4 Ways To Become A Better Listener

4 Ways To Become A Better Listener

It all started in primary school: a friend shared a harrowing experience with me and since kids love to share differences and find commonality, I thought this was part of normal conversation. However, over the next decade, I’d come to realise one of my strengths would be listening to another’s stories, achievements and struggles that others may not hear in “normal” conversation.

Fast-forward to high school: throughout my senior years, people would pull me aside to let me know about something they’re struggling with. Sometimes I would be shocked, confused, heartbroken or overwhelmed for them. But I was also thankful that they felt comfortable enough to share these things with me. Most of the time, my friends just needed a listening ear. By the end of a short conversation, they’d say they felt much better.

Listening to another’s story takes empathy, patience and an open mind.

So how can we honour someone when they share their story with us?

1

Show kindness to the people around you. Perhaps make some new friends. You might be surprised what another has been through. You might even learn a thing or two!

I do my best to show my friends that I value them by making time to support them in their time of need.

2If someone is telling you about a personal experience, struggle or achievement, constantly checking your phone/laptop/computer/electronic device can be really hurtful. If you make the decision to hear someone out, be there for the whole story.

Another way of being present, is asking inquisitive questions: what happened after you said _____? How did you feel when you achieved _______? Were you able to follow up with ________ about _________?

When we are present, we can have engaging and enriching conversations with each other.

3Yes, we’ve all got a story, but that is not an automatic invitation for you to tell them how much more you’re hurting.

Unless sharing common experiences benefits the person you’re listening to, allow them to speak without minimising their pain. Saying things like “I’ve been through that before, you’ll be fine!” or “Been there, done that!” are not helpful for some to hear.

When someone confides in you, brushing off their pain can come off as insensitive and in some instances, rude.

However, keep in mind that some people appreciate lightheartedness – just gauge what’s needed from previous conversations with that person.

4.pngLike any skill, it takes practice! For some of us, listening comes naturally and for others, listening can be difficult — either way, that’s okay.

We all have different personalities and personal experiences that may influence how we relate to others. By practicing our conversational skills and exercising empathy, we can greatly improve our listening skills.

These days, I straight up ask if what I say is hurtful or helpful. I like to be crystal clear that my words were received the way I intended them. If that wasn’t the case, I either:

  • Apologise.
  • Ask for clarification on what they said.
  • Admit I’m unsure on what to say.
  • All the above!

Just keep practicing the last three tips, and you’re bound to have better conversations with those you care about!

Showing kindness, being present, practicing new skills and avoiding phrases that minimise pain can help improve how we listen to one another. I hope you found these tips useful!

When have you felt ‘heard’ by another person? What did they say or do that made you feel listened to or understood?

thanku2.png

You can stay connected for updates, quotes and general life-happenings on my Facebook pageInstagramEbay and Twitter!

Life update: Am I studying? Financial goals? Travel?

Life update: Am I studying? Financial goals? Travel?

It’s been really quiet on this side of the interwebs… I can hear the tumbleweed. So here’s an update of what I’ve been up to and some changes that occurred since my last post!

update.png

  • Started working full-time
  • I withdrew from studying psychology
  • I set some specific financial goals
  • Traveling to New Zealand (south island) in July

I also am continuing to listen to podcasts, I still practice yoga twice a week, I go on wholesome hourly walks in our beautiful neighbourhood, I still vocalise how grateful I am for a job and for the life I have, weekly.

study

Since getting a new job, I’ve been learning about new systems, navigating a new team and have become an all-round busy-bee, Tuesday–Friday, 9AM-5PM. I was coming home tired from the day and then forcing my brain to use more energy after dinner. I wasn’t sleeping well. I still studied an hour or two each night, but it felt like a forced chore. With other things going on in my personal life, something had to give. And as difficult as it was, I decided to defer my studies until 2020. For the rest of the year, I can focus on saving, having more of a balanced life and of course, growing this blog!

TITLE TEMPLATE

Thanks to many motivational talks and practical examples, I believe that reaching my financial goals are possible. Don’t get me wrong, it is not easy to work towards. I’ve had several breakdowns… If I’ve learned anything these past few months, it’s to expect the unexpected.

