I wish I could say that this list came easy for me, but alas it did not. I love this idea though! I got it from Gallantly Gal. You must do it, too. Then post it for the world to see! And no, you may not “balance” it out with a follow up post called “10 things I hate about myself”!

/1/ I like to make people laugh.

A colleague gave this to me. She had my former students write about me. Amusing stuff.

In college, I remember our professor getting upset and the class got awkward. We simply did not understand what he was trying to explain. This was medical anthropology class, and he was a young professor and getting frustrated. He turned his back towards us to face the chalkboard, like that’s how distressed he was got.

And I said, “Dr. Kozak,” in a little girl voice, “are you mad at us?”

Everyone laughed and so did he. We watched his shoulders drop, and he turned around, “No…” and then we started over again.

But this does backfire, you realize this. At a teachers’ meeting many years ago, on Whidbey Island, Washington, I was a teacher-in-training visiting the school. And I thought it would be funny to introduce myself as, “Hi, I’m Lani, and I’m an alcoholic.” You know, like they do in Alcoholics Anonymous! NOBODY laughed, even though I’ve gotten laughs with this before.

So, I bombed. Cringe worthy, breaking out in a sweat, let me crawl under something, bombed. I am an ee-dee-iot.

/2/ I’m a risk-taker (see above).

Chinese theatre in Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2014

I discovered this when folks freaked out upon hearing that I went to a college in a different state without ever seeing it first. Then I did it again when I moved to Eugene, Oregon, and later, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Although, I think high school theatre helped me to be more fearless. You fail a lot on stage, and criticism can be flinching. But I don’t know, you fall and you get up, and you realize that’s part of life.

And yes, I’ve almost always asked the guy out first. (And no, they most certainly did not always say yes.)

/3/ I’m curious, creative, and open-minded.

near MBK [Bangkok, 2007]
traffic near MBK in Bangkok, 2007
I’m definitely NOT one of those people who only reads from a particular genre. I love discovering the interconnections between seemingly different disciplines. I like learning.

And whenever I meet someone new, I love to ask questions. If I’m in the mood, I can really get to know a taxi or Grab driver.

Of course, that one time I was in Las Vegas and we found out that the taxi driver was high on coke, that was a little scary, because I didn’t want to die that night.

/4/ I’m fairly observant.

Taking a look, Chinatown, Chiang Mai, 2014

This is great for complimenting others. 98% of the time, I know when my students or colleagues got a haircut. And I can’t help but compliment strangers on their shoes or dress or whatever.

But this is something that I discovered about myself when I would point out something to my BF, and he wouldn’t have seen it! I’m like, “How did you not see the pink poodle in the basket?”

I also enjoy studying people which my drama teachers recommended in high school and college. It’s a lot of fun.

Oh, but you know what? We were also told this when I was in Waldorf teacher training. So I’ve been told this often, and now I like to think I’m really good at it. But it is part of my job, after all, it’s good to see when one of your students is sick or down and out. Now, I consider being observant and paying attention as one of my superpowers.

/5/ I’m an independent thinker.

Some folks just go against the grain. [Penang, Malaysia, 2016]
In the sixth grade, we had to take these tests for the State of Hawaii, and one of them was a writing assessment. I remember my feedback because I was so proud of it. The printout gave me an above average score overall, and stated that I had strong opinions, as well. In fact, I loved that assessment so much that I kept it, which is rare for me because I don’t normally keep these kinds of things.

Of course, if you go against the crowd, prepare to be misunderstood!

/6/ I can listen or talk. I can be a leader or a follower.

Banteay Kdei temple, Cambodia, 2015

As a result, people don’t know where to put me. Hello, INFJ. I like that I can do both. Sometimes I surprise people, and I find that empowering.

/7/ I like to read and write.

This sounds lame, and maybe to someone else it is, but I can’t imagine not doing these things. They feel like lifelines to sanity, happiness, and other stuff you do out of necessity. I remember talking to a colleague who said he’d rather watch the movie than read the book. Whaaaat?

/8/ I’m all about growing old gracefully.

Closeup of tree in Chiang Rai, 2014.

I’m not sure why this is. I think it has to do with meeting some really fabulous older ladies through my expat journey. Two of my friends are in their “golden years” and have found wonderful partners in the last few years. It stomps on the stereotype of once you reach a certain age that you can’t or won’t find love.

My closest friends in Cambodia and Ecuador were of retirement age. In the all-women’s writers group I helped form in Chiang Mai, I was the youngest person, and it was an honor to hear their stories. It’s just worked out this way. I don’t look for the oldest person in the room and make a beeline for them.

/9/ I like being me.

This is an old photo from post college days, but illustrates my tenacity. Babcock Peak was my first big mt climb (13,000 ft or 4,000 m). Thanks Cameron.

