Opening Up About Not Feeling Skinny Enough

Personal

I feel a little scared to write this. I was around twelve when I started weighing myself on the scales. I ran in the morning before school, and straight after school when I got home. I drank a lot of water and I ate as much as I liked because my metabolism was a skyrocket. When I left home at sixteen, I developed signs of an eating disorder. I would skip meals, exercise a lot, eat slowly, document what I was eating, weigh myself several times a day, obsess over my BMI and drink a lot of water to feel full. I had depression, anxiety and a fear of gaining weight.

When you grow up with people telling you that you’re skinny and that it’s said as a compliment, there is this pressure that stays inside your mind to maintain that body image. However, now that I’m in my twenties, my body is naturally changing. My metabolism isn’t what it used to be, and I feel more aware of eating healthy and having an active lifestyle. The beauty standard in Asia is to be very petite, but our bodies are all made differently. After many years of struggling with my weight, I feel the healthiest and happiest now. Surround yourself with people who love and support you, do the things that you enjoy and feed your mind with positive words.

There are days where I still struggle, but I know it’s not my true self. The true voice in myself says that your self-worth comes from who you are as a person, and it has nothing to do with the number on the scales. I don’t want to be defined by my weight, but by what I can bring into the world. The title really speaks about my teenage years. In the past, I went through a period where I was feeling a lot of hatred towards myself. I felt not worthy, and there was an overwhelming amount of worry and fear taking over my life. I felt like even though I was stressed, I could control my weight and what I ate. It’s not healthy, because then you end up neglecting your body.

I was 18 when I was living in Sydney in 2015, and it was a time where I really struggled with my body image. I remember gymming more and watching what I was eating. There was fear and insecurity during that period of my life. I felt incredibly lost. My anxiety was crippling at that time, and I really isolated myself. I was regularly going to the doctor and the hospital, and had a lot of health issues. When it comes to eating, I used to feel quite conscious at times when eating a meal in front of people, unless it’s those I’m very close to.

Our bodies are beautiful, sacred, precious and wonderful things that keep us moving, breathing and living life. I do think that it can be damaging if one compliments too much on a persons body size. When you grow up from a child being told that you’re so skinny and that it’s said as a compliment, it’s something that can really stay entrenched in your mind as you grow older. I know that my value lies in my heart, yet there are days where I stare in the mirror and feel a sudden fear of gaining any weight. It all starts in the mind. A persons weight can fluctuate when dealing with stress, anxiety, and depression.

Everyone has insecurities. We all have something inside and out that we’re conscious of. When I think about where I was previously, it was during a period where I was unhappy, and I felt like I wasn’t skinny enough (which was when I was the lightest). I rarely ate in the dining area in a previous flat a few years ago, because I literally didn’t want my flatmates to see me eating. It’s really been this year, where I’ve felt safe in eating in the dining area. It seems like something so small, but it’s a huge change. Since leaving home, there have been periods where I didn’t eat well. When I had feelings of stress, I felt like I didn’t have any appetite.

We often don’t emphasize it enough, but your health is truly your wealth. Without your health, you wouldn’t be able to wake up and conquer the day. You wouldn’t be able to experience this beautiful life. When I didn’t have a healthy mind, it started to affect my body and I felt weak, unmotivated and a loss of energy. It was during that time where I suffered from panic attacks and had very deep depression. Our thoughts are so powerful. When I started being more present, thinking positively and accepting myself as I am, I really felt set free from the cage I’d built inside my mind.

I’ve read so many stories about those who showed warning signs of anorexia, and during those periods where they were the lowest weight, was when they were the unhappiest. Being skinny won’t make you happy. It’s embracing where you are, right here, right now. Accepting yourself as you are. Being grateful for everything that your body has done for you. Being thankful for good health and waking up to a new day. Treating yourself with kindness, love and positive self-talk. I am at the healthiest weight this year. I feel the most energy and happiness this year.

