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First of all - thank you for sharing this. 

It resonates a lot and I have recently also wrote about my process of developing self-love over the past year. What I found interesting was that the act of loving myself was actually not that hard when I intentionally put my head and heart to it. What was much harder (both intellectually and emotionally) was understanding why I stopped loving myself in the first place - and what role it played in my life until then. Why it felt like such an alien skill, why no one ever talked to me about it before. Current take: hating myself was a good mechanism to push forward and achieve goals, but it runs out as fuel. That's when self-love emerges as a new strategy. and a source of energy. Also, society does not provide better strategies, so it perpetuates self-hate being the default.

Some very real outcomes I can attribute to my experiments with self-love is feeling more resilient, confident, relaxed and understanding how to work with the feeling of loneliness better (the better the relationship with myself, the less I need others to validate me). 

Regarding the initial skepticism, I remember my biggest worry was that it will make me go too easy on myself. I think you did a great job explaining how both that gets a bit true, but also that it does not feel like a drawback within the self-loving frame. What helped me was checking out some studies where they found that increased self-compassion made people more productive, not less. The basic mechanism goes like this: inject self-compassion > reduce cortisol > increase oxytocin> feel safe/comforted > achieve optimal mind state to do your best. 

I just heard about Core Transformation (book) and it seems really cool but I don’t know how cool.

I've had a chance to do some peer-to-peer CT sessions last year and it's pretty amazing the first couple of times. I also found that on its own it has a certain shelf life. I then started doing much more parts work and I discovered these two modalities compliment each other very well. 

You could try to find an IFS therapist but I expect the average therapist to bad.

This might be true, although I think you don't really need a therapist to get a lot of initial value. I recommend this audiobook which is basically like a guided meditation with mini-lectures. You can basically do self-therapy with it and get familiar with the method. I also recommend people this podcast where Tim Ferriss is guided into a live IFS session by the 'father' of the method, Richard Schwartz (around 40th minute). It will give you a sense of the potential of this approach, which is non-pathologising (unlike traditional therapy that assumes you are broken and need help). 

Based on my experiences, IFS is great for discovering the landscape of your parts and understanding what role they play for the system, what they fear would happen without them and teaches you how to re-negotiate their roles. It's also really cool to work on relationships between parts, not just between you and the parts.  I found that CT focuses more on going deep into one part and what it wants, ultimately. And then realising that the desired core state (e.g. love, safety, compassion, peace) is already available and trying to just 'step into it and have it'. In many cases it reduces the sense of 'trying' or 'desperation' that some agitated parts create in the system.

Kaj Sotala says he got significant value from guided Ideal Parent Figure practice (guided meditation, course, book--see chapter 8). The idea is that a lot of our emotional conditioning around self-worth comes from childhood, where we learn what kinds of behaviours get us love and acceptance from our caregivers.

I found this specifically useful in places where it's genuinely hard to love myself, i.e. when I think of something stupid I've done in the past, was not aware of/did not understand my needs, received negative feedback from people whose opinion I care about,  etc. In those places, imagining someone like an ideal older sister (or even just my current, wiser self) supporting myself from the past creates the necessary distance to be able to see more ways in which I was just trying my best and did not know better. It's like a proxy to be able to experience some compassionate, caring feelings where the first reaction is self-hate or resentment. 

But the price of shielding yourself from criticism is that you are cast into solitude—the solitude that William James admired as the core of religious experience, as if loneliness were a good thing.

I was surprised by the conflation of words solitude and loneliness here 

I'd say solitude is just a state of being alone while loneliness is an interpretation (usually negative) of that state by a person. 

It's not uncommon for people who are serious about their personal growth/thinking for themselves/creating things to seek solitude as a way of connecting with themselves and making time for creative output. Seen this way, it makes sense to me as a deeply spiritual experience, even if no religious thoughts are involved. 

It would be much harder to find people who actively seek loneliness, which I would argue is largely an outcome of feeling disconnected - from significant others but more importantly from oneself. 

