Understanding People Pleaser

Once again, I was inspired by Sara Bareilles’ King of Anything. The last time I was inspired, I got my hair cut. This time, I decided to write a blog post. The other day after I’ve parked my car, the radio played this song, I turned my car key enough to switch the engine off but leave the radio on. I was paying close attention to its lyrics and one line was particular resonant – “All my life I’ve tried to make everybody happy, …” I think it’s a well-known fact that you can’t please everybody. It is also a given that pleasing people is a taxing mission. Out of curiosity, I wonder if they truly love people. So this week, let’s discuss the concept of a People Pleaser.

Generally speaking, a person who tends to please everybody is someone who is simply suffering a disease (which in my humble opinion, afflicts almost everybody) – loneliness, in a slightly higher degree than the rest of us who are good at seeking distractions. This implies that a people pleaser is someone who gives a damn to everybody and how everybody thinks about him or her. A people pleaser is nice to everyone, as well as afraid of hurting anyone as he or she craves for companionship. And it is only normal for them to feed their company with honey instead of vinegar. In other words, they are usually highly agreeable because they are desperately seeking for approvals.

Come to think of it, it’s actually not easy to be a people pleaser as aforementioned, it is almost impossible to please everybody. A people pleaser is a friend to everybody and I just can’t imagine how hard that must be. The people pleaser needs to know many areas of interests as different friends would have different tastes for different things. And it’s almost certain that he or she would face a dilemma of agreeing with totally contradicting passions, for instance, K- Pop and J-Pop, or pro-durian and anti-durian. Besides, this people pleaser also needs to make time for all of his or her friends for he or she would not want to reject anybody’s invitation. Building on the subject of rejection, people pleasers are widely known as those who would not have the guts to say NO. They are Yes Men and Yes Women. Superman – a fictional character designed to be altruistic and heroic is definitely a just man who simply saves everybody’s lives, I can only imagine that Superman being a Yes Man. No wonder his theme soundtrack is ‘It’s Not Easy to be Me’. It truly isn’t an easy job to be a people pleaser.

We may never know what is the ulterior motive behind each and every people pleaser but whatever it is, we should remember that they are just showcasing their symptom of being lonely. So the next time you meet a people pleaser, try not to judge him or her as being pretentious who lies all the time, try to ask them what they really think and what they really fancy about, try to work harder to get them talk about themselves (it needs more effort because they have been doing it for so long, it’s a wall they’ve built to keep themselves from getting rejection, hurt and hatred) and you should try because it’s so tiring to always be the one who listens and the one who always agrees against their will. small-crowd-hi

Convocation

Last Saturday I attended my convocation ceremony. It was indeed a nostalgic day for me. As I was sitting there along with my course mates and other graduands, I couldn’t help but reminisce about the last 5 years we spent as a group. My course mates and I have gone through exactly 15 semesters together – Foundation course and Bachelor Degree. I think it’s safe to say that we have all grown throughout these 5 years. We are certainly no longer the same individuals as the day we first met. We came as strangers and left as friends. Thanks to the fact that we come from different parts of Malaysia, we got to learn things about other states and different subtle cultures. As we stayed under the same roof and studied at the same campus, we came across one another day in day out, it certainly feels weird now that we are destined to be apart and probably not crossing one another’s path, to go back to where we come from and for some, perhaps to other places.

After the ceremony, we took some photos and went our separate ways. So I’d like to dedicate this blog post to all my lovely course mates.

Dear EP group

I miss you already. It was truly a blessing to be studying with y’all. I remember the first day as I stepped in UTAR, I didn’t dare to have eye contact with anybody. I was a very quiet and mysterious girl with chapped lips. Truth be told, I was having my PMS, it was not a good day for me. Anybody who tried to talk with me failed miserably as I only replied with very few words and I did not initiate. It was as if I was rejecting the world. But later as I started to break the ice with y’all, you must have realized that I was not how you imagined. When we got closer, I became louder and crazier and then you saw the real cheerful side of me as I saw the real you.

