Saturday, April 30, 2011

Self-Acceptance: Day 3

Today is really supposed to be Day 4 since I didn't blog yesterday, but my friend Maureen is back from traveling in South East Asia for 2 months so we stayed up late catching up.

Since starting this self-acceptance program, I have become much more aware of my thoughts and am able to catch myself when I am criticizing, or complaining about myself or others. Then, instead of feeling guilty about it, I decided to accept the fact that I did it, tried to forgive myself. I think for a long time, I was mad at myself for not being perfect. Well, I still am. But I am learning to be OK with it.

Today's exercise:

"Self-acceptance is love, and your capacity to love yourself determines your capacity to love everyone else. The less you accept yourself, the more you will criticize your friends."

"Try this affirmation today: "I see myself through the eyes of love." If you are like most people, you know exactly what you don't love about yourself, but you're vague and uncertain about the ways that you do love yourself. For example, you could easily write a list of the things you don't like about your body, including the cellulite on your thighs, the size of your feet or the number on the scale, but could you write a list of all the ways you do love yourself? When you see yourself through the eyes of love, everyone in your life will benefit. If your mother had taken better care of herself, would your childhood have been any better? While you can't go back into your past, you can begin to nurture yourself now."

I remember looking at people through the "eyes of love" when I was on my mission. I prayed for the ability and it came. It was so much easier to love and understand others. Maybe I should start praying for the ability to love myself and to see myself the way God sees me. That would make it easier.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Self-Acceptance: Day 2

"Lesson: Self-acceptance teaches you that you are not who you think you are. You are able to discern between your ego and your Unconditioned Self. Early on, children start to construct a persona to help cope with the demands of being in a family, going to school and facing the world. On close inspection, you find that your persona or ego is made up of judgments about who you are, what is possible, what you deserve and what you don't. These judgments become the lens through which you see yourself and the world."

"[The perfectionist] type focuses on getting things right and being good. It conceives an ideal self (rather than a real self) that has high standards and stringent rules you must try to live up to. Your persona judges your efforts, and the more you judge yourself, the more you move out of alignment with the innate goodness of your Unconditioned Self."

Today was not a perfect day. My ego got a good beating *twice*. I didn't do everything I needed to get done. And I cussed (even though it was only on chat and not to the person). Usually my internal default alarm would go off about how I should be a better person and all that jazz. But instead, I tried not to judge and measure my goodness. I Am. And that should be good enough. It sure didn't feel that way, though. So, instead of feeling guilty about feeling guilty, I just let myself feel guilty and accepted that I felt guilty. And then it slowly went away. :) It's a big blow to my ego, but I am trying to be okay with living an imperfect life. It's a hard pill to swallow.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Self-Acceptance: Day 1

How Self-Acceptance Can Crack Open Your Life
A Radical 10-Day Plan to Accept Who You Really Are

I discovered a post bearing this title on a few days ago. Sounds like a gimmick, doesn't it? Well, it is. If people really are able to accept themselves in only 10 days, the world will be a much nicer place. However, despite my initial skepticism, I read on just out of curiosity. This was the lesson for day one:

"Lesson: The journey of self-acceptance starts when you acknowledge that you don't seem to know much about yourself. Your personality, or ego, finds it difficult to answer questions like "Who am I?" and "What do I want?" Being asked to describe yourself at a job interview or for a dating agency profile, for instance, can feel excruciating and practically impossible because you haven't really been paying attention.

True self-acceptance is motivated by the possibility of knowing what your true essence—the Unconditioned Self—is really like."

After reading this, I was faced with the stark reality that I haven't been happy for a while and didn't know why. My life had been stressful the past several months but life was manageable. Everything is much better now but I seemed to have lost my grip on the rope of happiness. The logical side of me says "Life is fine. The reason you are unhappy is not because there is something wrong with your life but the way you perceive your life. Plus, you are not exercising and your brain is not producing enough endorphins and serotonin." My left brain is probably right. I should exercise and life would feel much better.

But I have also noticed a recent trend in my thinking pattern. Instead of looking for the good things in my life, I seem to look for and dwell on the negative aspects. As a result, I have become more critical, pessimistic, cowardly, and cranky. When I see myself like this, I sink into moments of self-hatred, disappointment, and guilt. I want to like myself again and feel deeply grateful for the blessings in my life such as friends who pay for my vacation, send care packages, and call to cheer me up.

So, I have decided to follow the 10-Day plan to accept who I really am and see where I end up by the end of the 10th day.

This is Day 1.

Exercise: Self-acceptance is the process of befriending the Unconditioned Self—the part of you that is more than just your name, your history, your story, your failures or your successes. You are more than just your experiences or how other people see you or the clothes you wear.

Reflect on this today:

What is most authentic about you?

