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Say hello to August. It's the season of the Leo's. And guess what? It's my birthday this month, so in dedication to becoming a year older and hopefully wiser, I've decided to list down the most life-changing, mind-boggling and close-to-my-heart words of wisdom and life lessons I've collected through the years of my life. Enjoy!

1.       You don’t need a lot of friends to be happy.

2.       Create with the universe, not against it. You are a strong, deliberate creator.

3.       There is no need to obsess over impressing everyone.

4.       Stop comparing yourself to others because it will make you insecure.

5.       Try new things. You’ll be surprised what you learn or enjoy.

6.       Be grateful for the people that help and support you.

7.       When no one is cheering for you, be your own cheerleader.

8.       Stay private. Stay humble. Stay low key.

9.      Be more private in the things you do so you can focus more on you and not on what others are thinking, asking or saying.

10.   Take more pictures if you can and preserve those memories and happy moments.

11.   But also, remember to be in the moment. P.S. get off your phone and live.

12.   Don’t dwell on your mistakes. Reflect on what you have learned and move on.

13.   Achieving dreams will require hard work, perseverance and commitment.


14.   The number of followers you have on social media should not define your happiness.

15.   Social media should not take over your life.

16.   Having clear skin is better than having flawless makeup. Skincare is life!

17.   Don’t keep or allow toxic people back in your life.

18.    Be kind to others. Treat them the way you want to be treated. You will never know the struggles and experiences someone is going through.

19. Healing takes time so be patient. You can't magically change overnight. This applies to a lot of things: skincare, hair care, diet, mental health, break ups and failures.

20. Work and succeed at your own pace. You don't have to hustle everyday because other people are promoting and doing it. Read #4 again, please.

21. Stop setting your expectations of others so high. If you do, you'll just be disappointed all the time. People aren't perfect so stop imagining they are.

22. Wearing sunscreen everyday is very important. Again, skincare is life!

23. It's okay to be single and happy but it's also okay to be single and sad/lonely. Feel your feelings but don't lose yourself based on not having a relationship.

24. It's just the beginning. You're young, ambitious and strong. You will make it!



Photo Credits: Marina Utrabo & Markus Spiske via Pexels.com

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Is your head most of the time, if not always, filled with negative thoughts?


I shoot my hand in the air. Yes, me—guilty.


I’ve always had this feeling of inadequacy, not in life, but in myself. I’ve always felt like I had more to grow, to learn and to improve but even after taking steps to change who I was or become a better person, I was never enough. For every bad thing that happened to me in my life, I would tell myself things along the lines of:


…well, of course this happened to me. I have bad luck.

…I don’t deserve anything good.

…Don’t worry, I’m used to bad things happening to me, and my absolute favorite

…This wouldn’t have happened to me if I was prettier, smaller, smarter (just picking out all the ugly things I saw in myself)


My negative mind always made me tell myself that the world was against me, that I couldn’t do anything right and even when I felt empowered, I still felt lacking in what I wanted to do. When I wasn’t negative and angry, I was lost.


But I, like so many others, really want to change that way of thinking. Growing up scared of the world and the judgment of others made me realize how stronger I needed to be.


I truly believe that we can all escape the negative mindset we have. I’m working on it and so should you.


How do you stop these negative thoughts from overpowering and affecting your day to day activities?


I’m a firm believer that thoughts are so powerful. What we imagine and think to ourselves greatly affect our actions, which then leads to a result—success or failure.


When we are always with negative thoughts, we feel negative emotions such as fear, uncertainty, or anxiety towards the situations in our lives, even the non-threatening ones. These negative thoughts cause us to look at situations in a negative light and we lead ourselves towards a path of failure.


Instead of doing the work, we spend too much time worrying and wondering how to finish our tasks. We stress over every little detail and question our judgment and capabilities of doing the job.


There are a ton of negative thoughts that can go through our head in one go but the most popular of these are:


  • What we assume people think or say. No one on my team believes in me. No one cares.
  • How to stop caring what others think of you (link)
  • Towards the situation. Everything is going wrong.
  • Towards ourselves. I can’t do this. I’m not good enough.
  • Towards past mistakes. I’ll always fail.
  • Unknown. Nothing as scary as this but it’s inevitable so don’t put energy onto this.


