I was asked if I have a daily practice to develop my self-respect. Self-respect definitely needs to be developed. It is self-developed. It is not given by somebody. It also needs to be nurtured. It is not an over-night work and when it is done, you can leave it. No! You need to nurture it. If not, it will die. Like a country, you need to have a security system to make sure that enemy will not attact the country any time. If the security system is not strong, your old enemy may come back to sabotage your self-respect. Who is your enemy? the ego. Always the same enemy. Probably the only enemy for self-respect. Ego is the false identity of the self, either your superior nor inferior one. When the ego rules, he hijacts your throne. You are not sitting on a stable seat of self-respect. The ego becomes the king and you become the subject.
My daily practice to develop and nurture my self-respect is meditation and journaling. It has become my morning practice for the last few years. I never missed these two in the morning to start my day. This is my ‘me time’. I hardly have any distraction in the morning time. No one needs me. No one wants to talk with me. No one calls me. This is the best time to invest my time and energy for myself.
Meditation is to know the self better. To know the self is to know what is going on inside me. What kind of movie that keeps playing in my head? I have to pay attention to this movie because it has a direct impact on me personally. So I need to know the quality of the movie. If you think you need to edit the movie, do it. You are the movie maker of your daily life.
Journaling is like creating the script of the movie. you are writing the story of your own movie. You are your own movie director. By putting it in writing, you make the story more real to you. Each day we are preparing our own script for our own movie.
This practice has helped me to remain seated on my throne. This is the stable seat for the self, where no one and no situation can bring you down.
Have you ever joined any challenge? What challenge did you join?
When the challenge is for 21 days, then it takes commitment to complete. Usually many people drop themselves a long the way. It is like creating a new habit. It takes persistence to really make one. Once you made it, you can feel ‘a big success’. You appreciate yourselves more.
A friend invited me to join a 21 days challenge of abundance. We completed this challenge last week. This is not a physical challenge. It is a challenge for reflecting on abundance everyday for 21 days, different aspects of abundance. we were given a daily task to complete and we had to share in the group when we completed the task before 9 am the next day. So you have 24 hours to work on your task. Abundance is an interesting topic to reflect on each one. Each one of us wants to live our life abundantly. So I found it was fun to complete the daily task. We had to reflect on different aspects of abundance in our day to day life through contemplating, writing and drawing.
There are two levels of an abundant life to work on, physical or material level and mental level. We had to work on our money, our bill, our debt and how we ‘see’ it and relate to it. We draw notes, checks, stocks, bonds etc. We had to work on our relationships with people in our life, some might not work well and we need to fix them by creating a specific daily action. We had also to ask ourselves of the highest intention in life.
21 Days is not enough for me to work on abundance and become abundant. So I need to rerun this challenge myself in the nearest future. I did not really put myself fully in the last 21 days.
This challenge was in fact created by Deepak Chopra, a very famous author. You might have read his books.
When I am conducting a workshop on journaling I always suggest everyone to write their thoughts and feelings honestly. You are writing for yourself. You are not writing to publish a book, so be honest. No one will judge you. You are your own judge. But I found that this is the hardest challenge for most people when start journaling. The emotion behind it is always fear – fear if anyone knows their feelings inside. Fear of being judged by others. There is so much insecurity inside. You might have experienced this. This fear is blocking you from expressing the true feelings. It doesn’t free you. It doesn’t liberate your soul.
We might have been living under people’s judgement for a long time. You have to free yourself from this thought. You are here to live your life not to live in other people’s judgement. People will always judge you for whatever you are doing or feeling anyway. You need to develop courage from within. The first courage is to see the true self without any mask. Once this courage is developed, those people’s judgement will not affect you. You are not influenced.
Everyone has these questions, “When will this coronavirus end? When does life become normal again?” Noone knows. Life has changed. Life ahead might never be the same again. Situation has become tough. We have to be ready for this. There is no other choice. We have to adapt ourselves to the changes. Stop complaining and start accepting. The faster you can accept the change, the easier you can adapt yourself. You might need to develop the power to tolerate within you. This is the power that will help you to go through this tough situation.
We are now living in the world of uncertainty. If life is like a book, then we are in a chapter of uncertainty, very chaotic. We need to develop hope in ourself that the next chapter will be a good one, a peaceful and harmonious life. Hope will work as the light for the soul.
You can trust the next chapter if you know the Author.
When I conduct a journaling workshop, I always encourage the participants to practice writing right away. I usually ask them to remember one particular situation that happened recently that created a very strong feeling. When the feeling is strong enough then it is very easy to start writing it out. It could be positive feeling or negative feeling.
Most of the people find it a lot easier to write the negative one and it is okay. A participant expressed disagreement to me when it came to write a negative feeling. She said that by remembering a negative feeling and writing it, the feeling would become even stronger. Then it is against the purpose of journaling. Because the purpose of journaling is in fact to finish the negative feelings and empower the self.
How can journaling finish the negative feeling and empower the self? When you are writing a journal, you need to sit on the seat of the ‘real I’. You are listening to the ‘false I’, either the ‘depressed I’ or ‘the arrogant I’. This ‘false I’ is in fact the ego. The ego is false. It is the ego that creates the negative feeling. Let the ’false I’ speak about the situation and feeling clearly and honestly and let ‘the real I’ listen. She is a good listener. She is very patient, mature and wise. She always listens very carefully. When the ‘false I’ finishes speaking, let the ‘real I’ speak or share some wisdom to your situation. Let her empower you.
