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“Don’t make me a hero!”

Whenever you put someone on a pedestal — including yourself — you set them up for failure. Why? Because you don’t need to be superhuman to make a difference. Even a hot mess can change the world.

You just have to keep showing up.

Luvvie Ajayi Jones, who delivered the iconic TED talk Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable, which has over 5 million views, is on MarieTV today talking about how to get crystal clear on who you are and what you stand for.

She’s the author of the New York Times Bestseller, I’m Judging You, co-creator of the #ShareTheMicNow global movement, and host of the Professional Troublemaker podcast. Luvvie’s new book, Professional Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual, is SO good I wanted to squeeze the darn thing cover-to-cover till its eyes popped out.

The thing that people want you to quell, the thing that they want you to be less of, it's typically the thing that you are gifted at. @Luvvie
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If you’ve ever wished for the clarity to know exactly who you are, and the confidence to show up as your full self in any room, this episode is a must-watch. You’ll learn:

  • How to set — and hold — healthy boundaries.
  • Why Luvvie turned down TED twice (before giving a talk that went viral).
  • The power of “Oriki” and being crystal clear on who you are.
  • How to be true to yourself — even when the world tells you not to.
  • The Game of Thrones secret to achieving your dreams.
  • What to do when someone says you’re “too much.”
  • How to distinguish valuable feedback from heartless criticism.
  • Why pleasing everybody is ruining your career (and what to do instead).

Watch this episode, then turn your insights into action below the video.

View Transcript

Check out this episode on The Marie Forleo Podcast

Listen Now

DIVE DEEPER: Don’t let naysayers stop you from living your purpose! Learn how to deal with criticism & find your calling with Rha Goddess.

Wasn’t that AWESOME?

Growing up, Luvvie always got in trouble for running her mouth. Now she’s a celebrated speaker with a wildly popular TED talk. She says:

“So often the thing people want you to quell, the thing they tell you to be less of, is the thing that you are gifted at.”

Now Luvvie and I would love to hear from you.

In the comments below, answer these two questions:

  1. As a kid, what did you most often get in trouble for?
  2. What gift or superpower do you have that comes from this same quality?

Walking through the world with your light on isn’t always easy — you’ll face critics, fears, and your own self-doubt — but it’s worth the risk.

Because the world really does need that special gift that only you have.


The post How to Set Boundaries, Face Your Fears, & Find Your Superpower with Luvvie Ajayi Jones appeared first on .

Stuff about method are why I like social media

Does self-care ever feel overwhelming or like another thing on your to-do list? Maybe you feel like you desperately need self-care, but you’re never sure exactly what you need in the moment. This leads to a quick Google for “self-care ideas” which gives you a million suggestions that leave you feeling more stressed out than when you started.

Learn about the seven pillars of self-care and take the self-care quiz to see which type of self-care you need right now.

There’s a lot of information out there about self-care, and it’s a complex topic that only makes things more confusing. All you know is that you need to take care of yourself, but you’re not sure what that should look like.

I have a simple solution to avoid overwhelm: look at self-care in terms of seven pillars. Seven might sound like a lot, but once you know them, you can better recognize what needs work in your life instead of trying to do everything. Plus I’ve created a self-care quiz you can take to see which type of self-care you need right now!

Overview of the Pillars

The seven pillars of self-care work together to bring a sense of wholeness to your life. I previously wrote about the five dimensions of self-care in this post, but I’ve added two other elements because I felt like they were missing from the original list: recreational and environmental.

7 pillars of self-care

The pillars of self-care:

  1. Mental
  2. Emotional
  3. Physical
  4. Environmental
  5. Spiritual
  6. Recreational
  7. Social

How to use them:

Seeing this list might feel overwhelming. You might think you have to find some kind of perfect balance between them all.

You don’t need to focus on finding a perfect balance between them all. Instead, you might need to focus on one area for a day, a week, maybe even a month. When you’re ready, you can focus on others.

What’s most important is noticing which one area needs attention so that it doesn’t start dragging the other areas down with it.

Now that we’re a little less overwhelmed, let’s explore the pillars of self-care in more detail:

The 7 Pillars of Self-Care

1. Mental Self-Care

Mental self-care

Mental/intellectual self-care is about cultivating a healthy mindset through mindfulness and curiosity. Mental self-care is important for developing a healthy mindset, growing your skills, reducing stress, and enhancing your knowledge and creativity.