As we were “forced” to carry out projects together as a big team, we really showed teamwork and dedication. I love how we worked together. I cherish every meeting we had. I miss how our Rep. always had to shush us to get our attention. I miss those days when we cycled under the sun and the rain and rushed to the lecture halls or the language lab. I miss the events we held together, how we made them so grand and realistic, how we dressed up so seriously. I love our enthusiasm, our motivation to do presentations, our passion towards language and teaching.

Though we did inevitably form cliques as high school never ends, our connection and love for one another did not fail. I believe we have learned not only from the classes we attended but more importantly, we have learned to grow as social animals, to have better acceptance and tolerance towards our differences. Like any other friendships, we had our ups and downs. Sometimes because we did not understand one another well enough, we had our tensions and conflicts but when we reunited today in this very hall, I believe we have once again buried the hatchet and have decided to be kind to one another, to only treasure the good moments and learn from our experiences. I admire all of your individual personalities, together, we were truly a great team.

Love

Bella

After a long while…Here I am again!

Just checked out my last blog post, funny how things turned out to be. Instead of not being available for “the next Tuesday” by the time I wrote it, I happened to be unavailable for my Tuesday is Blog Day for 2 and a half months. Crazy, how time flew. The last thing I mentioned in my blog was how I nailed a job interview. You guessed it, I was busy with work. I wish reality would not have taken its toll on me but it got me just like any vodka lovers got their inevitable hangover. I have been through internship and practicums but trust me, none of the experiences even remotely resembled the real working world. Due to the employer/employee confidentiality, I shall refrain myself from typing my thoughts out regarding my workplace environment and the circumstances I put myself through in the last 2 and a half months.  But if I can sum up my experiences in just one subtle statement, let it be this: I’d rather stay at home.

Before you jump to conclusions, I wasn’t intended to put all the blame on my workplace environment, in fact, I for one should take most of the responsibility for being miserable. Though I’ve just said that I’d rather stay at home for the last 2 and a half months and I honestly believe that, I also understand, perhaps more than anybody, the futility of the word, ‘rather’. So instead of just sulking and wishing I had done this and that, I’m gonna focus on learning from my experiences and this is what this post is going to be about.

The first thing I’ve learned is that I need a switch in my mindset regarding how I evaluate myself. I have always deemed myself as someone who takes pride in managing my life, but the reality has proved me wrong in a big smug. I remember paraphrasing Rory Vaden on my Facebook – It’s never about time management, rather, it is emotion management: you manage your emotions to be okay with what you spend your time for. I obviously have not managed my emotions well enough to allow myself to seek balance despite the fact that I have read three books which I thought would prepare myself for the challenges ahead in the adult world: The Art of Organizing Anything by Rosalie Maggio, Emotional Excellence in the Workplace by Dr. Leonard Yong and Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. Don’t get me wrong, the books were great, in fact, they still are, but knowing something and doing something are as we know it, two completely different matters. I can’t possibly read a book and expect to be magically transformed into someone who applies every last principle in their life. A revelation indeed, it’s time to relearn those principles, select the applicable and discard the irrelevant ones.

Next, I have also learned that there is only so much one person can do. I know, the idiom, sky’s the limit, is waiting right at the corner to be sarcastic, but hear me out. In Mandarin, we have an idiom, 能者多劳(neng zhe duo lao), which literally means those who are capable should do more work. It is an expression which serves as a consolation or flattery to those who have been given more work. So, seriously, no thanks. And ‘NO’ is one of the most powerful small words. However, it is, unfortunately, the least used word in the workplace settings because most of us are bound by the pressure of obeying orders either in the form of an explicit item in an agreement letter or an unspoken fear elicited by the power of the authority. Taking up tasks reluctantly as a result of not being able to refuse is a cowardice act. Japan has recently put a lot of attention in investigating organizations which have the potential of causing karoshi which literally means “overwork death” or occupational sudden mortality to be exact. In English, we often use this term, ‘burnout,’ which in my humble opinion, links very closely to karoshi. Failure to say no inevitably leads to burnout and thus, drives people to karoshi.

