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Taming the Tiger Within: advices from Thich Nhat Hanh to diffuse anger, conquer fear and cultivate love.

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Recognize & embrace your anger when it manifests itself.
Care for it with tenderness rather than suppressing it.

Many of us begin a relationship with great love,
very intense love.
So intense that we believe that,
without our partner,
we cannot survive.
Yet if we do not practice mindfulness,
it takes only one or two years for our love to be transformed into hatred.
Then, in our partner’s presence we have the opposite feeling,
we feel terrible.
It becomes impossible to live together anymore,
so divorce is the only way.
Love has been transformed into hatred;
our flower has become garbage.

If you see elements of garbage in you,
such as fear, despair, and hatred, don’t panic.
As a good organic gardener,
a good practitioner,
you can face this:
"I recognize that there is garbage in me.
I am going to transform this garbage into nourishing compost that can make love reappear."

Mindfulness means to be present,
to be aware of what is going on.
This energy is very crucial for the practice.
The energy of mindfulness is like a big brother or big sister,
holding a young one in her arms,
taking good care of the suffering child,
which is our anger, despair, or jealousy.

When you say something unkind,
when you do something in retaliation,
your anger increases.
You make the other person suffer,
and they try hard to say or do something back to make you suffer,
and get relief from their suffering.
That is how conflict escalates.

If it is your partner who is angry, just listen.
Listen and do not react.
Do your best to practice compassionate listening.
Do not listen for the purpose of judging, criticizing, or analyzing.
Listen only to help the other person express himself and
find some relief from his suffering.

If we are able to touch our ground of no birth and no death,
we will have no fear.
That is the base of our true happiness.

Written by blueroselady

January 2, 2014 at 3:32 pm

30 revealing ideas from social psychology that can help us to appreciate people and our lives

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Below are interesting points (sometimes with some of personal thoughts & reflections) that I have learned from a course on social psychology taught by Professor Scott Plous of Wesleyan College.

@~@ Know yourself. Seach inside yourself.
LaoZi : "He who knows others is learned. He who knows himself is enlightened."
Benjamin Franklin : "There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self"
Daniel Gilbert : "We seem to know less about the worlds inside our heads that about the world our heads are inside."

@~@ People often MISWANT.
Blueroselady :
How to overcome the challenge that we are remarkably bad at predicting of what will make us happy?
This question is very important because many of life’s big decisions involve predicting our future feelings.
Examples of life’s big decisions : marriage, career / profession, migration, vacation.
Funny real-life example : a friend J told me that her husband fluctuates between praising-in-the-form of question and complaining:
(1) "why a such a smart woman like you wanted to marry a jerk and stayed on?"
(2) "It’s a nightmare to be with you for the rest of your life, I was enticed by your physical attractions"

@~@ Most people are too preoccupied with themselves to notice our shortcomings (e.g. your pimple, your spiky hair because of having no time to comb your hair because of waking up late).

@~@ "Research has found that audiences can’t pick up on your anxiety as well as you might expect …
Other people are noticing less than you might suppose."
Blueroselady: The next time you have to deliver a public talk / give a company presentation / make a sales pitch, do not worry. Just do it!

@~@ Susan Andersen & Serena Chen, 2002: In our varied relationships, we have varying selves.

@~@ Much of our behavior is not consciously controlled but automatic and unself-conscious.
Blueroselady: Be mindful. We can choose to practice mindfulness.
Mindful breathing… Mindful eating… Mindful doing…

@~@ self-schema vs possible selves
self-schema = beliefs about self that organize & guide the procession of self-relevant information.
possible selves = images of what we dream of or dread becoming in the future.
self-schema strongly affect how we see / perceive, remember, evaluate other people & ourselves.

@~@ major negative events vs minor irritations
major negative events activate our psychological defense.
minor irritations do not activate our psychological immunity.

@~@ Role playing becomes reality.
As we enact a new role, e.g. college student, parent. salesperson, we initially feel self-conscious.
Progressively, the role playing becomes reality.
This reminds me on the message that Amy Cuddy wants us to remember in her TED talk on body language.
Fake it till you make it.
Fake it till you become it.

