Tag Archives: blindness

The Power of Faith

Welcome to Quyn’s Empower Newsletter for October!

Beautiful stories to open and strengthen your heart…

Powell River sunset

Personal Update: The Power of Faith

As I am reflecting on some of my personal updates to share with you, I realize I want to write about faith in this newsletter. I want to write about how having faith in God or in a Higher Power as well as having faith in yourself has really helped me to face many challenges that have come up in my life from time to time.

In my previous newsletter, I shared with you about feeling very disappointed that I seemed to not be able to secure an important career opportunity. Yet I was really struggling with continuing with my current position as the Stopping the Violence Counsellor. I asked myself, “Is this what I went to college and university ten years for? Is this what my life is all about?…” After being in my current position for over a year, I realized I have much more to give to the world!

In pondering these questions, I decided to make a very risky step. I gave my employer a one-month notice of resignation. It was a very difficult decision to let go of a permanent full-time job with benefits. It was somewhat my security blanket. Also I live in a small town with a population of sixteen thousand people and is surrounded by ferries on both ends. So I knew that finding a job was not going to be easy. Yet after making the decision, I felt strangely relieved and free. Deep down, I had faith that I wouldn’t be off work for too long. I was reminded of how in my previous job, I had to take a leap of faith and resign from the position first before I got a new job. I was reminded of the saying that we have to let go of the old to make room for the new. I was fortunate that Hans was supportive of my decision. I have seen how many people in this small town desperately hang onto their jobs because of financial and family obligations despite the fact that they are very unhappy in their jobs for years. I am fortunate that I don’t have children to support. So although this decision is not for everyone, it is also not too unmanageable for me.

At some point, I asked myself “Was this a mistake to take this job in the first place?” After all, Hans and I moved here because of my current job. For me, the answer is a resounding “No!” I am very grateful to have found this job. It has allowed Hans and I to change our lifestyle. We wouldn’t have thought of this place if it wasn’t for this job. We love living in Powell River. We appreciate having a home of our own. Almost every day when Hans gets up, he describes to me the beautiful ocean view outside our bedroom window. Every time I lie on my day bed listening to birds singing outside the window and feeling the sunshine on my body, I am reminded of how much I love my life. Every time we go for a walk and I hear the waves of the ocean and smell the fresh ocean air, I am reminded of how wonderful life is. In this job, I have had a chance to work with women with different types of serious issues. This type of work has broadened my skill set tremendously and has given me a different outlook in life. I believe I have had a chance to help many women make positive changes in their lives in this position. Moving here has also allowed us to be able to purchase two properties within six months of living here, something that we wouldn’t be able to do in the lower mainland. So as always, I don’t look at decisions as right or wrong. I don’t see outcomes that are less than satisfactory as failures or mistakes. Rather, every unpleasant experience offers an opportunity for change or teaches me some very important lessons.

About two weeks after my notice of resignation, I received a call from the place that I thought I didn’t get the position earlier. They offered me a job that I applied for and my starting date will be on Dec. 3! This means that I will have about four weeks to relax before I start my new job. I am very excited! I will be starting a new job at Canada’s leading men’s addiction treatment center located right in Powell River. This is a wonderful career opportunity for me! This position will allow me to work with a team of excellent professionals at a workplace that values empowerment, respect and dignity, values which are in line with mine. What’s more, the position offers excellent opportunities for personal and professional growth as well as great benefits, substantial financial security and great vacation time. Although nothing is guaranteed until I actually start the position, I want to allow myself to enjoy this and trust that things will work out.

