The persisting stigma surrounding menstruation can be seen by the many euphemisms that exist for the term: “shark week”, “code red”, “female trouble”, “time of month”, “Aunt Flow”…and these are just in English! While some may be entertaining to use, they are actually harmful as they reinforce the idea that having your period is something to be ashamed of and should be hidden from others. Because of this stigma and taboo, menstruation isn’t discussed as openly as it should be, and this leads to false information being shared from generation to generation. It’s now become crucial to have open conversations about periods, and dismantle cultures of misinformation and shame that have been around for centuries.

Let’s debunk these menstrual myths to prove how healthy and normal menstruation is:

 

MYTH #1
“EW, PERIOD BLOOD IS DIRTY!”

This is one of the oldest myths that have been around, and passed down from generation to generation. Period blood isn’t dirty blood. Period blood is simply a different form of bodily fluids (which is naturally secreted by the body) that contains a little bit of blood, uterine tissue, mucus lining and bacteria.

 

MYTH #2
PERIODS = WOMANHOOD

We’ve all heard the notion, “Once you get your period, you become a woman”. Now, throw that notion out the window! Not all women menstruate and not everyone who menstruates is a woman. Periods aren’t experienced by cisgender women only – they are also experienced by trans men, and non-binary, genderqueer and intersex individuals.

 

MYTH #3
“YOUR PMS IS NOT REAL / YOU’RE JUST BEING DRAMATIC”

For those who menstruate, PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) is a naturally occurring monthly change in their body – not a mindset! Right before a menstruation cycle, the sex hormone (oestrogen and progesterone) levels drop drastically, causing emotional and physical symptoms such as mood swings, tiredness, painful cramps and headaches. When the human body experiences these changes, it is bound to affect their emotions and reactions to daily stressors. It is not made up or an excuse – it is very much real!

The next time your period causes you to not feel like your usual self, please remember that it is completely normal and perfectly okay to feel that way.

 

MYTH #4
“YOU WILL LOSE YOUR VIRGINITY IF YOU USE A TAMPON / PERIOD CUP”

The sanitary products developed for dealing with our periods are predominantly safe and won’t affect your virginity at all. These products, which are designed to go inside of you, may cause the hymen to stretch. However, they will not cause someone to lose their virginity. Check out our list of safe, eco-friendly and organic period products here!

 

MYTH #5
LATE PERIODS = PREGNANCY 

False! There are plenty of reasons why a period might be late. Sudden weight loss, stress, contraceptive pills and irregular periods can affect your menstrual cycle – hence, making your period late. If you’re worried, take a pregnancy test to ease your mind or visit your gynaecologist. Don’t forget to practice safe sex!

You can understand your period cycle better by downloading period tracker apps like Flo and Clue.

 

It can be extremely empowering to exchange experiences, information and ideas about menstruation. By encouraging candid conversation about periods, we are supporting the individuals in our lives, and breaking the taboos and myths around them. Having your period is a normal thing – as ordinary as having to go to the bathroom! No person should ever be held back just because they are on their period.

Do you constantly feel overwhelmed, run-down or anxious? If you answered YES to at least one of them, it’s time for you to have some ‘ME-time’ and focus on your self-care.

Self-care is any behaviour, action, or tool that helps reduce a person’s stress level and possibly avoid health problems, mentally and physically. Our proposed ratio is 20:30:50. 20% for Future Relief, 30% for Instant Relief, and 50% for Basic Needs. All of it comes together to ensure you lead a well-balanced life!

 

20% : Future Relief

We should always strive to live in the moment as “now” is the only time that matters; but when we practice these healthy habits, we are helping our future selves to be more mindful, centered, and calm.

For future relief, you should utilize these ‘tools’:

  • Journaling

Keeping a journal helps to analyze your moods, problems, concerns, and fears. Tracking this daily helps you recognise your triggers and stressors, and you can find ways to better deal with them.

  • Resolutions & Goal-Setting

Align your focus and goals to sustain good momentum in life. This is an easy method of guiding you to your end target.

Feel free to check out our guide to making mindful resolutions for your life!

  • Therapy

Explore your feelings, thoughts, patterns of behaviours, and trauma causes through therapy. Learn new coping techniques and skills to manage daily stressors, as well as symptoms that may be associated with your diagnosis.

There are many types of therapy, explore which you would like to try out here.