@~@ How do we decide if we are rich, smart, or tall?
The answer is social comparison (Festinger, 1954) in affluence, status, achievement.
Blueroselady: Many things in life (that I know of) are relative, particularly those that are measurable.
A reader’s question: "I have made a living comparing data in my job / career. Comparing has become my second nature. How can I stop comparing in life?"
Blueroselady suggestions:
# Gratitude exercises.
# Detachment exercises : Detach your emotions from the outcome of your comparisons. I hear you, it is easy to say, but challenging to do, that is why detachment is an art; for the sake of our happiness, we must practice the art of detachment.
# Mindfulness exercises : Remember that (1) social comparisons can decrease our life satisfaction. (2) 人比人气死人 (3) "There is nothing noble in being superior to some other person. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self."
# Kindness exercises : Be kind & compassionate to yourself, leave behind comparisons with others.
# Affirmations e.g. It is better to be a first rate version of yourself than a second rate version of someone else.

@~@ Children whom other people label as as gifted, hardworking or helpful tend to incorporate such ideas into their self-concepts & behavior.

@~@ Self-reliance
Self-reliant individual is celebrated in Western literature, e.g. The Iliad, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

@~@ Classifying / pigeonholing / labeling cultures as solely individualist or collectivist oversimplifies.
The oversimplification is because within any culture, individualism varies from person to person (Oyserman et al, 2002).
Blueroselady: Remember not to do hasty generalization.

@~@ Interdependent self
# has a greater sense of belonging.
# is defined by social connections with family, colleagues, loyal friends.
# has many selves: self-with-parents, self-at-work, self-with-friends.
# disapproves egotism, whereas independent self disapproves conformity.
# e.g. collectivistic Asian & Third World cultures.
# persists more on tasks when they are failing because wants to meet others’ expectations (e.g Japanese)
# prioritizes WE over ME

@~@ "So far, most of psychology has been produced by psychologists in middle-class White American settings studying middle-class White American respondents."
However, there are ways of life beyond the one that each of us knows best.
Blueroselady: In other space & time context (e.g. sociocultural context), there can be different ideas & practices about how to live a meaningful life.

@~@ Tips: eat before shopping.
Gilbert & Wilson (2000) showed that hungry shoppers do more impulse buying

@~@ Why is your friend’s success can be more threatening that that of strangers?
According to Zuckerman & Jost (2001), you feel that your self-esteem is threatened.
How do people react to self-esteem threat?
High self-esteem people blame others or try harder next time.
Low self-esteem people blame themselves or give up.
According to Roy Baumeister, folks with high self-esteem are more likely to be obnoxious, to interrupt, & to talk at people rather than to talk with people.
Bonus: It is useful for parents to know that
# among sibling relationships, the threat to self-esteem is greates for an older chld with a highly capable younger brother / sister.
# many people could not escape their tough childhoods, which is a cause of low self-esteem.

@~@ Secure self-esteem
# is rooted more in feeling good about who one is than in grades, looks, affluence / money, others’ approval.
# is essential for long-term well-being.
# Blueroselady views secure self-esteem neither as high nor low self-esteem, but self-esteem in equilibrium / in balance.

@~@ self-esteem vs self-efficacy
self-esteem = if you like yourself overall
Self-efficacy = if you believe you can do something

@~@ How to be less intimated (by others) & less gullible?
# remember that personal testimonies are powerfully persuasive but they may also be wrong.

@~@ Self-serving bias?
# attribute positive outcomes to oneself (e.g. own managerial skill)
# attribute negative outcomes to other factors (e.g. a down economy)

@~@ Examples of self-serving bias
# Group members’ estimates of how much they contribute to a join task typically sum to more than 100%. For instance, husband & wife are members of a group.
# most business people see themselves as more ethical than the average business people.
# Pronin & Ross (2006) reported that we see ourselves as objective & everyone else as biased. No wonder we fight!

@~@ Feedback is best when it is TRUE & SPECIFIC.
Specific feedback e.g. You are good at maths.
General feedback e.g. You are great.
To encourage someone (e.g. children, mentees, students, subordinates), remember that specific feedback is more effective than general feedback.

@~@ To improve performance, give self-efficacy feedback instead of self-esteem feedback.
e.g. of self-efficacy feedback : You tried really hard.
e.g. of self-esteem feedback : You are really smart.

