The Power Of Humility And Empathy

Daily Thoughts

The greatest wisdom that I hear are often in conversations, such as the other day when my husband said to me that “Humility is not seeing yourself as above or below anyone.” We all have our insecurities and flaws. We’re only human. Perfectionism can be the death of our own sense of worth because it is an unattainable desire. The lens that we look through everyday comes from the thoughts that we have. The way that we feel comes from the way we speak to ourselves. If we look through a negative lens, then we will feel negative and see things negatively. When we see things through a balanced lens, we can see things rationally and clearly.

The thought that’s been pressing on my mind recently is the ability to have empathy. The human desire to be a better person comes from knowing that we don’t know everything and that we are learning everyday. Empathy comes from listening and putting yourself, truly putting yourself in someone’s shoes by feeling what the other person is feeling. Empathy requires us to be vulnerable and have compassion. Listening allows us to hear stories and perspectives that we wouldn’t otherwise hear. Listening opens up our heart and mind in a beautiful way so that we can have empathy for others.

Humility is the ability to say that you don’t know everything. We are life long learners. It’s the ability to say when you have made a mistake. It’s the ability to be grateful for the small things. We live in a society that places value and attention to external accomplishments. Humility, sensitivity and vulnerability are misinterpreted as a sign of weakness, when in actuality they are the greatest signs of inner strength. We need these crucial elements of existing to truly display acts of love and kindness. Love and empathy can exist when we stop looking inward, and start looking around at the world.

I love this beautiful excerpt: Humility is the understanding that we can’t go it alone. Empathy is the ability to identify with the challenges that have brought other people to where they are. Combined, these two traits invite us into authentic relationships with others, allowing collaborative energy to begin to flow. Humility keeps us open to new information, new insights, new wisdom. Empathy encourages us to unite.

I recommend reading the article The Beautiful Triad-Curiosity, Humility and Empathy here.

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”

― CS Lewis

Art by Lieke van der Vorst

Why Being Nice Is Not Always So Nice

Daily Thoughts
Art by Marialaura Fedi

The word nice is often said as a compliment to say that someone is lovely, sweet and friendly. “You are such a nice person, Katie!” was a very common phrase I heard growing up. As time passes by, it has been a blessing and a curse that has taught me many lessons. Being nice is different to being kind. However, from my own experience, it is difficult because my personality is naturally very caring and friendly. It often takes energy to be nice, and there are moments where I really do want to listen and help someone. However, it is important to be careful where you put your energy, otherwise you will experience emotional burnout.

The word nice has connotations of being modest, likable and well-mannered, but it also has negative underlying meanings of being weak, unaware and naïve. As an introvert, I prefer to spend more time having no activities in my calendar. Therefore, learning the art of saying no is very important. There’s nothing wrong with being friendly, but it’s important to know that there is a distinction between being kind and being nice and to set your boundaries with people. Don’t let people walk over you, and take control of who you are.

The pressure to be nice all the time The words we are told throughout our childhood have impact on our identity. The repetitive nature of being told something can make us believe those words. We begin to associate who we are as a person with those descriptions. The truth is no one can define who you are except for yourself. However, breaking a life time of believing what someone might say is good or bad can take time. It’s not realistic to be positive all the time and this expectation can create added stress and pressure.

The ability to be kind and assertive The moments I have been assertive are the moments I’ve felt the stress and worry decline. There is a misconception that being assertive means being loud and outgoing. You can be assertive and direct, but still be gracious and kind. Learning to communicate assertively in a fair and kind manner can be a relief to express yourself calmly and directly, yet still stay true to who you are without having to pretend to be anyone else.

Being taken advantage of A common experience I had growing up was being bossed around or being told what to do. I want to highlight that there is a difference between being asked for a favour, or designated work in a kind and direct manner. As opposed to someone who is taking advantage of you out of dominance and narcissism. There are many kind people in the world, but it’s important to know that there are people who will only engage with you when they need something or want something from you.