Why I hate negative thoughts?


Well, who doesn’t really? Negative thoughts have robbed me of happiness and opportunities to better myself and to live life to the fullest. I wasn’t shy. I was afraid, I was angry and at times, I just gave up on even trying to be happy.


Negative thoughts can…


…make me feel bad about myself. When I have negative thoughts, I get irritable easily and when I get irritated, I feel angry at everything and everyone. Even when I know I shouldn’t be, I just feel angry and frustrated with everything in my life. This makes me feel bad about myself. Like I’m a bad person.


…make me lose focus on the situation or problem. It is difficult to find a solution or do a task when you can not clear your head because they are just full of negative thoughts.


…affect my relationships. I may lash out at people because I need someone to blame. I blame myself, get mad, blame other people, get mad at them. It’s a vicious toxic cycle that I hate being in.


…make me feel ungrateful. I think the world is against me and I focus a lot on what I do not have thinking that if I had that thing, my problems would go away and I would be happier and less negative.


How to stop of negative thoughts


These are the things that I did and still do. It may or may not work for you but give these tips and practices a try if you can.


There are two main steps.


Really? Only two?


Yes, only two. But I also wrote down below what I did to better implement these steps in my life. I focus on these two steps because I don’t want to complicate things for myself. So, I stick with simplicity.


Pause and shift.


Pause- catch yourself with the negative thoughts and tell yourself to stop. You are in control of your thoughts.


Shift- find a positive side to the situation or problem. It may be something obvious or you may need to do some reflection.


That’s it.


Want more?


To further supplement and enhance the pause and shift, keep on reading.


Here are some techniques that I hope can help you stop the negative thoughts from coming back and keep your mindset on a more positive note.


Be conscious of your thoughts and reactions. You are reading this so I assume you have become aware of your negative mindset. Yay! I think that’s what they say: The first step is acceptance or something... (I hope you know that saying and understand what I mean)


When I realize that I’m being negative is when I catch myself being rude, angry and just in a foul mood. So, I hit pause and ask myself one of these questions or something similar:


  • Is it possible to not bitch about this?
  • Can this be solved even without getting mad?
  • Is there any way to say or do this in a more positive or compassionate way?


My answer to these is YES.


Can we control our thoughts? I say no and yes. In every situation, we always form thoughts whether we choose to or not. We cannot control the act of thinking or forming thoughts but we can very well control the thought itself.


We have all the control and power in us to create and think positively.


Reflect on the situation.


In shift, you may not see the positive side right away so ask yourself: What does the situation call for? Not your negative thoughts or energy, I hope. Take the positive route. It's better and bright.


Meditate.


I include this in so many posts of mine but it’s just so great. Something you can do to ease away not just negative thoughts but also negative feelings. I love meditating and it is just so beneficial to me and my health. I know. Crazy right?


But yeah, I love it. If you haven’t tried meditation, you definitely should.


Be rational. Discuss with yourself or someone you trust. Two heads are better than one.


I haven’t met a problem that has been solved by being negative. Honestly, thinking negatively and acting on these negative thoughts can even make things worse for you. But we are human and we can become engulfed by so much emotion sometimes. We can’t think straight.


When you can and really need it, sit down and really think about the situation. Put down the pros and cons and how your outlook on what is happening can really affect you and what you might do next.


Hope you had a great read and are on your way to being better and happier!





Recommended Readings:

How to stop caring what other people think of you

How to enjoy life

Remove fear and social anxiety

How to become the Right Kind of Confident



Photo Credits: Ketut Subiyanto via Pexels.com 

 


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The title says it and I will say it all over in this post because this message needs to be out there: Do not use soap on your face.


Don’t laugh because this needs to be public knowledge that soap is not good for you face.


In this post, I will talk about:

  • The acid mantle
  • How to protect and repair the acid mantle
  • Importance of pH levels of a cleanser
  • Why soap is bad for the face
  • How to choose a good cleanser


We all dream of beautiful, glowing skin, right?


