Am I pretty?

According to the aesthetic standard of ordinary Chinese people, I am pretty, at least I was so when I was little.  One of the proofs is that, very often a random passer-by pointed at me out of a group of girls on the way to and fro school, and said, “Oh, look at that little girl.  She is so pretty.”

I never knew I am pretty though, although the above said proof.  One of the reasons was because my mom often scolded me by saying, “Don’t stare with your stupid big eyes.”  Due to my own character, I was very sensitive to my mom’s judgement.  I thus believed that I was very awkward; especially with my big eyes on my face, my expression might be very stupid.  When I grew up, whenever people admired my pretty, alert, penetrating, big eyes, I was very surprised and thought it was only their politeness.   I finally trusted their appraisal to be true when my dearest husband also liked my big eyes.

I don’t blame my mom.  Being a housewife from the small village of rural area in China, she didn’t take any school.  So the way she taught us was primitive, without any deliberate methods.  Actually most parents in our village taught their kids in this way.  That’s why most of the kids dropped out from elementary school or middle school.  Very few went to high school, not mentioning college.  So the case like my life path was very rare and exceptional considering my growth environment.  My parents have been very proud of me, because I jumped out of the rural area and went to big cities, and then went abroad.  My fellow villagers are  proud of me too because the world I saw was out of their imagination.  For them, some of the elders never went out of the rural area, and they even don’t know the earth is round.

I am lucky that I can explore the outer big world.  However, due to my primitive educational method, there have been lots and lots of inner struggles in my mind along the way when I was trying my best to adapter to the outer world. For example, my mom used to tell me that, “all our neighbors look down upon us, you have to study hard to be distinguished.” I followed her advice and studied hard and fulfilled my (or her) dream.  However, the success was based on distorted motivation.  I found myself end up caring too much about others’ opinions, and being very socially awkward.  Looking backward, I don’t even know what my mom’s theory “all our neighbors look down upon us” is based on.  Maybe she only wanted to motivate me.  My obedience to my mom helped my outward success, but also deteriorate my inner value.

Now that I am literate with one bachelor degree and three masters degrees under my belt, I should be responsible for myself, instead of complaining around.  I would like to cure every single wound inside.  I want to become a person with high self-esteem and lead a life with meaning.  Honestly speaking, I still don’t know how.  But at least, I have the courage to face up to my inner world, and write an article about it.   To me, this is a big step.

I am a mom of two lovely kids now.  I know the enormous influence of a mom upon their kids’ future lives, given myself as an example.  I understand the huge responsibility to educate my kids in the proper way.  Not a time I felt like treading on the thin ice,  and sometimes I got the feeling of helplessness.  I know myself well enough so when my kids perform short of my expectation, I would figure it out that, “even I myself is kinda messy inside, how can I impose high request on my kids?”  Secretly I am convicted that I shall elect example for my kids.

Self-improvement is a learning process.  Parenting can be learned too.  Thankfully, there are a lot of classic books on both subjects.   I am eager to devour them and apply them to my life.  Stay tuned!

Four| Take It Easy

sunflower

I feel I am mature when…

 

… I talk with the purpose to genuinely share my thoughts with others, not to please or flatter,  nor to create a sensation.  Otherwise, I keep quiet.

 

… I feel ease to deal with people from all walks of life, wealthy or poor, healthy or sick, pretty or plain, tall or short, plump or skinny, talkative or taciturn…Really, we are all equal in the eyes of God.  No matter what we attempt to do, our bodies go towards the direction of aging and become decayed in the end.

 

… I respect myself inwardly and outwardly.  Outwardly, I keep myself a clean look and wear proper clothes.  I use cosmetics for some occasions but I won’t overdo.  Inwardly, I truly accept who I am.   No one is perfect.  I face up to my foibles and I love myself as a whole.

 

… I won’t feel awkward worrying about other people’s impression on me.  I won’t do rubbish self-talk in mind to despise myself.

Identity reframe

In this article Constantly feel good about yourself using these 3 steps, the author asked a question which makes me think a lot.

If you were asked to describe yourself, what would you say? What be the first adjectives that you would come out with?

The author says,

Experts say that a person’s self-worth can be assessed by the first five words that he would use to answer this question. If you answer with negative adjectives, then you would need to redefine how you think about yourself. Instead of focusing on the shortfalls in your life, bring to mind things that make you special.

The questions are really good. I then ask myself, what’s the first adjective will I use to describe myself?

Confident.

Although this is still a more would-like-to-be than actually-am, I am happy that I think of this word in my mind when describe myself.

