It is so easy to take our bodies for granted, especially our limbs, but when you think about it, almost every single thing we do in a day is facilitated by these body parts. Our arms and hands drive us to work, type on our laptops, make our meals, feed us, and on and on. And everywhere we've ever been, we've gotten there because of our legs! Whether it be walking to the bus stop, shopping in the mall, or something as simple as getting up in the morning and getting ready for school or work. 
  • a home with running water and electricity.  For a long time I was unhappy with our living conditions due to circumstances that were beyond our control. I kept focusing on all the bad things and discomfort we were feeling because of our situation and it kept me constantly unhappy and down. Lately I've been trying to change my mindset and instead be grateful for the positive within the situation. The fact that we have electricity 24/7, running water in the taps, hot water, beds and covers and pillows, and a/c when it gets very hot (which is often) is a lot to be grateful for. While we are still striving for a more comfortable space, being grateful will help us get through this phase.
  • the ability to read. This ability is one that is so easy to take for granted because it is assumed that everyone can. However, not everyone has had the opportunity to learn to read, and many of those who do, suffer from disorders that make it very difficult for them. Being able to read has gotten me through all the years of my education, allowed me to communicate with others, find a passion in writing, as well as the many little things we don't think twice about: filling out forms, reading instructions, even reading for pleasure which I do voraciously.
 "Identify 10 things you are grateful for in your life."
  • my 5 senses, without which even a single one, life would be drastically different and downright more difficult.
  • my parents, who raised me with good values and have provided me with all the things I want and need, including good education.
  • my faith, which has kept me strong is difficult times and has served as a marker in helping me make decisions and remind me who I am.
  • the internet, without which life would be more difficult and a whole lot more boring.
  • food. I love food and am grateful for the fact that we have more than enough, and know where our next meal is coming from.
  • my university education, which has granted me the opportunity to broaden my horizons, open my mind, and learn a lot about myself and the world.
  • the weather. even though it can get very hot sometimes, I am grateful for the warmth, especially having had to endure winters that were bitterly cold and depressing while I was in school.
  • my talents and hobbies. both music and writing (and others) act as outlets for me to express myself and to bring something into the world that was not previously there. additionally, they act as stress relief and bring a sense of joy to my life.
  • my friends who have been there for me in my lowest moments and continue to stay by my side.
  • my clothes. the fact that I even have a choice in what to where when I have somewhere to go is enough to be grateful for.
"Identify one thing you can do today to express gratitude to any one item on your list."
  •  In general, when I start giving thanks, I like to consider as many things as I can that I'm grateful for. Therefore I think by even writing the list above, as well as meditating on the good in my life, I've expressed gratitude for these things. It's something I am trying to do on a regular basis now.
 Gratitude is such a wonderful mindset to have. There is so much beauty and goodness in our lives that when taken for granted can sometimes be overrun by the negative things happening. Training ourselves to always look for the silver lining, or the happy or good moments in a day can lift our mood, and put us in a state of gratitude, allowing us to feel more at peace in our lives. And sometimes it's the things we take most for granted that would change our lives in the biggest way if we lost them.

May we always remember to be thankful. May we always be among the grateful.

"I am grateful for everything in my life."

Thursday, 10 July 2014

15 Day Affirmation Challenge: Day 4 [Setbacks]

I am participating in PE's 15 day Affirmation Challenge. For more information, click here.

Today's challenge concerns setbacks. One of my biggest setbacks is anxiety. My anxiety about certain, usually important things, leads me to avoid them, which ultimately causes me to either panic while trying to get it done at the last moment, or to miss opportunities altogether.

In my anxiety about my future after graduation, it took me weeks to face up to updating my resume, and only because I had to submit it for an application. Still in a state of anxiety, I tend to avoid conversations related to my plans for the future, and sometimes even job hunting. It is only in rare moments of motivation that I find myself perusing job ads.

Ironically, the more time that passes without finding something, is the more anxious I get. But it's the same anxiety causing me to avoid what scares me.

"Identify an obstacle you're currently facing."
  • Career
"Identify actions to overcome this obstacle."
  • I have no choice but to face up to my anxieties and fears. I must examine the root cause of these fears and be honest with myself in whether these thoughts are true or not. 
  • I will do some research on what positions are available to those with my degree and try to get in touch with people who have the same qualifications as I in an effort to find out what more is available.
  • I will start a strategic job search and start sending out resumes.
"Create a new positive belief to help you overcome this obstacle."
  • I am competent and capable. My life is a sum of the choices I make, and I must act in spite of fear if I am to live a fulfilling one. There is no room for fear when chasing dreams.

