A note of staying grateful …
Let me share with you, the first thing that I am grateful for today. I am writing this on a 5 am morning which I have allocated the time to just write. Not putting so much pressure on myself, after a year of slacking off from ‘just write’. I have now decided to come out from my comfort hiding place. For this much courage, I am grateful.
This is a writing that just popped up on my mind right now because I know, in the past 12 months, I have not been very happy, positive, GRATEFUL, calm, motivated at all. I have not done a great job in balancing what I have been containing inside my mind, inhaling all the anger and exhaling only loves (No, most of the time I swear I could feel myself exhaling fire), and even if I am able to reset my mind, is not showing externally. Let me tell you it is still like a mental turmoil, tsunami, tornado of feelings and that state, it is not the best feelings ever.
I have to be coping up with my mood swing, sudden tears (Pity ‘A. Hi, boyfriend!) or thoughts like, “I feel so tired, I slept poorly last night. Today sucks, I just want to go home. Maybe I’ll call in sick tomorrow. Maybe I should just quit. Maybe I’m just going to stay home and sleep. People says hurtful words to me, maybe it’s true I am not as good as anyone else is. I should just disappear.”
About 12 months ago,’A pulled me aside one night at dinner, grab my hands across the table, call my names few times as my tears were glistening down my cheeks before I really wiped my tears off and keep still for a moment to listen to him. He started the sentence with, “Let’s look at the bright side of things…and say Alhamdulillah.Let’s say this together…” and my tears just drained down like a little girl who loses her Mr. Teddy.
We talked that night and I went to bed feeling much better.
His words of comfort and advise inspire me to write this note to self to myself and to you too, to remind you and I on how we both can stay positive and grateful even at our lowest point.
I took some time to think, reflect and practising it (it’s a year now) before I could be able to share this with you.
The first thing is, celebrate our small wins. It is as simple as celebrating the fact that we wake up each day, Alhamdulillah. There’s a roof over us, to be able to look over a window and witness the beautiful greens and sunrise., Alhamdulillah. Then we walk over to the kitchen, there’s plenty of food to feed ourselves and family, Alhamdulillah. It may not be a 5 star food like the hotel but it’s still food to keep the energy for you to bear the weight of what’s coming for the day. The list could go on to have a job, to have people who we love and who loves us dearly, to have almost every single thing we could see, feel, hear and taste around use! Small wins, those little things are so humbling and meaningful yet is forgotten because we are so fixated with bigger things that we want to happen but didn’t happen the way we want it to be; hence, we forget the beauty of those small wins around us.
Number two is, to always remind ourselves that it is all temporary. It is important for us to understand that we will never be in the same state at all time. Of course, it is unrealistic to be productive all the time, happy all the time and even angry all the time! I learnt that in these past years, being uncomfortable isn’t a dirty word, sometimes it is a sexy sign that you are about to break through to the next level in your life.But nothing stays forever. For example, I’ve struggled and stumbled few times in my career before I reach to another stage that I desire to be. I was feeling uncomfortable and fucked up (excuse my language) at that time but I am glad that it has passed, lesson learnt, knowledge gained and I am in a better state of career now! My mother always tell me this, life is like a merry go round, it has its up and down. In a month, it just so much more than just a turmoil tsunami in our mind. Sometimes, it is not as bad as it seems, just keep our chin up, keep going towards that goal and stay present (to never look back!).
Three, is to focus on what’s most important. It takes practices for me to learn to hold myself, take a step back and re-look into the situation I am in again and again, re-look and re-identifying what are those important things in my life. Important things for me is my family, my love for writings, the people who offer big bear hugs for me when I need it the most etc; by taking a step back, it does help me to divert my focus from my bad state and change it into a better perspective. My boss kept telling me this, “When things get too overwhelming, tell yourself, wooo! Hold on!” and A (let’s just start calling my boyfriend, Atik as A) would tell me, “take yourself away from this issue”, “start changing the way you look at things”, “focus on what’s most important for you”, “sometimes the downtime is an opportunity, grab it”, “things will work out, you just need to find a way to make it work, In Sha Allah (with Allah swt will)”. If you could gather all those quotes that I have just mentioned, say it out loud, slowly word by word; can you relate how those “quotes” can become a powerful reminder when they are combined together?
