Reblog: The painful delusion of selfishness

What if the ‘self’ you obsessively defend were a myth? What if you could drop your worries about finance and relationships? What if you could just ‘be’, peacefully?

The painful delusion of selfishness

This makes so much sense! Please read this post from one of my favorite bloggers.

If I were a tree, I’d be a weeping willow

The willow tree gives us hope, a sense of belonging, and safety. Furthermore, the ability to let go of the pain and suffering to grow new, strong and bold. The image of the willow tree is our path to stability, hope, and healing

https://willowplaceforwomen.com/symbolism-of-the-willow-tree
This was my gradma’s favorite tree

Reblog: Are You in Control of Your Life?

Written by Dr. Eric Perry Image Credit: Pixabay “It is our attitude toward events, not events themselves, which we can control.” ~Epictetus Every morning before I head to the office, I go online and check the traffic report. I mentally rehearse my drive, avoiding all congested roadways, and check my backup route just in case. […]

Are You in Control of Your Life?

Love this blog post by Dr. Perry. I often fluctuate between trying too hard to take control of my life, thus stressing myself out over things that I can’t control and playing the victim helplessly blaming everyone around me for my misery. In between I have moments, sometimes hours or days, a week tops, where I’m holding my life by the reins and finding the perfect balance between taking control and letting go.

Unfiltered thoughts

I have racked my brain today thinking what I should blog about, and I got nothing.

My blogs have become orchestrated symphonies, organized series, not all over the place.

You got me. I’m a phony. A liar. Pretending I’m all put together when I’m not. Or was I pretending? I’m not sure of the illusion I’m setting, I don’t know what to tell you. Would you like to know the lies I tell myself to be able to sleep? I know I don’t give back enough, but then again, I do some acts of kindness, right?

I think I have become so fixated on self improvement that I am stuck in the learning process. So many blogs I read today and podcasts I listened to. So many movies and TV shows that moved me and inspired me.

I exercised today. I brushed my teeth. I didn’t cry. I ticked off everything on my to do list. I was a tender loving mom, for the most part. I lost my cool for a couple hours today. Had a meltdown, me and my 5 year old both. Then I calmed down and was tender mom for the rest of the day.

I am 1st and foremost a mom. I get wrapped up in my reading and writing and to do lists and goals that sometimes I forget about the most important thing. To just live in the moment and enjoy it. I lived in the moment several times today. As a result, I didn’t read from “The 7 habits of highly effective people” today. Instead, I played monopoly with my son. It was nerve wrecking but fun. Every game with my son is like that. He is a silly kid. I’m dead serious, even when I play games. I don’t cheat in games or even laugh and I barely smile. Okay I do smile. I think.

For someone who is so self aware, I’m biased. I need a spectator to tell me how I am, but I also want to decide on my own. I don’t want someone to say something and lift me up or bring me down.

I’m so grateful for the life I live, that I have the time to worry about such nonsense.

I’m grateful for this blog. Sadly, I’m afraid sometimes I use it to inflate my ego and feed my self esteem, although compared to other bloggers, I’m not even a blip on the radar. But compared to me last year, I finally feel heard and understood, like my thoughts aren’t all crazy.

Everybody around me. All they care about is shopping. My passion is psychology. I think the human brain is fascinating. Yesterday I was reading about whole brain theory and how we each use a dominant half but if we learn to tap into the other half more often, we would be more creative and balanced.

Boy would I love to be stable and balanced. Tell you a secret? Part of me wants to be liked by everyone. The other part of me knows this is people pleasing and wrong and that I should just be myself, but what if myself is everchanging.

I feel like I have changed a lot in some ways over the years, but nevertheless I’m exactly the same. How is that even possible?!

Tell you what? I’m happy. Right now. This moment (no guarantee what rabbit hole I’ll go down in later) I have my husband, my son, my family, my health. I have so much. I am so much. At that note, I’ll go to sleep before I start overthinking again.

