30 – 2018 [a lesson learnt]

     I spent the last morning of 2018 writing the lyrics of an original song I penned along that year, for one last time. In 2018, I took the challenge of writing a song about the true meaning of love. It took me more than a year (and one teal Moleskine notebook) to complete it. Love is very complex – yet also simple. It can be hard to explain the meaning of love through song. But here we are – it is 2019. And I know people may have bore you with their own deep philosophical reflections about last year, but here is the ultimate lesson I would love to keep from 2018. 

Love is a Choice

Many times in 2018 I have thought that I stopped loving my friends because I felt upset about the decisions they took, or that I felt helpless and did not know what to do to get them out of their struggles. I would not feel like spending time with my friends. I would not feel instantly happy when hanging out with them. Love was not giddy but instead anger, tears and frustration towards people closest to me. But if love were only based on what I felt then it would not survive.

     Love is hard work. It is a sacrifice. It may only be showing respect. Sometimes it is a confrontation. It is being there for someone even when you do not want to. But when you remember why you’re there, that love becomes something beautiful – even amidst the pain. And the people worth loving show you why they are worth holding onto. But at times it might mean making a conscious effort to remind yourself why they are worth holding onto. Small actions such as giving rides back home, and making time for friends are also acts of love. 

    Despite love being at times sacrificial, it does not mean forgetting yourself in the process. It is not always about the other. Love is a choice you can make for yourself. It is not all about having a salt bomb bath to rest your mind. It is cutting yourself from people who do you harm even when they mean the world to you. It is letting people go if they are taking a toll on your mental health. It is telling your friends you cannot be there for them to get some time for yourself. It is making an effort to stop comparing yourself to others. It is allowing yourself to feel pain. It is acknowledging that pain, no matter how petty it may seem to you. It is choosing to think that you are worthy of love and happiness. It is bearing off pain and responsibility of external problems, particularly those of people closest to you. It is remembering that you are important too. You deserve your own love too. 

     In 2019, may we always choose to love others and ourselves. And maybe sometimes the latter is not all about feeling confident and beautiful. It may be about not feeling ashamed or guilty for the problems and burdens of others. Happy reading xx


 

    

 

19 – Dealing with “You are not Beautiful” [True Story]

It’s not often – at least for me – that strangers appear as a message request in my Messenger inbox. It’s even rarer that someone would send me this: 

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Above is an actual screenshot of what happened yesterday (excuse the poor editing skills): a person I didn’t know existed until this moment, absurdly deciding to “connect” with me just so they could try to offend me. It probably could be spam – and I hope it is – but if it’s so, I still can’t wrap my head around why instant trolls like this still exist. 

To say this didn’t affect me would unfortunately be a lie. Even though I rationally find it false and hence I outwardly brush it off with laughter, a low but persistent sting remains in my heart. And no, it isn’t enough for me to cry over, but it is a painful but important reminder that I still find it hard to reject such messages, even when there are more concrete things like friends which disprove this lie. 

I was actually considering accepting the request just to reply to him back with some comeback, but eventually decided not to. One friend told me to pray for him instead: and it kept me thinking about what I would have actually sent him. And here is what I would have sent him. 

Dear whoever you are

I know it’s probably useless sending this to you, but I wanted to tell you that I disagree with you. Even though I fall into that trap of believing so because of how I appear, I have tangible sources which disprove this: my successes, my mind, my heart, and my close friends who choose to think otherwise when I don’t feel at best. But the most tangible source is the fact that I’m created in God’s image, who reminds me that “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139: 14). I hope you get to experience such wonderful things too! 

Here’s to us believing that we are more worthy than what dishonest sources might tell us. Happy reading xx