 

30% : Instant Relief

There are plentiful ways to instantly raise our ‘happy’ hormone levels! Try these out when you want a little pick-me-up:

  • Turn Up The Music

Listening to happy music alleviates your mood and stimulates creative thinking. Shake your booty while you’re at it too! It doesn’t just burn calories, it boosts moods and body image. Here’s our fun self-care playlist that you must check out!

  • Laugh Out Loud

Laughter truly is the best medicine. Our mental and physical health improves when we let loose with a little laughter. Here’s a plan of action: Watch a funny movie or comedy series – those reruns of “Friends” and “Brooklyn 99” may actually be beneficial for your heart!

  • Meditation

Practicing meditation proves that it doesn’t take a lot of time to do the body and mind good. Quieting the mind for just a few minutes helps reduce stress and anxiety. If you dislike the ‘typical’ meditation method of sitting cross-legged, fret not – There’s More Than One Way To Meditate – Find Out What’s Best For You!

 

50%: Basic Needs

Often ignored but extremely necessary, these Basic Needs are what make up the majority of leading and living a good life. Maintaining this helps us sharpen our physical and mental health through better stress management, better self-esteem, and overall well-being.

  • Sleep

Prioritizing snooze time is important for a healthier, happier you! Skipping out on shut-eye may hurt your productivity and reduce your abilities to make rational decisions – not to mention the imbalance of hormones it could cause. It is vital for you to allow your mind and body to rest and recuperate so you can function at 100%!

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Drinking enough water every day is crucial – the body needs it to perform its tasks well. From regulating the body temperature, ensuring your organs function properly, and preventing infections. When you’re well-hydrated, you also improve cognitive function, mood, and sleep quality.

  • Exercise

The benefits of exercising are bountiful – it decreases risk of diseases, releases stress, reduces feelings of anxiety, increases “happy” chemical levels in the brain, and many more! Sneak in a quick 10-minute workout or a 15-minute walk and get your body moving.

  • Fuel Up On Healthy Food

Indulging in ‘junk’ food is necessary self-care from time to time, however, you should fuel your body daily with foods that nourish you best. Consuming fewer sugars, salts, saturated and industrially-produced trans-fats ensures a healthier diet. Plan your meals and choose nutritious foods, so you can perform your best, every day. Healthy you = Happy you!

 

Assess which parts of your life require more self-care and attention; and reassess your life often! As your daily situation changes, so should your self-care needs. When you are caring for all areas of yourself, you’ll likely see an upgrade in many parts of your life – especially your health and relationships.

The shadow isn’t a popular topic that is discussed. Nobody particularly enjoys owning their weaknesses, flaws, selfishness, insecurities, and so on – we’d rather focus on our strengths, which is more life-affirming and enjoyable.

But, as disagreeable as it may sound, there is a dark side within every person. The nature of being human is to have both a light and a dark side, and we need to embrace that. Shining the light of consciousness on the shadow takes effort and continual practice. The more you take note of your behavior and emotions, the better chances you have of catching your shadow in the act.

What Is Your Shadow Side?

In psychology, a shadow is used to refer to the parts within us that we may try to deny or hide, consciously or unconsciously. This term was originally explored by Carl Jung who said, “Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the darker and denser it is”.

Your Shadow Self is part of your unconscious mind and contains everything you feel ashamed of thinking and feeling, as well as every desire, repressed idea, impulse, fear and perversion that for one reason or another, you have “locked away” intentionally or unintentionally. Usually this is done as a way of keeping yourself likable and “civilized” in the eyes of others.

Everything we deny in ourselves becomes part of the shadow. Anything incompatible with our chosen conscious attitude about ourselves is “exiled” to this dark side.

Why Must We Do Shadow Work

When you work with your shadow, you release a huge amount of energy you were unconsciously investing to protect yourself. This may improve your mental, emotional and physical health. It’ll boost your inner strength and give you a greater sense of balance, equipping you better when facing life’s challenges.

Accepting your own darker parts makes it easier to accept the shadow in others too. Hence, other people’s behaviour won’t trigger you as much and you’ll find it easier to communicate with others. There will be an improvement in your relationships with your partner, family, colleagues and friends.

How To Start Shadow Work

Start a writing journal where you record discoveries about yourself. Writing your insights and feelings, and reviewing them later, helps encode the discovery into your awareness.

Here are some topics to guide you in what to look out for when beginning shadow work:

Quoting Martin Luther King Jr., ​“We are made by history”;​ so it’s important that we touch base with the history of women’s rights in Malaysia for a firmer grasp on how we want to shape our future.

