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mental health

By encouraging your workers to take care of themselves and their mental health needs, you can show your business believes in a work-life balance and understands the need for personal time when the going gets tough. If you want to have a workplace that shows employees how much you value them, it’s helpful to demonstrate that through benefits and actions. Many employees end up leaving jobs because they don’t feel as though their employer cares about them or values their work.  Check out the various ways you can help your employees, no matter what their situation might be.

Encourage Time Off Regularly

One way you can support mental health for everyone at your company is to ensure they are taking time off on a regular basis. It isn’t healthy for employees to be working every day for several hours a day, without any time to take care of their personal or family needs. Pay attention if you notice anyone working more than necessary and for long periods of time. If you find someone is desiring to work more than necessary, make sure they know you don’t want them stretching themselves too thin. Employees who are overworked are more likely to have mistakes in their work and you might notice a lapse in quality. Reassure them that time off is a good thing for everyone.

Give Employees a Place To Relax

One way you can make the workplace more enticing is to create or otherwise designate a room for workers to relax in. This could be helpful for when they are on their break or simply need a time out from the workday. When creating a room for everyone, include comfortable seating such as couches or chairs that are soft, an area where everyone can grab a snack, and lighting that won’t strain their eyes. If you have the option to include vending machines or an area that has healthy snacks, this could be a useful asset.

Alternatively, you can provide an area for a coffee bar, tea, or even the Thrive experience to help give everyone an energy boost when they need it for midday pickup.  The more relaxed employees feel, the better they are able to give their all to their job. If they come into work knowing there is a place for them to go and relax, they are less likely to call off.

Create a Soothing Atmosphere When Possible

One way to support mental health for everyone in the company is to cultivate an overall soothing atmosphere. Assess what your current setup looks like, and then take a step back and see what you could change. Perhaps painting the walls a different color might help. You could bring plants in for color and improve air quality, and even set up a fish tank to provide beauty and something relaxing. Allow employees to make their work areas personal, so they can feel comfortable and even at home while at work. Pictures of loved ones, a decoration or two, and even a painting or other attractive wall decor can make all the difference in creating a setting that everyone enjoys and supports positive mental health.

Consider Health And Wellness Benefits

If your company doesn’t already offer health and wellness benefits, now is a good time to start thinking about them. While most people associate these types of benefits with insurance coverage, there are other things you can do to encourage a mentally healthy atmosphere. Consider discounts on a gym membership, company-sponsored retreats, and even discounted prices on talk therapy are ways you can help create positive feelings about your employees’ needs while showing support. Even if your company is in the start-up process, providing just one or two benefits shows you care and want to help them feel their best.

Supporting the mental health of your employees is crucial if you want to retain good workers and show that you care about their well-being. You can do this by encouraging time off and making sure no one is overworked. Overworked employees are more likely to quit, so it’s important everyone has some time off. Give employees a place to relax, either for their break, lunch, or both or even if they just need a minute to clear their head. In fact, creating a soothing atmosphere for the entire office is helpful, and can improve everyone’s outlook. Finally, think about any health and wellness benefits that your company could offer, such as a gym membership or discounted therapy services. These can go a long way in helping workers both feel and perform their best.

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Let’s get real: If we’re really honest with ourselves, we all have a little self-loathing going on from time to time. OK, maybe a lot of self-loathing going on, depending on the degree of trauma you’ve sustained, and how many episodes of Teletubbies you were subjected to as a child.

But here’s the good news, self-hatred is just part of the human condition. There’s nothing inherently “wrong” with you because you intensely dislike or feel ashamed of certain unsavory aspects of yourself. Everyone does. Even Oprah has to hate herself some of the time, I’m pretty sure. And I’m no exception, of course. After all, I’m writing a listicle for a website—I must hate some deep, dark corner of myself.

Why We Hate Ourselves

Emotions exist as your brain’s way of telling you something good or bad is happening in your life so you can act on it. They are feedback designed to make us better. After all, life isn’t one long Teletubbies episode for you to silently suffer through.

