Project 365

Welcome! This is my own 365 project of creating at least one post per day about the stuff that I learnt, achieved, and found, the stuff that made me happy, or the new thing I did every single day.

The project was started on 21 February 2010. It has stopped for few times but I am determined to continue!

This project is dedicated to myself. I want to feel grateful for every single thing I have. I want to be thankful for my own life. I just want to feel that I have enough.

Tag: learn

Relationship 101: Women & Love

In the previous post, I wrote about the most important thing that men need, which is respect. For them, respect means love. If they’re angry or they walk away from the conversation out of the sudden, most probably that’s because they don’t feel respected by the wives.

Now… Moving on to the women’s issues… What’s the most important thing that women need…? *drumroll* EXACTLY, yes. Thank you! 😛

The answer is of course love. To feel loved and cared for. And let me tell you guys, women do need this all the time. They need assurance. They want emotional security. They don’t want to be ignored. It doesn’t matter if you’re married for 2, 5, 10, or 40 years. Women always need to feel loved and they need to be assured by it. Never get bored of saying ‘I love you’ every day or give her rose every week (every women is different in terms of what they want), because THAT makes a lot of difference.

A lot of men say: “I show my love to my wife through my attitude or approach. I don’t need to say that in words!” Seriously, that doesn’t help at all. You need to express your love according to her dictionary, not yours. It may not have any meaning to you, but it does for many women. Affection and expression of love is what they need. That’s how most of them measure the relationship. It makes them happy. So be realistic.

A woman may complain to her husband, “You don’t love your family!” or “You don’t care about us!” while the husband has worked so hard to make sure the financial needs of her and the children are met. Well, the thing is for women, emotional closeness is more important than materials and money (I don’t speak for materialistic women because I’m not one. But I do think at some point in time they actually need more love rather than money). Emotional closeness can be in the form of having dinner just the two of you, without the children. Or basically just spending time together (while I also think the men and women need to have their “boys time” or “girls time” respectively with their own friends… but that’s another issue).

One important thing that ALL men are blind about is how to deal with women who want to “curhat” or vent out, either because they have problems or they just want to complain LOL. Most men just jump straight away into “how to solve it” (like in the company: you have problems, solve it right away). But this is not a company! This is a relationship with a complicated creature called woman! In order to deal with women, you have to listen to them and make them feel good and okay. They actually don’t need any solutions (unless they ask!). They just want you to listen to them and be there when they feel down. Hug them and that will make them feel so much better.

So for us, the formula is:

sharing = listening = love

As simple as that! Hahaha. And this is actually true. I’ve experienced it before. When my boyfriend knew how to deal with me when I had problems, that’s when I felt he understood and loved me. Even if he’s not romantic, when that’s fulfilled, I was happy. Compared that to a guy who’s all about romance and sweet words but when it comes to sharing, he doesn’t know what to do and gets panic. I guarantee you that the woman will complain and ask why you don’t understand her and so on… hehehe. I’ve been in both situations hahaha.

Source: @alissawahid‘s tweets, which were actually based on a book titled For Men Only by Shaunti Feldhahn and Jeff Feldhahn. Her tweets were very long (it’s called kultweet = kuliah tweet = tweet lecture?), so I put them together into a single post that can be easily understood (and add my own interpretation or opinion of course hehe).

Relationship 101: Men & Respect

I’ve been reading the tweets of mbak Alissa Wahid (yes, she’s the daughter of our former president Gus Dur). Many of her tweets are so interesting — ranging from parenting to relationship. I have to admit that I regret I didn’t “record” or put most of them here. I totally forgot what they were all about now haha…

Anyway, about a month ago (or even more, because this post has been in my pending list), she tweeted about marriage: what husbands and wives (should) expect of each other. Her tweets were based on two books: For Women Only and For Men Only — authored by Shaunti Feldhahn and Jeff Feldhahn. The two books were the result of a nationwide survey in the US and more than 1,000 personal interviews. I think it’s quite interesting and I’m sure most of the information were not that new. But sometimes reminders are what we need! So let’s just refresh our mind again…

In this post, I will focus on For Women Only. Again, this piece is taken from mbak Alissa’s tweets 🙂

Love is all you need. Really?

