Self reflection part 3

What do you do when you can’t sleep? I’ll tell you what I do: Reflect on life.

So here you go: self reflection part 3. Enjoy!

What do you want your final words to be?

I pray it is the shahadatayn (in order to die Muslim, your last words must be لا اله الا الله محمد رسول الله meaning there is no God but Allah and Mohammad is the messenger of Allah).

What inspires you the most?

A good movie, a good book, an unexpected act of kindness, human nature, but mostly…pain and loneliness

What do you think are the 5 most beautiful things in the world?

A baby’s smile, a snowy mountain, the clouded sky, flowers, any body of water (the sea, waterfall, river, lake, spring, ocean)

What are your personal goals?

They’re personal ☺ I’ll share one since I’ve talked about it on the blog a lot. To develop a healthy lifestyle (eat healthy and exercise regularly) is my physical goal.

What kind of childhood did you have?

The kind that most Lebanese have, with a sprinkle of American twist on top.

What makes you insecure?

When a loved one puts me down. When i see people with awesome lives on instagram (i know it’s not real but sometimes it looks so real). When someone compares me to another person who has a skill i don’t have, or when i compare myself to another mom who seems to have it all together.

What expectations do you have of yourself?

I expect constant productivity. When i sit around and do nothing because I’m tired or having a lazy day, i feel so guilty. I feel like i always need to be doing something, whether it’s reading or writing or doing housework, or… Even when i watch youtube videos, i do it while ironing or doing the dishes so that i feel i’m doing something.

If you had a time machine, would you go back in time or visit the future?

I honestly don’t know. On one hand, there are so many events i want to erase, but on the other hands, those events made me who i am. I fear the butterfly effect, of changing one thing and my life ends up completely different. Also, if i go to the future, there would be no more excitement because i already know what’s going to happen. However, if we could all fast forward to when the vaccine for the corona virus is invented and everyone is cured, that’d be great!

Would you rather have a home on the beach or in the mountains?

Both. The beach to read books and swim; the mountains to write and hike.

What was your favorite game as a child?

I don’t know. I remember i liked to go bowling. I used to play eenie meenie miney mo with my cousin. I used to go to chuck-E-cheese. I also used to go to knotts berry farm, but i didnt like it very much. Ooh, i remember i would ride my bike and go on my roller blades a lot as well. I loved that!

Who do you want to be?

When i was 13, i wanted to be a Pediatrician. Don’t ask me why because i have no idea.

In high school, i was really good at maths and chemistry.

When i gratuated from high school, i had no idea what i wanted to do with my life. My thoughts went from taking a year off to travel the world, to becoming a florist, and settling on being a psychiatrist. My grandfather wanted me to be a doctor, and i finally decided to study Pharmacy because one of my friends was doing it. I hated my major. I wanted to switch to biochemistry in the 3rd year, but my parents wouldn’t let me. After all, they were paying 10,000$ a year, plus expenses, so i could become a pharmacist.

After i gratuated, i had in mind to do masters in clinical pharmacy and get my PhD so i could become a professor. I wasn’t accepted into clinical pharmacy but was accepted in medical microbiology, so i did my masters in that domain. I had a baby during my masters, and although i graduated, i didn’t continue my PhD.

I have had many hobbies over the years, and it wasn’t until this corona virus outbreak that i began to take my writing really seriously and start publishing books. I’m writing a lot of blogs, and I’m finding myself thriving as a writer.

The point is, if you told 13 year old me that one day she would become a writer, she would have laughed. That girl had no idea of all the experiences that were awaiting her. She had no idea of all the trials and tribulations, all the victories and successes.

So why do we try to limit our children by asking them from when they are old enough to speak “what do you want to be when you grow up?”

There are a few problems with this question 🙋
1st of all, who knows? Life is full of surprises.
2nd of all, most adults haven’t figured out their purpose in life, and you’re asking a 3 year old?
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve asked my son this question 3 times so far. The 1st time, he said “i want to work like what baba (dad) works”. The 2nd time, he said “i want to turn into a paw patrol dog” and the 3rd time, he said “i don’t know. I’m just 5!” and that’s what made me want to write this post.

So a good replacement question could be “who do you want to be when you grow up?”. Teach your children to be kind, honest, generous, polite, confident, assertive, and teach them to strive for greatness when they grow up, not to go after a major in the hopes of earning a lot of money.