We continuously search for products and routines that can give us the skin we want. We buy all these creams, cleansers, moisturizers, serums, sunscreens, and tools and get special treatments in hopes that the day we’ve all been waiting for arrives that we can actually post a woke up like this photo in the morning without the need to edit out a single pimple or dark spot.


You might think you’ve got the routine down but then boop—new pimple forms. Then one more, and another! It’s crazy. What are you doing wrong?


If you are using soap as a cleanser, then mystery solved.


Take a bar of soap and look at it. That bar is alkaline.


Being alkaline means that it has a pH level above neutral. Water, which has a pH level of 7, is neutral. Any substance with a pH level below that is acidic and those above that level is considered alkaline or basic.


So, soap is an alkaline substance and the natural pH of the skin is mildly acidic, between 4.5 and 5.5.


What is the biggie? Why can’t alkaline and acidic be friends?



The Acid Mantle

First, we need to talk about the acid mantle.


The acid mantle is a thin film that guards the skin against bacteria and contaminants. What composes the acid mantle?

  • sebum that is secreted from the sebaceous glands
  • sweat


The combination of these two form the slightly acidic barrier that sits on top of the skin and plays an important role in protecting the skin from bacteria, viruses and contaminants that may try to penetrate into the skin.


The importance of pH levels of a cleanser

In order to keep your acid mantle healthy and intact, you have to maintain that slightly acidic pH level of the skin.


A face cleanser which is not pH balanced will weaken the structure of the acid mantle and expose your skin to all the dirt and contaminants. The more alkaline a cleanser is, the more chances of irritation on the face brought about by the stripping of moisture a.k.a. natural oils can occur which then leads to a whole set of problems for your skin.


Why Soap is Bad for the Face

When you continuously use alkaline products such as soap to wash your face, you are actually damaging the acid mantle and whacking up your skin’s pH level.


By using soap as your cleanser, you are leaving your skin in a worse state than it may already be in by:

  • Stripping it of all its moisture (natural oils)
  • Drying the skin
  • Sensitizing the skin
  • Allowing bacteria and dirt to infect and breed on the skin causing pimples and other skin problems


How to Protect and Repair the Acid Mantle

To keep the acid mantle healthy and intact, it’s important that your skin is not stripped of moisture and that you maintain its natural pH level by using the proper products.


For those who are tired of reading paragraphs:

  • Choose a good cleanser (Check list and recommendations at the end of this post)
  • Do not use soap (soap is not a cleanser, that should be clear by now)
  • Do not over wash your face (two times a day maximum)
  • Do not over exfoliate
  • Moisturize your skin (even oily skin types)
  • Avoid products with drying ingredients (alcohol, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate)


The first and most important one is to choose the right cleanser. There are a gazillion cleansers out there. At the end of this blog post, I have provided a checklist for picking a proper cleanser and some recommendations of products from bloggers and skin coaches I trust and also from my own personal experience.


For the hundredth time: Do not use soap as a cleanser.


When you got a good cleanser, remember to not over- wash your face because even a good cleansing can be overdone and destroy the skin. Same thing when it comes to exfoliating the skin. Overdoing is overkill. If you wash your face more than twice a day, you continually disrupt the natural pH level of your skin.


Keep the skin healthy and happy by using a moisturizer. Remember that I said stripping the face of its natural oils is bad because it ruins your acid mantle and disrupts the natural pH level. The one thing that helps the acid mantle strive is by keeping skin moisturized.


Lastly, by all means, never use drying alcohols on your face. That sht is ultra-stripping and drying for your skin. Some examples of drying alcohols or bad alcohols are alcohol denatured, isopropyl alcohol, Benzyl alcohol, methanol and ethanol.


Repair the Acid Mantle

Want some good news? A damaged acid mantle is not permanent. It may take a few hours or some months, depending on the damage done, for the skin and the acid mantle to be healthy and restored.


The key word in repairing your acid mantle is hydration.


The best way to do this is with moisturizer, of course. Get a moisturizer with really good hydrating ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin.


Another way is by using a toner.


Fun fact: Toners became popular for balancing the skin’s pH level after cleansing.


