Choose longterm happiness over short-term gratification

@WhereHappinessBegins_ Fondation Beyeler Artwork - Cumulo by Tacita Dean

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There is no light without the dark. I don’t believe in the idea of false positivity. Or that the point of life is to always be happy, laughing, and dancing. Every emotion on the human spectrum has its place, cause, and purpose – even the ones we deem as “negative”.
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I don’t believe in burying negative/unwanted emotions with positivity quotes and meaningless feel-good advice that miss the point entirely.
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I believe in self-awareness and going deep to locate the ROOT of our unwanted emotions. If you’re going to distract yourself because you aren’t ready to deal with an emotion yet, at least be aware that’s what you’re doing.
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Choose longterm growth and happiness over temporary emotional bandaids, and lean into the entire spectrum of your thoughts and feelings. Because what you resist persists!
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An ignored thought/feeling will only keep getting louder and louder and louder until it is addressed. It WILL demand to be seen and heard, and likely in ways you do not want.
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Don’t be an ostrich by sticking your head in the sand 😝 Learn to pull back the curtain on the shadowy parts of your mind so that the light and warmth can come through.

🌻 #WhereHappinessBegins
@WhereHappinessBegins_
Artwork: Cúmulo by Tacita Dean
Location: Fondation Beyeler, Basel, Switzerland

Finding your passion when you want to do all the things

@WhereHappinessBegins_ Finding Your Passion Illustration @HeyAmberRae

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Does anybody else just want to do ALLLLLL the things? Oh man, I’ve stopped and started so many projects as a result of being interested in so many different things – and probably a little bit of FOMO, to be completely honest.
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I’m the epitome of ‘Jack of All Trades, Master of None’, and used to beat myself up for being a “quitter”. It certainly has its pros and cons, but really when it comes down to it, it’s about figuring out what you like/love vs. what you’re PASSIONATE about.
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How would I describe when you’re passionate about something?
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💭 You naturally already live and breathe “it” every day
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🤔 It’s constantly and consistently on your mind, even if you’re not taking physical actions toward it right now
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💁🏻‍♀️ You could talk about it every day, whether you’re sick, tired, or busy – which doesn’t mean you’d WANT to, but you COULD, and probably would get excited about it if somebody asked the right question(s)
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⚡️⚡️ Working on it, talking, and sharing about it energizes the crap out of you! Because if fills you with purpose
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I love what @garyvee says about documenting vs curating when asked how he continues to generate content over a long period of time.
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When you’re passionate about something, and you’re already living and breathing it, all you have to do is document and share your life; your thoughts, your actions, your progress.
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When you share your passion from your heart in a REAL way, it’s palpable and electrifying for others. When you create from an authentic place with authentic intentions, SOMEONE somewhere out there will resonate with what you have to say.
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That’s where the conversation starts, and the magic happens.

🌻 #WhereHappinessBegins
@WhereHappinessBegins_
Photo via @heyamberrae

Having Total Control vs Having a Life

@WhereHappinessBegins_ @RubyEtc_ When You're Controlling

🙄🙋🏻‍♀️ I’m a control freak y’all.
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Yep. I like to control things. Which is GREAT for detail-oriented work. It makes me very scrupulous and meticulous. Not so great for everyday life though.
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I’m a controlling free spirit. Contradictory, right?

