This year has been meaningful in many more ways than I could have imagined. I tapped into my intuition more, reflected on my innermost deepest thoughts, forced myself out of a cocoon of self-deprecation, and put more faith in God. As a result I felt a tidal wave of doubt pass by. It was one of the best personal feats I have experienced to date.
As usual, a list of self reflections is in order. I contemplated on whether to just write about one main thing I learned, but it seems I had a lot more to divulge haha.
12 things I learned in 2019
1. Gratitude multiplies with every thought
Perhaps the most common application of gratitude is that people only want to feel it when something good happens. But even with no new developments, you can still be thankful for your present life. The more I felt gratitude, the more I realised there’s a lot to be thankful for.
2. When you choose to open your heart, you will achieve greater understanding
A lot of times people say they want the best for someone but they say it from their head, not their heart. When you do that, the thoughts don’t translate to action, resulting in behaviour that is not truly accepting. If you want to better understand them, do it from the heart and you’ll find that there’s a lot of space for that there.
3. Whatever it is you feel, allow yourself to feel it wholeheartedly, and then move on
One of the things I hated to hear when I was going through something was to “get over it”. It felt so insensitive and completely disregarded the fact that emotions matter. But I do believe they do and they should be felt and not suppressed. These days when I hear of a friend or loved one struggling, I tell them it’s okay to feel the emotion. Feel it in your system till you have decided to let go and move on. Then you know you have healed.
4. The spice of life long friendship is in learning new things about one another
I have been friends with my Bestie for over a decade now and I guess we still have things to learn about each other. There were numerous occasions this year where she said she had “learned something new” about me and I realise the case is true vice versa. Just because you’ve known someone for so long doesn’t mean you should stop getting to know them. There’s always something to learn.
5. Reading one book a year that you truly focused on and took away something is better than reading many you couldn’t finish
So I’m not saying this with bitterness but I completely failed my 12 books in 12 months challenge this year. I think I only managed 5 books haha. But I realised that setting targets like this can sometimes be daunting. It’s not impossible and I will try to reattempt it again next year, but I’m proud of myself for managing to read 5 full books anyway. The point of targets like this is to maintain a momentum. But I also believe it’s important to read for the learning. The 5 books I read did change my life this year.
6. Show more patience to your parents who are getting older, just like how they showed you patience when you were growing up
Everytime I find myself losing patience with my ageing parents who may be behaving slower or not understanding what I’m trying to say I quickly remind myself that I used to be like this, when I was young. I tell myself that they at least deserve the same patience they showed me when I was young and needed their help. We all know how the circle of life works. One day we’ll grow up and wish for our kids to show us the same compassion. We have to start with our elders.
7. Train yourself to see the good in a stressful situation, it will help ease your worries
A stressful situation is inevitable. It will happen to all of us, even on the best of days. Perhaps your anxiety may crop up. Maybe you will hear a piece of bad news. Or things don’t go as planned. Something will happen and life will go on, but it does depend on how you control yourself in that moment. Life is not all that bad and even the bad days go away. There’s a silver lining and you just need to remind yourself that thing’s will be ok.
8. When you fall sick, take the time to truly recover
As I write this blogpost, I’m currently down with a cold and feeling generally tired. I don’t fall sick often and most of the time when I do, I tend to recover swiftly (or I tend to force myself to). But this time, I just feel meh. Perhaps my body is telling me to slow down and take it one day at a time. The restless soul in me is dying to go out and have a coffee, but my matured conscience is telling me to stay in my room and just try to relax. I need to listen to the latter more.
9. ‘JOMO’ (joy of missing out) is actually enjoyable and a healthy feeling
I discovered this word recently and was surprised it became a thing because it does describe how I’ve felt about a lot of things lately. I did use to have FOMO for a lot of things, but these days I’m quite glad to be out of the loop. It’s quite nice to do things at your own pace and your own capability, and not out of sheer pressure as everyone else is doing it. I find it helps with my anxiety levels too.
10. Never be too desperate for something. What’s yours will find its way
I think this is a hard struggle to overcome. And I say this because I do see a lot of older people struggle with this irrational desire to want something so bad and when they don’t get it, they break down. I would like to say that society and its expectations have a part to play in this, but ultimately we need to remember that some things are not within our control and are willed by God. Well, everything is willed by Him. If we can remember to put trust in his timing, then we know that it’s not that we’re not destined for a certain happiness, it’s just a matter of when we’re destined for it. I believe everything that we’ve ever wanted will come at a time most unexpected. Really, that is the best kind of surprise.
11. Noone has ever become poor by giving. Be generous as often as you can, the world will always reciprocate
I am always thankful to be in the company of generous people. Not just because they’re generous and give without expecting back, but because they truly inspire me to be the same. And without a doubt, when you offer a blessing of generosity, that generosity will always be paid back in some kind. I believe in that for sure. Plus, it’s such a great feeling to see someone happy when you pay them a generous deed. We should all live for that kind of happiness.
12. God listens, but first you must talk to Him.
I always hear people ‘wanting’ something. They really hope for something to happen and they hope to God it does. I feel the same. But it’s not enough to just want something silently. Although God knows what’s inside your burning heart of desire (because He is all knowing), it should not leave you complacent. If we believe all blessings come from Him, then it’s to Him that we should ask. God knows what you want, but he also wants to see you turn to him and ask. Make your prayer, ask him for the blessing and wait for his generosity to fulfill you.