Anxiety is a tough one for me. My tendency to avoid what scares me has not served me well. I would like to eventually be able to face things that cause me anxiety, but I suppose I should start small. I look forward to the day I am able to step forward into my dreams without, or despite fear. I look forward to the day I can be brave.

"I have the power to overcome any obstacle that stands in my way."

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

15 Day Affirmation Challenge: Day 3 [Ability]

I am participating in PE's 15 day Affirmation Challenge. For more information, click here.

Today's challenge is about ability and achieving tasks. Though it is only day 3 of the challenge, I am already seeing how much the negative voice in my head dominates. It has been interesting having to transform these thoughts to positive ones, although a bit of a challenge to get them to stick. Let's forge ahead to today's task.

"Identify a goal/dream that you're blocking yourself in currently."
  • Fitness and nutrition
"Identify your self limiting beliefs about this goal/dream."
  • I can't get fit because I've tried many times to start exercising and have kept giving up on it after a few days.
  • I can't eat healthy because the options are confusing/overwhelming, and my house is usually full of unhealthy options, which causes me to keep slipping back into old habits.
"Change this belief."
  • No matter how many times I fail, I have the choice to start again, and be better this time. 
  • I will educate myself on the choices available and choose the best option for myself. I will select healthier choices for myself and discourage others in my family from buying unhealthy food options. I will work on my self discipline to be able to make good choices even if there are unhealthy options at home.  
 "Identify actions steps you're going to take to realize this goal/dream."
  •  Research the best exercises for my fitness goals and write them down/put them in a place I can see them.
  • Seek out others on the fitness journey for motivation and inspiration.
  • Look up and gather healthy recipes and dedicate a day to try new recipes.
  • Start a fitness and nutrition journal to write down my goals and track my progress.

Fitness, and more recently, nutrition have been things I have wanted to get serious about for so many years. Many times I've tried and failed, however, I perhaps did not have the right mindset and/or tools. I look forward to starting this journey and keeping it alive for as long as I am.

"I can achieve anything I want, as long as I set my heart to it."

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

15 Day Affirmation Challenge: Day 2 [Self Love]

I am participating in PE's 15 day Affirmation Challenge. For more information, click here.

Today's challenge has to do with self love. I have been procrastinating on starting it because I know it will be a difficult one for me. But it is called a challenge for a reason so I must forge ahead.

I have always struggled with self esteem and self love issues. My whole life I've thought myself to be lesser, not good enough, unlovable and a host of other things related to the way I feel about myself. I don't know for sure why or how this started, but it has persisted throughout my life thus far, even though I have tried before to change my mindset. Over the past few years, I have had experiences which have led me to really believe all that I've been saying about myself. From my last post you would have learned that I struggled socially all through university (which was much worse than it actually sounds), and came back home with my confidence utterly bruised. This, plus other personal issues that I struggled (and still struggle with) simply compounded my negative beliefs about myself and made it that much more difficult for me to believe that there was any reason to truly love myself. 

"Identify any self hating thoughts you may have."
  • I'm a loser who can't do anything right
  • I hate myself
  • I wish I were someone else
  • I fail at everything I try
  • I'm awkward and nobody likes me

 "Identify the reason behind this self hate."

 As I mentioned above, it's something I've struggled with my whole life, and to be completely honest, I'm not sure why. There have been times when berating myself badly for something, that I've had to literally stop and ask, "why do I hate myself so much?" I think it perhaps is one of those things where little moments, circumstances and situations add up to become an avalanche. I believe some of it has to do with not getting external validation from certain people in my life, perhaps at a time when I needed it most. Then cue a series of disappointing events which make you question your self worth, then you've got the whole mountain tumbling down. This all sounds very vague to anyone reading it, but life is made up of a million little moments, all with the opportunity to either build you up or break you down, and personality factors as well as environmental ones have a lot to do with the way a situation is perceived by a person.

So while I have not as yet solved the mystery behind my self hate, this has allowed me to open up a dialogue about it.

"Change your self hating thoughts."
  • Although I may fail at things, failing is a normal part of being human. The important thing is that I have the courage to get up and try again.
  • My life may not be perfect but nobody's is.  Perfection is a lie. The ups and downs are what make life interesting and unique. Disappointments show me how strong I am.
  • I have a unique set of talents and abilities with which I can carry out my purpose in a way that nobody else on this earth can.
  • I am caring, kind and compassionate; a loyal friend to those who take the time to get to know me.
  • I am worthy of my own love, no matter how many mistakes I make.