Ever since Malaysia gained Independence in 1957, girls and women in Malaysia have always had open access to education. However, it came with more constrictions and cultural rules, as compared to their male counterparts. Hence why women aimed for simpler positions such as clerks, typists, and teachers. Only in the 1970s did we start seeing girls courageously crossing the barrier, persevering, and proving the earlier stigmas wrong – that women were not suitable for “manlier” jobs involving technical education, engineering, or even court duty.

Regardless of women progressing in education, as well as the country developing more and more everyday, and in spite of the policies set by the government to support women’s entry and retention at the workforce, barriers such as lack of mentoring, stereotyping, and being excluded from networks still exists.

People across the world have many misperceptions about equality: we underestimate women’s experience of sexual harassment, and are overly optimistic about when economic and pay equality will be achieved. In reality, women in the Malaysian workforce still face unjust challenges every single day.

A ​survey done by Women’s Aid Organisation shows that up to 21% of women have encountered a form of sexual harassment, but many are still misinformed on what entails as sexual harassment in the workplace. Many still think that behaviours that their colleagues do, such as unwelcomed touching or grabbing, stalking or repeatedly making advances after being rejected, as “unprofessional behaviour”. Education on women’s safety and rights need to be boosted to ensure that women know that they are being treated respectably and just.

In June 2016, women accounted for only 15.2% of director positions in the top 100 listed companies on Bursa Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange). According to ​this study by the Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, 75% agree that the stereotypes about women’s abilities and roles still exist in the industry and 51.9% receive less mentoring than men in this industry. The ‘glass ceiling’, which still exists in most organisations, acts as the biggest barrier in women advancing in their careers.

The ‘glass ceiling’ refers to the invisible barriers that prevents qualified women from reaching their full potential within their company. Women are inclined to be over-represented in the junior level, but under-represented at the senior level in a company. It has resulted in a disadvantageous effect on the economy and morale of any organisation.

Unfortunately, there are many who still perceive women as weak, unable to carry out certain roles, or that women are only to play the “caring” roles in organizations. This phenomenon is also known as ​“Stereotype Confirmation Bias​”, and it happens when leaders confirm their stereotypes while filtering out all other examples. This adds on to the factor of discrimination.

According to a ​survey done by Women’s Aid Organisation, 56% of working women have experienced one or more types of gender discrimination at the workplace, including being asked personal questions regarding their marital or family status, being tasked to perform jobs that are not asked of men in the same position, receiving questions or comments about their ability to perform certain tasks, and being omitted from promotions even though their qualifications surpass the other candidates.

What To Do If You Encounter Discrimination?

If you feel that you are being discriminated against, there are many organisations that you may reach out to seek help. You can consider getting in touch with:

  • The Human Resource Department (who deals with internal grievances)
  • The Malaysian Labour Office
  • Your Trade Unions

The first thing to do would be to contact the Human Resource Department to find out about your company’s grievance processes. If the situation cannot be resolved internally, you may escalate it further to the labour office.

Although there has been significant progress in the representation of women in the workplace, women are still far from being seen as an equal. Katherine Davis, the former Managing Director of IPSOS in Malaysia said, “Where women are fully represented, societies are more peaceful and stable. Standing up for women’s rights and development is standing up for the global good”. We need to keep spreading awareness on this issue and keep talking about it in our conversations in order for real change to take place!

This is a language you should consider getting fluent in for a deeper connection with your partner, as you’ll understand how to converse with them in their own love language and vice versa.

In short, to learn love languages is to understand how to ​express love in the right language. Understanding how your partner and yourself communicate love is vital for you to blossom together in your relationship.

What are love languages?

The concept ‘love language’ is coined by relationship counsellor ​Gary Chapman​, author of ‘The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts’. After 35 years of marriage counselling, he concluded that there are five emotional love languages in which people understand and show love.

The five love languages depict how we feel loved and appreciated. Our personality type and our upbringing heavily impact our love languages, hence, we may feel loved differently than how our partners do. Everyone expresses love in all these 5 love languages, however, one or two may be more dominant than others.

As you work on decoding and understanding these different methods of expressing love, it will help take the frustrations and guesswork out of you and your partner’s needs and expectations for love.

Read on till the end to find out your own love language!

What are the different love languages?

  1. Words of Affirmation

This love language shows love using words that build up your partner. Your partner appreciates verbal comments and compliments more than any other actions.