Examples of mental self-care:

2. Emotional Self-Care

Emotional self-care

Emotional self-care involves taking care of matters of the heart with healthy coping strategies and self-compassion. Tapping into emotional self-care helps you understand yourself more, better deal with challenges and setbacks, and develop healthy emotional responses.

Examples of emotional self-care:

  • Watching a deep movie
  • Listening to your favorite songs
  • Writing down positive affirmations
  • Asking for help when you need it
  • Setting boundaries to protect your time and energy

3. Physical Self-Care

Physical self-care

Physical self-care involves taking care of your body with exercise, nutrition, good hygiene, and proper sleep. When you practice activities for your physical well-being, you can increase your energy levels and boost your self-esteem.

Examples of physical self-care:

  • Eating meals at regular times (breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
  • Drinking more water
  • Taking vitamins daily
  • Getting 7-8 hours of sleep
  • Trying a new workout class or video (here’s a playlist)

4. Environmental Self-Care

Environmental self-care

Environmental self-care involves taking care of the spaces and places around you. The more you take care of your immediate environment, the more it will help you to thrive and feel a sense of belonging where you are.

Examples of environmental self-care:

  • Arranging your workspace to be more comfortable
  • Exploring somewhere new (even if it’s in your own town)
  • Decluttering your living space
  • Going outside for a walk
  • Appealing to your five senses (e.g. light a candle, adjust the lighting, put on comfortable clothes, sip a warm drink, and put on your favorite playlist)

5. Spiritual Self-Care

Spiritual self-care

Spiritual self-care involves taking care of your soul through activities or practices that provide a sense of purpose, direction, or meaning to your life. Dedicating time to spiritual self-care can help you find more meaning in life, feel more grounded, and develop a sense of belonging in life.

Examples of spiritual self-care:

  • Spending time in nature
  • Finding a community to contribute to (online or offline)
  • Identifying your values & what’s meaningful to you
  • Volunteering or contributing to a cause you believe in
  • Connecting to a higher power (whatever that means to you)

6. Recreational Self-Care

Recreational self-care

Recreational self-care involves taking care of your inner child with hobbies, fun activities, and new experiences. Recreation is important because it lets you get away from the pressure of your to-do list and simply enjoy the pleasures that life has to offer.

Examples of recreational self-care:

  • Taking time for hobbies and creative activities
  • Going on an adventure by yourself or with others
  • Taking time to do absolutely nothing (and enjoying it!)
  • Playing board or video games
  • Switching up your regular daily routine

7. Social Self-Care

Social self-care

Even though self-care is about you, it’s important to connect with other human beings on a regular basis. Social self-care means cultivating healthy relationships and connecting with people who get you. Seeking out positive social connections helps us create a sense of belonging and acceptance. 

Examples of social self-care:

  • Spending time with people whose company you enjoy
  • Calling or seeing your relatives
  • Writing a letter to a friend (pen-pal style!)
  • Talking to a support group
  • Chatting in an online forum or community

Which pillar do you need to focus on? Take the self-care quiz!

Self-care quiz

If you’re not sure which pillar of self-care you need most, take the self-care quiz to find out what to focus on first.

My hope is that this quiz will become a tool you use whenever you feel indecisive or unsure of the type of self-care you need. Come back to it whenever you need it!

Take this quiz here. Feel free to let me know your results in a comment below!

The post The 7 Pillars of Self-Care and How To Use Them appeared first on The Blissful Mind.

Who else thinks self-improvement is cool ?

By Leo Babauta

When we get into a situation that feels uncertain, most of us will immediately try to get to a place of certainty.

Instead of writing a blog post, I’ll find myself wanting to check emails or my favorite websites.

Instead of having a difficult conversation, we’ll stay in a crappy situation for longer than we need to.

Instead of putting our art out into the world, we’ll hide it in the safety of obscurity.

When things feel chaotic and overwhelming, we look for a system that will feel ordered and simple.

All of us do this in most areas of our lives. Sometimes, we are able to voluntarily stay in uncertainty, but those times are relatively rare, and usually we don’t like it so much.

