so a stranger called me beautiful… now what?

I’ve always had self-esteem issues… but I don’t talk about it.

When people compliment me, I don’t accept it and even think that they probably just said it without much sincerity. Sometimes I even think they have an agenda because of the saying “flattery will get you places”…

Anyway, today was pretty bad. I woke up after a mere 4 hours of sleep and felt like less of a human being. I came out of bed after a thousand snoozes and looked in the mirror. As usual, I was displeased by what I saw. I began to shoot down myself with specified flaws, from the uneven pigmentation to the hooded eyelids that always made me look puffy. Afterwards I took a shower, came back and did my skin care routine.

Then I looked into the mirror again… “Okay… maybe I can work with this…”. So I messed up my hair to create a side parting, put on sunscreen and massaged my face. I put on a London style turtle neck with some culoids, sprayed some Prada candy and puckered up with some Innis-free lip balm.

For the final time, I looked at myself in the mirror… For a second, I felt prettier and happier but the longer I stared, the more I felt ugly while observing my face detailedly. Then a gush of throwbacks come pouring in, reminding me of the people who put me down and called me fat and ugly in the past. No matter how much I’ve changed for the better, I always saw the troll I was before.

But it’s okay. I still went on with my day and went to NCCS. When I got there, I found out I was gonna be attached to a lady who was a chines national. I said my greetings and found out she could only converse in Chinese… which was fine I guess because my Chinese was getting better.

As we were preparing… she asked for my nationality and said “你很漂亮。” which was “you are beautiful” in chinese. I shut it down with an awkward laughter and scratched my arm trying to shake off the anxiety from hearing that. She went on and said that she wasn’t lying and said I really was beautiful- ”我说的是真的。 真的很美丽啊。”

I was going to shut her down again but while she said that, she stared at me in awe and smiled. It was like she was admiring me as if she hasn’t seen anything so beautiful in her life. At that moment, I was sad. I was sad because I’ve always dismissed people’s compliments to be white lies and even felt uglier after that. I was sad because I couldn’t fully appreciate how beautiful I was even as she stared at me like that. I was sad because I’ve made myself like this.

For the next few hours she proceeds to say it more and stare at me the same way too. The more she said it, the more I felt at ease with her and tried to accept those compliments. She also got to know me and told me about her family. Towards the end, she asked for a picture with me and said it again :’). I swear my heart can only take so much.

Although she may never see this, I’d like to thank her. She may have done something so simple for her, but yet means so much to me. I’ve never felt so beautiful before. That was the most sincere compliment I have ever received from someone.

Hence forth, I decided to embark on this project to appreciate myself more often so that one day I may radiate a beautiful and pure energy that will inspire other people too.

so many of my friends are getting depressed

How do we take care of our mental health?

World mental health day just passed and it got me thinking why are more millennials getting depression and anxiety?

My generation is like a rose, beautiful from the surface, but thorny and difficult to deal with in real life. When I mean difficult to deal with, I mean difficult to satisfy, difficult to understand, difficult to read.

We are a generation that was raised to think we are all unique individuals that can achieve anything we set our mind to. Don’t get me wrong! It is true that you can achieve anything you set your mind to, but it sort of rubbed us the wrong way. With that kind of upbringing, we become ironically narrow-minded in this more liberal decade, expecting success to be a straight road, thinking we know what is to come and that we can tackle it for sure. The problem with this is, if something unexpected shakes us, we fall apart and take it out on ourselves.

My generation is a beautiful generation, expected to be a smarter and efficient generation, pressured to keep up with the technological advancements, expected to be leaders, problem solvers; basically, the best possible version of a human being.

My generation is desperate to make a change in this world, desperate to be unique and yet ironically desire to be a part of a bigger community united by similarities.

My generation is compassionate, maybe even too much. We are for hands-on charity work and recognize that amidst all the career and education stresses, we need to give back to our community. We are the generation feeling the long-term effects of global warming and failed politics.

Listing these out, with a few more still unwritten, I realize now why more millennials are depressed and anxious. We assume all problems to be ours and we hold ourselves accountable to everything.

We are hard on ourselves.

I speak of this, remembering the period I suffered from depression, how I slowly recover everyday and how I observe the people around me and from the conversations I had.

Traditional generations think of depression as a minor issue and compartmentalized it with the idea of discussing the “birds and the bees”. It shouldn’t be dusted under the mat. It should be able to be a part of everyday conversations, raising awareness, creating easy outlets for people to remember that we’re all in this together.

It is okay to be a generation that has to deal with such pressure, holding on to society’s expectations. We can all be that smart person that they pan us out to be, using technology to be better versions of ourselves. We can be leaders and problem solvers, fixing what has been broken on earth to make it a better home. But what are all these achievements, when you’re broken inside?

  • Don’t be afraid, introvert or not. Talk to someone about your struggles in life, big or small, and take refuge in the care and love that’s going around in society. We are all programmed by birth to be social beings, to thrive as a group. We are not alone 🙂
  • Take a break. For students studying or working adults in office jobs, try the Pomodoro Technique. (see: Pomodoro Technique) I have tried and tested it and it really keeps me sane, reminding me to breathe and reward myself. It only takes 30 days to form a habit so try it out!
  • Get a hobby. Having a hobby gives you an outlet, to filter pent up frustration and let it out through enjoyment. Some people get into a sport to get them endorphins, some people get artsy with painting to paint out their thoughts or emotions.
  • Religion. OK, this might be slightly controversial but I don’t mean to be converting anyone. I just want to say that sometimes, believing that there is a higher being above us, watching over us, can be comforting. Knowing that you are a part of a thing called “fate” can be reassuring when you go through tough times. The idea of a heaven or even multiple heavens above waiting for you can be enlightening too.
  • Get some alone time, outdoors. Not in your room because you will feel confined and anxiety can build up :–) Force yourself to go out, once in a while, to get some sun, or sit on a cute rock and watch the sunset or lay on the grass and count stars. It helped me calm my busy mind, and stone while admiring the world around me.

The pointers above are listed because they helped me get through a year-long depression so feel free to try them out for yourselves. I am still in the recovery process but I am improving and loving myself more and more with each passing day 🙂