There were feelings of not being good enough. After really surrounding myself with amazing people and being kinder to myself, I feel an overwhelming sense of peace. If you can’t love yourself first, how will you attract the right people into your life? Our life experiences can affect us deeply in how we see the world. But, I really think that we can all heal from hurt, even when it seems impossible. It’s really the simple things in life that give us the greatest joy. We have to come from a place of not judging others because everyone has and is going through something. It’s easy to see things on the surface and believe what we see. The most healing comes from the periods of silence. I really believe that time heals.

One of the biggest blessings is surrounding yourself with people who are uplifting, encouraging, motivating, positive and caring. They bring the best out of you. The people we surround ourselves with are important. Our bodies are a blessing. It’s important to refrain from commenting on someone’s body. I can’t emphasize how much it can have an impact on them. I really believe we have to remind ourselves that we are enough as we are. We truly live in such a visual world. People will constantly judge others based on their appearances, and it’s inescapable that the first impression we have of someone often comes from their physical appearances. But, we have to go beyond the surface and remember that every person we care about, we couldn’t care less about what they look like. I really hope if you are on a journey of healing and having a healthy relationship with your body, that you will realize how beautifully made you are.

When you go through a stressful period in your life or a hard season, know that there are people who care about you. I know that when I went through depression, I often felt like nobody cared and that there wasn’t a way out. But, there are so many people who love you, and often the first step is reaching out to others. It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to talk about these things. Those who matter in our lives, are the ones who won’t judge you for your experiences. When I’m reminding myself of what’s important in life, I like to think of the words from The Little Prince: Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. If you are reading this and going through a hard time, know that wherever you are in your life you are enough.

Articles:

Why it’s not Always Smart to Lead with a Physical Compliment

What an eating disorder IS and ISN’T

Top 4 Things Recovery Has Taught Me

Growing Up As An Asian In New Zealand

Daily Thoughts

Everyone has different experiences growing up, and we have a diverse mixture of cultures in New Zealand. A little background about me is that I was born and raised in New Zealand, and spent most of my life living by the beach, on the farm and now in the city. I consider Auckland a country town, which means that it is still considered a small city (or I like to call it a big little city) with a diverse amount of people and cultures. This is more of a ramble of spontaneous thoughts.

I have had funny experiences of being mistaken for another Asian person. Last year, I had a lovely coworker who worked different shifts. A customer came in and said “You made my coffee yesterday,” and I was a bit confused, and said that I hadn’t worked that day. Then I realised it was my other coworker, who happens to be Asian even though we don’t look alike. This was amusing. This used to happen regularly in my high school Maths class, when the teacher would call me by the Japanese boy’s name who was in the same class.

When I was interviewed by a Fine Arts student for her project, I was asked if I felt more Taiwanese or Kiwi. At first, it was a difficult question to answer on the spot. We had an interesting discussion about living in New Zealand as an Asian, and the experiences that can come with it. I feel a mixture of both. Growing up in New Zealand I never saw many Asians in advertising or media. It was mostly when I watched Taiwanese television or Chinese films. I do feel that this is gradually changing more now, and it’s good that there are more brands that are reaching a wider audience, but I do hope there will be even more increasing diversity in the media.

Growing up, there was the occasional casual racism and stereotypes about Asians. Most of the time, it simply comes from a place of ignorance and not understanding different cultures. Although, most of the time they were expressed in a joking way, and I used to just laugh a long at school, even though it’d get quite repetitive from hearing the same thing. Growing up, most of my friends were Caucasian, as there weren’t as many Asians in the small town I grew up in. There isn’t as many people who love cute things, at least not so common for those who are in their 20’s. It’s so normal in Asia.

There are times where I like to let people guess what my background is, as it always tends to come with a lot of interesting guesses. Everything from Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Singaporean, Japanese, Korean, Laos, Filipino, Malaysian, Chinese and Indonesian. I feel extremely grateful to have grown up eating a lot of delicious Chinese and Taiwanese dishes, as well as Western food. It’s amazing how much food can bring so much nostalgia.