At the moment, I’m working towards a 1k Emergency Fund. Eventually, I want to save an extra 3-4k to cover three months worth of bills. From there, I will continue to save for vacations and any other financial-heavy plans.

future.png

What excites me is the idea of one day, starting my own counselling practice, creating self-help products and running my own online business.

Here’s a motivational quote that’s been on my mind lately:

“If you want what you’ve never had, you must do what you’ve never done.”

Since I’m in my twenties and often feel “lost”, this is a reminder that the time to try new things is now. The time to begin actioning brewing ideas is now. I must continue breaking barriers in my own mindset to achieve more than I’ve achieved before. The option is to grow, not to stay stagnant. Yes, we all get comfortable in our routines. Not to mention, all kinds of tragedy can occur and push our plans back – but it doesn’t mean we stop striving!

This is a long game. The things I’m doing now, will lead me to the places I want to be in the future. And you know what? I may not want the same things later, as I do now. Goals may be achieved earlier or later. Either way, that’s okay.

As long as I’m enjoying the process and still doing things that bring value to others and myself everyday, I am doing well!

What are your current goals and what reminders do you tell yourself to continue working towards them?

2footerfinn23
You can stay connected for updates, quotes and general life-happenings on my Facebook pageInstagramEbay and Twitter!

Organise With Me! | Beauty Shelf

Organise With Me! | Beauty Shelf

In today’s post, I wanted to organise something I’ve been procrastinating for about 6 months (oops). I have a small shelf that is dedicated to makeup, body, face and hair products. It has definitely seen neater days.

So set aside some time and organise your space with me!

1declutter.pngAfterlightImage8

I took everything out of the shelf and separated them into:

  • Face products
  • Body products
  • Seldom-use items
  • Non-beauty items

I used my bedroom floor to sort everything since that’s the biggest space available.

I separated the essential beauty items and put them into one section on the floor. These items will be on display and easily accessible.

Now, how can I store these in my shelf so it’s practical but also aesthetically pleasing? Time to get creative!

2storage.png

storage items w TEXT.png

The original white container served me well when I first bought it. However, it did not suit its purpose any longer. It only aided my laziness, because I was able to stuff ‘just a little’ more into it.

Description of storage items:

  • Wooden bowl: This bowl was purchased from Savers (secondhand store). I believe it cost $4 or less.
  • Grey pen jar: I re-purposed this as it held pens that weren’t being used.
  • White cake display stand: this was sitting in storage after using it for my birthday a couple months ago.
  • Grey jar with wooden lid: only $5 from Kmart. This was purchased with a storage purpose already in mind.

3arrange

AfterlightImage 2.png

Bulky beauty products:

These products could be stored on the cake stand. That way, they “stand” out (see what I did there?) when I’m getting ready to start my day.

Scrunchies:

I use scrunchies on a daily basis. This was an essential item that I have always wanted proper storage for. The wide grey jar worked perfectly.

Everyday make-up:

I use about 3-4 items regularly throughout the week. These are blush, eyebrow pencil, bronzer and highlighter (occasionally). Since these are the only things I reach for, I decided to store my makeup bag away in the spare bedroom. The small wooden bowl fit all 4 items easily!

Hair/grooming tools:

I regularly reach for my hair brush, eyebrow pencil, tweezers and eyebrow scissors. These items are being stored in the narrow jar sitting on the display stand.

I really liked the way these 4 items gave my shelf some character.When you arrange your containers, keep in mind what you’ll be reaching for the most. What is the most functional and practical? Using items of different height also keeps the eye interested.

4storeesse.png

AfterlightImage 4.png

Bringing my plan together was so satisfying. I also got a feel for how practical this shelf would be, now that it isn’t cluttered with unnecessary things.

Note: Instead of keeping my jewellery box (a bulky item) in this space, I decided to place it in the spare room. I’ve noticed the last few months that I don’t wear as much jewellery anymore.

When it comes to our material items, staying mindful of what we use, when we use it and how it adds to our life ensures purpose in every item we own.

5storeexcess.png

storebathroom.png

I used the white container to put my excess beauty items in (lotions, nail polish/nail grooming tools).

