Do you get defensive when hit by harsh remarks? Or unfair comments? Anger boils inside of me when I receive a negative comment. This happens regularly especially as elders in my family are often verbally abusive.

The late USA Supreme Court judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg has this wise advice, “tune out”. She was first given the advice by her mother in law, on the secret of a successful marriage. Tune out unkind and thoughtless words. Ginsburg was reported to have advised that she has applied that to all her work relationships. “It helps to be a little deaf”.

If you’d like to find out your boundary style, head over to

I resonate with all the boundary styles Terri Cole described, and exhibit different styles with different people. Probably I’m a chameleon.

If you’re like me, and finding your style is not useful, a quick triage is to ask, what is this person’s relationship to me? Does this person have my interests at heart, e.g. my husband who cares for my wellbeing. Is that an area of my responsibility?

Does this person have a good track record on the subject matter? Is there something I can learn from how they handle the situation?

If the answer is no, tune out. Send breathes of compassion to ease their suffering, from their own guilt and shame. The tree of silence bears the fruit of peace.

A client of mine was fuming with guilt and shame when an acquittance criticised her for not doing more for her elderly parents. She was so consumed by it, even though she realised this acquittance was someone who had a miserable track record in the very area she was criticising others for.

The other person has the freedom to say whatever they want to. You have the freedom to choose when and how to respond. A wise mentor advised me “Be a cheerful giver. Give until you stop being cheerful. If its only 10 cents, that’s fine. “


  1. Tune out the harsh comments.
  2. Inhale perfume breathes from your belly
  3. Pause. Blow out breathes of compassion.

My favourite mindful breathing techniques, Alphabreaths. Thanks to Audrey of C3 for recommending this book.

First they are made, then they are born. Whats the difference?

Made – little moments create opportunities

Born- pre-fixed idea of what a leader looks like. Can be developed. Skills which we can pick up.

Algorithms at recruitment

When we follow a pattern, subconscious idea of what a leader looks like, we are saying that a leader is born.

In many Asian villages or kampungs, doors have no locks, there are no fences. Relatives come and visit at any time, sharing laughs and sorrows. If you are a young person growing up in these communities, there is no social media to distract you, and you’re never alone.

There is also no time or space to call your own, e.g. to study or do your homework, especially if your parents do not share these values.

A social worker once shared with me, that a story she has seen with youths joining gangs, is not about lack of discipline. But a young person craving for approval or acknowledgement, but not finding that at home, runs into groups that give approval for the wrong reasons. The attachment is so strong that many find it hard to break these ties.

Not every child suffers from that, as our inner wiring can be different. Those who honor social rules are usually more susceptible. Some follow external rules. Others love to break rules.

There are times when others know better. When we have a blindspot or have less information. Have you gone around looking for your handphone with no avail until someone volunteers to ring your phone. There is a gulf between confidence that comes from experience vs ignorance is bliss.

Are there things that matter to you?

What are some boundaries you need to set? Over your energy, time, inner space, outer space.

Experiments show that those who do not know how to say no, experience “learned helplessness”.

What are some boundaries you can set to guard what’s important to you?

In a survey I conducted, one of the top responses is boundaries on social media time. lol. Down the rabbit hole.

Boundaries on time. Setting aside time to figure out what’s important to me.

Boundaries on energy. Expectations from those who ask a lot from us, but not willing to give. In Adam Grant’s language: Takers. They are not toxic, but always expecting to be cared for. Have a “time-out”.

Boundaries on inner mental space. Our own ruminating thoughts.

Boundaries on emotions. Our own emotional addictions that pull us. Addiction for social approval. Addiction to complain. Addiction to blame.

Benefits of Boundaries? What can we do with the time, energy and space we get in return?

#learnedhelplessness #victim #boundary

One day, two monks were on their way back to their hermitage when they came to a steep downhill slope. Both monks noticed a young lady who was afraid to climb down that slope. The elder monk reached out for the young lady’s hand and supported her safely down the slope.

After walking for a long while, the younger monk turned to the elder monk and said, “Brother, today you broke our hermitage’s most important rule of not touching a woman. ”

The elder monk replied, “I’ve sent her off, why are you still holding on to her?”

This story is often used as a parable to teach “non attachment” of thoughts. Importantly, its also about the importance of how to differentiate between social rules and religious rules. Rule of not touching an opposite gender is good in itself, to establish boundaries against sensual desires. But a more important rule is differentiating between helping those in need versus following religiously to a social rule.

Lest we laugh at the younger monk, age doesnt matter in this story,

Many institutions of faith have similar stories about religious rule vs moral rules. In Jewish texts, David ate holy bread to fill his hunger, on the run from King Saul. In New Testament, Jesus healed the sick on a Sabbath, which is a holy day of meditation and non activity.

