create and grow happily

Tag: Happiness (page 1 of 1)

Four Personality Tests You Can Try Today to Better Know Yourself

See, I agree with Shrek when he said that ogres have layers. I also think that us humans, like onions and ogres, have layers. And much like how peeling an onion layer by layer is a slow, gradual process, so do peeling your own layers. As a twenty-something, I honestly believe that there’s still much of myself that I have yet to learn and get to know.

Which is why I find personality tests fascinating.

And no, I don’t mean the “What potato salad are you?” kind of personality test on Buzzfeed.

These four personality tests helped me learn more about why I act the way I act, what are valuable to me, how I act with others, and why I can’t – for the love of all that is good – follow through with personal goals.

4 Personality Tests You Can Try Today | self-improvement, personal growth, myers briggs

Myers-Brigg Type Indicator

This is probably the most popular personality test in this list.

Myers-Brigg Type Indicator (MBTI) looks into four aspects of your personality: how you get energized, how you take in information, what means you use to make decisions, and how fast you can make a decision.

I took this personality test for the first time a few years ago in my General Psychology elective class. And surprise surprise, I got a 100% in Introversion back then. The great thing about this personality test is that it’s pretty accurate. I’m an INFP-T, according to the NERIS Type Explorer, which based its test on MBTI. And let me tell you: the description screams Kate!

With MBTI, you are able to identify your strengths and weaknesses, particularly in the process of making a decision and interacting with both people and ideas.

Four Tendencies

I’ve learned of the Four Tendencies from listening to Kelly and Carly of the Straight and Curly podcast. (Side note: If you’re looking for an awesome podcast on self-improvement, give them a listen!)

The Four Tendencies framework was created by Gretchen Rubin and it can help you identify how you respond to inner and outer expectations. This is particularly helpful when you’re trying to create new habits and achieve goals.

Related: How to Follow Through with Your Goals

You can take the test on Gretchen’s website, or maybe you’d know which tendency you are a part of just by reading the definition of each below:

Upholder – If you’re an upholder, you meet both inner and outer expectations so you don’t let others and yourself down. Upholders generally find creating habits easier than other people but they may still struggle.

Questioners – Questioners only meet inner expectations. They don’t do anything arbitrarily. They’re only going to do something if it makes sense. For instance, they could keep a resolution if it is extremely important but they won’t do it at a certain date like say, January 1st, just for the sake of it.

Obligers – Where questioners only meet inner expectations, obligers are the other way around. They only meet outer expectations. This means that they can easily achieve tasks and form habit if there was an external accountability involved. But they can’t do it on their own.

Rebels – As fairly named, rebels resist both inner and outer expectations. They would most likely cringe at the idea of creating routines and would generally try to live life with spontaneity.

The Attachment Theory

Coined and developed by Bowlby and Ainsworth, Attachment Theory examines the emotional bonds between people. They also suggested that our earliest attachments (aka back when we were all wee potatoes) have lasting impact on how we respond and act in our relationships as grownups.

There are four attachment styles, namely: secure, avoidant, ambivalent and disorganized. The attachment theory does not only examine the romantic relationships we have – although, some questions in the test do focus on that.

I am a mix of secure and ambivalent, leaning more on ambivalent. When taking the test, I suggest thinking of how you are with your friends and family also. You can find out what your attachment style is over here.

Enneagram

Enneagram was my recent personality test find. I know it’s been around for a long time, but I’ve only taken the test recently. And let me just say: my type was super accurate to me?? I couldn’t believe it???

The Enneagram Institute describes enneagram as “one of the most powerful and insightful tools for understanding ourselves and others.” The idea here is that we’re dominantly defined by one type, but that we may also have a bit of the other eight types.

I am a Type 4, also known as the Individualist, which was pretty spot on, if I say so. You can try a free enneagram test here and learn about your type in-depth on the Enneagram Institute’s website.

I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

Have you tried any of the personality tests above? What are your results?

xx Kate

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4 Personality Tests You Can Try Today | Know yourself, self-improvement, personal growth

Photos from Ivory Mix

We Need To Get Better at Asking for What We Need

When I read that sentence on a newsletter I subscribed in, I felt like someone suddenly turned the light on me. Like I could finally see the world clearly and in full Technicolor.

Is this a problem I struggle with? Heck yes.

I’m the type of person who would gladly help others, however much I could. But when I’m the one at the asking end, things are a-whole-nother potato salad:
I am SO not comfortable asking other people for help.

Just saying that, admitting that to the ethers where other people can read it, is giving me the heebie-jeebies. Maybe it’s my pride that’s stopping me. Maybe it’s because I feel I’d be imposing too much if I ask for help. Maybe it’s both plus a hundred other internal complications like low self-esteem and high self-doubt. But there it is.

Why You Need to Get Better at Asking for What You Need | #personalgrowth #mindset #happiness #mentalhealth

We’ve all had this feeling, I like to think. It may not be as severe as mine, but I’m sure you’ve gone through this to a certain degree. I mean, you wouldn’t have clicked on this post if you haven’t, right?

I find teens and young adults usually find it difficult to ask for help. I was definitely one of those teens – still am one of those young adults.

