We are always told to repress our emotions. All the time!!! Isn’t it annoying as heck? And then, we are also told that we are overreacting when we finally let go of all those repressed emotions. Well, what do you expect us to do when we have been constantly told to hold back.
It is unhealthy to keep holding back those emotions. Those emotions are all real and yearns to be let out. Eventually, this repression will lead to a meltdown and emotional exhaustion. You’ll end up feeling confused because you have a pile of different emotions stuck inside your mind. Then suddenly, you burst like a firecracker. BAM! You’ll be shocked by how much you have been stacking inside your mind.
And what else will you feel if you don’t let these out at one point? Oh yeah – guilt. You’re going to feel so guilty for having those emotions to begin with because you’ll find yourself behaving in ways that you know is not yourself. That is a terrible thing to feel and hard to recover from since it’s confusing to discern whether these emotions are coming from your evil nature or from the prolonged repression.
Now, don’t go around and start yelling at people who make you feel angry or upset or any negative emotions. Bit by bit, you must understand where and how to let out those emotions. It doesn’t matter if they are negative or positive ones. They both matter because all of your emotions exist. You exist. Why should you have to hold back something that is real and important? If your emotions are held back all the time, then you are not living the best life that you are definitely capable of having.
Let them out! Do it ASAP before your mental health starts to tumble down the hill. There are so many ways that you can let them out.
Don’t feel bad that you feel jealous about your friend’s dress or job promotion. It is fine and completely normal to feel that way. My point is that you will only feel worse later when those repressed emotions, such as bitterness and jealousy, come bursting through. You will regret what you said to your boss because you had enough.
Everybody needs a balanced life. Maintaining a balanced life is all part of self-care. Certainly, this is easier said than done. You might feel the urgency to grab your coworker by the throat at times (please don’t do that). However, releasing some of those negativities in whatever ways possible will ease down those intense emotions.
We need to acknowledge that these emotions do exist and are important because YOU are a human and feeling emotions is all natural. Soon enough, you will learn how to live a better life where you’d feel lighter. All that emotional baggage would be off your mind. In that way, your psychological resilience will inevitably increase.
For all the ladies reading this, don’t feel the need to act lady-like because you know that is bullshit. No one should govern the way you behave. Seriously, embrace them. Be furious. Be odd. Be the person that you really are and not what society wants you to be.
I’ve always been told that I was too sensitive all my life. This includes other labels, such as being the crybaby. I absolutely hated being called sensitive for years. I began to notice that I was constantly told to “toughen up” because the world is not bright. The world is scary. I know. Who wouldn’t? At one point, I gave into this socially more accepting trait of being “aggressive”. Especially in my family, being tough and having less empathy was valued. Still is. It aggravates me so much.
It doesn’t make sense to me still how some people can be extremely rude and not feel that guilty about it. I’m not a saint, though I never try to hurt anybody’s feelings. I couldn’t even slap a plant when I was younger because I was afraid that plants had feelings too.
Until this year, I learned the true qualities of being kind and sensitive. It’s a strength that I am proud of. I would not have thought of this day coming when I finally accept my true self. I am done fighting to put up these fences. I want to be free and open-hearted. Putting up those fences for years and years exhausted me to the point where I had a nervous breakdown. I blamed it on others. I kept trying to convince myself that it was their fault for my bitter life.
That’s not true. You can’t blame anybody else for your own unhappiness. I’m in control of who I am and I have the ability to change myself whenever I want.
I decided to take that U-turn and start being myself again. I stopped being all smiley and bubbly to only satisfy people for approval. It was all out of fear of abandonment. I’m never going to be alone and it took me this long to make me realize this inner strength I have been carrying. I don’t care that it took me this long, though the pain was excruciating throughout those years. All I care about is that I am myself now. I am sensitive.
I can proudly scream that I am sensitive and feel no shame. Accepting myself washed away my sins of not being myself. I almost feel sad and confused that I’ve been frantic about searching myself when it was there all along. Right inside me. I had my mind and body turned away from myself the entire time. That’s why I felt so lonely all my life. Not because nobody seemed to understand me. I couldn’t understand myself, so of course no one else would be able to.
My message to whoever is reading this Whether you’re sensitive or not, it’s okay to be who you are. Being somebody else is not going to give you the pleasures that you want. All those pleasures come within your self-acceptance.