In my last newsletter, I also wrote about starting my radio talk show, Quyn’s Empowerment Hour. I am very pleased to share with you that it has been going very well. I feel very strongly that this is one of my passions! I have also learned so much about myself and from my guests as I am going through this process. During the first week or two of doing the show, I got many rejections from potential guests I wanted to invite to my show as experts. But again, I had faith in the process, trusting that I will soon be able to find people who are enthusiastic about coming onto my show. At present, I have guests scheduled to appear on my show up to February, 2016. I have been very fortunate to be able to invite therapists, psychologists, authors and individuals with inspiring stories to my show. I feel very honoured that they see the value in my show. These are the topics of the show I have covered so far:

These are some of the topics I will cover in the next few episodes:

  • The Dance of Anger: How Women can Transform Anger and Resentment in Their Important Relationships, with Dr. Harriet Lerner, Psychologist and Author
  • Christine Ha: The Incredible Journey of the Blind MasterChef Winner
  • Men Surviving from Sexual Abuse, with Perto Herrera, a Sexual Abuse Survivor and Don Wright, Founder of B.C. Society for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse

To listen to previous episodes or to see upcoming guests and topics, please visit
Quyn’s Empowerment Hour

Quyn on phone

Featured Stories

Christine Ha: Blind MasterChef Winner

Recently I interviewed Christine Ha who was the blind MasterChef Winner in 2012. As an only child, she lost her mother at the age of fourteen. It was a huge loss for her, as her mother loved her and pampered her very much. While she was in university she started losing her sight. As if that wasn’t enough, she also was paralyzed on both sides of her body up to her neck for nine months. She felt very helpless as her friends and family members had to feed her and bathe her. For nine months, she had to cope with the fear of the unknown, learn to let go of her pride and allow others to help her, and learn to walk and do things all over again. Although she eventually regained control of her body, she lost most of her sight. While she was competing on MasterChef, she felt very discouraged at times. Yet she always tried to do her best. When asked what kept her going during her darkest time, Christine shared that it was her faith in God and believing that she can handle whatever comes up in her life. She believes that God has sent people to help her whenever she needs help. I felt very humble and inspired listening to her story. I learned a lot from her. To hear more about Christine’s incredible journey in her own words, tune in to Quyn’s Empowerment Hour, Saturday Nov. 14 9PM PT.

Believe in Yourself is the Way to Success- My Story of Transition From Academia, by Ping Xiao

(I dedicate this story to my friend who is one of the readers of this newsletter.)

“Once upon a time, there was an eagle that grew up with a group of chickens. He thought of himself as a chicken too, enjoying a routine life the same as everybody else. His master was very angry when trying various methods to get him to fly, but he couldn’t.

Finally, one day, his master brought him to the top of a mountain and threw him down the cliff. He was surprised, sad, and confused. He thought, “Oh God, my master is going to kill me, I don’t want to die.” While he was struggling, he opened up his wings and, all of the sudden, he felt a strong force that took him up. The more he extended his wings, the more he could rise. Well, he started to fly.

For the first time, he saw lots of different things: blue skies, white clouds, green trees, and gray. He felt freedom. Since then, he could never go back to the same life as a chicken – he could not stop flying.

Have you ever had a similar experience and feeling? Have you ever thought you might be an eagle? Getting thrown over the cliff by someone else may not have been a bad thing? I was.

I was a good student, in the typical Asian definition of “good student,” from the first day I went to school. Life was sweet, life was easy, life was smooth and successful all the time. I got used to school life, got used to listening to my Professor telling me what to do. The feeling of being praised by others felt really good.

I didn’t know what to do without school, but after finishing post-doctoral training, there was no more school. My life seemed to be stuck to an end. I did not really seriously look for a job because I didn’t know the world outside of school.

While I was still dreaming of being a Professor, and staying in school, the school door was shut for me. I was kicked out by my Professor because the research funding was finally gone and the U.S. was facing 9/11 and the wars in Iraq, etc.
It was a black out world for me at that time. I could see nothing and didn’t know which way to go. I knocked on all the doors I could. And, for the first time, I learned how to write a resume. Thank God, I did not waste my time sleeping and crying at home.

I went out to join various scientific conferences, met people, and learned something new. I also volunteered for various activities and enjoyed helping others. I experienced so many different things and explored a much bigger world. I also found many hidden talents that I didn’t know existed, which also surprised me a lot. I could never go back to my old life.