Here’s the thing: the edge of uncertainty and chaos is where we learn, grow, create, lead, make incredible art and new inventions.

The edge of uncertainty is where we explore, go on adventures, get curious, and reinvent ourselves.

The edge of uncertainty is where we can find unexpected beauty, love, intimacy, vulnerability, meaning.

Everything we truly crave is at the edge of uncertainty, but we run from it.

The trick is to stay in it.

The Edge, Not Deep in the Pit

I say the “edge of uncertainty” because most of us are unprepared to be fully in uncertainty without some kind of ground under our feet. We need some certainty, some safety. Without it, we feel like we’re spinning out of control.

When our lives become untethered, we need some kind of ground to stand on. When we’re lost in depression or trauma, we need to feel the ground of our basic goodness, of knowing that there are others here with us.

So I don’t recommend letting go of all certainty. Let your life be mostly stable.

But once you have a little stability, let yourself get to the edge of uncertainty.

It’s the place where you’re learning, but not completely lost. Where you are exploring, but not freefalling. Where you’re creating something new, but not without some grasp of what came before you.

Stay at the edge, and then let yourself rest in some kind of comfort. Go to the edge, then come back and take a breather.

How to Train at the Edge

If you’d like to get good at staying in uncertainty, I highly recommend daily training.

And no, it’s not enough to say, “My life is all uncertainty, I’m already doing it!” I mean, that’s probably true, but it’s not deliberate practice. It’s what’s happening to you, but you’re not deliberately training to stay at your edge.

So I recommend daily deliberate practice:

  1. Set aside a time. It’s not usually helpful to say that you’ll do it sometime. You already have enough of those things in your life, adding one more won’t be helpful. So pick a time and set multiple reminders.
  2. Pick something you’re avoiding or feel overwhelmed/afraid of. Writing that book or report, marketing, giving honest feedback, dealing with new technology, making calls, recording videos, etc. It should make you feel somewhere around a 7 out of 10 resistance. Have a good reason to do this task, not just because it’s hard. Are you doing it for something meaningful to you? For someone you care about?
  3. Do it for a short time. Just 10 minutes is fine, or 15. Work up to 30 minutes a day. You just need to stay there a little while, not forever.
  4. Learn to embrace the uncertainty. Notice how you feel like doing something else. Let yourself feel the uncertainty, as a physical sensation in your body. Let yourself stay there, but bring curiosity instead of complaint to the uncertainty. See if there can be any kind of openness, gratitude, even joy in the middle of the uncertainty.
  5. Be kind to yourself. Notice if you’re beating yourself up about not doing more or doing better, and let go of some of that. Be kind. If you’re trying to force yourself to do something you hate, give yourself encouragement. Cultivate a friendly attitude toward yourself in this training.

It also helps to have accountability, or to do it with others (on a video call, for example).

I highly recommend training with others who are trying to do their meaningful work, in my Fearless Training Program.

The post Staying at the Edge of Uncertainty appeared first on zen habits.

Tremendous post

How are you supposed to be confident about something when you have nothing to feel confident about?

Like, how are you supposed to be confident at your new job if you’ve never done this type of work before? Or how are you supposed to be confident in social situations when no one has ever liked you before? Or how are you supposed to be confident in your relationship when you’ve never been in a successful relationship before?

On the surface, confidence appears to be an area where the rich get richer and the poor stay the fucking losers they are. After all, if you’ve never experienced much social acceptance, and you lack confidence around new people, then that lack of confidence will make people think you’re clingy and weird and not accept you.

Same deal goes for relationships. No confidence in intimacy will lead to bad breakups and awkward phone calls and emergency Ben and Jerry’s runs at three in the morning.

And seriously, how are you supposed to be confident in your work experience when previous experience is required to even be considered for a job in the first place?

The Confidence Conundrum

If you’ve always lost in life, then how could you ever expect to be a winner? And if you never expect to be a winner, then you’re going to act like a loser. Thus the cycle of suckage continues.

This is the confidence conundrum, where in order to be happy or loved or successful, first you need to be confident… but to be confident, first you need to be happy or loved or successful.

So it seems like you’re stuck in one of two loops: either you’re already in a happy and confident loop, like this.

Or you’re in a loser loop, like this.

And if you’re in the loser loop, well it seems damn near impossible to get out.