Stop caring what other people think Being caring and compassionate is being human. We have to remember that that is one of the greatest strengths we have as individuals. However, it is also important to stop caring too much what others think of you. The moments I care too much what someone might think, the more I want to try avoid situations that might upset anyone. No matter what we’re doing in our lives, people will always judge no matter if you succeed or fail. When you start to care less, you begin to live for yourself.

Self respect and self assurance Clearly stating your needs and being fair and open minded shows that you respect yourself. When you are sure about your choices and decisions, then you can communicate these more directly. When you know who you are, when you accept yourself and when you love yourself, that energy shines out into the world. Our self-esteem is lifted when we have a positive self-image of who we are and our identity.

Healthy disagreements are okay We can’t escape disagreements with people, and having wisdom to not be involved in unhealthy conflict is a good skill to have. However, it’s okay and very normal to have conflict, because we are all human and we can’t agree on everything. There will be problems and situations we get into that may bring discomfort, and learning to face the discomfort and find the best solution is important.

Avoid passive aggressiveness and emotional outbursts I can say very clearly from personal experience that one of the worst things for your mental health is bottling your emotions up. Learning to regulate your emotions and finding methods to feel calm and communicate clearly to others will save a lot of distress. The periods of my life where I felt deep depression was after a period of bottling everything up without sharing with anyone.

Pain of perfectionism and self-criticism The strive for perfection is impossible. The more we create an unreachable standard for ourselves, the more stress and pressure we create for ourselves. It can be debilitating and increase feelings of anxiety. I remember thinking if I upset someone, if I spoke up about a certain topic or said something that might cause negative feelings, then it would mean that I’m not a ‘nice’ person. The self-criticism is very intense in my mind.

Speaking your mind and being honest When we stay silent in the moments where it counts to speak up, we lose our voice. When we are honest in an authentic and well-intended way, we stay true to who we are but we still have the ability to be assertive. Knowing when to stay silent and when to speak up takes wisdom. Being kind means thinking before we speak and considering how our words may impact on the other person. It means seeing things from someone else’s perspective, and then expressing your views. Being nice is often associated with potentially hiding your true feelings, however, you can always be kind and express how you feel.

The power of saying no When you say no to things that you can’t commit to, you aren’t interested in or you don’t have the desire to engage with, you are setting your boundaries. The choices we make each day will impact on the life we live. If we say yes to everything, we don’t create space for ourselves and we make ourselves too available for others. It will become a set expectations from others that you are always readily available which can make you end up being taken for granted or attracting only those who will get in touch when they need you, not because they want to.

Set clear boundaries for yourself As a nice person, it’s easy to want to help others and invest yourself into doing more. The more you set boundaries for yourself, the more that other’s can’t take advantage of you, and the more you are clear about where you stand. Our boundaries keep us safe and conserve where we place our energy. It shows the respect that you have for yourself. Boundaries help to keep your emotions in check, avoid social pressure, be clear about what you don’t tolerate, and stay true to who you are as a person.

Avoid burnout by prioritising yourself When you prioritise yourself, you prioritise your mental health and wellbeing. This is a hard one, because if you are naturally caring and sensitive then you tend to put others needs before your own. It makes me think of when you’re on the plane, and the safety video tells you to put your own oxygen mask on before helping someone else. You have to take care of yourself first. This doesn’t mean that you are being selfish, it means that you are practicing self-care.

Unrealistic expectations of others We can’t control how other’s react or what they say, we can only be in control of how we react to a situation. When we’re too nice to others, it builds unrealistic expectations that others should do the same. When they do not meet these expectations, you may feel upset or resentful. I’ve noticed this in situations such as in work or friendships. The truth is we shouldn’t waste our energy towards people who don’t care or who only come to you when they need something.