I ended up being an international regulatory professional in the medical device industry , which I had never dreamed or planned, even when I was studying regulatory science at USC. I wasn’t planning to work for industry at all. I have to say in this highly competitive job market, there is always somebody that has skills that are better than yours. So, if a door opens for you, take it, even if it is not what you saw yourself doing. First, you have to put yourself out there and let others choose you and not refuse any opportunities coming towards you.

In conclusion, believing in yourself is the way to success. Self-improvement means self-discovery and self-trust. If you don’t try, you will never know if you can. I hope that everyone does not suffer life as I did, but trust yourself and challenge yourself for new things which can bring you a new life. Although it takes tremendous courage and energy to get out of your comfort zone for something new and unknown, just try and just do it. There is nothing to regret if you put in the effort. Believing in yourself is the key to success.”

If you’d like your story to be featured here anonymously or publicly, or if you know of anyone whose story you want to share with us, get in touch with me.

Words of Wisdom

“Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe. – Saint Augustine

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Questions for Reflection

Are you about to make an important decision and the fear of the unknown has kept you from making it?

During the bad times in your life, have you found it tough to have faith — either faith in God, faith in a Higher Power and/or faith in yourself? If not, is it your self-doubts or your negative thoughts and beliefs that have hindered your faith?

What does it take for you to trust so that you can venture beyond your comfort zone?

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The Dolphins: An Experience Without Sight by Quyn Lê Erichsen, M.Ed., RCC

Quyn kissing the dolphin in Cancun

Quyn kissing the dolphin

I want to share with you my recent experience with the dolphins in Cancun during our honeymoon trip from the perspective of a blind person. Although I often have a very difficult time describing details in English in a colourful way, however I hope I can capture the experience as vividly as I can in this blog.

About 12 years ago, I went to SeaWorld in Orlando Florida where they featured whale performances and dolphin shows. Although some of my relatives described the different amazing tricks and performances that the whales and the dolphins were doing, the concepts were nevertheless abstract to me at best. However my direct experience with the dolphins recently was very real, incredible and memorable!

My husband, Hans, and I signed up for a half-hour experience with the dolphins in Cancun. We also had the option of signing up for one hour, but I wasn’t sure whether I could handle it for that long.

One of the first things that really surprised me was that we were going to interact with the dolphins in the pool. Somehow I had the image in my head that we would interact with the dolphins on a beach in the ocean, perhaps in a gated area. I now realize how silly a thought that was. If the dolphins in the ocean, it would probably be very difficult to train them.  This is one of the shortcomings about being blind. Because of not being able to see, sometimes I have the wrong images in my head about how things are or how they work. Usually once I learn about how certain things work, I just have to laugh at myself. Hans, is very good at explaining things to me without making me feel clueless.

As we entered one of the pools, I noticed that the pool had salty water. Although this shouldn’t surprise me, I nevertheless was surprised, as I always thought that all pools have non-salty water. Hans explained to me that the salty water is essential for the dolphins to live in.

As we entered the deep end of the pool, I started to panic, even though I had my life jacket on. I am not a swimmer at all. Admittedly, I have a water phobia, which had probably stemmed from being lost for 10 days in the sea during our boat journey to escape Vietnam. As soon as water started to pass my mouth, I panicked, groping my hands to reach out for Hans’ hands. I then told myself “Everything is going to be okay. I won’t drown… Breathe slowly…” This seemed to really help calm me down.

We then stood on a more shallow part of the pool, waiting for our turn to interact with the dolphins. Then an adult dolphins passed by right in front of us. Hans told me to reach out to touch the dolphin. As I reached one of my hands out to touch the dolphin, I accidentally touched the trainer’s butt. Then I was able to touch the dolphin on her back. Again, I was very surprised by the feel of the dolphin. I expected a fishy, slimy feeling as I would feel on smaller fish. That wasn’t the case at all. The dolphin felt very long. Her skin felt rubbery, almost felt like a rubber tube.

The dolphin’s body wasn’t as flat and wide as I expected. Rather, her body felt more round and plump. I wished I could wrap my arms around her entire body to see how big she really was. As I trailed my hand along her back, I started to touch her tail. One French man was speaking broken English to Hans to explain to him that I should avoid touching the tail, as it is very strong and might hurt me.