It’s far more relaxed in New Zealand, and I’m grateful for it when I think about my experience of education. In Asia, studying and working can become stressful and the lifestyle is not like the one in New Zealand. An important advice is to retain your mother tongue, never lose it, because English can be taught at school and picked up, so there really isn’t any need to teach it at home. From personal experience, I only speak Mandarin at home, and when I started going to primary school I picked up English very quickly. Language is an important part of your culture, and if you are an Asian Kiwi, embracing your mother tongue and the English language can really strengthen that bond.

I went through a period of my teenage years where I didn’t fully embrace my Asian side, and it’s something that at the time was a form of conformity in a way. However, I really embrace my Taiwanese/Chinese side now. I grew up learning Mandarin first, and was very quiet when I started going to school. We would go to Chinese school every Saturday. When I was younger, my lunch box food would be filled with red bean buns, fried rice, dumplings and other asian foods with different smells. You will always (inescapably) be asked the question “Where are you from?” although I don’t get asked very often now.

I was placed into ESOL (English for Speakers Of Other Languages), when I was 8 or 9. Thinking back, I can understand it because I was extremely shy and quiet, which can be a quick assumption that I didn’t know any English. Being one of the only Asians at school, I faced my first lessons looking at images of animals. I was no longer in ESOL after that first lesson haha. As an Asian brought up in a Western country, I didn’t feel fully Asian for a significant part of my teen years. It’s difficult to express that feeling.

When I visited guest’s homes, I was surprised as a young girl that some people wore shoes inside the house. It’s a custom in Taiwan (and many other Asian cultures) to provide slippers for guests. In many Asian cultures, we call our elders Auntie or Uncle as a sign of respect. It is extremely rare to call an elder by their first name. Respecting the elders is heavily taught from a young age. Another thing I learned was how high my tolerance for spicy food was. I grew up in a household where at least one or two dishes each night would have spices in them.

Having subtitles on was a huge habit from a young age. It was because my parents did it ever since they arrived in New Zealand, and that was one of the ways they learned English. I remember sleeping over at a friends house, and before bed time she would always say “I love you” to her Mum. As a teenager, it felt strange to me, because (as some people may be able to relate), in Asian culture many people are less likely to say I love you to their parents. However, after being long distance from my parents for so many years now, I always say it!

One thing I wish to tell people is to treat everyone how you’d like to be treated. Also, the importance of not making assumptions. Be respectful of different cultures, even if you cannot understand why people do things a certain way. Travelling is important, because seeing different parts of the world and absorbing different cultures allows you to open your eyes. I truly feel so grateful to be able to grow up with two cultures, that have intertwined in a way in my life that has made it colourful and exciting. We are all people who live in this beautiful country. A New Zealander is someone who lives here and feels at home. That’s the most simple way I can put it.

My Journey And Relationship With Food

Personal

I was watching the video below by It’s Jcanana. I could relate to what she was saying, and it made me think of my own journey with food. As it’s something so personal, it’s easy for other’s to think from the outside “Why should you be self conscious, you’re quite slim.” I really wanted to write this for a long time, and over the years I’d written a few drafts and always ended up not posting them. However, I feel that it’s the right time to write it out. Growing up, I often heard the similar words of, you should eat more and you’re so skinny. I feel that it’s not a compliment, and shouldn’t be, and sometimes it was said that way and other time’s it was said unkindly. It gave me a certain pressure to sustain the weight I was, even though I was in my early teens.

I remember going to markets or clothing stores, and older ladies telling me that the clothes are more likely to fit me than them. I ate very healthily growing up while I was at home, but at the same time I exercised a lot. I woke up every morning before school to go for a run, and every afternoon after school. I drank a lot of water, and generally lived a healthy lifestyle. However, in that aspect I was wanting to be fitter, but I was also wanting to maintain my weight, while still eating as much as I wanted to. It was when I left home at 16 when I became more preoccupied with my weight and body image. I went through a difficult time during 2013 where I hit rock bottom, and I fell into depression. I rarely ate a lot at the uni hall I lived at, and often didn’t have dinner.