Hatred, particularly aimed at yourself, is simply one of many negative emotions. It’s a feedback mechanism that tells you things are not dandy in your world. We all have dreams we’ve failed to live up to, ideals we’ve failed to embody, actions we wish we had or hadn’t done, ways in which we wish we could be different. Hating ourselves when these things happen is normal. Self-hate, as with all emotions, only becomes a problem when you don’t know how to deal with it

Dealing With the Hate

Some of us deal with our self-hate through avoidance—we sleepwalk through life, never making any serious decisions, following others, and avoiding all difficult tasks or confrontations. Some of us deal with it by numbing ourselves with sex or substances or obsession or distraction. Others try to overcompensate by trying to save the world and bring about a utopia and maybe start another World War in the process.

Telltale Signs That You Hate Yourself

  • You believe you’re a rotten piece of shit.
  • You think other people are constantly judging you, and live in fear of being “found out” for the failure of a human being that you are.
  • You have no boundaries in your relationships, always at others’ beck and call.
  • Your life is a hot mess, but you don’t have time to sort that shit out because work, your friends, global warming, etc. is more important.
  • You always find yourself on binges—ice cream, Netflix, the Xbox, booze, sex.
  • You struggle to empathize with others and what they go through.

If you’re being honest, you’ll likely recognize some—hell, maybe even all—of the above signs in yourself. And that’s totally fine. In fact, it would be worrying if you didn’t.

Hating Yourself Less

The goal here isn’t to get rid of that self-loathing. The only way to do that would be to remove our consciences and/or become psychopaths. And we don’t want that.

I also don’t recommend suppressing your self-loathing by covering it up with fake self-esteem, or else you might end up shooting up a nightclub in Orlando.

No, the solution is to merely minimize our self-hatred by first becoming aware of it, and then learning how to mold it and shape it and control it. The goal here is to manage our disappointments with ourselves, so that they don’t end up managing us.

That’s why this article is called “How to Hate Yourself Less,” not “How to Stop Hating Yourself Forever and Ever and Be God’s Perfect Fucking Snowflake.” There is no perfect fucking snowflake. I lived in Boston, I’ve seen a lot of snowflakes. None of them are perfect. And even if there was, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t be it.

So, let’s get on with it. Here are nine steps to hate yourself less and learn how to manage your self-loathing better so that you don’t turn into a manic-depressive or, even worse, a religious nutcase who runs around with signs that say “GOD HATES FAGS” on it.

Learn How to Say “No”

The more you hate yourself, the more you will try to please and impress the other people around you all the time. After all, if you secretly believe that you’re a rotten piece of shit, then it follows that you will overvalue what other people think of you, and you will unconsciously dedicate all of your efforts to manipulating them into thinking you’re not the awful person you secretly believe you are.

The word “yes” gets a lot of hype these days, but I want to bring back the power of saying “no.”

Saying no is pretty awesome when you know when and how to say it right. You say no to doing a bunch of meaningless shit that you don’t think is important in life. You say no to people who overstep their boundaries and make unfair demands of your time or attention. You say no to make it clear to others where you stand and what you will/will not tolerate in your relationships. No is awesome.

Saying these noes is difficult, of course. That’s because the ability to say a healthy no requires a certain degree of self-respect and self-care. But saying no to the people and things that harm your life rather than help is often the first step to learning how to love and care for yourself.

Oh, and of course, you learn to say no to yourself too, to discipline yourself and keep yourself in check, to remind yourself that you don’t, in fact, know everything or even know what the hell you’re saying or doing half the time. This is such an underrated skill, yet it seems to be lost these days in the “give me one of everything” age.

Oh, and while we’re saying no to ourselves…

Stop Masturbating All the Damn Time

No, I don’t mean stop diddling your special parts. Although if you’re doing that like 15 times a day, you may want to cut down a bit.

What I mean is masturbation in a more figurative sense—all of those superficial, self-pleasuring habits you indulge in on a regular basis. Whether it’s eating eleven too many desserts, or staying up until 4AM trying to rank up in League of Legends, or lying to your buddies and telling them you totally banged that hot blonde last Saturday when really, you just got so drunk that you passed out in a fetal position in the backseat of your car.