I'd disagree with idea that one can be cast into solitude. I think we often intentionally choose solitude. And equally often (unfortunately) cast ourselves into loneliness. 

Singaporean government released their own Trace Together app last week and they're now working to open-source it.


  • uses Bluetooth to track proximity between the user's phones and notifies anyone who has been in vicinity of someone who tested positive (there is an interesting story here on how they had to first overcome the issue of varying Bluetooth strength based on phone models)
  • does not collect personal information (a consent is needed upfront)
  • does not capture GPS data
  • installed by 620,000 users (as of 23 March) which is roughly 11% of Singapore's population in 3 days (if we assume constant growth, it should be around 30% today, March 28th)


  • Depends on universal adoption (this will be true for any consent-based app)
  • I have anecdotal evidence that in the first 1-2 days after launch, the button on the consent page did not actually work, making it impossible to install. I believe this would have been solved now.
  • Battery drainage (will depend on the phone & user's usage of Bluetooth)
  • Some reviews in the App Store indicate that it might disrupt the working of other connected devices (e.g. Bluetooth headphones) which might discourage usage
  • a big problem might be that it does not work in the background, but I believe this is already being solved following public requests.

Lessons from China

Although certainly not a perfect comparison, I've been interested in the first trends in consumer behaviour emerging out of China after 3 months of social distancing and strict quarantine in key areas.

Disclaimer: The report quoted below has limitations but is also one of the very few English sources of market data I could find so far. I still think it might be an interesting exercise to look at the data and try to ask how might the trends be different in the US.

Link to report


  • 900 respondents, 300 people from three Tier 1 cities: Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou
  • each group was presented with 3 scenarios (Note: it seems that since the survey was conducted the reality has proven it's partly the base case (we're seeing lowering cases in China) and pessimistic (global spread).
    • optimistic (COVID mortality rate < 1%, infections dramatically reduce starting Feb)
    • base ( 40,000+ cases, 1,000+ deaths, stabilization by May/June)
    • pessimistic (numbers continue to grow, more cities become quarantined, global spread, destabilization continues until end of 2020)
    • 4 main consumer types & overall trend:
      • Young professionals - resilient in spending, most likely to start spending on travel the fastest, as things stabilize
      • Retired consumers with lower incomes - spending will drop overall with a predicted exception for packaged goods
      • Mature consumers with higher incomes - largely unaffected but predicted to lower luxury spending under the pessimistic scenario
      • White-collar mothers - most likely to reduce spending on clothing and cosmetics

Key highlights:

1. Overall consumers do not expect drastic changes in their demand, with respondents only expecting a 17% change in their budget from 2019.

2. 60% are likely to spend the same or more in the next 3 months vs the same period in 2019.

3. Under all scenarios, reduction in travel and dining out spending is the highest, but also the quickest to recover under the optimistic scenario. Especially for lower-income customers, demand for packaged goods is likely to increase the most, the worse the scenario.

4. In terms of online buying, household goods and luxury items might experience the strongest move to e-commerce, the longer the duration of the coronavirus situation.

5. Especially for high-income mature consumers, demand for electronic devices is predicted to increase under pessimistic scenario.

Some other interesting facts from China I stumbled upon:

1. Quick rebound in air travel demand - a 78% increase in the past 6 weeks

2. Negative social effects of putting 760M people in quarantine:

3. The current drop in pollution levels, if sustained over 2 months, could save 4,000 kids under 5 and 73,000 adults over 70 in China

4. Quick facts from a Twitter thread by Nicole Quinn (Lightspeed Ventures investor):

  • mental health - DAU for the Tencent's new mental health program grew from 330k before the outbreak to 36m after
  • cooking revolution - in February grocery delivery was +60%, food delivery was down 50% while recipe app usage grew +44.
  • internet use - daily internet usage/person increased from 6.1 hrs before the crisis to 7.3 hrs after

I'd be interested to brainstorm which of these trends are likely to be seen in the US/Europe in the next couple of months and what might be different.

If anyone has other sources of data (or perhaps knows Chinese and could share some local reports), that would be great!