For now, just let them be kids. Let them play. Let them be carefree.

Are you REALLY listening to your kids?

So i started reading a new book yesterday, “How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk”. It was recommended by a dear friend of mine. So at the beginning of the book, the authors recommended that you read one chapter at a time, then take a week break from reading to practice what you learned.

So this morning i finished chapter 1, and this week, i need to practice listening to my son when he is telling me how he feels. I thought that i didn’t dismiss my son’s feelings, but i was wrong.

At around 1pm today, this conversation happened.

5 yo: I’m tired
Me: okay go to sleep
*At around 1:30pm when he in fact didn’t go to sleep*
Me: Why don’t we play uno?
5 yo: okay
*10 minutes later*
5 yo: i feel so sleepy
Me: No you’re not, you’re just bored
5 yo: No, I’m sleepy
Me: You get tired when you’re bored. You’ll be fine.
5 yo: But I’m really tired!
Me: How can you be tired? You woke up at 10am today. It’s too early for you to be tired.
5 yo: I told you I’m tired. That means I want to sleep.
Me: Well I let you lie down and you didn’t sleep so you’re not really tired. You’re just bored.
5 yo *frustrated*: No. I’m really tired. Stop saying I’m not tired.

*Just then, a 💡lit up in my head.
I remembered the 1st chapter of this book and I realized that i wasn’t really listening to him.
So i switched the tone (all this while playing uno)*

Me: So you said you’re tired?
5 yo: Yes
Me: Why do you think you’re tired?
5 yo: I don’t know.
Me: You know, I’m a bit tired too. I think it’s because i slept late. Do you know why i slept late?
5 yo: No
Me: Because you didn’t sleep until midnight and so i couldn’t sleep until 2am,and when someone sleeps late, no matter how many hours of sleep they get, they remain tired. I guess that means we should try to sleep earlier tonight?
5 yo: okay

I know. I know. I turned it into a lecture anyway. It’s my 1st day practicing really listening and helping my son come up with solutions on his own. I’ll be doing this practice for a week, so better luck tomorrow?

Do you REALLY listen to your kids?
If yes, comment some advice for us who don’t really listen.
If not, will you try this exercise?

5 ways to be more grateful

It’s not easy to be grateful all the time. There are a lot of things we take for granted. But if you practice gratitude, you end up developing a positive mindset and live a happier life. So here are 5 things you can do to be more grateful:

1. Start a gratitude journal: Everyday, some say once a week is best so it’s not redundany, when you wake up, list 3 things you are grateful for. Try to be as specific as possible. For example, I’m grateful for the fact that, although this corona virus is spreading like wildfire, I’m safe at home, stocked up on food and water.

2. Start a positivity journal: Everyday, before you go to bed, or at least when you had a bad day, list 3 positive things that happened during the day. For example, today i walked onto the balcony and looked at the blue sky with the beautiful clouds and listened to the birds chirp. I even saw a helicopter pass by. Also, i was able to see the sunset and it looked beautiful and unique as ever. Moreover, i had a few hours of me time today. On the days i don’t get any me time, i cherish the days i do.

3. Think of somebody whom you enjoy the company of. Remember how you feel after you talk to them or spend time with them. Healthy friendships/relationships that leave you energized and more positive are very valuable, and will help you feel grateful compared to the toxic company that leave you feeling drained and negative. For example, i enjoy the company of my older sister. She has 2 kids and is very optimistic and honest and fun. She is a good listener and good at giving advice. She is humble and kind and giving.

4. Think about a reason to be excited about the future. What do you have planned? If you don’t, plan ahead. Having something to look forward to will increase your positivity and gratitude towards life. For example, I’m looking forward to the month of Ramadan. I got activities planned to do with my son and goals for myself i plan to accomplish.

5. Think of someone you love, someone you can always rely on. Write them a thank you note. For example, i wrote one for my mom and dad a few months ago. Maybe i should write another one soon. Who shall i write my thank you note to this time? I wonder…

Storytime: I don’t know what to do about this

How do you stop your child from doing something that is wrong?