One thing that mbak Alissa emphasized was the fact that showering men with love and care is not actually enough. A man needs to feel that he is respected and trusted by his wife. That’s what he needs the MOST. His worst nightmare is to be humiliated. Once he feels humiliated and embarrassed, he will feel unloved by his wife and can easily lose his temper.  For us, the women, crying tends to be our response to feeling unloved. But for men, anger tends to be their response to feeling disrespected.

So, while we need unconditional love, men need unconditional respect. Don’t tease him or make “bad” comments about him in front of his friends: “Oh but my husband can’t even fix the tire!”. Don’t question his decision: “Oh come on!! Did YOU really think it’s a good idea?!” or abilities: “Why are you so slow?! Can’t you be a lot faster?”.

The bottom line is, don’t make him feel that he’s not good enough for you. Don’t lower his self-esteem. Don’t make him “less”. Believe him and trust in him and appreciate his efforts (and let him know that!). Give him full support rather than demands. Encourage him.

Criticism is important, but how you say it does make a difference.

Based on research, 74% men would rather be ignored, be alone, or feel unloved than to be humiliated. So, from this point on we can conclude that for men:

respect = love

That’s the formula, people! hihihi. If you wanna feel loved, you have to respect your man first!

This post is actually a note to self (hmm most of my posts serve this purpose actually hehehe). It doesn’t only apply for relationships and marriages. But also friendships. I have to admit though, I do pass out bad comments to guys whom I don’t like. I use that as a weapon to turn them away hahaha. Oh I’m bad!!!

But I do remember, one of my ex asked me at one time, why I would always hesitate to ask him for help. The thing was, I used to do that to all people because I felt “gak enakan”… I just felt that I’d cause them trouble and inconvenience. But for him, apparently, that’s how he showed his love. Protecting and helping me. That’s what made him feels good about himself. And this is only a minor example. It can extend to the fact that a husband provides financial needs to the family. When he provides, he feels powerful as he feels the family depends on him :). He wants to feel depended on because that shows the family actually trusts him (in supporting them).

Being an independent woman also proves to be hard because often time I give a wrong impression that I don’t need him or any guys in general, but that is actually wrong. I don’t think I’m overly independent. There are certain things that I and all other independent women (and all women basically) need. That’s of course will be discussed in the next post, which will focus on For Men Only! Be patient, guys 😛

Parenting 101: Praising

* I decided to post the series of Parenting 101 that I found through the stuff I read (especially on Twitter), so that I can refer to it again when the time comes 🙂

Research study shows that praising children for their brain and intelligence can have adverse effects on them, especially with regards to their academic achievement. These so-called fixed-mindset children tend to:

  • Consider failure as a result of intrinsic factor, i.e. their intelligence. Therefore they tend to think that failure is beyond their control.
  • Put an extra emphasis on being smart and “looking” smart rather than trying as hard as they can (and learn from their success or failure)
  • Be more reluctant to make efforts and attempts, and to learn from their past mistakes or failure.

So what’s the solution?

Rather than praising children for being smart, parents should have praised them for working hard. On the successful completion of a test, parents should not have said, “I’m so proud of you. You’re so smart.” They should have said, “I’m so proud of you. You must have really studied hard.” Big difference. This appeals to your child’s controllable effort rather than to mysterious, unchangeable talent. It’s called “growth mindset” praise.

More than 30 years of study show that children raised in growth-mindset homes consistently outscore their fixed-mindset peers in academic achievement. For example, kids regularly praised for effort solve 50 to 60 percent more hard math problems than kids praised for intelligence. Because these growth-mindset kids believe mistakes occur from of lack of effort, not from a lack of ability, the kids know exactly how to remedy mistakes: simply apply more effort.

With regards to praising, I also have to agree with Nouman Ali Khan that praising someone (anyone, not only kids) boosts their ego. It does more harm than good, although I admit I praise people without me realizing hahaha… I have to be more careful next time!