It’s like a dog chasing its own tail. Or Domino’s ordering its own pizza. You can spend a lot of time cuticle-gazing trying to mentally sort everything out, but just like with your lack of confidence, you’re likely to end up right back where you started.

But maybe we’re going about this all wrong. Maybe the confidence conundrum isn’t really a conundrum at all.

If we pay close attention, we can learn a few things about confidence just by observing people. So before you run off and order that pizza, let’s break this down:

  1. Just because somebody has something (tons of friends, a million dollars, a bitchin’ beach body) doesn’t necessarily mean that this person is confident in it. There are business tycoons who totally lack confidence in their own wealth, models who lack confidence in their looks, and celebrities who lack confidence in their own popularity. So I think the first thing we can establish is that confidence is not necessarily linked to any external marker. Rather, our confidence is rooted in our perception of ourselves regardless of any tangible external reality.
  2. Because our confidence is not necessarily linked to any external, tangible measurement, we can conclude that improving the external, tangible aspects of our lives won’t necessarily build confidence. Chances are that if you’ve lived more than a couple of decades, you’ve experienced this in some form or another. Getting a promotion at your job doesn’t necessarily make you more confident in your professional abilities. In fact, it can often make you feel less confident. Dating and/or sleeping with more people doesn’t necessarily make you feel more confident about how attractive you are. Moving in with your partner or getting married doesn’t necessarily make you feel any more confident in your relationship.
  3. Confidence is a feeling. An emotional state and a state of mind. It’s the perception that you lack nothing. That you are equipped with everything you need, both now and for the future. A person confident in their social life will feel as though they lack nothing in their social life. A person with no confidence in their social life believes that they lack the prerequisite coolness to be invited to anyone’s pizza party. It’s this perception of lacking something that drives their needy, clingy, and/or bitchy behavior.

How to Be More Confident

The obvious and most common answer to the confidence conundrum is to simply believe that you lack nothing. That you already have, or at least deserve, whatever you feel you would need to make you confident.

But this sort of thinking—believing you’re already beautiful even though you’re a frumpy slob, or believing you’re a raving success even though your only profitable business venture was selling weed in high school—leads to the kind of insufferable narcissism that causes people to argue that obesity (something that is more detrimental to your health than smoking cigarettes) should be celebrated as beauty and that it’s, like, totally OK to carve your name into the Roman Colosseum, because, you know, selfies.

A lot of people soon realize this doesn’t work and so they take a different approach: incremental, external improvement.

They read articles that tell them the top 50 things confident people do, and then they try to do those things.

They start to exercise, dress better, make more eye contact, and practice firmer handshakes.

This is admittedly a step above simply believing that you’re already confident and that you don’t belong in the loser loop. After all, at least you’re doing something about your lack of confidence. And actually, it will work—but only for a little while.

Again, this type of thinking only focuses on external sources of confidence. And remember, deriving your self-confidence from the world around you is short-lived at its best and completely fucking delusional at its worst.

So no, external improvement is not a sustainable solution to the confidence conundrum. And feeling as though you lack nothing and deluding yourself into believing you already possess everything you could ever dream of is far worse.

Read that again.

The big charade with confidence is that it has nothing to do with being comfortable in what we achieve and everything to do with being comfortable in what we don’t achieve.

People who are confident in business are confident because they’re comfortable with failure. They realize that failure is simply part of learning how their market works. It’s a reflection of their lack of knowledge, not a reflection of who they are as a person.

People who are confident in their social lives are confident because they’re comfortable with rejection. They’re not afraid of rejection because they’re comfortable with people not liking them as long as they’re expressing themselves honestly.

People who are confident in their relationships are confident because they’re comfortable with getting hurt. They’re not afraid to be vulnerable and tell someone how they feel and then establish strong boundaries around those feelings, even if it means being uncomfortable (or leaving a bad relationship).

Building Confidence Through Failure

The truth is that the route to the positive runs through the negative. Those among us who are the most comfortable with negative experiences are those who reap the most benefits.

It’s counterintuitive, but it’s also true. We often worry that if we become comfortable in our failures—that if we accept failure as an inevitable part of living—that we will become failures.

But it doesn’t work that way.

