Hello friends, my name is Son. And today, I’m going to be a realistic b*tch and slap you in the face. Yeah, you heard me: Don’t Believe in yourself.
Have Faith in yourself instead.
Before answering to the big question “WHY?”, I will share with you a story. Last week, I’ve got my second chance to try the Knowmads “Personal Values” workshop. And it surprised me that the 5 values I discovered always changed. This time, I learned that my 5 personal values were: Courage, Authenticity, Compassion, Growth and Purpose.
One of them has been staying with me for one whole year: “Courage”. To me, courage means to be seen as who I am. It’s f*cking vulnerable, damn straight. There was a time when I had crushes on four guys at the same time. I wanted to practice courage, so I chose to express my feelings with all of them… in one week. And yes, I did, like a fool in love. I discovered that three of them like girls, and one is very far away. It was heartbroken and sad, though I found myself liberated and maybe more courageous than before. I realized that I was not desperate to find a loved one, even though I always told Narayan and Hailey (Knowmads Facilitators) that I would die to have a supportive, loving relationship. No, I already aspire to a marriage with myself. What I wanted all along, was to live by my own values, to show others who I have affection for. I felt joyful at the end of the day just like the time when I came out to my parents, although it contained different feelings and thoughts.
For me, there are plenty of reasons not to believe in myself. Because I thought that I was not the child my parents wanted, because I did not receive reciprocal responses to my feelings from others, because I hated my school and I was wasting my 4 years academically, because I was imperfect with a heart of scars and injuries, because I was a failure. There are multitudinous evidences for me not to find worthiness in my well-being.
Yet, through a conversation with anh Linh Pham (Knowmads Facilitator), my heart was touched 3 times in a row. I want to share 2 of them because they were so meaningful to me, and the second time will be more related to the topic.
The first time was when I was sharing with him that I told everyone that I would go to Harvard or Stanford, that I would be someone important and therefore I put many expectations on myself and did not live according to my value of “Compassion” towards myself. Then when he asked me: “Is it because you want to have the credentials to be listened to?”, I collapsed. I associated my sense of worthiness to something bigger than myself, saying that “I need to be a Stanford student to be loved”. And then he asked me, “Did you listen to me?”. “Yes”, I answered. He continued, “Did I go to Harvard?” And we both bursted into laughters. I was thinking about being free from my limiting belief back then. Yes, I don’t need a Harvard’s degree to be loved, or to be listened to.
I said to Linh, “I noticed when you said ‘I totally agree with what you said’, it’s like you acknowledge the speaker’s points first then you add more information, and you always show appreciation.” And he replied, “Yeah, maybe you can try that.” And I was like “OMG, this is part of the concept of “kind criticism” that I learned all over again.”
The second one was when we talked about “Faith & Belief”. Linh shared with me, “I was lost when I got back from the US. Then I joined Knowmads, and now I’m a facilitator. I learned to have faith in what I do. Belief is when you have information and you know what is right or wrong. But Faith means you lean into uncertainty and you just move forward”. I was like “DANG BOY”. Our conversation reminded me of everything I learned about vulnerability from Brene Brown, the author of Rising Strong and Daring Greatly. She said: “When you make everything uncertain certain, that’s when you numb vulnerability”. And to her, vulnerability includes grief, sadness, heartbreak, but it’s also the birthplace of joy, happiness, and compassion. Vulnerability is not a weakness. And one sentence that struck me was: “Religion has gone from a belief in faith and mystery to certainty. ‘I’m right, you’re wrong. Shut up’.” So in my own definition, “Belief” comes from a place of fear, “Faith” comes from a place of love.
When you believe in yourself, you block out others’ opinions. Because you’re afraid that you’d be wrong, and this could trigger shame and shrink your self-belief and worthiness. But loved ones’ opinions matter. And yes, I also think that listening to who are truly important to us creates connections and meanings in our life because they truly care. In addition, when you have faith in something, you also create invitation for feedback and improvement, because you lean into uncertainty, meaning that you let yourself out there where you can be seen as being imperfect.
So now, I have the biggest faith in my sense of worthiness. And to me, it also needs “Courage” to have faith.
I would love to have more conversations striking through my heart like so, Knowmads.