Speak only when spoken to.
The adult is always right.
These are a few of the things I was raised to believe and follow. Growing up in an Asian household, obedience was key. No one was interested in your wild ideas, your hopes or your dreams. We wouldn’t even dare ask a question because unlike what we were taught in school, there were definitely dumb questions at home.
Was the way that my parents raised me wrong? Not necessarily, but it did very much play a role in how I turned out as an adult.
Beliefs in Action
As a kid I participated in the classroom and I was engaged. As I got older and older, however these beliefs that my parents instilled in me began manifesting themselves more and more. I was still a good student, but I began hesitating to raise my hand in class — to actively participate. Instead I stood on the sidelines and watched while other students were called on and said exactly what I was going to say.
As an adult these beliefs forced me to scroll through my phone or pretend to be busy so that I wouldn’t have to make an awkward introduction to the person next to me at the conference.
Overcoming Limiting Beliefs
What I’ve come to realize is that all of us have beliefs and values that were instilled in us during childhood that manifested themselves into how we behave as adults. Many of us don’t even realize how much these beliefs play a role in who we’ve become.
The rules that I grew up with forced me to hold my tongue, to accept that it was correct to follow the status quo, to keep to myself. What I’ve discovered on this journey however is that so many things in life are worth speaking up for, I am different and that’s okay, and I love to genuinely connect with others.
In this past year I have forced myself to introduce myself to others first, to say what’s on my mind and express my thoughts no matter how weird those listening may think I am, and to truly build relationships with others.
It hasn’t been easy and sometimes I still revert to what I know — what’s comfortable. But I will not accept the excuse that “that’s just the way I am.” We can overcome the people we were expected to be if by overcoming it means we become the people we truly want to be.