Personal Development · Self-Improvement

Introspection

After 6 months of hustling on building something out of me, and 2 months of proving it. We often forget to just take a day to ourselves and think about what concerns we have within ourselves.. 

Some questions I have been procrastinated, but still considered are the following: 

  1. Why do I fear not having a secure future when I know it’s not in my control? 
  2. Why can I not convince myself that I am worthy? 
  3. How come my life has led me to an arduous career path instead of following the same path as the typical ones from my age? 4 years, then getting a job? 
  4. Why am I still so “big”? 
  5. Is love possible for me in terms of a significant other? I feel more in love with the work I do, my friends, and the community in a way
  6. What am I missing to keep me from being fully happy, and always stressing with one thing? 

I wasn’t able to answer many because of the numerous distractions (i.e. friends, environment) but it was a good experience nevertheless. 

  1. I fear not having a secure future knowing it’s not in my control because of accountability. I need something to fall back on and show to my parents that things will be okay. The big question is WHY? Why does it matter? It matters because it’s insurance. I can’t be that young adult living with my uncle in his garage the whole time. I have a job for now and am capable of doing more. The pandemic has made it more acceptable. And I’m glad to be able to help them out when I can, to a certain extent. After all, they’ve done so much for me and are my family. A family is a safe place you can always fall back on because they’ve nurtured you and it’s an obligation, in a way. That’s why tribes are a thing and being a part of something gives you more purpose to live.
  2. Why can I not convince myself that I am worthy? It’s hard when you feel you have not hit a milestone. Having all these contract roles is helping me understand what I like/don’t. But it’s not consistent, nor stable. I exert this confidence to a certain degree with friends and others but I also downplay myself, as Victor says. I do justify a lot, but have not accepted because of in denial knowing I can do better? And that will always be the case? You are your worst critic and at this point, I am comparing myself to others around me including my sister and cousins. I do seem like the “loser” at this point not having a stable career despite big dreams. I believe in meritocracy, but am so impatient with it. It’s a hard habit to break considering how recently I’ve come to ACCEPTANCE with the variables that aren’t in my control. I’ve slowed down a lot within the past maybe month, and it’s just the beginning of a new journey for that. Working hard and smart while finding balance is forever a journey, and I should be proud that I’ve hit that “milestone” of becoming aware of my scarcity mindset and acceptance. 
  3. My life has led me to a circuitous route because of how many different interests I have. I just care so much that it becomes overwhelming. I like the fact I am willing and capable of doing many things, but stretching myself too thin does not specialize me or make me invaluable, which is something hiring managers look for. It’s just for the universe to put me at a place now. Of course, I would love to serve a community, which can mean anything. After listening to Bret Weinstein, I believe it is more with people who have a bigger influence on others. Helping the underserved is great, but helping the middle class and higher would increase success two-fold. Helping the underserved seems like it would just keep things at bay since the more fortunate ones have the capability to create a bigger impact on the world. The question is just how, and where do I start? That is why I would love to work for the city to gain more understanding and connections to how they all give shape to the community it is now.
  4. Why am I so big? I think I anchor myself back to eating food because I’m always “stressing” about doing more and knowing more before I can make an effort when I will never know everything. Food is probably symbolic of my hunger for knowledge, knowing enough, but wanting to know more before I feel satisfied enough to proceed into whatever I am doing. I haven’t learned to cope with my stress as well as I do now- which is living more freely while still being cognizant of what I have to do. Setting boundaries for myself such as having a hobby to channel my passions into, as Jane’s therapist says, or just giving myself me-time and forming a good work area/living space has increased my morale. Acknowledging the scarcity mindset has given me more autonomy to spend a little for myself because I deserve some love for myself too. My happiness is important. 
  5. Is love possible for me in terms of a significant other? I didn’t think about this much which to me just means it’s not a priority of mine. I’ve fallen so deep with the bonds I’ve established with my friends, my family, and myself within the past year- as should. This year has slowed everyone down to realize what should really matters. Rather than always advancing and wanting the very next best thing, it’s given us the opportunity to focus on the holistic side of things good or bad. We’re uncovering deep trauma from past history, and making a better future for ourselves and the community. All these breakups, riots and so forth, has started the unfortunate cancel culture but has also unlocked the door to open opportunities of uncomfortable talks to understand the world, each other, and hopefully find closure on some adversities. 
  6. What am I missing to keep me from feeling happy? I think my friends helped me out with this. We will always want to be striving for more. When we feel comfortable, that’s our cue to breaking through that and finding new parts of ourselves, or just a deeper appreciation of happiness- which is an even more purpose to live and experience the many opportunities it gives you. There was one point in Japantown as I was eating the delectable soft serve , sesame paste flavor from Uji, where I just sighed of joy saying life is great. It really is, especially when you live it with purpose and gratitude. My insecurity of stability and not being able to fully channel my passion for work makes me think otherwise. And I can’t imagine what my next worry will be once I find a secured job. Life doesn’t have one finish line, but checkpoints. In the religious aspect (Buddhism) yes we are all suffering together, and the afterlife is when you’re set free. I do see that. You need to “suffer” aka experience, to understand what you don’t know to live a better life, and know why you deserve it. 