@~@ When to listen to criticism & not to listen?
David Dunning’s gentle rule: "if two people independently give you the same piece of negative feedback, you should at least consider the possibility that it might be true"

@~@ Terror management theory by Jeff Greenberg: the reality of our own death motivates us to gain recognition from our work & values, but not everyone can achieve such recognition.

@~@ Competence + perseverance = success

@~@ Success requires enough optimism to sustain hope and enough pessimism to motivate concern.

@~@ According to Jule Norem (2000), defensive pessimism can sometimes save us from the perils of unrealistic optimism.
Blueroselady: Negative emotions such as anger and pessimism are not entirely bad, we just need healthy ways to deal with them.
Tips: Whenever you feel angry, remember that the person you are hurting is yourself.

@~@ Tyranny of freedom? too many choices can lead to paralysis.
According to Barry Schwartz, individualistic modern cultures have an excess of freedom which leads to the tyranny of freedom.
# Choice may enhance regret.
# People have expressed greater satisfaction with irrevocable choices than with reversible choices. This is because when people can undo their decisions they tend to consider both the positive & negative features of the decisions they had made. When they could not undo their decisions, people tend to concentrate on the positive features & ignore the negative features. For example, people expressed more satisfaction with their marriages several decades ago when marriage was more irrevocable.

@~@ Love causes marriage, but marriage would also causes love.
Blueroselady: This hypothesis may explain why arranged marriages (in some cultures) have successfully worked and survived.

@~@ The 5:1 ratio of positive:negative activities
To sustain important relationships such as marriage and parental relationships, ensure that you strive to increase the ratio of positive to negative activities by at least 5 fold.
e.g. of positive activities : holding hands, giving a hug, lending a listening ear.
e.g. of negative activities : arguing, complaining.

More
# Book: Social Psychology. Chapter 2. DG Myers. 2012.
# Notes at the end of email

Written by blueroselady

December 26, 2013 at 3:55 am

Happiness exercise: daily O.G.A.M for our well-beings

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Everyday, when you wake up try to practice O.G.A.M for your well-beings, as a part of happiness exercises.

Optimism increases our hope.
Gratitude increases our joy.
Affirmations increase our confidence.

Mindfulness increases our peace.

More:
Optimism / positivity increases our hope. Optimism : (1) the belief that good things will happen to us and that negative events are temporary / transient setbacks / challenges to be overcome (2) an inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and events or to anticipate the best possible outcome. Aim for realistic optimism.
Gratitude increases our joy ; gratitude is about appreciating who we are, what we have and where we are — right now, right here. Notice and be thankful for the present.
Affirmations increase our confidence / self-belief.

Mindfulness / mediation / praying / dreaming / mind time / mental processing increases our peace.

Written by blueroselady

October 23, 2013 at 5:36 am

5 calming tips to overcome anger

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It is OK for you to experience frustration / anger.
You are not alone.
We all experience frustration / anger in our lives.

Anger is not always bad,
anger helps us to assert our rights.

Anger, like other negative emotions and also positive emotions,
are normal and appropriate
under particular circumstances in space and time
(dynamic spatio-temporal context).

However,
when anger is prolonged / intense / unacknowledged,
it may lead to diseases,
which we do not want.

To quote Ralph Waldo Emerson,
“For every minute you remain angry

you give up 60 seconds of peace of mind.

Negative emotions such as anger / frustration / resentment,
can be extremely destructive,
because these destabilizing emotions blur our vision,
disable us from rational and clear thinking,
and rapidly drag us down to regrettable paths of lives.
There is truth in the saying that
Anger Is One Letter Short of Danger.

It is all right to feel anger
but it is not all right
to express anger violently
or with cruel words.

Anger shows on our face,
can impair our potential to live a happy life.

Angry outbursts / aggression can become a bad habit;
the more one allows anger to take control,
the deeper the brain pathways are carved & reinforced,
because of brain plasticity.
Simply put,
Anger begets anger.

When people are stress / angry,
their body releases stress hormones
like cortisol & adrenaline,
that intensify the amygdala’s sense of danger,
& shut down the calming function of the prefrontal cortex.

We want calmer, more effective & more resourceful ways
to handle our emotions,
especially angry feelings.

We want to prevent ourselves
from getting stuck in deeper problems,
such as depression & anxiety,
in the long run.