But even when you’re an adult (or #adulting), you may still have some difficulty asking for help.

Why is it so difficult?

Well, the short answer for this is a word you’ve probably come across a lot if you’ve been reading my blog for a while:

FEAR.

Having trouble asking for help stems from a lot of causes but the main root is often fear. Your fear may be a different kind of fear from others’, but it’s fear all the same. Here are three common ways fear may hinder you from asking what you need:

Fear of Showing Vulnerability

Asking for help is one of the most vulnerable things you can do in front of someone else. And people avoid looking vulnerable like the plague. Which is probably why it feels so uncomfortable.

Fear of Breaking Your Perceived Image

We like to think that we are fully capable of facing our problems on our own. Again, this could be because we don’t want to seem weak or vulnerable (which are two different things, by the way!)

Fear of Rejection

When you ask for something, there’s like a 50-50 chance you’d probably be rejected. It’s a “Sure thing!” or an “I’m sorry, I can’t” kind of question. Often I find myself skewing that 50-50 odds. I’m super focused in the worst-case scenario (i.e., getting rejected), I have zero reason to believe that people will actually reason.

Fear gets the best of everyone. And I mean every-freakin-one. And letting fear hinder you from asking for help, is also letting fear hinder your growth.

3 Reasons Why You Need to Get Better at Asking for What You Need | personal growth, mindset, happiness, lifestyle

WHY YOU NEED TO GET BETTER AT ASKING FOR HELP

1. You can’t do everything on your own

You may feel like some kind of superhuman who do not need to ask for help. But here’s the thing: Even computers can’t do things on their own.

The computer or tablet or phone that you’re using to read this right now also has limited capacity. It’ll be even less capable without the Internet and added storage.

Even world-famous people like Michael Phelps and Steve Jobs and Arianna Huffington and Oprah didn’t achieve what they have achieved completely on their own. Even their triumphs and successes are a product of the many hands and minds of people who’ve influenced them or worked with and for them along the way. Even my blog is a product of the tons of help I got, both directly and indirectly.

This isn’t to say that this blog isn’t entirely my work. It totally is! But all throughout this wonderfully journey, I’ve learned a thing or twenty from people in some way or another. And we all do!

2. People want to help you

It sounds ridiculous. And sometimes, I still can’t wrap myself around this “ridiculous notion”. But it’s true. People want to help you. They really do. (Dum-dee-doo.)

The trick here is, they won’t really know how they can help… if we don’t tell them. And we’ve already established that (scroll back up) we rarely do.

A friend of mine once shared to me that she had a grudge on a friend of hers. All because her friend did not do something that she “thought was pretty obvious” she needed.

The problem with thinking this way is that this is wrong most of the time.

Like when I thought that smudge of paint on my artwork was super obvious and is totally ruining the entire piece but my mom didn’t see squat. She didn’t understand why I was so upset because the reason was invisible to her.

I’ve learned that what seems completely, totally, undeniably obvious to me is most likely completely, totally, undeniably unnoticeable to others

3. You open yourself up

Sometimes we’re so afraid to ask for help because of the scary possibility of getting a no. That we might get rejected.

But like I said, people want to help you! There was this study that found people actually get help twice as much as they thought they would. This only goes to show that people want to be helpful and feel useful, but we think otherwise.

Think about it: isn’t that why you love to help others?

I know that’s why I love to help. Because I want to be helpful and feel useful.

When you ask for help, you’re telling people they can help you. You’re telling people you are open to learning from them. You’re telling people that you are human and you don’t have everything figure out (which is totally okay!) You’re telling them you need help. And that you want to rely on them.

In doing so, you are not weak. Or incompetent. Or unworthy. You just need support. Nothing wrong with that.

I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

What do you need? Let us help you! 🙂

xx Kate

Photo from Ivory Mix

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Do you have difficulty asking for help? Same. But here's why you need to do it anyway. || Personal growth, Mindset, Happiness, Asking

Why you need to let your inner child out to play

At age 8, I was already building my very own empire.

A paper empire, to be exact.

I have a paper doll, Analysse, who had a paper mansion and custom tailored clothes (I drew them myself).

She was living The Dream, I’m telling you!

But the thing was, her house was empty. She needed to eat the most delicious food and have the most beautiful things. She could even have her very own elephant, I thought as I look at my thick coloring book given to me by my uncle. It’s filled with the exact things Analysse needed – hair brush, hand bags, elephants and ice cream. Tons of ice cream.

I grabbed a pair of scissors and was about to cut them when a hand held my wrist. It was my aunt.

When she asked me what I was doing, I told her I’m going to cut out a few of the pictures so I could play them with my paper doll.

That’s not how you use coloring books, was what she told me then. Coloring books are for coloring. It isn’t meant to be cut out.

I’m sharing this story now, not because I have a grudge on my aunt for not letting me play back then (I don’t hold grudges) but because, remembering all those years ago, I realized that I was held back. I wasn’t allowed to play however I wanted.
And just like 8-year-old me, my inner child has also been held back. And it stayed that way for years.

I’ve only allowed my inner child to play freely recently. Like 2016 recently. And even to this day, there are still times when I hold myself back.