Fourth. Let it go. Ok, when I took a step back during my downtime, I start asking myself, what is this state? Not feeling at my best. Then I asked, is it work? Is it health? Is it relationship? Etc; it could be anything, what ever it is. I ask myself the next question, is it actionable? If yes, it means I have a solution to it and I should probably plan to make it work. Like, for an example, I am not good with cooking, and I should probably find an article to read, or join a cooking course, or maybe get some tips from my mother or just Pinterest it. Or maybe it is because I am not good in Excel report and I should be finding a course to learn or talk to someone who is good with it. If the state you are in is actionable, by all means, of course, we should all be proactive. If no, it is probably because I can’t change the state, or there is nothing I can do about it, so….. I have to learn to make myself to let it go. I know, it is easy to let ourselves dwelling into things that make us upset and soak, but I could have courage and find a way to just breathe in and move on, Although, it is okay to feel angry, I am not saying we can’t, but in long term, as A said, getting into this negative feelings will only affect me. Affect us.
Fifth. A continuation to what is actionable, I started to find ways to make changes. I started with changing my routine, not all at once but one thing at a time. Changing routine for me could be, waking up earlier than usual, plan to go for lunch with different people (doesn’t happen oftenly for me due to my tight schedule), go for a breakfast with A before work (something that A does recently to tweak our morning routine), play a game on my phone (cause I am not a game person in general), plan for a day-trip, pamper myself (gets haircut or eyebrow trimming at the salon), read articles or maybe go for a simple walk around the neighbourhood. I normally plan this ahead of time, at least a week before so that I know how my week will look like in advance. I have experience the differences with my mood in a day instantly. So yes, go ahead change your routine! If will be even better, if you can partner with someone to begin a new routines (but of course, there is nothing wrong to start all by yourself!).
Next step is to always put a gap in between your tasks, at least take 5 minutes to do things that you know will make you feel much better. Like come on, if you don’t have 5 minutes for yourself, are you sure you can make time for anything else you plan to do? 5 minutes for me is to make myself to sit down with my pen and journal first thing in the morning, to write down at least 5 things I am grateful for each day. Or I do it before I sleep, depending on my schedule. Sometimes, if the days are too routine for me, I could be writing the same things every single day but that’s okay, because it is good to remind ourselves that we are gifted with something everyday. Be grateful for everything in your life.
Be kind. Yup, you heard me. Be kind to others, even when they are mean to you. Have you heard your mom telling you, “let them hurt you, but we should never do the same to them” which is actually sound more easy to be mean back to somebody (We all felt that, did that, regret that later, been there, done that!). What you give, you’ll get back. I love the positive version of this line, if you constantly keeping kind to people, eventually it will happen back to you. You may not being receiving the kindness from the person you give, but there will always be someone else who will be kind to you too, in so many other ways! You could be inhaling all the hurtful words, but if you train yourself to exhaling something kind, it will eventually grow on you and you will slowly feel much better. It might felt like fake at first to allow yourself respond kindly even if that is not what you want to say, or feel, but it eventually become second nature (learn it from my four years relationship with A). Hard for me, I am mean and strong in expression by nature, and the 20 year old me will give best comeback to people who are mean but no, a 30 year old me will try to hold it and respond kindly (Still struggling with this! Not going to lie).
Cut the wire. Cut out negativity. If you have people who are majority making you feel miserable about yourself, constantly making you down, making you unhappy, cut them out. I have cut a lot of people in my life, decluttering my friends list in my life and I have to be real, it is the best decision that I have ever made. It feels like a weight was lifted out of my chest.
Do things that make you happy. I personally sometimes think that I don’t deserve to do certain things because I thought I could be wasting time, bother anyone around me or because I thought I should only do things only when I completed big things. “A” keep reminding me every now and then, “don’t be to hard on yourself. You deserve to do random things that make you happy too”. The whole point is, A was trying to make me realise to never feel bad even if people think its stupid or pointless, as long as I am happy and doing it makes me feel better.
Nothing is bad is bad as it seems, you can choose to see the good and bad, you are completely in control, you can change for better or you can change it for the bad..