Asian Americans, Please Don’t Be So Hard On Yourselves

This is a post of encouragement to all Asian Americans out there or Asians who are growing up in non-Asian countries, typically in Western countries. 

Please, stop. Before you criticize yourself how Asian you are or how you wish you were born into a white family, appreciate your diverse family background. Your parents or family immigrated from their respective Asian countries, so that they can move to America to make sure YOU have a better life than they did. They did it for you, your siblings, and for themselves. They also did it for future generations to come. Asian American refugee families, remember our parents fled our native countries so that we don’t have to suffer as they did. They risked, literally, life and death to flee from political situations. We have a lot to be grateful for what our Asian parents and families have done and sacrificed. It takes a tremendous amount of courage and a big leap of faith to believe in your dreams, especially the American dream.

Yes, as Asians we face the pressure of being minority model in school and the social work aspect of the bamboo ceiling. Yes, we are constantly teased because of our ethnic features, names, and food. Yes, we are teased and reminded that we are not American enough for some people. Our people are not represented in the media nor are our voices heard. We face the highest level of bullying out of any ethnic group. Constantly, we face identity crisis and have a cultural battle of East and West.

Questions we ask ourselves. Should we forget our native or heritage language so that we can blend in with the greater American public so that we can be seen as “Americans”? Should we become more assertive so that we can been seen as leaders, even though in Asian or Eastern cultures, it is more about having inner strength than about being assertive or commanding. It is more about having a quiet leadership disposition. Should we work on our tan so that we can be seen more attractive in America, or should we seek to have white skin to not shame our families?

Our parents don’t understand how hard it is to be an Asian American, especially during our teenage years where we face the most challenging circumstances and try to come in terms with our identity. Our non-Asian friends and peers can’t fully understand the depth we go through unless they themselves have experience or witness it first hand. Even then we may have trouble connecting with our Asian American peers.

But why do I say to not be hard on ourselves, even though I listed so many issues and negativity? It is because we do face A LOT! The beauty of it is that because we do face a lot, we don’t need to be so hard on ourselves. We need to be more forgiving, kind, and not critical to ourselves. If we try to think positive of the circumstances we go through, we can be a good influence to others, so that way our stories can be inspirational and have significant value and impact. Americans no matter if we are black, white, Asian, Hispanic, or whatever we all are love a good, sappy, and heart warming stories, especially rag to rich stories, or stories that deal with a lot of hardships and significant challenges. Guess what? You don’t even have to be American to like that! In fact people of all background like it too!

That means that as Asians we have a lot to offer because of our diverse multicultural background. We can be a voice and a lending hand to others, because we have been there and done that. We can sympathize and empathize.

Another reason why I say don’t be hard on yourself, is because every time you are dealing with more than one culture, you can never be fully immersed or 100% of one culture, because in one culture something may be seen as positive, while in the second culture that same exact thing may be seen as negative. For example if you value being quiet, it is definitely seen as positive in Asian cultures, however it is rather seen as negative or detrimental in American culture. Unfortunately, you win some, and by doing that, you lose some. You cannot have it all.

That is why you need to be gentle to yourself and give yourself time to be what YOU want to be. Don’t let anyone try to speed up your soul-searching journey. If you want to be loud, be loud. If you want to be quiet, be quiet. In other words take time to be you.

Be proud of your culture. No culture is superior than others. Yes, not even American culture is superior than Asian culture. Vice versa.

If you are not proud of your Asian culture, that’s okay. Don’t beat yourself for it. Take your time. I encourage you to be proud of it one day. If you aren’t, challenge yourself to list the good things of it and do research on your own Asian culture. The more you do it, the more you will find that will make you proud to be of that Asian culture.

Yes, as Asians we face in my humble opinion significant challenges, as evident by the list of social challenges and issue above. However, let’s not let those challenges burden us, but let’s think positively of them, so that we can be a source of inspiration to others.

Most of all love yourself. Be kind to your heart and soul.  Be you.

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20 thoughts on “Asian Americans, Please Don’t Be So Hard On Yourselves

  1. The world is hard enough already, so why make it any harder on ourselves. Yes. I rather like that and certainly needed the reminder when I was younger. These days, I don’t feel do down on myself, the way I look, etc, yeah, for getting older (and wiser)!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep! The world is exactly like you said hard it is. No problem glad to help. 🙂

      I also wrote this for myself to remind myself to not be hard on myself especially when it comes to my identity.

      Live life and let it be.

      True true, wisdom does come through age.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I absolutely agree with you on this point. When I was younger I was very ashamed of being Asian. Whenever students saw another Asian student they’d ask is that your brother? Or is that your sister? And I think it’s really unfortunate that students so young have to deal with that type of treatment. However, I’m not sure if you have ever looked into the American college process that has really took this discrimination against Asians to a whole new level.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Are you talking about Affirmative Action?
      If you are talking about that, to be honest, I actually have mixed feelings about it.