Intentions of the heart is the common thread in these examples. Do we focus on goals for the greater good or do we let the fear of what others say about us take over.

What is the other monk’s real concern in this story? Rules of the hermitage? Safety of the young woman? Safety of the elder monk?

Unfortunately, in life, we navigate these mines that entrap us. If we care too much about social approval, we will not move towards values that matter. Our concerns reflect what matters to us.

Before you go around breaking any kind of rules, make time to discover values that matter to you. Importantly, like David of the Jewish texts, find others who share your values (1 Samuel 21:6). If you are in a position of influence, then take time to educate those who need enlightenment. Sometimes, it can take centuries.

#untangle #lovingkindness #meditation #Zentangle #mirrorinourheart #reflection #socialrules

Recently, I wrote about the inner critic inside of me, how everything seems to be “against me”. This is often described as a victim complex.

The first level of consciousness, all these unending crisis happening “to me”, being the primary care-giver of my parents and not knowing what to do with their health crisis.

The second level of consciousness, I realised is that in my communication, I started to talk like a “superman”, I rushed to do this and I called this friend in the medical sector.

The third level of consciousness, is when I realised that all these resources are made available through me. Ultimately, I’m only a vessel of life. My parents need to make their own choices, and with the resources that the Divine God and supernatural forces provide, we are here to serve.

There is a fourth level of consciousness, “As me”, where we experience one-ness with the universe and all creation, to be able to see life and death as part of the rhythm of life. I’m not there yet.

Which level are you right now?

Who are we to not ask for more talent and more resources? Author Marianne Williamson was quoted as saying “Your playing small does not serve the world. As we unconsciously let our light shine, we give others the permission to do so.”

We dont own these resources, but they are made available to us, so that they can be used, through us. If the road is blocked, dont blame yourself or the circumstance.

Another author, Paul of Tarsus reminds me, I am loved, and nothing can seperate me from the love of God. Perhaps thats what level 4 consciousness is. To be grateful, and give thanks for the love of oneness.


Would you be able to fathom in an age of Positive Psychology, that I grew up in a family environment who believed that when you praise a child, the evil ones will steal them or cause misfortune to befall. Mine is not the only family.

Children have names like pig, dog, or demeaning names, as dogs are not cute well-groomed poodles in a culture which eat them for food due to poverty.

Learning to affirm someone is hence, not a familiar trait to most of us. I could not help notice the irony when my Spanish Mentor Coach, was giving me coaching feedback about my lack of acknowledgment of my client, and spending 95% of our time together telling me where I needed to improve. 5% rushing through where I did well, before our 1hr session ended. Thankfully, I’m well trained by my culture to appreciate that I’m paying for her to tell me where I can improve, rather than being affirmed. (My strength is ideed Perspective taking.)

As an educator and coach, parent, we can acknowledge the people in our area of influence. Acknowledging my students in the virtual classroom for stepping out of their comfort zone and asking questions or attempting the answers. Even if the answers are not correct at first attempt, can I acknowledge their effort? Can I acknowledge their willingness to get out of their comfort zone, or even to clarify their learning?

How can I improve on “acknowledging” and “affirming” others? Here is a short list of what to watch out for, in acknowledging your “target”:

🍋 Accomplishment/ Achievement/ Awareness/ Appreciation

🍋Boldness/ Bravery (I’m hearing bravery/courage to try something new)

Commitment (I’m wondering what will you commit to today?)

Determination/ drive/ resolve/ desire (I hear your determination, I can see this is really important to you)

Effort ( Or you can acknolwedge the emotion. I can sense some emotion, I’m wondering what’s happening there)

One last thought is that “whatever you pay attention to, you will encourage more of”. If you want to encourage a positive behavior, expand on that. How true is this belief?

What are your thoughts on “acknowledging” and “affirming”?

How are you acknowledging yourself?

As my mentor coach pointed out, “thank you” – which I do a lot of – is not acknowledging someone.

What are some practices which you try out and would like to share with us in this space?

Remember, sharing is caring.

Sharing this beautiful song – Royalty

Like a brush in the hands of an artist
I am Your masterpiece
A thought before life ever started
You took Your time on me

A friend shared this insight. Does a brush know the intentions of the Master Painter? Sometimes, dark paint is used. Sometimes, empty spaces -silence. Other times, bright paint on the canvas of life.

At times, dabs, blobs to create texture. A brush does not know and cannot comprehend the final painting but trusts completely that the Master Painter will bring about a final picture that is full of glory.

Today, are we willing brushes? As humans, we have choice to use or not use our skills and where to use them.

Do you believe you are a mistake, accident? Or do you believe that your life is co-dependency with a Master Painter who wants to work with you and share the blue print of your life.