I wasn’t confident before.  One of the obvious proof was that whenever I lived in a new environment, I would take quite some time to adapt into the surroundings.  From leaving home to attend high school, college in JN, graduate school in BJ, study and work in Singapore, to the final settlement in the States, each step was not easy for me.  I felt awkward and devoted full energy to struggle to adapt to the new lives in the first one or two years.

I remembered that back in Singapore, a friends complimented another friend Hellen by saying that Hellen has a mind of wide scope so she was able to cope with each situation easily and calmly.  I so envied Helen, and hoped to be like her someday.

Now I believe I have experienced a lot, been more mature, and thus been more confident.  Good for me.

Yes, yes; No, no

On last Lord’s Day, a sister from the church came to hubby and me after the Lord’s Table, with a book in her hand.   The sister looked excited.  She said she had just finished reading the book; it was a very good spiritual book; and she recommended it highly to us to read it.  After that, she then asked who, between hubby and me, would have time to read the book.  I immediately raised my hand and answered, “I do.” So the sister lent the book to us.

When we got home, hubby asked me, “Do you really have time to read the book?”

I answered,”yes, I have time to read it for sure, because I sometimes work from home these days.  However, the book was written in Chinese, and I am afraid that I don’t have much interest to read Chinese books.”

Hubby then asked me, “Why did you raise your hand so quickly when the sister asked us to read the book, if you don’t have much interest in it?”

I answered honestly, “I saw the sister was so excited, and I didn’t want to disappoint her.”

Hubby was thoughtful for a while and then said, “I don’t know if your slick reaction is good or not. If I am not sure if I can read it, I would not be so affirmative.”

Hubby’s words made me feel ashamed.  I admit that I was a little tactful sometimes, mainly out of the worry that to speak the truth may disappoint or embarrass others.  I always take the excuse that my intention is good when I don’t speak my real feeling. To speak the truth takes a lot of courage.  It is pretty obvious that the real reason that I don’t speak up my real feeling is due to lack of courage.

The Lord Jesus told us in Matthew 5:37 that “But let your word be, Yes, yes; No, no; for anything more than these is of the evil one.” Indeed, yes, yes; no, no. Be a frank person, no exaggeration, and no concealing.   It may be hard sometimes, but it is the proper way that a Christian should follow.

After the above thinking, I decided to mend my ways by keeping my promise to the sister and finishing reading the book.  I spent a day reading through the book.  Indeed, it is a very good book, and I get a lot out of it.

Book: How to develop self-confidence & influence people by public speaking by Dale Carnegie

This book is a masterpiece written by Dale Carnegie.   The public speaking skills introduced in the book are very useful and practical.  I found that I can always refer to the book and rely on the skills when I’m overwhelmed by some lectures’ preparation.

Besides the speech skills, I also found that the diction used in the book is elegant and beautiful.  That’s why I read the book twice since March.  The method I read it is really to read out loudly and audibly.   As said here, reading it is an enjoyable experience and a boost for me to improve my English reading and writing skills.

So what is my plan to improve my public speaking skills?  At the moment, I don’t have many chances to do speech.  However, I found below occasions should serve my purpose and sharp my speech weapon well.

  • Seize every opportunity for presentations and meetings at the company.  Do homework in advance, and make sure to understand each issue thoroughly beforehand.
  • Read morning revival materials. If I go to Church, do prophesy.  Prophesy at the mingled language church meeting.
  • Prepare several versions of self-introduction for various occasions – church, company or business, and a generic version.
  • Use the blog as a tool to organize and tidy my thoughts.
  • Think the possibility of Youtube personal channel.

Life is good

During chitchat with friend J, I shared with her one of my personal unpleasant experience which I had found difficulty to share with others before.  The outflow of the words come out of my mouth so naturally that I was amazed at the  enlightenment.

For once, the unpleasant experience had been a big burden on my heart. I had nobody to share it with, didn’t know how to share, and felt too shamed to share. Thus I attempted to heal it slowly with time, but time went torturingly slow.

Now I’m able to naturally share it with a friend, and this meant a lot to me. Firstly, the unpleasant experience is now slowly becoming an asset of life experience. My mind is walking out of its shadow and my emotion is no longer manipulated by it. I could calmly talk about it as if a sober looker-on who’s talking about other people’s story. I had suffered through it, learned from it, and now it’s time for me to put it among my accumulated life experience assets.

I’m also glad that I can share with my friend my unpleasant experience. Sharing is essential. However, previously I didn’t know how to share; I concerned that if I had shared unpleasant personal experience with others, it was like dumping garbage to others’ mind. Through today’s experience, I realized that it wasn’t the case. Sharing is natural flow, from one heart to another heart, based on empathy.  There are words of comfort, hearty discussion, and knowing smile, and there is no burden at all.

Life is good!