When I lived at the hall, I’d buy cereal from the supermarket, and just eat those. I was going to the gym and exercising more, but following my second year, I was eating more, but I ate a lot of oats and often just had that for dinner. When I moved to Sydney for two years, I lost the most weight that I had since my first year at uni. I’d always eaten mostly vegetarian, but it was during this time I decided to go fully vegetarian. However, it made me lose a lot of energy and affected my mood. Now, after doing a lot of research over the years, I eat mainly vegetarian. Last year I cooked a lot for myself, but I really do think the environment we’re in can greatly affect our mood. At the time I wasn’t so happy where I was, but this year is definitely the most happiest I’ve felt in my environment and in my lifestyle.

Last year I went through a period of time where I ate far too much sweets, as I was going through a period of time where I felt stressed. I think it’s so important to eat when you’re hungry, and never deprive yourself. Be in a positive environment, live a healthy lifestyle and gradually change your mindset towards your body through self talk. Self love allows us to nourish our mind, body and soul. It can be frustrating when people assume you aren’t healthy if you’re slim, if you happen to have a small meal you can be judged from it and being pointed out about certain body parts. One of the best changes I’ve made is being with people who are uplifting, and those who don’t focus on the outward appearances.

When you eat a healthy filling breakfast, it can really set the start of the day with a burst of energy. Don’t limit what you eat, but just eat until you are 80% full. We should try to judge less what someone’s body image is, and most of all ourselves. Most of us would never tell a friend that they should be skinnier, because we’d only wish that they are happy and healthy. That is why it’s important to be kinder, because often we can be the most hardest on ourselves. When I went through a period of time where my focus was so set on being at a certain weight, it was an unhealthy pattern and the cycle would continue, but I wouldn’t be truly happy.

Being skinny doesn’t make you happy. It’s the life you choose to live, making a delicious meal, surrounding yourself with positive people and the simple things that give us the greatest joy. We live in a judgmental and superficial society, and so there will always be people who will point out other’s appearances, compare themselves or judge them from the way they look. Our most beautiful self is in our mind and soul, and that kind of beauty takes time to discover from a person. The best that we can do is to be the best person we can be, and focus on living a good life. What is your relationship like with food? How has it changed over the years?

The Art Of Writing On A Piece Of Paper

Daily Thoughts

wk6-work-607x400.pngAn action I appreciate so deeply is when someone takes the time to sit down to write a letter or a card. I find that there is somewhat a lost art of writing on a piece of paper, writing a letter to a loved one or making a card for someone. I appreciate a written letter or card, because in a fast-paced, immediate world where we can easily send a message in a few seconds, a letter takes time, movement of your hands, thought processes in your mind, sitting down to think and it takes your heart to pour a part of itself onto the paper. Writing is personal and shows a part of yourself that we cannot see online, especially when online writing can only be read by a font. Our handwriting can say so much about ourselves. It’s a way of expressing oneself, that isn’t like when one is typing an email or sending an image.

I have been thinking about why I choose not to use a laptop when I’m at university, and I still am adamant to continue writing pen to paper. One reason is that writing allows you to listen to the key points, and write them down, rather than type a lot that may not be necessary. Writing allows you to put down your pen and listen with the paper on the table, without a screen that can be distracting at times. I notice it often that many students will do other things (eg. online shopping, social media, watching videos), and it distracts one from focusing on learning and absorbing information. Writing makes me think of my childhood, when I’d write stories, sketch in my book, make magazines and do my homework. It was a way of expressing one’s creativity.