  1. Acts of Service

The motto “Actions speak louder than words” encapsulates this love language. They feel appreciated and loved when their partner does things without being asked or by force of obligations.

  1. Receiving Gifts

This love language doesn’t necessarily mean that your partner is materialistic. It could mean that they feel love with a more tangible item. It’s less to do with the gift itself, but more to do with the sentimental value behind it.

  1. Physical Touch

A common misconception around this love language is that sex is the only way to connect; rather the act of ‘touching’ is what ‘Physical Touch’ is all about. Holding hands, hugs and kisses here and there would assure them of your love for them. They want to physically feel you close by.

  1. Quality Time

This love language prizes undivided attention above all else. Receiving undivided attention is this what ‘Quality Time’ values most. When you’re together, they want to be the centre of your attention.

How can you communicate them in your relationships and to yourself?

Words of Affirmation

In a Relationship:

  • Give genuine compliments
  • Use encouraging and uplifting words
  • Empathize when your partner’s hurt
  • Practice active listening
  • Send surprise texts, notes or cards
To Yourself:

  • Recite positive affirmations daily
  • Keep a gratitude jar
  • Write a love letter to yourself
  • Give yourself compliments
  • Listen to personal growth podcasts

Acts of Service

In a Relationship:

  • Make your partner’s favourite meal
  • Random acts of kindness
  • Help with your partner’s workload
  • Assist them with projects or chores
To Yourself:

  • Make your bed first thing after you wake up
  • Declutter and tidy up your place
  • Do one errand you’ve been avoiding
  • Keep a habit tracker using an app or in your journal
  • Learn to say ‘No’ to things that do not add value into your life

Receiving Gifts

In a Relationship:

  • Give thoughtful gifts, big or small
  • Make genuine gestures
  • Small tokens of appreciation
  • Celebrate special occasions together
  • Receive gifts enthusiastically
To Yourself:

  • Invest in your passion and hobbies
  • Treat yourself to small gifts after completing jobs or goals
  • Pick a flower bouquet for your table
  • Create personalized song playlists
  • Book a weekend getaway

Physical Touch

In a Relationship:

  • Normalize non-sexual touches with your partner
  • Prioritize intimacy
  • Sit close to each other
  • Take a walk and hold hands
  • Hug and kiss your partner often
To Yourself:

  • Work on your skincare routine
  • Sleep earlier for better rest
  • Pamper yourself with a haircut or doing your nails
  • Take a soothing bubble bath
  • Do a few stretches

Quality Time

In a Relationship:

  • Turn off phones / any distractions
  • Plan thoughtful dates
  • Have one-on-one conversations
  • Finish chores together
  • Set goals to achieve together
To Yourself:

  • Practice mindfulness and meditation
  • Go for a solo drive
  • Treat yourself to a nice dinner at your favourite restaurant
  • Listen to your favourite album on repeat

You can discover your own love language using this ​quiz​.

Every type of love language is important and conveys love in its own unique way. Learning the love language of your partner and your own self will greatly help build a stronger bond in your relationship.

What Is A Vision Board?

A vision board, also known as a dream board, is a collage of pictures and words that best represent your dreams and goals. It is a visualisation tool that helps you clarify, centre, and focus on what solidly matters to you. A common misconception of the vision board is that it works like a genie, whereby you will magically achieve whatever you have on your board. Rather, it works as a reminder of all the actions you should take in order for you to reach your goals.

 

Why Is It Effective?

The most effective way to achieve your goals is to keep them foremost in your mind – this way, you’re always aware of them, and it will have you unconsciously optimising your actions to move closer to them. This is where a vision board comes in, to prompt you to ​visualise​ your ideal life on a daily basis.

Visualization works! Not in the “hocus-pocus” kind of way, but by activating the subconscious part of your brain and programming it to become more aware. It allows you to notice the available opportunities and resources that you may have previously failed to.

This ​article​ proves the power of visualisation and how it has brought success to many Olympic athletes. You can also watch this ​video​ of Jim Carrey talking to Oprah Winfrey about him visualising success and then gaining it.

 

Create Your Own Vision Board

Now that we’ve covered the basics of this powerful tool, here comes the fun part – creating your own vision board!