Thích Nhất Hạnh / tʰǐk ɲɜ̌t hɐ̂ʔɲ views that
either expressing or suppressing anger
is an end of 2 extremes.
Expressing anger harms those around you,
destroys your relationship with others.
Suppressing anger harms yourself & your health.
Instead, choose to acknowledge our emotions.
Choose calmer & more soothing ways to attend to anger.

Melissa Costello shares that
anger can be a cover up for deep hurt & pain.
In 10 Mindful Minutes,
Goldie Hawn & Wendy Holden also shares that
anger can be due to fear.

The good news is
we can learn techniques
to overcome & deal with
our pain & fear.

Our brain is plastic,
we can train our mind
to be positive.

We can be creative
or learn from creative people
in dealing with our negative emotions.

Roger Weissberg of Yale University
contributed a technique using the traffic signal imagery^
to help people to deal with difficult emotions.

^ Children may prefer we call it traffic signal game,
instead of the traffic signal technique.

How to use the traffic signal technique?
You can get some paper & color pencils / crayons
to draw a picture of traffic signal.

Alternatively,
you can visualize traffic signal in your mind
When you are feeling negative emotions such as anger,
use the traffic signals to help you
to drive & steer your emotions safely.

Red = stop. Breathe mindfully / do some mindful breathing.
Yellow = consider all possible / thinkable / reasonable ways to respond.
In this yellow light stage, we activate our prefrontal cortex.
Green = Respond mindfully.

The traffic signal technique works because
according to Paul Ekman,
we begin feeling a strong emotion much faster
than we are aware of it.

When we use the traffic signal technique,
we allows ourselves to stop and think.
The technique lengthens the time between
the impulse / stimulus and response (either reaction or action)
as soon as
we realize and recognize
our difficult / negative feelings.

According to Victor Frankl,
between our stimulus and response
we have the freedom and power
to choose our response:
the most positive, mindful, meaningful response.
Through frequent practices
of the traffic signal technique,
we can build solid emotional resilience.

Last, but not least,
we can memorize some affirmations & scriptures.
They act as a short-cut
to quickly calm ourselves down
in the intense moment of strong negative feelings.

Examples of affirmations:
# The anger of today is the remorse of tomorrow
# If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow. Chinese Proverb.
# People who fly into a rage always make a bad landing

Examples of scriptures:
# Proverbs 16:32 : “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that controls his temper than he who conquers a city”
# Proverbs 22:24,25 : “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered”
# Exodus 2:11-15 : In a sudden burst of anger Moses killed an Egyptian and had to flee for his life! It then took him 40 years of patiently, humbly tending sheep in the wilderness, with time to listen to the Voice of God instead of his own impulses, before he was ready for the slow, la­borious, patient work of delivering the Hebrews from Egypt.

To summarize
@~@ Remember that anger++ = Danger
@~@ Neither express or suppress anger, but acknowledge it
@~@ Traffic signal technique
@~@ Remember that you can choose your response
@~@ Memorize affirmations / scriptures

The power of positive thinking that we could never underestimate

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Positive thinking

# allows us to treasure, enjoy, embrace our lives

# gives us a reason to continue living as illustrated by a story of Viktor Frankl

# makes learning easy for us
# can be inherited (sounds like our genes) to the future generation as suggested by a reader S

@~@

When Viktor Frankl was imprisoned in the Nazi camp,
suffered torture and the loss of his family (parents, brother, wife),
he miraculously realized that
between what happened to him (the stimulus) and his response to him,
he still has the power / the freedom to choose his own response.

Viktor Frankl chose to think positively, to imagine positively.
He imagined that he would lecture to his students after being released from the camp.
He imagined a positive future that gives hope and strength to his present.
He survived,
founded logotherapy and
wrote Man’s Search for Meaning,
which highlight the importance of finding meaning in all forms of existence,
even the most sordid ones, and hence a reason to continue living.

@~@

Learning is a part and parcel of living.

As my saying goes "Live, Learn, Earn"

How can we effortlessly learn difficult subjects and skills using positive thinking?

Think positive.
Do not think that it is difficult.

Simplify.

The best in the world simplify the complex (e.g. complex subjects);
the most common make the simple complex.

@~@

A reader S sent me a warm email about her experience with positive thinking.

She wrote:
Although my pregnancy was relatively physically challenging,
I suffered from acid reflux, nausea, and backache that made sleeping flat uncomfortable,
yet I was very happy.