Then a two-year-old baby dolphin came by. I reached out my hand and touched her mouth. Again, it felt very different. Her mouth was closed. I remember I used to meet a man whose arm was damaged right past his elbow. While touching the closed mouth of this baby dolphin, it felt similar to touching that man’s arm. I then quickly withdrew my hand, remembering what the trainer said earlier about not touching the baby’s mouth because he/she might bite. The trainer explained that the adult dolphins have been trained enough and so they wouldn’t bite. However the baby ones might, because they haven’t been trained long enough.

We were given a few choices to interact with the dolphins. One choice was called the Foot Push where the dolphin pushes you on your feet and you would raise up out of the water to fly like a superman. The other choice was the Belly Ride where you would ride on the belly of the dolphin, with the dolphin swimming backward across the pool while you hanging onto her fins. And another choice was the Boogie Push, where you lie on a boogie board and the dolphin pushes you across the pool. Hans and I chose the Belly Ride because we wanted to have direct contact with the dolphins.

I found the sounds the dolphins made to be very amusing. At some point, they would make a very high pitch sound, almost like the calls of some big birds. Yet at some other points, they sounded like ducks to me.

One dolphin was jumping up in the air, Hans described to me. As she was in the air, she made a few spins. We all clapped and cheered. Then she went up to the trainer, making a very cute sound, as if to say “I did it, now feed me!”

Hans and I were standing quite close to the trainer. As the trainer had the fish, the dolphins were eager to come to him. Thus I got a few chances to touch the different dolphins. Every time I reached my hand out to touch a dolphin, I seemed to touch the trainer’s body or butt first. Probably the trainer was initially wondering why I kept touching his body or his bum!

As other people in our group were taking turn interacting with the dolphins, Hans was showing to me how I would position for the Belly Ride. He placed my right hand on my chest, and extended my left arm out in front of me. Each of us had to swim out to the middle of the pool to wait for the dolphin to come to us. Once the dolphin approaches me, Hans explained, I would reach out my hands to find her fins then hang on to them. The dolphin then would bring me back to where I started.

Hans then realized that I might have a hard time swimming out into the pool by myself, as I am not a swimmer and I get disoriented in the water. Thus before it was my turn, Hans went up to the trainer and explained to him that I am blind and that he needed to swim out to the middle of the pool with me. The trainer hesitated at first, probably imagining in his head how that would work. He thought that Hans wanted to swim along with me and the dolphin, which might confuse the dolphin. He went to check with his boss. Upon his return, the trainer indicated that it wouldn’t be a problem, as long as Hans would leave me after the dolphin comes to me.

Then it was my turn. “Let’s swim out!” Hans said excitedly. I quickly swam out into the pool with Hans. “Position yourself for the dolphin,“ Hans reminded me. I put my right hand on my chest and extended my left arm out in front of me. “I will leave you here now,” Hans was saying to me as he started to swim away from me. I waited nervously. I started to panic inside a bit, as I knew I was out in the deep end by myself. As I was trying hard to stay afloat, the trainer was saying something, I couldn’t quite comprehend his Mexican accent. “He’s talking to you,” Hans shouting out to me from the other end of the pool. “The dolphin is in front of you. Reach out to grab her fins!” Hans urged me.

I reached out, and there was the dolphin. She felt big to me. I found one of her fins with my right hand first. I then felt around with my left hand. And there, I found the other fin. This was another surprise to me. I always thought that a fish has only one fin and it’s located towards the tail. I couldn’t imagine that the dolphins also have fins on their sides.

As I hung onto the dolphin’s fins, she started to swim. She swam very fast. My heart was pounding. The water started rushing by us as she swam. I was laughing. Within about 15 seconds, we were at the other end of the pool where the rest of the group was waiting for us. People were cheering me on. “Give me your hands so I can help you!” the trainer said to me. I reached out my hands to grab the trainer’s hands and he helped me onto a step in the pool. By now, Hans already left that part of the pool and was waiting for the dolphin in the middle of the pool. The French man also helped me up the step of the pool too. He didn’t really speak English. “You okay?” he asked me in his broken English. “I am okay, thank you.” I assured him.