  1. Develop a list of your goals and dreams. Ask yourself questions like:
  • What do you want more of in your life – love, money, happiness, health?
  • What job or promotion do you want?
  • What kind of people do you want around you?
  • What type of partner do you want to attract into your life?
  • What habits do you want to incorporate into your daily life?
  • Where do you want to live?
  • What material things do you want to own – a new car, laptop, phone?Note: The key here is to be specific. If you’d like a new car, note down the model of the car and the colour that you want.
  1. Find pictures from the internet, magazines, photographs – anything that inspires you, including affirmations, inspirational words and motivational quotes. You may also want to consider adding photos of yourself and your loved ones smiling and being happy. This will have your brain associating the things that you want with the things you already have, generating good feelings.
  2. After you’ve collected all the materials you’d like to add to your board, you can either follow the traditional method of pasting it on a board, or just create a collage online and set is as your wallpaper! The point is to make sure that it is placed somewhere you can see every day.

To quote Oprah Winfrey, “If you can see it and believe it, it is a lot easier to achieve it”. A vision board will help, but it is not enough to make your dreams come true – you need to take the right actions to create the reality that you want to live in.

Humans have a built-in need for having relationships with other people; whether romantic, familial or friendships – they all count! ​Frans de Waal​, an evolutionary biologist, proved that​ we are social animals​ who have naturally evolved to care for each other. It is vital for our emotional and mental wellbeing, and essentially, for our survival. Cultivating good relationships with others begins with having a good sense of empathy.

So, what is empathy?

To put it simply, empathy is the ability to share another person’s feelings and experiences, as well as show them compassion. It is being able to step in their shoes and view life from their perspective to understand their emotions. Empathy is right at the center of trusted relationships.

There are 3 types of empathy:

1. Cognitive Empathy

This type of empathy is concerned with thought, intellect and understanding. You understand how someone else is feeling without actually emotionally feeling it. It enables you to put yourself in others’ shoes, unaccompanied by your own emotions. This can also be described as ‘empathy by thought’, which helps in understanding multiple view points, negotiating and motivating others.

2. Emotional Empathy

Related to feelings, physical sensations and the mirror neurons in the brain, this kind of empathy allows you to share others’ emotional experiences. In a way, you have ‘caught’ their emotions as well – for example, you feel distress in response to seeing a TV show where the character is undergoing surgery.

3. Compassionate Empathy

This is an active form of empathy – there is not only concern for the other person, as well as sharing their emotional pain, but it also leans towards taking the steps to reduce it. It is consistent with what is usually understood about compassion.

 

In general, we want to acknowledge ​(cognitive empathy),​ as well as share others’ emotions and feelings ​(emotional empathy)​; but it is just as important to sympathise with what they’re going through and essentially, help them take action to resolve their problems – this is compassionate empathy.

It is important to understand that having empathy is a skill that you can cultivate to ensure you become more compassionate towards the people around you. It is not a fixed trait, meaning there are plenty of ways for you to strengthen your empathy.

How can you improve your empathy?

1. Put your own outlook aside.

We sometimes don’t realize this, but our own experiences and beliefs heavily influence the way we perceive situations and people. Taking a step back and putting our outlook aside may help us tune in better to the person speaking and focus on their issues in the moment.

2. Explore new environments.

You don’t need to go far – explore the next town, or have a chat with your next door neighbour. It’ll give you a better understanding of other people’s lifestyles and cultures. This may increase your appreciation for others. (However, because of the current pandemic, please stay safe at home.)

3. Get feedback from others.

Ask for feedback about your skills (such as listening) from friends, family members and colleagues. You can also check in with them from time to time to see how you’re doing.

4. Challenge yourself.

Venturing into new and challenging experiences will push you out of your comfort zone. Learning a new skill, for instance a new language or instrument, may humble you and humility is the fundamental enabler of empathy.

If you’re interested to see where your empathy level is, try out this quick​ quiz!

What are Human Rights?

So what exactly are ​Human Rights​?
It is the ​rights​ you have simply because you are ​human​.

 

What is Human Rights Day?

Human Rights Day is celebrated universally on the 10th of December every year to advocate the rights and freedoms of people across the globe. In 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights (UDHR) which contains 30 articles that touch on freedom, peace, justice, education, healthcare, and dignity, amongst other rights. Human Rights Day was officially established on the 4th of December, 1950 at the meeting of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.

The UDHR basically states, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and in rights”.

For the past 70 years, it has been celebrated worldwide to improve the social, cultural, physical, and spiritual well-being and welfare of all vulnerable groups of people.

 

What is the theme of Human Rights Day 2020?