However, if you have a really good cleanser, toner is no longer necessary. But if you do decide to use a toner, make sure it has no alcohol in it. So many brands put alcohol in their toners because it gives a refreshing clean feeling after use and helps the product penetrate better (but it’s actually just drying your skin).



Choosing the Right Cleanser

Have you ever noticed after using a particular cleanser, that your face feels tight and less greasy? That’s actually a bad thing. It is a sign of dryness because all the oils have been washed away. Your skin is thirsty.


The skin does not need to be squeaky clean to the point that it is rid of all the natural oils that help protect it. This can happen when your cleanser has high amounts of alcohol in it or Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), a very common surfactant ingredient in soaps and cleanser but is so bad for the skin because it strips all the goodness, leaving skin tight, dry and irritated.


The cleansing step, being the first step in a basic skincare routine, is very crucial. It is the make it or break it stage. With so many cleansers out on the market, it’s difficult to make a choice as to which one is the best for you. Don’t be fooled by advertising and gimmicks though because skincare is all in the ingredients and formulation.


A good daily cleanser should:

  • Have a slightly acidic pH level (5.5 is ideal)
  • Gives an excellent clean
  • Alcohol-free
  • Is not or does not contain soap
  • SLS-free
  • contain no fragrance/essential oils (will irritate the skin)


Cleanser Recommendations:

  • Bioderma Sensibio H2O recommended by Olena Beley (pH level: 5.5Just make sure to wash it off. Cleansing means removing dirt and grime from the skin and you gotta take all the product off too. 

  • Himalaya Purifying Neem & Turmeric Face Wash (pH level: 5.5I personally use it and it’s been so good to my skin.

  • Human Nature Nourishing Face Wash (pH level: 5.0This isn’t the best with removing stubborn makeup in my experience but it’s still great for morning cleansing or cleansing at night if you wore no makeup during the day.

  • Cerave Foaming Facial Cleanser recommended by Kenna Whitnell (pH level: 5.5


A master list of cleansers with their pH levels 


If you read the entire article and reached the end, thank you, you’re a real champ! If you have been using soap on your face, no worries, I’ve been there too but now we know better.


I hope you can share this with all your friends and loved ones, especially those who still use soap as a face cleanser.




Photo Credits: Polina Tankilevitch via Pexels.com


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Are you obsessing over what other people think of you? Is there that little voice in your head that panics after an interaction with someone or when anybody stares at you when you enter a room?


Oh no, do they think I’m dumb?

Why did I say that? They must think I’m desperate.

I must seem like such a loser to them.

 

Don’t worry, we have all been there. We’ve all felt that sickening feeling of not knowing what to do or say because of the shame we might feel from what other people will think of us.


But I’m here to tell you that you need to stop. Stop caring what other people think of you.


Why? In the first place, it makes you feel bad and uneasy. 


Here is a list of reasons on why you need to stop caring about what other people think of you:


  • Your stress and social anxiety levels are increased.
  • You are afraid to be yourself.
  • You are ruining your happiness for nothing.
  • It makes you insecure.
  • They don’t know you and so they can’t and should not judge you.
  • People’s opinion of you do not and never will define you.

 

The important part of life is that you know who are and are not ashamed to be yourself in front of other people, despite what they think of you.


When I was in high school and college, I really wanted to seem cool and so I would hang out with everyone and anyone and talk about anything that would make me seem cool to them.


After my oversharing, I’d feel so dumb and was scared that they would talk about me with other people and expose my weirdness.


Yes, I’m weird. Deal with it.


I became so conscious of my obsession about people’s opinion of me that it was all I could think of. I always felt anxious that people saw me as a loser or talked and laughed about me behind my back.


I was so afraid of being judged and made fun of that I no longer knew how to enjoy life.


I was 14 and having a crisis because for the sake of me, I let my obsession of other people’s opinion take over my head. I no longer had an identity of being me. I just wanted people to like me.

 

I pushed a lot of the shame and fear deep down and pretended that nothing affected me, like I was some robot with no feelings. But I also had moments where I felt very anxious about talking with other people, making connections and friends, what to write in a text message or email and even which emoji to send. Both of these things were not healthy for my mental health.


Now each day, I do this. I do what is good for me and my mindset. I choose to be grateful and live life happily and freely. I choose to focus on myself and not on the opinion of others.