Being kind is the care and compassion we show through our actions. We can be outwardly nice and polite to those around us. We can smile and be friendly with strangers. When we are kind from our heart, it shows genuine care and empathy. Someone can have a serious demeanour, yet they may show their care through their actions. Someone can be outwardly nice all the time, yet in the moments where it really counts, they aren’t present. This is why it’s important to strive to be kind and assertive, and work at it everyday.

Being assertive means that you stand up for your own rights and set your boundaries clearly. There are many situations in my life where I let things slide by, when all it takes is a moment to speak up. This created a lot of unnecessary pain and hurt. I really hope someone reading this can know how important it is to practice and learn to be assertive, and know that being kind and assertive go hand in hand.

Michelle writes that:

  • Being nice takes energy, tons of it. Being kind gives energy – you feel enlivened by it.
  • Being nice makes at best a small difference to someone’s day. Being kind can make a huge difference to someone’s day.
  • Being nice can feel fake. Being kind always feels genuine.
  • Being nice may be superficial. Being kind goes deep.

A World Without SmartPhones And Social Media

Daily Thoughts

The earliest memories of the phone that I remember were the corded phones we used to call our neighbourhood friends. When I flash back to moments in my childhood, the nights were filled with bedtime stories, listening to cassette tapes and humming myself to sleep. The room was pitch black except for the straight line of light seeping through from underneath the door. Through the curtain, you can see the stars shining in the night sky, and you can hear the occasional morepork sound. Lying there on the bed, listening quietly to my thoughts, breathing slowly and then falling asleep. The night’s for many are now technology filled with online noise and blue screen lights.

Where we put our attention towards is what we prioritise. No matter where we are in the world, there has become an increase of people becoming slaves to their phones. We have become a generation with a huge phone-addiction. Our phones, when used in excess, has become a device that has caused a disconnected society. We crave connection, but how deep are the connections that we have? It seems common now that you can be friends with anyone online. I truly think that to have one true friend in this life time is one of the greatest blessing.

Our sense of self comes from our character and our heart. It can only come from within. The connection we have with nature, music, art or our loved ones can only come from the heart. If we had a look at the hours we spend on our technological devices during a lifetime, it may shock many of us how long we spend our time staring at screens. There is so much precious time that we have in a day. Imagine a world without smart phones or social media. What would be the same and what would be different?

The pros of smart phones and social media

Family and Friends / For those who have long-distance relationships with their family and friends, our devices enable us to connect with our loved ones.

Living with convenience / We are able to research, read and find information from the touch of our phones. We can shop online, search for a phone number or use Google maps.

A sense of community and connection / Social media can be great for establishing groups that can help each other out. The online forums at university were really great for messaging other classmates and discussing ideas and group projects.

Sharing our creative work / Social media can be a great platform for those who want to share their creativity. I wonder if pre-social media created a more authentic space for creativity. The curiosity we have is often found in the quiet moments.

The rise of online communication / The ease of communication has also been prevalent since Covid as many companies are now incorporating flexible arrangements, such as remote working.

Using Wellbeing apps / Regular use of apps that can help with your mental health can be beneficial. I find listening to meditation podcasts everyday really help.

The cons of smart phones and social media

Escapism and distraction / Many people want to avoid the discomfort of sitting in silence or appearing to do nothing. The phone has become a safety net to take us away from the present.

Mental health problems / Our phones have influenced the rise of mental health problems. This is why balance is so important as the connections we have in person can contribute greatly to our wellbeing.

Spread of false information / Social media can be highly unrealistic and the spread of misinformation is prevalent. There is rise in fake news and the spread of opinions as facts within news outlets.

Lack of privacy / I think we’d all be shocked if we knew how much the online world knew about each and every one of us. Perhaps it would encourage us to limit our phone usage.

Having bad manners / When we use our phones at the dinner table or when catching up with a friend; it is bad manners. Eye contact and being present is one of the important aspects of communication.

The rise of consumerism / Targeted advertising is a huge market for businesses to earn money right from the use of our phones. Every click and every view we make is all recorded into an algorithmic database to keep track of our interests.