What is negativity bias and how to overcome it

I got my 1st negative comment on wordpress today! I’m surprisingly excited.

At 1st I got insecure, checked my post to see if there is any grain of truth in their claims of some quotes I wrote about toxic people. Guess what? My post had no quotes and no reference to toxic people. The comment was literally written for the purpose of spreading negative vibes. So I spammed it. Hopefully, this person won’t be able to comment on my blog again.

What made me relax about this is that yesterday I was watching a video on Dr. Mike’s channel and he said he got death threats! He also said a lot of people questioned whether he was a real doctor or not. If someone so successful and so kind can get death threats, than the negative comment I received is actually an indication that my blog is starting to go somewhere.

A few years ago, nobody read my blog. Last night, I hit the 3,000 views mark in the year of 2020 so far. That is so amazing! I don’t get paid to write. I write to inspire and motivate. Seeing so many people read and enjoy my blog (I get so much positive feedback from my friends and in comments) is payment enough.

I just want to make a difference in the world. I understand that my blog isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I write a variety of things here. Some people may enjoy my parenting stories, some my advice, some my self reflection, some my poetry.

I know my blogs are all over the place sometimes, because my head is all over the place, and I try not to stray too far from the spectrum of topics I blog about.

All this being said, I’m sure I’m going to obsess about this person’s comment and how they called me judgemental (I know I am judgemental but I’m trying to become a better person) because negativity bias!

So to fight this negativity bias, I will go through all positive comments to remind myself that my blog does make a difference and some people do enjoy it.

I am very grateful to all of you who read my blog, like, and give me positive feedback. Your comments fuel me to write more. Sometimes I feel like “why should I bother and write? There are so many professionals out there who actually know what they’re doing” but then I remember that I’m writing because writing is my therapy, the way I process my thoughts (besides venting to friends and family) and the way I connect with the world. I don’t go out much and being on this blog has made me connect with so many of you and has made me feel less lonely than I feel in a crowded room with people who only talk about who married who and who divorced who and what color socks that lady wore the other day. I’m not judging those people. To each their own. But this blog has given me the opportunity to tap into deep topics without it being a case of “small talk gone wierd”. However, I do acknoledge the importance of small talk and keeping things light. I think I just need more practice with small talk, but that is for another blog post.

I know the world is falling apart right now, and 2020 has been the worst year ever in so many ways, but think back on the year and remember all the good things that came out of it. For me, the good things are publishing 7 books, people finally reading my blog, reconnecting with my husband and son, getting closer to my family emotionally despite social distancing.

There are a lot of negatives, but I choose to believe that better times are coming. Maybe not until 2021 but they’re coming. Soon.

Know your strengths and weaknesses

I think we can all agree that nobody is perfect, right?

And that while some people are naturally more patient, others are naturally more social, and so on.

We each have a set of characteristics that make certain things easier for us, but other characteristics that hold us back. The things that help us are strengths and the ones that hold us back are weaknesses.

If you’ve ever played a video game or watched the movie Jumanji (the one with The Rock), you’d see that each player has a set of strengths like speed, strength, etc and a few weaknesses.

In real life, the characteristics defined as strengths and weaknesses are a bit different than those of video games, but important nonetheless.

The important thing is that you need to be aware of your strengths so you can use them to your advantage, and of your weaknesses so that you can work on them.

I’ll give you an example of myself. One of my strengths is that I’m good at expressing myself in writing (not in conversation) and I use this strength by writing poems, blogs and books to better benefit people and give them advice and spread positivity. Of course, this is a strength I work on regularly. I read a lot to expand my knoledge and my vocabulary and I even took a writing course once and I read tips about how to be a better writer. Just because something is a strength of yours, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to hone it. Hone means when you sharpen a knife or tool to make it sharper. I just looked up the meaning because I have no idea how I knew that word or how I knew what it would mean in context, but reading obviously taught me that word.