The beauty of writing is flow. In a world where we are filled with distraction and multitasking, writing requires one to be focused. There is something incredibly therapeutic about writing in your journal, whether it’s the movement of the hand, the ink smoothly gliding on the paper or the feeling of allowing your thoughts to be let go onto the paper. I really believe that there is something incredibly helpful about writing down all your worries and all your gratitude. It gives a sense of clarity to read your thoughts, and it also allows you to understand yourself more. Keeping a journal can make you acknowledge those thoughts in the back of your mind, rather than allowing them to create noise. It makes you recognise your dreams and what makes you happy or sad.

Letter writing is a communication that feels like a warm embrace. It’s personal and fills you with happiness. In a time where many people convince themselves that they don’t have enough time, writing reminds us that we always have time. If we can take the time to write down lists and write down our goals, there is always time to go out there to achieve these things. Seeing someone’s writing is close to hearing their voice in person, because the thoughts come straight from their mind to their fingertips. When we type we can pause for half an hour, then continue writing the letter, but in conversation there is usually a consistent flow. Do you prefer writing on paper or typing on a laptop? What are your reasons for preferring one over the other?

Art by Monica Barengo

Life Without A Phone

Daily Thoughts

poYQEKQm_WIHow do you survive without your phone for a week? Leave the house without putting your phone in your bag. It was a wonderful experiment to try, after I read Womankind Magazine’s post on the smartphone challenge. I realised when I didn’t use my phone for a week, how much I didn’t need it. Most of the time when I used it, it was to search something, scroll on social media or look up things that weren’t necessary in that moment. When I didn’t have my phone, I felt focused in my studies and more attentive to the present.

How often do you use your smartphone, and for what activities? My phone is used to look at my notifications, and to read emails, messages, news, read articles and social media. I noticed that I use it when I don’t need to, and that it becomes a sense of distraction on what I may be focusing on. It becomes a form of escapism from the current task. How do you feel when your phone is left at home, or when you have to commute without its distracting presence? I felt more present with a curious observation of the world around me. It was freeing and makes you realise the reliance and attention we give to our phones, when we really don’t need to use it most of the time.

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It made me realise how much our phones can be a distraction, because not every email, message and notification needs to be attended to immediately, and there was a longer sense of satisfaction to just check my phone only once at the very end of the day on everything. It allowed me to use my phone for only 20 minutes at the end of the day, to reply or make sure I didn’t have any missed calls or messages. Most of the time, I didn’t have anything that was extremely urgent. I also felt that I would sleep earlier and wake up earlier, and that my productivity, creativity and focus levels were far higher.

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What happens to your social life? I realise that many people tend to check their phones even when they’re in the company of another person. I noticed that even when I have my phone, I am more inclined to focus on the person. In terms of my social life, I feel like it made me more relaxed when meeting up with friends, because I didn’t have my phone on me and just had to meet them at the time and place. There is also something wonderful about just being, and not relying and needing to stand there using your phone when you’re waiting for someone.

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How do you feel emotionally? What do you do differently in a week without your smartphone? I felt like I didn’t have that feeling of urgency. There was a calming feeling of when I had an urge to take a photo of something beautiful I’d seen or to message someone, to know that I should just breathe in that moment and enjoy it then and there. Not everything needs to be captured by a camera, and most things should be enjoyed through the lens of our eyes. There is beauty and mystery in keeping a moment to yourself.

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There’s a question on privacy when it comes to technology, and I think it’s important to remind oneself how much you choose to share. I think our visual self online can be perceived a certain way, but the best way to truly know someone will always be in person.

Art by Otto Kim

The Reason Asians Carry Umbrellas In The Sun

Daily Thoughts

When I’m living in Taipei, I feel like it’s completely normal to put up an umbrella when the sun is out. It’s very common in many Asian countries, such as China, Taiwan, Japan and Korea. On Summer days like today, the sun can be very harsh in Auckland, and I tend to use an umbrella to stay cool and avoid getting sun burnt. Skincare is incredibly important, particularly in Eastern Asian culture, where beauty products have an emphasis on having healthy, bright skin. Our skin is the largest organ, which is why we must take good care of it, as it reflects our health.