Comfort in our failures allows us to act without fear, to engage without judgment, to love without conditions. It’s the dog that lets the tail go, realizing that it’s already a part of himself. It’s the Domino’s that cancels its own order, realizing it already has the pizza it wanted. Or something.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to publish this article comfortable with the fact that some people will probably hate it. And eat my pizza.

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Stop Asking Couples When They Are Having Kids

“So, when are you having kids?” my aunt asked me. At that point, I was 30 and had just been married for a few months. I didn’t even know if I wanted kids, much less when I was having them.

So I simply said, “I have not decided if I want to have kids.” I would spend the next hour listening to stories of women who regretted not having children because they had put it off until it was too late, and women who had difficulty conceiving because they had waited too long or because of their own biological issues, almost told as an implicit way to tell me that I was going to regret it if I didn’t hurry and work on producing kids right away.

This would be my life for the next few years, where I would receive constant, invasive questions surrounding “When are you having kids?” from relatives, friends, and nosy people, followed by a routine, almost ritualistic pressurization to have kids.

If you think that it ends after you have a kid, it doesn’t. The people who had previously told you to have “just one kid” when you were indifferent to the idea, will now tell you to have a second one, along with reasons why you should do so. This repeated questioning and attempt to shape people to fit their expectations seem to never end.

The problem with asking “When are you having kids?”

I understand why people like to ask this question. Find a partner, settle down, get married, and have kids. This is the life path that we’ve been taught to follow since young. This is the life path we’ve been told is the way of life.

This is especially so in the Chinese culture, where having kids is seen as the ultimate goal in life. There are even sayings built around this notion, such as 生儿育女 (shēng ér yù nǚ, which means to birth sons and raise daughters) and 子孙满堂 (zǐ sūn mǎn táng, which means to be in a room filled with children and grandchildren, used to signify the epitome of happiness).

Multi-Generation Chinese Family at the Park

A multi-generation family, often used to depict a vision of happiness in the Chinese culture

So after you get married, people automatically assume that you should have kids. “When are you having kids?” they ask, as if expecting you to give them a straight answer.

The problem with this question is that it’s rude. It’s invasive. It’s also presumptuous.

1) Having kids is not the only path to happiness

To begin with, having kids is a personal and private matter. Whether people want to have kids or not is none of anyone’s business, and people most certainly shouldn’t be opening conversations with “When are you having kids?”, as if the only goal of a person’s life is to have kids. Even if it’s for the intent of having a heart-to-heart, a question like “Do you have any plans for kids?” would be more appropriate.

But in case one needs specific reasons to understand why such a question is invasive, the first thing to understand is that everyone has their own path in life. This path is not always the same for everyone. Some people want kids, while some don’t. Some think that having kids is the greatest joy in life, while some see them as a burden.

Having kids is a lifelong commitment and takes a tremendous amount of work and time. Anyone who has kids, and has raised them by themselves, would understand this. There are significant ups and downs that come with having a kid. For some, the ups do not justify the downs. For these people, it is better to remain childless, rather than have children just to fit society’s mold. To assume that everyone should have kids, just because others think that having kids is great and amazing, is rude and disregards that person’s own preferences in life.

For example, Oprah Winfrey is an inspiring woman and humanitarian who chose not to have kids, and has dedicated herself to her personal purpose of serving the world. Oprah hosted her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show for 25 years, founded a leadership academy for girls and became a mother figure to the girls in attendance, and started her own television network. These are things that most do not get to do in their lifetime. Through the years, she has inspired millions and become a champion for people worldwide. As she says,

“When people were pressuring me to get married and have children, I knew I was not going to be a person that ever regretted not having them, because I feel like I am a mother to the world’s children. Love knows no boundaries. It doesn’t matter if a child came from your womb or if you found that person at age two, 10, or 20. If the love is real, the caring is pure and it comes from a good space, it works.” — Oprah[1]

Is she not being a responsible or purposeful person (or woman) by choosing not to have kids? Definitely not. In fact, I dare say that she lives a much more purposeful life than many in the world, including people who choose to have kids.

There are many famous celebrities who have chosen not to have kids as well.