Pregnancy seems to be a long holiday when I was pampered by my family member, tolerated by my colleagues, and showered with kindness by strangers.


I spent many hours reading self-help positive psychology books.
Probably, I read over a hundred books,
making my own notes that I can review later,
they are like short-cuts to happiness for me,
or an instant side-effect-free ‘aspirin’ when I am stress.

As a result, I delivered a healthy baby who is naturally happy.
He smiles within 24 hours in his sleep,
and he smiles the first thing in the morning when he wakes up after a good night sleep and being fed with breast milk.
He smiles often, even to strangers.
People loves him.

God must have given him to us to also let us learn from him.
His natural ability to be happy with himself, with life, and to bring happiness to others through his smiles.

On the other hand,
looking back at my post-delivery experience,
there are things that I wish can be better.

Sometimes it seems that the more people (including grandparents, in-laws, the so-called experts, and well meaning friends giving advices)
are involved in the process,
the more different wants and rules to be met,
which made my life tougher.
What I did not realize that I do not have to live my life to other people’s expectation!

What works for others, may not work for us (my baby & me).
What works for us, may not works for others.
For example,
his grandmother insisted that we do not buy a breast pump,
but the breast pump turned out to be highly useful!
I just have to keep on experimenting and finding ways that work for us.
It is ok to be different & imperfect.

Finally, the most important lesson that I learned,
while I diligently gulped down all the nutritious confinement meals and red date tea,
I forget to consume my positive thinking nourishment.

Everyday, it seems that there are new problems.
Things that I must buy and do.
Grandparents will tell me to do this, to do that, and the list goes on.

To make it worse,
my mother nagged at me,
she told me to sleep more,
not to breastfeed baby at night,
because that was her experience,
but she did not know that by doing so would result in drop of breastmilk supply,
and I would wake up at night worrying for my baby,
because I was not allowed to sleep with him in the same room or same bed.

Moreover, I need to write as it is therapeutic for me.
In recent years, I have been writing using my laptop
but my mother disallowed me to use IT gadgets (including my laptop, mobile phones) because she is worried that they are bad for my eyes.

I sincerely want to forgive my mother,
she just wants the best for me.
Although she does not realize that children are not necessarily inherit the same likings / ways of feeling goods as parents,
she just wants the best for me.

Perhaps, my mother is also learning from this experience,
after all my baby was her first grandchild.
She appears to be more patient with her grandchild than to me or our siblings when we were young.
Oops! I am comparing again.

Well … I am trying to be more mindful when I compare things.
Some comparisons are fruitless.

After all, all those have become the past.
I choose to cherish the happy and positive things from the past,
and live in the present.

Blueroselady says:
Congratulations S for becoming a new mother!
You are doing well and great!

To summarise S’ points:
Cultivate intrinsic happiness daily.
Live in the present.
Live not for others’ expectation.
It is OK to be unique / different.
It is OK to be imperfect.

@~@

Bonus: voice note dated 2013 Aug 20th

Written by blueroselady

August 20, 2013 at 10:25 am

Are you / your loved one an INFJ? ~40 simple descriptions to understand them

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To know your personality type,
you can do an instant self-guided assessment here.

Since a good friend of mine is INFJ and I would love to understand her,
I have been highly motivated to learn (and now share) about INFJ people.

INFJ = Protector = Counselor = Confidant = Healer = Foreseer Developer.

Only 1% of the population has INFJ personality (the most rare personality type).

Dear INFJ,
“You are not here merely to make a living.
You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply,
with greater vision,
with a finer spirit of hope and achievement.
You are here to enrich the world,
and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”
Woodrow Wilson

