Am I Enough?

 
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Confidence, positive self-image, security, and contentment in myself is something new in my life. Where I am today is not where I was even a year ago. The power self-defeating thoughts had over my mind and my life had always been the larger struggle. The negative internal dialogue was sometimes crippling and I know is damaging. Where I have arrived today on my journey is somewhere that’s liberating. It’s a space where I am happy with myself and how I am. It’s a place where I am comfortable in my own skin. Finding this comfort is why I want to share my revelations because this way of living is so much more fulfilling.

The dominant damaging thoughts which sabotaged my life were:

“I am not skinny enough.”

Those who have known me all my life will tell you that I’ve never been overweight, nor have I ever been close to being overweight. I gained around 9 kg (approx. 19 lbs) in my first year of university in the US, but I never really struggled with being overweight. Then there was a time in high school when I was scary skinny. I was about 43 kg (approx. 94 lbs) with a height of 160cm (approx. 5 ft  2 in), this was a point where my friends and even my teachers were concerned. Yes, I’ve had my share of fluctuations. What is intriguing is the fact that even with no real concern of being overweight, I used to suffer from the perpetuating thought that always told me I wasn’t skinny enough.

A lot of reading has told me that this self-defeating thought probably had something to do with experiences in my past, whether it’s personal, due to societal pressures, influence from the media, or because of certain relationships, the reasons are complex. Whatever the cause though, it is troubling to remember the demons I battled when it came to my self-image. I wasn’t physically overweight, but my thoughts were so strong in their portrayal of my body, that I always felt that I was never skinny enough.

I can laugh about it now because I’ve finally realized something really powerful. In this self-damaging thought I had, who is the ideal I was trying to be skinny for? If I kept thinking, “I am not skinny enough,” the real question should be, “but for who?”

“I am not strong enough.”

There was a time in my life where I was intimidated and immobilized by challenges. I mean who isn’t, but I had an unhealthy relationship with my fears which led me to never take action or ever be willing to put myself out there to take a risk. The honest truth is this was one of the reasons why I never tried Barry’s Bootcamp when I was in the US. After hearing about how hard the class was, I was terrified at the thought of having to go into an environment I was not familiar with and risk failure (I am laughing at how silly this seems now).

The fearful voice inside my head refused to hear the positives about the class. All my energy was focused on the worst case scenario (i.e. I embarrass myself and am unable to complete the class), which ended up stopping me from stepping into an experience which I could have enjoyed. The voice inside my head stopped me from something I might have enjoyed, even without experiencing the class or knowing the real outcome. Sounds familiar?

“I am not smart enough.”

I remember moving to a new school and really struggling, especially when I moved into middle school. I had really poor grades. Cs and Ds were my friends. I remember feeling stupid, unaccomplished, and incapable, until one day in 8th grade one teacher who believed in me and suddenly everything changed. I became a straight A student that year and even got the most improved student award. From then on, I became an above average student. What happened?

That was a really long time ago, but this experience has stuck with me because anytime my mind goes into a downward spiral of thinking that my intelligence is lacking in some way, I think back to this moment in my life and realize that it’s all in my head. I mean I can never know everything, nor can I even try to know everything so lack in knowledge is normal and of course I am not speaking about technical knowledge, but what I am focusing on here is that feeling of not being smart enough for anything. What I remind myself now is that there’s always something I can do about it. Whether it’s to find books and read up on certain things, find a friend or a person who can help fill the gaps, or in some other way take action to minimize whatever gap I feel I have; there’s always a way if we’re willing to find a way.

“I am not enough.”

I struggled with this statement a lot more before. It’s something that rears it’s head here and there even now on some occasions, but I’ve learned how to handle such thoughts. When reality kicks in I realize something simple, almost obvious, but also powerful. All these self-defeating statements and thoughts are exactly that; they’re thoughts! They’re a created and sometimes imaginary perception sitting in my mind. The power it has over myself and my life is only as strong as I allow myself to believe in these thoughts.

What’s interesting about thoughts are that no one else, but I have the power to change my thoughts. My thoughts may be influenced by external things. My thoughts may be a reaction to external things, but ultimately the final decision about what I choose to think about, how I choose to think, and what lies in my mind is in my control.