Even though I didn’t swim, my heart was pounding like crazy and I was breathless. Probably because the dolphin swam so fast. The whole thing was so fast. I wished I could swim with the dolphin longer. I wished that time would slow down so that I could savour the moment I swam with the dolphin.

The second activity was to do some kissing with the dolphins. Again, Hans showed me the position for this activity. He placed both of my hands on my chest, as if we go for blessing during the Catholic mass. He also told me to put my arms up after the dolphin kisses me and find her fins to shake them.

Then it was my turn. I swam out into the pool, but this time I didn’t have to swim as far. I placed both of my hands on my chest, waiting for the dolphin. I started to feel the dolphin’s mouth touching my cheek. At first I didn’t know that it was the dolphin’s mouth. I had the image in my head that the dolphin would open her mouth slightly to kiss me, almost like a dog or a cat would. Again, her mouth felt like a big arm. “The dolphin is kissing you,” Hans said excitedly. The trainer must have said something as well. I started to kiss the dolphin with my lips. I was very excited to feel the dolphin so close to me. I then put up my arms, found the dolphin’s fins and shook them. The dolphin then started to go away. “Let’s do another kiss,” the trainer said. So again, I placed both hands on my chest and I felt the dolphin kissing my cheek. I reached out my hands to feel her mouth and kissed her with my lips. I then put up my arms and shook her fins. Then it was over. I had to swim back. People were cheering me on enthusiastically. “I am here,” Hans was telling me to help me know where to swim back. He reach out his hand to pull my life jacket in to help me onto the step. He then started to swim out to kiss the dolphin.

Even though the actual interaction with the dolphin was too short for me, I still enjoyed the whole experience very much. It was quite something feeling the dolphins – their skin, their size and their intentional behaviours. It never ceases to amaze me how well-trained certain animals can be.

My experience with the dolphins was quite vulnerable. I had to learn to cope with being in the deep water by myself. I had to embrace the mystery of the experience, relying largely on Hans’ and the trainer’s descriptions. And lastly, the whole group observed how I carried out different tasks and interacted with the dolphins as a person without sight. Yet I felt very supported by my group, including the trainer and the French man, even though they were all strangers.

What really helped me was that I was mostly comfortable in my own skin. I wasn’t too concerned or too anxious about how people would judge me. I was more focused on the experience as well as how to keep me above water. I was very grateful to have such a wonderful experience and very grateful to interact with such playful and intelligent dolphins!

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Quyn & Nugget

Foster Your Sense of Self-Worth By Quyn Lê Erichsen, M.Ed, RCC

Losing my complete sight at the age of two, I wondered for a good part of my life what am I really capable of. What is my sense of self-worth. Learning to foster my sense of self-worth has been a life-long journey for me. And I am certain that this journey is yet to complete.

Growing up in Vietnam, I got messages – implicit or explicit — from a very young age that blind individuals are helpless, useless, dependent and ultimately not very worthy. As a child, I remember encountering some blind people begging and selling lottery tickets on the street in Vietnam. When I went to a school for the blind in Vietnam and studied there from the ages of seven to nine, I remember many of the blind students in that school were abandoned by their families. Their parents dropped them off at the school and disappeared from their lives. As a child, I often felt pitied by others whenever they realized that I was blind. They would often comment “Oh poor girl. She is very pretty. Too bad that she is blind.”

Perhaps up until I was about thirty years old, I often felt anxious, disempowered, invisible, unimportant and ineffective. Certainly my life did not change overnight when I turned thirty. It had been a gradual process. I remember I often felt awkward, uncomfortable and anxious in social situations. I wasn’t confident that people would enjoy being with me or interacting with me. I didn’t know what I had to offer to people. I also often assumed that people were prejudiced against me because I was blind. From time to time, I felt discriminated against. More importantly, I didn’t see how I could learn to perceive my blindness as a unique gift in my life. I didn’t have a clue what were to become of me.