Famous people who are INFJ:
Amelie Poulain
Carl Jung
D Yuri Zhivago – Doctor Zhivago
Eleanor Rossevelt
Goethe
Jimmy Carter
Mahatma Gandhi
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mother Teresa
Nelson Mandela
Nicole Kidman
Oprah Winfrey
Plato

and fictional characters of INFJs:
Luke Skywalker
Jane Eyre

Bloggers who declare themselves as INFJs:
Jennifer Zhang
Barbara Coz

@~@ live with integrity / have strong value systems / Highly principled.
@~@ is independent.
@~@ is creative (artistic / original / INFJ live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities).
@~@ INFJs often think by way of images ; their minds are of visual nature.
@~@ When engrossed in creative flow / Csikszentmihalyi’s flow , INFJ experience themselves in perfect synchrony with the universe. Some have described this as a trance (an altered state of consciousness in which they morph into a vessel of creative energy). Others have likened it to divine inspiration or being visited by muses.
@~@ is visionary / idealistic / future-oriented.
@~@ are constantly in a state of self-renewal ; believe in constant growth and don’t often take time to revel in their accomplishments.
@~@ constantly seeking meaning and purpose in everything.
@~@ determined (they rarely stray from their vision no matter what it is / they don’t believe in compromising their ideals).
@~@ devoted.
@~@ hardworking.
@~@ generally “doers” as well as great dreamers.
@~@ deep / complex (INFJ has complex feelings & take great care to express them).
@~@ cooperative in reaching their goals.
@~@ gentle / easy going (although they have very high expectations of themselves).
Gandhi remarked that “In a gentle way, you can shake the world”.
@~@ is an excellent listener with almost infinite patience. In the words of infjoe, “Just because I’m quiet doesn’t mean I’m not listening. I’m busy focusing on the things that aren’t being said.”
@~@ INFJs are old souls. Many grow up feeling wiser than would be predicted by their chronological age.
@~@ natural nurturer / focus on human potentials.
@~@ altruistic / love to contribute to welfare of the human beings.
@~@ INFJ enjoy the chance to share their wisdom, theories, and insights.
@~@ natural leader ; although they are not generally visible leaders, they quietly exerting their influence behind the scenes with their families, friends, and colleagues. To quote Susan Cain, “Quiet leadership is not an oxymoron.”
@~@ caring / warm / helpful / compassionate / service-oriented / can readily ingratiate 讨好 themselves to others.
@~@ insightful ; artful / canny understanding of people & situations ; INFJ can become aware of another’s emotions or intentions-good or evil-even before that person is conscious of them. This ‘mind-reading’ can take the form of feeling the hidden distress or illnesses of others to an extent which is difficult for other personality types to comprehend.
@~@ INFJ are quick to differentiate the “real and authentic” from the “fake and contrived”. INFJ can ‘X-ray’ other personalities / they can “read” people.
@~@ Value deep, authentic relationships.
@~@ highly intuitive / spontaneous within themselves.
@~@ INFJs concern themselves with forging new connections and reconciling opposites by way of their Intuition.
@~@ focus their attention on the big picture rather than the details, and on future possibilities rather than immediate realities.
@~@ strong empathy ; INFJ have strong ability to take into themselves the feelings of others, hence they can be hurt rather easily by those around them, which, perhaps, is one reason why they tend to be private people, mutely withdrawing from human contact.
@~@ protective of their inner selves, sharing only what they choose to share when they choose to share it ; reserved about expressing their true selves.
@~@ INFJs tend to be quiet ; they expend energy in social situations (whereas extraverts gain energy).
@~@ orderly / systematic (in their outer world) ; INFJ constantly define and re-define the priorities in their lives.
@~@ INFJ are system builders; most INFJ systems are founded on human beings and human values.
@~@ Can work logically and rationally – use their intuition to understand the goal and work backwards towards it.

@~@ believe in their intuition & tend to ignore other people’s opinions. Solutions: seek trusted mentors / Jedi / collaborators.
@~@ cannot tolerate conflict very well. can easily burn out / suffer depression. Solutions: develop strong inner strength & inner peace.
@~@ a perfectionist who doubts that they are living up to their full potential ; there’s always something else they should be doing to improve themselves and the world around them.
Solutions:
1. be gentle with yourself.
2. be mindful of the intrisic desire of INFJ to constantly improve their romantic partner which may be perceived as being naggy, know when to apply Siberian North Rail Road technique (Stope, Breathe, Notice, Reflect, Respond).
@~@ highly sensitive. Solutions: learn how to center & ground yourself while realizing other people’s problems aren’t always INFJ’s to help fixing.

@~@ INFJs seek high quality, in-depth relationships.
@~@ INFJ see love relationship as an opportunity to connect and grow.
@~@ INFJ enjoy relationships when they are improving and changing, but not stagnation.
@~@ INFJ’s natural partner is the ENTP, or the ENFP. INFJ is also compatible with INTJ.
Why ENFP?The inner world of INFJs in many ways resembles the outer world of ENFPs. It is playful, colorful, mischievous, and daring.