A weakness of mine, among many others, is that I have very low tolerance for other’s mistakes. I’m really hard on myself. I don’t hold myself to perfection, not anymore anyway, but I’m always assessing myself and others and it makes me furious when someone knows something is wrong and they do it anyway, even if that someone is my 5 year old son. I have to constantly remind myself that he is just 5 and has the right to make mistakes and that I must model tolerance to teach him to be tolerant (I learned this from the book Character is the Key that I’m currently reading).

Side note: I took a course in Goal Setting once (a few years ago) and they said part of setting goals strategy is knowing your strengths and weaknesses. There is actually something called SWOT analysis which means you analyze your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to achieving your goals.

Below is a list of strengths and weaknesses for you to go through to figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are.

Strengths

  • Enthusiasm.
  • Trustworthiness.
  • Creativity.
  • Discipline.
  • Patience.
  • Respectfulness.
  • Determination.
  • Dedication.
  • Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence.Courage.
  • Wisdom.
  • Justice.
  • Temperance.
  • Transcendence.
  • Communication Skills.Flexibility.
  • Quick learner.
  • Tolerance.
  • Decision making skills.
  • Emotional Intelligence. Team Player Attitude.
  • Growth Mindset.
  • Openness to Feedback.
  • Adaptability.
  • Active Listening.
  • Work Ethic.
  • Empathy. Fairness.
  • Focus.
  • Futuristic.

Weaknesses

  • Reckless
  • Naive
  • Unserious (can’t take anything seriously)
  • Arrogant
  • Timid (shy)
  • Rigid
  • Overthinking
  • Stubborn
  • Passive
  • Unproductive
  • Exhausting (those people that suck the energy out of you)
  • Poor team player
  • Unrealistic (head in the clouds)
  • Self-absorbed
  • Illogical
  • Vain
  • Greedy
  • Lacking empathy
  • Blunt
  • Impulsive
  • Bossy
  • Addictive
  • Aimless
  • Unassertive (passive aggressive)
  • Unambitious
  • Untolterant
  • Deceitful
  • Unstructured
  • Cynical

Asking a trusted friend or taking a personality test will help you better determine your strengths and weaknesses. The most reliable personality test is the 16 personalities test and it’s totally free online.

You can print this and fill out your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Stick it where you can see it the most, whether that’s your office or fridge.

If there are any terms you didn’t understand, feel free to comment and I’ll explain.

Are you empathetic?

What is empathy?

It is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

How do you know if you are empathetic?

Do you feel that you are sometimes empathic and other times you feel confused, like you’re not able to imagine how a person may feel and you want to help them feel better but you don’t know how?

I struggle with this sometimes.

I think of myself as an empathetic person, because I’m affected by the mood in the room. You cry, I cry. You smile, I smile.

Sometimes, though, when someone is distressed, especially if they are secretive and try to mask their emotions and I want to show my sympathy (feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune) without them getting offended. I want to offer my help, but I don’t know what to say to make them feel better because I think they’re supposed to feel the way they do and I want to show I care because what is happening is sad but I end up standing there with a pained expression on my face that makes them say “what’s wrong with you?”

Honestly, I think I try too hard to show empathy. These things are supposed to come out naturally.

So I did a quiz, as one does, to see how empathic I am and I made a nice discovery.

There are 2 types of empathy

Effective empathy

I scored high in this one. It means I have a strong ability to sense other people’s emotions. This makes me more concerned about their welfare but I may become distressed if I encounter personal suffering (which is why I seem dramatic at times).

Cognitive empathy

This is the ability to put yourself in other people’s shoes. I scored moderately in this area. It’s being able to imagine what other people are feeling or thinking. Having cognitive empathy helps you communicate effectively in your personal and professional relationships (maybe social anxiety is why I’m a bit lacking here?)

So if you find yourself lacking in either type of empathy, what’s the solution?

How to be more empathetic:

1. Practice active listening: listening carefully without judgement or interruption to the other person’s words, facial expressions and body language.