Other things that came up are: 

  • I procrastinate on self-love/care. A prime example would be my drive to grasp all this knowledge on Philosophy, Politics, skillsets, etc. I know it’s good for my future career, but I lose the connection in the why. Which makes me feel less enticed to stick it through? Always changing my routine? Of course, it’s nice to spice things us as things to get mundane, but I also make sacrifices to talk to friends (before) and not give myself wind-down time. 
  • What are worries and why do I have to care about the future so much? Already mentioned, but accountability. I feel the need to prove to people that I am going somewhere instead of myself. When it should be the other way around. Why should I care what other people think when it’s my life. As long as my heart is set on the decision and I’m sure to make it (save enough money/have security/game plan) then by all means.. 
  • What’s actually wrong with me? Nothing. I just think and worry too much. In the process of trying to enjoy the setting in Japantown, I was trying so hard to enjoy life and live it, but I was too distracted with thinking. I think because I just care so much. I have such a huge heart and understand more of the tragedies and trauma the world holds. 
  • My life choices right now don’t lead to any destination. I’m still experiencing what it has to offer before I settle with something. 
  • When talking about Boba Guys getting #Metoo -ed, it really saddened me when I made the connection to how people, girls? took so long to file anything against them because they think their individual voice won’t matter. Now with this whole BLM and reparation movements going on, it’s become a catalyst for people to take bigger actions. The flip side of this is how extensive are the cases with all this cancel culture going on, but hey, at least we’re in a process of establishing what… it is? 
Me and my friend enjoying good weather at Japantown’s picnic event

Cameron mentioned how these trips already tell you what you know, but I don’t think this encounter was enough, which is fine. I’m already working on myself with self-acceptance and my scarcity mindset. I have a new action plan going forward within the next few months on how I am going to live. Life is an experiment and as of last month I would say, and yesterday, it’s just the new beginning before I reach another level of myself. Self-acceptance will take a lot of time. With friends leaving, intimate trips, work, family, and myself to balance, I know I’m not the only one to do the same. 

At one point I was almost convinced to take a leap of faith with becoming an English teacher in Korea. But for now, I have faith I will find something more secure here.

It’s been great to take a step back on my bustling routine to reflect and re-frame it into a new approach. Writing this out feels really good and I look forward to checking at the end of September/mid-October to see how far I progress. 

Personal Development

Boundaries Before Burnout

Burnout, we’ve all experienced it at one point in our lives. According to NCBI, it can have a wide range of symptoms both physically and mentally. There are 3 main areas of symptoms that are considered signs of feeling this way:

  1. Exhaustion: People affected feel drained and emotionally exhausted, unable to cope, tired and down, and do not have enough energy. Physical symptoms include things like pain and stomach or bowel problems. 
  2. Alienation from (work-related) activities: People who have burnout find their jobs increasingly stressful and frustrating. They may start being cynical about their working conditions and their colleagues. At the same time, they may increasingly distance themselves emotionally, and start feeling numb about their work. 
  3. Reduced performance: Burnout mainly affects everyday tasks at work, at home or when caring for family members. People with burnout are very negative about their tasks, find it hard to concentrate, are listless and lack creativity. 

