In this introductory episode, I share some background about myself and why I am doing this podcast. Becoming Me emerged first and foremost from my own ongoing journey of becoming more and more my True Self.
Listen to how I struggled to have any sense of identity apart from the mirrored perspective of other people's affirmation or criticism of me, and how I realised I needed a fresh start to get to know myself.
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EP 1 | INTRODUCTION: WHY 'BECOMING ME'?
Welcome to Becoming Me, your podcast companion and coach in your journey to a more integrated and authentic self. I am your host Ann Yeong, and I'm here to help you grow in self-discovery and wholeness. If you long to live a more authentic and integrated life and would like to hear honest insights about the rewards and challenges of this journey, then take a deep breath, relax and listen on to Becoming Me.
Hello, dear listeners. And welcome to the very first episode of the Becoming Me podcast. In this introductory episode, I'm going to share with you a little bit about my own story and how that has led me to doing this podcast.
So, Becoming Me emerged first and foremost, from my own ongoing journey of becoming more and more my true self ever since I was a teenager. I remember having these kinds of questions in my mind. Who am I? What is the purpose for which I exist? Is there some unique work that I was created to do? And of course the question, you know, how do I find the answers to all these questions? I don't know if these are the kind of questions that a lot of teenagers ask, but
I remember that amidst all the normal teenage angst. I had this need to believe that I was alive for a reason. Now I had the privilege of a physically safe and comfortable upbringing in my formative years, both at home and in school. But my heart and mind were often in confusion and agony, as I suppose, is relatively normal for teenagers.
Right. I did well enough as a student to experience the burden of expectations from those whom I did not want to disappoint. And from a very young age, I learned that when I meet or surpass those expectations, I was affirmed and praised. So somehow I became addicted to earning these signs of affirmation, right from my parents, from my teachers.
And eventually my friends as well, I needed these signs of affirmation in order to feel that I had worth. And I developed a great fear of disappointing people, right. So when I was growing up, the thing that I feared most was not really being scolded or told off. But seeing a look of disappointment on the face of let's say my mom, or a teacher that I respected. So without my realization, my life revolved around making other people happy, but really it wasn't so that they could be happy. So that, but it was so that I could feel loved. All right. I didn't realize this consciously, of course, but if I couldn't make other people happy, I didn't feel that I was worthy of love.
And yet, although I tried very hard all the time to do my best. It never seemed to be enough because no matter how well I did it, whatever it was that I did, it seemed like someone else could do it better than me. Right. Or someone would think that I had greater potential than what I have shown. I remember when I was 17 years old, I handed in my first essay in junior college.
[00:03:41] Right. And. We we've had like class discussions before that. Right? So this was a literature class and, I handed in an essay and when I got it back, what the teacher told me was that, you know, Ann, to be honest, I kind of expected more than this from you. You know, from your discussions in class, I thought that you were capable of a better piece of work than this was.
Like I said, I was, I was doing pretty well as a student. This was a scholarship class. Right. But all I could hear was still I'm sorry. You're not good enough. So not enough became somehow an ominous mantra, looping in my subconscious. Right. And it drove me to work really hard, but at the same time, it always threatened to break me.
And it was the same thing in my friendships as well. I always try to be a really good friend to my friends. to be available when they, whenever they needed me. But it seemed that no matter how hard I wanted to be part of a group to be loved, you know, to be included, there would always be times when I felt excluded.
I have a bit of a dramatic personality, I guess. But I remember when I was, I think 15 or 16, there was one year when it was my birthday. And although I had gone out with a group of friends and supposedly it was to celebrate my birthday, somehow I felt so alone during the timeout that when I went home, I was crying and sobbing because I felt
like nobody really saw me. And I wondered if I just died, what difference would my life have made in this world? Right. And at the same time, this, this feeling that I had was both one of deep desire, right. A desire to know that my life would be worth something. That my existence on this earth would make some kind of difference.
And at the same time, it was very painful because at that time I felt a fear that I wouldn't have significance. It always seemed to me somehow that I was smart, but not smart enough. I could do some sports, but I was not athletic enough to really Excel. I was caring, but you know, sometimes it seemed like I was not compassionate enough.