If you are not the person that you really are, then you can’t feel content or satisfied in your life. Take off that mask you’re wearing and embrace your freedom. It’s not a scary thing at all. It should be empowering.
Here’s one thing I realized: curiosity is driving me up the wall.
I am flailing around trying to figure out what to do next. There’s about 20 different tabs open on my laptop right now. I’m super restless. I feel this urgent need to discover something new and learn about the world. I want to find something that would inspire me. I don’t know how to stop.
I’m like an engine that will never die. There’s something good and bad about that. Ironically, I’ll never lose energy but I am driven by no energy at the same time. I am so drained.
I realized that I hoard things and get overwhelmed by the many choices that I have in front of me. For example: I have a little corner upstairs where I can escape from the rest of my family since lol this quarantine lifestyle is really killing me. Up here, I have two boxes of my stuff. Honestly, most of these “stuff” are not even mine to begin with. I just roamed around the house and found them lying around. So, I thought it would be interesting to check them out and brought them up here.
In other words, I am exhausted by my endless curiosity. I’m confused if it’s all because of my anxiety… Hmm… My therapist told me that I have some OCD symptoms. I don’t want to assume that just yet, but I am seriously feeling so out of it. But, guess what?
I’m still going to do something after this. Otherwise, I’m just going to feel so guilty about not doing something to end the night.
I think that we always tend to blame the other person or something else for our own unhappiness. Maybe not always, but it’s a big trend in our society. Playing the blame game. You know it for sure. I mean, just look at the way many people jump to conclusion for their own issues by putting blame on anything but themselves.
Refusing to face the uncomfortable truth that you might be the problem or at least that you are somewhat responsible for a certain issue is one of the main reasons why you can’t find success in your life. Hey, we all make mistakes. This doesn’t mean that from now on, you must look at all your issues as a result of your own doing. Also, it doesn’t mean that you are a horrible person now. No! It’s just that not everything is going to be perfect.
For this post, though, I will be talking about relationships. Romantic, familial, casual…
I don’t want to give the wrong message by encouraging you to blame yourself and feel guilty about the things that go wrong in your life. Rather, I’m encouraging you to take a step further into comprehending a situation that you’re caught in and allowing yourself to see the bigger picture. Don’t focus on the little things that might be causing the problem.
In fact, your continuous refusal to face the ugly truth that perhaps it is your fault for an issue in your relationship is only going to make matters worse. Not only for yourself, but your partner as well. Victimizing yourself is such a toxic trait to have. Trust me in this. I’m sure at one point in all our lives we have victimized ourselves for various reasons. For example, your dad might say stuff like how his head hurts because of your mom’s yelling. Okay, that might sound too generalizing. But, the point is that your dad is putting all the blame on your mom. What’s probably going to happen next is that this is going to pressure your mom into thinking that she is the problem and so forth.
Then, a vicious cycle is formed.
Victimizing yourself is a trap. A TRAP! That’s also asking for pity. Do you really want that? Pity?
If you really want to keep your relationship strong and healthy, then you must realize that you are able to change your attitude for the better. Be smart, though. Don’t go around changing all the time in every relationship just because it would satisfy your partner. That’s another type of toxic trait that should be avoided. Do NOT make other people change for you.
Take charge of your own actions. Be aware of what you are saying. Stop pitying yourself and making your partner feel bad. You don’t want that. If you’re going to keep blaming all your relationship issues on your partner, then leave. You’re only going to make your partner’s life miserable. Soon as you know it, you will be feeling guilty as well.
So keep in mind that you can also be the toxic one in the relationship. Be quick to notice your toxic traits and be open about talking to your partner about it. If you don’t feel comfortable approaching your partner about this, then ask yourself if this is even right for you. It’s not healthy for either of you guys.
Believe me, you get stronger. You NEVER get weaker when realizing your own toxic traits and mistakes.
Before this new lifestyle began, I was living with my parents and two babies (my dogs). We live in a townhouse where there are three floors, but each floor is not that large. It’s a pretty narrow house that is split into three floors. Well, the top floor wouldn’t exactly be considered a living space since it only leads up to our lovely rooftop. We never really used that space. Until, I got so sick of this no privacy lifestyle. I began to realize that I was so irritated by everybody in the house making all kinds of noise.
