The following is a personal account of my self discovery. I have no intention to hurt or malign anyone. More so to encourage you, the reader, to stand up for your beliefs and to stay true to yourself.
What do we do when we get well-meaning but not really what we are looking for advice? From your close friends, your husband or your own mom? Do you take it as the Gospel truth and follow it to a T? Granted, its dished out with well intentions. I mean they are from close friends and family who have known you for years and they know whats best for you. Or do they? You are the only person who knows what is best for you, trust me.
People around you will always have something to say especially when you are going through tough times. As I said earlier, they have your well being in their hearts. Good people yes , but you should reply 'With all due respect, thank you' and take their advice only if its applicable to you. To you. You cannot and I repeat you cannot just simply listen and act because your husband or your best friend told you so.
You have to take a step back and reflect on what has just been advised to you. Does it apply to me? No? Ditch that advice. Yes? Go on to the next question. Does it affect the people around me? No? There is no issue here. Yes? You better think twice before doing something which could affect the people around you. If what you do, because of what someone told you to do, affects even one individual, I'm sorry to say but its not good advice. Its terrible advice. You would then need to go back to the drawing board and check how else to fix this problem on your own, without anyone interfering in your decision-making.
Take me for example. I have morphed in the last year into a confident person because I took a step into the outside world. For the longest time, I had been a housewife. I loved bringing up and taking care of my amazing daughters for the last 16 years. I still do and I performed my usual household chores with a sense of responsibility.
But life took a 180 degrees turn when I enrolled as a trainee for the National Museum of Spore Docent programme. It changed my life completely. My self esteem has skyrocketed and I'm now confident to speak and hold conversations with CEOs and even Ministers in Singapore. If I had listened to my husband's advice who was against it because its just a volunteer job (ie you are not paid) and you even have to fork out money for the training, I can imagine where I would have been. I would have faced a mundane monotonous life ahead of me safely cacooned in the walls of my house. Let me share with you all something. At one point, I was so lonely and devoid of adult company, that I would intentionally set out to malls and supermarkets to strike up conversations with the promoters and the cashiers. It was a low point. We all have low points. Its how quickly we bounce back up that matters.
Now, after my self discovery, I have founded a charity and am a member in many Women's organisations (AWARE/UN Women) and am a Volunteer Storyteller at the libraries (because I rediscovered my love for reading to young kids) and if I may still blow my horn, I'm also an Associate Member of the Storytelling Assoc of Singapore. Just last week, I have signed up to train as a docent at the Malay Heritage Museum & Centre starting early next year. I simply miss my readings and research and finding out more about the history of Singapore. The museum bug has bitten me real hard :)
Would I have dreamed of all this of me a year ago? No. But I made my life happen because I didn't listen to my husband's advice (I'm sorry my husband. It just wasn't good advice). I simply listened to my gut feel and took the plunge into the outside world. I needed to get out. I was feeling stifled. I felt I'm capable of doing so much more. Hence, I took hold of my life and made it happen. It was in my hands all along. I just realised it now. That's what I am trying to say here.
We must always find our own way in life. Pave our own path. No matter what people say, the end decision on how we want to live our life, which friend we want in our life lies in our hands. We cannot leave it to others to decide for us. Stand up to others with your own beliefs. Don't lose sight of who you are. Stay true to yourself. Your identity as a person who can make your own decisions will determine whether your conscience is clear and whether you sleep peacefully at night, knowing what you did today was fully your responsibility. Not because someone told you to do so. It must never come to that.
My home is
usually in a mess and has dust settled on almost everything. But I believe laughter and love will win the day. In 20 years, my girls won't remember how messy the house was but will remember the time we spent together and the love they felt...