My favourite line to joke around with friends when in the face of adversity is “The struggle is real”. Nothing seems to encapsulate the moment better I feel.
We will always face struggles in our daily lives. Adversity is that one friend in our life that we don’t want, but has something to teach us. It’s among us and frankly, we might as well learn to ride with it.
I know that by now, just mentioning Marie Kondo’s name is a cliché, let alone that term, spark joy.
But I must tell you, she came into my life at the right time.
Specifically, she came into my life in 2018, about 6 months after I turned 26 when I was slowly coming out of a phase of jadedness with renewed life spirit. As they say, I was ready to KonMari the heck out of my entangled mind, my soul, and of course, my room full of things.
Some days I do wonder if this was all fated.
You know what’s ironic? People’s behaviour on social media and in real life.
I’m a regular user of social media such as Instagram and Facebook and yes I do follow some celebrities here and there, in particular Muslim / ‘modest’ fashion bloggers whom I’ve grown to resonate with over the years because of the shared faith.
For some inevitable reason, these platforms have really evolved to become some sort of a space for open reflection. Everyone wants to post their opinion about what they think about this person’s post, whether they think it’s right or wrong, how that person could do better, how that person is either setting a good or bad example.
Depression comes in many forms and varies in degree. Some are very serious, need to be clinically treated while others are mild, possibly not even noticed. But it doesn’t mean that it’s not there.
The latter best describes how I would diagnose myself if had to diagnose myself for depression. I don’t have it. But sometimes, some days, it feels like I do.
George Orwell listed four motives for writing in his 1946 essay Why I write which can be summed as Sheer egoism, Aesthetic enthusiasm, Historical impulse, and Political purpose.
While I do agree with Orwell that these motives probably exist in every writer, I’ve come to find that my primary motive in wanting to write is more intuitive and straight foward.
A friend once asked me whether I knew the difference between empathy and sympathy.
Sympathy is feeling sorry for someone, and empathy is putting yourself in their shoes?
Yeah! I thought you didn’t know. Anyways I feel it’s more important to show empathy.
Now that I am a bit older and have quite passed the raging hormones of a bitter adolescent, I feel like I can appreciate my parents more.
I know this happens to all of us, we only begin to show true appreciation when we have gained more maturity or are ourselves have become/about to share the same experience.
I’m writing this post because I recently had a moment where it finally hit me – this will be me one day.
Now that I’m no longer 25, I guess I could reflect a bit on what felt like a really hard year.
On my self esteem that is.
Someone very close once told me to focus on responding to a situation, instead of reacting. We were having an argument and that person later sent me a quote saying “Respond, don’t react” and I must admit, I couldn’t help but smile.
There was an elaborate explanation that accompanied the quote which goes:
So it’s been about close to 10 years since I joined social media. I signed up on Facebook in 2009 and Instagram later in 2012. Okay yes, I had friendster way back then too but the effect of social media back then was not the same. I was not as glued as I have become today.
I was thinking about the many things I’ve learned about both myself and general behaviour of people from my experience over the years.
Are people really what they seem to be? Am I really what I seem to be? How come she finds this person inspiring but I don’t? How come I don’t get as much attention for my caption which was way better than his? How can some people “quit facebook?” cos man I would feel super FOMO!
“People always want others to change, circumstances around them to change, but hardly want to change themselves.”
We’ve all heard this before. We say it to one another, reflect for five minutes, and then continue as normal – expecting others to change.
Time and difficult experiences with people have taught me that first and foremost, people don’t typically change for you. They change for themselves, and were in fact inspired by you. So you could inspire them to action. Not impose your expectations.
Time and difficult experiences with people have also taught me that I should never expect change – I should change my perspective of things to adapt to the circumstances. Someone being difficult to you? Inclined to hate or fight them? Wish you could change the way they think? It’s okay. Look in the mirror. Focus on what you can control – yourself. Change the way you view the situation, mould yourself to adjust. The miracle out of this is that things do change. And most of the time, nothing actually happened. You just decided to accept the situation and make the most of it – and guess what? You won. You’re happier.
I thought I learned this in 2016. Yet I continued to struggle with this concept into 2017 and now into 2018, I hope to try harder to understand. I cannot change people. I cannot change the situation. I can pray to God that He would help, but the reality is that I must help myself too.
I once read somewhere “If you want someone to change so much, what is it about them that you love?”
I have been struck by that quote since.
People will always subconsciously impose their beliefs on you. Without thinking, without realizing. They never mean harm, I know this for sure because I see my family and closed ones overly expressing their concern that they think something else may be better suited for me. They mean no harm, they obviously mean well. One must remember that. But it is what it is, an opinion. And who knows best may be them, but what is best is not always what is desired.
To reverse the situation, I have also been one to impose my beliefs to my closed ones and I realized one thing for sure, it doesn’t really work.