I was an extremely competitive kid when I was young. I always wanted to be the absolute best in class and I got the biggest breakdown of my life when I transferred to a new school and for the first time did not get the honor roll because I was a transferee. The approval of my teachers was a major goal for me. For me education meant recognition through perfection and obedience.
As I grew up, I choose to hang out with people I found intelligent. I got attracted to new things as if they were glaring diamonds. I surfed, read so much, attended seminars and workshops, followed online gurus, self-studied complicated things to be acknowledged as a genius, volunteered a lot and even tried all kinds of health and wellness tricks to encompass all aspects of my life. But I was still empty.
I started asking myself, what’s wrong with me? Why am I lost and lonely? After pressing my stress-ball many times to release the tension, I had an “aha” moment. Instead of chasing recognition and praises, maybe I should try to understand the fundament of a good and meaningful life? I was never really feeling the meaning of life because I did not believe in it. All I was thinking of was being the best.
The process that followed my question was not easy. What I saw within me was not what I wanted to see. I got ashamed to discover that despite the perfection I was aiming, I’ve never been close to perfect. I had a lot of physical flaws and my mindset was a lot of garbage. I saw the Princess attitude and the feeling of entitlement. I felt self-destructive. For a while, I was not confident anymore. I avoided socialization. It sucked to be me. But, I realized if I continued the self-pity, I would never be successful. Once and for all, I stopped on perfecting how my life will look good to others, but asked myself, am I feeling good about what I am doing? Will it make me the person that I want to be? What shall I do in order to like myself more each day?
I began to laugh at the years of working hard to please others. Rather, I look into and accepted myself. The fear of rejection and the shame of being me became a nurturing space to plant the seeds of understanding and mercy.
Even now, I am still in this process and the changes are sometimes very painful. But it helps to have an understanding husband. Thirty years of been mired in the mud of narrow conventions have been a long way already. I wish I had true self insight when I was younger. I am just glad I now have a much more open mind so that I can embrace myself and my potential in a better light. I’m still struggling, but it’s a meaningful process and my emptiness almost gone. I believe fulfillment comes when you have peace inside because your life no longer is a struggle to keep your nose high, pleasing upwards and snubbing downwards, but a journey to realize your potential in a way that helps others, not hurting them.