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Thứ Năm, 12 tháng 8, 2010

As I watch my brother growing up, I understand more about myself. Because both of us are products of one family and influenced by same characters, observing how he is taught everyday illuminates why and how I’ve become myself today. Gradually, I can track down each and every part of my personality and speculate which member of my family it is from. Since I am lucky to live with a very close immediate family as well as extended family, I can ascertain that about 80% of my personality is from within the home, only 20% resulted from my learning, reading and self-effort.

I know why I don’t like idleness. My parents are hard-working and my uncle always says we actually have very little time to live. I know why I value time. Everyone is my family is very punctual. I know why I want things in order, even if it is my own order, which is a mess to outsiders. My house is clean and tidy as far as I can remember. I know why earning a lot of money is not a goal in my future. My parents have tried their best to provide me with more than I can ask for. I know why every time some one asks me if I would like something (so that they can buy it for me), I always tend to say “nothing”. When I was young, all my requests for toys were turned down because my grandparents thought it was wasteful to buy toys for children. I know why I avoid telling lies if possible, and I hate dishonesty. My grandparents and my parents live an honest life. They work hard, and they earn money with sweat and tears, but they deserve all they have. I know why I am indifferent to fortune telling, but very interested in religions, very different from other girls I know, who don’t care much about religions but faithfully believe in fortune telling. My mother doesn’t believe in predicting future, but when I was small, I used to play around my grandmother when she prayed. I just love the sound of her voice, of the wooden and metal bells, and the silence of sacredness – though of course I didn’t name the feeling by then.

I started keeping a diary when I was 11. The sole goal was to record all my thoughts when I was young, so that one day I can re-read them and sympathize with my children.

Watching my brother interacts with other members in my family in the last two months helps me discover many things about myself. It’s fascinating to be able to track to source of something I’ve always taken for granted.

The question of my tendency to feel envious and depressed whenever I encounter an excellent individual has tortured me for a very very long time. I’ve been aware of this side in my character as early as when I was 11, or maybe even younger. It is no way a good emotion, and the only way I know to soothe myself is trying to forget and not think of that someone. I know it is irrational to feel sad whenever I come across a talented person. I know everyone knows someone better than them. I know comparison is never absolute. I’ve read advices, mental exercise to practice as well as analysis of the reasons leading to envy, low self-esteem and feeling of inferior and how to conquer them. My struggle to keep myself from falling down has been long, tiring and not very fruitful.

The trouble is not constant. It just happens from times to times, but it is very unpleasant.

So, last night I forced myself to sleep to stop thinking negatively, because I knew if I let my mind wandering freely, it would end up in a terrible mood. An usual situation, I talked to someone who is about my age and is about to complete a study oversea as a researcher, while I am still confused and lost when trying to write up a simple survey. My effort to comfort myself with my own “rule of the ladder” didn’t work. I felt totally useless and despicable.

Alright, I’ve always tried to cure this weakness, but never tried to make sense of its originality. Where does it come from? How do I end up craving for compliments and easily falling into the feeling of inferiority? Why am I so prone to self-disappointment and denial of the self. Not low esteem, yet very vulnerable.

It just dawns on me that the real source may lie within my family. The way I have been raised may have made me feel I am not very worthwhile. And this brings me back to my aunt’s reproach of my outfit a few days ago. She kept repeating that I don’t know how to dress properly; I look terrible and actually worse than a peasant. That is just one example. Indeed, at home, I’ve never been recognized as a good kid. Perhaps my family do know that I have some accomplishments, perhaps they do feel proud of me, perhaps they do praise me behind my back. However, all I’ve heard of is I don’t know how to take care myself, can’t do any housework, that I am messy, clumsy, lazy and in short, bad.

That happens to my brother as well. No one, besides me, ever praises him for anything. They only point out his weakness when he commits a fault. And all comments are raised towards a characteristic, as if it is permanent and within his nature. I can foresee that one day he would feel terribly depressed when he comes into contact with someone successful. May be he won’t feel envious; because he already accepts what his family always tell him: he is bad. He won’t struggle to understand, like I am doing now.

A lesson for myself: do not over-criticize my children and must acknowledge their effort as well as capacity.

Believe in yourself. It is quite difficult, especially when your loved ones unconsciously make you think the other way around.

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