During the numerous moments in my self-discovery journey, I found myself holding on to my chest, gasping for air, and embracing how painful my heart hurts. It’s here where I found out that not only am I an empath but I’m an intuitive empath.
To add to that, I’m also a synesthete and have associative synesthesia. I never knew that many others are unable to do this. For the past 35+ years of my life, I thought everyone lived and saw the world the same way I did. Teachers in my school never mentioned any of these topics, and being so sheltered when I was little, plus having the typical Asian parents, I wouldn’t have even known to Google search these terms when we had the internet in the late ’90s. Naturally, this opened my eyes and my perspective of the world changed.
With the countless hours of staying up late doing research, running multiple tests, discovering my Human Design BodyGraph (which further confirms my findings: link here), and doing random studies on everyone around me, my entire life finally fell into place. Things started to make sense to me, and I finally felt like I belonged.
All of the “spanking” and reprimanding my parents made of me being a stubborn, picky, difficult, and challenging child finally made sense. They were looking at me through their lens, not understanding how I was experiencing the world – my, very real, reality. It was liberating to be able to let this inner conflict go because I now know that those who casted these labels on me didn’t have my whole picture. I also know that they would never be able to fully grasp the nature of how I was constructed to even understand me, nor would they even actually put effort into trying.
Seriously, Filial Piety Can GTFO.
Here’s where I drive a stake into the concept of filial piety.
Using my life’s story as an example to draw correlations – most of the time, it’s children who are in their parents’ lives to help them see things in a different way, and therefore it’s actually the parents that need to make behavioral changes and be a better version of themselves and to help their child’s growth. Yet so many Asian parents skew the concept of filial piety to empower their egos so that they can have authority over their children.
This ancient philosophical belief that most Asian parents have based their disciplining methods on completely disregards the need to acknowledge their child’s basic natural temperaments. Their child’s humanity. How can you discipline someone when you don’t know the person in front of you? And what gives you the right to diminish your child’s light just because you don’t understand it. Humans are not one-size-fits-all creatures. We all can’t be doctors, lawyers, and accountants. As parents, isn’t it a part of our job to nurture and raise our children while understanding their individuality? In doing that, don’t we have to really know and understand the child as the unique individuals that they are? Because let’s be honest, there’s no nurturing or raising involved with these parenting tactics, the only thing that is actually happening is these parents are trying to squeeze us, children, into a societal box through authoritative and dictatorship methods.
Filial piety also enables the ego in many Asian parents and excuses Asian parents from being attentive and aware. In a sense, it’s allowing them to be lazy at parenting. Let’s be real, hitting, lecturing, abusing, manipulating, and guilt-tripping are all tactics that are so much easier to resort to. To learn and understand emotional intelligence takes much more effort for them as parents would have to drop their egos and be open to the fact that not everyone perceives the world in the same way. However, the truth is, most Asian parents have mental illnesses themselves and do not have the mental clarity or the emotional capacity to be attentive, as they’re stuck in their own spiralling egotistical trauma mindset and emotions.
How unfortunate for filial piety to negatively affect millions of children down numerous generational lines, because Confucius, another human, had an idealistic concept. Can we stop for a second to take in the magnitude of this insanity? It makes me nauseous. The nausea part is very much the empath in me, but it’s because I can feel all of the pain and suffering this has caused.
If Asian parents can only see that the ideal way of going through life often causes them, us, and everyone around us to suffer. Ideals are not real. Ideals are great to give us a series of directions to strive towards. It’s there to help train and expand our capacity of understanding love, how to be open, and all those good things. But unless we live utterly alone in the world, our idealistic ways when taken into real life, are dependant on real human interactions, human emotions, and human limitations.
You know what is real? The ability to have empathy in humanity.
Empathy Will Always Trumps Ego
As parents (and society in general), it’s easy to only view others through our owns perspective. Ignorance is bliss because we only know what we know, and with some Asian parents learning about something new is impossible. When kids are ‘weird or sensitive,’ they try to ‘fix’ them to get them to conform rather than understanding the child’s unique individuality.
But what if we saw the world from the child’s point of view? We’d have much more empathy towards the child because we’d understand them. This means having the ability to enter their present moment, respecting and understanding their reality, but not needing to agree with it. Having empathy is the ability to understand and respect what the motivating factor is that’s driving a child. Once this is tackled, parents can change their outlook and decision-making. By doing this, parents providing an authentic connection with your child, rather than just making your case to ‘win’ them over, and together you can create the best outcome possible for the situation. This is disciplining with the heart and mind – this is emotional intelligence at its finest.
Empathy takes a lot more mental and emotional energy, but humanity would be happier because we’re able to be authentic to one another knowing that there is acceptance. Or just simply knowing that we’re understood by someone is enough for us to feel loved and happy. Don’t we all just want to be understood by our parents on some level?
Everything Has its Reason
When I first learned that I was an empath, I was beyond miffed at the world. How cruel of the universe to design me this way and put an empath in the hands of two narcissists as if I was an experiment or a joke.
But it was here is where I discovered that everything has its reason, time, and place.
This is just who I am, and it’s how I’ve always been. I see life in a completely different way, and because of that, I naturally respond to life differently. My empath and synesthesia are actually where my strength is. I now embrace it every day and can’t imagine a world any less colorful.
As a child, my life was overwhelmingly confusing. Can you imagine living in a toxic environment, where feelings are viewed as being weak, but yet you have a tremendous amount of feelings and you’re also taking in everyone else’s emotions as though they’re your own too? Yes, that was me and I didn’t know how to control it.
As parents, Mike (my husband) and I often see our own personality traits within our boys. I’m sure you’ve heard parents say, “you’re so much like your mom” or “your dad acts that like too.” Yet, we often ask the child to change, and we never stop to realize the mirror in the child’s behavior is for adults to be aware and make compassionate changes within themselves as well. This is why when I reflect on my childhood, I can see that I unknowingly utilized my natural temperaments all the time to challenge my parents for a change. In fact, all kids do this. As if it’s the universe’s way of allowing adults to hit the reset button – and it’s time that parents listen.
Appreciating that I was uniquely designed gives me a feeling of self-acceptance, much more valuable than seeking acceptance from others. This is truly liberating because it means that I have a purpose. And because we are all unique in our own individual way, we all have our own purpose to fulfill in this world.
When parents can’t see past the “child” label, they assume that their little humans don’t know any better, can’t make decisions for themselves, or is weak. If only Asian parents can recognize that they’re not raising children, they’re raising adults, perhaps then it would be easier for them to drop their egos and take the time to adjust their disciplining perspective to the individuality of their child. Because kids will eventually grow up and the goal for disciplining children should be to assist them in becoming functioning adults. Resorting to filial piety completely blinds Asian parents from this important aspect as it’s hard for them to see us as any other light/label other than kids.
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. You can’t control other people’s beliefs and mindsets, but you can control how you respond to them.