I didn’t know that one day I would become a psychotherapist, empowering many others and helping to transform their lives. I didn’t foresee that one day I would speak to hundreds of people sharing my life story with them. And certainly, I didn’t know that you would be reading what I have to share in this writing. More importantly, I didn’t know that I would feel happy, fulfilled, empowered and optimistic that I do today. I didn’t know that my life would one day be filled with love, joy, support, rich learning, meaningful connections and more.

As I will get married to the man I love in two months, I have been reflecting on what factors have had a positive impact on my self-worth. What has helped me to build my self-confidence so that I can be passionate and confident in what I believe in, what I dream of, and ultimately what I have achieved as a result of these dreams and beliefs.

Family Influences

I strongly believe that one important factor that has had a positive impact on the development of my self-worth is my family. Although everyone in my family has annoyed me or frustrated me at one time or the other, they nevertheless have represented a very solid foundation of my sense of self-worth. As long as I can recall, they have consistently helped me to feel loved, cared for and special.

When many parents of the students at the school for the blind neglected them and left them with the staff at the school, my parents believed in taking me home everyday so that I didn’t have to suffer staying in the school’s residence. They believed that the food provided by the school wasn’t good enough for me.

Every morning, my dad would get up early – around seven o’clock, got me a good breakfast, and then drove me on a scooter to school, which took about forty-five minutes to get there. He would also buy me lunch so that I didn’t have to eat the unpleasant lunches provided by the school. And every evening, he would come to pick me up and bring me home. If he was busy, he would always send one of his workers out to get me home.

Many Asian families, including Vietnamese families, often believe that having a disabled child is very shameful. One of the beliefs in Buddhism is that you get what you did in your previous life. Hence having a child with a disability is believed to be a curse in the family. For this reason, many parents either hide their children with disabilities, or view them as their least favourite children.

A friend of mine told me that his parents would ask him to go hide in the bedroom whenever guests came to their place. My friend is blind and his family was ashamed of him.

My maternal grandparents’ family is another example. My maternal grandparents had six daughters and four sons. Among two of their sons, one had Down’s Syndrome and one was deaf. They were my grandmother’s least favourite sons. I remember that the son who had Down’s Syndrome was often neglected and ignored. He was seen as a nuisance.  I can still remember him as a very gentle and quiet boy who was hanging around his house aimlessly. Ironically my mother and my grandfather were the only ones who always made sure to care for him. He died at the age of eighteen.

Another uncle of mine was deaf. He too was also not my grandmother’s favourite son.  Whereas my grandmother doted on the other two sons, giving them money, encouraging them to do what they wanted in their lives, my uncle who was deaf got none of these things from my grandmother. I however have some very fond memories of this uncle. He showed me lots of affection, even though we couldn’t really communicate with each other. With him being deaf and me being blind, we didn’t understand each other’s languages. Yet the affection was mutual between us.

Unlike my grandparents, my parents have taught my sisters from a very young age to love me and care for me. When my mom was very sick on the boat during our escape from Vietnam, she reminded my older sister, Amy, to take care of me if she died. When my mom was aware that my future would be very bleak as a blind person growing up in Vietnam, she was determined to take her children out of the country, risking our lives. As she later on explained “I wanted to  find light in the dark, find life in the threat of death.” If it weren’t for my mom, I wouldn’t be here today. When the pirates were invading our boat, sexually assaulting some women, robbing our valuable possessions, my mom would hold me close to her to protect me. She tried to make me very small and invisible to shield me from the pirates’ touch.

I never felt I was an embarrassment or a shame to my family. They have always made me feel that I am a unique and special person. Unlike my friend’s family who hid them from guests, my parents often seemed proud to introduce me to their friends and acquaintances. They were quick to tell others about my talents and uniqueness.

When we lived in the refugee camp in Indonesia, my mom and my older sister, Amy, always tried to make my life as comfortable as possible under the circumstances. Amy would bring home water that she carried from wells that were far from home. In the blazing heat of Indonesia, She would iron my old ragged clothes so that they were not so wrinkly for me to wear.

