Poetry Friday: Pockets of sunshine

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m feeling extremely happy this morning. I don’t know how to explain it (the poem below explains my feelings), but I felt this way yesterday too.

No time to read? No problem! Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: Pockets of sunshine https://anchor.fm/sajida-haddad/episodes/Pockets-of-sunshine-erkqdv

I played Ludo and Uno with my son several times yesterday and just admired how he talks and plays and I let go of the neurotic side of me for a bit and I was so happy. Then the moment I tried to read blogs, my son switched to annoying mode and the happiness was gone. Then someone else ruined my mood further and I sulked the evening away.

I even woke up at dawn crabby and went back to bed, not wanting to be productive. Then I woke up at 8am, in a bad mood, but 5 minutes later, my son woke up and he was in a really good mood because he saw what was for breakfast and was so happy for the surprise, so he said.

This instantly put me in a good mood and I’ve been in a good mood ever since. My birds are tweeting. I had my coffee and enjoyed it. I feel like I’ve never been happier.

That’s how it is with me. When I’m happy, I’m on top of the world, and when I’m sad, I’m in the trenches. I know something or someone may come along at any moment and spoil my mood, but I’m riding this high for 2 hours and counting. I was even in such a good mood that I drew my son an astronaut and a rocket (if you’ve read my previous blogs, you know how much I don’t enjoy drawing).

I am only sharing my happiness here on the blog because you are my safe space. The situation in Lebanon is worsening but right now, I’m safe at home, with my adorable son, and I will enjoy this feeling for as long as I can. It’ll probably end when I have to convince my son to finish his breakfast (he eats in intervals) and to do his homework (he hates homework).

Pockets of sunshine

I got pockets of sunshine
Up my sleeve
I use them when I try
To be happy

When I’m living in the moment
And my heart feels so full
I just slow down and own it
Because it feels so good

Don’t feel the need to share
I’m living without a care
For a minute or two
Because pretty soon

I’ll be wrapped up in anxiety
And weighed down by depression
My thoughts will get the best of me
And they’ll come out in aggression

So when I have a moment of joy
With myself, my husband or boy
I will keep it to myself
Won’t tell anybody else

Nobody needs to know
When I heal, I grow
I can count on my fingers the times I didn’t feel inferior
These pockets of sunshine are ethereal*

I gaurd them with my heart, try to lock them with a key
But like a butterfly, they tend to come and go
So I cherish every moment as they come to me
Embracing all the highs and treading** through the lows

  • *ethereal means extremely delicate and light in a way that seems not to be of this world.
    ** treading means walking on or along.

I hope you enjoyed this poem. Another poem will be posted tonight (I wrote it a few days ago and scheduled it for tonight) so stay tuned.

Click here to read more of my poems.

Throwback Thursday: My big announcement

Hello and welcome to my blog! A year ago, I published my 1st book.

No time to read? No problem! Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: My big announcement https://anchor.fm/sajida-haddad/episodes/My-big-announcement-erkqdu

Little did I know, a pandemic would break out a few days later, or that I’d publish 6 more books in a few months, or that my books wouldn’t sell much. It was a milestone, and I’m proud of it. It’s nice to look back and see how far you’ve come every once in a while. A year later and we’re still in a pandemic, and the economic and political situation is terrible in Lebanon. I didn’t see that one coming. Well, the revolution had occured 5 months prior but still.