Recently a phenomenon that’s become global and a big headache for companies is the “the great resignation”. Since April, a record number of US workers, the overwhelming majority in low-skilled jobs in the service sector, have quit, no longer concerned that they will struggle to find a new position. (ST, 10 Dec 2021)

Who is affected? Which sectors are affected? Types of jobs?

What is the cause of this great resignation?

What can we do to mitigate this?

When I say “we”, I’m referring to both companies, as well as career counsellors, government and even individuals in our job search.

Understanding the cause or reasons can help in the most important question, solution.

Traditionally, labor economist look at demand and supply conditions, say the economic recovery, and the short labor supply, and conclude that salaries should increase. This is true.

But is that the only perspective?

A very useful piece by Jeremy Engle to look at this Great Resignation as a discussion piece to brainstorm critical thinking in class which I’m using in my 3rd year Human Resource Management course.

Some have called covid-19 the “The Great Realisation” and the number of deaths and surreal happenings have pushed people to either an emotional meltdown or treasuring relationships more than status and significance in their career ladder.

A friend of mine, decided to move his family back to Canada, to be near his aging parents and help his young son enrol in a better education experience. Both him and his wife decided that they will put in their best efforts to make changes in their career.


What are your thoughts on the Great Resignation?

What can companies do to help employees navigate this Great Realisation of work-life harmony?

How will this impact the Future of Work?

A recent HBR article dated 21 Sep 2021 proposed some retention measures, what are your thoughts on these measures? Do they resonate with you? Any that you might suggest instead?

‘No Regrets’ Is No Way to Live

The last two years of pause, unearthed deep reflections in the way we live. Some, celebrated the brevity of life. Others, deep regrets, especially with relationships that grew apart or is no longer possible. Business which fail, opportunities lost.

Daniel Pink’s latest book “No regrets” is a recommended read as we think about opportunities, gains and losses.

Pink cites experiments by Sonja Lyubomirsky of the University of California who found that writing about negative experiences or talking into a tape recorder about them for 15 minutes a day substantially increased people’s overall satisfaction and improved their well-being. Better than merely thinking about those experiences.

Reason according to Pink is that using language, whether written or spoken, forces us to organize and integrate our thoughts. Describing regrets converts abstract feelings into concrete, less fearsome words. Language captures emotions in our net, pin them down and begin analyzing them.

I just may pick up journaling again. It also explains why I always feel lighter after a group prayer session where I say out prayers rather than think through prayers by myself.

Pink also cites Tina Seelig who found , “The act of documenting your errors allows you to move on much more quickly, as opposed to dwelling on them, and results in a lower likelihood that you will repeat the same mistake,”

“The act of documenting your errors allows you to move on much more quickly, as opposed to dwelling on them, and results in a lower likelihood that you will repeat the same mistake,”

Another useful activity is “Psychological Distancing” whether through time travel or social- through using third person perspective or physical and cultural distance.

Whether we deep dive like a scuba diver or to zoom out from problem like an oceanographer, changing lens helps reframe a problem and see opportunities.

Finding a coach helps this white-board reframe of a problem/ concern.

Lastly, move forward. What lesson does it teach? What would you advise doing next? Now follow your own advice.

Unlocking creativity, shifting mindsets by Michael Roberto

Time travel into your future self

What would your future self want to see? Jeff Bezos and Amazon staff use ” time travel” frequently to stimulate innovative thinking about new products ane services.

Andy Jassy of AWS explains that developers do not begin writing software code for a new project until they have drafted a hypotetical press release for their new product offering. Of course these press releases are not actually published for months or years.

Process is described as working backwards.

How do you shift perspectives?

Recently, I conducted a 20 yr future self visualisation at a workshop. If you are interested, link can be accesssed here.

Some participants fell asleep. Some younger participants had a peek at themselves at 40 yrs old and assured that all will be well, yet chose to keep future a mystery to be discovered.

One of my clients, Patricia, who was in her fifties, visualised herself in her seventies.

She later shared that her mother in law was currently in her 90s. Alive but flat on bed. She was so weak that she cannot sit up on her own and needed help with her waste disposal. She was on many pain relieving medication. Not knowing how to read or write, her days were spent lying in bed watching television, most of the time with deep anger and bitterness. She had no religion to provide comfort nor to deceive her.

Patricia learnt from this activity that if she were to have an active lifestyle in her seventied, she needed to plan for the unexpected possibility that her days might be longer than we hope for. When we say “life is short”, and live with expectation that death comes swiftly, the irony with modern medicine is a long slow death in spirit, emotion and body.

It changed her perspective on the investments she planned to reskill and keep in touch with active age-rs.

What short term, long term, infinite term planning are we willing to put in?

#future self visualisation

#short term