The increase of superficial comparisons / The reality is that what we see on social media is a curated image. It is designed to look a certain way. The most human part of interacting with one another is communicating in person.

Social media is designed to be addictive / The more time we spend on it, the more money corporations can make. Social media hinders our ability to focus and creates short-term attention.

Children using social media / There are more children growing up with technology and social media. Children should be playing outdoors, interacting with their parents and watching the world around them. The implication for us to also use our phones less rings very true.

Tips for using your phone less

  • Using an alarm clock to wake up in the morning and wearing a watch for checking the time
  • Removing inactive or time-consuming apps and disabling notifications
  • Having purpose for when you use your phone eg. talking to someone, using a meditation app
  • Creating a daily habit of not looking at your phone in the early morning and before bed time
  • Spend more time doing the things you love eg. reading, playing an instrument, going for a run
  • Remove or deactivate social media accounts that you aren’t engaged with
  • Reading, people-watching or day dreaming during your lunch breaks
  • Taking time to journal and reflect during quiet times during the day
  • Go outdoors for a walk and surround yourself in nature
  • Be conscious of when you do use your phone and what you are using it for

What are the main reasons you use your phone for?

Art by Maggie Stephenson

The Importance Of Sharing Your Story

Daily Thoughts

Inside every person is an ocean of stories. In a visual world, we often only see what lies on the surface, forgetting the intricate, detailed and deep layers that every individual has. A story filled with endless chapters. The laughter, joy, pain, hurt and tears. When we read, we build an understanding of the characters, the plot and the story becomes vivid within our imagination. Reading builds empathy. Growing up in a multicultural society, there are people from various backgrounds and cultures.

There are many silent stories waiting to be heard. Remember how children’s book’s would make us laugh, cry, wide eyed in curiosity, and intrigue us to know more. When we take interest in others, we express care and compassion and we show the desire to understand. Stereotypes, assumptions and judging someone from a brief moment can be incredibly damaging, as well as the number of stereotypes that have been deeply ingrained in the media and society.

As aspect that has been on my mind more particularly since last year is the concept of casual racism. We have to acknowledge that racism and discrimination exists in New Zealand. The earliest memories of racism that I can recollect start from primary school, observing my parents interactions with other people when they first arrived in New Zealand and the numerous stereotypes and ignorant comments.

The daily microaggressions, experiencing different treatment in certain situations and the language that may occur in conversations are common experiences. The comments that someone should go back to their country, the judgment of one’s English fluency, the lack of respect for cultural differences, the comments on food or one’s appearances, the stereotyping and backhanded comments can often be experiences that are had in silence or not witnessed by other people.

Our stories are a part of us. It takes courage to share our stories. However, it can be incredibly freeing and it can be a source of greater connection and understanding of ourselves and others. Our stories are like a strong string that attaches us to one another forming a bond. They open the room for conversations on topics that may not be commonly spoken about. Sharing our stories can also be a process of healing, reflection and growth. They can broaden our minds and create change. The more we share our stories, the more we realise we are all connected.

Your voice matters. Taking the time to listen and understand someone’s story is incredibly valuable. It makes us realise that every person has been through their own hurts, pain, success, failure, struggles and achievements. If you ever have the chance, take time to listen to individual stories of different backgrounds. We can take action when we recognize the signs of discrimination taking place. When we hear from different voices it enables our world view to widen.

Art by Kate Pugsley

The Joy Of Missing Out

Daily Thoughts

The ability to embrace the art of doing nothing allows us to appreciate periods of solitude and the presence of our own company. Social media has contributed to the rise of consumer culture and social pressures. These pressures can cause stress and a distraction from what is important in our lives. The concept of missing out is often labeled as a negative aspect, and it can often be perceived as antisocial. There is great beauty in taking quiet moments during the day to just be in your own presence. There is great love in giving yourself permission to take time to rest, reflect and reconnect with yourself. The joy of missing out is taking time to enjoy the quiet moments and to embrace being who you are.

