• Viet Linh Le

How Personal Development can support our beautiful Vietnamese culture

Updated: Jun 2, 2021

"When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help." - Thich Nhat Hanh

When I embarked on my journey of Personal Development, it was exciting, transforming, and challenging, because it was all new to me, although soon realizing that this process of remembering who we truly are actually brings us back to the source and truth of life.

Before I get too philosophical, let me share that Personal Development can be a new topic for the Vietnamese people, esp. our parents` generations. When I tried to explain that we have the responsibility of our own lives or that our mind tends to get taken over by Saboteur thoughts, the older generation looks at me as if I just landed from the moon.

Surely, I may have not the sufficient Vietnamese vocabulary to describe what I have learned in my coaching training, but I also noticed that this concept of taking ownership of our own life, of being the creator of our own life, of living a fulfilled and authentic life can be quite revolutionary, if not threatening to my Vietnamese fellows.

Why is that so? In our Vietnamese culture, we have become used to live a life led by external factors that apparently define success - by our family`s expectations, by our society`s expectations, by our boss`s expectations (anyone familiar with the Asian "inferiority" culture?), even by other people`s expectations, who we actually dislike. Having been already young and inexperienced starting my academic and professional career, I have been faced with these additional Asian expectations that, yes, led me to a successful career, but also to rock bottom.

I had to learn the hard way - meaning with a big wake-up moment - that this life is neither fulfilling me, nor serving me. Yes, I had the status (according to others who really don`t care about me) of being successful and earning well - but it dawned on me that money is not everything as Asians always think. It was with the world of Personal Development when I finally realized there more was in life - because there was more in me.

So while our parents` generations or even our peers may not yet fully understand Personal Development - and having been in the wellbeing space for a while now, unfortunately, I also witness another Asian tendency, that is, to jump on this "trend" and imitate "success" while lacking depth, authenticy, and mostly heart (personal development requires inner, hard work!) - it will make a life-changing difference if we start living by our values.

I can tell from my personal experiences, that it may take time until the older generations understand, likely also only in bits and pieces, but this change will be worth it. If your parents see how happy (and successful) you are, while you keep communicating mindfully with them, then they may not only leave you in peace, but also be proud of you. Every parent wants their child to be happy, healthy, and loved - know that they have their own definitions and views how to achieve this, and you can show them that there is another way - one of joy, excitement, and love.

Lots of love x

Linh --

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