So many times, life takes over, and we’re constantly doing something for someone. We work to bring in money. We drive our kids around to go to school or programs. We cook and clean to prepare for the next day.
But maybe one day, you have a moment to yourself and thought… is this all there is?
Who am I? What do I want?
As a Life Coach for Asian Women, these questions tend to induce some stress.
For some people, it may be hard to tap into this, and they may think, “I’m already 43, I’m getting too old for this.” or “I’m already at this age, why haven’t I figured it out yet?”
So let’s understand 3 reasons why it’s difficult for us Asian women (particularly Chinese) to tap into what we want, and I'll share with you some tips on what can we do about it.
3 reasons that hinder us from finding out who we are
1 Result Driven
When we were brought up, most often than not, our actions were gauged against a “productivity” chart. Is what we’re doing “productive”? I remember my mom would limit the amount of TV I could watch. She'd sometimes question why I would do something. Will it bring in more money? Will it get me a better title? Could I help more people? Which are all very much result driven.
And it is understandable, since for most of our lives (if you grew up in Hong Kong or China), we live in an extremely competitive environment! Somehow, we were always trying to get better grades to get into a better school, and then get into a better job to make more money. So it’s been ingrained in us that results are important. Otherwise, why do it?
Because of this, we rarely ask what do we really want for ourselves. Even being able to say, I'm doing it because I want to! Rather than saying, "It's a waste of time!"
Since we never got to develop this muscle, that is why we find it so difficult for us to figure out our internal desires!
2 Inner critic
While growing up, our parents may constantly nitpick on the things we’re doing wrong. My mom would usually say, "Stand with your back straight." or "That's so dumb". Or maybe she kept questioning, "Why would you do that?", or "Why can't you be more realistic?"
All of these statements and questions created an extremely strong inner critic within me. And in turn, it constantly compares me to other people, spits out disapprovals, which makes it extremely difficult to try things out.
This may actually stop us from taking the first step, or it may cause us to give up easily.
We live in a society where women are still expected to take care of our kids, our spouse, our parents. So when we decide to focus on ourselves, we sometimes get labelled as selfish.
So many times, my mom would tell me how I should pay more attention to my son, "always keep an eye out on him", "tell him to behave this way or that way", and she'd tell me, "That's the way it is, you have to sacrifice yourself because you're now a mom."
There is this perpetuated idea that we need to give up ourselves for our family. And because of this pressure we receive, we turn around and place this expectation of sacrifice onto others, which is an extremely harmful idea.
What can we do?
There are two things I work constantly with my clients. The first is to build the trust back into their bodies, and the second thing is encouraging them to admit the honest truth.
Trusting their bodies
So many times, because we'd grown up in a society that tells us what to think, how to behave, we stop listening to our inner wisdom.
Maybe you've heard it before, there was a little voice within yourself that sometimes speak to you.
But because we'd never learned to listen to it, we end up turning back to our brain to rationalize our decisions.
To trust our bodies, I usually encourage my clients to take some deep breaths, and drop into their heart, and see if they could hear anything. And the more they do it, the more they'll be able to hear this voice. And together, we'll explore ways to implement it in their lives.
Admit the honest truth
For some people's childhood, they had never been allowed to be honest. Maybe they'd spoken up, and had been yelled at or beaten. Maybe their parents had shown a lot of disapprovals when they behaved a certain way, so they stopped doing that thing.
Being allowed to admit the truth can be quite scary for them. For example, it can be difficult for someone to admit the simple sentence, "I don't want to do this" without feeling a lot of guilt and shame.
To be able to admit the truth, there needs to be a safe space. It could be journalling, where no one would openly judge you, or it could be from coaching, where the coach is able to listen to you. And it can be a very liberating experience.
In order to discover our true desires and who we are, it is important to articulate with words:
What do I want? What works best for me?
Many times, we seek out other people's opinions, and what works for them may not be suitable for you.
So now, it's time for you to trust your body and admit the truth to yourself, so that you can shine!
Because you are the only one who knows the answer.
If you'd like someone to guide you through this process, I'd love to hop on a session with you! Let's chat!