Protecting your skin from early signs of aging. In order to avoid blemishes, wrinkles, spots and sun burns, sun protection is very important. I do feel that this is one of the reasons why some Asians look younger than their age, as many spend a lot of time taking care of their skin. Many people invest in skincare products that help maintain healthy and glowing skin.

Keeping cool under the umbrella shade. When the sun is blazing hot, an umbrella can be a great way to create some shade. It allows one to stay cool during the hot Summer months, when it seems like 2 minutes in the sun will make one start sweating. I find an umbrella helps, as my hat can only cover parts of my face, but an umbrella can cover your face and neck.

Avoid getting a sun tan. I still remember when my sister and I were in Taiwan as children, and we walked past two elderly ladies. One of them said “她們好黑!” which translates to “They’re so black!” because growing up on a farm, I tended to be playing outdoors all the time and had a very tanned complexion. There is nothing wrong with having a tan. As I grow older, I prefer to embrace my natural complexion.

The beauty standards are different. When I was living in Sydney, it was common during the Summer time to see topless men and women in bikinis at the beach, park and backyard tanning. It’s similar in NZ, where many Caucasians feel that a tanned complexion gives a warm glow that’s attractive. In East Asia, Pale skin is seen as beautiful.

It’s important to get enough Vitamin D from the sun each day, however this ranges from 15-30 minutes. If you are in the sun for several hours or travelling a long distance, then it can increase the chance of getting a sun burn. Remember to always wear sunscreen. It’s good to have a habit of wearing sunscreen everyday and protecting yourself from the sun. What are your thoughts? Do you carry an umbrella when it’s sunny? 

Nana Komatsu for Kimono hime November 2014 Shodensha Mook 

When You’re Asian And More Fluent In English

Culture

Bodil-Jane-Illustration-Characters-Japan-Modern-Gaaru-2-768x543@2xI was born and raised in the beautiful countryside in New Zealand, and even though my grammar still has room for improvement (note my use of commas), English has always been one of my favourite subject at school. I love writing essays, reading novels and have always had a love of the language. My mother tongue is Chinese, as I grew up learning Chinese first before English. We used to go to Saturday Chinese school as children, but I was quite lazy and didn’t feel any motivation to learn it since I was speaking English at school. Perhaps it was because all my friends spoke English, and I wasn’t living in a place or going to a school that had many people speaking Chinese.

However, now that I’m older I embrace the fact that I’m both Taiwanese and Kiwi. They are both important aspects of my identity. I realise how important it is to keep your mother tongue alive and to speak it, surround yourself with it and absorb it. Chinese is a beautiful language, and it’s important to remind oneself what a blessing it is to speak Chinese and English. When I look back, I am incredibly grateful that my parents only spoke Mandarin to my sister and I, because language is such an important part of us. I appreciate growing up being surrounded by books and building a huge interest in reading. Now that I’m older, I put more effort into writing, reading and listening to Chinese. I used to feel guilty because I am Taiwanese, but my English is far more fluent, however my physical identity says that I should be fluent in Chinese.

I’ve also had experiences where it’s assumed that my English isn’t good. I remember in high school, my English teacher said that it’s okay that my essay had a few grammar mistakes, because English is my second language. Most of my classmates said I’m lucky I had that as an excuse, but to me it seemed quite stereotypical, because I was more fluent in English and when other classmates made grammatical mistakes it wasn’t focused on what ethnicity they are. Although I must note I grew up going to a school in the countryside, and was one of the only Asians there. English has always been one of my favourite subjects because I feel so much passion for it. The beauty of language is that it is a wonderful form of self expression and allows us to communicate to different people.

I’ve been asked many times if I’m an international student or what country I moved from to New Zealand. It’s understandable, because Auckland is quite a multicultural city and there are people from a vast majority of different countries. However, it does remind me of my identity and being asked these sort of questions many times has made me more assured of my own cultural identity. I suppose in writing this, I’d love to encourage you to embrace your mother tongue. Having that is such a precious part of you that can never be taken away from you. If you are also an Asian that is more fluent in English, know that you can improve your mother tongue through self motivation, practice and patience.