Basically, I’m “spontaneous” until something seriously screws with my plans/vision. I’m adventurous until something unpredictable blindsides me —> What??? 😂🤔
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Up until my early-mid twenties, I wanted to control and contain the unpredictable; my emotions/reactions, my thoughts, relationships, events, other people’s emotions/reactions/actions.
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I would do this through subtle manipulation via domination, people pleasing, mirroring, lying, being passive aggressive, playing games, and “pushing” the right buttons so that things would turn out the way I want.
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Why? Because if I get to say what’s what and who’s what, my ego is safe – I’m safe. If I get to call the shots, control, and predict what’s going to happen, I minimize the risk of getting hurt or left behind. It means not having to deal with as many “difficult”, “annoying”, unwanted, and painful situations.
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My saving grace was my empathy and emotional flexibility. I never INTENTIONALLY wanted to behave that way, nor was it an everyday occurrence. But it was the result of operating from a place of ego, scarcity, and fear.
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In those oft fight or flight moments, I didn’t know how else to be. In a world of “winners” and “losers”, I didn’t think there was any other way to protect myself, or get what I want. And I chose to turn a blind eye to how it was impacting my life and the people in it.
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If you want total control, that’s fine. But understand that total control is an illusion. It doesn’t exist.
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In trying to never fail, never get hurt, and always get “what I want”, I also got an inflated ego, frustration, cynicism, resentment, judgement, and broken relationships.
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So I choose having a life. I choose imperfection. I choose laughter. I choose friendship. I choose kindness. I choose happiness, and I choose sanity.

🌻 #WhereHappinessBegins
@WhereHappinessBegins_
Illustration via @rubyetc_

Becoming the local traveller – bringing wonderment and curiosity to your hometown

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Location: Basel, Switzerland
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I love to travel. Don’t we all? All the new sights, smells, places to explore, foods to try, cultures to observe. Every city/town with its unique hums and beats.
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Even more-so, is this profound sense of PRESENCE many of us experience whilst travelling. Because so many things are NEW and different from our usual routine, everything grabs our attention.
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🤔 We NOTICE more. We are more aware of our surroundings, how others act and behave, and in turn, how we act and behave. In other words, for many of us, we become much more mindful.
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😍 We find inspiration in the shops, and the architecture of the city. We find an electric aliveness in its hustle and bustle, and bask in the peaceful and quiet tranquility of a small town. We are more willing to try new things.
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🙌🏼 In this new place, we are away and free from all the expectations, and the “us” – the version of ourselves we’ve become accustomed to – that only exists at our lives back home.
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🙋🏻‍♀️ In this new environment, we are freed up to move and speak and choose a little differently. We are not so confined and constrained to the “we” we think we ought to be, or the “us” our friends and family have gotten to know.
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What if we could be our curious, open-minded, free, adaptable, and happy traveller selves back home too?
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And I get that there are many people who travel and are just as stressed out, rude, and uptight as they are at home. But in my experience, even the grouchiest of Ebenezer Scrooges are more willing to try something new.
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What if we took this long Easter weekend to really look and SEE our lives, the places we live, and our friends and family through the eyes of a curious and wandering tourist?
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What would it be like to approach everything and everyone – including ourselves – with a sense of renewal everyday?
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A clean slate, every day.
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The wonderment and joy of exploration and discovery, every day.
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I think life would look pretty awe-some, wherever we are in the world.

🌻 #WhereHappinessBegins
#CraveGoodTravel
@WhereHappinessBegins_

Make a choice to stand for something.

@WhereHappinessBegins_ Know Your Worth Illustration by @AshleyMurrayCo🌻🤔💭
“If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for everything.” – Alexander Hamilton
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This is a popular quote I heard a lot growing up. While I got it theoretically, I don’t think I ever understood what it meant.
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I’ve always been able to see multiple sides of an equation. This has been both useful and detrimental in my life.
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My Pros:
• I’m a great mediator in disagreements; between two opposing views
• Mostly open-minded to different opinions, experiences, and ideas
• I would do well on any side of a debate at school 😝
• When I DO decide on something i.e. an opinion or belief, I get REALLY excited; feel peaceful, grounded, and unstoppable from the sense of assuredness
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My Cons:
• Easily swayed/lacking solid ground to stand on because I can see merits to all sides/opinions
• Feeling a weakness in my identity and a sense of being lost/not knowing myself
• Prone to overthinking and rumination because there are SO many sides and factors to consider
• Prone to indecisiveness as a result
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As I continue to grow, experience, and develop, what I’m discovering is the balance between open-mindedness and making a CHOICE, i.e. choosing where I stand on an issue. They are not and do not have to be mutually exclusive.
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Making a choice doesn’t mean I’m necessarily saying the opposition is “wrong” or invalid.
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Making a choice doesn’t mean closing myself off to other possibilities or being rigid. NOR does being open-minded mean I’m forced to take on ALL other possibilities and opinions.
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A choice is simply a statement that while both A and B may be true and valid in different contexts, when held up against my own goals and values, I am more committed to B than I am to A. Or vice versa.
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A choice is nothing more than a stronger commitment and alignment with one option, over another. And for some people, it is much MUCH stronger.
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Regardless, in order to move the conversation along, I think we could all do with a little more willingness to acknowledge opinions and experiences that are different to our own.