“Recover Better – Stand Up For Human Rights.”

This year, the theme for Human Rights Day correlates with the COVID-19 pandemic that has left many countries struggling.

The UN Human Rights’ call to action “S​tand Up for Human Rights”, ​is intended for everybody to support transformative action and display practical and inspirational examples that will contribute to recovering better, and cultivating more resilient as well as just societies.

There is a dire need to build back better by making certain that ​Human Rights ​are the main priority of recovery efforts throughout the world.

 

What are the goals?

The COVID-19 crisis is further aggravated by structural discrimination and racism. The requirements for a post-COVID world would be equality and non-discrimination for all.

The pandemic has shone a bright light on the high and rising inequalities, be it economically, socially, and/or culturally everywhere in the world. A new social contract is needed to birth a new era.

Everyone plays a vital role in building a post-COVID world that’s recovered and better for the present and future generations. It is vital that the voices and pleads of the most vulnerable and affected be heard during the recovery efforts. We are all in this together.

Sustainable development is essential for all people and the planet. ​Human Rights​, the ​2030 Agenda, and the ​Paris Agreement are some of the many foundations of a recovery that includes everybody on this planet. Learn more about this by reading about ​The Sustainable Development Goals which addresses global challenges that we face today.

 

United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights, ​Michelle Bachelet says​, “This is a call to action to seize this opportunity and build the world we want.”

Every person seeks equal opportunity, equal justice, and equal dignity without discrimination. Human rights are the choices that we make every day as human beings. It is the responsibility we all share to respect, to help one another, and protect that in-need.

Those who fight against torture, discrimination, poverty, and injustice are not people with superpowers or any special abilities; they’re normal people like you and me. Free-thinking individuals who refuse to be silent.

So, the question now becomes, ​will ​you stand up for human rights and join in the fight too?

 

If we were to ask someone to take responsibility for their life or actions, they would usually ignore it. Why? Because this statement may seem judgemental, aggressive and insensitive – it may not even make sense to the listener.

Personal responsibility is often an overlooked personality trait that many have yet to achieve. It isn’t something that one decides to do voluntarily, rather, it is something we discover once we acknowledge our own power and realize the impact of our actions.

One of the reasons why accountability is so important is that it shows you know how to take ownership and by doing so, you get to control your outcomes – whether positive or negative.

Here are some simple yet fool-proof methods on how to cultivate accountability and take control of your life!

  1. Write It Down

No matter how big or small the activity or chore is, writing down your responsibilities is proven to be effective. When you write things down, both parts of your brain are activated – the imaginative right hemisphere and the logic-based left hemisphere. As we now carry our smartphones around like an extended limb, you can even write it down on your Notes app or as a widget you can see every time you look at your phone. There are so many distractions around us that make it is easy for the brain to forget your responsibilities – give it a break and just ​write it down!

  1. Set Realistic Goals and Expectations

When you set unrealistic expectations and commitments, it is more likely that you would fall short and fail. This would, in turn, cause you to feel demotivated, give up and feel bad about yourself. Keeping your promises straightforward and realistic is a safer method to ensure you reach your targets and move forward.

  1. Momentum Is Key

Building momentum i​s a vital factor in your personal accountability and responsibility journey. Try this: each time you complete a task, attempt a slightly bigger task afterward and move on from there. For example, starting with a small task like drinking a cup of water after you wake up every day to build up confidence. After completing the task, celebrate your ‘win’, and with each win, you’ll be more self-assured and more likely complete the next task. In time, add more habits you’d like to include such as a 5-minute yoga session before you shower, etc. Before you know it, you’ll have habits you thought were impossible at the start of your journey!

Every day is an opportunity to do things a little bit better than you did the day before. Accountability allows us to take ownership and improve our lives – we are then able to be comfortable and take responsibility without shifting the blame.

Although being accountable and taking responsibility might feel overwhelming, it’s interesting how quickly you will discover that ultimately, you are in control. And that is is truly empowering.

Similar to the Yin and Yang, of how two opposites complement each other to make a whole, there is a shadow-side to everything in life – especially in ourselves. Everyone exhibits some form of toxic behaviour. We are only human after all. But what’s important is that we educate ourselves rather than ignore it and continue acting the same away. If you’re ready to be honest and accountable, to be a better version of yourself, we invite you to read on!

What are the common toxic traits?