Last but not least, I’ve learned that James Allen was right – “The world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going.” In one of my journal entries, I wrote, “Today as I came back from work to these four walls, I lay down on my bed, staring at the ceiling fan which was not moving, felt an enormous hunger not from my stomach but from my entire body   as it realized its spirit was dying, I could hear the cracking sounds from my bones as I gradually crawled out from the bed to sit in front of a laptop again to face my soul-sucking, mundane, tedious tasks.” A loss of focus was what I felt. It was like my spirit was traveling to another realm and leaving my body behind to perform the necessity. I was a wreck, a ship without its anchor, a door without its doorknob, a butterfly without one of its wings. Or simply put, I did not know where I was going. I was merely surviving to get by each and every day. I lost my compass, my map, my GPS, and my sense of direction. I forgot my core projects which I shall never ever forget.

So long story short, I bade goodbye to that soul-sucking place I once called home, and am determined to live once again.

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What A Year!

3d Jahreswechsel von 2016 auf 2017

Knowing that I’m not going to be available for the next Tuesday which is the last Tuesday of 2016, I thought I’ll make a summary for this year right now. Seeing things in hindsight would make 2016 not just another blessed year but the year which I have grown most compared to the last 10 years of my life. This epiphany is probably backed up by a scientific suggestion that our brain is fully developed at the age of 23, and that’s how old I am (considering that 2016 isn’t over yet). I started off this year by doing something I truly enjoy but not to the extent of making a career out of it, (having said that, I’m open to possibilities), and that is hosting. Throughout the year, I’ve gained more teaching experience by serving in a national school as a student teacher and completed my studies in early September. After college, I struggled with the common identity crisis and sadly got into a “mild” depression but tried my best to walk out from it. The central theme of this depression was that the pressure of commitment to studies was suddenly taken off and I was left with practically nothing to make my everyday life seem worthwhile. But thank God that I was not alone and the fact that I knew that I was not alone kept me going. I did experience the denial stage where I constantly kept myself busy and distracted so I didn’t have to face my fears but sooner or later I realized that my energy was draining and so I had to really make an appointment with my monsters. After battling with the demons inside of me, I was lucky to have found myself again. Finally, I ended my year by nailing at a job interview. The timing I must say, couldn’t be more perfect.

To make it a tradition, I would like to share some of the random matters which I hope will seal this year beautifully.

Books I have read in 2016

Last year, I remember complaining about not reading a single novel, so guess what, this year I’ve read 9 novels, 1 comic and 2 non-fictions. To compensate last year for not reading any of the books of my favorite author, Stephen King; this year I finished reading his latest trilogy along with an old novel,  Revival.

  1. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom
  2. Adultery by Paulo Coelho
  3. Manuscript Found in Accra by Paulo Coelho
  4. Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google by William Poundstone (Second attempt)
  5. The Perfect Fit by Jenna Sutton
  6. This is Love by Caroline Nolan
  7. My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy by Grace Buchele Mineta
  8. Everybody’s Normal Till You Get to Know Them by John Ortberg
  9. Revival by Stephen King
  10. Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
  11. Finders Keepers by Stephen King
  12. End of Watch by Stephen King

Great Apps I have downloaded in 2016

These are the apps which I just have to recommend.

  1. BookShout (Free E-books available here)
  2. Curious (One day one workout for the brain)
  3. Cold Turkey Writer (Coolest thing ever, helped me to write without distractions)

Countries I have traveled to in 2016

Singapore – First time exploring the Universal Studio. Though I love the city life, the lack of an exotic culture kinda turns me off.

Thailand – Went to Bangkok (wrote a blog about it, Chapter 4)

Japan – Instead of enduring the economic class of AirAsia for 7 hours straight, I had the opportunity to take a transit to Shanghai and then to Tokyo with one of the China Airlines. As you know, I learned some of the basics of Japanese and so I was more confident in speaking the language with the natives. Basically, I went to the same places, namely Tokyo and Niigata, but explored deeper to the outskirts of Niigata and had the time of my life in Disneyland.

Favorite Sitcom of the Year 2016

Did not really get the luxury of time to watch many sitcoms this year but I’m going to vote for The Big Bang Theory Season 10, jokes are getting old sometimes but love the family.