Let’s suppose, hypothetically, that your child was displaying a wrong behavior, and they have been doing so for around 6 months, so basically it’s become a bad habit. You have tried ignoring it and not making a big deal out of it, so as to not attract negative attention, but that didn’t work. You have tried saying sternly but softly “i don’t like it when you do that” and “this is wrong. You need to stop” but that didn’t work. You have tried yelling, threatening, taking toys away, but the behavior keeps occurring, if not becoming worse. You have tried spanking but that just resulted in negative feelings, crying, and then you have hugged and consoled the crying child (who is hypothetically 5) afterwards. The behavior has not stopped.

Your child knows this behavior is wrong, because of your negative reaction, but they like to do it and have told you why they like to do it and keep doing it. Your child doesn’t understand why this is wrong, and is not doing it to spite you, but just because they are impulsive. You tried to explain why it was wrong but they don’t seem to understand.

You have tried threatening to tell on them and embarrass them in front of everyone, and that is the only thing that pushed them to apologize and promise not to do it again. A few hours later, they do it again.

What is the solution? Send help 😣

Self reflection part 2

Nobody:

Absolutely nobody:

Me: ok so here is part 2 of my self reflection series that you all have been asking for!

What have I done to improve my self-confidence this year?
I published 5 books. I read a self help book. I talked to close friends about my low self confidence issues.

Am I using my time wisely?

Sometimes. I think so. When i write a to do list. But i do waste a lot of time on instagram.

Am I taking anything for granted?

Also, sometimes. It’s hard to be content all the time. I try to remind myself of my blessings always but I’m bound to take some things for granted sometimes, like the fact that i can walk, see, hear, and talk.

Am I employing a healthy perspective?

I hope so. I try not to think of things selfishly, and to put myself in the other person’s shoes, but sometimes i can’t help but take things personally. I’m trying not to, though.

Am I living true to myself?

Not yet, but I’m on my way.

Am I waking up in the morning ready to take on the day?

Before coffee or after coffee? If before coffee then no, if after then yes. Also, it totally depends on whether i wake up early or not.

Am I thinking negative thoughts before I fall asleep?

Most of the time, yes. I am an overthinker and the moment my head hits the pillow, my mind runs a mile a minute. I have been practicing, sometimes, to redirect my thoughts so they take a more positive turn. I should probably stop sitting on my phone in bed, though.

Are you living a meaningful life?

I am raising my son and to me that is very meaningful. There is nothing trivial about raising a child to become a kind decent human being.

What’s the one thing you cannot live without?

My phone. What? You said thing not person. I can’t live without my son, honestly.

When is it acceptable, if ever, to disobey the law?

In war. That’s it. Otherwise, nobody is above the law. Nobody is below the low. Comment if you ever watched the movie “Above the law”

Feel free to answer any of these questions in the comments.

April fools’ day and lying

So tomorrow is April 1st, in less than 1 hour in Lebanon and as it goes, my 6th anniversary of marriage. That’s not what this post is about. This post is about lying 🤥

1st of all, why is April 1st known as April Fools’ day?

I googled it. Here’s why

2nd of all, why is it okay to lie on this day? As if people are honest on the other days.

I’m not calling everybody out on lying. I’m talking about the quote my mother taught me “Honesty is the best policy” which i lived by for years, only to discover that in society, honesty is not very much appreciated and is sometimes even considered a courtesy to lie to someone. Wait, let me get off my high horse for a minute.

I lie. Ok? I know it’s wrong, but as a teenager, who didn’t do things behind their parent’s backs? So everybody lies, according to House (House MD is a medical drama series i adore and i think the character Gregory House is very wise, however sardonic and rude). Wouldn’t you lie to protect your father from harm or embarrassment? Wouldn’t you lie to please your spouse? How many times do you lie to your kids when you’re answering a very awkward question or trying to get them to do something? I don’t usually lie in these situations but i know many people who do.

I know a lot of people who go around the topic, and omit pieces of the truth and spin a tale in a way that that they’re not flat out lying. To me, that’s still lying.

I’m not writing this to condemn lying or to say “there is no such thing as a white lie“, as my mother used to tell me, I’m just discussing the topic of lying, acknoledging that everybody lies, and wondering why some people decided to create a lying day. I expect instagram to be filled with April Fool’s lies, as if the people who photoshop every single picture on instagram aren’t already lying, or those who facetune their face all the time so you no longer know what they really look like are being honest about their appearance.