The art of slow / Our lives can be filled with endless things one after the other, or a never-ending to-do list. Being able to say no to invitations can allow yourself to take it easy. We live in a society that praises a busy and productive lifestyle by labeling these aspects as the definition of success. But the truth is that we are really only able to experience true satisfaction in life in the moments where we feel a sense of flow. Those moments are appreciated when we aren’t rushing through the world.

Finding balance / We practice moderation through how much we consume. These include food, exercise, or technology. We can focus much more deeply when we take time to switch off, practice being mindful of our actions and become aware of where we are placing our attention and time. The joy of missing out on what is always happening in the world can also be beneficial for one’s mental health. Taking a break from technology can allow oneself to focus on being in the present.

Simplifying one’s life / When we let go of the need to chase excitement or fill our lives with things, we have more time to do all the things that make us truly happy. There is a false belief that we must always buy the latest thing, stay on top of trends or achieve something great to be happy. It’s truly the small and simple things in life that can give us the greatest joy. It can be the smallest things that can trigger a sad or happy memory.

Staying authentic to yourself / The joy of missing out means that we can spend more time doing things we enjoy. The time we spend alone is precious, as those moments are where we face our thoughts, feelings, memories and experiences. We have space to reflect and think about life. We can focus on change and growth and we can spend time doing our favourite hobbies. When we stay true to ourselves, we feel the greatest sense of freedom. It takes effort and energy to not be who you truly are.

Deeper connections / We only have so much time and the time we spend with people is the connections we are investing in. By surrounding yourself with people who truly care about you, you nurture a deeper connection. It takes time to really get to know someone, and it takes energy to be there for others. When we miss out on other things, we can spend time with the one’s we love. Relationships are beautiful things. The people we surround ourselves with and spend time with the most have a greater impact on us then we may consciously be aware of.

The path we’re meant to be on / Many things in life are a blessing in disguise. In the moment we might not understand why it happened or we might feel that it was unfair. There are aspects that may be a perception of failure but we are yet to realise that the best is yet to come. Sometimes we think something is a setback when it’s really pushing us forward to where we need to be. The joy of missing out on an opportunity can be the greatest blessing to discovering where you’re meant to be.

Art by Alja Horvat

How To Live With Less In A Consumer Culture

Daily Thoughts

We are all consumers in one way or another. Whether that may be in materials, books, films, art, food, electricity, water, social media, news, internet, advertisements and so forth. How much and how often we consume things over another varies depending on our behaviour, habits, lifestyle and interests. The power of marketing and advertising is immense as it creates the illusion of needing more. The need for intimacy and meaning in our lives is often clouded by the illusion that we need more stuff to be happy. When I browse thrift stores in an ocean of clothes, the reality sinks in that there is a vicious cycle of the production, consumption and disposal of clothes.

I strive to live by the philosophy and mentality that less is more. As we live in a consumer culture, we are encouraged to buy more, even when we have more than enough. Advertising sells us a lifestyle, status, and identity. In terms of clothing, it is one of the top polluters in the world. If we consume less, we also lessen our carbon footprint, and we contribute less waste towards the earth. However, the power of advertising covers it with the glamour of a certain lifestyle. But, the truth is, we don’t need a lot to be happy.

Fill your spaces with love and purpose. Living with less means only having materials that will be used for years to come. Advertising tells us that we are lacking in our lives and that we need to fill our spaces with materials to feel a sense of fulfilment. However, many of us have more than we need.

Buy good quality materials. Purchasing good quality clothing gives it longevity. Many things can last a long time. As I mentioned above, there are many second hand clothing that are good quality. But, the fast fashion industry is constantly moving in and out with trends that are having a heavy impact on the environment.