As a test, I’ve decided that unless I actively grab these items to use, I will either give them away, re-purpose the bottles or discard them.

Some beauty products are purely seasonal. For instance, I only use sunscreen in summer. I find my olive skin burns in the summer but never burns any other time of year. During off-seasons, I moisturise daily. Same goes for fake tan. If it’s cold, I’m not going to put effort into tanning unless there is a special occasion.

Nail polish and accessories are only used for special occasions also or when I feel like pampering myself. In this case, keeping it stored away ensures I have the option to glam-up and keeps my everyday shelf clutter-free.

I hope you found this organisational post helpful and that it has motivated you to organise even one space in your home! If you decluttered and organised this week, feel free to share your before/after images below!

thanku2

You can stay connected for updates, quotes and general life-happenings on my Facebook pageInstagramEbay and Twitter!

4 Ingredient Snack | Raspberry, Coconut Yoghurt + Maple Syrup

4 Ingredient Snack | Raspberry, Coconut Yoghurt + Maple Syrup

This was a snack I made super quick on a day my appetite fluctuated. Recovering from a virus and feeling the fatigue, my body wasn’t keen on anything heavy or full of effort.
I want to get into more healthy snacks as I’ve been on a streak of eating Tim Tams, cake and other processed foods. For the most part, I try my best to avoid dairy as my stomach struggles to digest it. Bonsoy milk is my favourite non-dairy milk and Cocobella yoghurt is my favourite non-dairy option so far!

Anyway, during grocery shopping for my weekly menu, I accidentally bought ‘natural’ coconut yoghurt, instead of the usual vanilla flavour. Despite my preconceptions, it’s actually really good! I can use it in smoothies, soup (in place of dairy), and alter the flavour when needed.

This quick snack was thrown together in the hopes of satisfying my appetite until lunch. It was light, sweet and full of flavour. Here’s how I did it!

ingredients

  • Cocobella Natural Yoghurt (found mine at Coles)
  • Vanilla paste (can be expensive, so use vanilla extract if that’s what you’ve got on hand)
  • Fresh raspberries
  • Maple syrup (Grade A if possible)

throwittgt.jpg

  1. In a bowl, add a few heaping tablespoons of natural coconut yoghurt – as much or as little as you’d like.
  2. Pour in a few drops of vanilla extract or paste to taste.
  3. Squeeze in about a teaspoon of Maple syrup.
  4. Add the freshly washed raspberries.

Enjoy! Told you it was quick!

thanku2

 

For when times are tough.

For when times are tough.

This post is a letter to those who have been, who will, or who are walking a difficult path.

Life is a journey of unknowns. No matter how much we may try to control things, situations may occur that result in stressful, overwhelming, anxiety-inducing times.

Each year, I’ve found that I learn so many lessons. My confidence lies in knowing that I am closer to uncovering a part of myself. The wise, resilient part.

Below I’ve written a “guide” if you will, of things to remind yourself or things to do when times get tough.

this for you

When you feel like you have no choice: It probably feels unfair. Having no say in a situation can make us feel powerless, helpless, even betrayed. If this is how you feel, FEEL it fully. Acknowledge it. But, don’t stay here too long. You do have a choice. The power has always been with you. Take it in your stride. Keep pushing to live your life as best as possible. If where you are right now, threatens your mental, physical or emotional health, get out of there. Start making plans to get somewhere safe. Speak to a professional or a trusted person.

When it looks like your situation will never change: It will. If nothing else, change is inevitable. Whether you act or not, time will pass and change will come.

When time goes slow: Just like change, I’ve come to realise that time will pass, no matter how slow it feels in that moment. Remind yourself: time will pass. You can either make the most of it, or focus on how slow time is going.

When nothing cheers you up: During these times, I make a note to organise an appointment with my psychologist. I also do my best to see family and friends. Speaking to a loved one can be a huge help. Spending quality time with your community/close friends/trusted family can be a powerful healing tool. You deserve to put your mental-wellness as your top priority. There is only one of you in this world!