      As a Southeast Asian American I would benefit from Affirmative action if American colleges knew that Southeast Asians have one of the highest high school drop out rate in the country.

      However my Northeast Asian Americans would not benefit from Affirmative Action. Honestly, I think it’s unfair to them.

      So I’m stuck in the middle.

      I can see why colleges would discriminate against Asians when it comes to college admission, because when you see one or two two ethnic groups, you raise the bar for them, and for the other groups that don’t do well you lower the bar.
      Is one really supposed to be happy that they got accepted to an American college, especially an elite one because of their disadvantaged race, color, or ethnic group?

      That’s one thing I certainly don’t feel good about. I admit as a minority I try to use my race or disadvantaged status if it will help me to get a certain scholarship, or whatever it is. But in the end, I don’t necessarily feel good about it. I wish college admission is solely based off merits, but if certain groups aren’t going to college, you have to do something about it. So I see Affirmative Action as a necessary evil.

      It’s not the best action or program, but it’s something.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We can’t based off “merit” if we’re looking at it at an academic standpoint. We need to see the potential that individuals have. I know that students who have more time and resources to dedicate to studying than those who have to work part time to support their families are doing much better in school than their less privileged counterparts.

        We need to be consciously aware of the issues that pervade everyday life that hinders from individuals who have significant potential in succeeding. It’s a waste of talent to just not nourish them.

        Asian Women in Leadership is a cause that I hold dear to my heart. It’s about bringing awareness to the issues of the bamboo ceiling and glass ceiling into the spotlight as well as empower likeminded women to support their pursuits into leadership roles in the workplace. There is an underrepresentation of Asian women in senior executive roles.

        If you’re interested in support the cause:
        asianwomeninleadership.wordpress.com
        facebook.com/asianwomeninleadership
        twitter.com/asianwomen_lead

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I definitely agree that Asian women are not represented in senior executive leadership and honestly Asians in general across all spectrum.
        You are right that we have to nourish talents that have potential but are not exactly academically successful or motivated. We can’t let them fall through the cracks. But I’m not sure how affirmative action would necessarily help them. AA is a noble goal, but it’s also severely flawed in its numerous ways.
        Asians and whites are negatively impacted by it the most while blacks and Hispanics are positively impacted and uplifted.
        The academic pressure on Asians is extremely high. If we do well in school, we aren’t recognized for our merits, but because we are “Asians”. So we will “naturally” get good grades.
        And if we do have a challenging background as Asian Americans and do well in school, it doesn’t necessarily make the best story as say a black or Hispanic person who may grew up in the hood.

        Anyway I’m not compelled to think that AA will necessarily help disadvantaged kids out. There has got to be better sufficient ways to help and prepare them for life. I love the noble idea of AA, but I feel like it doesn’t always execute well in action.

        Like

  3. As a child of immigrant parents, I defintley resonate with your feelings of not being good enough and the constant need to do more and do better. However, I find it hard to not be so hard on myself. Because when I think about all the sacrifices and hardships my grandparents and parents made to help get me where I am today, I am only reminded that it is up to me to show that all that was sacrificed was not done in vain. Like many others who are children of immigrants, we are a part of the American Dream our ancestors strived so hard for.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! I totally agree with you. I feel hard on myself too because of the sacrifices my parents have made. But I try to think how can my actions benefit my family even if I feel like I’m not doing the best or as much as they can. I don’t think we can or should necessarily compare our actions to our parents’. The circumstances are different. We still need to be kind. You are right that it’s hard not to be hard on ourselves, we have to work being kind to ourselves slowly.

      Like

  4. This was great! My hope in starting my blog was to get out some of the feelings of confusion I was experiencing and hopefully to connect with others going through these kinds of issues to maybe find a solution. This did help me and inspires me to keep writing! Thank you so much for visiting my blog and commenting so that I could discover you and others that are talking about this topic

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for posting this! Growing up, I’ve definitely had mixed feelings about my culture, especially because people have made fun of certain things about me growing up, like the food I eat or the way I look. I definitely agree with you- maintaining your identity is the most important thing that you can do. Being American does not mean looking or acting a certain way; Being American means that you value freedom, independence, and opportunity over anything else.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally feel you about the food part and appearance!
      You are right that being American doesn’t mean looking or acting a certain way. It is about upholding American values. I never thought about it that way. I keep thinking because I am not white, I’m not a true “American”, but honestly that’s a bunch of bs…or baloney…

      Like you said being an American is about valuing freedom, independence, opportunity, and also thinking for yourself. It is about pursuing the American dream and going after what you want. It is about wanting the best for yourself.

      So I am American because I do believe in all of that. 🙂
      They do resonate well with my soul!

      Like

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