Money and materials cannot buy true happiness. Consumer culture means that we spend so much on material items that don’t bring us long term happiness. We live in a capitalist system that rewards us for our perceived efforts and productivity. Yet, the definition of success tells us that we are always in need of more. Living with less reminds us of what’s important.

Borrow more books. I must say that if I had my own house, I’d love to be able to fill it up with shelves of books. However, as someone who is always moving suitcases to somewhere every year or so, the library has been a blessing. I remember having to donate dozens of books over the years as they can take up a significant amount of space.

Saving money. If you are saving up for something, whether that be a car or a house, you can save money from the smallest things. For example, if you like to drink a cup of coffee everyday. You could start making your own at home everyday, and perhaps in one year you could save 365 x $3.50 = $1,277.50.

Do it for yourself and for the planet. Consumerism really costs the Earth. The more we buy, the more that is disposed of, and the more rubbish we create in the world. An example would be consuming less meat and dairy. Where we spend our money is essentially who we are supporting.

Living with less is not only in materials. In a consumer culture, we are told we need more friends, more money, more travel and more things. The focus is on having a better future, but it’s important to embrace the present and be grateful for everything you have. Advertising focuses too much on ourselves, whereas long term happiness focuses on aspects such as helping others and forming strong relationships.

What is my intention for buying this? I used to have handbags that end up only getting worn a few times during the year, whereas my black handbag would be worn every day. My trainers and school backpack are worn almost every single day. Minimalism may not be for everyone, but it really helps in having a clearer mind and appreciating what you already have.

What are some of your tips for buying less?

I highly recommend reading the article A Helpful Guide to Overcoming Consumerism

Art by Alessandra De Cristofaro

Time Is How You Spend Your Love

Daily Thoughts

We can spend periods of our lives in a cycle that repeats itself if we don’t seek the desire to change. Nature is always changing and evolving. That is the beautiful part of nature, as it takes its time to achieve great change. How we spend our time is precious. When we break apart everything, time is really all that we have. Our lives are unpredictable, and no one can be completely sure of how long they are on this earth for.

Every moment counts. The moments we stand at the traffic lights, the moments we sit on the plane flying home and the moments we are there for a loved one. The beautiful words are from Zadie Smith. It also makes me acknowledge the sad reality that there is so much time spent on the things that we don’t truly love. We live in a world where people are deeply hurting or they are bounded to a life where they are helpless.

Thoughts and Feelings / What you focus on is how you will feel. The thoughts we feed ourselves and the feelings we have ultimately affect how we view the world, how we view ourselves, how we treat other people and how we spend our days. Our thoughts and feelings impact how we experience the world around us and the world within.

Precious time / How do you spend your time? What we spend our time builds us into the person we are. If we spend time doing more of what we love, it can only benefit us in the long run. It can enable us to have a healthy relationship with people and it can make us a whole lot happier.

Leisure / The Art of doing nothing. There is praise for always being switched on in a fast-paced digital age. Being productive and busy is seen as the definition of success, when in actuality good things take time, and our focus is heightened when we give ourselves conscious rest.

People / Who do you spend most of your time with? They say that the 5 people you spend the majority of time with can impact you as a person, from your world view, character, interests and behaviour. The environment we are in and the people we spend our time with can have a huge impact on our wellbeing.

Memories / What are the good memories you can think of? Remembering memories that make you smile can bring them alive. When we focus on a bad memory, it can evoke a strong negative emotional reaction. The time that we spend to create memories that are good are often built around the foundation of love.

Gratitude / What are you grateful for in your life? Gratitude is a practice that we can actively do each day. The moment we forget all the things we have in our lives is the moment we can feel empty and unhappy. Where we put our focus and intention is everything. Our wellbeing depends on it. Remember to cherish all that you have.

Change / In what ways have you changed over time? We are always changing every day. In everyday we are learning something new. Change is inevitable and people will change, but the important thing is to know your values. What is it that you want in life? What’s important to you?

