“No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.” Oscar Wilde

These are some of my recent art works I have done using acrylic and oil paints!  There are so many ways we can express ourselves, what’s your outlet?  

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                                         Woods (2012)

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                                        Clouds (2012)

Gestures of love

“Each person’s way of expressing their love is different. Mine is not like yours.”

Hot tears of disappointment roll down my cheeks as I slowly struggle to sound out my words,

“Mom, I love you.  Each person’s way of expressing their love is different.  Mine is not like yours.”

Touched, my mom quickly reaches her arms out and embraces me tightly as we both cry our eyes out.

“Shhh, ssh, I know.  I know now.” she whispers.

I learn that in life, there are millions of ways to express love, whether it is the love for your family members, your friends, your partner, or yourself.  The problem arises when you misunderstand the other person’s intentions…arguments often follow.

Recently, our family’s car insurance policy suddenly is cancelled by our agent.  We do not know the reason why he cut us but now my mom is forced to find a new insurance company.

Because my mom loves me, she does not want to burden me with family troubles so she tries to take care of it by herself.  She attempts to call other insurance companies and compare prices on her own.  I assume (ASSUME!) everything is swell until she asks me to print the forms out so she can sign and return the papers to the new insurance company.  I tell her I will do that, but I want to sit her down and read through the policy with her to make sure we know what we are paying for.

My mom gets really upset and accuses me of implying that her English is not fluent and that I make it extremely difficult for her to ask any favors from me.  She walks to the kitchen and starts to marinate the pork meat noisily.  The clattering noises she makes while she angrily cooks in the kitchen, warned and threatened both my dad and me to stay out of her way.  Shocked and confused, I slump on the couch in the living and tries to make sense of it all.   I don’t understand.  Why does she think that way?

I do not want to let this misunderstanding get worse so I decide to confront her.  I softly say, “Mom, I just want to help you.  I know you have been fine all these years with buying insurance, but I was just looking out for you.”

“I don’t want to burden you because you are so busy all the time.” my mom replies.

“But mom, don’t worry about that, if I’m busy and I can’t help you, I will let you know.  But if you need help but you don’t let me know, how can I help you?”

By then, my mom and I were both crying our eyes out.  I think what I did broke through her invisible walls.  She tends to put up the entire act because she is trying to hide her vulnerability.  She is trying to act strong for me, for the whole family to go about with our lives without feeling the weight she has been carrying.  I call my mom’s gesture of love as the “unobservable gestures of love.”  Some of the unobservable actions she has done often go unnoticed by my sister and me but you can definitely feel the effects of her anger and frustrations when she can no longer handle the burden she carries on her shoulders each day.  When things crumble out of my beloved mom’s hands, you will finally learn what made her act angry, distant and childish.  This, is one of those moments.

Thanks to my mom, I have been living happily, oblivious to the burdens she has to carry. However, now that I can help the family, it is really hard to help my mom without making her feel threatened or powerless.  For me, my way of showing I care is by assisting when I’m asked to help, and looking out for my parents in situations when I’m asked to be involved.  I do not want to be nosy and bug them about little things because my dad’s and my ways of showing we care are by resolving the problem together, and acting happy and unaffected by mom’s little thunderstorms in order to keep the artificial peace in the house.  My dad and I try to make big problems turn into small, we dissect things and we solve it together as a family.  My dad and my way of showing love is what I call, “observable gestures of love.”  Unfortunately, my poor mom tends to contain the problems to herself and unintentionally grow them bigger than they should be.  Our ways of showing we care often get twisted through words and actions that had only one goal, to express our love for each other.

From tonight’s experience, I can sum up to you the 5 gestures of love that exist in my family.  I’m sure everyone has various ways that they express their love.  My mom’s way is unobservable, while my dad and I are observable.  The other 3 categories for gestures of love are verbal, physical, and selflessness. Verbal gestures of love is when I tell my mom that I love her, and physical gestures of love is when my mom hugs and pats me on my head after she finally understands my intentions.  Lastly, the selflessness gesture of love is when you look beyond all the pain and disappointments your loved one inflicted on you and you forgive.  I forgive the things my mom says to me because I love her.

