When someone gives me something or offers me something, and I really want it, my reaction would be to reject it first, and hope that the hosts offers it a second time. It is just the way I grew up, thinking that it will make me seem more humble, less greedy and more well behaved. I tasted the bitter fruits of this behaviour on my trip to Japan many years ago. My host mother had a beautiful box from Tokyo Disneyland and it was just idly sitting there collecting dust. One day my host mother offered to give the box to me. With my usual response as I outlined above, I rejected her offer, but REALLY wanted it. To my dismay, she shrugged it off and went "Okay". Long story short, I didn't think it was appropriate to ask for it, because I thought that would be begging and it would make me seem greedy. Therefore I went to Disneyland, paid a large amount of money to get it.
It is also not a practice to express love, or any other emotion deemed "ego harming". Warm hugs were replaced by awkward side hugs once you hit an age when you are considered an adult. "I am proud of you" are rarely exchanged between couples, family members or friends, and this leaves out "I love you", only exchanged during Mother's Day, Father's Day, or birthdays. It would be a slightly inaccurate generalisation to call this an Asian problem, but it kind of is. Here is an example :
Pretty sure the Asian dad meme isn't unfamiliar to you. Although it is funny and I really enjoy 9gag, it does highlight a problem in the culture. Appraisals and words of affirmation are being said to be "demotivating" and the only motivation a parent can give to a child, or a friend to a friend, is to be harsh, mean and sometimes even degrading.
"You are so fat. I don't think any boy will like you. Oh no no offence, I'm just saying that to motivate you to lose weight."
"Is this what you've achieved ? Not your best."
Now, my question, and the purpose of this post is,What exactly are your declarations over your life, and the life of others ?
1. Are you constantly pulling yourself down?
I used to walk out of my exam halls telling everyone I am going to fail the subject. Even if I know I probably would ace it. It just seemed like a more humble response. But I've decided that has got to end. I am not going to declare failure over myself, but I will declare victory and acknowledge that I have done my best, and studied all I can. Instead of beating myself up, telling everyone I am failing this paper, I want to be able to declare God's victories over my life. Even when I'm not confident with the paper, I choose to declare good things over my life.
When someone used to compliment me, I always turned them down.
"Wow, you are really smart!" "Wah no leh, I'm damn stupid ok, I failed my mid semesters"
"Your family is really wealthy, you have a nice life." "No la, who say, my family is nowhere near rich."
It seems stupid now that I think of it. If someone wants to call me smart, or pretty, or wealthy, why wouldn't I have accepted that and declare that over my life ? After all, who doesn't want to be smart, good looking or rich ? If someone gives you a compliment, receive it, say thank you. Even if you think its not true, declare it over your life and who knows, in a few years it will be.
Maybe you are the one who constantly pulls other people down. Probably simply as a joke, or purely how you talk to people. Sometimes, people don't realise the effect of the things they say over someone else's life. Yes a joke or two may throw everyone into fits of laughter, but a repeated joke over someone's situation or life, is going to turn it into reality.
I have actually had people in my life, who would make repeated jokes about situations in my life that I really wanted to rid of. It got so bad to a point when I acknowledge the things that they said were true. I started believing the jokes that they made, and the things that they were declaring over my life. Soon, it consumed my every day life. Eventually I had to face these people and sternly inform them of the impacts of what they were saying, and that it was a joke gone too far, repeated too many times.
Imagine a place where words of encouragement are exchanged daily. When people express what they REALLY FEEL, not what they feel, covered with layers and layers of ego. If only words of encouragement was exchanged more, if only the frequency of "I love you's" and "I am proud of you's" are increased. I try to make the people I love, feel that I love them. Through actions, or through the way I interact with them. However, nothing beats putting it out there and telling them how I really feel. This is the same with my parents and I. I know that they love me, and they are proud of me but nothing beats the actual feeling when the words "I love you, and I am proud of you" are declared. It brings a change to the atmosphere.
Yes, action speaks louder than words but there are times when your life simply needs a powerful declaration over it. Stop hanging the words of insecurity, doubt and depression over yourself, and the people around you.
What is your declaration over your life, and the people around you ?