That I am without guile. I am sincere and genuine in my relationship with others.

What do you want people to really know about you?

That I have a good heart and genuinely care about people.

Who are you without your ego?

(I must clarify that the word ego is not referring to the Freudian ego but to the term often used in spiritual teachings of Eastern religions. According to Wikipedia, spiritual ego is "often associated with mind and the sense of time, which compulsively thinks in order to be assured of its future existence, rather than simply knowing its own self and the present.")

Me without ego is eternal, whole, deeply connected to and at peace with God.
I can tap into this moment of bliss when my mind is not preoccupied with useless worries and doubts about the future. I need to meditate again.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dog Cafe

I am not sure if there are cafes like Korean cafes anywhere else in the world. If you don't know anything about Korean cafes, this is going to blow your mind. In Korea, there are normal cafes like Starbucks where you order drinks and sit and chat with your friends. But there are other cafes that you probably have never heard of. There are fortune-telling cafes, game cafes (where you order games and play), book cafes, magic cafes (where you learn how to do and practice magic), chess cafe, cat cafes and dog cafes. Like any other cafes, you can order drinks and sit and chat with your friends--you just get to do extra things. And I am sure there are many more that I haven't heard of.

A couple of weeks ago, my friends and I went to a dog cafe. They had all kinds of dogs that you can pet and play with. You don't pay an entrance fee but you have to order a drink and you may also purchase dog treats to entice the dogs to come play with you (since you will be fighting for their attention with other customers). I was feeling down that day but forced myself to go and be social. And lo and behold, the dogs cheered me right up! I now am a firm believer in pet therapy. Here are some pictures!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Me, Myself and My Ego

My friend Jacob and I have very big egos that we would like to keep in check from time to time. He checks on mine and I check on his. In order to facilitate this process, we decided to name each other's egos. I proposed the name Magnus Maximus for his and he accepted it immediately with pleasure and satisfaction. I call him "Max" for short. He, in return, gave me a few options that did not suit the fancy of my high-brow ego. After several failed attempts over the span of a week or so, he finally presented one that I liked and I magnanimously endowed my ego with the title of Ultima Diva--"Div" for short.

The purpose of this is to warn each other when our egos are up and running rampant (which is like 95% of the time when we are talking to each other). But seriously, I have come to a realization that sometimes I just need to bite my tongue and resist the temptation to be a smart ass. Humility is a great thing. Really, it is. I just wish I knew what it felt like to be the owner of it.

The destination for my next adventure: Seattle, Washington!

The year 2011 has been a challenging one for me in many aspects. But one of the most stressful parts about it was not knowing where I would end up after summer. Since graduating from high school, I have never lived in one city for more than two and a half years. I have been bouncing around from city to city, and country to country. So, one may think I would be used to this way of living and comfortable with uncertainty. Well, not exactly. Up until this week, I didn't know where I was going to end up after this summer. Not knowing where I am going to be and having my life up in the air is a very unsettling feeling. But after a long wait, I am excited to announce that I will be moving to Seattle, Washington to study ethnomusicology at the University of Washington. And I will be there for at least 5 years! Yay!!!!!

A few of my friends are already there right now, so I won't lack for company and I am sure I will make awesome new friends. Jacob, who is studying sociology there, sent me some breath-taking photos of the campus and the music building to get me even more excited to come. :) UW has the best program in my field of study in the west coast so I am thrilled to be studying there. And here are some pictures!

Students playing on the quad

Korean traditional musicians playing kayakeum

The music building

The library

Doesn't this look like heaven? I am sooooooo excited!!!!!!! :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Plastic Surgeon and I

broke up. We talked the following morning after our second date but hadn't exchanged texts or talked for over 2 weeks. So, naturally, I thought we broke up. Then he called me last night out of the blue and we ended up talking until 2:30 in the morning.

So you think this is getting good right? Well, I thought so, too.

We started out great. We joked and laughed a lot. We talked about baseball, volleyball, books, his psycho client, church, our dreams, how we want to raise kids, why we are not married, and what our family thinks about that, etc. We also talked about what we expected from our future husband/ wife. He thought I expected too much from my husband.

Toward the end of our conversation, I realized how big the cultural gap was between us. He's Ko-Ko (Korean-Korean as opposed to Korean-American) and I don't think his expectations and my expectations of marriage jived very well. He thought I was too American in my way of thinking and the way I expressed my opinions. I think he was overwhelmed by my straightforwardness and honesty. (Or maybe turned-off is a better word.) I was actually stunned that he thought that that was a bad thing. Then I realized that I had never dated a Korean man before and didn't know what their expectations were exactly. I had an idea of what they were like, but I thought this one was different but was disappointed that he wasn't. It just confirmed my belief that I would be better off with an American.

So, back to square one.


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