Areas I’ve made progress (albeit just a little bit)

  1. My driving skills (My car has hit a new record, traveled roughly 30000km, as practice makes perfect but I’m still going to be alert and cautious on the road)
  2. Proofreading (One of the many ways I killed time during my post-college months was proofreading journal papers and theses, I got better at academic writing than ever before)
  3. Cooking (I’ve gone from cooking basic normal dishes to mix and match and just be creative with whatever’s in the fridge and the kitchen #justbcozican)
  4. Parking (Side parking, reverse parking, you name it, I can do those already! Yay for me)
  5. Japanese (I’ve conversed with the native speakers a little while I was in Japan, managed a blog on writing diary entries in Japanese – much to learn still)

Areas I need to improve in 2017

  1. Exercising (Last year I was proud of jogging regularly, in 2016 however, I did not step into the gym for more than what my fingers can count, gained tons of weight, looked chubby for almost all the photos I took, easily catch a cold, sit too long in front of my laptop or reading – gotta get the muscles moving!)
  2. Swimming (I have been to the pool more in 2016 than the last 5 years of my life combined, learned to swim a bit but still need to get a hang in exchanging breaths more consistently)
  3. Japanese (Need to work on it more as in investing more time getting the exposure of the language)
  4. Teaching English (Wanna apply my experience of learning a foreign language myself to assist my students)
  5. Playing Ukulele (Gotta stay out of my comfort zone and press more new chords to keep up with this instrument)

A View-Changing Trip

In the midst of November, I went on a trip with my best friend and I was once again reminded to embrace my country with its strong richness of beauty, freedom, acceptance and love. As I was once again seeing my country through the eyes of a foreigner, I learned to stop complaining about the Tropicana weather, I learned to stop comparing its education system with that of Finland, I learned to be proud of being a citizen of a developing country as its status suggest, we’re developing, we’re not quitting, we’re not resting, we’re thriving. We’re trying our level best, we’re using what we have and we continue to develop. We are so blessed with the natural resources and interesting people, and though we might not be number one in this world (at least not at the things that “really” matter), we retain our rich and special culture with an open-minded attitude by accepting and embracing good changes. Before I get more emotional, let me just clarify a few things, I’m not here trying to sugarcoat some of the real issues occurring in this country, I am merely making a choice to see the good side of this country and I believe only with that kind of optimism instead of hopelessness will I truly play my role well and make good contribution to this country.

I’m going to end this post by sharing with you some shots I took during the trip. I was quite surprised at how I could have lived all these years taking granted for so many beautiful sceneries surrounding me. The good thing is, it’s not too late for me. P

 

USA!

Growing up, I’ve always admired the United States of America. It is a spectacular nation, an embodiment of Liberty, Creativity, Innovation, and etc. A powerful nation which started its history with an honest mistake by a man named Christopher Columbus. Such mistake did not end with the obsession to correct but rendered to an emergence of a “culture” that is so unique and powerful in its own way. Some critics like to ridicule America saying that it’s a nation without culture, that it is just a melting pot constituted by other cultures. Yet they failed to appreciate the fact that that is exactly what makes America so special, accepting a little bit of here and there, creating something out of many. As a future teacher, I have always been advised to take the eclectic approach – combining the strengths of every particular approach and applying it. That, in my humble opinion, is what rendered America to be such a powerful country.

I have not been so interested in politics until recently. Probably because I have reached the age where I can no longer consider politics to be something distant that has nothing to do with my life which in fact, is wrong. Especially this year, I have been particular interested in the presidential election which will take place exactly today. I have watched the debates, read the news and columns written by many prestigious journalists. As I’ve listened to many, I realized that the essential problem with communication is having a limited view. If you were to attempt the question in the picture below, I’m sure you can draw a perfect answer. But despite the fact that most of us can outsmart the egocentrism test, we sometimes choose not to, or more accurately, we forgot to do so.