Finally, how often do we lie to ourselves? When we feed ourselves lies that it’s okay to do wrong things, like… I don’t know, i don’t have anything in mind… When we justify our actions to suit our desires, isn’t that lying? Ok I’m done lecturing.

Do you play pranks on April fools’ day?

How often do you lie?

Self reflection

What is self reflection?

It is the process of thinking 💭 about something that happened in the past to make sense of it, identify your mistakes or shortcomings, and plan how you can do better. You can reflect on yourself and your life in general by asking yourself deep questions, specifying a time and place to answer thoughtfully, and write your answer down. It doesn’t count if you don’t write it or type it.

I have been up all night and I don’t know why. Usually, for me, that means my mind is filled with unprocessed thoughts. So I will draw them out into the open. I have gathered 10 questions from all over Google (what? I said i was up all night. What did you think I was doing?) and put them here for you. I will answer them and you can, too, if you want.

Who am I, really?

I struggle with my identity from time to time, but basically the way I see myself is I’m just a little girl with a big dream.

What worries me most about the future?

Honestly, in this day and age, I worry about what my son will be like when he is a teenager. Will he be kind? Will he be pious?

If this were the last day of my life, would I have the same plans for today?

No, I would probably spend my time praying and seeking forgiveness and giving my money away and trying to leave something behind that will ensure me good deeds.

What am I really scared of?

Growing old and getting alzheimers or becoming senile and incapacitated in anyway, or worse… Paralyzed!

Am I holding on to something I need to let go of?

Yes, 💯. Control. I can’t seem to let go of trying to control and micromanage my life.

If not now, then when?

Good question. Procrastinator’s answer is tomorrow but I’m trying not to be a procrastinator.

What matters most in my life?

God and my family. And my phone (it’s the little gadget that connects me to the rest of the world).

What is one thing I wish I did this year but didn’t because I was afraid?

Apply properly for writing freelancing jobs.

What is one thing I did this year that I wish I did not do?

I can think of an incident but i won’t mention it here on the blog.

How have I controlled the direction my life took this year?

I took charge, typed for months on end, and I set the 1st stepping stone in the path of becoming a writer by publishing my books on Amazon. I feel like this will change everything.

If you enjoyed these questions and would like more posts like this, comment and let me know so I can make a part 2 with more questions and answers on self reflection.

How often do you do self reflection?

6 things I learned from 6 years of marriage

I’ve been thinking about this topic for 2 days, but i was busy typing and publishing my poetry book. On April 1st 2014, I announced on facebook that I got married. Everyone thought it was an April Fools Prank, but here I am in 2020 and in 2 days is my 6 year anniversary.
I don’t celebrate anniversaries, but I’ve been reflecting over the 6 years of my martiage and the ups and downs and what I’ve learned.

1. Sacrifice plus resentment does not equal sacrifice. In any relationship, sacrifices must be made. They are called compromises, as long as both parties are compromising to a reasonable extent. But when only one party is doing all the sacrificing to make the other party comfortable and the other party is selfishly enjoying the sacrifices made for them without reciprocating, this ends in the sacrificing party harboring a lot of resentment and taking it out on the other party in subtle ways. So be careful when you are sacrificing something, make it clear that you are doing this for them and that you have a limit (things you won’t sacrifice) and make it clear that you expect certain sacrifices in return.

2. Tolerance is not avoiding confrontation while being bitter about it, bottling it up, only to explode in one of those big fights where you list all the other person’s flaws and previous mistakes which you supposedly overlooked. Tolerance is acknoledging that your spouse has flaws, quirks and bad habits, and accepting that they may not be able to change them all. Note that both spouses should always be working on self improvement for themselves and to become better for their spouse. If you can change something about yourself that you know really bothers your spouse, work on it. If you can’t, explain to your spouse that this is something you are unable to change but you would appreciate if they learned to tolerate it.

3. Forgiveness is really important in any relationship, especially in a marriage. This is your lifelong partner. This is not your enemy. Different people have different temperaments and personalities and love languages and backgrounds. You are bringing two completely different people and merging them together. There are bound to be some clashes, some fights, some arguments, a mean word uttered in anger,… There are different ways to apologize. Some people, usually men, find it really difficult to say sorry. Some people don’t even know how to say sorry. So when your spouse does you a favor after they upset you, accept it as a form of apology.