Artwork – Modern Girl by Bodil Jane

Surround Your Life With Positive People

Daily Thoughts

076bd6af65cff195bb7e8e38ce9dfa0aIn our day to day lives, it may not always be possible to interact with only positive people and even if we are a positive person ourselves, everyone has days where they feel under the weather. However, if we want to surround ourselves with positive friends, then we need to strive to be someone who is positive. Having good influences in one’s life will greatly improve our attitude and ways of thinking on many things and it will contribute to the peace and happiness in our lives. I really do believe that we attract what we project to various extents, in the sense that if we’re kind and caring to others, we’re far more likely to attract people who are also kind and caring towards us.

This may not be always the case, and sometimes in life there are those who need positive people to help them escape their negative feelings. However, in the end we are the ones who are in control of our own feelings, thoughts and actions. We should all strive to be the person we truly are. I say this, because I believe that everyone has a light within themselves, but it’s a matter of switching it on. Surrounding your life with positive people includes yourself, as what you feed your mind is so important and living in the present means you aren’t robbed of thoughts from the past and worries about the future.

Positive people are motivating, inspiring and have values of being kind, friendly, supportive and encouraging. It’s being confident in your skin and realising that life goes on. It means not allowing certain people to get the reaction they want out of you, knowing you’re in control of your actions and learning to be patient, caring, loving and understanding. I do find people who are unkind always teach us a lesson, because they teach us to not be like that and they remind us we should treat others how we would want to be treated. They also teach us to learn to forgive and let go, rather than hold on and feel bitter about small things.

I believe that the friends we surround ourselves with are so so important, because they also show a level of reflection of our identification of who we connect with and what characteristics we are attracted to. Some of the most positive people I know are selfless, non judgmental, truly caring, very honest, good listeners, willing to help and encouraging. We should manifest what we attract and project what we believe in. The moment I feel negative, upset or angry is very often when I think of thoughts from the past or worries about the future, and that’s why there are countless books advising us to stay in the present. Striving to stay in the present is the best gift of all.

Positivity ties in with gratitude because it tells us of all the things we have which are overflowing when we recognise it. I recently read an article here that says that 90% of the things we worry about don’t ever happen. That is to say, most of the things we tend to worry about don’t happen. There is a paragraph that reads “人們總是浪費太多時間在後悔過去和擔心未來,以至於無法好好感受當下的人生,不僅無法好好愛自己,同時也錯過許多美好的時刻。” which says: people tend to waste a lot of their time by regretting their past and worrying about the future. They are not able to live in the moment, they aren’t able to truly love themselves and they miss out on many beautiful moments. 

Sometimes pain is mixed with pleasure and it becomes a habit, which makes it harder to stop. This means a negative person may complain a lot, feel a lot of anger inside, feel that their life is hard and blame other people. They project how they’re feeling onto other people, and often the things they say to others are simply a reflection of what they’re feeling inside. No one is perfect, but when we practice gratitude and letting go of parts ourselves that don’t help our self growth, we can feel true freedom. Being negative holds us in a cage and it grows bigger if we keep feeding it bad thoughts, but when we think positively it flourishes even quicker and it’s contagious and encourages other’s to do the same, because it feels good.

There are people who have a lot of money and are unhappy, have no money and are happy, have money and are happy and have no money and are not happy. Life is what we make of it in any given situation, and it’s the willingness to create the life that we want to live. That’s why our thoughts are so powerful, because they allow us to take the first step and create the path we want to walk on. When we become more positive, we attract beautiful things into our lives and we feel good about ourselves. It’s all energy that is projected into the world. Happiness is not relied on others, and can only depend on yourself. This means that you have the ability to make your own choices.