This is what I wrote a year ago: I have a big announcement 📢

I still can’t believe it.
I can’t wrap my head around it.
When I was 14, I wrote a poem about time. I remember 1 verse in it “time flies by when you’re having fun, and it sticks around when you’re having none” and I wanted to submit it in my school competition.
My then english teacher threw it in my face, said “this is not even a real poem” and I didn’t write a single poem again for 5 years.
For the past 9 years, coming on to 10, I’ve been writing poetry. I didn’t study poetry. I just read a lot, and I write a lot.
When inspiration strikes, I must leave everything and write, otherwise I forget the words.
When my feelings are jumbled inside or my inner voice is confused by the influence of other voices around me, writing poems helps me understand my feelings and sort my thoughts.
I wasn’t always courageous enough to share my poems. I started by sharing them to those close to me, and with enough positive feedback from these people, some who I have fallen out of touch with but will never forget their support, I began to share my poems with the world.
When I 1st started sharing my poems on my blog, I was scared. After all, this was a blog, which is very different from my poetry, but the positive feedback I recieved on the blog was so flattering. People would say things like “it’s like you were talking about me” and “everything you said resonates with me” and much more encouraging feedback.
We are a community, and your support has given me the courage to pursue the one dream i haven’t given up on yet, to publish a book.
I always thought that when I published a book, it would be a self help book or an autobiography, but your faith in me and my poems made it possible, with God’s will, to finally become an author on Amazon!
This is huge! (sorry I know that phrase reminds you of a certain someone but no political pun intended).
So thank you to all those who read my blogs.
Thank you to all those who read my poems.
Thank you to all those who have given me gushing feedback.
Thank you to everyone who believed in me.
And to that english teacher who shall not be named, look at me now! The poems I have published are only 10% of my total poems, not including the 100 poems I wrote (including that one about time) when i was 14 before I owned a phone or laptop, gave the book to my sister, and then it was lost when her house flooded.
I will keep on reading, keep on writing, keep on improving.
If you want to read my book on kindle, go to Amazon.
The paperback version will be available for sale on Amazon in 3 days, if God wills, for those who can’t read ebooks and would prefer the physical book.
My book is available worldwide and will even be extended to libraries and bookstores.
If you have an idea to start a book, my advice to you is just do it.
Note: For my Lebanese followers, kindle unlimited is not available in Lebanon, but starting June 1st, you can buy my ebook on Amazon.

Wednesday Wisdom: A lesson in tolerance

Tolerance is letting the flower grow instead of plucking it as if it were a weed

Hello and welcome to my blog! No time to read? No problem! Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: A lesson in tolerance https://anchor.fm/sajida-haddad/episodes/A-lesson-in-tolerance-erduaj

It’s funny how I’m giving a lesson in tolerance when I need one. I’m going to be honest here. I’m not a very tolerant person with my loved ones. I’m very high maintenance and I don’t know why. I think they are the same way with me.

I don’t accept mistakes repeating. However, I repeat many mistakes. But I’m working on it. I’m working on a lot of things to be honest. It’s almost as if I’m trying to build a new person.

So this post is actually for me, and for you if you have problems tolerating other people. I think being at home with just my son has really dragged my people skills. I’m too irate and blunt and intolerant of certain behaviors. I think it’s a defense mechanism because my loved ones are like that with me. They impose their opinions on me as if they’re facts. My boundaries are pushed all the time. I push boundaries too sometimes, I guess, with them.

So here it is…

A lesson in tolerance

Tolerance can be defined as a fair and objective attitude towards others whose beliefs and lifestyles are different than that which you are experiencing.

Tolerance can be felt at many different levels, including the personal, community, state, and national levels. This post is about tolerance on a personal level.

Tolerance is an important concept that helps people to live together peacefully. To be tolerant means that you accept other people’s opinions and preferences, even when they live in a way that you don’t agree with.

Talking together about tolerance and respect with our kids helps them learn more about the values you want them to have. Giving them opportunities to play and work with others is important as well. This lets kids learn firsthand that everyone has something to contribute and to experience differences and similarities.

Here are a few tips that can help you be more tolerant:

1. Listen carefully without jumping to conclusions.

2. Try to understand the other persons point of view.

3. Agree to disagree.

4. Meditate

5. Be patient. Don’t react impulsively.

6. Reverse roles. Put yourself in the other persons shoes.

7. Focus on what you can control.

Lack of tolerance leads to fighting, violence, and finally it destroys the peace and security. The word tolerance means the willingness to accept or to tolerate, especially opinions or behaviour you may not agree with, or to behave sensibly with those who are not like you.

Intolerant people are afraid of anything that’s different.

