Ego

Generally speaking, I find I’m only aware of interacting with the idea of the ego under the ideas of self-importance, self-esteem, and/or conceit. It wasn’t until acting class in LA that brought me back to my Grade 11 studies of psychology on the ego as defined in the dictionary:

the part of the psychic apparatus that experiences and reacts to the outside world and thus mediates between the primitive drives of the id and the demands of the social and physical environment”

Acting class truly allowed me to tap into that definition and become aware that the ego within ourselves is what keeps us to believe that we are “in control” of our lives and that we are safe. It was my Oprah “Ah-ha!” moment. If you don’t think you have that ego, well I’m here to tell you that you do.

Do you ever wonder why you can’t seem to quit your job, even though you know it’s making you unhappy, and to pursue your true passion? It’s because of your ego.

Do you ever wonder why you can never confront your best friend that they have hurt you? It’s your ego.

Do you ever wonder why you can’t break up with your boyfriend/girlfriend knowing the relationship is so toxic?  One word: EGO.

The ego is the voice that tries to rationalize so many different thoughts you have in your head to the point where you become out of control, unfulfilled, and confused. Every experience in life ends up becoming stagnant, tolerated, and safe because you don’t allow yourself to confront situations that are out of your comfort zone. Your ego responds by saying, respectively, to the above questions:

“My job is a highly reputable and recognized profession with a secure employment in any industry and a guaranteed 6-figure salary in the future. To be an actress, there is no guarantee I will be successful and prosper”;

“If I confront my best friend about how I feel, I may lose our friendship forever”; or

“I can’t break up with my boyfriend because they’re the only person I truly have and care about in my life right now. Without them, I’m lost”.

Your instincts will appear in a blink of these moments by considering how to confront these conflicting experiences in life that may seem so out of your element that you can’t imagine yourself doing it. But you can. Your ego is just holding you back so that you feel “in control” and rather just “play it safe”.

Since I was 6-7 years old, I always wanted to be an actress. But those thoughts only came for a split second because my ego would intervene and say “You’re not pretty enough, you’re not skinny enough, you’re Asian, etc”. And I accepted those as rational, reasonable responses. And since then, I’ve always played it safe. I asked myself questions like “What is the career that will be easy to get into?  Is this a career where I can make a reasonable amount of salary? Will I be respected among my social network?” I definitely pursued a safe choice in life but it’s left me unfulfilled in so many aspects of my life. So it wasn’t until last year I started to truly listen to myself and asked, “If I had no insecurities and no judgement upon myself, what is it that I would pursue?” And then my inner voice came again for that split moment and said “acting” as it has for many years. And from there, I allowed my instinct, and not my ego, to guide the life that I want, that I am worth, and that I love. And this has allowed me to be at a truly happy state of mind because I now feel I’m doing it for myself and not for the respect and acceptance of others.

I find meditating will help guide you to your inner voice because you free your mind of all the flaws, imperfections, and judgements you have on yourself. Spend some time to just act on your instincts because your mind is telling you something that is important. Don’t over-rationalize every single thought and place judgement on them, especially on yourself. Like I said, that’s your ego talking to you.

Thank you Anthony Meindl & studio staff for teaching me such a valuable lesson.

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Meditation

I recently started meditating after it was assigned as my homework from my acting class. Strange that that would be my homework for acting, isn’t it? At least that’s what I initially thought. My unconventional acting book by Anthony Meindl called At Left Brain Turn Right illustrates that meditation is key to allow yourself zone into the moment leaving behind all preconceived thoughts, judgments, and anything else that’s junk in your head. As an actor, this is essential as it allows you to really live in the reality of your character as opposed to having predispositions of how things should be, which makes the acting more choreographed when it should seem like you and your character are just one. But this also rings true to real life because we tend to have “an idea” of how we should go about doing something as opposed to just doing it.

At Left Brain Turn Right

Even before I read the book, I knew that meditation was linked to all sorts of good things: happiness, success, and overall greater health. I just never adopted it because it’s so hard. But one thing about myself that I was certain before going into it was that I carried no judgment of myself. Or so I thought…

On my first attempt of meditating last week, I tried so hard to focus on my breath. But I kept running all these thoughts about people in my life and I somehow developed fictional conversations with them unconsciously. For example, there was a female in my acting class who kept staring (up and down) at me for a good amount of time last week. I sat diagonally behind her so it’s not just easy to just stare at me as she did. We’ve talked before and had a lovely conversation – but in class, her glances back at me did not make me feel comfortable. So as I was meditating, this memory came back to life to me. Although she did not say any words to me in my memory, her stare read to me as if she wanted to tell me the following in her sassy voice “What are you wearing? Your dress is too short. You’re showing too much skin. You’re in class, not at a bar”. [FYI: I was wearing a sleeveless black and white striped dress that was mid-thigh length and my military boots]. This is one of several thoughts I generally have while meditating. It’s always involving another person in my life who is either speaking or unconsciously speaking to me in a negative connotation. At the end of each meditation, I find myself either saying in my head or aloud “SHUT UP MIND, JUST SHUT UP”. I know that attitude is really the opposite of what I’m really trying to achieve when meditating but I just get so frustrated when I can’t close my mind at peace.