Taken from Brené Brown‘s website.

Living Wholeheartedly

This is an excellent talk by Dr. Brené Brown. And yes, she’s a research professor who has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. So this talk is actually based on her decade of research into this topic! I’m not going to write all the things she said, because you really need to watch it (she’s a great storyteller!).

But there’s one thing that kinda struck me, which is of course vulnerability. I hate to be vulnerable. I really hate that because I feel so weak. And I don’t like to be weak. When friends asked me if I were okay, I would say yes, although I felt like crying inside. When I felt betrayed, I barely wanted to admit it. When somebody didn’t treat me right, I acted as if I didn’t care, but I actually did. The point is,  I never wanted to admit that I was affected, hurt, or broken-hearted, especially to the person who caused me so. And I never wanted to let myself loving someone so deeply because of fear of separation. This is all related to weakness (and being looked as a weak human being), fear of something, and my image (of being strong and the urge to keep that image with me).

Then I questioned myself, WHY IN THE WORLD DID I DO THAT?!

Clearly, I’ve been unconscious! And I was awaken by Brene, this video. She taught me that it’s okay to be vulnerable. She said, "Vulnerability is at the core of fear, anxiety, shame, and very difficult emotions that we all experience. But vulnerability is also the birth place of joy, love, belonging, creativity, faith…."

We tend to deal with our vulnerability by "numbing" vulnerability. Evidence includes debts, over weight, addiction to alcohol or drugs or even busy-ness. But the problem is that, we can’t selectively numb emotions. If we numb "the bad things" like vulnerability, grief, shame, and disappointments, we automatically numb the other good things, like joy, gratitude, and happiness. That’s when we feel miserable, looking for the purpose and meaning of life, etc. And that’s bad, isn’t it?

So how do we do it? How do we live wholeheartedly?

We have to fully embrace vulnerability, not deny it. We’re not only have to embrace our vulnerability, but also need to embrace the vulnerability of others. It’s our vulnerability that makes us beautiful. The willingness to love others first with our whole hearts. The willingness to do something where there are no guarantees. The willingness to invest in a relationship that may or may not work out (ouch!).

We also need to have the courage to be imperfect and let ourselves deeply and vulnerably seen. Tell the world about who we really are. Be honest about it and never let what other people think about us in any way paralyze us. And that’s the first step of worthiness, believing that we are worthy of love and belonging. That’s really important in order to live wholeheartedly. We also need to be compassionate. Caring others genuinely and loving them with our whole hearts. To practice gratitude and joy is also essential. Being thankful for what we have and honoring what’s ordinary about our lives: our loved ones, friends, community, and nature. And lastly, to believe that we’re enough 🙂

We want more guarantees. We we want to believe that we we’re not going to get hurt and that bad things aren’t going to happen and they are, but there is a guarantee that nobody talks about and that is that if we don’t allow ourselves to experience joy and love, we will definitely miss out on filling our reservoir with what we need when those hard things happen

I’m going to start to embrace my vulnerability for now. Somehow I found it much easier to embrace other’s vulnerabilities than my own. Bismillah. Let me be free.

Changing Education Paradigms

Last March, I wrote about Sir Ken Robinson who is the world-renowned education and creativity expert. I watched his talks on TED and YouTube and I actually really like some of his brilliant views on education.

One thing he said about the current education system is that it is "modeled on the interests of industrialism and the image of it". For example, schools are still organized on factory lines: ringing bells, separate facilities, and specializations into separate subjects. Children are also educated by batches. They are put into the system by age group (a great analogy for products grouped by the date of manufacture), when in fact some children of the same age perform better than the rest of the group. Some of them are also flourished when they work in smaller groups, large groups, or even alone. Children are not like products, in which they are the same. They have different capabilities. When products do not pass the standardized tests, they are destroyed or be sold for cheaper price. But we can’t do the same thing to these children. Some children perform better in some disciplines than the others. And what’s the used of these tests or exams? Why is getting high grades the most important thing in this world? (I still see most of job advertisements in Indonesia requiring future employees to have certain minimum grades. How sad!)