Choices / The choices we make over time influence the person we are today. What you choose to do is your responsibility. How you treat others, the conversations you have, the products you buy, the food you consume and the activities that you do all impact who you are as a person. The choices we make and how we spend our time impacts who we are as a person. 

Creativity / What do you spend your time consuming and creating. We spend a lot of time consuming content from online articles to social media. We spend more time more than ever consuming digital content and buying materials. The time we spend creating is quite possibly one of the most precious moments.

The time we spend to practice something, create something or write something is valuable. When we do the things that we love and spend time with the people we love, then we must be doing something right. Our lives are meant to be enjoyed and the purpose of being here is more than we can understand. All that one can really know is that the existence of every being is precious.

No one is better than the other person. There is a false belief that by feeling superior to someone we can feel accomplished. Whether that is through materials, status or wealth. However, it is the biggest lie that we are sold in society. External things don’t add true value into our lives. It makes me think of The Little Prince quote that reads “What is Essential is Invisible to the Eye” all that is truly important in life can only be felt with the heart “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly”.

Art by Monica Barengo

Nobody’s Life Is Perfect, No Matter What It Seems

Daily Thoughts

When we fill our hearts with gratitude, we realise how much we have. When you focus on what you have, you don’t spend time thinking about what you don’t have. The constant focus on wanting to accumulate materials or external validation can never result in true happiness. There is so much gratitude in meeting so many beautiful people this year, and there have been many thoughtful conversations and meaningful moments. It’s incredible to talk with people with such beautiful minds and souls. It’s important to remember that nobody’s life is perfect, no matter what it seems. A person could appear to have everything on the surface, but feel empty within, and vice versa. Everyone is walking on their own journey, similar to how each book has its own stories in each chapter.

When I was younger, I honestly felt that everyone seemed to have a normal life. This comes down to the way we are told to present ourselves in society. As you grow older, you realise that sometimes we all really don’t know what’s going on, and that’s okay. That’s the joy of life, because if every moment was predictable it would lose its excitement and adventure. I absolutely love to smile, but I also know how easy it is to hide behind a smile and how easy it is to appear happy through hard times. This is why we truly mustn’t judge things from the surface. As I spoke with friends, we talked about mental health, and how incredibly common it is. In a way, the pressure of appearing to have a perfect life, is not authentic and true to the self.

Comparison is the thief of joy, as it can create a feeling of inadequacy and lowering of self worth. On the other hand, it can be used to motivate oneself if you desire, but where we place the focus and intention is important. What we perceive as success and happiness can be vastly different to one another. However, I really do think that the relationships we have with ourselves, and those around us hold a lot of purpose in our lives. There are so many layers to every person. Nothing perfect is defined by the way things look. Not with materials, travel, clothing, makeup or career. Nobody is perfect. The long lasting happiness in life comes down to the way we’re feeling inside.

Photography by Sun Jun

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Daily Thoughts

It’s important to look at what someone does more than what they say. As you grow older, you realise the deeper meaning of the saying that actions speak louder than words. When I was younger, I was very trustworthy of what other people said, and I liked to think everyone was a good and honest person. It’s common for people to call it innocence, but it was truly because I tried to see the good in others. As individuals, we might say things in certain ways that relate better to different people. We might like to say certain things because we know that’s what the other person wants to hear. We might say thoughts that are honest, or only half said. A person’s true intention is shown through their actions. The values that they hold are reflected through their actions, and how they treat others. 

We can say kind words to others, talk about our ideas and the great changes we want to make in the world. However, if we don’t act upon it, then the words lose their meaning. The actions we take show our character. This is also connected to change. When we want to change something about ourselves, it’s easy to say I’ll change. However, in truly believing in them and acting upon them, we prove to ourselves that we are capable of change. Have you ever met someone who had a very serious demeanour about them, but did something so kind towards you that didn’t require any words? It’s those small gestures that show the real character of someone’s heart.

