Thank you 2013, Welcome 2014!



So almost everyone has already done their New Year resolution post.

I didn’t plan on doing it but as I worked through the planners and journaled some more, I felt drawn to share some of my reflections. Perhaps it might just resonate with what you are going through.

Lost and found

2013 had gone by in a blink. There were hits and misses, as well as triumphs and challenges.

But overall, 2013 was a year I felt lost.

You see, I had entered the year with the emotional baggage of a failed business partnership and was trying to build a new biz with no clear vision or goals. I ended up doing many things, chased every new shiny object and in the end, achieved little.

But if 2013 was a year I lost myself, then it was also the year I found myself.

It was the year I started having breakthroughs in some areas of my life that I couldn’t have had years before, because I just wasn’t ready. Like rebuilding a new relationship with money.

But there’s something else.

You see, for a long while, I’ve found it hard to accept who I am – those parts of my being that made me feel out of place.

Such as being an introvert and a sensitive one for that matter (more about the sensitivity later), doing things that were unconventional and often choosing to take the path less trodden.

Like reading social work in university so that I could become a social worker even though my dad wished that I would teach instead (so I was idealistic about helping people, didn’t care about money, much less foresee the financial responsibilities that were going my way; but that said, I still love making a difference in people’s life); working in China more than 10 years ago before it became the place that everyone wants to go, and leaving a stable job in the public sector to pursue a freelance career and face the risks and uncertainties that comes with it.

So I struggled about the way I am, about the way I choose to live, about being a non-conformist. I feel the difference acutely (I’m sensitive, remember) and would sometime think I’m a misfit.

But as I pursued my passion, I met more and more like-minded people. Such as my dear friends Celestine of Personal Excellence, Martine of Dainty Mom, and Sher-li Torrey the founder of Mums@Work, three inspiring women who dare follow their dreams, do what they love and are trailblazers in their own right. They are confident with who they are and it is their ‘You-niqueness’ (as Martine calls it) that made them successful in what they do.

Honoring the core of me

And now as I design my new business, I found that it is so crucial to be fully aligned with my values and step out into the world as me. I need to embrace who I am – the totality of it.

I’m currently reading The Art of Extreme Self-Care by Cheryl Richardson. In one particular chapter, she talked about how she came to accept her sensitivity and it spoke to my heart.

She shared, “The truth was that I was a highly sensitive child. I cried easily, felt deeply hurt when kids called me names or made fun of me, and was prone to bouts of loneliness and a kind of sadness that I didn’t understand (I was like that too as a kid). It wasn’t until I read The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine Aron as an adult that I figured out what was going on.”

Then she described an occasion when she was harshly criticized by someone after a speech on coaching. It deeply affected her for days until she spoke to her personal coach, Thomas Leonard (founder of Coach University).

He told her, “You know, Cheryl, the way I see it, your sensitivity is your greatest gift.” After taking a moment to allow his statement to sink in, he continued, “This gift has gotten you to where you are today, and it’s what makes you a great coach. If I were you, I’d protect your sensitivity rather than hate it.”

As she pondered this surprising revelation that her sensitivity is a blessing rather than a curse, she realized he was right.

It is her sensitivity that enables her to have a “keenly perceptive ability” to read people, anticipates their needs and be an effective coach and teacher.

But the most beautiful thing she said was this, “My decision to protect my sensitivity was one of the most influential acts of Extreme Self-Care I’ve ever taken in my life. It forced me to stop judging and disowning essential parts of myself and start honoring who I am at my core. It’s funny, but once I made a decision to embrace my sensitivity, it did the opposite of what I expected. Rather than leave me feeling like a pin-cushion in a world full of pins, it actually made me stronger and better able to use my gifts.”

Yes, I need to stop disowning parts of me and start honoring who I am at the core.

None of us are perfect. God made us the way we are, with our unique combination of traits and attributes, so who are we to say that we are not good enough? It’s like telling God He made a mistake.

So this year, among other goals I have, self-love will be my top priority.

It means I’ll accept the ‘nice’ parts of me as well as my ‘imperfections’;

It means I’ll stop comparing with anyone else and believe that I am enough;

It means I’ll be less hard on myself when I make a mistake and remember that there are no failures, only lessons learnt;

It means I’ll stop the negative self-talk and replace them with affirmations;

It means I’ll say ‘no’ more often instead of being afraid to disappoint someone;

Above all, it means I’ll quit worrying about offending someone when I choose to be me – I can’t please everyone, and it’s not the reason why I’m here on earth.

Let me end by sharing a few of my favourite quotes about self-love:

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

He who trims himself to suit everyone will soon whittle himself away. -Raymond Hull

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. – Judy Garland

We are all here for some special reason. Stop being a prisoner of your past. Become the architect of your future. – RobinSharma

Be yourself no matter what. Some people will adore you and some will hate everything about you. But who cares? It’s your life. Make the most out of it. – Anonymous

Do you struggle with self-love or believing in your own worth? How do you intend to love yourself more this year?


  1. Wow Ruth, so powerful what you wrote, your struggles, your courage shines brightly on this post! Self love really is important – one I too still am learning to master and as a Pisces who is very sensitive I too sometimes struggle with that side of me. Thank you for sharing this. I’m looking up that book now from Book Depository :D
    Maureen@Scoops of Joy recently posted…New Ways To ThinkMy Profile

    • Hi Maureen, thank you for your comments! Indeed, self-love is very important and many women do struggle with it in varying degrees.
      May we learn to be kinder with ourselves and embrace the totality of who we are – with our warts and all :)

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