4. Compassion is a foundation in, i say it again, any relationship, especially marriage. Life is hard, and problems are thrown at us left and right. Your spouse may be having problems at work, but doesn’t like to talk about it. You may be exhausted and having health problems but you don’t want to nag about it all the time. There may be times when you go through financial difficulties (this affects men more than women). So have compassion for yourself 1st when you are going through tough times. Don’t be so hard on yourself, holding yourself to a standard of perfection, like if I’m not 💯 productive, I’m lazy. No! You can’t be 💯 all the time. Also, have compassion for your spouse. They are trying their best. At home is the only place where they can be themselves. Don’t expect them to be cheery all the time, but also watch out for signs of anxiety or depression and deal with them accordingly. Practice self care for yourself and encourage your spouse to practice self care. Yes men need self care as well.

5. Dont ask for advice about your marriage from family or friends. Yes sometimes a friend or family member can give good advice, but in general, your family and friends are biased to you and your spouses family and friends are biased to them. There will be misunderstandings. There will be miscommunication. You need to work it out together. If you feel lost, read a book about what you’re having trouble with, or listen to a podcast. In general, relationship advice is usually specific to the couple because what works for you may not work for me and vice versa. Usually, when I feel like I need advice with a certain issue, I search about it, and I read, and mostly I pray.
The prayer i usually say, translated into english is: “God fix our interiors and mend whatever is between our hearts”

6. Love is really important, if not the most important bond that will help you thrive in your marriage. Most people in the West marry for love, while most people in the East marry traditionally based of financial status, social status and religious compatibility. But whether the love between a couple is there before the marriage or blossoms after the marriage, it is consistent effort, trust, respect and loyalty that maintain love. Marriage is not a bussiness transaction. Yes there is a contract with death as the expiration date, but a loveless marriage is just a marriage on paper, not a real marriage. It is love that helps each spouse to practice patience, bestow forgiveness, enable tolerance, feel compassion, and offer sacrifices for the other spouse.

This is basically what I learned from 6 years of marriage. I don’t claim to be a relationship expert, nor do i claim to have a problem-free marriage. I’m just a wife and a stay at home mom who does a lot of inner reflection and works a lot on self improvement. If you benefitted from my post, please let me know in the comments. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Links to my books (edited)

I published my 5th book last night! I’m so excited about this one. It’s my 2nd poetry book. Heart on my sleeve and other poems has all the feels. The paperback is also available. I want to thank everyone who encouraged me along the way, and everyone who was genuinely happy for me. I will never forget that I couldn’t have done this without the will and blessing of God, who gave me the ability to express myself so in words. I have social anxiety so if you see me in public, especially around people I can’t be myself with, you’d think I was another person. I am eternally grateful that God gave me this passage way to vent my feelings and to benefit others in the process. I am a Muslim but I am a human. We may go through different experiences but we all go through the same range of emotions. It takes courage to open up, to express how you feel, to admit that you do feel. A few months ago, publishing a book was a distant dream, and with courage and determination and encouragement enabled by God’s will, I laid the 1st stepping stone to achieving my ultimate goal as a writer and to that I am eternally grateful.

Also, just a quick reminder/announcement that i currently have 4 other books published. I will leave the links on the names of the books (click the name of the book to go to the site) and a brief description.

My latest book, Life after freedom ends is a depiction of the reality of marriage and motherhood. This book is only available in kindle form. If you want it in paperback, please comment or dm me so i can create a paperback version.

The one before that is a concise autobiography up to 2016, which is when my son was 1 years old. Growing up between USA and Lebanon is a talk about my struggles fitting into the Lebanese society. It was much juicier but i took out a lot of details to pretect the privacy of my family. This book is also available as paperback.

The 1st book i ever wrote, How did i get here? Is a self help book, full of advice based on my experiences. It is also available in paperback.

The 1st book i published, which is a collection of poems i wrote during the year i had PPD after becoming a mother, is Motherhood in poems. It is also available in paperback.

I hope you enjoy my books and i hope they help you or teach you something. Please, if you read any of my books and liked it, leave a review on Amazon. The link would be the same link of the book. If you bought the book in paperback, please take a picture of it and share it in your stories and tag me (if you have me on instagram).

I’m sorry to say that my ebooks are not available in any of the Arabian countries, but the paperbacks are available worldwide.