So then I asked myself why I kept having these negative, confusing, and yet fictional conversations with people in my life. Even when I’m not meditating, they still exist. Then the light bulb went off. The reason all this was happening is because I do judge myself – A LOT – and NEGATIVELY. All this time I was so in denial about it. The first chapter of Meindl’s book essentially said “stop judging yourself” in order to reach my deepest, most authentic self. My response: “Psh, I don’t judge myself.” But I DO! I don’t realize it because I use people in my life to say the words that I would say to myself if I looked at me. So even though the girl in my class looked at me, all those thoughts I had of what she was saying, was ME all this time thinking those things about me. For all I know, in reality, she could have said “I like her outfit” and kept staring at me for inspiration. Who knows!!?

Now that I look back at that class, I felt very well put together that day because I wanted to feel good. And when I saw everyone in class wear jeans and a long-sleeve tee, I started to feel insecure. And that insecurity transcended to fictional ill-judgment of everyone who did stare at me. How do I really know that people think of me THAT negatively? I don’t. Should I care? No.

It comes all down to being comfortable within my own skin and letting go of any judgment of myself. I know who I am more than anybody else in this world so I will let judgment pass.

I highly recommend everyone to just meditate – not just for better health, success and happiness. It’s the journey to unravel who you really are as a person and letting go of all the junk in your mental capacity that you don’t need so that you become a more awesome you.

Absence

The last two weeks of August have been crazy, yet exhilerating, and its effects are still wearing off on me.

I was on hiatus because I just wrapping up my acting classes. I can honestly say I gave it my all in my last performance on Wednesday. It took a toll on me to be honest, because my character in the script is so emotional.  I had a hard time getting into character and learning to cry, especially since I didn’t relate at all to the story. But once I connected to the character and cried my heart out, I felt like I overcame a challenge that I didn’t think I could do. It was definitely an adrenaline rush and I loved every bit of it! My overall evaluation for my performance was supposed to be released yesterday but I haven’t heard anything back yet. I am so anxious because,  if I don’t get a passing mark, I won’t get to move into the next level in acting class and will be required to do intro all over again.

My initial reaction of receiving no response was the fact that the acting studio didn’t want me to return. But it turns out, a few of my classmates already received a call last night saying that they didn’t get to advance to the next level. So is my lack of response a good sign?? Knowing that I am a very impatient person, the curiosity is killing me inside.

But having such supportive network of good friends has made this “wait” easier than I expected it to be. My friend, Pat, said to me “I’m still excited for you, either way sounds like this has been a huge find for you. Regardless of the outcome, I think if you looked at your expectations 8 weeks ago or whenever it was you started you’d be blown away. From nothing to talk of getting an agent in that time is huge”.

And that made me smile. I have had made huge strives and I finally can share the story to someone that I finally did something that I always wanted to do, and not give some hopeless pathetic speech about how I am so afraid to do something that I would love. If I didn’t try out acting, I wouldn’t realize how much I am in love with every bit of it!

Going back to reality, I have a national professional accounting exam in two weeks. So I will likely be hiatus for another two weeks. Accountant by day, actress-to-be by night. HA! Having this dual identity thing is going to catch up to me one day but for now, I’d like to think of myself as invincable.

Happy Two Year Anniversary…

.. to me.

It’s official: I’ve been single for two years – roughly. I don’t recall exactly the date of when I broke up with my last “real” relationship. But who wants to remember that date anyways?

I’m not absolutely depressed about being single, but I’m not exactly ecstatic about it either. I embrace the days where my friends are fighting with their boyfriends/dates (which is ever so sad), but I also throw fits of jealousy when I see them happily engaged in such a loving relationship.

Hey – at least I’m honest.

When I visited my aunt in LA, she asked “Do you have a boyfriend?” I responded “No… no time”. That is essentially true when you’re a young female professional! My aunt responded so proudly “That’s a very good way of thinking!”

I feel as though my entire family approves of being single … until you suddenly get married. As if there is no “actual relationship” that goes on in between single life and marriage.

When I came home to Toronto, I told my mom about the conversation with my aunt. My mom  said to me “It’s not so much you don’t have time.. it’s just that you haven’t found the right one.” You always were too smart for my own good, Mom.

With that being said, here is a short list of why I have loved being single thus far:

  • I can dress super scandalous and sexy on my nights out without having to worry about what some boyfriend would think
  • I can give more time and love to my closest and best friends and family
  • I can meet new guys and flirt with no feeling of guilt  or commitment
  • I can focus on achieving my dreams of moving to LA without worrying about leaving behind someone I truly love
  • I take more time in learning about myself in new ways and new experiences
  • I travel way more than I ever have in my life and met new and interesting people

At the end of the day, if I really wanted someone in my life, I could have him right now. But I’m just not willing to settle. Being single can be hard at times, but my life wouldn’t be adventurous and interesting if it was too easy.