No, I did not exit the womb and go, “Ta-da!” Accepting myself took a looong while, but I’m glad I did because it freed up all this energy and space that I now use towards other more productive things.

I wish I could give my younger self advice, or even other younger women, but I feel like “figuring yourself out” and accepting yourself is a solo journey. And I’m not fooling myself into thinking there aren’t going to be other mountains to climb in the future.

/10/ I’m a work in progress – and I recognize and embrace this.

On the road up Doi Inthanon, the highest mountain in Thailand, 2009

I’m not sure where I heard this, but I love the idea that “your story isn’t finished”. Not only is it true, it allows for breathing room, hope, and compassion.

If I’m honest, coming back to Thailand has been challenging in many ways. You don’t realize how much you’ve changed when you leave someplace familiar and return to it. And so you have to reconcile these two different sides of yourself, if that makes sense. I didn’t know that. I was just angry and full of regret at how things turned out.

But I got off that train track. I started to listen to positive videos, audiobooks, and read good things for the soul. I counted my blessings. I got back to meditating. In other words, I stopped fighting my surroundings and accepted them. Now, this isn’t to say that everything’s perfect, it’s not. I still want more, but I’ve come to realize that first I have to stop squirming like a fish out of water – and breathe.

Now it’s your turn. What are 10 things you love about yourself?

34 replies on “💞 10 things I love about myself

  1. 1. I have done many things that “men only” usually do including working along side men digging and repairing water lines and getting my drivers licence for driving big rig trucks. So, I am kind of fearless that way.

    2. I love to listen. To the birds, wind in the trees, water over rocks or the waves at the ocean, and people’s stories

    3. I like that I can feel good about saying no and getting rid of people in my life that don’t support me.

    4. I like my hair because at one time I lost it to chemo so it doesn’t matter if it is long, short or purple, it’s hair!

    5. I like my smile and my wrinkles….cause getting older is amazing!

    6. I like that I can find solutions to problems easily.

    7. I like that I learn and am inspired by younger woman.

    8. I enjoy listening to my body and pay attention to what it needs.

    9. I am not ashamed to wear my heart on my sleeve.

    10. I am ok with not being able to save the world and now know it’s fine to just take care of me and those I love.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love it, Lin! We actually have a few things in common, which, I’m not surprised. Now, dang it, I wish I could redo my list 😛

      But actually you reminded me of the fact that I’ve done some “masculine” jobs myself, like driving a fork-lift and cutting metal pipes – and of course, archaeology!

      Had no idea about 4, but it reminds me of when I watched these wannabe models get their ‘makeovers’ and how many FREAKOUT over getting their hair cut short. Or a friend of mine who has alopecia. You know, I’ve always liked your hair – the right amount of wave and sass!

      And 6! Eric is always remarking how quickly I problem solve. I just hate feeling helpless or useless or just complaining about something. I want it fixed – ASAP.

      Still working on 3. This year I think I was better, but I’m still not sure if how I handled things was for the best.

      And so I could go on and on, but yes to 10. Yes, yes, yes.


  2. I am completely with you on the “growing old, gracefully” bit, Lani! I do hope I can achieve that. It is of the reasons I keep coming back to my yoga mat, as I am convinced it is a vital ingredient in the process. There are so many inspirational older people in the world, and I admire their sense of curiosity and sense of adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! I am by no means a yoga expert even though I’ve been doing it for many many years. I do too little every day for it to have created this amazing flexibility, but I like that I have done a little almost every day – it’s a habit that sticks. Cheers, Jolandi!


  3. I agree on a lot of yours. I can say observant is a definite, and I too love the benefits of paying attention to the small things! Self motivated is also a big one of mine….I always have a list of things I want to accomplish & I am determined to do it! I also like my drive to be healthy & that includes aging gracefully 😍. My sense of humor & ability to laugh at myself😂. I loved learning more about your personality, Lani!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Anne, You too!

      The next level would be asking those close to you to describe what they see as your strengths. I won’t share those, but I’d be interested in hearing how others who know me, perceive me! xxoo


  4. Reading this makes me think that we’d have really interesting and engaging conversations!
    Hmm 10 things I love about my self:
    1) I’m sensitive and really care for people, animals and nature.
    2) My eyes and my nose when they scrunch up from smiling.
    3) I’m a good listener, and feel I can learn so much from others.
    4) My hair for keeping me warm during this winter.
    5) I’m someone who really wants to achieve the goals I set out.
    6) I have a strange sense of humour that unravels more once I get to know someone more and more.
    7) Being down to earth and that person who is always down for some deep meaningful conversations.
    8) Being well organised, but still able to be spontaneous at times.
    9) My desire to improve on certain things, and go for it.
    10) My honesty, and striving to be kind to others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You sound like a very lovely person Katie! Yes, I think we could have a nice cup of coffee or tea and have a long chat 🙂

      #8 is a good one that I can relate to. I think it’s funny how we think in extremes but obviously people can be a good mixture of both.