Here’s the sad truth:

inner child quote

We somehow have this idea that adulthood meant shoving your inner child into the deepest, darkest recesses of your subconscious. That we would no longer need it when we’re adults. Add to that, we live in a world where child-like behaviors are frowned upon.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been told to “grow up” after doing something fun and carefree and completely un-adult-like.

That’s one aunt holding you back from your play. But really, it’s the aunt inside us that we listen to the most.

Why you need to let your inner child play | adulting, personal growth, creativity, grow up, happiness, personal development

Back in the 1970s, psychologist Eric Berne theorized that we all have three parts in us all the time: the parent part, the adult part and the child part.

The idea is, in order to live a happier life, you need to find the balance between these three parts. By age 15, however, (and I’m guesstimating here ok??) we let our adult part take the reins completely. Because that is what’s expected of us – to be adults.

Sure, we’re all adults now. We have far more responsibilities than we did as eight-year-olds. But that does not mean you need to shove your inner child onto the back corner. I have 4 reasons why you need to unleash your inner child and make friends with it.

WHY YOU NEED TO LET YOUR INNER CHILD PLAY

1) It Relieves Stress

As a kid, you usually don’t care about falling down or getting bitten by ants or having dirty hands. You just play and have fun and enjoy yourself! Who cares about dirt? (Adults, that’s who.)

Plenty of studies have shown that the carefree, playful attitude that’s often found in kids can increase happiness and reduce stress.

I’ve had tons of impromptu dance parties with my brother at home and I know this to be true. Play with your pet! Stop for a sec and smell the flowers. Get on your knees and get dirty.

Small yet super fun activities like these can help you forget, even just for a while, the stress that comes with adulting.

2) Strong Fearlessness Muscles

I have these two distinct memories from two different periods in my life:

The first one was when I was around six or seven, dancing my butt out in the middle of the makeshift dance floor at my mom’s office Christmas party.

The second one, I was a sixth grader in our school’s bathroom with my friend, showing to her that I could dance the Spaghetti dance in secret.

I’m a college student now in my senior year, and the only place you could see me dance is inside my house with my brother. (And it only takes me about two minutes and I start wheezing. Gosh I’m old.)

My fearlessness muscles that were super active when I was a six-year-old have become super, super stiff. And I’m sure I’m not the only one in this.

Letting your inner child out to play is a great exercise to your fearlessness muscles. Neither your parent part, and especially not your adult part, has any courageous streak in them. Only your inner child do.

clear jar with buttons

3) Creativity and Inspiration

If there was one word that you could associate with kids, I’d say it’s “why.” Children are curious little potatoes. You’ll probably remember those times when you were a kid and you either thought to yourself or asked an adult why.

Why is the sky blue? Why are Tom & Jerry always fighting? Why do my friend Jenny only have a mom and no dad? Why do ants march in a single line? Why can’t those children go to school? It’s asking these questions that will foster your creativity. It will inspire you to think, to empathise, and to be more aware of the worlds both inside and around you.

The connection between your inner child and creativity has also been scientifically-backed. The Mission made a list of how unleashing your inner child can make you creative.

There’s also this amazing Ted Talk by then twelve-year-old Adora Svitak about how “childish” thinking inspires bold ideas and unhindered creativity. It’s a lovely talk and you should definitely check it out here.

4) You Become a Better Adult

Did you know that narcissistic behaviors and temper tantrums seen in adults are the result of your inner child “acting out”?

Mind = blown.

When you don’t give it play time, your inner child will find its own way to play by acting out. And, as things often do when restrained for too long, they act out in an awfully ugly way.

So all those so-called adults with negative child-like behaviors? You know. Those who are like a child in a grown man’s body (one of which you may know has an orange-y skin and hay-like toupee)? Those adults have not befriended their inner child or are even aware of it.

Mind = blown. Again.

Look, I’m not saying being an adult sucks. (Although adulting is definitely hard, not gonna lie.) If it weren’t for our mature and adult self, the world would be in total chaos. Like far more chaotic than it already is. True adulthood means taking your responsibilities seriously.

But remember: it is also important to let your inner child out to play. It is your inner child’s job to be creative, curious and courageous. Things that I’m sure we all need to cultivate as we also start our journey into adulting.

I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

Have you let your inner child out to play? What are your thoughts on inner child and how it’s affecting your life? Share them below!

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Photos from Jess Watters (via unsplash). Check out the photographer’s website here.

How to make your daily commute more relaxed and bearable

If you live far from your school or work, then you’re pretty familiar with the life-draining experience that is commuting. You know that feeling when you’re in one heck of a traffic jam, your blood pressure spikes and your stress-level goes from zero to a hundred real quick? Yeah that.

I personally have no qualms on long commutes; my family has always lived far from the city centre and we prefer it that way. But I despise the heavy bumper-to-bumper traffic that comes with commuting.

I hate it with passion.

And when I’m royally pissed while commuting, I’ll bring that mood with me wherever I’ll go. Then I’d be royally pissed at everything for the rest of the day.