These are all petty, insignificant self-indulgences. And it’s hard these days. No, not your cock—resisting giving into them is hard. Because they do feel good. For a little while. But their meaninglessness will eventually consume you.

There’s this really weird chapter in Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich where he talks about how Thomas Edison refused to have sex or something and that’s how he came up with 10,000 patents. I don’t know, it made very little sense, but the idea was that sex releases energy that could otherwise be directed towards more productive and useful endeavors.

I’m not going to go that far, as I like polishing the old knob as much as the next guy. But I think the real lesson here is to learn how to self-regulate your self-indulgences. Again, it comes back to knowing when to say no to yourself. Make these indulgences the cherry to your life’s cupcake. Not the cupcake itself.

(And no, you may not eat the cupcake.)

Expose the Hate

Usually the things you hate most about yourself are the things you hide from the rest of the world. They are the things that you believe will cause people to reject you and hurt you and point and laugh at you.

But these fears are often unfounded. Because often the things we hate about ourselves are the very same things everyone else hates about themselves. It’s like a game of poker where everyone thinks they have the worst hand and is afraid to play because they’re convinced they’ll lose, so everyone just hides their cards because they’re embarrassed.

The irony here is that love is most often achieved by finding someone sexy that embraces and even adores those deepest, darkest aspects of you, and you embrace and even adore the deepest, darkest aspects of them. What I’m saying is, you gotta share that shit in order to heal it, son.

That is, of course, assuming you’re willing and/or able to forgive people and/or yourself.

Forgive People, Including Yourself

Forgiveness gets a lot of airtime, but in a culture as punitive as the US, it doesn’t feel as though many people actually, you know, practice it.

Forgiving means recognizing something sucks and still loving the person (or yourself) despite it.

How does one do that, exactly? Recognize the good intentions or at least the ignorance behind most evil/bad/undesirable actions. For instance, most people don’t do bad shit because they’re evil, they do it because they don’t know better or they wrongly believe they’re justified. Often it helps to remember your own failures and ignorance when forgiving someone else for theirs.

And this is why dealing with your own self-hatred is so important—the less you’re able to recognize and accept the parts of yourself that you don’t like, the less you’ll be able to forgive and let go of the wrongs of others. And the more of a raging, judgmental asshole you will be.

Take a Nap

Seriously, you look tired.

Let Yourself Fail

Your self-love is not proportional to how you feel about your successes. Your self-love is how you feel about your failures. A person who loves and cares for themselves does not have an overwhelming need to do everything right or perfect or correct the first time.

On the contrary, they’re more than willing to get dirty and mess up because they understand that this is where true growth and progress comes from.

Achieve Your Wildest Dreams—Then Forget About Them

Become rich, dominate your field, find the love of your life.

Realize it doesn’t deliver all of the meaning and fulfillment you thought it would.

Have an existential crisis and near breakdown as you figure out what the hell the point of your life is anyway.

Then re-dedicate yourself to the simple service of others and the simple pleasures for yourself.

Except for too much masturbation, of course.

Both Your Positive and Your Negative Self-Talk Is Bullshit, so Stop Engaging in It

Here was a big life-changer for me: realizing that if all of the nasty and horrible things I said to myself about myself were untrue, then all of the amazing, badass things I told myself about myself were probably untrue as well.

The fact is, you don’t really know what’s true about yourself or how you measure up to the world. The fact is, your brain sucks and it can’t be trusted. The fact is, you aren’t that special, and that’s probably a good thing. Being special creates unreasonable expectations, and unreasonable expectations creates an extra special variety of self-loathing.

Take the Most Important Ambition or Failure in Your Life and Go Ask a Four-Year-Old What They Think About It

They’ll likely giggle and ask you to pretend you’re a tree and play horsies with them. And their response will be totally appropriate and correct.