Words have power, and we can comfort, give advice, share ideas and be educated through words. I find that in seeing a person’s character, we should see what they do. There are many people who are smooth talkers and promise makers, but if it doesn’t translate into one’s actions, then we lose trust. Our body language also speaks for a lot of our communication, and sometimes we don’t need someone to speak to see how they might be feeling. This is why it is more exciting to keep a lot of our dreams to ourselves, as our actions will speak when it’s time. It’s easy to say something out loud, and people can always nod a long and appear to be agreeing.

You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do. We’ve all been there, where we’ve said we will accomplish this or that. I still remember a wise advice from my dear flute teacher who told me to keep goals to myself as a motivator. There are some goals that don’t need to be told to the world, because over time, they will show themselves. True care towards one another is through the things we would do for one another, not always through the things we say. We can tell someone we care for them, but when they are hurting and we’re not there for them, then the words lose their meaning. It’s the time we give, the actions we take and the way we treat those around us that show our true character.

“Life is too short to be around someone that says they love you but doesn’t show it.”

― Elizabeth Bourgeret

“I never listen to what a person says. I look at what a person does because what they do tells me who they really are.”

― Patty Houser

Art by Lieke van der Vorst

Why Introverts Feel Misunderstood

Daily Thoughts

During my teenage years, I prayed that I could be more confident, outgoing and speak my mind freely. When I entered my twenties, I accepted myself for the qualities that I have that simply are a part of who I am. I’ve really accepted being an analytical thinker, spending time alone to recharge and thinking before I speak. I learned that confidence is not defined by being loud, and that it comes from a sense of security within yourself. For a number of years, I thought there was something wrong with me, until I read the book Quiet by Susan Cain. I became familiar with the terms Introvert and Extrovert. Often, the different parts of ourselves are some of our biggest strengths. It is important to note that Introversion and Extroversion are not one singular characteristic. Every individual will have varying levels of both. Sadly, the word introvert has negative connotations attached to it due to societal expectations. However, in order to thrive and exist in the world we need a balance of both.

As an introvert, you may have a small handful of people in your lives that you feel completely at home with. You may engage enthusiastically in deep conversations rather than small talk. If you are quite a deep thinker, writing can be one of the most therapeutic, relaxing and satisfying things. You may enjoy being in calm environments, such as being surrounded by nature, reading at a cafe or sitting by the beach. That’s not to say one doesn’t like socialising, but it simply means the time spent socialising will vary. There are weeks where I may see a few friends for tea, and other weeks where I’m catching up on doing things on my own. I enjoy meeting new people, yet I also crave the need to be able to connect with someone in conversation. The way we express ourselves are all so vastly different. As someone who enjoys listening to other’s stories and experiences, it’s a precious moment to find a friend who is also just as interested in hearing yours.

There is a certain level of comfort when we realise that in those moments that you might feel alone or misunderstood, there are those who too feel the same. We find connections in moments of vulnerability. I have found that there are only a handful of people in my life who see me completely, and those who will naturally only see certain layers of who I am or who they think I am. It may never be the complete picture, and that’s okay. Does that mean you aren’t being authentic? I don’t think so. I don’t think we have to bare all ourselves to anyone we encounter in order to be authentic. In the comfort of loved ones, you feel you don’t need to hide anything. When we are our complete selves with those close to us, it’s because we have established a level of trust and security. It’s in the silence and solitude where we can take a moment to breathe and pause. It’s in the time alone that we can recharge, reflect and stay in touch with our creativity and our true self.

The video below by Lana speaks beautifully about the many experiences that Introverts may have.

Here is an article explaining the differences between introversion, shyness and social anxiety disorder -> The Confusion Surrounding Introversion, Shyness, and Social Anxiety Disorder

Articles on Introverts:

What is an introvert?

6 Myths About Introverts To Stop Believing

6 Things Every Introvert Has To Secretly Deal With

Art by Helena Pérez García