My mom didn’t like how I had to use the public bathroom and toilet, which were often very dirty and smelly. So when she got some money, and with the help of others, she wanted to build a simple bathroom and toilet for us to use. During the four years living in the refugee camp, I couldn’t go to school. So my mom would teach me some of the English that she knew. She would read to me so that I wouldn’t be bored.

As a psychotherapist, I have provided counseling to hundreds of individuals. One of the phenomena that I am often puzzled by is the compromised sense of self-worth that many of my clients have. One of the commonalities that I notice these clients share is some form of abuse or neglect in childhood. They may have lived in fear because of the physical pain that their parents or caregivers inflicted upon them. These individuals may have experienced neglect or some forms of emotional abuse, such as name calling, constant putdown, abandonment, and so on. These individuals may have also been sexually abused or violated in their childhood. As a result, these individuals’ sense of self-worth is either very low or severely damaged.

Later on in their adulthood, they somehow inadvertently repeat the abuse cycle by ending up with very abusive partners or spouses. Or they constantly encounter people who disrespect them or take them for granted. Or they struggle a great deal in their career because they are not sure what they are truly capable of, what their highest potentials are. In general, these individuals are feeling unhappy, unfulfilled, empty, lonely, dissatisfied and are not at peace with themselves. They may be quite successful in some areas in their lives, such as their career or their social lives. But ultimately, these individuals feel as if something very important is missing. That there is an ever emptiness that they often feel that no amount of materials can fill that void.

If you realize you are one of these individuals, ask yourself are their any unresolved issues that I have with my family or in my childhood that may be in the way of my happiness and peace? Is there anything I could do today to clear away those long-standing emotional baggage’s that have accumulated from my upbringing? If someone has wronged me, what can I do to undo their impact on me and my life? For as long as you have anger towards someone, whether it be one of your parents, or a sibling, or a relative, that person continues to have power over you and your life.

If you felt hurt, abandoned, betrayed, neglected or unloved by someone in your family, honour those feelings. Acknowledge those feelings with deep compassion and understanding. Then when you are ready and the time is right, give yourself the permission to slowly begin to let go of those feelings and gradually heal from the scars of your childhood. Allow yourself to release the toxicity of those feelings from your mind and your heart.

However, if resolving these issues on your own is too overwhelming for you, seek help from a therapist. Wounds that are untreated, particularly those which were caused by your family or in your childhood, can form deep unhealthy roots for your emotional tree and will continue to spread until the tree dies from the impact of infectious unhappiness, emptiness or dissatisfaction. Such unhappiness and emptiness may lead to addictions, very unstable relationships, poor career choices and, at its worst, suicide.

If you are a parent reading this, remember how your love and encouragement are so important to your children or child. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to buy your children expensive toys, take them for expensive outings, get them brand-name clothes or things alike. What’s most important across times, generations, cultures and religions is your relationship with your children and the love that they feel you have for them.

Different parents have different languages of love. Some parents are very good at doing things with their children. Some parents give them encouraging words and tell their children that they love them. Some parents work hard to afford things for their children, such as education, clothes, toys, etc. What’s important is that your children understand your language of love. Do you know what your children would feel loved by? Do you know what makes them happy?

I have worked with dozens of parents over the years in different capacities and have noticed that one of the sad things is that children don’t understand their parents’ language of love. Many parents work extremely hard to afford different things for their children and their family. The cost of living increases each year. Technology has made expensive things very desirable to many people, including children. Children seem to want things. Hence parents believe those things would make their children happy. Yet this is a serious trap for both parents and children.

Again, the key is the love and attention you can communicate to your children and that they understand it. Remember, clothes, toys and other items can run out of fashion. Piano lessons and expensive outings can be long forgotten. What will always remain in a child’s heart is the loving words, the gentle and affectionate touch, and the encouragement and faith that you demonstrate towards your children. As Maya Angelou stated “People don’t always remember what you say or even what you do, but they always remember how you made them feel.”

In the next section, I will talk about instrumental support and emotional support from others that can positively impact your sense of self-worth.

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