Because whether you’re trying to cure cancer, discover cold fusion energy, or make it to the bar when it opens to resume your downward spiral of day drinking, you’re still human, and you still have the ability to connect and empathize and play with the life given to you. And four-year-olds have an amazing ability to remind you of that.

Cindy does give a shit about your life plans.
Cindy doesn’t give a shit about your life plans.

I guess what I’m getting at with all these steps is developing a healthy practice of humility.

Yeah, humility. How often do we hear that word thrown around these days?

You either think everything about your life is the worst thing ever, or everything you do must be the best thing ever in order to compensate. And none of the above are true. Cindy, the four-year-old, gets that. That’s why she asked you to be a tree. But instead you’re hiding your flask and trying to explain to her how you’re going to solve global warming on the back of a cocktail napkin. But just shut up for a minute and be a tree.

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Pandemic life has taught many of us to appreciate moments in life that might otherwise pass us by. I’ve been trying to pause and take note of how I feel at the end of the day, often as I walk in the park or one of my nearby neighborhoods.

With that in mind, here’s a tip inspired by The Art of Stopping Time, a book by Pedram Shojai: whenever you visit a place that’s new to you, consider the sense that you might never be there again.

Just imagine: this might be it! Your one and only opportunity in a lifetime to visit this particular place. How might this realization make you feel?

What, you say you aren’t traveling much now? That’s okay.

This “new place” could be anywhere: a part of the woods you’ve never seen on your next nature hike, for example, or even a street in your neighborhood you’ve never driven down before. The point is to create awareness and appreciation.

I wish I’d had this concept in mind many years ago when I was traveling to several new countries every month. Looking back now, I can remember dozens of highlights that might fit the category of “never returning.”

In Somaliland, I rode several hours in a crowded minibus, listening to people chatter away. We stopped for food (goat stew! I’m a vegetarian, but it was interesting to observe) and drank from a shared bottle of Coca-Cola. Those were the days…

In Bosnia, a totally different part of the world, I traveled overland (this time on a full-sized bus) from Sarajevo to Herceg Novi. The city itself was magical. It felt like one of those “Land Before Time” moments.


As interesting as those experiences were, I don’t know if I’ll ever repeat them. In fact, almost certainly I won’t. Even when I return to traveling more often, Montenegro and Somaliland aren’t that easy to jet off to.

Not only that, even though I can remember dozens of highlights from my adventures, I’m sure there are hundreds—thousands even—that I’ve forgotten or simply don’t come to mind when I think about this concept.

That’s why it’s good to consider the concept while you’re in a new place. It might help you remember it later, but even if not, you’ll have the moment of appreciation while you’re there.

Oh, and I like thinking about this idea for travel, but technically I suppose you could apply it to anything, even not something related to being in a particular place.

Whatever you’re doing or experiencing today, you might never do or experience it again. Let it sink in and consider how it feels.


Image: Ender

Tremendous very interesting

I think you’ll agree that we’re all seeking a fulfilling life. Those late nights searching for your life’s purpose? We’ve all been there. We want to wake up happy and spend our days feeling satisfied, yet that’s rarely the case. It’s hard to feel fulfilled sometimes.

The funny thing is that when something feels off in life, our reaction is often to add more to our plates. We take on more because it means more excitement and less boredom, right?

Life doesn't have to be filled to the brim to be fulfilling. Here’s how I learned that true fulfillment is about doing less, not more.

After burning out in 2019, I learned that this isn’t always the case. I realized that I cannot keep taking on more simply because I feel unfulfilled. Truthfully, there’s fulfillment to be found in doing fewer things. In this post, I’m sharing why you don’t need to fill your life to the brim with activities and plans to make it fulfilling.

Why a full life doesn’t equal fulfillment

When you think of a “full life”, you might immediately think of travel, parties, and experiencing new things (many of the things we can’t do in the state of the world right now). Somehow that’s become the vision of what it means to live a fulfilling life.

But life doesn’t have to be brimming with activities to be satisfying. You don’t have to fill every moment of the day with something to do because you think it will make you more content. I say that, yet I’ve adopted the opposite mindset for most of my life.

