Tag Archives: Think Pieces

Deaing With Emotional Vulnerability

I am probably one of the most emotional girls you will ever encounter. However, there is a side to me that hates showing emotion and keeps a lot in. I remember in high school, I was probably crying in public once or twice a week. I just could not manage to have any control over my emotions. From high school until basically last year, I would experience extreme mood swings, breakdowns for no reason, and always had so much rage in me. At the same time, I would do my best to keep all that I was feeling inside and guilted myself every time I was emotionally vulnerable to someone in public.

I grew up raised by an ‘Asian tiger mom’, but my mom really exceeded the expectations for this title. I never saw her cry or express any kind of raw emotion. She has always been very cold and rejected anything that came her way that had to do with the ‘feels’. I’ve always been a highly sensitive person as I really do feel everything at such a deep level. A lot of my childhood memories with my mom have been focused on the idea of showing emotion as a sign of weakness.

I didn’t have many friends when I was younger and I always felt out of place being a chubby kid. Whenever I’d come home crying from school, instead of having my emotions being validated, my mom would actually yell at me for feeling sad. She’d always say, “You need to be tough like me, you can’t show them you’re so weak by feeling sad.” 

I never had the opportunity to learn about how to deal with my emotions as it was always something that was looked down upon in my upbringing. No one ever told or showed me that it’s okay to feel in general, which is why I still struggle with my emotions. I’m either all over the place, or I’m nowhere at all. I’m really grateful now that I have grown to understand where these feelings of guilt and suppression come from and recognize that a lot of it has just been programmed into me by the way my mom raised me. If you grew up with an Asian tiger mom, or struggle to be in tune with your emotions, I think the best thing that helped me was to understand where this stemmed from.

Oftentimes when I find myself still suppressing any sadness, guilt, or anger I ask myself, “What are you afraid of? What is the worst that can come with letting go?” It is okay to feel all of the emotions we have been gifted as humans, it is normal to experience moments of sadness even when you don’t know the reason for it. Sometimes crying alone in the shower can be the most therapeutic thing in your week! There is no reason to feel guilty for having feelings-it is the very core of our human nature! I ask you, next time you experience a strong wave of emotion to really sit in it. Reflect on why you’re feeling this way, cry, scream, sing, journal, and just release.

Five Lessons I Wish I Learned Earlier In Life

1. You are the most important, ever-changing and worthy investment in your life.

I hope that makes sense! Your well-being, health and all that makes up who you are are the most important things that should be prioritized. If we cannot show up for ourselves, we cannot expect to show up for the people we love, our passions and our environment fully. You are ever-changing, and what I mean by that is where you are or who you are right now do not determine who you are as a whole. There are always ways to further take care of ourselves and opportunities for growth and that is so exciting!

2. Do not take education for granted.

Whether that be from school, your job, the current political climate, or education about yourself and your family – being able to educate ourselves on anything really is so powerful and beautiful. Learning is something that I overlook so much, but it helps us be in touch more with our best selves that we can use in the ways we express ourselves through conversation, actions or just the way we choose to output energy into the world.

3. Set boundaries.

Not everything and everyone in your life deserves 100% of your energy and your being. Your time and physical/emotional presence are precious and you do not have to share them in ways that do not make you feel good. Have conversations with the people in your life on what you expect out of them and vice versa and if something doesn’t sit right with you, address it. Set boundaries with the way you work or study – remember you deserve rest too.

4. Love yourself in the ways you seek love from others.

Something that I’m trying to grow out of and that I continue to struggle with is validating myself and love through other people. I think I have a habit of seeking things I wish for myself through other people which can be extremely toxic and draining when I have the capability of finding all of those things within myself. There is nothing wrong with being ‘alone’ as lonely and being alone do not have to mean the same thing in our lives. We owe it to ourselves to nurture and love ourselves the same way we want our friends, family and our partners to love us. For example, I appreciate words of affirmation in my relationships. Therefore, I make sure to be mindful and loving in the way I talk to myself and about myself as much as I can.

5. You attract what you put out in the world.

I could have easily let this year destroy me and at times I felt as if it did. Something that I value about myself is my ability to create a positive outlook through almost every challenge that I am graced and I think that stems from my overall excitement for life. If you are outputting negativity and hatred into your community, your relationships or yourself, you are only creating a karmic cycle that will in return input that same energy back into your life. You have the power to create and build a life for yourself that is fulfilling and full of light, and this is a continuous process that all begins with the right mindset and finding peace within yourself and the hardships you encounter.

Mourning Your Past – The Lonely Road of Coming Back Home to Yourself

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Something that I still struggle with after healing from my first heartbreak and pent-up years of trauma is grieving an old version of my life, identity and mindset that was my reality for half of my adolescent life. I think a lot of the time the reason why people feel the after-effects of a very life-turning event such as a breakup so intensely months or years after thinking they were doing fine is that they weren’t honest with themselves and their healing from the start. Part of this process is understanding, letting go and mourning not only that person but your old life, who you thought you were to them and all the parts of them you intertwined your identity with so closely.

