A World Without Smartphones

Daily Thoughts

The earliest memories of the phone that I remember were the corded phones we used to call our neighbourhood friends. When I flashback 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. 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.

We are like cyborgs as we’ve become inseparable from our mobile devices. When I catch myself walking down the street using my phone, I sometimes feel like a robot. 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 lifetime is one of the greatest blessings.

Our sense of self comes from our character and our heart. 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 smartphones or social media. What would be the same and what would be different?

The pros of smartphones 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 find directions.

A sense of community and connection Social media can be great for establishing groups that can help support one another.

Sharing 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.

Searching for knowledge or entertainment Our smartphones make it extremely convenient to search for a word we might know the meaning of or read an interesting article in the news. It can also come in handy for using apps that are educational or fun.

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

The cons of smartphones 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 a 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 true.

Tips for using your phone less

  • Using an alarm clock to wake up in the morning
  • Removing inactive or time-consuming apps and disabling notifications
  • Having a purpose for when you use your phone
  • Creating a daily habit of not looking at your phone first when you’ve woke up
  • Spend more time doing the things you love eg. reading, going for a walk
  • Remove or deactivate social media accounts that you aren’t engaged with
  • Reading, people-watching, or daydreaming during your lunch breaks
  • Taking time to journal and reflect during quiet times during the day
  • Go outdoors for a walk and surround yourself with 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 Otto Kim

Do You Eat The Same Breakfast Everyday?

Daily Thoughts

Drinking a cup of strong black coffee on an empty stomach is a common morning routine for many people. The consumption of caffeine can have weird effects on some people. I find having caffeine can make me shaky and energetic in the short term but it can impact my sleep. A baby coffee such as a mochaccino can feel psychologically less strong than an espresso. Some people may opt for a coffee as they aren’t hungry or they might feel a bit nauseous having breakfast in the morning. However, the lack of breakfast can make me feel like a grumpy cat.

Why is it that we often have the same breakfast every day? A big part of it may be from habit or convenience. When making a trip to the supermarket I automatically go to the cereal aisle. There are some days when I add a bit of variety, such as adding fruits like bananas, frozen berries, or pears or drizzling some honey. It’s my favourite meal of the day because there’s something comforting and familiar about the ritual of making your breakfast. A lack of breakfast can cause me to feel lethargic and tired. However, after having breakfast it sets you up for the day ahead by refueling your tank.

What breakfast do you have each morning? 

Art by Fumi Koike

The Importance Of Doing Nothing

Daily Thoughts

In a heavily switched-on world, it can feel like there’s no pause button. Our phones have become an extension of us most noticeably since the pandemic. The nature of unpredictability has become increasingly more transparent. We live in a society that values busyness and judges the idea of rest by perceiving it as lazy. In the article How to rest well by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, he states that “The world tells us: Work is important; we need to reply: Rest is important too.

Time for reflecting / Sitting down to clear your mind and think about things and write thoughts down can give you space to reflect. What are the lessons you’ve learned? What are the parts of you that have grown? What challenges have you faced? What are the gains you’ve experienced? How would you like to change? There have been an immense amount of lessons learned in the past year, and taking time to reflect on them can help you think about how you’d like to implement them into your life.

Switching off / The amount of time spent using my phone has heavily increased. I’ve been especially grateful that we are able to connect with our loved ones but I find reading the news can be overwhelming as it can be filled with negativity. Taking time to switch off can help clear our minds and give us some quiet from all the noise while enjoying the present moment.

Reconnecting with your soul / Rest gives you time to be alone in your mind and body. When you can rest you allow yourself to sit with your own thoughts. When we’re always interacting in the world, it’s easy to go along with what everyone else is doing. In the past year, I’ve felt burnt out at times, and only recently I have accepted how important it is to truly rest and do nothing. Time alone gives us space to be creative, curious, mindful, and aware of our surroundings.

Space to heal / The world feels like it’s becoming an increasingly divided place, but my greatest prayer is that we find deeper connections and openness through our collective struggles. When we spend time without a full calendar and we take time to care for ourselves, we give ourselves space to reflect, rest, connect and heal. The absence of distractions can make us look at ourselves inside and out.

What we value / What is most important to you in your life? What makes you truly happy? What do you enjoy doing? What are your personal values? Every person’s values can be different and living by our values can make us feel more grounded and connected to ourselves. Our values can be impacted by the experiences we’ve had in our lives, our personalities, and how we experience the world.

How do you spend your time doing nothing?

Art by Kate Pugsley

Five Benefits of Living with Less

Daily Thoughts

Living with less means creating space for the important aspects of our lives that bring greater value. We are increasingly encouraged to consume more in a tech-saturated environment, where the rise of targeted advertising is driving growth in our spending. The emphasis on needing more things in our lives to feel a sense of satisfaction leaves many of us unfulfilled. Where we put our focus on is how we feel within our day-to-day lives, and if our focus is on materials, status and money, we lose a sense of ourselves. When we let go of the need to fit in, we can feel a greater sense of freedom. When we have gratitude for all that we have and spend time doing what we love, we can look around and realise that we don’t need a lot in life to be happy.

