How to Walk in Love

People, Places, and Perspectives.

During my quiet time today I asked the Lord how to walk in love. Especially when it gets hard. “I need You to enlarge my heart,”I told Him.

And then He said to me, “Any believer who desires to love the way Jesus does needs to first get their own restoration and healing…a wounded heart cannot expand and let others in. A broken arm cannot embrace.”

And that was why Jesus was wounded on the cross…so that we may be healed.

Isaiah 53:5

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.

(Holy Bible, New International Version)

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From How I Feel to Who I Am: A Paradigm Shift (part 2)

This post is part of a series. Read the first part here.

Common sense and years of reading self-help books had told me that the best way to get over the blues was to simply ignore the negative emotions. If I could just steel my heart somehow and do whatever I had to do, they would eventually go off by themselves.

I used to admire people who could go through emotionally wrenching experiences and still be able to stay focused on whatever life required of them. Like my dear friend Sarah, who lost her mother to cancer during a major high school exam but was still able to lock herself in a room and immerse herself in revision, putting her immense sadness on the backburner to emerge the top student.

Me? One argument with a boyfriend and there went all my ability to focus. It still amuses me that I could easily laugh off things that would rattle most people – like the traffic, unsolicited criticism from casual acquaintances, rude salespeople. But when the people I cared about push my buttons, the downward spiral was almost always a given.

The grip of my emotions was just too strong, or maybe it was just me who was weak. Growing up I knew my negative emotions were a stumbling block. Over the years, attempts to understand and discover ways to break the cycle resulted in slow and gradual progress.

As a Christian, I read the Bible, sought advice from church leaders, and prayed. It didn’t occur to me to seek professional advice until two years ago – and that was when I learnt about negative core beliefs.

“You lose your ability to function and focus because a negative core belief you held about yourself was triggered, so the key is to identify this belief, challenge it because it is untrue and then replace it with a positive core belief,” said the wise shrink.

I felt like I had been given the key to the prison door and eagerly did the homework she gave me – jotting down descriptions of the thoughts that ran through my mind whenever I felt down, and soon the thought pattern became clear: that I actually had the belief that I was not worthy! Beneath the strong and confident and go-getting façade that I presented to most of the world I actually I felt I was not worthy: unworthy of unconditional love and acceptance, and that I had always had to prove something to myself.

(to be continued)


The Eight Investments We Can Make in Ourselves

I write this as I feel the soreness on my hips and back and realized I have not gone for any massage this month. Yet.

And this gets me thinking of how some people I know seem to deliberately choose to invest in themselves–spending on things that would make them better physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually. Suddenly this makes a lot of sense to me because taking care of and continuously developing ourselves is vital if we want to be effective in the long run, not only in pursuing the things important to us but also in our service to society and our loved ones. So in my opinion, here are the some of the best things we can invest in ourselves:

1. Massages
Okay, this may not appeal to everyone but I just have to put it on this list because I have a traditional Chinese masseuse who loosens my joints, eases my sore muscles and gets my blood circulation going to the extent that my cheeks glow! I happily spend on massages because they are great to loosen up physically and mentally, but it is important to get a skillful therapist.

2. Exercise
I am lucky to have access to a swimming pool and gym where I stay. But if there’s a need to get proper guidance on our workouts and also a proper gym, it can be worthwhile to invest in our health and fitness by paying for gym memberships and personal training sessions, like what my brother just did.

3. Holidays and getaways
I love these too because getting away from routine and familiarity broadens my perspectives and the resulting mental clarity pays off in many ways. It could lead to the next groundbreaking idea that causes a career quantum leap!

4. Laser corrective eye surgery
The people I know who had gone through this procedure and thus parted ways with contact lenses tell me it’s one of the best investments they’ve ever made. I finally had mine middle this year and while I can’t say it changed my life (though apparently it did change some others’!) I definitely do not regret waking up with a clear vision every morning and not having to worry if I have forgotten my contact lenses and cleaning solutions everytime I travel. I miss looking cool and nerdy with spectacles, though, but that’s a small problem.

5. Books (and other reading material)
Books! Of course! Book lovers would know why, and non readers won’t be reading my blog in the first place, so I won’t elaborate.

6. Language learning
It’s a globalized world, and learning a new language keeps my mind sharp and inspired. And with nifty interactive apps like Babbel, learning German at my own pace has proved to be a good way to unwind after a long day at work. Ich lerne gerne Deutsch! Ich mag Babbel sehr!

7. Psychotherapy
Yes, I enshrine this on my list at the risk of raising conservative eyebrows on wrinkled Asian foreheads. But virtually all of us have certain negative patterns we are caught in– and to invest in professional help that can help us uncover and overcome the root cause once and for all, why not? I realized I had a fear of rejection that made it hard for me to ask for things at work–and after just one session with my therapist the root cause was identified, and from a place of wholeness, boldness came naturally. I could have gradually overcome that fear on my own, with effort and growing maturity, but it might have taken much longer without therapy. I highly recommend this to anyone who struggle from things that we commonly dismiss as just ‘first world problems’ — endless debts, shopping addiction, stress at work, people pleasing tendencies, and so on.

8. Good clothing and personal care
I almost did not want to buy a pretty floral dress I saw online until I remembered that a good wardrobe is not frivolity but a necessity. (Note that I say ‘good’, not ‘lavish’ or ‘excessive’). I believe in looking neat and decent without having to break the bank on haute couture fashion and expensive skin and hair care.

And oh, how can I forget this — a good laptop/smartphone and connectivity! It’s the digital age after all…and I am blogging this using an ancient iPhone4 that I never thought I would buy.

Do you have anything to add to the list?

One-Liner Wednesday- Worth is Absolute, not Relative

This world focuses so much on superficial foundations of personal worth–looks, wealth (your ‘net worth’), intelligence, achievements, popularity–that most people feel worthy only when they measure up; but the truth is all of us ARE worthy just because there is only one of each and every one of us and that we can offer something to the world that no one else can!

This is part of LindaGHill’s One-Liner Wednesday: