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

Surround Your Life With Positive People

Daily Thoughts

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In our day to day lives, it may not always be possible to interact with only positive people and even if we are a positive person ourselves, everyone has days where they feel under the weather. However, if we want to surround ourselves with positive friends, then we need to strive to be someone who is positive. Having good influences in one’s life will greatly improve our attitude and ways of thinking on many things and it will contribute to the peace and happiness in our lives. I really do believe that we attract what we project to various extents, in the sense that if we’re kind and caring to others, we’re far more likely to attract people who are also kind and caring towards us.

This may not be always the case, and sometimes in life there are those who need positive people to help them escape their negative feelings. However, in the end we are the ones who are in control of our own feelings, thoughts and actions. We should all strive to be the person we truly are. I say this, because I believe that everyone has a light within themselves, but it’s a matter of switching it on. Surrounding your life with positive people includes yourself, as what you feed your mind is so important and living in the present means you aren’t robbed of thoughts from the past and worries about the future.

Positive people are motivating, inspiring and have values of being kind, friendly, supportive and encouraging. It’s being confident in your skin and realising that life goes on. It means not allowing certain people to get the reaction they want out of you, knowing you’re in control of your actions and learning to be patient, caring, loving and understanding. I do find people who are unkind always teach us a lesson, because they teach us to not be like that and they remind us we should treat others how we would want to be treated. They also teach us to learn to forgive and let go, rather than hold on and feel bitter about small things.

I believe that the friends we surround ourselves with are so so important, because they also show a level of reflection of our identification of who we connect with and what characteristics we are attracted to. Some of the most positive people I know are selfless, non judgmental, truly caring, very honest, good listeners, willing to help and encouraging. We should manifest what we attract and project what we believe in. The moment I feel negative, upset or angry is very often when I think of thoughts from the past or worries about the future, and that’s why there are countless books advising us to stay in the present. Striving to stay in the present is the best gift of all.

Positivity ties in with gratitude because it tells us of all the things we have which are overflowing when we recognise it. I recently read an article here that says that 90% of the things we worry about don’t ever happen. That is to say, most of the things we tend to worry about don’t happen. There is a paragraph that reads “人們總是浪費太多時間在後悔過去和擔心未來,以至於無法好好感受當下的人生,不僅無法好好愛自己,同時也錯過許多美好的時刻。” which says: people tend to waste a lot of their time by regretting their past and worrying about the future. They are not able to live in the moment, they aren’t able to truly love themselves and they miss out on many beautiful moments. 

Sometimes pain is mixed with pleasure and it becomes a habit, which makes it harder to stop. This means a negative person may complain a lot, feel a lot of anger inside, feel that their life is hard and blame other people. They project how they’re feeling onto other people, and often the things they say to others are simply a reflection of what they’re feeling inside. No one is perfect, but when we practice gratitude and letting go of parts ourselves that don’t help our self growth, we can feel true freedom. Being negative holds us in a cage and it grows bigger if we keep feeding it bad thoughts, but when we think positively it flourishes even quicker and it’s contagious and encourages other’s to do the same, because it feels good.

There are people who have a lot of money and are unhappy, have no money and are happy, have money and are happy and have no money and are not happy. Life is what we make of it in any given situation, and it’s the willingness to create the life that we want to live. That’s why our thoughts are so powerful, because they allow us to take the first step and create the path we want to walk on. When we become more positive, we attract beautiful things into our lives and we feel good about ourselves. It’s all energy that is projected into the world. Happiness is not relied on others, and can only depend on yourself. This means that you have the ability to make your own choices.

Long-term happiness is from the relationships we have with people. Truly positive people make you feel beautiful, because they see the beautiful qualities you have inside and bring the best out of you. Positivity makes us complain less, want to be a better person, feel motivated, become more resilient, judge less and be kinder. This is why people often say comparison is the thief of joy, because it is one aspect that grows and feeds negativity if we don’t use it as motivation. It eats us alive and tells us that we aren’t good enough, but you absolutely are. Every person is good at many things, but the most important step to being positive is to love yourself and believe in yourself.

Art by Lieke van der Vorst

Many Things In Life Are A Blessing In Disguise

Daily Thoughts

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Are you someone who believes that everything in life happens for a reason? From the people we encounter, the experiences we have, the places we travel and the memories we make. One of the best advice I’ve ever received, was being told that in any situation in life, it’s how we react to it. We have the choice to have a positive or negative reaction to something. We can also choose to see and learn from the situation in a positive or negative way. When I was in Taiwan, I met people who would work in jobs that required dealing with all kinds of customers all day, but they are willing to help and so people can really feel that energy and feel more relaxed.

