By Linh PMP, dedicated to Ha Anh Ngoc
My “ty-huu sister” once asked me: “How come you look like getting through everything so easily?”. Well, the fact is that I did go through tough time and made stupid mistakes that hurt myself and that taught me how to grow by taking things easier. Seriously easier. With 4 core actions.
1. Make friend with my table
Riti (my roommate) and I tried to fold our kitchen table to put it into her room but in vain. “This stupid table!”, shouted I. After a second, I calmed down, knowing that I was wrong to say that. “Hey buddy, I am sorry. I don’t mean that. You are not a stupid table, but a very helpful lovely one that has been with us for the last 8 months, through our Halloween, Xmas, birthday parties… Thank you, I like you a lot”, said me, to the table. Riti gave me a very funny look. She might think I was joking. But I was not. I did talk, seriously, to my table, with sincere gratitude.
This action is not about a specific table, but about the gratitude. I make friends with every single thing around me and sometimes even name them, like human, and say thanks to them, occasionally, for being with me. Likewise, I cherish every small thing happening around. For example, when it’s sunny, I dip myself into the sunshine and sing to the sun “You are my sunshine. My funny sunshine…” When it rains, I breathe in the smell of the rain and appreciate that some magic is happening among the plant oil (geosmin) and the bacteria compounds that make such smell of freshness for me to enjoy.
A lot of scientific researches have proved that gratitude improves physical, psychological and mental health as well as self-esteem. And it is within my reach to practice. I can show the gratitude to my parents, my friends, my teachers, the securities staff in my gym center, the cleaner in my office, my table (you see!) and more! That’s the first step to build a sweeter and easier life.
2. Make a recipe for an “it’s-over-cake”
Taking it easy becomes extremely difficult when it comes to tough situations. What am I going to do with this sh*t? How should I start solving it? What if I fail? I do fail now! When will this be over? Blablabla… Our stress in mind runs quite the same way when we have troubles in a relationship, when we get stuck in a case study for a test, when we fail in an interview, or even worse when we mess up someone else’s life by our mistake. The list keeps going on, but the feeling does not vary much: it is a mixture of being stressed, disoriented and self-sabotaging.
Now, how did the school teach you to solve the first complicated math problem or to write the first sophisticated essay? How did you manage to cook the first chef-level dish (in your standard)? You must have followed a suggested framework, structure or recipe to get it done, right? So why not make a self-recipe to get out of any tough situations and turn them into “pieces of cake”?
– Yoga Tonglen: I got this idea from a talk by Marie Forleo. When tough time comes, just take a deep breath in and visualize that I am inhaling all the misery of myself (and millions other in the world who also have the same or even worse troubles) into my body, into my stomach (and push it out as sh*t later, haha, sh*t is supposed to be sh*t finally!). Then I breathe out, spreading all the nice blessing happiness to the world around. It really helps, both physically and spiritually.
– Honesty Honey: Be honest to myself about what’s going on. Don’t try to avoid it. Also don’t try to dramatize it and victimize myself. Cry out loud if I want, provided that I don’t bother people around. I cry to get out of the inner feeling, NOT to ask for attention or compassion. Especially, instead of victimizing myself by thinking “Poor me, why is it happening to me”, I tell myself “This is what I want. I knew this puzzle would come to me. Damn it but I’ll handle!”, and turn myself into the controller.
– Sweet Sauce: Be sweet to the very first (relevant) one I see/think of. Make a compliment on her shoes. Tell him that the weather this weekend will be very nice so he should go hiking somewhere. Message my mom, telling her I am wearing the dress that she chose. Make a simple origami cat and give it to a colleague.
– Sugar Buddy: Have a list of people I can trust. They don’t need to give me advice on the problem, but they are patient enough to listen, understanding enough to respect my choice and trustable enough to keep everything personally.
– Intellectual Shake: It’s time to think critically how to solve the problem. Google it. Talk to a person that may have relevant experience. Review how I have performed in the relevant past. Prepare for a conversation with the relevant person involved in my problem, with data-supporting and well-structured reasoning, together with reasonable amount of emotion and relaxation. I will write another post with details on this sometime. Make a revised plan on what I want to do next.
Mix nicely Yoga Tonglen with Honesty Honey in 5 minutes, then marinate them in 30 minutes (“marinating” means relaxing in instrumental music). Try to add Sweet Sauce in the next 24 hours, add Sugar Buddy in 72 hours. Gradually add Intellectual Shake in the next 1 week. Bake in room temperature, LOL. Now celebrate with the “it’s-over-cake”!
3. Run the world
I mean, run MY own world. I have learned not to wait for others to inspire me. No one should be responsible for that but myself. When I am not motivational enough, I read books, watch videos by inspiring people, including Marie Forleo that I mentioned earlier.
Friends are also very important because I am the average of the five people that I interact the most with. The good thing is that I can choose my friends, so I start hanging out with positive-thinking people who are fun, ambitious and good-hearted. But in case I see some negative-thinking friends in my network (to whom I do not want to say goodbye yet), I consider it as an opportunity to practice leadership by influencing those negative friends with my positive thinking, starting to ask them questions about their talent, their dream, and share with them mine. If they still stay negative, then it is time to say goodbye due to different values in life, with respect to each other.
4. Be the first to love myself
I have written a post on this: https://linhpmp.com/2016/01/17/how-to-love-myself/. Loving myself is the core and the key of taking everything easy. Loving myself means making myself beautiful with a healthy body, a nice looking dress (that is not necessarily expensive), a bright combination of face-teeth-hair. It means bringing the beauty to everywhere I go by decorating the office, making an artsy dish for dinner or painting pretty nails for roommates. It means starting the day in a nice way with some positive music, the air from the window and a self face-massage. And the practice of loving myself is NOT negotiable, at all!
Taking it easy can be a not-so-easy practice at first, but would be a life-long habit of gratitude, meditation, leadership and love. Trust me, my lovely sister, worth trying!