Becoming aware of the neurotic mind and overwriting it for a happier self

Let’s imagine that you grow up in an environment where your parents engaged in negative self-talk in front of you, self-punishing behaviours, call you stupid or brainless when you do something wrong, or continue bring up the past mistakes you made every time they are not happy about something you did today.

Then as you got older, you engaged in similar activities without being consciously aware of what you did.

And that’s all because of nurture. After all, you were just a child and your only true role models are your parents. Even when you have friends, they won’t be there to influence your life every hour of your life. So you will just learn that what your parents do is normal, therefore correct.

As a result, you don’t question all these learned behaviours. Until someone pointed them out or came to realise it one day because of what you’ve read or heard people talk about.

And you know what?

Those activities I mentioned earlier actually examples of being neurotic. And it actually leads to poor quality of life. You are never happy. And it can actually contribute to the development of “perfectionism mindset” in a person.

I know because that’s the kind of environment I grew up in. I seek perfection in my work. Was never happy, constantly depressed. Hated the world. And it was during my research to understand myself better that I came upon various psychology articles and essays about being neurotic and the neuroticism personality traits. It was then I realised I’ve got a problem.

So over the past few months, I have actually pushed myself to engage in self-compassion and self-care. It was hard at first since it was unnatural for me. But if you keep doing it,  practising those skills for a while, it’ll become easier. Just like training yourself to be able to lift certain weights or to run a marathon.

And it took me a while before I was able to catch myself before I engage in such behaviours. And these days, I can see my mind doing all the weird negative self-talks and punishment-type thinkings. But I will myself not to act on them. I simply acknowledge those thoughts and then push myself to focus on the present. Because at the end of it, you can’t control the events that happened but you can control how you react or respond to those events.

So I actually feel happier compared to when I was in my early twenties and late teens. I also recognised it’s still a work in progress because those negative thinkings and self-talks hadn’t been completely eliminated from my mind.

The other thing that I also realise is, I was actually able to focus more of my attention to creating the kind of life I want because my mind isn’t cluttered with all those bad thoughts. With that, the friction to complete the micro-goals that will put my closer to my destination is much lesser.

Inclusive Team

The ability to work in team is key to whether a project, a task or a mission is completed successfully. And it’s so much more than throwing a bunch of people together to work on something. The people in it have to put in the effort to find ways to work with each other and compromise on an individual wants to achieve a common goal.

However, it can show that the team is discriminating if the team consists of people from different races who speak different languages but the predominant language used during a meeting or gathering is not a lingua franca. For example, speaking in mandarin 90% of the time when there is an Indian in the team who doesn’t know the language.

And the fact that the remaining members of the team are Chinese is no excuse.

You just don’t leave someone out during a project discussion by using non-lingua franca and then proceed to waste that one person’s time on topics that has zero relation to his or her job role for the sake of showing it’s a “inclusive team”.

This kind of sensitivity is something we all should learn and remember.

Poem – Night

Sky turns orange-red.
As the Earth rotates,
pushing the sun down,
Beyond the line of sight.
The sky turn black,
littered with shining, blinking lights,
Millions of years old.

Two-legged creatures.
Some roam the paths of
synthetic habitats made of stones,
To reach places of their desire.
Some seated on four-legged objects,
Consuming savoury food with their metal tools,
nourishing their stomachs and souls
while they communicate with their fellows
Of their so-called bad and good days.

Elsewhere, deep in those dark woods,
four-legged creatures,
Scrambles for home,
Hide from ravenous consumers.
Some creatures hunt with their special abilities,
For they are kings and queens of the sky.
Six-legged creatures make sounds,
To attract attention of their fellows,
For joyous yet painful rounds of propagation,
Ignorant of their imminent deaths by flying mammals.

Knowing when to take a break

If you are a creator, there will be days when you know you just isn’t feeling it. No matter how much you push yourself and force yourself, you can’t seem to make that piece of work you desperately needed to get out.

And one of the biggest reason is pressure. You are forcing yourself to create something because you feel obligated to do so. I know because I am forcing myself to write at least one essay or post per day. I didn’t want my blog to die off for one day without new content. So I went and try to write a horror fiction. There was this idea that was stuck in my head for the past few days and I thought why not find a way to churn out a short story based on that idea. After nearly an hour, I only managed to get two hundred words out and started to feel so frustrated. So I stopped.

After that, I was thinking to myself: It’s fiction writing. It’s supposed to be my thing. The one thing I’m good at.

And that was how I killed my own writing. By pressuring myself.

Then a funny thing happened.

The idea to write this particular piece came to life. I just feel like I should share it.

And you know what’s the other thing that could just as easy kill your writing? It is your Input. An article written by Annie Mueller on Medium titled, “What’s Blocking Your Creative Output?“, talks about how the wrong kind of input actually kills your creativity.

And I’ll admit, these last few days, I have been feeding myself junk by reading a whole bunch of articles on Medium ranging from productivity to self improvement to business. And what the hell? Business? I actually have no intention of running my own business. At least not yet. So you see, reading junk actually stopped my mind from thinking about new stuff to write about.

So if you realise you are somehow stuck and don’t have any more creative juices flowing, maybe it’s time to ask yourself if there’s something wrong with your input. Maybe it’s time for you to purge those junks out of the creativity pipes.

But, I suspect you must be wondering how the hell I wrote the article, “Singapore, not as green as you think” if I’m out of ideas. Well, environment is something I cared about and it was stuck in my head for the last two weeks. I finally took the leap to write that piece yesterday and challenge myself to write an essay about Singapore. After all, I’m born and raised here so I thought I would know it better and not sound pretentious but it didn’t stop me from experiencing some kind of anxiety attack when I hit published.

And now I know, it’s time for me to take a quick break from writing and do something new. However, it doesn’t mean I stop completely. My mind is always churning out ideas. As soon as I encounter something novel during my day, it will send a spark to start the engine.