In college, I juggled my coursework, a student job, sorority, editing the sociology magazine, being a note-taker, mentoring students, and maintaining friendships and a relationship. Looking back on it, I’m not sure how on earth I managed to do that.

Life doesn't have to be filled to the brim to be fulfilling. Here’s how I learned that true fulfillment is about doing less, not more.

Then again in 2019, I thought working three jobs would make my life more rewarding. All it did was stress me out (and this is coming from someone with decent time management skills).

That year taught me that I cannot keep overscheduling myself. I realized that I needed to lower my self-expectations and be okay with doing a few things instead of every.single.thing.

I think I took on so much because I didn’t want people to think I was lazy. Or maybe it was because I didn’t want to think of myself as lazy. All it really did was make me feel like I was continually chasing my tail.

Forcing life to be “full” can lead to less fulfillment. In fact, a busy life can prevent you from being present most of the time. If you don’t have a chance to slow down and pause sometimes, it’s hard to appreciate the moment you’re in.

Related Post: Feel Like You’re Not Doing Enough? Read This.

If you don’t have a chance to slow down and pause sometimes, it’s hard to appreciate the moment you’re in.

What fulfillment really looks like

I’m not saying that life should be empty, but it doesn’t need to be go-go-go to be fulfilling. A fulfilling life can be quiet and unassuming.

As I write this post now, I’m in the moment; I’m sitting at my desk, listening to music, and letting my thoughts unfold. I could think of so many other things I need or want to do, but I’m enjoying this as it is. This moment is nothing special, but it’s so very special at the same time. 

Life doesn't have to be filled to the brim to be fulfilling. Here’s how I learned that true fulfillment is about doing less, not more.

It might not sound exciting, but maybe that’s why we get hung up on the concept of fulfillment. We assume fulfilling means exciting, but sometimes it’s simple, calm, and understated. 

We also get stuck when we think we need to feel fulfilled every second of the day. If you don’t feel fulfilled all the time, it doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong.

Fulfillment is a balancing act between moments of joy and moments of stillness. One of the hardest things is learning to be okay with this duality of life.

Fulfillment is a balancing act between moments of joy and moments of stillness.

You don’t have to rush to add new things to your life when you feel unfulfilled. Perhaps you need to reduce or remove instead. After all, it’s better to do a few things extraordinarily well than many things in a mediocre fashion.

Often we can find more fulfillment simply by paying attention. Notice every now and again when you feel a sense of calm. When you’re going for a walk, notice how you put one foot in front of the other without thinking about it. Sometimes that in itself is enough to amaze me and bring me a sense of contentment.

Related Post: 5 Tips To Pause Hustle Mode And Slow Down

What does a fulfilling life mean to you?

I hope this post has given you something to think about when it comes to making your own life fulfilling. Remember that what’s fulfilling to others may not be fulfilling to you. Listen to what you want, and try not to get distracted by what everyone else is doing.

If this post resonated with you, I’d love if you shared it with someone who might enjoy it!

The post Why A “Full Life” Isn’t The Key To Fulfillment (And What I’m Focusing On Instead) appeared first on The Blissful Mind.

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Stop Asking Couples When They Are Having Kids

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

Caught off guard, I replied matter-of-factly, “I have not decided if I want to have kids.” Little did I realize that I would spend the next hour listening to stories of women who put off having children until it was too late, as well as women who had difficulty conceiving for various reasons, with the implicit message being that I was going to regret it if I didn’t hurry and work on producing babies.

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

Lest you think that it ends after having a child, it doesn’t. The people who previously tried to tell 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. It seems like this questioning process never ends.

The problem with asking people “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 script that we’ve been told is *the* way of life, that would bring us ultimate joy and happiness.

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, somehow expecting you to give them a straight answer to what is really a personal question.