And along with the not enough track that was always playing in my head, there was also the “too much” theme. I was too intense, too passionate, too emotional, too loud, too strong, too fast. Too principled, too inflexible. And, and the list goes on. Right. So how's it possible, but yet it was true. I felt both “not enough” and “too much” at the same time.
I don't know if there was any one of you listening to this right now that understand what I'm saying. Right. But it's just that there was this need that I always felt when I was growing up to be, or at least to appear perfect in everything I did, it became a compulsion. I was so afraid that somebody would have something to criticize about me because then it would feel like there was a reason for me to not be loved.
Right. So I wanted to Excel at everything so that. There was nothing that people could complain about me, even if, as I hear myself saying this out loud, I know how impossible that is. And yet that was what drove me on the surface. I was bright and confident, but in the depths of my heart, I was constantly afraid of being discovered to be a fraud.
I had somehow a natural drive to be authentic. And this was my saving grace from losing myself completely, but the powerful need to satisfy other people's expectations of me so that they would love me often pulled me away from being my true self or from really knowing or even thinking about who am I really?
All I could think of was what do you need me to be? All right. What do other people expect to see of me. And so I gradually became jaded and unhappy and indulge more and more in secret guilty pleasures and addictions to escape my unhappiness. Right. So there was kind of like two lives going on, right. The public life, where I was a model student, a model Catholic girl, and a good sister, you know, a responsible child and, and all of that.
But at the same time in. You know, in secret in private, there were all of these unruly emotions of fear and defiance and, you know, the longing to not have to be so perfect all the time, which then manifest in well, bingeing binging on junk food, on videos, drama on novels; whatever it was that for a while could
satisfy my need for meaning. And at the same time, make me forget that I haven't really found the meaning in my life.
So I grew up as a person of faith in the Catholic church, and I had a great desire for a deep and loving relationship with God. But even that relationship was filled with a lot of shame and fear and the more important God became to me, the greater, the fear I had of disappointing him.
Right. He just became one more important person in my life I was so afraid to make unhappy. Finally the day came when I had a life-changing realization that I did not know who I was except through the mirror of other people's perspective of me. And I realized that even though I had always been taught to believe that God loved me unconditionally.
I was too afraid to stop earning his love, to have the chance of receiving it as a gift, right. As, as a gift that I didn't work for. So I, I had never really experienced that unconditional love of God. That was such a key part of my faith. I did not know how to let myself be loved. So on that fateful day, when I had that realization, I decided to set aside everything I ever thought I knew about God or about myself.
And I asked for the grace to begin again and to start fresh, to get to know God as well as myself, because I realized that I don't know. Either. That was a major turning point in my lifelong quest for authenticity, because it was the first time I recognized that I needed new eyes to see with new ears, to listen with and a new heart to receive love with in order to make some real progress in knowing who I am and what my purpose here on earth is.
It has been more than 11 years now, since that turning point in my life. And I have had other major and more recent turning points since, but asking for light to know my true self and for the grace to be able to say yes, to do whatever it takes to live a life that is faithful to the truth that comes from this discovery.
That has been the singular most challenging, and also the most rewarding thing I have chosen to undertake in my life for the last 11 years. I have met many other people who in their own ways are also seeking to know how to make a better gift of their lives and who desire to know how to grow in wholeness and live more authentically.
I have discovered that while there are a great many things I cannot do well, I have a gift in being able to help people along on this journey of self-discovery. So in time staying true to my own journey led me to create Becoming Me. So that's a little backstory, sorry to this podcast. In the next episode, I will talk about who this podcast is for, what this podcast is meant to be and how you can make the most out of it for your own journey.
Thank you for listening to the first episode of Becoming Me. Remember, the most important thing about making this journey is to keep taking steps in the right direction, no matter how small those steps might be. The world would be such a poor place without each of us becoming more fully alive. Don't forget to visit my website at becomingme.sg and hit subscribe. Until the next episode, Happy Becoming!