Trail of Lights
On a cold Sunday, I went to Austin’s Trail of Lights – UT Night.
What could be special just to see lights? My boyfriend was not interested at all, especially knowing we have to pay the $18 parking fee…
However, he changed his mind after seeing so many beautiful lights and decorations.
What I didn’t realize is that this is actually a family event. Families taking pictures of the light, couples sipping hot cocoa, children getting free Chrismas candies and illustrator books… Everyone is having fun and enjoying a good bonding night.
What about me?
I just stood there and observe people smiling and laughing. This country did a great job to keep holidays as community bonding and family gathering traditions. The love and support protect people from hatred, suffer, and sadness.
I love the night so much.
I am sitting on the bus to school. Plenty empty red seats are shining under the sun and lightening my mood for the day.
Perfect time to reflect the beautiful yesterday.
At the last Mental Health Class, Michelle provided cheese bagel and personalized gifts to thank for spending the semester together (later she shared her love language is service and really valued this year’s cohort)
“Clear, your work in VAV is fantastic…”
“Your presentation is differenet.. has a lot of critical thinking”
This is the place that I feel accepted and appreciated.
Sometimes I view depression and anxiety a powerful tool for personal growth. If I didn’t experience depression, I would not go the school’s Counseling and Mental Health Center; if I didn’t go to therapy, I would not have the courage to participate in Mental Health Monologue; if I didn’t sign up for Peer Educator interview, I would not have the chance to be there.
My problem helps me discover my unique strengths, and remind me to take care of missing life elements – gratitude and self-acceptance.
You will never be satisfied if you just keep moving on. Take a pause, notice the beautiful things around, and remind of your efforts that bring you here.
The gratitude will solidify your strengths and empower love to achieve higher, happier and better.
I received the Gratitude gift from Michelle. And now, I want to pass this Gratitude gift to you.
9:00 a.m. I am sitting in Honda store, waiting for the oil change, and writing reflections.
Thoughts come out more smoothly at the next day because my intuition runs so fast at that moment that my brain has a hard time catching on and solidifying them.
It’s the final week so I have nothing but to prepare the upcoming two finals. Last week I bought a Kindle book Gratitude and Trust: Six Affirmations That Will Change Your Life by Paul Williams and Tracey Jackson.
They offer me some insightful prompts to reflect and prepare for behavior changes. And I’d like to share with Y’all (My answer to those questions is variety and change):
What makes you unhappy?
What is missing from you?
What did you set our to accomplish that you have abandoned along the way?
I started to savor food – made a green smoothie, baked a large sweet potato, and cooked some spinach and meat.
I started to enjoy nature – At Austin’s autumn, clear blue sky and golden trees set each other beautifully.
A day binge-free, stress-free.
A normal way worth of appreciation.
I went to watch fantasy film with my friends! Wow when the movie ended, everyone was full of with tears and joy.
I want to share here(spoiler alert):
The minute that Héctor agreed to take Miguel to his “great great great great grandfather” Ernesto in return for putting Héctor’s picture back in real life, I got the intuition that 95% of chance that Héctor is Miguel’s actual great great great great great grandfather. Otherwise, the whole journey they spent with to inspire each other would be a complete waste of time.
And I am right. Piecing cues to know where the story will go ahead is one of my natural talents.
Have you ever heard about Gallup’s StrengthFinder?
Today Rowen shared her management class that professor divided people into different teams based on their different strengths, the talk which reminded me of my strengths tested during sophomore year.
I’m Woo| Futuristic|Empathy|Communication|Activator.
Rowen was surprised that my top 1 strength is Woo because Woo stands for winning others over. She thought Woo is the kind of aggressive and demanding person who wants to compete with others and win.
Well, as I later searched Google, the explanation was different.
You enjoy the challenge of meeting new people and getting them to like you. Strangers are rarely intimidating to you. On the contrary, strangers can be energizing. You are drawn to them. You want to learn their names, ask them questions, and find some area of common interest so that you can strike up a conversation and build rapport.
Some people shy away from starting up conversations because they worry about running out of things to say. You don’t. Not only are you rarely at a loss for words; you actually enjoy initiating with strangers because you derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection.
Once that connection is made, you are quite happy to wrap it up and move on. There are new people to meet, new rooms to work, new crowds to mingle in. In your world there are no strangers, only friends you haven’t met yet — lots of them.
I do want to win, but not to win success but people’s appreciation and popularity. The idea behind Woo is to be likable, to entertain, to connect with others instantly and deeply. I am a natural communicator so let me take public speaking as an example. What makes me stands out is not my logical thinking and substantial knowledge but my lovely smiles and charismatic character.
At last, in China, when people said nice things about me, I would downplay compliments and replied back “No no no, I am not that good” or “I still have a lot to improve.” If someone appreciated me being Woo in the past, I would say “Well, Woo made me hard to develop close relationships.”
However, now in the U.S., if someone acknowledges me, I will say thank you and accept compliments. If you appreciate my Woo strength, I would say “I really like being Woo, discover people’s uniqueness, and have a large social network.”
I feel like my inspiring challenge is helping me develop a habit of self-acceptance and self-appreciation. Why do I have to do self-criticism to devastate confidence and chase for perfectionism in the old times?
Also, strengths and weaknesses together shape one’s uniqueness, just like light and dark complement each other. Both are worth celebrating, aren’t they?
What’s your StrengthFinder theme?
Today I only slept few hours to take the International Trade Final in the morning. Around 12 p.m., I got my test score back – lower than my first midterm.
Devastated, hopeless, angry.
After failing the first midterm, I studied and studied for the second midterm. After failing the second midterm, I prepared and prepared for the optional final. Completely useless! It has nothing to do how much extra time you prepare but whether you pay 200% attention and capture the tiny but “important” details which professor mentioned briefly during the class.
I have to learn to accept the fact. There are always some classes no matter how hard you try that you just cannot master.
The old version of me will continue to indulge in the sad mood and blame others. The new version of me, however, decide to let it go.
I appreciate the failure, which helps me understand my limits as an international student. I also appreciate my efforts of trying. I tried but things don’t work out. There are other more important things waiting for me to do.