      Thanks for playing along 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love your 10! I have been thinking about posting something along this line for a while now, so maybe I’ll do this one. Honestly, I have been stressing out about some other stuff that I feel I have to write about that thinking of them cripples me more…Okay, tonight, I’ll start writing this one…

    Thanks for sharing, sis Lani!!! And I missed reading you guys!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I hope you do it. Sorry things have been tough. I understand! All we can do is keep plowing forward. So you can do this! You got this.

      Actually, this took me a few days. I had a hard time thinking of 10! And I didn’t want to ask for help (defeats the purpose, right?). But I did it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sometimes, it’s the small things that make up the great things. It’s okay that it took days. You got the chance to really think things through instead of regret anything because you were in a hurry.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this post. You said it didn’t come easy for you. I think I could do it, but it would take me a while. It’s hard to identify one’s strengths, even harder to do it in public. Congratulations. You did a good job. It’s funny that your talent for making people laugh has also backfired. I get your joke about being an alcoholic, but I can see why it bombed. I guess we have to take chances, even with our jokes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You should do it too! Yeah, I have way too many instances where my attempt at humor failed miserably. But all those times I do get a laugh – well, now, that’s worth it. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Lani! I absolutely adore this post and your blog as a whole. I’m new to wordpress and just started a blog (kumastanamaste.wordpress.com) that’ll hopefully grow into a discussion board for sharing Asian-American experiences. I hope you’ll check it out, and add your experience to the conversation (:

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Love your post, Lani. It would take me awhile to figure out a list. We are hardest on ourselves at times. I know one thing for certain: I enjoy telling real stories of life in ways — one might not expect.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooooo. Now you’ve got me wondering.

      Thanks, Jean. You should think of your own list, even if you don’t share it. Sometimes it’s nice to just remember what makes us so awesome 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. These 10 are great, Lani! And the one on your sense of humor I found so amusing. I probably would have laughed at the alcoholic joke if I was at that training and we’d be the two awkward ones together.

    Hm, my 10:
    1. I’m pretty self-aware. I’m honest with myself about how I feel and what I need to be healthy and have peace of mind.
    2. I’m stubborn. It’s not always a good thing but it does mean I stand for what and who I value even in the face of easier alternatives.
    3. I don’t take things too seriously.
    4. I’m empathic with other people. And according to them, I’m not judgmental. *wink*
    5. I don’t need a lot to be happy.
    6. I’m self-motivated. I’ve gotten myself out of debt and various things once I realized I’d made mistakes.
    7. I’m open to new experiences and people.
    8. I can make small talk with strangers without feeling awkward about it.
    9. I learn from my mistakes and move on.
    10. I want to keep growing as a person yet I’m also happy where I am.

    Hope you’re well, Lani!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Daisy! I love your list, and that you participated – and dang girl, I get the feeling that you knew what you wanted to say.

      I’m not surprised to see that we have a lot in common. I, too, am self-motivated and like to grow and learn. Although, I could really use a dose of 3 – can you bottle that up and send me some? Hahahahhaa.

      Working on it! Hope you are well, too, xxoo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lol, number 3 took a while as I wasn’t always that way. But it’s a lighter and more fun way to live and it’s become second nature now. Thanks for making me think about my own 10. It was a nice exercise!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, it is a better way to live and that’s why I’m trying to get there! Right now it’s two steps forward and one step back – but that’s okay, for now, I don’t expect overnight results. 😛


  10. Ahh! I really love this list! It’s so easy to critique yourself rather than love yourself. Well, i know it is for me.

    My brain yelled out “me too!!” when i read your point about being observant. I have 100% done the same thing with my husband—he too misses what I think are some of the most obvious things in our surroundings. That includes when he’s looking for something in the fridge lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahha. It sounds like your husband and my BF have a lot in common too 😛

      Yes, I’m definitely trying to be more positive, but in a constructive and practical way as well. Feeling good! Thanks Jaina!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I love this! And I love your photos too — it must have taken forever for you to collect those. I love the money! Anyway, adding this to my blog post to-do list.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This is a fantastic idea! Too often it’s easy to criticize ourselves. Also I love how incredibly candid and open you are – your writing style is incredibly thought-provoking, poignant, and funny! Can’t stop reading your posts since I found your blog 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Love this list! I think it’s good to help boost self-esteem and better understand our strong qualities. And after reading your 10 items… I gotta say, you’re awesome, Lani! Don’t ever change! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I need to re-read them 😛 Sometimes we get far into life and forget to pull ourselves out occasionally. Thanks Mary!


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