When other people don’t get INFJ, they see INFJ as manipulative / weak / unstable.

Suitable career for INFJ:
entrepreneur / marketer.
artist (e.g. designer, photographer).
scientist where they make use of their intuition.
medical Doctors / dentists / alternative medicine guru (e.g. Chiropractor, Reflexologist).
psychologists / psychiatrists.
Counselors / Social Workers.
teacher / professor / trainer.
Child Care / Early Childhood Development.
writer.

At work, INFJ stay motivated and happy … as long as they are working toward a dream they support.
INFJ are not good at dealing with minutia or very detailed tasks. The INFJ will either avoid such things, or else go to the other extreme and become enveloped in the details to the extent that they can no longer see the big picture. An INFJ who has gone the route of becoming meticulous about details may be highly critical of other individuals who are not.
Life is not necessarily easy for the INFJ, but they are capable of great depth of feeling and personal achievement.

Related:
http://infjoe.wordpress.com/ : with highly recommended comic / cartoon !
http://www.personalitypage.com/INFJ.html
http://www.oswego.edu/plsi/infj.htm
http://neverneverneverquit.wordpress.com/2012/10/16/i-am-an-infj/
http://anxietyadventures.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/infj-introversion-intuition-feeling-judging/
http://amytempleman.com/wordpress/2011/10/infj-what-my-meyers-briggs-personality-type-means-to-me/
Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

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My simple yet meaningful weekend activities

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In the 3rd weekend of the last month of 2012, I
@~@ woke up at 9 am (I was so tired from the night before, we went to Ikea to buy some stuff for our baby and kitchen).
@~@ read a couple of New York Times articles.
@~@ listened to my daily prayer for our baby.
@~@ listened to classical music.
@~@ paid bills, recorded my expenditure.
@~@ updated LinkedIn, added new contacts. Took a lot of time to personalize my message! However, with an investment of few hundred $, I want to ensure that I am connected with the inspiring people I met recently.
@~@ washed dishes. Honestly, I dislike doing this, but my mentor TNH told me to be mindful while washing dishes, as a form of meditation for enlightenment.
@~@ planned for our next dwelling by listing the essential attributes. Main criteria for me: no smokers nearby please!
@~@ hugged my lover. Men who receive kisses and hugs live longer.
@~@ sourced for photographic inspirations for our babies.
@~@ worked through remote connection to my work computer. This is to ensure that my jobs are continuously running even though I am sleeping.
@~@ had a cold shower. So refreshing! When people are deprived of shower, even a simple shower can be so pleasurable!
@~@ cooked steamed double cheese broccoli. 15 minutes to prepare.
@~@ cooked pork rib soup with red dates and wolf berries.
@~@ did yoga cum listened to a lecture from a popular Harvard course. Yes, I am a geek. Listening to the course helped me to do yoga for at least 15 minutes.
@~@ read our wedding wish cards. "Love isn’t finding a perfect person. It’s seeing an imperfect person perfectly." – Sam Keen, American author & philosopher
@~@ made personalized greeting cards for my friends.
@~@ went to church.
@~@ fell in love with the apricot & almond cookies box of Forever Friends vintage. I kept the image of the box as an inspiration.
@~@ ate Baskin-Robbins ice cream of the following flavors: pomegranate vanila, Rocky Road (chocolate with mini marshmallow), with the topping of hot fudge. We thought that the fudge was too sweet for us.
@~@ appreciated starry night (we saw Orion) while strolling at the next door park.

God, I am so grateful and happy, for my simple yet meaningful lifestyle.

How not to listen to non-constructive criticism?

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This article is inspired by John Gurdon’s experience on criticism. He received Nobel prize in 2012. Though I have never met him, I counted a blessing that in a period of my life, I walked / cycled passed the Gurdon Institute (named after him) regularly.

An Eton teacher of John Gurdon wrote that the then 15-year-old John Gurdon wouldn’t listen, couldn’t learn simple biological facts and, horror of horrors, "insisted on doing work in his own way". In one test, Gurdon scored a miserable two out of 50.