It was rather fine and not bothersome to me at the very start. I love spending time by myself. In fact, I NEED alone time. I don’t mean just simply letting me do whatever I need to do while not interacting with me directly. I’m talking about physically not being around me. Putting the physical space between me and others. I’ve been finding myself more quiet and relaxed when I was by myself. I get so distracted when people are around me. The second ANYBODY walks into the room that I am in or any space that I am in, I get so triggered. I don’t know why exactly I get so annoyed, but my family is so freaking loud. Their footsteps, slurping, munching… UGH!
I had to focus on my school work since I am coming to an end of my high school career and entering my college phase. I was so irritated by all the noise and movement around me. Already in this agitated and anxious state, I seriously needed a physical space for myself. But how could I make that happen when there literally is no room?
My sisters and my grandmother all came flocking into the house, so that makes six of us with two dogs. Six might not sound like that many to you, but to me it is annoying when there are three bedrooms and no large spaces for me to do anything without being disturbed.
I used to have some sort of strict routine where I would plan out to meditate and exercise, but all of that is gone now that they are here with us. I feel guilty for saying these things. However, they do not seem to understand the importance of having boundaries and not crossing them no matter how many times I tell them.
So, I decided to make my own little space by getting a tent. This tent is actually a lot larger than I had wanted it to be. But that is no problem for me! As long as I am in my own little bubble, then I will be fine. I brought in some cushion and throws to make it more comfy. I even placed boxes inside the tent with my belongings, such as my books and notebooks.
On sunny days, I brought out the tent to the rooftop and settled down inside. I love doing that. Not only do I get the space that I needed, but I also am able to be outside. Speaking of which, I have not stepped outside besides being on the rooftop for about a month or even longer.
Another experience I got out of this tent lifestyle is meeting my neighbor for the first time. It was really nice to see that human interaction still exists, haha. As I was setting the tent up on the roof, my neighbor right across from my house noticed me and shouted “HEY THERE!” and waved his arm wildly to get my attention. I don’t know why I was so delighted to see some complete stranger doing that to me. Maybe it’s because I haven’t spoken to anybody else in person for a long time. When my neighbor greeted me that way, I did the same by waving my hand and smiling as if I were seeing light again after years. It was such a nice and simple interaction that brightened my day. Even as I am writing about that small moment we shared on this post, I am grinning at the thought of how sweet it was. Honestly, this wouldn’t have happened if I did not get this tent for myself. Otherwise, I would have lost my sanity and became the biggest brat in Boston.
how i almost flew with the tent
Yup, you heard that correct.
I am petite. This tent is pretty light and it’s one of those pop-up tents where you throw it into the air and it unfolds. There’s none of the annoying steps you have to follow in order to build it up, which is why I love this tent so much. The bad thing about that is the fact that it’s not built to be so strong. Every slightly strong gust of wind would send the tent flapping in all directions. That’s why I need to bring in all kinds of stuff inside the tent to prevent it from flying away.
Even with those heavy stuff inside the tent, it was still not enough to pull down the tent to stay on the ground. Then one day, I was on the rooftop inside my tent and this insane wind nearly flipped the entire tent to the side. I was baffled by it. That’s not the only insane thing that has happened inside the tent.
After that, I decided to wrap these strings on the tent’s edges to the outdoor chairs and heavy bricks to try to keep it in place. But nope, that didn’t really help much. This time, I actually felt myself jolt up by the force of the winds. It was CRAZY. I couldn’t help but laugh my bottom off. All my stuff inside the tent scattered, which was annoying to pick everything back up and place them inside the boxes and bags. Overall, it was a pretty thrilling experience. hahaha 🙂
There is an increasing pressure in our society to act like one another. Once you are considered an “adult”, you are immediately assumed to act like one. There are expectations for you to behave in certain ways of showing more wisdom, rationality, etc. While these qualities are important, these societal pressures can easily weigh your inner child-like imaginations. In other words, you do not feel comfortable in your own body. You would not feel satisfied with yourself in most of the things you have accomplished even if it’s an envious thing.