🌻 #WhereHappinessBegins
@WhereHappinessBegins_
Illustration via @ashleymurray.co

Spirituality & Intuition

@WhereHappinessBegins_ Spirituality and Intuition

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I’m a spiritual person. I regard my intuition very highly.
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Two things I’ve always been afraid to say/proclaim.
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Because it sounds fluffy, a little too hippie-dippie, and goes against the logical and rational side of my brain. It’s not foolproof, and it isn’t scientifically proven, and yet I believe.
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• I believe in this thing called a ‘gut feeling’.
• I often listen to my inner voice.
• I use tarot cards and numerology when I’m called to it
• I believe in signs from the universe.
Because I’ve experienced coincidences that are too coincidental, and my inner voice has yet to steer me wrong.
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This doesn’t mean I haven’t BEEN wrong about some things or people – I can’t read minds after all – but I’m always steered in the right direction. As long as the guidance is coming from my TRUE inner voice, and not from fear, lack, or anxiety.
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Some may assume that my ‘intuition’ simply tells me what I want to hear. But often what comes up is quite the opposite: a hard truth that, deep down, I know is right. Even if I don’t want to hear it.
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What I think is most important is being able to utilize logic, intuition, and fact congruently in all decision making. However, you can think just about anything to death, and never get anywhere.
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At some point, you’ve just got to trust yourself, trust you have all the facts you need to know, and take the leap. 💫

🌻 #WhereHappinessBegins
@WhereHappinessBegins_
Illustration via @spiritdaughter

Don’t be afraid of doing things and going places by yourself!

@WhereHappinessBegins_ People Watching in Singapore

Does anybody else enjoy being by themselves over a quiet meal or coffee, and just people watch, or be with their thoughts?
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I love eating, drinking (coffee/tea), shopping, running errands by myself. I love going to Chapters Indigo and spending the afternoon tucked away in a corner, or sitting at a communal table.
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In my life, people have often expressed how they could never do that, or prefer to be with others, or that being out alone makes them feel weird or self-conscious.
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While having welcomed company is wonderful, there is such benefit to learning to become comfortable with your self and your own thoughts, and learning to put your happiness over what you THINK people are thinking about you.
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Trust me, no one’s looking. And if they are, they are either genuinely curious, or judgemental. Either way, what other people think of you, is none of your business – in this context, anyway!
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🤔 I love observing others.
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☕️🍜 I love being able to savour a meal or beverage fully.
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🙋🏻‍♀️ I love being able to say where I want to go, and how long I choose to be there for.
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💭💫 What a wonderful opportunity it is for ideas and questions to spark and grow.
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🧘🏻‍♀️ I love practicing being present, in my body, and noticing my thoughts.
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🌞 I love being able to bask in the luxury of “nowhere to be but here and now”, and in the spaciousness of time that is 100% mine.
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Spending these moments alone makes me have to be CLEAR on, “What IS it that I want right now?? What do I want to do, now that I have ALL the say?”
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This weekend, carve some time out to be by yourself. You know all those places you’ve been wanting to go to, or things you’ve been wanting to do/see that no one else seems to be interested in, or interested in ENOUGH to go? Take yourself!
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To that restaurant or coffee shop. To that “Instagram-worthy” place. To that movie, concert, event, exhibition, class, workshop, seminar! To the store. To the beach. Go on a long walk. Life is too short to have our actions dictated by what others are willing or not willing to accompany us for.

🌻 #WhereHappinessBegins
@WhereHappinessBegins_