The report made John Gurdon disheartened, but fortunately one of John Gurdon’s early decision on not to listen to non-constructive criticism indeed played an important role in his subsequent research work, including the discovery that mature cells can be converted to stem cells (and ended up winning a Nobel prize).

How not to listen to non-constructive criticism?

1. Be prepared that in life, no matter what we do (including noble actions), some people will criticize us. To protect ourselves against these peace robbers, we can
# enhance our inner strength by reminding / focusing ourselves on our strength
# have a thick face

2. Be aware of the reasons why people give non-constructive criticism

# jealousy and justification attempt. They are jealous of our achievements and attempt to gain self-importance by criticizing us. They justify themselves at the expense of us. Do not fear those who criticize us because of their jealousy. Perhaps, those who criticize us suffer from low self-esteem and meet their need of having self-importance by criticizing, instead we can be kind by giving them empathy and sympathy.

# ignorance and inexperience. For example, you want to attempt a new venture and you seek advices from people around you. Those who never start up a company or those who have failed will project their fear and criticize you. Do not listen to these naysayers. Instead, consult those who have successfully achieved what you want to achieve.

3. Be mindful of your perspective (mind), emotions, and body

# Must be able to see the BIG PICTURE
When I was a primary and junior high school student, I accept the fact that teachers are role models. I did not question their authorities. They were the grown-ups with more knowledge and wisdom than me who was only a fledgling individual. I did not realize that teachers are also human beings, subjected to human conditions (both positive and negative attributes). Few of my teachers had ego and misused their authorities. They criticized students who refused to follow them, e.g. if a student refused to learn bad words, he would be labeled as self-righteous. Fortunately, I moved to a better school and I learned a lot from my kind teachers – those who teach for the passion of teaching and nurturing the next generation more than for earning an income (of course everyone has to earn a living). Looking back, those teachers who criticized things I thought as right, did no longer matter.

Then, when I started my study in a famous place, an unhappy professor told me that the only reason I went there was because of the fame. Well, while that reason honestly contributed to my decision, I had bigger reasons why I fought all my ways to gain admission there. At that time, when such a professor with his authority / power and perceived superiority (in knowledge, ability, etc) said such things to students, the impact could be huge. However, I did not listen to him. I shifted my focus to my purpose (FOCUS ON YOUR PURPOSES). I managed to work with more successful (and more generous and kinder) professors, produced results, and graduated. My mentor CNC loves to say that success is always the sweetest revenge (without harming our past offenders).

My learning journey then brought me to meet inspiring entrepreneurs. In some aspects, I look up to entrepreneurs who create jobs for many people and excellent products / services with great values, more than to professors who care only about their tenure, publications, and self-importance in their fields (of course, there are always kind professors, I was fortunate to meet and work with few of them). My experience with the entrepreneurs unleash an inner desire of me: to be an entrepreneur. That is why I am working everyday to prepare myself for my venture, to provide values to my customers. I believe that I will be invited to teach / give talks at universities because of my expertise, instead of having to apply and fight for limited faculty positions.

To summarize, I have met more people and seen the world, my perspectives have changed. When you climb a mountain, your standpoint / perspective has elevated, you can see wider and hence the bigger picture.

# Must be able to be the master of our emotion
Often, when one is criticized, one will end up feeling sad, shameful, worried (worry is a kind of fear), or angry. All these emotions are of lower consciousness.
Be aware of your emotion, then you can shift those of lower consciousness to those of higher consciousness (e.g. courage, patience).
For example, you can manage your anger through techniques such as loving yourself, Siberian North Rail Road, and detachment.

# Learn to relax our body
Criticisms from people whose matter to us (e.g. parents, teachers, bosses, co-workers, or even peers) can result in racing heart, sweating, shaking, flushing face.
When you are aware of these physical reactions of your body, use relaxation to calm down. Breath deeply. Visualize / imagine serene places that you remember from your travel. Recall prayers that you have said countless times.

"Let nothing disturb you,
nothing frighten you,
all things are passing.
God is unchanging.
Patience gains all;
nothing is lacking to those who have God:
God alone is sufficient."
St Teresa of Avilla

Related:
How to Handle Criticism and Nonconstructive Feedback by Nicole Wolfe
*Davidson_not_hopeless* (in my ref folder)

More readings:
http://www.economist.com/node/21564525
http://www.talentsmart.com/articles/