For My 29th Birthday…

Hey, guys!

Okay, I know my birthday isn’t until next month, but I’ve been doing some thinking lately, and I wanted to do something different for a change, seeing as how it’s going to be my last year in my 20s.

I want to make a conscious, deliberate effort to better myself. 

You’re probably going “so wtf have you been doing for the past, idk, 10 years or so if you haven’t been trying to be a better person?” … but hear me out here.

Yes, I have been growing mentally and emotionally (in some areas), and I’m happier for it. But there are also other things I’ve closed my heart to, because of situations and events that were often beyond my control. And that has caused me to stagnate, as I wall myself up in an impenetrable fortress, to protect against rejection and hurt. Perhaps it does; but it also prevents me from being the best version of myself that I can be, and has cost me a number of potentially good friendships.

I came to this realisation after talking with a friend who’s big on self improvement. I admire his aspiration and efforts to becoming a better person, which has in turn made me reflect on what I’ve been doing with my own life. I’ve been pushing people away and shutting out things that don’t fit my narrative because I’ve been afraid of how people would see me, or how it would make me feel. I’ve been unapologetically ‘me’ ie “if someone doesn’t like me it’s their problem”, but can I say 10/10 that it has always been their problem? Nope.

For someone who prides myself in my knowledge and intellect, when did I become so… close-minded? 

That isn’t to say I can go straight to living with my heart on my sleeve. As someone with a reserved personality, I probably never will. But I guess it’s about striking the right balance between being true to myself and being open to changing for the better, and being a more genuine person. Or at the VERY least… not think that everyone else is an idiot (which I have a tendency to, lol).

So how am I looking to improve myself? 

I’m a big fan of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (it’s a personality test/classification of sorts that some people call out as BS but I think is pretty accurate). It has helped me understand (or at least encapsulate into words) a bit of how I am as a person (I am an INTP – ie ‘The Logician’ and ‘The Truth Seeker’) – so I believe this is a great place to start to identify the key areas; kinda like a mini SWOT analysis. A good article by personalitypage.com breaks down some of the key strengths (quirky, witty, intelligent, rational, flexible, honest); but it’s the weaknesses that I want to look at.

1. Inferior ‘Extraverted Feeling’ ie ARE THESE EMOTIONS? KILL THEM WITH FIRE

Without making this too technical, the Myers Briggs accurately describes (for me) that an INTP’s least developed function is their ‘extraverted feeling’, ie emotions.

If I was to divide my personality into driver/passengers in a car, my thinking abilities (Ti) would be the driver, riding shotgun is my intuition (Ne), while my Sensing is the sulky teenager at the back. Screaming in the background is my 10-year-old child (feeling (Fe)). The Thinking being the ‘adult’ imposes control over all the other passengers in the car, so that they remain quiet and in service of the ‘driver’.

I read somewhere once that INTPs can be some of the most mature and yet immature people you’ll ever meet – and I fully agree. My emotions can be child-like: therefore I feel things very intensely despite my stoic demeanour. But because it is underdeveloped, I am not naturally in tune with how other people feel, or know what is expected of me in society – like a wayward child. Knowing this, I need to put conscious effort into understanding others, if I’m going to get over this problem. This means growing my understanding of social and intimate behaviours.

2. Not everyone is an idiot  

I tend to be dismissive of people whom I think aren’t on my level. Yes that sounds horrendously snobbish and I know I’m not the smartest person in the universe, but its true. In simple words, I need to be understanding that not everyone thinks the way I do, and that’s okay. No matter how stupid an opinion sounds like, I should refrain from judging. Seek to understand, before judging.

3. Make myself  (un)comfortable 

There is a tendency to want to stick to things I’m familiar with, because I know I’m good at them. Here I defer to an excerpt taken from the personalitypage:

“To grow as an individual, the INTP needs to focus on taking in as much information as possible through Extraverted Intuition. He or she needs to allow themself to get into situations that they aren’t necessarily comfortable with, or that are different from the situations that they would normally choose in life. The INTP learns from experience, so the best way for the INTP to grow as a person is to open him or herself to new experiences. Your task, as a person interested in personal growth, is to understand the world in a truly objective fashion, and how you fit into the world, rather than how the world fits into your life.

4. Zen 

This ties in to the (1). Emotions are underdeveloped, therefore I have a tendency to either be chill af or go completely bonkers. I mean explosive, hellfire and brimstone and we wont even be able to talk to each other anymore bonkers. Sometimes I wonder why the hell I get so annoyed over things. I need to learn to take a deep breath and understand that getting angry isn’t going to help (although it’s tempting to just call people incompetent, lazy fucks but don’t do that eris. I think that’s how you make enemies.)

And finally, 5. Work with people 

By far the hardest. I would like to say I’m a pretty competent person. I hate delivering anything short of perfection, because handing in anything less than that reflects badly on my intellect and capabilities, and there’s nothing I hate more than incompetence. As such, I have a hard time delegating tasks to people, because 9/10 times the quality delivered isn’t up to par. The task for me, then, would be to be manage people properly – especially if I’m looking at a career path with a more managerial role.

There you have it! A couple of things I think I can improve on. People don’t usually make resolutions for their birthdays, but I suppose there’s a first for everything.

Still feels surreal to say, “Hey, I’m going to be 30 next year!” lol.

I don’t really know how to end this, so I guess I’ll just end it.

 

30 Day Writing Challenge Day 1 : On Happiness

“Happiness is a state of mind.” 

I often hear this phrase being thrown around, alongside, “money can’t buy happiness” and “money isn’t everything.”

And perhaps it isn’t. After all, we often hear about the rich and famous getting depressed, taking drugs, spiraling out of control, taking their own lives. If they had it all, why, then, would they still be unhappy?

Then there are those who subscribe to another ideology: “It’s better to cry in a Lamborghini than on a bicycle.” “Money isn’t everything, but everything needs money.”

It might be true to some extent – comfort and pleasures can be bought with money, and for some, this is their measure of happiness.

My point is, happiness is a fluid concept, which can mean different things to different people.

For me, happiness is about loving yourself

I used to let my happiness be dictated by loved ones. As the consummate Asian child, I was brought up to believe that happiness was to be filial to my parents, and that meant living up to their dreams and expectations. From a young age, my path had been laid out before me – all I had to do was follow, and for the longest time, I believed that it would make me happy.

But I wasn’t. 

Deep down inside, a part of me knew that if I walked down this road, I would end up resenting myself and my loved ones. Myself, for not having the courage to speak out. Them, for not understanding, because they do not know any better and genuinely think they are protecting and guiding me to a better life.

What hurt me the most, perhaps, is the fact that my idea of happiness – being able to do what I want and love – was in conflict with what my loved ones wanted me to do and become. Because at the end of the day, I do want their blessing. I do want them to be proud of me.

For the longest time, I struggled with depression and anxiety, feelings of worthlessness and crippling self-doubt, to the point where there were days that I could not function like a normal human being.

I still have such days, and I don’t know if it will ever go away completely. The ever elusive feelings of ‘happiness’ come and go like a breeze. And that’s okay.

Why? Because I’ve learned to love myself a little bit better. I understand that no person can go through life happy all the time, so I’ll take whatever happy days life gives me. I’ve learned to appreciate the little things more.The smile of a loved one. An outing with a friend. The beauty of the sky and the clouds, the golden hue of the sunset as I drive home from work. Travelling. Filling my head with new knowledge. Not letting negative people affect me as much as it used to. Managing expectations. Being content with things.

Life is short and fragile, and it can be gone in the blink of an eye. I think its wise to have as many happy days as possible.