Small steps, Jason is what a former mentor and CEO once said to me when I was feeling frustrated from a series of failed test trials at work. I never forgot that even though the words are so simple, it resonated deeply in me coming from someone who leaned on me for the success of the project and had complete faith in my efforts. Every now and again those words pop up in my head especially when I reflect on how far I've come as a man over these last 5 years (and change). Not only am I talking about my mental health, but as a dad, friend and much more. I struggled before with managing my anger. I was the guy who cursed in traffic, worried anxiously over little things beyond my control such as the weather and other people's decisions, and was fragile when it came to my self-esteem.
Inspiration strikes sometimes when we least expect it. It can come from any direction and could be a chain reaction of events that sparked the ideas. As I rose up from my bed, I picked up my journal and began scribbling down ideas on what I want to do next to promote mental health awareness.
When I made the promise of being the best dad, I took it seriously and still do! Naturally, I stumbled along the way from time to time, being a dad who was impatient, selfish and angry, mirroring many similarities to my own father. However, I always managed to self-reflect after I faltered, hoping I wouldn't repeat the same mistakes by trying to identify any recurring patterns. By self reflection, I mean working with counsellors, meditating, journaling, and doing the work.
I woke up this morning feeling a greater sense of calm. I still only got my usual six hours of sleep (give or take), and my cat Inori still caterwauled the night away, but for whatever reasoon I felt present. I climbed out of bed and sat on the floor, staring outside, listening to the sounds of the 7am morning with a warm inner glow. I then proceeded with my usual morning meditation and eased myself into an even greater state of peace. My morning coffee that followed tasted richer and more aromatic. My eyes beamed at how beautiful my 900sq ft apartment was and how nice the warm morning shower felt on my body.
I've always carried a sense of creativity ever since I was a kid. I used to love writing short stories in elementary school for the class to read out loud. Throughout the rest of my school years, Art class was by far my favorite outlet, followed by Creative Writing to release my sense of quirkiness and ambitious imagination. Fast forward to adulthood and I chose the road more travelled, becoming a scientist, or more precisely a Food Developer. It's an enriching career filled with rewarding experiences, learning the science and development behind food manufacturing that most of us take for granted. But, after long days of repeated trials, I go home and relinquish myself of the title, "certified Foodie", devouring my microwaved dinner with great ease. Then, as the evening wears on, I gladly turn to my true passion; learning something more about who I am. The artist in me. The creator. The writer. The True me.
I've never been a "handyman" and it still puzzles me especially in this day and age, we still call it a handy "man". Let's just say, I'm not very good when it comes to fixing or building things at home. When it comes to being a Man, what's more important to me has been listening, sharing thoughts, being compassionate, being encouraging, sharing my feelings and challenging others to think deeply for themselves. That's been more of my scene ever since I could remember as a kid, but I've only finally come to embrace in the last 5 years.
I recently did some reading about different forms of attachment styles in relationships. I'm fascinated to learn more about myself as part of my ongoing personal development journey. Basically, what I've learned is that there are 2 attachment styles: Secure and Insecure. I dug deeper to determine what my attachment style has been in past relationships, determined not to repeat the same pattern in my current relationship with Annie. Based on a checklist of the behaviors, I fell into the Anxious Attachment Style.
What happens when you feel stuck? I used to have every excuse in the book for my unhappiness. It was always someone else's fault, or how shitty my upbringing was. I wasn't loved enough, or no one gave me what I needed. My negative attitude led me to a path of depression, anxiety and anger, never able to sustain a healthy relationship with anyone because I would constantly look externally for validation. So that's how I lived my life for decades. I was holding everyone else accountable for my misfortunes, when the answers all came from within.