How to Make Your Daily Commute More Relaxed and Bearable | Daily commute, relaxed, mindfulness, happiness, stress relief

Let’s be real here: being royally pissed for a whole day can be quite exhausting.

Bad moods drain the life out of you. They exhaust you. And when you’re in one, it’s sometimes pretty hard to get out of it. Daily commute and traffic jams have a way of pushing our buttons, which is why commuting can be so stressful.

The thing is, it doesn’t have to be that way! Your commute time can be peaceful slices of your day, if you want it to. That’s why I always try and make my long commute to and from uni as relaxed and as bearable as I possibly could. Here are some things you can try to have a more relaxed and more bearable daily commute.

6 SIMPLE WAYS TO MAKE YOUR DAILY COMMUTE MORE RELAXING AND BEARABLE

1 | Read a book

This works when the traffic is super heavy and the cars move at, like, less than five centimetres per hour. Reading a book that’s light and in your favorite genre can make the daily commute more enjoyable. If you aren’t into or able to read a book in your commute, then maybe listening to an audiobook would be great for you. (And yes, listening to audiobooks is technically reading! Fayt me.)

2 | Listen to relaxing podcasts

Podcasts and commute are the best combination, you guys! I was a skeptic before, since I love listening to podcasts in a quiet room. But I was a quick convert the moment I listened to some of my favorite podcasts while taking the suuuper long commute to the office I interned in last semester. It made that hours-long travel more bearable. Sometimes, especially when I’m listening to Straight and Curly, I’d have to bite back a laugh. Talk about bringing good mood to where you’ll go!

3 | Do small craft work

This one, I’ve never personally done during my commute. But one time, there was this fellow passenger in front of me who was crocheting while we were in a traffic jam. She looked absolutely cozy and relaxed while doing it, too! There are also fellow artists who bring a small sketchbook with them so they can sketch while commuting. If you’re into small craft works like crocheting and art, you can totally do this! These are definitely small yet absolutely fun activities you can do in your daily commute.

4 | Be present (and listen to Sargant)

Being present, especially in an often stress-filled environment like the middle of heavy traffic, can be extremely difficult. And I’d like to give a special side eye to those impatient drivers who toot their horns like some entitled trolls and horribly adding to the already noise-polluted situation. We all want to get out of this traffic, Benjamin.

I recently came across Ash Sargant, this man who created ten-minute tracks of the BEST ambient music I’ve ever heard. What he did, in my opinion, was extraordinary.

Sargant believed that one of the reasons why we find our commutes super stressful is because we associate the usual sounds we hear during a commute – the footsteps, the car horns, the engines – with stress. So he recorded calming music tracks using traffic, escalators, footsteps on cement floor, and all other mundane sounds that we usually find annoying. This particular track, Big Departure, is my favorite.

5 | Practice mindfulness

I don’t practice mindfulness regularly but the times that I did, it never fails me. One simple mindfulness exercise I do while commuting is picking up four things that I can sense with four of my senses. So, four things I can see, smell, feel and hear. I usually don’t include taste. If mindfulness meditation seems hard for you, there are also short guided meditation podcasts, like Chel Hamilton’s Meditation Minis podcast, and apps like Headspace that you can listen to.

6 | Catch up on sleep

By far, this is my favorite thing to do while commuting. And as someone who can sleep on, like, any-freakin-where, this comes easy-peasy for me. It’s great too, since I don’t have to awkwardly look at that window pane in between the two passengers in front of me. Catching up on sleep during your commute is fantastic especially if you didn’t have much time to sleep in the past few days.

Do you take long commutes everyday? What do you do to make your daily commute more relaxing and more bearable?

xx Kate

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6 Simple Ways to Make Your daily Commute More Relaxed and Bearable | Lifestyle, stress relief, mental health, happiness
PS. I have a Pinterest board for stress relief and another one for mindfulness and mediation. Check them out!

How to Turn The Comparison Game Around and Actually Help You

Comparisonitis is, unarguably, a real thing. It is an awful modern illness a lot of us have experienced, you know, at least once or twice a year.

And there is nothing more awful than comparing your wonderfully unique self with another equally wonderfully unique person. I’m sure we all know this. Deep deep down.

But we just.can’t.help.it.

Comparing yourself to the people around you is almost as easy to do as enjoying a glass of Coke. Or five. You know too much of that carbonated drink is not good for your health but you keep chug-chug-chugging on, anyway.

By now, you’ve probably heard this a million times but I’m still going to say it: You get zero benefits from comparing yourself to other people. It never turns well.

And as Taylor Swift once wisely said, Never ever ever.

How to Turn Comparison Around and Actually Help You | personal growth, comparisonitis, comparing, self improvement, progress

But I recently came across something on Twitter that you can do instead.

Anoosha is one of the many (many) artists I look up to and she made a thread where she shared her art journey and career path. In it, she cautioned young artists against career comparison and she recommended something mind-blowing instead:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Reading that, yo, you wouldn’t believe how I reacted. I was just… BLOWN AWAY!

Because to me, that is the perfect way to turn the Comparison Game around. And you can actually do it in the healthiest way possible.

By comparing yourself now to how you were before, you will see progress.

To see that you have grown, one way or another.

And the best thing about comparing your present self with your past self? You’re super focused on self-progress that you have zero time to compare yourself and think about playing catch up with the rest of the world. #Winning!

Here are a 3 things you can compare your present self to with your past self:

1) Your Creative Work

How have you grown, artistically? If you draw, do you have better grasp at anatomy? Or if you’re a writer, do you write better prose? Or maybe even piecing a better analogy?

There’s this meme in the online art community where artists and illustrators share works they did 3 years ago, a year ago and now. It is a super awesome way to see the growth of their art styles. Try doing this in your own creative field.

If you’re a writer, compare what you’ve written from 3 years ago, a year ago and now.

If you’re a photographer, put those three photographs side by side.

This meme is absolutely applicable to almost all kinds of creative field – if not all! – and will visually present to you how much you’ve grown over the past three years.

2) How You React or Respond

Are you calmer and more levelheaded at dealing with conflicts now? Or maybe you are no longer afraid to speak up your mind and are able to disagree with someone’s opinions without being impolite or rude?

Do you say ‘thank you’ more than ‘sorry’? And for my fellow socially awkward potatoes out there, are you slaying those socializing events? (Why yes, actually saying something as coherent as “Yes, it is!” to a total stranger, is huge progress in my book!)

Take some time to self-reflect. Recall a recent experience. Consider how you felt at the time and try to see it in a third person’s point of view. What would younger you have done? Did you respond with more love and respect now than if you faced a similar scenario then?

3) Your Lifestyle

Do you eat more fruits and veggies? Do you no longer wheeze after climbing two flights of stairs? (Honestly, give yourself a pat on the back, that’s great!) Do you no longer give in to your impulsive buying tendencies? Do you make procrastinating work for you? Are you more productive?

I know firsthand that these can be suuuper hard to do. (Especially that not wheezing part.) But it is definitely not impossible!

4.) Your Habits

Are there old bad habits you had that you no longer do? Because omg that’s so great! Bad habits are hard to stop, as they always say. Have you created better habits recently and they now come as easy as breathing to you?

Habits are one of the foundations of someone’s lifestyle. If you have good habits established into your daily routines, this will ultimately define what your lifestyle is. For instance, I used to stay up until 3AM. And so I’d spent most of my commute to and from school asleep. This was kinda okay back in high school, but come college, it was awful. I was perpetually tired and sick. And so I forced myself to go to sleep as late as 10PM so I’d still have adequate amount of sleep. Now, I wake up bright and early and ready to tackle on the day’s work!

Being able to look back on how you were before and comparing it to how you are now helps in boosting your self-esteem and self-confidence. This is proof that you’ve gone so far and have progressed.
And remember: progress comes in many shapes and sizes.

There’s always progress as time flows by. ALWAYS. It’s damn near impossible to be at a total stand still for a year or two. At the very least, a morsel of you have changed because of the things you’ve experienced and what you’ve taken from those experiences. All you’ve got to do is see them for the progress that they are.

What have you achieved recently? Do you have any other tips on how to track your progress?
Share them all below so we can celebrate with you and learn from you at the same time! 🙂

xx Kate

Photos from Say Hello Photography and StockSnap

Friendly Reminder: Let Your Weird Be Free

Hey hey.

Have you ever been called weird as a kid? Has anyone ever laughed at something you thought was extremely funny or extremely interesting and looked at you like you’re from another planet? As if they were saying, “Why is this kid so weird?”

How did it feel being called weird in such a subtle yet brutally honest way?

Did it make you feel embarrassed? Did it take a huge hit to your self-esteem? Did it make you rethink about what you thought was funny or interesting? Like you are now convinced at the possibility that maybe you are from another planet? Like maybe showing that quirky side of yours was a wrong move?

Ever thought that maaaybe you should just hide your weird side from people? That maybe it’s better that way?

Well, imagine this:

You’re hanging out with your friends.

You cracked a dad joke. Or made a smartass comeback. Or created a horrible pun. Or danced macarena without the macarena music. Or educated your friends on the mating process of narwhals. Or shared an unpopular opinion, like, I don’t know, aye-ayes are cute. (Although I honestly don’t think this is an unpopular opinion. Aye-ayes are cute. But I digress.)

Basically, you did something weird. In front of your friends. In public. For everyone to see and hear. Yikes?

Nope. Not yikes. Not yikes at all.

Because, my dear quirky friend, you have NO idea.

Friendly Reminder: Let your weird be free | Inspiration | Motivational | Positivity | Happiness

Perhaps an author was sitting nearby, contemplating this scene in their work-in-progress. And they saw you. And an idea sparked. Perhaps that author’s novel will be a New York Times bestseller. In the book, there’s gonna be an iconic scene — inspired by your weirdness.

Perhaps a Youtuber saw you and snorted at what you did, choked on his soy milk caramel frappuccino even. And it inspired a comedy sketch that will garner millions of views and will be copied by other Youtubers and will be the reason the choked Youtuber could host on SNL. All because of a sketch — inspired by your weirdness.

Perhaps a sperm whale researcher was drinking black coffee with his baklava. Sitting at a corner booth, he overheard your heated monologue on narwhals, and it gave him the key solution to the conservation of sperm whales — and so it was inspired. By. Your. WEIRDNESS.