Some common toxic traits include:

  1. Being Judgemental

Having standards and not settling for less is one thing, but if you find yourself judging someone because of tiny, minuscule things that don’t define their character – start acknowledging that and actively stopping yourself. Otherwise, it usually implies a hidden or open desire to control or change someone.

 

  1. Negativity

When something bad happens to you – are you quick to blame everything around you, including yourself? It’s normal to experience bad days, but when your mind only answers and listens in a negative tone, you won’t be able to appreciate anything in your life.

 

  1. Gaslighting

In a nutshell, to ‘gaslight’ is to invalidate and/or downplay other’s emotions. Gaslighting often occurs when you listen to ​counter​ and ​not​ listen to understand.​ Some examples of gaslighting phrases include:

 

  1. Manipulation

Using mental tricks for your own personal gain is considered manipulation. Examples of manipulative ways are:

If any of these sound familiar, it could be time for you to step back and start taking responsibility for your behaviour.

How can I improve?

The first step is to acknowledge your toxic traits and areas of improvement. This could be done by nurturing self-awareness. You can do this by:

Recognise and admit to your negative traits.

 

Ask yourself, “What are the qualities I’m putting out there?”, “Why do I do something a certain way?”.

 

Viewing the situation from the other party’s perspective will help you understand them better and manage your emotions. In turn, this will change your actions and lead to a better outcome.

 

Review your actions and emotions through journaling or mediation, and reflect to see if you can improve the situation in the future.

When you notice your toxic traits and begin the process of realising how your trauma affects your behaviour, you can start amending and improving your personality. However, if you continue to recycle your pain, the cycles of the same situation will happen again.

Psychologist ​Dr. Tasha Eurich​ offers a piece of advice, “Working on your self-awareness will put you ahead of 80 percent of your colleagues. It is the secret ingredient. Don’t put pressure on yourself to do it quickly – be open to what people tell you so that you can make a significant improvement.”

Start becoming aware of your own toxic traits, even if they’re ingrained in niceness. It’ll move you a step closer towards self-acceptance and self-love!

Do you beat yourself up when things don’t go according to plan? You may find yourself turning internally and judging yourself for not reaching your own expectations. If this sounds all too familiar, read on to see how you can start treating yourself with the kindness and compassion you deserve! 

According to counseling experts, Dr. Kim & Dr. Hill, by showing ourselves kindness, the brain starts creating new “mentalities” and habit patterns that will transform our thoughts from seeing black and red to seeing joy and opportunities instead. Try these out:

You would only talk to a child with understanding and love, right? What if we told you there’s an inner child inside all of us and by extending the same love and forgiveness to that child, it would help you greatly. Never underestimate the power of positive self-talk! 

 

Dedicate “me time” to yourself every day. It can be as short as 15 minutes, but in those 15 minutes, fill it with activities that bring you joy such as meditation, journaling, drawing, playing your favourite instrument, or just dancing and vibing to your favourite music. By doing this, you are proving to yourself that your needs are important too. 

 

Rephrasing your thoughts and removing judgment from your actions will help cultivate self-compassion. We’re all human, it’s normal to make mistakes. Here are a couple of examples you can try the next time this happens:

Negative Thought Pattern

 

New Thought Pattern

 

I feel like I didn’t do anything today. Why am I so lazy?

 

I’ve been feeling unmotivated recently. Let’s try to figure out why I’ve been feeling this way.

 

I made a mistake, why am I always messing up? I made a mistake. It’s okay. I’ll keep going and be better next time.

 

After doing something you’re proud of or achieving something, give yourself a moment to celebrate and praise yourself! It could be that you finally submitted an assignment or a proposal, finally went to the gym or even just making your bed in the morning. Compliment yourself and give yourself a high-ten! Thank yourself for completing the chore. Shifting your focus on the good won’t leave any room for the bad. 

 

Forming and maintaining good habits can be draining, so treating yourself is actually necessary. When we reward ourself, we are more likely to feel cared for, contented, and empowered. This boosts our self-command, which helps us continue our healthy habits. According to the author, Gretchen Rubin, who studies happiness and good habits, giving yourself treats is a Secret of Adulthood: If I give more to myself, I can ask more from myself. Self-regard isn’t selfish”.

And you don’t even have to spend much to feel like a million bucks – here’s how you can treat yourself without breaking the bank!

 

Apply these tools into your daily routine to develop your self-compassion muscle. Remember, we are all humans who are prone to make mistakes, but our mistakes don’t define who we are. You deserve all your kindness, love, and affection.