2. Share in other people’s joy: expressing enthusiasm when someone shares good news

3. Look for commonalities with others: look for shared experiences in those you don’t share interests with. This will help you overcome feelings of fear and distrust 🤨 (good tip actually because I tend to zone out people who have different interests than mine).

4. Read fiction: I do that already. I read novels all the time. I guess I should search for novels that increase empathy as well. I also cry easily in movies, so that counts, right?

5. Pay attention to faces: facial expressions communicate a lot about other people’s emotional state. Read and practice to increase your emotional intelligence. I recommend the book Emotional Equations which I read a few years ago but somehow lost.

These are the tips they gave me after doing the quiz. I took the titles and elaborated to my own knowledge.

Do you consider yourself an empathic person? Are you better at effective or cognitive empathy?

How to reparent yourself

Who had the perfect childhood?

Who had parents who were calm and collected all the time, did the right thing in the right way, never messed up, never lost their temper, were never neglectful or smothering?

I mean, besides Daniel Tiger’s parents, I’ve never seen perfect parents. Even my son noted that how come all kids misbehave except Daniel Tiger? I told him “because he isn’t real. He’s just a cartoon”.

Humans err. It’s what they do, and if we are aware of our mistakes, we have a chance at retribution. Most of us were raised in an era when parents didn’t apologize to their children, and they weren’t held accountable for their mistakes. We were raised with a mentality that children are to be seen not heard, and some of us turned out ok, but most of us are just traumatized from our childhood, and we’re trying not to repeat the same cycle with our kids.

So what do we do when we find ourselves subconsciously following in our parents footsteps? Do we do the complete opposite and spoil our kids completely? No! The answer is to reparent ourselves.

There are many ways to do this. You can seek help from a therapist or a trusted friend, or you could try to do it yourself, using self help books and podcasts and trying techniques you find online.

Here are a few ways I found online to reparent yourself with self-help techniques that nurture your inner child:

1. Affirmations that start with “I am…” For example, “I am a loving human.”

If you were raised in an authoritarian household, you were taught that mistakes are unacceptable, and to be loved, you must be good. These affirmations will help you love yourself unconditionally, like you were supposed to be in your childhood.

2. Talk to your Adult self and ask for help with grown up stuff.

I know it sounds stupid, but inside you there is an inner child and an adult. When you find yourself very impulsive and reactive, it is probably your inner child acting out. Tap into your adult side. Talk to the mature you, the one who knows problem solving skills and healthy communication skills.

3. Give yourself daily rewards.

It works! Trust me. Say you have housework to do, but you don’t want to do it. You’re a grown up now. You can have ice cream whenever you want, but you still feel guilty about it when you do, right? So much for freedom. Tell yourself that if you do the housewoek you don’t feel like doing, you will get ice cream as a reward. It will taste much better and you will be much more motivated to clean than if you think about it as a boring grown up thing you must do.

4. Get at least 8 hours of sleep.

Oh the things I’d do to go back to the days when I had to be in bed by 9 and up by 7. As I rebel and go to sleep at midnight, just because I can, and then feel terrible the next day because I’m not well rested, maybe I should recall the benefits of sleep and actually try to get some because it’s good for me and it will make me feel better than the migraine I get from scrolling on my phone for hours in bed.

5. Read literature and inspiring quotes.

Reading is the cure for everything. Bored? Read. Feeling lazy? Read. Depressed? Read. Anxious? Read. Inspiring quotes improve your mental health and get you more motivated to be productive.

6. Write in your notebook a list of things to do on a daily basis.

Haven’t I been doing this forever? Did you know that on the days I don’t write a to do list, I feel so lost and overwhelmed. A to do list gives me a sense of calm and control. I can write whatever I want on it, and then that feeling when I check them off ☑ euphoria

7. Stay in the present by practicing mindfulness.

This is something I often practice. I can’t meditate. I fall asleep. But a lot of times, I’d be sitting with my family, and I just quiet down my mind and slow down time and just revel in the feeling that I’m alive, healthy, and with my loved ones. Those few seconds are enough to lift my mood.