Long-term happiness is from the relationships we have with people. Truly positive people make you feel beautiful, because they see the beautiful qualities you have inside and bring the best out of you. Positivity makes us complain less, want to be a better person, feel motivated, become more resilient, judge less and be kinder. This is why people often say comparison is the thief of joy, because it is one aspect that grows and feeds negativity if we don’t use it as motivation. It eats us alive and tells us that we aren’t good enough, but you absolutely are. Every person is good at many things, but the most important step to being positive is to love yourself and believe in yourself.

Art by Lieke van der Vorst

The Ability To Judge Less And Love More

Daily Thoughts

CaptureIt’s interesting to think that no one really knows what we’re like. Only a very few that are close to us will see us through our ups and downs, but no one can live the journey of another. I had a conversation with a friend recently about how people will view you the way they see you. They will create a perception and an idea of you, but not many people will truly know you. It sort of makes me think of famous people, and how incredibly judgmental people are towards them, without knowing them at all. I’m guilty of doing it too, and felt the need to write about it, because when we judge it repeats the cycle of talking about things we don’t know as if we do know.

On a conversation with a new friend about forgiveness, we talked about how when we don’t forgive others and hold a bad feeling against them, it’s not so much hurting them, but hurting ourselves. If we let go and learn to forgive it will free us. There is difficulty in this in times where we feel something is very important to us or we don’t understand why people do things a certain way. There are many things we truly only see the surface of, and only in the times where we have peace, love and acceptance, do we catch a glimpse of seeing one another as we are. Most strangers that are unkind to others are often letting out how they are feeling within.

Everyone has different opinions and thoughts. The thing is we seem to be more hard on ourselves more often than we are on others. At least I know this for myself. At the same time, I notice there are many people who focus on the bad things about other people, but don’t focus on self improving and changing themselves. When we fear judgment, it restricts us from doing the things we want, being the true person we are and embracing life completely.

Nobody is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes, goes through tough times and experiences life in a different way. Remember to raise yourself up, because the more you love yourself and be kinder to yourself and know that you deserve all the happiness and joy, then you will do the same to those around you. The moment we feel down is when we put our focus on things that drain our energy. It’s difficult to not judge when we feel something is unfair, but the thing to also remember and remind ourselves is how we often only see the surface of the water. The ability to judge less and love more is the homework we should strive to do each day.

Photography by Helena Moore

How Did You Become A Vegetarian?

Daily Thoughts

During last year I tried to become vegetarian, but it only lasted 3 months. At the time, I stopped because I was lacking energy and my mood was greatly affected. If you know what foods you eat as a vegetarian that really help to boost your energy, please let me know! I’d love any advice in how you transitioned into becoming a vegetarian, from gradually easing into it or going cold turkey on meat completely. I previously wrote about how I eat very little meat and don’t cook meat for myself, yet it’s still a difficulty for me to completely cancel out fish or chicken if I’m eating out. What did you do in terms of giving up on meat completely?

The reason I want to be a vegetarian is for health and ethical reasons. When I used to eat beef or pork it didn’t sit very well in my belly, and I find it can feel quite heavy and bloated. I don’t drink dairy milk, but there are many alternatives that anyone can try from coconut, rice, soy and almond milk. When I was at work a few days ago, it was my first time making a beetroot latte with coconut milk and it has a certain consistency that makes it rich and tasty. Dairy and meat are often the end product we see in the supermarket, yet we don’t see the process of the meat throughout.

There are endless varieties of meals from fruits and vegetables, as well as other meatless foods, such as oats, bread and baked goods. I think my main concern is getting enough nutrition, protein and energy from a vegetarian diet. How did you become vegetarian? What vegetables do you find are great for protein? Is it difficult to find vegetarian options when eating out? What foods and meals do you normally eat? What are your reasons for becoming a vegetarian? Feel free to share your experience of being a vegetarian, I’d love to know.

Photography by Jeanine Donofrio from Love and Lemons