How are you taking care of yourself during these uncertain times?
I never heard of the concept of "Loving Myself" growing up in a somewhat traditional Asian family.
The common/general Chinese beliefs (traditional virtues) are summarized below:
* Listen to & Obey Your Parents / Elders (no matter how old you are) to learn from their experiences & wisdom.
* Follow The communal Goal (within a family or community), remain Peace & Harmony in your group is the most important goal.
* Be considerate of Others, (even if it bothers you), so Do Not stand out, because it might cause ill feelings amongst your group.
* Be Outstanding to honor your Family Name.
* Take care of your well-being as they are a gift from your parents.
* Girls should stay quiet & act like a lady; don't date anyone but once you pass the late 20s, everyone in the neighborhood will be trying to set you up with "this good guy they know".
* Boys are precious as they carry on the Family name (legacy & inheritance), so they generally live & stay with their parent(s), may or may not ever move out, so they can stay as a Mama's boy as long as the Mother allows.
* As most people know, getting an A- or B in your grade is equivalent to an F- in Asian families, you bring shame to your family.
* The Parent(s) often compares the children with their siblings, cousins, or "someone they know".
* The Parent(s) criticize their kids in front of their friends to showcase their humble quality; but very competitive in reality, as the previous list.
* The Parent(s) rarely praise the children.
* School cares mostly about how well their students perform in exams or competitions; not their physical & mental wellbeing.
* Companies care about only their profits & how to cut down more costs; not the physical & mental wellness of their employees.
* Never talk about sex with the kids. Avoid "the talk" at all costs., it makes people uncomfortable.
Of course, I may have exaggerated a bit sarcastically, and every family is different; some more open than others, and hopefully many of these situations haven’t been happening as common as when I was a child...(fingers crossed).
These are just the top ones that popped up in my mind, and as you may already realized there are some very confusing & contradicting beliefs in these examples.
So naturally, as a girl, I was really confused at times, not sure what to do & act.
But the common theme?
Give to others before yourself.
It is: polite to do so,
plus it makes your unity/family looks good, generosity gains more bonus points.
Because what people think/say is how they usually get recognition & validations.
I'm definitely not saying The Act of Giving is not good.
I am trying to point out how the concept of "giving to self" is NEVER taught.
And so growing up, I've always felt very guilty wanting things for "myself".
Am I the only one feeling this way?
As I became a wife then a Mother,
that guilt got worse;
and I became more depressed & cranky.
I didn’t understand where that deep dissatisfaction came from when I looked like I had it all on the surface:
a caring husband & adorable sweet children.
I felt so lost...
Mothers carried these nurturing images in most people's mind,
yet every single woman is unique in her own personality;
but once I hit motherhood, I got sorted into the box labeled as "MOM",
it felt sophisticating & crowded, I constantly felt out of place & stressed about being judged.
I love my children as much as I knew what "love" was,
but when I was constantly taking care of & giving to the husband & the kids,
even when I had time to be alone,
I was too busy numbing myself in various ways to avoid feeling my emotional pain
(of not knowing who I really am) or catching up on some sleep.
Perhaps if you grew up in a family that is loving, supportive, and capable of expressing love in healthy ways,
you would be ok going through that identity shifting period of life;
but I was a young mother who had just moved to the States,
going through cultural shock, language barrier & identity crisis.
If I had known the importance of SelfLove,
it would have saved me from years of depression, anxiety & probably lots of heartaches.
After my failed marriage and my ex's suicide; We uprooted & moved to a new place, as a single Mom, I knew I had to Become Happy to be able to show my children that Happiness is an option for us.
So I worked hard on rebuilding our foundation, I went on a deep soul searching journey and immersed myself in many self-help books & courses from experts like Tony Robbins & Dean Graziosi, I dabbled in behavioral psychology & hypnotherapy, trying to hack my way to figure out the law of attraction;
I analyzed my thought patterns, my belief systems, and everything that made me who I was so I may find the key to happiness in life.
Self Love was the key that I discovered.
"What exactly is Loving Oneself?!"
And even though this concept is used in many books & formats, I've never come across it before.
and it is especially "foreign" to me as an Asian, as an immigrant.
the idea of it is so vague to me.
As I dig deeper, I realized it is because our concept of "Love" has become so distorted by love stories, love songs, movies & pop cultures.
And it is an international issue.
It is as simple as taking better care of yourself; yet as difficult as making yourself do the things you do not want to do.
As easy as eating healthier, moving your body every day; yet as hard as realizing what you are saying to yourself 24/7, and stop judging yourself.
As I slowly practiced various ways to love myself,
I became a happier person, the conflicts between me and my children improved, I because more patient & compassionate with people & things in my life; then eventually, after I achieved a level of self-acceptance & self-love, I finally gained inner peace (most of the time, because I am just a human lol).
This is a feeling, I had never ever experienced in my life.
So I wish, you'd give it a try today!! :)