You are not the feeling. You are the creator of the feeling. The feeling is your creation, but your creation is not you. You will become very clear about this. You are distanced from your feeling. You are detached from your feeling. Because you are detached from the feeling, so you can observe the creation better. You can write it in a detached way.
When you write your journal in this detached way, as if you are an observer of what is happening inside you, the feeling will become weaker and the ‘real I’ become stronger. Become a detached observer. It is said that emotion dies under observation.
In every workshop on journaling, I always encourage people to start writing with an honest heart. Open the heart and start writing the feelings out, because this is how the heart will get healed. Be honest with the self by writing the feeling out.
Some people find it so hard to do it. They said that they have fear that others might read their journal, that other might know their feelings. Is it really harmful if others know what you feel? Fear is definitely unhealthy. It doesn’t make the soul free. Someone shared that when she was a teenager, someone read her diary and told everyone about what she wrote in the diary. This made her really ashamed and since then she stopped writing it.
For me, journaling is the best way to deal with any negative feeling and finish it quickly. I agree that some emotions might be so strong and it takes more time to finish. You might need to journal it several times. But it will definitely become weaker and weaker if you keep journaling it. Finally it will finish completely. When it finishes, you don’t feel it anymore. You still remember the situation, but the feeling is no longer there. Then if others know what you felt, it will be okay with you. I remembered I shared my journal with a friend. I read it for her. She knew what I was writing about. She knew my situation, what I felt and also how I was dealing with that. We laughed together.
This journaling is primarily for the self, not for anyone else. In fact this is a good practice to know the self better, and understand the self better. It is a practice to develop self-awareness. In the long run, it will build a healthy relationship with the self. When you have a good relationship with the self, you will find it very easy to relate to anyone. It is just not possible to have a good relationship with others when the relationship with the self is not healthy.
When someone asks me how to keep writing or how to keep being inspired to write, what I can suggest is to write what she or he observes. To observe means to see. Use your eyes and your heart to see what is happening around you. Each and every moment in your life is interesting if you don’t miss it and you give time to reflect for yourself. It is always interesting to write it down. It always gives you a lesson to learn, if you are ready and open enough to learn. Lesson from life doesn’t have its own timing like in a school. It may come any time. So be always ready for what life is going to teach you through your observation. You are the student and life is your teacher.
This is what I observed last week when I was on a train. It was 8 hours trip. I was sitting in the aisle. An Indian family blocked the 3 double-seats, two in front of me and one on my left. They were going on a family trip. They were with three boys. The 3 boys were very special to me. The youngest one was only 3 years old, very sweet with his curly long hair, looked more like a girl. They looked more alike with the mom than the dad. All of them had smiling happy faces, especially the mother. I noticed that they looked very happy during the 8 hours trip. They enjoyed the trip. Unlike any other children who ussually become cranky for some times and start teasing one another. They looked very happy and very peaceful. “This is a happy family” I said in my heart. I enjoyed seeing them, especially the kids.
Finally I said to the mother “Your boys are very special. They look so happy.” She said: “Because they love train” Hearing this from the mother, the second boy said : “I love boat too.” This made me smile.
Where does the self get lost? It is lost in our own head (mind). The mind creates thousands of thoughts everyday. It keeps busy and also noisy. The mind is always occupied with thoughts, ideas, plans and dreams. It is like a jungle, full of thoughts. You might find it very difficult to make it silent for just a moment. The self gets lost in this jungle. You might have heard a story of a queen who lost her necklace. She searched for her necklace around. She kept searching the necklace that she did not realize that it is in fact around her own neck. This story refers to our self-discovery journey. We might have searched for the self “outside” which in fact it is lost “inside”.
Journaling is a way to discover the self which has been hidden behind the thoughts, ideas, plans and dreams. This is an inward-journey. By writing them down one by one, you will experience more clarity in seeing the self. You are removing the veils. You will be able see your true self.
My friend wanted to introduce me to her long time good friend. It was interesting, she said : “I am sure you will like her. She is a feminist.” I said to her that I was not a feminist. And she quickly clarified : “No,no, I mean that you might get an inspiration to write through meeting and talking with her.”
I think she is right. I get an inspiration to write in my journal book or in this blog mostly after meeting and talking with people. So I always love to meet people – new people, long time contacts or strangers. It is always interesting to talk with them. I believe that each one has hidden amazing things that we do not know until they are talking with us.
I always remind myself that anyone I meet always has something I could learn from. And I never miss the lesson.
When someone asked me how to start writing, I said : “Just write what you see, what you hear and what you feel.” You don’t need to be very creative to start writing. And you don’t need to have a talent to do it either. You only need an intention. Because writing is a skill, so everyone can develop this skill through practice. Just like speaking. Each one of us learned to speak when we were very small and we can speak now, we can express our thought and feeling through speaking. In the same way, writing is also a skill, it is also expressing thoughts and feelings. Everybody can express one’s thought and one’s feeling through writing.
You do not need to worry when you express your thought and feeling. Remember that you are writing for yourself. You are not writing for someone else to read. Liberate yourself from any worry or fear of being commented by anyone, being judged by anyone. In fact no one can criticize what you express, because your thoughts and feelings are always personal and nothing is wrong. To write them down is to be honest to the self. When you are honest to yourself, you will feel very comfortable with yourself. Start writing and start expressing what is inside you.
The mind keeps thinking all the time. It never stops. When you express it in writing, the mind slows down its speed. It becomes much lighter, not heavy.