Look. I get it.

These may seem like ridiculous scenarios. You may be thinking, “What kind of sperm whale researcher hangs out in a mall’s food court??” To which I say, YOU. NEVER. KNOW. YOU NARROW-MINDED POTATO.

Because people being inspired by your weirdness isn’t weird.

That’s the point I’m trying to drill into your wonderfully weird brain.

We live in this blue and green oblate spheroid big enough to accommodate all kinds of ideas. A planet bigger than all of our brains combined. Can you imagine that? It’s bigger than 7 billion brains. Seven billion!

Each of us can only generate as much ideas. But all these ideas coming out from our hypothalamus and our gray area and our cerebellum… basically from all parts of our brain, all of these ideas are unique. And before you tell me, “Welp someone made this and that. My idea’s not unique.” Hold your horses, you.

What I’m saying is, these ideas are unique in a way that they are molded with your own unique perspective and came about through your own unique experiences.

They may only be one puny idea in a world teeming with so many other puny ideas, but they are the only puny idea of that kind that came from you. That puny idea of yours is part of a complex idea system. It is the one unique protein that make up a chromosome, which ultimately makes one well-coordinated and functioning body.

Can you imagine if the idea of Apple came about from some other guy named Steve but not Steve Jobs? Can you imagine if someone else other than Xi Lingshi found out about the silkworms’ cocoon of thin fibers? We probably wouldn’t have silk.

It probably might have become, like I don’t know, really thin hair extensions made of worms’ cocoons. (Which is more of a mouthful than just silk.)

Can you imagine if J.R.R Tolkien burned all the papers containing his fascination on making Elvish language because some brute told him he was weird? Can you imagine if Mama and Papa Mozart didn’t support Mozart’s affinity for music and made him become a baker instead? Can you imagine if Dr Seuss didn’t write?

And so: be weird.

Be the kind of wonderfully weird that you are.

Not just because it is a disservice to yourself to lock that part of you in a cage. But because it is a disservice to this planet that is simply begging to witness that strange beauty unfold.

I can guarantee you, the world will be a lot less brighter if your weirdness was locked away deep inside you. In some dark place that no light can shine upon. And won’t that be a shame?

So let people give you the judger eye. Let other people sing about you in your own version of the song “Belle (Little Town” from Beauty and the Beast. Let them question your ideas. Let them question it or raise their eyebrow on it or laugh at it.

And if it hurts too much, find me. I’ll buy you ice cream and let you free your quirkiness and celebrate it for the whole world to see. Let them be scandalized by how shameless they think you are for not keeping your weird tucked away.

Because you know what? There is no shame in showing the whole world who you are — every beautiful aspect of you.

You are you. You matter. And you are beautiful, quirks and weirdness and all.

Share your quirks below and allow me and everyone else to celebrate them 🙂

kate

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PS: What’s stopping you from doing what you want to do?

Photos from: Death to Stock Photo and chuttersnap via Unsplash

5 Reasons Why I Choose To Have a Positive Mindset

The idea to write this seems hilarious for me. Because to be honest, “positive” is not something I would describe myself.

See, I think I was born a cynic.

You wouldn’t believe how easy it is for me to see the bad things—expect them even! So every time something’s on the news that’s bad (and there are tons recently) I can hear my cynic self poking at my mind like,

And I told one of my friends about it. How I feel sad whenever I prove my cynic self right. And my friend told me this… really simple yet amazing thing:

“Then one of your goals in life would be to prove your cynic self wrong, right?”

The moment he said that, I was instantly filled with this purpose.

I mean. I wouldn’t call it the Ultimate Purpose of My Life™. The world didn’t turn upside down. I didn’t discover the fountain of youth. I wasn’t enlightened the way Buddha was.

But it was something.

Something that won’t keep my entire mind submerged beneath the murky waters that my cynic self so lovingly dwells. Like a grumpy old troll who lives under the bridge.

I’ll have to tell you, though: being an optimist and creating a positive mindset is slightly different.

I mean, think about it. I would never call myself an optimist because it’s not something ingrained in me. That’s just not who I am. I’m still a cynic; I’m just trying to build myself a positive perspective. And yes, you can be an optimistic cynic, Psychology Today said so!

So here I am: a self-proclaimed cynic building a positive mindset for a year or so, sharing to you the reasons why I chose to have one.

5 Reasons Why I Choose to be Positive | Are you a natural-born cynic? Dude, so am I. And I've chosen to have a positive mindset. Click on the pin to check out my 5 reasons why I did so!

1 | It does not mess up with your thinking — and your health

The thing with being a cynic is that you’re cautious with everything you see, hear, feel and read. And you expect bad things to happen. You see a guy wearing a long coat and a bowler hat and every alarm in your body sounds. Unless you’re a Riordan reader then you’d be like, “OMG is that my Uncle Amos who’s gonna tell me I’m a host to an Egyptian god??”

Outside that, your first instinct is going to be: AVOID THAT GUY LIKE A PLAGUE.