I’m not 14 anymore and I’ve come to realize that changing your perspective on something takes some work and determination. I have practiced a lot on how to stop caring what other people think of me and whenever hear that panicky voice in my head, I’d remind myself of these lessons.


Understand that the world does not revolve around you. People are concentrating on their own life instead of you.


This was a big one that really opened my eyes. I remember this from a Youtube video (sadly can’t find the exact video anymore) and when this girl said that the world does not revolve around me and people are probably not talking about me, it really helped change my perspective on the matter.


We think so highly of ourselves which is alright but let’s not drill into our heads that people are busy watching and judging our every move. People might see and judge you for a millisecond but that’s it. They forget about you and go on with their lives. There’s no harm to it because we all do that sometimes. We see someone and think for less than a minute; weird looking guy, she’s so superficial, what a bossy person, and then we move our attention to something else. That’s it.


The world does not revolve around you and your world shouldn’t revolve around the opinion of others towards you. Live life the way you want and remember that those millisecond judgments do not define you.

 

Be private. Mind your own business and if you don’t want people to talk about you, don’t give people something to talk about. Don’t announce to the world every plan that pops into your head.


I’m going to lose 50 pounds.

I plan to write a best-selling novel.

I’m starting my dream business.

I’m up for a promotion at work.


When you let everyone know your amazing plan but it doesn’t happen, you are left with people wondering what happened to you and why you didn’t do what you said you would. You are inviting people to watch you and talk about you.


Do not seek attention if you do not want judgment and everyone watching you. Move and succeed in silence. Surprise and impress people with your actions and the result, not your empty words.

 

Spend some alone time to concentrate on yourself. When I started obsessing about what people thought of me, I later realized it was all in my head. I could control this and change the way it made me feel. I stopped putting energy into my fear and anxiety.


I focused on school and passing all my subjects. I hung out with friends that accepted me and made me feel welcome and happy. This helps tremendously with personal growth and mental health.

 

Stick to your values. This is so beautiful and something that I really want to emphasize. We have a certain set of values and beliefs that we believe in and make us who we are through our way of life.


Ethics Sage defines values as the basic and fundamental beliefs that guide or motivate attitudes or actions. 


I’m someone who values hard work, commitment and self-discipline. I do my best when studying and completing assignments in law school while I also give time to create great content for this blog because I love blogging. Auself is my baby y’all.


But I also value kindness, open-mindedness, humility and honesty. I want to make everyone in a group feel included and I try my best to give people the benefit of the doubt and believe that there is good in every person.


That’s just me because those are my values.


Because I know what I value, I don’t need to add others’ opinions of how to act and live my life.

 

Tell your own story. Your story, the one you tell yourself and others, really matters. The more you tell a story, the more believable and real it becomes. When you keep telling yourself that people think you are a loser without any concrete evidence to support that thought, you eventually come to believe it. Once you believe it, you feel down and act upon the “I’m a loser” idea. In the end, you truly act and believe your own story.

 

Stop telling yourself that people are gossiping about you. Stop thinking that people always want to judge you and talk about you. This helps ease any anxiety that people think badly of you.

 

At the end of the day, what other people think of you does not matter. Instead, know who are, improve who you are and embrace it.




Photo Credits: Anastasiya Lobanovskaya via Pexels.com


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Two years of studying law has made me wise (no kidding). Here I am to share the top five things that people who are thinking of attending law school need to improve before attending the prestigious halls to becoming future law practitioners.


Law school is no walk in the park. We only wish it was. There is a ton of hard work and dedication put into the years of studying law and reviewing for the bar. Sweat, blood and tears (mostly tears) are very much included.


When I first started law school, I was working a job in an event planning company. My job included e-mailing vendors and clients, creating and designing presentations, websites, and invitations and updating event calendars for my boss.


I started work at 7AM and logged out at 4PM so I had an hour and a half before my classes started at 5:30. Classes were usually until 8:30 and I’d get home around 9PM, eat dinner, clean up, read and study for a few hours, then head to bed by midnight.