We all face challenges, misfortunes, unpredictability and changes in life. At the time, many of them may of felt painful, sad or frustrating, but over time they can serve us the greatest lessons, make us stronger and wiser and allow ourselves to grow as a person. The friends we make are also there in that period of our lives for a reason.  Many things in life are a blessing in disguise, because the things in life that we feel were a failure may of been the very thing that pushed us to succeed. The things in life that made us hit rock bottom were the moments that gave us space to grow.

Have you ever had experiences where something didn’t work out, but something better came a long? A blessing in disguise is learning to be independent from a young age. It pushes you to chase experience, challenges and go through the ups and downs. It reminds you that your happiness is relied on yourself. When we go through our own battles, we can become stronger from them. When I didn’t feel the satisfaction in teaching music and decided to stop studying music, it made me explore the possibilities of other things and it opened new doors.

If you’ve ever been through depression, there is one thing I want you to remember. There is a strength within you that you don’t know you have, but it’s there and it always has been. It’s that pulsing thought that life is worth living, because in the end, everyone will die one day. Tomorrow is not promised, but today will be the best present we could ever receive. There are many things in life we do not have control of, and then there is the small percentage of things in life we have control of.  I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.” ― Charles R. Swindoll. 

Remember to have faith in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, you can’t achieve things that you are capable of. Many things we have to leave to God, whether that be our worries, stress, frustrations and sadness. Every person will face good and bad situations, but we can choose whether to become a better or worse person because of it. As you grow older you realise the things that truly matter to yourself, and you realise the things that don’t really matter at all. One thing I find more and more important is the practice of gratitude. We quite possibly have everything that we need in life.

Everyone has their own perception of a situation. We always have something to be grateful for. To be happy and healthy in life is truly all we need. When we gain more experience, we can learn how to face the situation better next time. A lot of things made me realise to never care what other people think, because they don’t truly know or care for me. Unless it’s words said out of love or from the mouth of someone you care for, most of the time it’s judgment of things only seen on the surface. If we believe that everything happens for a reason, we can leave things that have happened with peace.

You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. – Christopher Robin to Pooh 

Art by Kirsten Sims

Living In A World That Is Always Busy

Culture

A cat is a wonderful example of taking life one day at a time. Do you ever wonder how common it seems that when we ask people “How have you been?”, often the response is “I’ve been very busy”. At least, for many of the times when we have had a hectic week, a lot has been happening or because it has simply become socially accepted and almost encouraged and praised to be a busy person. It is something that has become admired for sounding productive, hard working and always on-the-go. I felt the need to write this, because I feel there is an incredible need to embrace the art of relaxation (as the ginger cat appears to show).

Relaxation is an art of living, breathing and soaking in life. Truly there are weeks where we simply are very busy and it is inescapable, and there are other times where we cause ourselves to feel busy. At the same time, time is something that is often a term loosely thrown around. The truth is there is always time. Busy has become an excuse, over exaggeration, over used and a term made to make us feel a sense of business so to speak. As a country girl at heart, I deeply felt that sense of business when I moved to the city. Everything was always moving, going and never stopping. Many strangers faces looked stressed or occupied. Where as in the country side, people took the time to say hello, good morning and have a chat.

How much work do we really achieve when we are busy? You may of heard of the words: Quality not Quantity. The term busy, actually increases the chances of feeling stress and imbalance in ones working and private life. Life requires balance and ultimately enjoyment. A schedule and lifestyle is very often something that comes from our choices and attitudes towards it. A messy wardrobe can become easily minimal and simple if we make the choice and time to clean it out.

A few years ago, I was working at a lovely cafe. Each Saturday, a co-worker would ask me “What are you getting up to this weekend?” and most of the time I would reply with “I’m just relaxing” or “I’m doing nothing”. She would look concerned and say “Just nothing?”. However, when I made the effort to ask everyone, there would always be an exhausting list of things that many people plan. It’s a simple example, but there is a wonderful enjoyment in doing nothing or just relaxing that we often overlook.

Many people believe time is always running out and money is there to make, therefore adopting a busy lifestyle is expected. Yes, we all need to survive through work, but there is always a part of me that feels the need to escape into an adventure and live, truly live life. Even just taking time to read a good book or spend an afternoon listening to music. Everything is possible, when we make the time for it. The world feels non-stop especially with the rise of technology and living a life online and offline.

The decision to live a life that is simple and enjoyable is always in our hands. Take moments to reflect what the little things you enjoy in life. The early morning sunshine, quiet moments to rest, daily walk outside or the meal you had for lunch. Living a life by putting importance on peace, relationships and inner well being is far more important than running a never ending schedule. Believe it or not, we are the choice makers in our lives. Bask in the wonderful things you enjoy, such as the hobbies one makes time for. Life needs those moments to step back, take a deep breath and pause.

cat via