  • Chelsea Handler is a talk show host who chose not to have kids. She has said honestly in interviews that she doesn’t have the time to raise a child, and she doesn’t want her kids to be raised by a nanny.[2][3]
  • Betty White is an actress and comedian who chose not to have kids because she’s passionate about her career and she prefers to focus on it.[4]
  • Ashley Judd is an actress and political activist who chose not to have kids because she feels that there are already so many orphaned kids in this world. To her, her resources can be better used to help those who are already here, and I respect her for such a noble choice.[5]

And then there are others, such as Cameron Diaz, Chow Yun Fat, Marisa Tomei, Renée Zellweger, and Rachael Ray. These people choose not to have kids for different reasons, such as because they’re already pursuing paths deeply meaningful to them, because they do not wish to be tied down with a child, or because they just don’t feel a deep desire to have kids.

Not having kids has not prevented these people from being happy in life, and there’s no reason to assume why people must have kids in order to be happy. People need to stop painting the narrative that one must have children in order to be happy. There are plenty of people with kids who are unhappy, and plenty of people without kids who have found inner fulfillment in life through other ways. There is no one path to happiness, and everyone needs to realize that.

2) You may cause hurt and pain

Secondly, you never know what others are going through.

Some people may want kids, but maybe they are facing fertility struggles. For example,

  • Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan went through three miscarriages before having their firstborn.[6]
  • The Obamas had a miscarriage before they had their daughters via IVF.[7]
  • Friends star Courteney Cox had a total of seven miscarriages before having her daughter, as she has a MTHFR gene mutation which raises the risk of miscarriage-causing blood clots.[8]

About 10% of women have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant,[9] while 13.5% of known pregnancies end in miscarriages, with the figure rising as the maternal age rises.[10]

For some people, the journey to conceive is fraught with deep pain, struggle, and losses as they experience miscarriages, undergo round after round of invasive fertility treatments, and wait in hope of the double blue lines on their pregnancy kit each month.

And then there are people who cannot have their own biological children due to issues with their reproductive system, which could have been there since birth.

Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, and family

Barack and Michelle Obama had a miscarriage before they had their daughters via IVF

While you may be think that you’re being helpful or funny by asking people when they’re having kids, your question may well trigger hurt and pain. As Zuckerberg said,

“You feel so hopeful when you learn you’re going to have a child. You start imagining who they’ll become and dreaming of hopes for their future. You start making plans, and then they’re gone. It’s a lonely experience.”[6]

3) Not everyone is in a place to have kids

Thirdly, having kids is simply not a reality for some people due to their circumstances in life.

Some people may lack the financial resources to have kids, a reality in a place like Singapore.

Some people may be facing problems with their marriage, in which case their priority should be to work on their marriage, not to have kids.

Some people may be so burdened with caring for their dependents that they are unable to consider kids, at least not at the moment.

And then there are people facing chronic health issues, issues that you don’t know and can’t see, which make pregnancy difficult due to the toll it would take on their body.

4) Some people could still be thinking

And then there are people who are neutral to the idea of having kids, like myself when I just got married. These people need time to think it through, because having kids is a permanent, lifelong decision with serious consequences. There’s no reason to assume that having a kid should be an automatic decision, because you’re bringing a whole new life into this world. This is a decision that will change your life forever, as well as the life of the child you’re bringing into the world. I personally think one of the worst things someone could do is to simply have kids for the sake of it, and then afterward give their child sub-standard care, something which I feel many people do.

For those yet to have kids, they need the space to figure out what they want, not have people breathe down their neck day in and out about having kids.

My experience

For the initial years after I got married, I wasn’t thinking about kids. Firstly, having a child is a lifelong decision, and I wanted to enjoy married life before diving into a decision as serious as that. Secondly, my husband and I were happy spending our lives with just each other — we didn’t feel the need to have kids, not in the way my culture obsesses about it. Thirdly, my husband was dealing with some personal problems and I was fully focused on supporting him through these. These were issues that we needed to sort through before considering kids, if we were to want kids.

Yet I kept getting nudges to have kids, even though I never said anything about wanting them.

“So, when are you having kids?”

“This person’s baby is so cute, isn’t it? Why don’t you hurry up and birth a baby?”

It was as if I was some vehicle, some production machine to have kids, where my own views in the matter didn’t matter. The most frustrating thing was that I kept getting this question, while my husband would never get it (as a man), not even when we were in the same room together.