All that suspicions and skepticism, all that negative emotions can mess up with your mind — and even your physical health. And the thing is, we’re naturally skeptical. Expecting the worse is part of our innate survival instincts. So having a positive outlook can balance out that natural skeptic within us.

Also, I did mention above that having a positive mindset kept me from being submerged into the Deep Depths of Negativity, right? So yeah: a positive mindset is like a life preserver keeping you afloat.

2 | It helps build your resiliency

This one’s no question. Creating a positive mindset can help in building your resiliency amidst any adversary you may encounter. And people who have a more positive outlook in life are able to cope better when the going gets tough. Because they can see past the problems they’re presently facing. They also have that admirable ability to see the good in whatever scenario.

This is something that I actively practice everyday, whether that be through gratitude or just a conscious veering of my mind to the good stuff.

3 | You won’t overly panic when dealing with problems

I’d like to think that I’m not the kind of person who easily gets overwhelmed with problems. I’ve even been told that I seem calm at the most stressful situations.

The thing is, that’s probably just my poker face working wonders.

More often than not tho: I do react; I just do the reacting mentally. So in scenarios like when we aren’t halfway through a group project that’s due in two days, I’m basically like:

Image result for panic gif

So yeah, I do panic. I just panic mentally.

But then over-panicking of any kind is never good. Which is why building a positive mindset helps a lot. Telling myself “You can do this, Kate!” and thinking that I am capable of getting through this problem are good morale-boosters.

Related read: 5 Motivating Mantras for when You Think You Can’t Do It

But you shouldn’t just rely on positive thinking for you to overcome obstacles or reach your goals.

4 | If you add in realism, a positive mindset can lead to greater success

It’s been long proven that believing you can succeed is important to succeeding. But believing you will succeed easily? Like without all the hard work and the sweat and tears and blood and a part of your soul dissipating into the void?

Not good yo.

This is where being realistic comes in. In fact, believing that the road to success will be rocky leads to higher success rates because it prompts you to act. There was even a study conducted about this. So don’t just be all cliché and say, “I know I’ll succeed! Sure, it’s gonna be a rocky road BUT I WILL SUCCEED!” Because while this is good pep talk, it won’t be enough to drive you into action. I talked about my two cents on failure here.

Actually freakin-acknowledge the hardships you’ll be facing! List them down if you must!

For example, you believe that 2017 is your year. You just freakin-feel it in your bones: you’re going to get that limited edition Rainbow Unicorn Kit that they only sell in Target like once in a blue moon. Yes, that’s good for morale.

But for you to actually get that glorious kit, you have to list down all the problems you expect to encounter. Traffic, big crowds who also want that Rainbow Unicorn, wailing kids who cry to get what they want, and other things. See the difference?

5 | It can affect the mood of the people you interact

I read in this article that we humans usually reflect back how other people behave towards us. So if you’re being snappy to someone, there’s a high chance that person’s going to be snappy to you as well. And if you’re being a quiet, awkward potato, people will be quiet and awkward to you too. The same goes with positive emotions.

I mean, have you ever wonder why smiles and laughs are so contagious? People unconsciously and automatically mimic whatever emotional expression is thrown their way. This is another reason why having a positive attitude is a quality a great leader should have. It inspires his team to do their best. It’s a subtle yet really good motivator — for anyone, really.

And so, you don’t only help your own disposition, you can affect others’ as well!

Do you think having a positive mindset is important? Do you also have a hard time thinking positively? How do you cope with it?

And the most important question: DO YOU LIKE RAINBOW UNICORNS??

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PS. Check out how to heal your discouraged heart after missing an opportunity + 5 self-limiting beliefs you should banish from your mind

Photo from Ivory Mix

How to Let Happiness in Your Life Every-freakin-Day

A lot people would say that happiness is a choice. Others would say happiness is a state of mind. Some want it super specific and say happiness is a tub of Oreo cookies and cream ice cream.

What I do believe is this: happiness is a bit of everything. And when I say everything, I mean every-freakin-thing.

It is a choice and it is also inherent. Happiness is a state of mind but can also be physically projected. In this post, though, I want to discuss its inject-ability — how you can let happiness in your life. Because you totally can! Here are some ways:

Whether you find happiness as a state of mind or a choice, one thing is for sure. YOU can take control of your happiness. Here are ways to let happiness in.

List All the Good Things that Happened Today

You can either write it down or just do it mentally, although I personally like writing it on paper and going through all of them afterwards. It just puts a smile on my face. But you can do what suits your fancy!

And when I said list, I don’t want you to be a picky-lister. Maybe you wouldn’t list this morning when a random dude smiled at you. But non non. Include it! Include every little good thing that happened.

Whether it was picking a penny or getting a candy from your friend. The point of this is so you’ll acknowledge the fact that even on bad days, there are things that made you happy or feel good.

Acknowledge the Universal Coexistence

See the last sentence on the previous paragraph? Now read it again. I said fact, because—well, obviously—it’s the truth. Good and bad coexist with each other. One definitely can’t exist without the other.

And yes, I know how deeply philosophical but again, truth.

That being said I hardly believe the entire twenty-four hours of a day could go by without any good thing happening. Because I know the good and bad always come together.