Due to such high expectations from quite everybody in our society, many people feel the need to read books in order to fit those standards. This is perhaps one of the major reasons to why you are not so interested in reading. Everybody has their own level of interest, but for those who think that they are just not great readers – think again! Most likely, you just have not picked up the right book yet. Who said that you must only choose books that are philosophical, such as Plato’s Republic or written works by Socrates? Nobody but yourself! That is just your ego trying to make you do things that are not at your level (let’s face it). All of that is also because of the societal pressures to make you feel validated for reading the most advanced books. CHANGE THAT MENTALITY!
Go for it, choose Percy Jackson series or Harry Potter series. Literally, anything that you think would enhance your reading habits. It does not have to be an educational one at all. I repeat – READ ANYTHING.
Let out that inner child imagination skills that we all once had but lost as we grew up in this society. Pick up a book that you genuinely think would interest you.
Escape reality. time travel. explore.
Oh, we looove to run away from our problems. This act comes out like an instinct for us. Unfortunately, many people turn over to maladaptive behaviors (for e.g. smoking cigarettes, drugs) that turn into bad and unhealthy habits.
With reading, there is no harm. In fact, you can absorb more knowledge. It is a healthy coping mechanism that many people turn away from in times of difficulties. This relates to my previous point, release that imagination! Don’t worry, you’re not going to be stuck in another dimension. You will always be present, yet your mind can take your soul to places unknown. Isn’t that awesome?!
how to build my reading habits
Besides letting go your high ego and all the societal expectations, you must realize that what you are reading is something that draws you in. This sounds easier said than done. I get it. You can’t just pick up a book and say, “wow, this is it for me”. But one way that you can do this can be quite simple!
drop it and search again.
If you have been reading the book for hours and it still doesn’t grab your attention, then seriously drop it and move onto a different book. For me, I know that it isn’t interesting to me if I have been reading for hours and the words just go into one ear and out the other. What’s the whole point of continuing then? If it is boring to you, then simply find another book that would interest you. Otherwise, you’d just be wasting your precious time. Find that spark in the book! It won’t come to you immediately, but you’d know by your own gut-feeling that the book isn’t fit for you.
intentions and not resolutions!
Setting up your resolutions won’t be as effective. Why? Because you’d just feel rushed in the process and not enjoy the actual reading. That means that you are not reading. Instead, it’s a bucket list that you want to check off.
Everybody has their own reason why they enjoy doing something. This could be because of anything from curiosity to health issues. In fact, many studies have shown that reading can actually be an effective way to cope with depression and anxiety. I won’t go deep into that here, however my point is that reading is a healthy brain exercise for you to cultivate your creativity and critical thinking! Setting resolutions for other purposes may bring you the full benefits, but do you really feel that you have accomplished something out of reading the books? Probably not. You would just feel satisfied on the surface that you were able to get that out of your way and make yourself feel that you have done something.
Additionally, that’s just forcing yourself to doing something that you don’t quite enjoy. You would try convincing yourself that you are indeed interested in the book you’re holding, but deep down you would know that you are only motivated by the fact that you are getting closer to checking it off your to-do list.
On the other hand, setting up your intentions will give you a purpose for doing so. This is not just for reading actually. I am speaking in terms of every other thing you do in life. It could be for setting intentions in your career or future education.
Ask yourself why it is that you are reading this book or want to read it. The answer does not have to come to you right away and that is totally fine. What’s most important is that you should understand that you are reading a certain book for a reason. For instance, I decided to start reading because I had a realization that I can use this new quarantine lifestyle as a time to develop my writing skills and even just to see if I can learn something out of books. If you have not known, I used to not like reading at all. I thought it was boring. Now, I get why I was so against reading. It was because I felt pressured to read those books that are all classical and philosophical. I found absolutely NO motivation to flip onto the next page in those. Until I recently started to read articles and some short stories that I specifically chose for myself, I began to realize that reading is not as bad as I thought.
What you can do instead of making a resolution is to create a list of books that you would like to read in the future. Making this list can encourage you to keep up the reading habit as you look forward to read the next book and so forth.
READ. HAVE FUN. BE IMAGINATIVE. LET LOOSE.
stop feeling the pressure to choose books that don’t appeal to you
don’t feel obligated to read books to satisfy others’ expectations
know why you are reading the book and if you truly enjoy it
don’t get the rhythm still after hours reading the book? Drop it. Find another.