Fearing Opportunities: Part I

It amazes me how so many young professionals, including myself, fear opportunities. It’s almost like an oxymoron, quite frankly, and it shouldn’t exist.

So where does this fear come from? I don’t have the answer to that question but I do have a theory:

I truly believe our generation is bombarded with so much information that we now have so many different ways of looking at things that we end up overthinking the simplest solution to our problems. And with that being said, we fear the greatest opportunities that cross our lives because we over think every scenario that could possibly happen if we seize that opportunity – and the thought that holds us back from taking that opportunity is the thought of “what could possibly go wrong”.

We get so caught up with the “bad”, that we don’t acknowledge the good that can possibly come out of it. And most of the time, the good outweighs the bad. The answer is really simple. And we see it. But we choose to live in some superficial fear.

So how do I relate? If you recall from my previous post, I wanted to take acting classes because I wanted to build self-confidence in a fun and practical setting. As much as it is for me, I wanted my readers like yourself to follow in on this journey and laugh with me about my experiences. So I felt like I owed it to you as much as I owed it to myself.

I found the perfect studio that accepts absolute beginners like myself who just want to do it for fun. I was excited when I found it. I even daydreamed about how awesome I would be – how embarrassing right? As soon as I was about to commit to it, I held back. I kept thinking – what if I’m absolutely horrible? What if I’m surrounded by people who were born to be Hollywood stars and weren’t absolute beginners like me? Do I really want to spend THAT much money to boost self-confidence?

One bad thought became an endless vicious cycle of every negative thought I could create I lost full control of the benefits in taking this opportunity.

So where am I now with this situation? I’ve decided to face my fear head-on and just visit the studio. There’s no harm in seeing what its like and asking questions to be more informed about my decision. And there’s no need to have fear.

Unfortunately I have a two-day professional exam next week so this story will be continued.

The Truth

I have a confession.  I truly believe my breakdown this year was caused by my unfulfilled life since high school – and not the events in my life that happened just recently. As I was reading Louise L. Hay’s “You Can Heal Your Life”, she stated in the very beginning that our thoughts in the past has brought us to where we are now. It took me awhile to really define where in my past led me to this path. But I eventually realized that it had really nothing to do with my job, family, or personal issues at this moment.

The Truth. My parents came into Canada as refugees: no money, no stable job, and a lot of hardship. As I was growing up, I played only with dolls and my piano because my parents could not afford to have me partake in any extra-curricular activities. All my other friends had ballet, swimming, soccer, basketball, dance, and so on and so forth. By the time I hit my preteens, I really felt like a Plain Jane: average, untalented, and most of all, boring.

Compensation. Because I didn’t feel like I had anything going for me, I consumed myself in thoughts of another me, who was talented, beautiful, smart, and sophisticated. Some days I pictured myself as a dancer, some days I pictured myself as a hero,  or some days I even pictured myself as an actress. It’s one thing to daydream about a silly crush or who we will be in the next 10 years, but it’s another to completely imagine another self beyond reality and believing I will never be that person because it’s only just a dream.

Reality check. Since reading Hay’s book, that “other self” is ceasing to exist because I am now on that path of living a fulfilled life just by changing my thoughts. I can be who I want to be now, if I wanted too. I may have not had the opportunity to take dance classes or even acting classes as a child, but it’s not too late now. Afterall, I’m only 24!

Action plan. I find myself enjoying new ways of expressing myself and I think taking on acting and dance classes will enhance that skillset. I think it’s time that I break that invisible shell and open up to new experiences and new faces. To my young female professionals, it’s time to break free. Follow with me on this path.

Dear Journal

Last night, something agitated me that I couldn’t exactly put myself to bed until I vented. So I took a piece of legal paper and started writing by hand. I began with the words “Dear Journal” because it was meant to be a personal journal post to myself in hopes that I would read it again in the future – and hopefully laugh at it then than how I really feel right now. It wasn’t my intention to publish this on my blog but I felt it was fitting for my theme of my blog (re: https://thelondonsocialite.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/im-no-jane-doe/). I hope my female young professionals can relate:

Dear Journal,

I haven’t written one [journal] in a long time but I just needed to vent. I’ve always been the girl who set expectations with guys I allow in my life. They have to be funny, attractive, smart and little bit of dorky. And after a year and five months of no involvement with any guy, I have found him. He’s not “the one” so to speak. But he is the guy I would love to just have fun with. But my thoughts wander off to the point of insecurity and frustration when he doesn’t message me like I message him. To him, I’m probably just another girl. And I get that, I see it. But why do I want more? Realistically, we’re not a perfect couple [if we ever were]. We have such different tastes and we see life differently right now. I wish I could let go of these thoughts of insecurities. I know I am attractive enough to find the guy for me who wants me as much as I want him – but part of me isn’t ready for that. And yet, part of me isn’t ready for the fling I have going right now. Here I am again alone in my thoughts just going back and forth to what I really want. I wish everything in life just fell perfectly for me. Enough with these thoughts already…