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

1) There are many different paths to happiness

Firstly, everyone has their own path in life. 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. At the end of the day, having kids isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. There are significant ups and downs that come with having a kid, and for some people, the ups do not justify the downs. For these people, it may simply be better to remain childless, rather than having kids just to fit in or to fit societal expectations, and then set their lives up for unhappiness. To assume that everyone should have kids, just because you think that having kids is great and important, 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, but has instead dedicated herself to her personal life 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 some 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 politican 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 (the actress for Peter Parker’s aunt in Tom Holland’s Spider Man film series), 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 this 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 people need to realize that.

2) You may well 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 couples 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.

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 just wasn’t thinking about kids. Firstly, having a child is a lifelong decision, and I wanted to enjoy married life with my husband before diving into a decision as serious as that. Secondly, both my husband and I were genuinely happy spending the rest of our lives with just each other — we didn’t feel the need to have kids at all, 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 in question.

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 tend 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 about it.

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

  1. they really don’t want kids,
  2. they are not in a position to consider kids right now, or
  3. they want kids but they are facing some struggles.

For people in group (c), 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 their personal 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 women or couples, “When are you having kids?”, talk to them like how you would 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, you can simply ask, “Are you and your partner planning to have kids?” If they wish to share more, they will do so. If they give a generic answer, then take the hint and move on.

Ultimately, having kids or not doesn’t change a person’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

For my husband and I, we eventually had a few discussions and decided to have a baby, and had our baby girl this year (2020). 😊 Yet other people’s comments and nudges to have children didn’t make me want to have children; it only annoyed me and made me want to avoid these people, because having a child is a personal decision between me and my husband, that has nothing to do with them. It was after we had the space to settle down and enjoy married life without kids, and took some time to actively pursue our goals and interests, that we finally felt ready to try for a kid last year.

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! 🙂

anyone else love this post as much as i do

Fear will always do one of two things:

Keep you stuck. 

Or make you fierce.

The result depends on you. Are your fears holding you back? Or are they helping you become fully engaged — living a purposeful life true to yourself?

Our guest today on MarieTV will help you recognize where you fall. 

Koya Webb is a celebrity health coach, activist, and founder of the international yoga school Get Loved Up. She’s also the author of Let Your Fears Make You Fierce: How to Turn Common Obstacles into Seeds for Growth

Koya knows a thing or two about fear. She writes, “I’ve lived in it. I know firsthand how abuse, depression, and suffering can make you afraid to live and crush your dreams.” But that’s just the beginning of her story.

Our perspective can bring us to a paradise, or it can keep us in prison. @KoyaWebb
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The truth is, “You are not a victim; you are a creator.”

This conversation made me laugh-cry and cry-cry as Koya told me about her promising path to the Olympics, her hilarious first time doing yoga, and the series of personal traumas she tried to ignore for years.

You’ll also learn how to:

  • Reverse any limiting belief using 4 simple words.
  • Break the cycle of burnout (KEY for you overachievers!).
  • Recognize the voice of your intuition.
  • Release negative emotions.
  • Heal the childhood wounds that are holding you back.
  • Take back your time with a handy scheduling trick.

Whether or not you’re struggling with fear or anxiety, this episode is a must watch. Koya’s joy will lift your spirits, guaranteed.

View Transcript

Check out this episode on The Marie Forleo Podcast

Listen Now

DIVE DEEPER: Learn 3 steps to be ambitious and still have inner peace and let the first lady of yoga, Colleen Saidman Yee, remind you that you’re enough as you are right now.

Now, Koya and I would love to hear from you.

In the comments below, answer these two questions:

  1. What’s your biggest insight, takeaway, or aha from this episode?
  2. What’s one action you can take towards your dream — from where you are, right now?

You’ll never rid yourself completely of fear or self-doubt. There’ll never be a perfect time to pursue your dreams. There is only now.

As Koya says: “You can help people right now. You’re good enough right now. You don’t need an Olympic gold medal. You can start.”

Speaking of… if you’re looking to fast-track your growth, achieve extraordinary results, and save yourself years of expensive trial and error, B-School enrollment is OPEN.

Koya herself is a proud graduate and I’d be honored to support you in building the business of your dreams.


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