It makes it hard for them to accept that other people might have different philosophies and perspectives. So they distance themselves from anything that doesn’t line up with their way of thinking. They won’t accept it. It may even make them feel anxious.

A story I found about tolerance

I hope you enjoyed this post. I hope you also understood that what I meant by a lack of tolerance had nothing to do with tolerance of other religions and races and such. I meant tolerance of other people’s temperaments, people who I deal with regularly, namely my husband and son.

I feel awful that I can’t just let things go. I get upset over tiny behaviors and simple words spoken as a joke. I hope one day I become more tolerant. Hopefully my son will teach me. I’m learning a lot from him, like patience.

Transformation Tuesday: I started a Social Media Detox Challenge

Hello and welcome to my blog! I just started a social media detox challenge today and it’s harder than I thought. No time to read? No problem! Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: I started a Social Media Detox Challenge https://anchor.fm/sajida-haddad/episodes/I-started-a-Social-Media-Detox-Challenge-erboda

I started a social media detox challenge today!

Basically I started with instagram because I’m mainly on instagram and whatsapp but whatsapp is how I communicate with my family and friends so I don’t consider it social media. I rarely go on Facebook and I only use Twitter to share my blogs.

The thing is, I need instagram to promote my blogs and books but usually I’m just scrolling on instagram aimlessly and I end up wasting a lot of time. Hence the need for a detox.

The challenge today is to keep my instagram use below the 1 hour mark
I used yourhour app to help me limit my instagram time

My 1st phone was a Nokia. I didn’t even have social media back then. I think I 1st began on Facebook when I was 17 and I’d upload tons of albums. A few years later, I took them all down because I realized people could (and were) save my images onto their phones and computers and share them with whoever.

I started instagram in 2012, I think. I’m not sure. My relationship with instagram is topsy turvy. I’d install then delete and sometimes temporarily activate my account.

Then I started my blog in 2017 and it diverted me away from social media a bit because I found my own crowd. I found a way to express my voice, but my need for validation from likes on instagram is something I still struggle with on and off.

I post on instagram to share, but when I get few likes, I feel hurt, and then I delete the post. I wish I wasn’t like this. This is why I’m doing the social media detox challenge. The less time I spend on social media, the less it affects me negatively.

Social media is known to trigger anxiety and depression and I don’t need more of that! Hopefully this challenge will help me to focus on what I have and to be more grateful for it.

I have a couple of good friends on instagram and mainly I follow pages that promote positivity and gratitude. It’s also linked to my blog. That’s why I can’t get rid of instagram altogether, but it’ll be good for my mental health to control how much time I spend on it.

After all, my word for this year is self control.

I spent 7 hours on instagram last week (that’s an average of an hour a day)

Update at 9pm:

I did it!

35 minutes of instagram by 9pm

Would you like me to make a post when I finish the 21 day social media detox challenge?

How often do you do a social media detox?

Transformation Tuesday: I did a 21 day self confidence challenge

Hello and welcome to my blog! I just finished a 21 day self confidence challenge and I wanted to share what I did with you. No time to read? No problem! Listen to the most recent episode of my podcast: I did a 21 day self confidence challenge https://anchor.fm/sajida-haddad/episodes/I-did-a-21-day-self-confidence-challenge-erbod9

I’ve struggled with self confidence for as long as I can remember. I was always the shy girl, easily influenced. One praise would build me up and one critique would tear me down. My need for attention and validation stemmed from my lack of a positive self image.

A few years ago, I started working on my self improvement. I identified my values, my strengths and weaknesses, and I began building myself up. I looked at my hobbies, figured out what I was good at and began sharpening my skills. I’m still learning to practice self love, self care, and to feel worthy just because I exist. If I tie my worth to my achievements like I used to then I will be chasing one prize after another. I still do this in the form of challenges and goals I set for myself, but at least I’m evaluating myself and not waiting for someone else to evaluate me and approve of me.

So besides reading self help books and positive affirmations, I began doing challenges on the “21 days challenge app”. Today I finished the self confidence challenge and the positive affirmations challenge. I will share the affirmations another time.