While there are no methods to diagnose this feeling, there are ways to avoid falling into the black hole. Mental health is no joke. With the pandemic hitting hard, we’re even closer to falling into our next recession adding more stress to our lives. Whether it affects you or not, it is inevitable to witness loved ones being a victim of this tragedy, or even having survivors guilt. Some of us are even working longer hours from feeling like they have nothing else better to do with their time! It’s inevitable how intertwined our professional and personal lives have become in the past month.

How I set boundaries

What has helped me despite the ambiguous changes in my daily life, is using my planner apart from mobile calendar(s) for accountability purposes. I find joy in writing down tasks and routines to help coordinate my days better. If you can spare 10+ minutes on your phone mindlessly, why not for your productivity? It only takes a fraction of your day.

Pareto’s Principle, the 80-20 rule, explains that 80% of an output result from 20% input. I personally find my days more productive and balanced seeing the tasks/projects for the week rather than stressing to find it mentally.

sample week schedule

Regular work hours are traditionally known as 9 – 5, so I set my productive slot around that, separate from morning gym routine, making it 7:30 am – 5 pm (more or less). I do this to knock out my main goals, then use the rest of the hours of my day as “homework”, or a hobby (anything therapeutic). That usually entails reading a leisure book or scrolling through social media for an extended amount of time. These days, I find myself on Youtube watching diet vlogs, workout videos, or ways to increase productivity for a boost of inspiration. On either Saturday/Sunday, I like to do a light workout to kickstart my weekend. I typically use weekends to wind down, attend a community event, catch up with friends, or family.

Me Time: Self-care

What I just mentioned may seem heavy for those who live more spontaneously. You might wonder when I give time to myself. Having a separate work space from where I spend leisure time helps me keep a balance of both. I knew working on my bed was not good for my health. There is no stability for your back, nor would I be performing well because of feeling sluggish I’d feel being in bed majority of my day. I’ve also started to meditate again, in the form of yoga, to help ground myself to start each day mindfully, and with a purpose. Meditation has impacted my overall performance in keeping me aligned with myself.

Work area

Truth is, there are many depths to this self-love/self-care act that it can mean anything as long as it makes you happy and is enhancing your overall well-being. Someone can spend time to themselves by cleaning their home while another can be on Netflix (or both!).

Time away can be really helpful depending on your destination. While traveling is an essential luxury, going to a location where the itinerary is stacked may not be as alleviating as going to a place with the purpose to relax. I’m glad I was able to do all the tourist festivities in New York, but also unwind at night around Manhattan to reflect on life, being in the moment. Cabo San Lucas was also amazing just itself being away from the hustling and bustling noise.

How I knew and what actions I took

  1. Identify the red flags – Mood changed to pessimistic for a longer than the normal time frame, and work became burdening. Or, maybe your personal life has been bugging you with friends/family or loved ones.
  2. Patience – After understanding the experience, I knew the feeling was temporary. Burnout is like a wound. Once the injury happens, there’s not too much you can do other than nurture it and give it time to heal.
  3. Communicate – I let those around me know the struggle I was going through as a call for help. Whether it’s taking a day off, or even an ear to listen to, it’s a reminder of how people still care for you.
  4. Initiate – Once you’ve acknowledged the feeling and have received help, it’s time to act on it.

Since my big girl job, I was able to identify my first burnout around August/September where my overall morale began to plummet. I found it hard to sleep at night, wake up in the morning, and even get through the day because of brain fog. I felt like I was barely keeping myself afloat with the below-average work ethic I output. Growing up without the knowledge of mental health made identifying burnout most challenging so I’m grateful for those around me who have helped me every step of the way.