Self-defeating thoughts exist in my mind. If I choose to believe it’s true, then it will be true in my experience of myself in the world. If I choose not to believe it’s true, then it will remain false in my experience of myself in the world. It sounds simple, but this is why acquiring a strong command of my mind is such a priority in my life. The strength of my thoughts is as strong as I allow it to be. At the end of the day, I am in control.
 

 

Apparently, I Have Great Skin!

 
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It’s not the first time I’ve been asked about my skin regimen, so I’ve decided to type it up into a post. Here are some of my MUST DOs when it comes to cleaner and healthier skin.

#1 - I Wash my face before I step out of the house

We all know how important sleep is when it comes to rest and recovery right? All the work which tends to go unnoticed when we’re at sleep is also what goes on with the skin when we’re asleep. At night and when we are asleep, the cells in our skin are repaired and regenerated.

One of the first things I do when I get out of bed is to wash my face with my face wash. I am usually up before the sun’s out, so washing my face in the morning also helps me to wake up, especially when I can’t rely on the sun to wake me up. But, other than that, because the skin goes through its regenerative processes at night, it’s always good to make sure I start the day with clean skin. Skin free of unnecessary oils and dead skin which might have been left on my face throughout the night.

#2 - I Wash my hands and face every time I get home

There are so many things that can disrupt the skin when we’re out and about. Living in a hot and humid tropical climate like Singapore, it’s hard to ignore the impact the outside world has on my skin. Aside from the sweat, there’s a whole host of other things such as dirt, pollution, and dust, that’s happily sitting on the skin’s surface so the first thing I do when I get home is, wash my hands then my face!

It’s important to wash my hands after coming back home because I never know what I’ve touched, whether I was touching something on the bus or the train, to the handles on an escalator, there are more chances than not that I’ll end up transferring those germs onto my face if I don’t wash my hands.

#3 - I don’t use foundation

This is a personal preference but I do not like the feeling of foundation on my skin. I’ve tried enough foundation in my lifetime to say that foundation, no matter how lightweight or natural marketers try to make me believe it is, is still not a friend to me. I instead use a light face primer, which evens out my skin but doesn’t block the pores.

#4 - I Give my skin a break from makeup

I'll go a day or two each week without any makeup because we all know everyone needs a break and that includes my skin! This is usually a great time for me to amp up my skincare and add a mask before I hit the sheets to give my skin the R&R it deserves.

#5 - I carry face wipes in my workout bag

Washing my face after a workout isn’t always convenient. What if I was working out outside? If I don’t have access to a tap, my next solution is to carry face wipes.

#6 - I don’t use face moisturizer at night

I am not a scientist or a dermatologist, but like how using chapsticks can cause a dependency on chapsticks (i.e. lips will get very dry if you stop using chapsticks), I’ve stopped moisturizing my face every night. I read somewhere that because the skin is regenerating at night, it also means that this is when the skin adjusts its level of moisture (i.e. how much oils it naturally produces). I used to suffer from oily and dry skin, but once I stopped moisturizing every night this problem went away. My best guess is because now my skin is able to adjust to its condition more accurately, without the aid of external moisturizers, its natural production of oil (for moisture) is more accurate. Previously my skin compensated the dry skin by producing more oil. I still use moisturizers in the morning when I need it and face oils at night once or every other week.

#7 - I use sunblock on my face, most days

You caught me! I am not perfect and I am not as consistent with this as I hope to be, but using sunblock on the face is important if I want to maintain my skin’s health. Other than protecting itself against harmful rays, protecting the skin against the sun also means preventing wrinkles and freckles, which are signs of sun damage. Older Asian ladies with their umbrellas, long sleeves, and large golf hats may find you laughing at them now, but they’re the ones laughing later!

#8 - I drink fresh carrot juice every day (no sugar added please!)

Honestly, I am not sure what the science behind this is. I also drink carrot juice every day primarily because I freakin love carrots and I love carrot juice, so it’s more for personal pleasure than anything else. Although the statement of, “we are what we eat,” is so true when it comes to skin, so I am sure consuming this bright wonderful liquid has something to do with my skin’s health.

#9 - I recently switched to all natural products

I recently switched to all natural products and other than helping to eliminate some dryness, I should say that switching to all natural products didn’t make a dramatic difference, my skin was doing fine before but at least now I know my products are better for the environment as well.

If there’s anything else you’d like to know about my skin regimen, feel free to drop me a message on Instagram or on my e-mail. I’d love to help you find your best skin!