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I like this saying very much:

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because it uses the word, “maybe.”  I don’t know if you have seen the reality show where the bosses of some great companies, disguised themselves and worked in their own shops, restaurants or factories, and tried to understand what is happening in their business. This attempt benefits many great companies to restore or maintain their outstanding performances. This is great but how many of us have the luxury of time to try to understand what the other person has gone through? Pardon me, I may have digressed. But the point here is that we make decisions based on what we know and what we know is so often very limited. Donald Trump might be accusing Hilary Clinton for a lot of things and vice versa, but what they know about each other might also be the results of having a limited view. Donald Trump has not walked in Hilary Clinton’s shoes obviously and vice versa.

Following the news of this election has taught me so much, but if I’ve only learned one thing, is that we need to continue learning to discern what is right and what is not good for us. I wouldn’t say wrong here because the word wrong is too strong that it diminishes the power of being right in certain contexts, as the saying goes, one man’s meat is another man’s poison. I did get a little discouraged when I first learned the term, “gatekeeping” back in college. I had an epiphany – thinking that everything I’ve seen especially from the media is somehow exploited as a tool to brainwash, to persuade, or to control my understanding towards the world. I’ve grown being skeptical (thinking that I was applying critical thinking) and later become a skeptic of the idea of being skeptical. So finally I’ve decided to just hold on to one principle: Do what’s right at the right moment.

There is truly endlesss to learn in this world. It is not the end for America whether which side triumps. I believe in America. A nation with power and a great attitude which manifests in the endurance of life-long learning, accepting, changing and growing. Democracy or Republican, the American Dream will continue, at least in my heart.

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The Story of Peter

About four months ago, I had my eyes on Peter – a Winter White hamster, who turned out to be a female hamster, so my sister renamed it to Patrice. Let me share with you a little backstory before we dive into the recent affairs of my new family. On the first day of Peter’s arrival, he was the cutest thing in the world, at least in my eyes. Although we were strangers to him, he let us hold him without making a fuss, without making any squeaky noise. We loved him fiercely. But I had to leave on the same day so I begged Toshiki San to take extreme care of him and as you might have recalled, he didn’t do his job so well or perhaps it was Peter who outsmarted him. At midnight, after Toshiki San went to bed, Peter, who must have explored the cage and found a loophole, decided to go on a little adventure in the scary dark world. God knows where he was hiding the whole time. Toshiki San rummaged through the entire apartment the next day after realizing Peter’s absence. He was almost late for work but he didn’t give up until the last minute. He swore that he had even gone out of the apartment and searched the alley but Peter was nowhere to be found. Throughout his whole day at work, afraid to be confronted by me, he thought of a brilliant idea which seed was planted by Janet the day before – “if Peter died, just get another one from the store, she’ll never know the difference.” So my brilliant boyfriend went to the store after work, purchased another Winter White only to realize that Peter was back, sitting quietly near the cage and waiting to be fed. Anyway, Peter was really gone, even before we found out that he’s a she, you see, ever since Peter went on a little secret trip, whatever he had encountered must have been the cause of this madness – Peter was completely different, he started biting our fingers, I could no longer hold him in my palm like I used to.

Let’s forward a little, in my post, Resumption, you’ve read about how Peter (or Patrice to be exact) gave birth to 3 beautiful pups but only two survived – Peter (real Peter this time) and Phoebe. Peter and Phoebe stayed with Patrice until they no longer need to be breastfed. The mad Patrice started to bully Peter and Phoebe and so we had to take Peter and Phoebe out and put them in another cage we put Tom in. We put Tom back into the cage of Patrice, they didn’t fight but were living happily.

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Patrice with her first three newborn pups.

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The real Peter.

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And this would be Phoebe.

So, days and months went by and just two weeks ago, October 18, 2016, we found new pups from Patrice and Tom’s cage. This time, Patrice gave birth to 8 pups. But unfortunately, we lost 5 of them and one of the five was missing, so in total, we have buried 4 bodies. Each time we found a dead pup in the cage, we dressed in black, put it in one of my ring boxes, (a navy blue casket, literally, casket or coffin if you prefer British English), held a brief wake and a funeral.

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Now these are the 3 pups remained. Hopefully, they will survive.

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