Each person’s way of expressing their love is different.  What are your gestures of love?

Perfectly Imperfect.

Do you ever get bothered by the tiny details that seem to ruin everything?  

Are you afraid to let others take on a part of your tasks because you fear they can’t do it as well as you can?

Do you tend to push yourself to meet your high standards?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, you, my friend, are a perfectionist.  My definition of a perfectionist, is the obsession that one has to achieve acceptance from oneself and everyone else.  Perhaps the easiest part in my opinion is achieving acceptance from oneself.  When you meet your expectations you tend to get excited and proud, but that fleeting joy only lasts for a few seconds before you create yourself another higher, more difficult goal to strive toward.  The cycle never ends since the ultimate goal keeps getting further and further away.  Suddenly getting an 85% on an exam isn’t good enough, and a 93% isn’t even close to 100%.  And perhaps getting 100% means yay, now I can go find another challenge to crush.  Some times it feels stressful and discouraging because you never stop wondering when you can reach that goal, so that you can finally sit back and be the happiest person in the world.  Unfortunately, the road to happiness seems to always have walls rising up every time you take a step toward it.  These walls are the ones YOU yourself put up, to make you feel that happiness needs to be earned through hard-work.

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In addition to the stresses you already faced internally, you have to meet the expectations of everyone around you.  You must be smarter than Tim, or prettier than Jane, or funnier than Missy.  When you meet someone better than you, you feel like you no longer have worth.  You suddenly make up horrible stories about that seemingly, perfect person to make them seem more…human, or imperfect?

Why do we strive for perfection but when we see perfection, we become so resentful toward it?

For those people that you (in your mind) have defeated, they are worthless, their opinions don’t matter, and the things they do aren’t as …perfect as you.  Your team’s project doesn’t work?  No problem, you rewrite project paper since you definitely can’t have everyone else preventing you from getting that 100%.

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At the end of day, it’s not the papers that you rewrite, or the exam grades that earn you the recognition or the happiness you desperately wish to achieve.  It is definitely NOT it at all.  It’s knowing when to let your team mates contribute their parts in the project and accept that this is a team effort and accept that it is ok to TRUST them.  It is knowing when tell yourself, good job, you have done 80%, now let’s move on to another goal.

More importantly, it’s the self awareness of when to tell yourself that it is ok to be “good enough.”  To say, I accept being the IMperfect me and I love myself for it.  Our idea of happiness comes once we meet our goals is distorted.  Really, we can achieve happiness whenever we let ourselves be happy.  When you let go and accept that your hard work is good enough, you release the burden that you carry on your shoulders.   Suddenly, things become more optimistic, and you don’t feel like you owe yourself or the world anything.  When you accept that certain things are out of your control, and that the efforts you put in are worth the trouble (and not burning yourself out), then yeah, I guarantee that you will be a much ,much, happier person.

Here’s my top 5 tips to be a perfectly, happy IMperfectionist.

1. Do 80% of the first goal and finish the remaining 20% when you finish the other goals. (You’d accomplish more and not burn out)

2. Always reflect and acknowledge the hard work you have done and reward yourself for your efforts. (This will motivate you and also give you some time to relax and thus, will make you happier.)

3. In a team, have some confidence and trust in your team mates. (You’d be surprise how your team can take you far together, if you let them.)

4. Don’t just focus on the things that you are great at, try out new things that you haven’t done before.  (This will broaden your experiences and lower your expectations of yourself – just a little bit.)

5. Forgive yourself when you don’t meet a goal.  (Self-forgiveness is very hard at first, but it gets easier later.  I find that I feel less burdened by the guilt that I can’t meet a goal.  When I forgive myself, I give myself another chance to try again.)

–This post is not perfect but I did try my best.  🙂

And that, I leave you with the quote below.  Have a wonderful, perfect day!  😛

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