1) Spend time with those you cherish

Friendships are quality over quantity. A person’s worth is not determined by how many people they surround themselves with. Time is precious. Spending time with those that we love means investing in a deeper connection with others. We can cultivate deep connections that are genuine and close. Living with less isn’t contained only to our material possessions but also in the relationships that we have. It allows one to give who they love more of their time because they aren’t spending their time in unhealthy relationships. It means putting up healthy boundaries with people and spending one’s time and energy into the people they love the most.

2) Save money and time from spending less

How do you spend your time? Perhaps you like learning new things such as a new language or joining a sports team. The more we spend our attention on the hobbies we enjoy, the more we save time on the things we don’t. We can save money from unread magazine subscriptions or unfinished courses. By picking up a few interests to focus on, you can spend your money and time more wisely. It means that we don’t buy unnecessary materials that may take up more space in our homes or have a list of unnecessary tasks that fill up our schedule.

3) Practice Social Minimalism for your Mental Health

Digital Minimalism is a term popularised by computer scientist and author, Cal Newport, who doesn’t use social media. In essence, it describes the philosophy of technology use in which the time spent online is cut down to a small number of carefully selected activities that support things you value, and then you can happily miss out on the rest of the online world. By leaving behind unimportant acts of social media, we reclaim time and we are more mindful of being in the present. The rise of anxiety and depression amongst younger generations have been significant. Technology has caused more online noise and distractions, by taking away our attention from what is important.

4) Embrace your own Personal style

The fashion industry seems to move faster than we can keep up, with changing trends and seasons. Personal style, on the other hand, never goes out of style, as it’s a part of our identity. Are there certain styles or pieces of clothing that you always wear year after year? When we embrace our own personal style, we save time from browsing the never-ending rows of shops and save money from buying clothes that may only be worn a few times. When we shop with the intention of having something for the long-term, it can make a piece of material feel more thoughtful and special.

5) A Minimalist lifestyle can nourish an Introvert’s strengths

Susan Caine points out in her book, Quiet: The Power Of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking that introverts are generally less interested in status, wealth, and popularity than extroverts. The accumulation of stuff and the larger amount of people in our lives can create more added stress for many introverts. Minimalism gives you more space to live your life and be in charge of your space, schedule and mind. An introvert thrives on being able to be in a quiet sanctuary such as at home. When a home is decluttered, it creates balance in our mind and we can create space to do the very things that we love.

Living a more simple life means embracing the need for deep connections, purpose in one’s work, and spending time and energy on the people and activities that you love the most. However, it’s just as simple to immerse oneself into buying things or engaging in relationships that don’t add value into our lives. These might be from purchasing books or clothing we don’t end up using or being in friendships that aren’t rewarding or are one-sided. This cycle can drain our batteries. When we aren’t always chasing for the next thing, we can spend time placing value and gratitude on what we have.

What makes you truly happy in your life?

Art by Marialaura Fedi

The Joy Of Shopping At The Supermarket

Daily Thoughts

A trip to the supermarket felt like an adventure as a child. It still does. Roaming the aisles of different food categories was comforting and easily amusing. Although it’s also been a crazy last two years during the pandemic with crowded aisles, social distancing, panic buying and inflation in prices. The nostalgia of shopping is a fond memory and one of those activities that bring joy. There’s something satisfying about having a full pantry of food. It feels like a blessing and a privilege to be able to have food and to browse all the different items. It feels like a treasure hunt of trying to find all the items you’re looking for. Below are a selection of the many ways the supermarket brings me joy.

1) Being present in the moment. Going to the supermarket forces you to be present and focused by making sure you don’t bump into someone and that you get everything on your shopping list. Although it’s also easy to do the very opposite of zoning out trying to find your favourite cereal box.

2) Discovering new things. Trying new recipes, finding ingredients, discovering new products and trying new things are a fun part of going grocery shopping. I previously would make the same meal nearly everyday, whereas, buying different kinds of items makes you creative and think about what to cook.

3) People watching and listening to music. There’s probably scientific research that the music played at the supermarket is designed to make you stay longer, feel good and buy more. I have admittedly stayed at the supermarket pushing the trolley around to finish listening to a song. There’s also something amusing about watching people do their shopping.

4) The necessity of grocery shopping. There’s something very rewarding about cooking your own meal as a self-confessed previous non-foodie. When you cook your own meals it can feel satisfying and it can make you feel accomplished. Grocery shopping is also a regular routine in our lives and supermarkets are a familiar place that we go to every so often.

5) A change of scenery. It’s easy to spend time sitting in an office or being at home, but when you go to the supermarket, you can switch off and just think about what you need to buy. Something is always different each time: different music, different people, different fruit and veggies.

6) Browsing farmers’ markets. The best grocery shopping is at the markets when it’s a sunny day outside. It’s fun to stare at the dogs walking by and to find the cheapest cauliflower. There’s also a lovely atmosphere and it feels different to the feeling of when you’re shopping in a supermarket.

7) Having fun with your loved ones. Going to the supermarket is a fond memory I have with my family. Whether being in New Zealand or Taiwan, or being at a supermarket or an outdoors veggie market. There’s something about food that quite literally brings people together.

What do you enjoy or not enjoy about grocery shopping?

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

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.

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