Photo from 6 December at the WE CAN Arts Fest with the one who inspires me to be a better version of myself everyday.
Post Written on 7 December afternoon, at the Carousel Cafe, on my hopes of leading a life of greater emotional clarity:
1 Gratitude Ratio
Note to self: many good things happened today- (1) Volunteering for the ASEAN Paragames brought refreshed excitement towards volunteering for ad hoc events, (2) You shared a phone conversation with your mom that ended with an exchange of “I love you”s, (3) A log cake now sits before you for your consumption in this cafe of magical Christmas ambience.
Recently, I wrote for PostScript Stories on the tyranny of expectations and how it thwarts our gratitude ratio. The idea is simple: that in overwhelming ourselves with expectations about the “could”s and “should”s, we hinder our ability to face the blessings in our life with equal proportion as the not-so-good things. Today I find myself once more working at counteracting my intuitive, reactive state of mind that is vulnerable to the tyranny of expectations. This is important to me because I am increasingly convinced that cultivating gratitude will allow me to love myself a little more for my tiny victories and to forgive myself a little better for my losses. It starts now.
I hope to be as aware as possible of balancing my gratitude ratio. “Gratitude,” in the words of Moffitt, “frees the heart from constant fear and wanting.”
2 Demanding a better past
We have a tendency to draw patterns, create stories and find connections based on our experiences. We bring similarities together and brush differences aside as anomalies (characteristic of the Confirmation Bias) to formulate theories and create conclusions that will go on to shape the way in which respond to similar situations in the future. I am all too familiar with this habit, a bad habit.
I often talk about what I perceive as losses or failures from my past and feel miserable as I recount them. In these recounts, I subconsciously stop myself from completely accepting these losses, or from forgiving myself from what has happened. The more I talk about these stories, the more I recount, the more I demand a better past– in failing to truly accept these losses and find closure, I fail to embrace all of me and my life. Then, in time, I live out the same ‘stories’ (too) many times because I am already convinced that in the event of similar situations, things will play out in a certain way as it always has.
In some ways, that is dangerous. I want, instead, to be able to remind myself that every person, event and relationship is unique. I want to manage them uniquely (and appropriately) as best as I can.
3 The Myth of Fingerprints
I want to be able to remind myself that every person, event and relationship is unique… but not too unique, for fear of the myth of fingerprints. The myth of fingerprints teaches us that we are all so different- our emotional history tells the story of our past and these experiences that make us who we are today are so seemingly different. Hence, to have been shaped by such different circumstances, we think to ourselves that we are very different from one another.
It is a myth not because our stories don’t shape who we become, but because our different stories can shape who we become similarly. Perhaps, our stories of loss differ greatly in content and detail but the takeaways that later come to shape our beliefs can still be of uncanny similarity. To think we’re too special would breed arrogance and apathy, so sometimes I would like to remind myself that I’m not special.
Counting down the days before our first family holiday in the longest time, not sure if time for such reflection would still remain but looking forward to the high of true adventures and family time.