When a task is difficult and frustrating: Use your resources. Is there someone out there who has done this before? If so, research how they did it. If no one has done that particular task before, research how others have done similar things. Apply the principles. Ask questions. Trial and error. Eventually, you’ll find a way through.

When you feel alone: To be honest, I spend time noticing how ‘aloneness’ affects me. Then, I watch a comedic movie or YouTube video. I try and connect with friends or family. You may feel alone, but there are people who care about you. If reaching out is too much for you now, find online forums like ReachOut or Reddit, where others discuss their experiences that may be similar to yours (be aware of triggers). Even from different countries and cultures. Everyone has problems. Watch Ted Talks, personal vlogs and informational videos discussing these situations. We (as humans) have more in common than you may think.

When you can’t do things yourself anymore: Remember, it’s okay to take a step back. To let go of the reigns. We aren’t super-human. Don’t expect too much of yourself that there’s none of you left. Like I said, there’s only one of you in this world. Unless you’ve been cloned…….

When you feel like everyone hates you/is talking about you: A little trick I use to re-train my brain is to “weigh up the evidence“. Our brains have a tendency to focus on negativity and singular occurrences that make us suspicious of someone disliking us or hating us. Unless there is solid evidence for it, don’t believe these assumptions. There are people who care about you. Whether it’s an online community, your spouse, family or the staff at your local business.

When you can’t figure out people’s negative behaviour: Unless your major passion and life-career is in human-behaviour, don’t spend too much energy wondering. Set boundaries if you need to. You’ve got your own life to worry about. If you’re REALLY curious, read a book about behaviour. Honestly, I’ve learned a lot by reading. If that’s not your style, listen to a podcast or watch YouTube videos on behaviour and how others navigate it. Find ways to live your life according to your own values. Don’t let their behaviour affect yours.

When a job, relationship or friendship isn’t working: Make a change. This is a piece of advice that I’ve taken on from many years ago. If it doesn’t work, don’t give your energy into something that isn’t worth it — change it! Know when enough is enough. Stop taking on the mistreatment – that is not your burden to carry.

When people say you’re selfish for feeling hurt: You are absolutely entitled to declaring, processing and feeling your pain. Do not let another’s words stifle that part of you. Our emotions are innate. We are born with them. If our emotions become an obstacle in everyday life, we can find ways to manage it. Other than that, feeling hurt is in no way, shape or form, selfish.

When someone plays down your success: Make a mental-note not to tell them anything you find pride in. They are not worth your time or energy. Their attitude toward you is their problem.

When someone uses a stereotype to put you down: Don’t take this on as part of your identity. I still have a habit of using my being Filipino as an excuse for being late. This is simply not true. Perhaps I have a problem with time-management and I need to work on those skills. I try my best to schedule each day so I am on time and organised. Remember, most skills in life (if not all skills) can be learned or taught!

If someone says “you don’t know anything – you’re dumb”: Get out a pen and paper. Right now. List down everything you have learned and achieved in life. Getting your license, gaining employment, volunteering, helping others, getting good grades, cleaning your house, graduating, buying property, learning to use a technological device, staying organised, getting out of bed, being persistent, staying positive, mastering any new skill. The first definition that comes up in a Google search is “unwilling to speak”. Unless you are absolutely unwilling or temporarily unable to speak, you are not dumb. You may be speechless from such a ridiculous statement… and I completely understand.

When you feel guilty when good things happen: This is a new obstacle I have just come across. My approach so far has been to confide in a loved one. Sometimes we need a person to be a ‘sounding board’ to process beliefs we’ve held onto for far too long. It’s not until this belief is echoed to us in the opposite way, that we see how harsh it is to feel guilty for good things. Like I remind myself, you deserve good things to happen to you.

No matter what you may be going through, I do hope you’ll able to navigate it a little bit easier soon.

I am sending you strength, hope and the persistence to continue.

What things do you do to encourage yourself to continue forward in life? Share it below in the comment section!

x

Welcome back to my regular readers and thank you for joining me if you are new! This blog is about mental-health wellness as well as lifestyle topics including fashion, food, decluttering and travel adventures.
You can stay connected for updates, quotes and general life-happenings on my Facebook pageInstagramEbay and Twitter!