You probably have learned what "Growth Mindset" is. In the years after I learned to think with a Growth Mindset, I am able to face almost any hurting memories I had and analyze what they meant to me. I am able to identify the voices that would autoplay when associated situations reoccur. Most importantly, I am able to let go of those memories and free myself.

I don’t remember a lot of painful experiences in my childhood, but I do remember intensive self-doubts starting from 8th grade. So something must have happened in between.

"I am not good at drawing"

When I draw, I would hear what my mom once spoke to me in a disappointed tone, “It’s been many years, and you haven’t improved on your drawing skills at all.” I can still remember how upset I felt about this remark. She was totally right. My parents didn’t take me to any drawing classes in those years. How could I improve? The expectation on me was completely off, but I felt so hurt as if I was wrong for not being born to be good at drawing or have learned it on my own.

"I am not as good as others"

When I saw someone else has an achievement, I would hear the voices of my dad, my teachers, and my relatives speaking to me:

“Look at what they have achieved, and look at what you have done all these years?”

I believe this was why I felt a lot of jealousy in my 20s, even when I was genuinely happy for my friends's achievements. What's worse is I hated myself when I felt I was phony. Fortunately, I now know that each of us is on our own path, and my path is just as grandeur as others’. I no longer compare myself with others, and I can genuinely be happy for my friends’ successes without feeling pity for myself.

"I am bad at public speaking"

When I am about to speak in front of many people, I’d hear what my mom used to say to her friends, “He (me) is too timid to speak in the public.” For the next twenty years, I’ve always been afraid of public speaking.

But in the past three years, I’ve given long speeches in front of full rooms of people in English and Mandarin many times. I’ve developed a thick skin because I know I can always become better. Many people told me they found my speeches inspiring and motivating afterwards.

I hope you will identify the voices in your head and learn to let go of them as well.