Brené Brown and her books, Netflix special, and messages have truly enlightened me, and influenced my marriage and relationship with my daughter, Claire, for the better this year. I am deeply grateful to her as I am sure millions of others are. Her short article on what Toni Morrison taught her about parenting is well articulated and applicable not only to relationships between parents and children, but equally applicable between spouses, significant others, siblings, and frankly all relationships, professional or personal. I recently quoted Brené Brown, “At the end of my life I want to know that I contributed more than I criticized.”
Having grown up in the Asian culture, where external performance was highly valued, far above and beyond simply “existing”, and affection from parents is atypical, in words or physicality, I have endured the negative consequences lifelong. Only now at age 49 and a half, am I finally FREE from my own negative inner voice as a result of my father’s constant hypercritical communication with me for nearly most of my childhood, adolescence, and even adulthood. I forgave him a long time ago, knowing that he didn’t know the impact those words or lack of expression of showing “light” whenever he saw me. As an immigrant, he never read Toni Morrison, Brené Brown, had therapy, nor coaching to increase self-awareness. There was no social media for him to chance upon, and he did the best he could.
I, on the other hand, not only endured but thrived in spite of it, and now have the ability to encourage others so that as humans, parents, spouses, neighbors, sisters, professionals, and as a physician and surgeon, I am grateful to bring my whole self every day of my life to show “light” from my face and words, smiles, and hugs to others who come in contact with me.
Be the light, show LOVE, GRATITUDE, COMPASSION, and EMPATHY above all details. This is the beauty of being human.