Acknowledging this, especially the thought that the bad things will come as often as the good ones, may make you feel more acceptable of the sucky moments. At least I do, anyway.

Make Time for Your Hobbies

Hear me out for a second, your hobbies are important. I know you must have met people who would scoff at you and tell you these are “just hobbies” and they will do nothing for your career. But I’m telling you, they are important.

Think about it: if all you’ll be working on for the entire year is school or your job, then it won’t be surprising when you’ll get burned out sooner or later.

It doesn’t have to be an entire month either. If you like to draw (like moi) maybe you could doodle during lunch break. If you’re into poetry, you could try writing a draft or even reading a piece by your favorite poet.

And when I said hobbies I don’t exactly mean scrolling through social media, especially Facebook. Because for one, you might just waste time looking through your friend’s vacation pictures or something. And for another, social media envy is as real as a unicorn.

(Seriously. Look up African unicorns.)

You want to find time doing something that, while it’s not part of your regular routine, it is fulfilling in some way and makes you feel looser and more relaxed.

Related: Check out my guest post on La Ivana where I discussed the importance of having a creative hobby.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep (at least on weekends)

Friend, repeat after me:

I’m not a machine.

I’m not a machine.

I’m not a machine.

Because you aren’t. Heck, even computers need to either shut down or sleep, depending on what kind of rest it needs.

We all have our limitations. And while our brain is probably even more astounding than any machine invented, it will eventually get tired. Why do you think the concept of a good night’s sleep is created?

And I’m not one to shy away from burning the midnight oil, I tell you. Especially when I need to finish a huge project or study for something. But I do make it a habit to at least sleep early on less busy nights or the weekends.

Less stress, you know?

Listen to Awesome Music (and dance to it!)

Not to brag but our house always has a stock of great lively music. Not to mention my very own growing *ahem* awesome playlist, my sister is also the kind of person who does not gravitate towards a particular genre. And her jazz and 80s rock songs are so dance-worthy.

That said, whatever kind of music you like, so long as you freakin’ love it, play it on speakers and dance the sadness away with it! Or embrace the sadness! Here’s a confession: I actually have several mellow songs and I even dance to those. I do a weird hybrid of frustrated ballet and contemporary. Sometimes with an added dramatic expression. And hey, it still uplifts me!

Basically, just listen to something good and move your body while you’re at it.

Onto you: How do you inject happiness into your life? Do you do one or more above? Something else? Share them in the comments!

Kate xx

When Things Seem to be Falling Apart

A few times in your life, you would hit a low point. Like the sad chapter in a novel or one of those sad slow montage in movies with rain or sad songs in the background—or even both.

when things seem to be falling apart

And to the viewers and the readers, the bystanders who merely witnessed you at your lowest, it’s not a big deal. It’s a short-lived moment in a bigger picture. A blink of an eye. They’d think you’re being too dramatic. But you know they’re wrong.

They haven’t experienced it the way you have. They don’t know the pain and sadness that only you bear.

They don’t understand.

And so you suffer quietly. Blinking back tears, pushing them far back into your eyes. You try to lift your head up, look at the ceiling, but see nothing through the blur of unshed tears filling your sight.

They don’t see the swell and redness that your eyes should have after crying because you did not shed any tears. You did not cry loudly; no one could hear the song of hurt playing deep inside you.

No, only your body could feel your struggle and your mind was the sole listener of that sad song. The swell wasn’t visible outside because it was your heart that stretched unbearably with bottled up pain.

To the people who are suffering alone, who are crying in the dark or silently inside, to those who feel like things seem to be falling apart around you, please know.

I understand.

I’m one of you. I have felt similarly to what you are feeling now. And let me tell you something honest.

The others are wrong, yes. You are not experiencing a montage that would fade instantly. But they are also right. It is not the end of the world. That burden is not forever. And if it comes to a point when it becomes overwhelming, please.

Please don’t allow yourself to be drowned by your sorrows.

Please remember that you are stronger than your struggles.

Please know that I am here.

If that makes any difference.

I’ve learned to accept that life comes with harshness and cruelty and difficult obstacles but even now I still don’t know the secret formula for passing through each of them with no scratch. I bear with me scars that will never fully heal and I will carry them for the rest of my life. But I refuse to let that stop me from wanting to live the life that I want to lead.

And it mustn’t let you too.

So suffer. Give yourself a moment (or three) to cry, to acknowledge the pain. Mourn for that tiny piece of perfection now wounded and utterly imperfect. Grieve for the loss of happiness but know—truly know—that it’s only temporary.

Because what’s amazing about life, I learned, is that it’s so much bigger than all of us. This makes life uncontrollable and unpredictable. But this also allows life anything inside it. Anything. The possibilities of what will happen next are infinite, as are your choices. Even at times when it feels like you’re cramped tight in a box.

So cry. Be sad. And then choose to be happy, to be hopeful, afterwards.

I know it’s hard; I keep returning in that same position, always struggling every time. But try. Stand back up bearing the scars. Forever with you, a reminder of what you have gone through. There will be moments when they’ll hurt again.

But stand and keep on walking anyway.

Have a happy day, awesome person 😃