Meet the author – Loung Ung. First, let me just mention her beautiful smile despite the horrific trauma that marks her childhood. Ung was born in Cambodia and experienced one of world history’s most deadly genocide at the age of five. Today, she is living happily with her husband in Cleveland, Ohio.
In memory of the two million people who perished under the khmer rouge regime.
– Loung Ung
Initially, I did not have much interest in reading and found this book lying around the house. I thought to myself that I should try to read a book for my own enjoyment for once. What caught my attention first was her writing style. Certainly, this is an important value for an author. Yet, I thought that her way of sharing this experience was in some ways different from other authors. More specifically, the simplistic wording of her writing style enables her to convey her message more clearly. Regardless of the simplicity, what made this style of writing incredibly powerful was the fact that the reader can still sense the emotion from each scene.
Adding on the simplicity of her writing style, this is quite important and an effective way to draw more attention since it is free of jargon. I was amazed by how strong her descriptions of virtually everything happening in the story was full of grace even when the scenes were gory. The grace that she holds in her writing is compelling to me personally as I found myself picking up my pace and urged me to keep flipping the pages. I would say that the combination of her simplistic and graceful tone of voice pulled out the immense powers of her story altogether. Though the pain that she went through as written in the book was inexplicably excruciating, her way of writing further convinced me to shed tons of tears while reading. I usually do not cry when I read books. Or at least, I have not felt as much emotional pain for the character from most books that I have read so far. That is how much this book impacted me.
As mentioned previously on this post, this is a memoir of her experience in the civil war at the age of five. That is a young age. Some people can still dig far into their memories at around this age, but it is still a rare thing to remember all the small details. From this logic, critiques of this book rose to point out that perhaps this book is not being entirely accurate.
My response to this critique in particular would be that I do agree to some extent, but I think that the point of the book would be dismissed with that opinion in mind. I agree that it is nearly impossible to remember in such detail. Calling it impossible might sound a bit extreme there, but you would understand what I am saying if you opened the book and just read five pages. I promise you will be captivated by her use of words to express her traumatic experience during the genocide.
On the other hand, I think it is kind of ignorant for anybody to say something like that. It is not like we have experienced the same thing or anything close to that. In fact, this genocide was beyond inhumane. At that age, any traumatic experience would affect the child and stick to them even if they believe that they have grown out of it. It will remain in your subconscious somehow. So, I would not make that kind of general assumption that the war was dramatized in the book.
To conclude my thoughts on this book I just recently finished within two days of reading, I realized that humanity can be easily lost in just a snap of a finger. Even if all the gruesomely described things are not completely accurate, that does not make the Cambodian genocide any less horrible. The author has every right to claim what she has experienced as a child.
This book is not simply one of the books I want to mark off as read in my summer book list. I would even feel ignorant and immature to see this book in any way close to being just one of those random books I wanted to add onto my list. It opened my eye in so many ways. I may sound dramatic here, but I can assure you that the book would most likely change the way you view humanity.
We are talking about a genocide here. There is no way that anybody, no matter what age, can fully describe to the audience how they felt. Regardless, the reader is easily able to comprehend the author’s pain. But one can never fully attain that comprehension of the insanely painful experiences of the victims. Not only have I learned more about this author’s personal experience, but I also gained deeper respect and gratefulness for what I have right now.
Lastly, I was able to get a better understanding of the terrifying experience of losing everything. Absolutely everything within seconds. And truthfully, you might not see that coming anytime soon, but it does not mean that the chances are zero that it would ever happen. Actually, I was cleaning out my shelves since I used to not have any interest in reading. I cleared out pretty much EVERYTHING. No one has told me about this book before, but I already felt pretty convinced that I should keep this book in case. It is quite odd and interesting that this book was the only one left. One thing for sure, though, is that I am grateful that I picked this book up and learned so much from a 200 page memoir.
This may sound far out of reach from what I am about to say next, but I sincerely believe that it is important for others to read this book even just for your self-improvement/development. More broadly speaking, pick out any book that you see on your shelf because you never know what lesson you will learn and the knowledge you would gain after you close the book to an end.
Netflix film by angelina jolie
In 2017, Angelina Jolie directed and produced this film of the memoir. It is available on Netflix and is a 2h 16m film.