Sir Robinson said: "if you are interested in the model of education, you don’t start from the production line mentality." 🙂 We don’t need a reform in our education system. But we certainly need to transform the system.

The Poor

I was watching some videos on when I suddenly encountered this interesting comment about poor people:

You probably think poor people all across the United States can just pick themselves up out of the dirt, go to college, and get a great job, thus eliminating all of their problems. And if they don’t do that, they’re lazy. It’s so frustrating dealing with people who do not understand how external factors contribute to the perpetuation of poverty in the United States. Take a look at "In Search of Respect" by Philippe Bourgois, and he’ll show you how the downtrodden turned their lives around, ditched the drugs, and said to society "I"m ready to change my life." They try to get a job. Society replies, "sorry, you don’t fit in with us well-to-do people. You don’t dress right, you don’t have the skills, and you don’t have the attitude to be a successful person." Yet, from the beginning, society inhibited their ability to, for example, get the decent "education" required to function in society. It’s a vicious cycle, and it applies here.

Michael Toyama

It doesn’t only exist in the U.S. It’s everywhere. What can we do about it?

The Search of A Word

In Saudi Arabia, black people are called takruni. These people have lived here for many years and generations, that some of them do not even know their country of origin anymore. They have no idea where they come from. They speak Arabic and live mainly on the streets, searching for bottles and cans in trash bins to be exchanged with money.

My brother asked me today, where did the word takruni come from? He was so curious that he started googling it. In the beginning we searched takroni and takrooni but found none. After googling and wiki-ing (?) for a while, we found the answer.

Takruni is derived from Takrur, which was an ancient kingdom of West Africa, including much of Ghana and Senegal and the western Sahara desert. Takruni refers to the people of this kingdom. Other known forms of takruni are Takarin, Takarna, Takruri, and Takarir. It is believed that the earliest West African Muslims to be seen in the Middle East in recognizable numbers may have come from that state.

Girls’ Education

I just finished watching a TED video presentation by Sheryl WuDunn titled Our Century’s Greatest Injustice. Again, I’m not too keen on writing so I’m just going to write some interesting issues she made in bullet points.


  • More girls were discriminated to death than all the people killed on all battlefields in 20th century
  • Girls aged 1-5 die at 50% higher mortality rate than boys in all of India
  • Women and girls aren’t the problem. They are the solution.

If you’re not fully utilizing half the talent in the country, you’re not going to get too close to the top ten

— Bill Gates, when he was in Saudi Arabia, referring to the Saudi women that were not fully utilized.

  • It may well be that the highest return on investment in the developing world is in girls’ education – Larry Summers
  • When you educate a girl, she tends to get married later on in life, she tends to have kids later on in life, she tends to have fewer kids, and those kids that she does have, she educates them in a more enlightened fashion. With economic opportunity, it can be transformative.
  • Research shows that once you have all of your material needs taken care of, there are very few things in life that can actually elevate your level of happiness. One of those things is contributing to a cause larger than yourself.
  • We have all won the lottery of life. And so the question becomes: how do we discharge that responsibility? So, here’s the cause. Join the movement. Feel happier and help save the world.

The presentation reminds me of a quote made by Queen Rania of Jordan:

If you educate the women, you educate the family. If you educate the girl, you educate the future.

So, are you ready to discharge that responsibility? 🙂

Nelson Mandela

… the most revered example of reconciling leadership is Nelson Mandela, who invited the men who guarded him in jail to his inauguration as president of South Africa, put leaders who had supported apartheid in his cabinet and set up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to give people who had committed crimes during the apartheid era the chance to avoid imprisonment by confessing. Mandela decided that the only way he or the people of South Africa could be free to face the future was to let go of the past. Because of all that he had suffered, he had the credibility to do it.

— Bill Clinton in Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World

To be honest, I didn’t know much about Nelson Mandela, except that he was thrown into prison due to his anti-apartheid activities. So when I read this, I thought, “Wow!”. He’s indeed amazing! I should definitely read his autobiography.