I think I can definitely speak on this open-heartedly as I spent basically all of 2021 grieving. Grieving my old partner, his physical presence as well as his emotional one that played such a dictating role in how I behaved and viewed myself. I grieved the life that we built together with his family which was also my second family, the routine of having him in my life, the meaning that certain days of the week had restaurants near our homes had. I also had to mourn the future that I had imagined with him which was probably the most painful one of it all, mourning something/someone that is tangible and living is one painful thing. Mourning a dream you had, something you centred so much of your ambitions and actions around, a life that you worked so hard for is also another extremely difficult and overlooked process in healing from the departure of a relationship, whether that be romantic or platonic. Through these moments of grief, anger, sadness, the resentment I realized so much of what I was breaking over was this old version of myself I was shedding. A version of myself that was so wide-eyed, naive and childlike when it came to love. Someone that was so trusting and would hold the door open even for the unwanted. I had to let go of my identity as a girlfriend, of a friend to this person, of a future wife, mother – so much uncertainty filled the emptiness that followed me after those years in that relationship.

Oftentimes, when you seek advice for a broken heart one of the first things people tell you is to just move on from that person. But what about moving on from yourself, your old life and who you were with that person? How do you mourn over yourself? I could never answer that question accurately as I am still going through it and it is a lonely but ever-fulfilling journey. I started to embrace change, in fact, I tried to even take control of all these emotional changes in my life and literally build a new identity physically. I dyed my hair colours he will never me pull off, got tattoos he’ll never touch, I even bought new furniture in my room to completely take back everything that was so attached to him and the idea of him and take back my power in solidarity. And yes, physically these things worked but I still felt that deep anger and void. So, what has really helped me is spending time with myself, taking myself out on walks, listening to myself as if I were my own partner when I’m sad. I started hanging out with my parents again, picked up new hobbies in music – doing things that made me feel me. I also started tending to the old version of myself I’ve been letting go of, giving her a proper goodbye by doing certain things now that I should’ve done for myself during that time, such as speaking up about my boundaries, being a good friend and daughter and showing up for myself wholeheartedly no matter how much change is happening around me. It is a lonely journey, but it is so possible once you realize every new version of yourself that you have yet to meet after experiencing something so devastating is waiting to embrace you with open arms and an open heart.

Self Care Is More Than Just a Bubble Bath

With finals season coming up, stress, anxiety and sadness are all normal feelings that tend to resurface. It is important to take care of yourself right now and always, especially during this time of the year. 

So, what does taking care of yourself look like? To me, self-care involves creating healthy boundaries for yourself and being disciplined but gentle, which will help you to be proactive in maintaining your overall well-being. 

1 – Create boundaries for yourself

What are boundaries? I personally like to see them as mental and emotional spaces that I create that aid in tending to my well-being. So for example, a boundary of mine in relation to school is to not over-work myself to the point where my head hurts. No matter how behind I am in notes or papers, I refuse to cross this boundary as I know it will damage my well-being. 

2 – Discipline yourself

With self-care comes discipline. You can’t automatically take care of yourself without working towards it. So, maybe that means setting reminders to schedule and plan out your week, or changing the mindset behind your reaction towards things, maybe that means reminding yourself to even take breaks. You need to be willing to put in the work to be able to have a positive outcome in anything!

3 – Be gentle with yourself

Lastly, be kind to yourself during any moment of hardship! You are doing the best you can and the journey you are on is so special and holds so much value. You are more than what you think you are capable of.

How I Stay Productive Working From Home

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As I enter the final few weeks of my undergrad I am making it a goal to finish off strong. I’ve been working from home since the spring of last year so I’d like to say with almost a year’s worth of remote work experience, I have somewhat mastered staying productive at home. Of course, it’’s not easy to be on top of your game 24/7 – after all, we are literally living through major historical events with what looks like every week now. Here are some of the ways I stay on track while studying and working remotely.

1. Use a Planner

I can’t stress this enough. Using a planner and scheduling out my weeks and my day every morning has been a lifesaver of mine since high school. A close friend gifted me this beautiful planner that not only helps me track my tasks/goals for the day but is also centred around mental well-being. I highly recommend using a planner, at least list small goals you would like to accomplish daily!

2. Set a Morning Routine for Yourself

I can’t lie I’m still working on this one. However, when I do have those days where I have somewhat of a routine going for myself before classes or work start, I kid you not those days are the highlight of my weeks. Your morning routine could be as small as waking up 30 minutes earlier and dancing around your room to your favourite playlist (here’s mine that I like to jam out to). Anything that can set a good intention for the rest of the day can make a huge significance.

3. Have a Designated Work/Study Space That You Love

My desk space!

Maybe it’s just me but I love home organization so I really tried to make my desk space one that I love and feel safe in. I think it gives it that ‘office vibe’ that I am missing right now and it makes me excited to get out of bed to ‘go-to’ work. Also, make sure your area is clean! I’ve realized that when my space is cluttered it interferes with my stress level and thinking.

4. Schedule in Breaks and Actually Take Them

Whether you’re working from home, in classes or doing both sometimes it’s so easy to just be at your desk for hours on end. Set reminders to take actual breaks for 15 minutes, half an hour or even an hour. Your body and mind need time to reset and unwind especially after staring at a screen for God knows how long. Go for a walk, call a friend or do a workout – anything to get you off your computer for a while!

5. Be Gentle with Yourself

This one’s kind of cheesy but it’s so important to remind yourself that you are simply doing the best while living through such a crazy time. It’s okay to have off days, it’s okay to not get any work done sometimes. Just remember to try your best to pick yourself up and tell yourself whatever stress, anxiety and distress you are facing at this moment does not define you or the rest of your days to come. Remember, a bad day does not equal a bad life. If you’re reading this I’m proud of you – you are doing the best you can and that is more than enough!