I did this in the beginning but the workload of law school eventually got too much and sure, I felt bad about leaving a good job and a source of income, but focusing on law school survival was important to me.


Truth is, the job was easy but it was soul sucking because my boss was a soul sucking person. *insert nervous laugh* If you put a toxic job over the hectic schedule and demands of law school, it made me lose motivation to focus on my studies. 


All I could think of was how much life sucked because I had a pile of readings to finish but I only had lunch breaks and a few hours at night to finish all of them. On top of that, I was still recovering from a break up. Where was my sanity going?



I eventually quit my job and became a full-time law student. It’s easier said than done. I no longer had a source of income and I had to depend on my savings and my parents to support me in my studies. But I had more time to study and I’d often spend the entire day in the library just studying and making notes. I’m so glad I quit my job and I’m blessed with great support because I’m about to start my third year of law school very soon and I passed all my subjects. I’m right where I am meant to be right now.


I’m not telling you that you have to quit your job in order to succeed in law school but rather, prepare yourself for what is to come. Like I said, law school is no walk in the park.


Forming a good study habit

In law school, books and the internet are your best friend. It’s all about seeking the information. You have to read a lot. I mean, a lot! You have to read, understand and retain the law.


With the amount of law that you have to learn, you need to dedicate hours of your day to study sessions and form a study habit that is beneficial and works for you.


Ways to form a study habit:

  • Create a study schedule. Give an amount of time (maybe an hour) for each chapter of a book.
  • Stick to that schedule. Don’t just remind yourself to study. Actually sit down and read the book.
  • Make reading a daily thing. You can’t study properly if you hate reading. Majority of the time in law school, reading is all you will be doing so in order to form a good study habit, become a bookworm and immerse yourself in books and knowledge.

Work on your handwriting

Oh, boy. Your handwriting is very important in law school because during law exams, you will be writing countless essays. If your professor cannot read your answer, most likely he’ll give a low score because despite your proper application of the law in your answer, he already has difficulty just staring at your handwriting, let alone being able to read it.


Even if it is the best formulated answer out there, no one will give a crap about it or even take the time to read it if you write it with crappy handwriting.


In my first semester of law school, three professors pointed out my horrible handwriting which led to some insecurity but this is the great thing: you can change the way you write.


All it takes is practice. When you are writing anything e.g. in your planner, taking notes, creating outlines, be conscious on how you write and form your letters. Aim to make your handwriting clear and legible. Find strokes that are comfortable with the way you usually write. Overtime, your handwriting will definitely improve.


Time management

Important in any person’s life but especially in law school where you will have countless papers, readings, reviews, classes and on top of that you may even be holding down a job and other personal matters.


Knowing how to manage your time even before law school starts is a great way to evade disaster. Give time not just for law school and other people but also yourself.


The best way to do these:

  • Get yourself a planner. And yes, use it. Don’t waste your money by letting it sit pretty on your desk all year.
  • List everything. Lists will be your best friend, from to-do’s to grocery lists and assignments you need to finish.
  • Get rid of clutter. In your physical space and online, get rid of old useless files, papers and trash. If you’re unsure of deleting things on your computer (aren’t we all?), place them in an online drive like Google Drive or Dropbox.

Discipline

Is this the most important of all? Hhmmm…maybe.


When you encourage discipline in yourself, you can really get things done. Whether it is forming a good study habit, improving your handwriting or managing your time better. See what I did there?


The things we do and do not do all stem from the discipline we have.


So before entering law school, be disciplined enough to choose a law book over your phone, to finish that essay over watching a movie and to prepare for exams over going out.


Prepare your Physical and Mental Health

So, this is the most important of all.


This is the reality of it.

In law school, you can get humiliated during class recitations.

You can feel all alone and left out when no invites you to a study group.

You can think you are the dumbest one in the class.

You will carry on responsibilities more than you can handle.

You will feel it getting too much sometimes, lose sleep, get depressed, get sick and ask yourself, what have I gotten myself into?


Law school is not easy for anyone. Don’t let this scare you.


There will be pitfalls and struggles along the journey and being mentally and physically prepared for all of that is what will make you succeed and rise above the rest.






Photo Credits: Tatiana Syrikova via Pexels.com

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