Welcome to Ideothetic Flow! A passion project sharing my reflections on life, being a better person and building a kinder world.
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We spent a weekend at a staycation at Shangri-la. They have a great variety of kids activities which Joy absolutely enjoyed. It was a good chance for her to have new experiences, and for us to bond with her before she is no longer an only child. Now I need a staycation to recover from all that carrying.
As we reach the year end, I went through my posts this year to refresh my mind of the ideas I have been trying to internalise. A thread I found is that these posts are my attempt to remove the thoughts from my head which I feel are preventing me from being a better person. I make a summary of them in this post. Instead of trying to do more, I ought to work on erasing these ideas from my mind, and I will naturally start to do better.
I’d love to hear your thoughts too. Let me know if you suffer from the same problems I mention below too, or if you have your own ways to overcome them. I’d also like to hear how the year has gone for you. What lessons did you learn? What ideas changed your life significantly? What are you working on improving or internalising?
Thoughts I want to erase.
I am working on stopping myself whenever I fall into the bad habit of creating high expectations in my mind. When those realities do not manifest, I end up unsatisfied.
Expect too much of myself, and I feel incompetent when I fall short. Plan to have perfect outcomes in projects and I get paralysed when they appear too daunting. Visualise a day to go perfectly and feel unhappy when unexpected problems arise.
I am letting imaginary futures live in my head and fixating on how the present fails to live up. Rather than imagine the best state, I ought to focus solely on doing the best within the present, and expecting that imperfections will happen.
We are pressured to declare our identity externally. But, that identity is fragile and constantly needs to be proven. If it falls apart, it hurts terribly as we lose our sense of self. This distorts our actions and keeps us from living well.
I’ve had to remind myself quite often that I am more complex than any identity that I somehow think I have. I am free to be inconsistent or change. I still find it difficult to internalise.
I felt that fragility acutely this year. Difficult parenting moments make me question my competence as a father and husband. Less time to game makes me feel like that part of me is eroding. Work satisfaction is low, and fitness also deproved.
I can’t just fix these things by becoming better at them, I will never be perfect. I need to work on relying less on those identities for a sense of self, and appreciate myself simply because I exist.
See also: Having an identity can make us worse.
I used to stress about being productive, to be doing as much as possible, and to always be doing. I would diligently track all the things I feel I must do, putting the pressure of a pile of tasks on my shoulders, then rushing to clear them to relieve that pressure. But new things would continue appearing, and the cycle never ends.
This was counterproductive. In the hopes to feel free, I rush, multitask, or work in an disengaged manner, to check things off the list rather than get their full value. I was doing because I felt I had to, not because I want to. I was going against my intuition of what was best for me in the moment.
I am learning to be careful about committing myself to tasks. I don’t have to follow through that idea in my head. I don’t have to read that “useful” article. If I really wanted to do these, I wouldn’t need to put them in a to-do list. I would do it.
Every once in awhile, some sort of “opportunity” shows up. Maybe a promising job opening, a dip in the stock market, or even an opportunity to have fun. Going back to the topic of expectations, its common to think about how that opportunity could play out so perfectly. I worry that if I am not exploring, I am missing out on some chance that will never come back.
These worries waste emotions and energy. Its easy to forget that we never really know what is best for us. Jobs can sound great on paper. The market dip looks like the lowest it will be. Maybe, or maybe not. We calculate it with certainty.
Neither do we know if this is the last chance, or if another will come. I am increasingly convinced that each missed opportunity simply means the chance for new ones to appear.
I am learning to let these opportunities pass by without giving much attention. To have faith that what is meant for me will smoothly enter the flow of my life, so I should simply continue with what feels right, instead of shifting the stars around to catch an opportunity. Maybe nothing will come my way too, and that’s alright, I focus on moving forward on my own.
Insecurity is a big problem for me. It occupies my mind and causes me to either shy away from stepping up or overcompensate when I do. It takes lots of energy to remind myself that what others think of me doesn't matter, that there is no spotlight on me, and I don't need to feel responsible for everything.
I will always be good enough for those who truly care about me, and never good enough for those who do not care. I don’t need to please anyone or be perfect.
I wrote a post about mid-range wine being the most profitable. Likewise, I need to have the confidence to find that balance, neither doing too much nor too little.
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Take care and have a good week!