Offer yourself grace

When was the last time you…

Forgot to bring your books to schools?
Walked away from a potential business partner feeling like you weren’t your best self?
Made a typo in your final report?

How did you respond to yourself?

Was it how a kind, sweet and warm friend would? Or was it how a hard storm would – cold and relentless?

Generosity also extends to being generous with yourself, allowing yourself the best possible interpretations of your own intentions, actions and words.

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Work from a place of enough

I once read this book that bore this question (some manifestation of it),

“How often do we wake up and before our feet even touches the ground, we’re already thinking how we do not have enough sleep, enough time, or how we are not ready for this meeting or that examination?”

We start the daybreak with the intense belief of not having enough, or not being enough.

Imagine if from today, we believed that we are enough because everything we need to ‘become more’ is within us.

Hang on.

This is confusing.

How do I believe that ‘I am enough’ and still want to continue growing myself?

Won’t that mean that I either think I am ‘not good enough’ or that I’m obnoxiously believing that I’m perfect?

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Let me explain.

You can believe you are enough because…

you are not what you do, what you own, the mistakes you’ve made, the successes you’ve gained, who your friends are, the number of friends you have, the amount of time you have, the amount of money you earn, your position in the company, your grades at school…

The list can go on.

You are not any ONE of these things. Because you’re a culmination of experiences, personalities, values, faith and your environment.

You can continue growing and ‘becoming more’ in these areas.

And you’re going to do so with who you are.

And who you are is a culmination of MANY things.

With all of these, you are enough.

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Be present with the person

We talk to ourselves A LOT. Did you ever notice that?

From the few minutes I spent waiting around at Starbucks for my drink, there are a million thoughts going around my head.

These students, how often do they visit Starbucks?
Is there a 1-for-1 that I don’t know about?
Where should I settle myself down?
Are there power plugs there?
Would the seats be too high?

We could be thinking about a conversation we had a few days back, or a few weeks back. We could be planning for a meeting that would happen later in the afternoon.

Point is, we’re rarely present in the here and now.

Ever sat at the beach and looked at kids run up and down the sand, collecting water from the beach and depositing it somewhere else? They do it over and over again with the focal purpose of doing just that.

How often are we THAT present?

Today, I’d like you to be present in ONE moment.

Choose any.

A lunch time conversation with a friend.
A scheduled Skype session with your client.
A commute from office to home.

Choose any and be there.

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Set boundaries for yourself

Ever felt resentful that you seem to be doing ALL the household chores?
Felt frustrated that you’re ALWAYS making the first move with your partner?
Felt angry that you’re doing EVERY single thing for your school project?

Saying no is definitely challenging.

We – or at least, I do and I see that with the people around me, tend to bottle everything up. Eventually, our resentment, frustration and anger reaches the brim and we EXPLODE. We say NO and refuse to do anything at all.

After that, we feel guilty and ashamed.

That’s creates tension and distrust within relationships.

Instead, let’s learn to set appropriate boundaries.

A favourite quote of mine is from Brene Brown.

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How can we do that?

  1. Think of what you’re saying YES to.


    When we say no to something, we’re often saying yes to something else. Saying no to additional work would mean that you’re saying yes to more time with family and more time to read or do things that actually fill your heart.

  2. Take ownership.


    If you feel that there is too much on your plate, own that feeling! Say that you need more time and space for yourself because YOU are feeling overwhelmed. Blaming others tend to create a climate of distrust, judgment and blame.

  3. Be accountable.


    We talked about how self-love is COMPASSION + OWNERSHIP. It’s NOT only about offering yourself grace, it’s also having the courage to be accountable for what you promised to get done. If you’ve agreed to XYZ and for some reason, cannot get it done, it is also important that you choose to apologise and account for that.

 

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Tuning into what inspires you

In our 21-days resilience building challenge, we got everyone to design their own INSPIRATION BOARD. It’s basically a physical collection of all textures, colours, graphics, everything that inspires you.

Mine has a photo taken of the sunrise.

Today, we’d like you to tune into the what inspires you.

We all have it.

Maybe it’s the way the pavilion in your neighbourhood is constructed?
Maybe it’s a graphic design poster you see about an upcoming flea market?
Maybe it’s something your friend said over lunch?

All we ask is that you embrace it.

Lean in to it.

Listen to it.

You’d be surprised at how you feel.

 

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Be the safe space

Earlier this week, you learnt about safe spaces. It’s where you can freely share your unfiltered thoughts and emotions.

Today, we’d like you to create that space for others.

 

I’ve had those heavy conversations with friends before.

They might be sharing about how much they hate their jobs; how helpless they are that their parents are fighting again; or how they felt forgotten when you didn’t reply their messages.

Sitting there and taking it in makes me want to squirm in my seat.

It’s uncomfortable. And we’re left thinking what the best response should be.

 

What we usually respond with is, “I’m sure everything would be okay.” Or we start the sentence with “Well, at least…”

 

While that might be us trying to guide them to looking at the positive side of things, we’re not fully acknowledging how they feel.

If that happened to me, I’d walk away feeling more ashamed that I even felt this way.

 

Let’s be that safe space for your friend.

Practice the pause.

Acknowledge how they feel.

Allow them to be real in front of you.

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Practice the pause

We’re going to be talking about the power of the pause today.

This concept has been introduced in so many ways – in public speaking, sales, facilitation, therapy and even anger management. I also like the alliteration.

Pausing allows us to actually make the space for ourselves to collect our thoughts and for others to collect theirs.

I remember when I was a kid in secondary school, I was terrified of raising my hands. I’d sit there going through all sorts of what ifs. I’d take my time to organise and collect my thoughts.  By the time I was ready to inch my hand up, the class has moved on.

Then, I’d get this nagging feeling. I now have a thought that is going to just sit on my mind. I’d feel somewhat wasted and let down, on behalf of it.

I trust myself less.

 

While conversations do not transpire in the exact same context (for one, your friend wouldn’t need to raise a hand to speak to you), consciously holding a pause means that:

  • You recognise that your friend might need time to tune in to their thoughts
  • You get a chance to fully internalise what they’re saying
  • You build the trust that you’re always ready to listen

 

Liked these doses of inspirations?
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If you’d like to dive deeper into building purposeful days and meaningful relationships filled with compassion, you might want to check out SMFB Academy.

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