It was as if my sole reason for existence as a woman was to have kids, and until I had them, I was regarded as unworthy or incomplete.

The decision to have kids

Yet the decision to have children is a personal one. It is also a complex one. It is a decision that will permanently change the lives of the couple.

It is not a decision that one should be pressurized into making because their mom wants to carry grandchildren or their aunt wants to play with kids. It’s a decision that a couple should make because they genuinely want to nurture another life.

Because when a child is born, the people bugging others to have kids aren’t the ones who will be caring for the baby 24/7, whose lives will be set back by years (even decades) as they care for a new life, or who will be responsible for every decision concerning the child for the next 18-21 years.

It will be the couple.

And the people who aren’t ready, who were pressured into having kids because they were told that it was the best thing to do, may have to deal with regret as they are stuck with a decision they cannot undo. Because there are people who regret having kids, and we need to be honest about that. These people regret, not because of the child’s fault, but because they were simply not ready to have kids, be it financially, emotionally, or mentally. Unfortunately, the children are the ones who eventually suffer, from living in dysfunctional households to dealing with issues of violenceabuse, and anger.

We need to recognize these realities, and not make parenthood seem like it’s some magical band-aid that solves a lack of purpose or life’s pressures. Things don’t magically get better because people have kids; existing problems usually worsen as having a child puts a big strain on a couple’s lives. Digging into people’s plans to have kids, and pressurizing them into one of the biggest life decisions they can ever make, will only stress them out and perhaps push some into depression. As this redditor shared,

“I have a friend who went through 6 years of miscarriages and fertility treatments before the doctors figured out the problem and she had her son. The nosy ladies at her work and her in-laws questioned her constantly. The depression from that made it harder for her to conceive.”

Stop asking couples when they’re having kids

So, if you like to ask others when they’re having kids, it’s time to stop that. It’s rude, insensitive, and it disregards people’s privacy. It’s also none of your business.

The reality is that if people want kids, they will work on having kids. They don’t need you to prod them.

If they don’t have kids, it’s either because

  1. they don’t want kids,
  2. they have not thought about having kids but they don’t need you to prod them,
  3. they are not in a position to consider kids right now, or
  4. they want kids but they are facing some struggles.

For people in group (d), they aren’t going to share such deeply personal experience over some afternoon coffee chat, and certainly not by you asking, “When are you having kids?”

The best thing you can do is to give people space. Understand that having kids is a personal decision, and people don’t have to share or explain anything. Respect that others have their right to privacy. Respect that people are individuals on their own path, and this path may not involve having kids. And this doesn’t make them incomplete or lesser in any way.

Instead of asking people “When are you having kids?”, talk to them like you would to a normal person. There’s no reason why conversations should suddenly revolve around childbearing after marriage; it’s not like a person’s identity changes to revolve around having kids. A person still has their own passion, goals, and dreams. Talk to them about what they’ve been doing. Understand their interests. Know them as a real person, not some random being here to fulfill society’s checklist.

If you’re really interested in someone’s plan to have children, like I mentioned in the beginning, you can simply ask, “Do you have any plans for kids?” If they wish to share more, they will do so. If they give a half-hearted or evasive answer, then take the hint and move on.

Ultimately, having kids or not doesn’t change one’s self-worth. A woman is complete with or without kids. A marriage doesn’t need kids to be deemed complete. Having kids should be a conscious choice, not a result of external pressure. Don’t judge people by whether they have kids or not. Some people will have kids, and some people will not have kids. Some will have kids early, while some will have them later in life. All of these are different paths and there’s nothing wrong with them.

For Me

My husband and I eventually decided to have a baby and gave birth to our beloved baby girl. Yet other people’s comments and nudges to have children didn’t make me want to have children; it only made me want to avoid these people, because having a child is a personal decision between me and my husband and has nothing to do with them. It was after we settled down and enjoyed married life without kids, and took time to actively pursue our goals and interests, that we finally felt ready to try for a kid.

In the meantime, I hope all of you are doing well. There are other things that I’m working on, other things that are happening that I look forward to sharing in time to come. Sending lots of love to you, and remember that whatever life challenge you’re facing, you have it in you to overcome it. I’ll talk to you guys soon! 🙂

Nice thanks a lot I really love mindset

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