"Identify your action step to love yourself today."
  • I'll spend some time in prayer and reflection, thinking about the things I'm grateful for in my life.
  • I will dust off the keys of my keyboard (piano) and spend some time playing, as I've been neglecting it for far too long.
  • I will get an early night's rest.

Today's challenge was very difficult for me. Self love is a painful topic for me, since I struggle with it so much. There have been and still are so many things I would like to change about myself, in terms of improving my skills, my habits, the way I spend my time, etc. and for a long time I hated myself for it. But I've realized that you can't hate your way to positive change. Change has to come from a place of  love and acceptance. Ironically, we have to love ourselves as we are, accept where we are in life, to be able to make the changes we want to make.

The goal should never be perfection. The goal is to be better than we were yesterday. And that starts with loving who we are today.

"I love myself unconditionally."

Monday, 7 July 2014

Affirmation Challenge: Day 1 [New Beginnings]

Today I am beginning my journey on the affirmation challenge which I mentioned yesterday. Today's challenge is about new beginnings.

"What is one area of your life that you have been limiting yourself in because of the past?"

At first, this was difficult, because I couldn't think of any one specific thing. Then after some thought, I realized there were actually so many things I've held back from doing because of the past that I didn't know which one to pick! Upon reflection, I've come to see that much of it is subconscious; after years of believing that things wouldn't work in my favour, I've tended toward the cautious side in order to avoid disappointment.

In being honest with myself, I admitted that the negative voice in my head was the dominant one, and for many years, after repeated disappointments in various areas of my life, I felt like there was no point in taking risks, trying new things or doing things I really wanted to do because the result would have been the same: it wouldn't have worked out anyway.

Since the task asked for something specific, I will use my career aspiration as an example. Currently, as a recent university graduate and on the job hunt, I am considering going abroad to teach English. I am very close to signing up for certification classes - in fact, there is an email in my inbox waiting for a confirmation response from me. However, I've let it sit there for several days now, and I have already missed the deadline previously some months ago.

Why? Despite having studied abroad for four and a half years, I am apprehensive about traveling again, and not being able to fit in with the host culture. My experience during my undergrad was a difficult one, socially, and I came away with my confidence battered, and very unsure of myself in social settings. Additionally, I am afraid that I will not be a competent teacher, and will not be able to make a difference in the lives of those I teach.

"Identify the specific beliefs limiting you."

  • I am socially awkward and will not be able to fit in with the culture of any country I visit or live in, as evidenced by my time spent studying abroad.
  • I have no teaching experience and therefore will not be able to make a positive impact or be a good teacher to my students.

"Now change this belief."

  •  Despite  my experience at university being less than stellar socially, a new country, or new group of people will bring about a new opportunity to prove that not every situation will have the same outcome. I have made friends in the past, and therefore have the ability to make new friends regardless of culture.
  • I may not currently have any teaching experience, but the certification classes are all about learning how to be a competent and effective teacher. Additionally, I will have the support of those teaching the course, as well as the main teacher to whom I will be an assistant when hired to teach abroad.

Today's affirmations:

"Today is a brand new day. My past does not define me. The future is mine to create."

Being forced to articulate these limiting beliefs has really opened my eyes to the way I truly think about the situation and the true reasons for my fear. Now that I have explicit knowledge of the reasons behind my behaviour, I can choose whether to remain in fear, or to step out of it, and go after my dreams.

Let's choose to be brave.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

15 Day Affirmation Challenge: Starting Tomorrow

Hello, all! I am announcing my participation in a 15 day affirmation challenge starting tomorrow. It is being run by the founder of personal development website Personal Excellence, Celestine Chua. For more information on the challenge, click here.

Why an affirmation challenge? Well, why not? I have been feeling lately the need for a bit of a kick start to my life, and what better way to start than with my thoughts? The goal is to change my internal thought process, the way I speak to myself, and to allow change to follow through to my attitude and behaviours.

To be honest, I have no idea what to expect, therefore I am a bit nervous putting this on display for all to see, but I do hope it will be a positive experience that will have a noticeable impact on my life.

As a somewhat longtime reader of PE, I have no doubt that this challenge will indeed bring about change, whether big or small, and thus I look forward to seeing what will come of it.

I hope you will join me on this journey, whether by blogging about it or through a less public medium, and are able to experience a fruitful outcome to the process.

Let's get started, shall we?