About Me

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She writes simply to put her thoughts together.
Sometimes they're well-structured, sometimes they're in absolute mess.
But always, they're personal.

Ultimately, this is all for Him.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Taking Matters to My Own Hands

Sometime last month I came to a point where I was sick and tired of being down in the dark. It's been too long. First it was a prolonged painful friendship breakups, then it was finishing my oh-so-very tough undergraduate studies, then it was super-hard working environment. It seems as though my every phase would be that very difficult one. But that didn't feel right. I questioned myself, is it really that my every phase is hard and stressful, or is it something wrong with myself as the person going through them?

That question triggered it all.
Maybe I should stop complaining.
Maybe I should see more of the good than the bad.
Maybe I should just have a shift of mindset.

None of these are new findings to me. I always say to myself that I should be grateful, that I should count my blessings, that I should see things in a positive way (even my husband was deceived, thinking I'm that positive girl that's always chirpy lol). Yet the truth remains that I'm a very pessimistic and timid girl. Yes I take bold steps, but they're always precautioned steps. Yes I paint a smile everytime I see people, but inside I'm dying.

So I thought, enough is enough. At work I'm involved in revamping our team's reporting processes. Simultaneously, I'm also working on revamping my outlook of life.

So here are the first few steps that I took (and still actively taking) in order to improve my perspective:
  1. Stop complaining. As much as I can, I wipe out all the British ways of replying to "Are you alright?" with complaints, replacing it with "Alhamdulillah, it's alright" or on the bad days with just "Alhamdulillah". It's easy to forget that the word alhamdulillah literally means all praises to Allah. Meaning we praise Allah for the things that He bestowed us. Because as Muslims we believe that whatever befalls us in life, whether good or bad, is actually the best thing to happen to us. And it requires great intelligence to give someone every single thing being the best. So the fact that the Highest Intelligence have bestowed us with the things bestowed upon us today is already enough for us to feel grateful and constantly appreciate what we have.
  2. Make every moment a beautiful one. This is the most important leap, I believe. One of the biggest issues I face when I came back to Malaysia is that I find my patience keep being tested at every corner. Be it the constant traffic jams, the waiting of just about anything, and particularly the attitude of my people. Refraining anger is always hardwork and in the end it would result in me being very miserable about my life. Worse, I blame everyone and everything else for it when in fact it's my own emotions that I should have had control of. So I identified the major things that make me tick and I try to beautify the experiences.

    It started with my daily commute: everytime I'm waiting for the train to arrive or get me to my place, I would make it a point to read. I try to limit it to books and articles and Quran only because the moment I step into social media, I know I would fall into the scrolling-and-wasting-time trap. At first it felt like a chore because reading books require me to think and it's very unappealing when I'm mentally exhausted from work. But soon I feel the joy of it. To the extend that now everytime I have to wait (be it for the train or for a programme to start or for someone to arrive), I actually first feel happy because I get to read.

    Then there's the traffic jams. I have road rage like nobody's business. I'm still trying to improve that but as stated in my previous post, I've tried to resolve this with listening to podcasts, and it's working so far. Or maybe I just drive less in traffic - partly because my husband does the bulk of it now. Hehe.

    Then with the people. I changed my perspective from expecting people to not be rude, to I myself making the effort to be extra kind to people and not expecting anything in return. Truthfully speaking, I generally despise people. They tire me. So I don't really talk much. But everytime I have to interact with someone, I try to make a conscious decision to go out of my way to make someone's day just by their interaction with me. So I play that game to myself and surprisingly (or rather, unsurprisingly), I feel very good after seeing that person's happy face. It's true when they say that the act of giving can release the feel-good hormone.
  3. Be lighthearted in the present. I believe this is the one that makes the difference. I've always been the kid who thinks a little bit extra and works a little bit harder, never satisfied of the present. Though this helped me in moving myself forward, this also brings a great deal of stress to my life. Now that my body is already trained to think and move in that certain way i.e. pushing myself to the limit, I feel that I can train my heart to let go of the situation. What this means is that when I'm doing work and having my head in the game, my heart can still appreciate my surrounding. This in fact help me view the world differently. From here I start to like my job, appreciate the people I'm working with, and just about everything else that I found very negative before. Or like the fact that I can observe and enjoy this beautiful scenery from level 33 of a skyrise in KL.
    My lousy phone's camera can never do justice of the beautiful scenery

    I guess it helps when I have lighthearted colleagues as well. They taught me to translate our stress into ridiculous sense of humour and taught me that whatever happens, just enjoy the ride. The art of letting go of the present.

These steps are subtle yet brought profound impact to my life. Alhamdulillah, with the aid of constant support from the people around me, and continuous help from my Lord, I see myself slowly breaking away from the shackles of sadness and depression. The thick cloud still comes once in a while, but at least now I actually get to feel that I'm living, rather than being merely alive.

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