21 days self confidence challenge

Day 1

Unfollow all social media accounts that makes you feel insecure about yourself. I actually do this every once in a while.

Day 2

Work on accepting compliments rather than denying them today (and always). I used to struggle with this a lot but I’m getting much better.

Day 3

Be conscious about your posture. Keep standing tall all day. My grandpa tells me this all the time. I unconsciously hunch my back.

Day 4

Do something you loved to do as a child. For me this is coloring.

Day 5

Do something challenging today, remember that we don’t ‘grow’ when we’re comfortable. I don’t remember what I did that day that was challenging but I remember reading this and knowing exactly what to do.

Day 6

Write down 10 things you love about yourself. I actually shared this as a blog post here.

Day 7

Say yes to something you normally wouldn’t. I don’t remember what it was though. It was probably something I normally told my son no for (I say no a lot).

Day 8

Implement a new healthy habit (you can start another one from the app). I started a gratitude challenge from the app.

Day 9

Speak up when you’ve got something to say. Assertiveness goes hand in hand with self confidence.

Day 10

Focus on what you want rather than what you don’t want. Law of attraction. What you focus on grows.

Day 11

Work on improving your skills on something you love to do or that you would like to start doing. I’ve been practicing using canva for about a month now. I’ve been using it for 6 months actually but I’ve been giving it more time and energy recently.

Day 12

Write a list of all if your accomplishments and keep adding to it in the future. Done.

Day 13

Do a quick workout, take a shower, get ready and put on an outfit that makes you feel great. Exercise and dressing up increase self confidence.

Day 14

Go out (to the cinema/shopping/watch the sunset) by yourself. Here’s a funny story. I went downstairs to take a time lapse of the sunset and I missed it. At least I got the points for trying.

Day 15

Reach out to an old friend. I texted this person who used to be very close to me at university but since we graduated, she only texts me if I text her 1st. Otherwise, she’d go years without talking to me.

Day 16

Come up with positive thoughts for every negative one. I’m not sure I completely succeeded in this one, but I definitely made an effort to think more positively that day.

Day 17

Give someone a good piece of advice.

Day 18

Do a workout you enjoy.

Day 19

Work on small things. Small little achievements make you feel good. That’s what I’ve been doing since November 2020.

Day 20

Pause and reflect on something before you act, instead of reacting impulsively. I tried with my son and will keep on doing it more often.

Day 21

Be authentic and embrace your uniqueness. Life is not a competition 🙂

To do this challenge, go to: https://21dayschallengeapp.com/app/challenge

You don’t even have to do the challenge if you don’t want to. You can take this as things to do to increase your self confidence and pick one when you are having a bad day and need to feel better about yourself.

Motivational Monday: Quotes and Life Lessons from Jay Shetty

Hello 👋 reader and welcome to my blog! Today I’m going to share quotes from my 2nd favorite motivational speaker, Jay Shetty. I follow him on YouTube and instagram and listen to his talks. They’re like a guided meditation. So insightful. Enjoy.

Here is one of my favorite videos of his on YouTube:

Do you find it motivating to read quotes or listen to motivational talks?

For me, the most effective motivational talks are videos, then podcasts, then written quotes.

Self-reflection Sunday: Journal Therapy part 1

Hello 👋 reader and welcome to my blog! It’s been a long day today and I have had a migraine all day, but I couldn’t leave you without a self-reflection post, so here it is:

Journal Therapy Writing Prompts for Healing

Every sunday, I will answer 1 or more of these prompts, depending on how much energy I have and how deep the prompt is. Today’s prompt (only 1 because of the migraine) is:

Name 5 memories when you were extremely happy

  1. My 1st time sledging when I was 10
  2. My 1st time camping with my sister and some friends (it was actually glamping in a building)
  3. The day I found out I was pregnant with my son
  4. My highschool graduation (I didn’t go to college graduation)
  5. My son’s 1st birthday, and every birthday of his after that
From Pinterest

I hope you enjoyed this prompt. Share your happiest memories in the comments below.