8. Think about the good memories

Often when we’ve had a rough childhood, we get flashbacks of the bad moments, the ones that traumatized us, when in reality, it wasn’t all bad. For me, I remember I used to go roller blading and skateboarding. I was quite the athlete, taking martial arts since I was 5, until I ripped the cartilage in both my knees at age 20. I used to ride my bike with my older sister until I turned 12, and I used to build forts with my younger siblings. We had a secret club and we would have secret meetings and eat breakfast together. We played gymnastics inside the house. I could do a backward flip in the air! I used to play soccer with my brothers and play house with my sisters. I was also a bookworm since as long as I can remember. Whatever books my dad or grandparents got me, I’d read them. I absorbed everything I read like a sponge. It was amazing. So many nice memories of sitting in my dad’s lap, all the laughs. Sometimes when you’re too traumatized by your past, it’s hard to remember the good times. But if you do remember the good, it means you’re healing.

Healing is a process, and it’s not linear. You will have good days and bad days, but if you keep working on these tips, and keep reading about how to be positive, you’ll get there. I promise.

Reality is an illusion

I was inspired by this video about attachment styles. I totally recommend you take the quiz and figure out your attachment style.

So apparently, reality is different based on our perception. Two people may walk into the same situation and each have different perceptions. They may meet the same person but have different impressions. They may watch the same movie but learn different lessons about it.

Our perception of reality is based on our past personal experience and our personality type and the story that goes on in our head.

You may see people talking loudly to eachother and assume they’re arguing, but actually they’re just loud people. You may see someone crying and assume they’re upset about something but they may just be overwhelmed.

You can’t know for sure what goes on in someone’s head. When we have a conversation with someone, we often try to read between the lines and we may read too much into their body language or we may do the exact opposite and take what they say literally when they have a hidden meaning or implications.

My point is, things are not always what they seem and people often try to hide who they really are. They mask their insecurities because they’re afraid to be vulnerable.

So don’t take what you see at face value, but also don’t overthink every look or word or gesture.

How to be a good parent

I’m far from being a perfect parent. I do some things right. I make some mistakes. The biggest mistake I believe I make is that I don’t believe in my abilities as a parent. This low self confidence is even evident at times to my own son, and I believe it shouldn’t be. Children need us to be leaders, and leaders must be confident. That’s why I’m always reading books, listening to podcasts, and watching YouTube videos to help me become a better parent.

The other day I saw this video about being a good parent. I thought I’d write a blog post using the same 8 points they said were important in order to be a good parent, and comment on my opinion of them and whether I think I have these requirements.

This is just for enlightment purposes. No video or quiz or person could judge whether you are a good parent or not. You aren’t even a fair judge for that matter. Many good parents belittle themselves and many bad parents see themselves in a grandiose manner. According to my 5 year old, “there is no such thing as a bad mommy”, so I think I’ll take his word for it.

So here are the 8 requirements of a good parent, according to the video I saw on YouTube:

1. Attunement

“Getting down to your childs level”, especially when they’re having big feelings. I agree but sadly my anger and self righteousness and sometimes my pride gets in the way.

Sometimes I forget he is 5 years old and I should be the reasonable adult and let him be the child. If I were to score myself on my level of attunement for my son, in terms of prioritizing his needs and feelings over mine, I’d say I score a 6/10.

2. Small things

I read once to pay attention to the small things in a child’s life, so they can share the big things with you when they grow older, because to them, the small things were the big things all along. So when your child is excited over a balloon, share the excitement. When your child is upset over a broken crayon, “be sympathetic”.

It’s called “sympathy for age appropriate sorrow”. I agree with it 💯 but sadly I don’t follow it much. I’d give myself a 3/10. My ranking may or may not be clouded by my insecurities and distorted vision of myself.

3. Forgiveness

Sorry but I’m not very forgiving or tolerant. But in a lot of ways, I am. It’s a bit complicated. I have low tolerance and always demand apologies, but once he acts cute or hugs me or apologizes, I’m easily forgiving.

