Finding yourself

We teach others how to treat us

With lovely, intelligent, wise, Oujia and Fiona. I have the best team!

Thank you to so many friends who have warmly welcomed my family and me in Shanghai the past couple weeks!  I’ve been busy with speeches and media interviews, but the highlight of my time has been our Shanghai book party where I got to meet many longtime blog readers and new friends as well.

Tomorrow morning we are off to Beijing, Guangzhou and Zhuhai. We plan to be in China until mid-July.  If you would like to meet me, please visit my Events page, which we will continuously update as more events are added.  If you bring a copy of the book, I will sign it for you!

If you are anywhere near Beijing on July 6, come to my Beijing book party where fun will be had by all!

If you would like to host an event, please refer to the bottom of the Events page.  As for everyone who’s asked if I will travel to other cities, the answer is yes I would like to, if we can work it into my schedule and if there are sponsoring organizations to host those trips!

How to deal with all the pressures of life?

At the Shanghai book party, someone asked:  “Given all the pressure on Chinese women today, is it realistic to think that we can live lives of our own?”

It’s an important question that each of us needs to ask ourselves.  On one hand, as women, we’re faced with a huge array of choices, and that’s really really exciting, but really confusing as well.  Now that we can do anything, what should we do?

Sometimes, fewer choices feels safer.  There’s a certain sense of safety that comes with simply doing as we’re told, simply doing what’s expected by the people around us.

And herein lies the central 矛盾 that confronts all of us as women today:  how will I assimilate thousands of years of teaching about the role of women with my own newfound dreams?

In reflecting on his cancer and life, Steve Jobs said:

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.  Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.  Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice.  And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.  They somehow already know what you truly want to become.  Everything else is secondary.

You can’t please everyone

Perhaps especially because I’ve led a higher-profile life, people are always making demands on my time.  They want help in reaching their goals, and my name pops into mind as someone who might be able to help.  Early on, I realized that in order to achieve anything at all, I need to be willing to disappoint some people.

Other people sometimes question the choices I make.  Sometimes their motivations are selfish – they feel that my choices are not the best ones for their lives.  Other times, they disagree that I’ve made the right choices for my life.  But I’ve found that in order to achieve anything at all, one must be willing to disappoint some people.

First we must learn to love our own selves

Some people will never be satisfied – no matter how much you give them, they always want more.  Often, those who make the most unreasonable requests are those who are most lost in their own lives.  If you keep satisfying other people’s unreasonable demands, they’ll keep asking for more.  Say no, and they’ll learn to treat you with more respect.  We teach people how to treat us.

“We teach people how to treat us.”  To me, this is so important that it’s the only sentence I wrote twice into my book.  If we don’t learn to care for ourselves, no one else will care for us either.  Sounds basic, but as women, we’ve been taught to care for everyone but ourselves.  I’ve written about how I’ve struggled with this in my own life.

But it’s an important struggle to win, because the way to achieve anything in this world, the way to get and to give the love that we all need,  is to start by learning to love ourselves first.

How?  By going out and creating new thingsmaking lots of friends,  exploring the world, achieving in our careers, and all the other ways that I write about in my book.   We find ourselves by creating ourselves.

The process of growing up is the process of separating ourselves mentally, emotionally and spiritually from the pressures around us.  Now is the time to start setting your own standards and living by them.

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For photos from our Shanghai book party and book tour to date, click here.

For a preview of my book “Do not marry before age 30” and to download a free excerpt, click here.  The book is now available online at these links for Amazon China and Dangdang.

 

Comments on this blog post are welcome, in Chinese, on the Chinese version of this blog post, here.