A Guide To Happily Ever After, Alone
by Elena Chen
As 2018 comes to an end, there are some questions that we inevitably ask ourselves: How has this year been? Did I make the most of this year?
Have I reached the goals I imagined I would be reaching this year?
And then come the deeper and more reluctant interrogations:
In the last year…has love played a big role? Am I on the right path in life? Do I have any regrets?
Solitary in the opposition to the onslaught of cross-examinations, we are laid bare and naked in confrontation with the very existential questions that we work so hard to convince ourselves of their insignificance during any other time of year. These are no simple tasks to tackle but in our end-of-year guide to self-love, we present 5 reminders for when the going gets tough; in hopes that as the new year rolls by strength is what we carry and stress a thing we have better conquered.
1. Being Cheeky Will Get You Very Far
Being cheeky is humour upgraded (but gauge its use with higher-ups). It requires a keen perception towards context but highly rewards its users. Being cheeky is flirting without the slime, charisma in a mischievous spirit. Be discriminant in revealing your cheeky side because it will surely enchant all the right and wrong people. But in this intelligent exercise of charm we meet a side of ourselves that is uninhibited, bold, and experimental — all qualities that we see in our best selves. So next time you’re at a bar, at your office desk, or just at the local supermarket, be daring enough to make an audacious joke, cheek will get you places and you might just become happier along the way.
2. Food is the Cure of All Cures
Upon returning home I’ve learned how the best food is the food that finds it way to the heart. Nostalgia is an important component but the most effective food surprises you. It is relentlessly memorable and makes itself known. Whether it’s the numbing spices of China’s Sichuan province or the crispy breading of Korean Fried Chicken, I’ve never known satisfaction like that found in food. Also a major trigger of dopamine, good food is one of the stimuli that can cause a happy hormone release as addictive as cocaine or sex. Eat well, indulge moderately, and most of all, enjoy.
3. Talk the Self-Talk that Matters
The key to being an example to others was to first embody and exude the generosity and understanding to oneself that could then be given to others. This begins, unconsciously and consciously, with the language, tone and attitude we use to speak to ourselves. Self-talk is a popular topic for psychology articles and mental health publications but what it really boils down to is the conscious and very significantly, unconscious, ways in which we speak to ourselves. Whilst this is a deeper topic that everyone relates to differently, a first step in utilising self-talk is in the power of saying the phrase: “I am enough”. Underrated and underestimated, the validation we give ourselves from ourselves shape the very ways we live out our lives, the way we interact with others, and the sorts of dreams we are able to conjure for ourselves. Two times a day, “I am enough”, on the daily, and something full and rooted will start to root itself inside, reminding you that the way you feel about yourself can often times be all that matters.
4. Be Around What You Want to Be
— Or Don’t Be Around Anything At All. Nowadays, we have so much access to information that alternatives aren’t peoples’ concerns. Choose to alone instead of being lonely surrounded by people. Choose to be seen, to be heard, to be present and to be available. Choose to experience everything with attentive attendance. The sounds you’re exposed to, smells you encounter, sights you absorb, cultures you’re simmering in, and conversations that engulf you, will define you. They will characterise your thoughts, the way you see yourself and the world, and they will, ultimately become your point of reference for what is possible. If you feel suffocated, reach for the new, make a change — even if it means staying at home for a bit. Ask yourself what the answers to self-centering are and with patience, you’ll come to understand them. Don’t look for them, they’re not meant to be found. Just listen.
5. Beauty is Not Superficial
Good music, quality clothing, handcrafted ceramic mugs and letterpress printed books are decadent but also, a part of tasteful living, if those are your sorts of things. Don’t be afraid to embellish your life with beautiful things. If you can afford it, or if you can’t currently afford it but you’re willing to shell out for that beautiful thing you’ve been pining after, remember that beauty is not cheap and that taste is never a superficial cultivation. Developing an understanding of the things that you find valuable is an art in augmenting your connection with the world around you, and things are not superficial because they are objectified. By objectified, I simply mean in the form of objects, but often objects are relegated to their objectified forms and only occupy functional roles in people’s lives. Make them more, get in touch with beauty materialised, and define it on your own terms.
Be good, be true. When the new year dawns, we will be ready, and we will be stronger in our relationships — to ourselves.