The point of forgiveness here is to “not consider your child a troublemaker because they are simply upset at the arrival of a new sibling, nor antisocial because they prefer the company of a few certain people over others. Being forgiving with your child teaches them self-forgiveness”. I totally agree, and so I give myself a 7/10.

4. Strange phases

Every child goes through “phases of obsession, wierdness, tantrums” over tiny things like cutting the sandwich the wrong way. As much as it’s important to discipline a child and help them regulate their emotions, it’s also important “not to label the child” or shame them.

Don’t make them feel horrible for not knowing how to do something from the 1st few times. Do encourage them to try again. Labeling a child stupid or stubborn only makes them believe that that is who they are, and they will fixate on that. I admit, at times I resort to shaming, when I am angry, but I try to make it up with kind words as much as possible.

I call my son smart, kind, important, funny, cute, etc. His face lights up everytime I call him a good name and it falls everytime I claim he can’t hear well because he didn’t listen or understand my directions. So I guess I’ll go with a balanced 5/10.

5. Clinginess

“Allow the child their natural need for reassurance in order for them to become securely attached”. I admit, when my son was clingy, I resented it sometimes and accepted it at other times.

Also, the video says “don’t request your child to be brave” but I disagree because my son gets scared a lot and if I let him be and don’t push him to face his fears, he will never leave his comfort zone. So in this regard, I give myself a 7/10.

6. Perfection

“Don’t set yourself up as a glamorous figure. Don’t try appear perfect and ideal”. 1st of all, I don’t try to appear perfect. 2nd of all, I couldn’t even if I tried.

They also say to “be present, ordinary, dignified, and occasionally silly”. So minus my occasional blowouts, I’d get a solid 8/10 in this domain.

7. Boringness

The video says “you must appear boring, predictable, and stable”. I’m not even close to being these things. However, I disagree with their explanation of boring. I think they meant you must be dependable. In that case, I win.

“You must accept that parenthood is a role you play and not a full representation of who you are”. True. I’m a writer. A Muslim. A friend. A sister. A daughter. A wife. But to my son, I’m a boring housewife who does nothing but housework and reading, so I’d get an 8/10 here too.

8. Unreciprocated love

“Give love but don’t expect care, love and attention”. I disagree.

“The fruit of your labor will show when your child develops into a good parent”. I agree.

However, I believe when your child shows care, love and attention as a child, it means you’re doing a good job showing them how to express love.

“Love is considerate, tender, and patient”. True.

“A child can’t help but be out of control, confused, frustrating and bewildered”. True but it’s our job as parents to teach them how to regulate their emotions, not let them be and be passively patient and hope they grow out of it.

So in this domain, I think I get an 8/10.

In conclusion, no video or quiz determines if you’re a good parent or not. Your child’s level of happiness does. Things like my son telling me “mommy, I need your help” shows how he is learning proper communication.

Things like when my son comes to me and offers a hug, tells me he loves me but is still mad at me because I asked him to put his colored pencils away and he refused because then he will have to wash his hands (he’s turning into a germophobe and I’m trying to not let him go too far), but just wanted to express his love for me. Afterwards, he proceeded to put his colored pencils away because I assured him that our house is clean and corona-free and that he doesn’t have to wash his hands after putting the colored pencils away. These are 2 examples from today.

I lose my cool a lot. I go into rage sometimes. I act childish, immature, and insecure. But I also love my son so much that I made it my life’s mission to be a good role model and to raise him into a kind strong human being. I’m far from perfect. Some days I don’t spend enough 1 on 1 time with him. Other days, like today, we do arts and crafts together. Click here to see the crocodile I cut and he painted.

I’m a bit too controlling sometimes, but I think that I’ve done an okay job so far. There is a lot I need to work with, but I’d rather have a strong willed child over an amiable one any day of the week, except while I’m in public, but that’s for another post.