Different types of self care

Hello 👋 reader and welcome to my blog! Today I’m going to talk about the different types of self-care. It’s not all face masks and bubble baths. Sometimes it’s a nap or a walk or a piece of cake.

Self-care is important to maintain a healthy relationship with yourself as it produces positive feelings and boosts your confidence and self-esteem.

Self-neglect is a behavioral condition in which an individual neglects to attend to their basic needs, such as personal hygiene, appropriate clothing, feeding, or tending appropriately to any medical conditions they have.

Self-neglect can lead to all sorts of health problems, from anxiety and depression to insomnia and heart diseases.

Sometimes it’s hard to self-care simply because caring for yourself necessitates deconstructing bad habits and self destructive behavior.

Below are several examples of how you can nurture yourself and make self-care a part of your everyday life in the four areas of self-care: physical, emotional, spiritual and mental.

Physical self-care

  • Drink some water first thing in the morning. Water is important for your health in so many ways.
  • Make a menu for the week. Meal planning saves you a lot of time and energy, and helps you eat healthier.
  • Practice yoga. Stretching your body and focusing on your breathing is both relaxing and strengthens your body.
  • Have a mini dance party. Dancing relieves stress and burns calories.
  • Take a quick nap or go to bed early. Sleep is very important for normal function of your body.
  • Take a hot bath or shower. Hygiene is important for your health and helps boost your mood.
  • Give yourself a spa night with one of those face masks. Besides nourishing your skin, it’s also relaxing.
  • Go for a walk somewhere and connect with nature. Walking exercises the whole body, and the connection with nature is an added emotional benefit.
  • Try an at-home workout. Exercise increases your energy and improves the heart function and decreases your risk of getting several diseases.
  • Eat well. Eating healthy foods keeps your body healthy and energized.

Emotional self-care

  • Write down five things every day that didn’t totally suck
  • Take a new route to work.
  • Binge watch Netflix or silly YouTube videos (without also checking emails and social media on your phone, or working on your laptop)
  • Sit in a coffee shop and do some people watching.
  • Go to your local flower market and grab a bright bunch of flowers to make you smile.
  • Give yourself a pedicure or a manicure.
  • Sit on the front porch or balcony.
  • Create your emergency self-care box.
  • Keep in touch. Staying in touch with family and friends gives you a sense of belonging and elevates your mood.

Spiritual self-care

  • Pray.
  • Give charity.
  • Volunteer.
  • Do an act of kindness everyday.
  • Practice gratitude.
  • Practice forgiveness.

Mental self-care

  • Set aside some time to read a new (or old favourite) book.
  • Take 5 minutes to decompress every day.
  • Enroll in a self-development class.
  • Try meditation.
  • Listen to your favorite podcast.
  • Respond to a therapeutic worksheet.
  • Talk about your feelings. Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled.
  • Do something you’re good at. Sharpening your skills not only boosts your self-confidence but also exercises your brain.
  • Take a break. When you feel tired or overwhelmed, stop, do something else like if you’re physically tired, do a mental exercise, or if you’re mentally tired, do a physical activity.
  • Ask for help. If all fails or you’re not finding the time or energy for self-care, ask someone for help.

I hope these tips helped.

What type of self care do you need now?

Poetry Friday: Symbolism

Hello 👋 reader and welcome to my blog! Today I’m writing a post that was a prompt on the app Mirakee 2 days ago. I sang it to my son when I wrote it and he said “you wrote this all by yourself?! You’re really good at writing poems” so needless to say I’m flattered. It’s not easy to get a compliment out of that kid.*

So here is my poem about symbolism

This was the promt in case you want to write a poem about symbolism

*My son also complimented me today when I made him crepes with strawberry on the side. He said “I love how you designed the strawberries. Did you find the design on pinterest?” I said “no, I just made it up” and honestly that’s all the validation I need. However, now I wish I had taken a picture (I forgot) so I could pin it on pinterest (I’ve never been a pinterest mom but that was a really nice compliment).