Growing up in an environment that looks down upon women can cause one difficulties in life. For Alice Chan, her culture’s outlook on women pushed her to defy the odds and become a successful professor, author and life-coach. Through her obstacles in her life, Chan was able to build relationships and have experiences that helped her to find her true identity.
By Alice Chan
For many years, I struggled with low self-esteem, and seriously questioned why I was ever born. I didn’t want my life. I didn’t want to be me. To start from the beginning, I was born among three boys at a time and in a culture that didn’t value girls. I wasn’t meant to be successful, nor did I deserve as much as the boys. To give you an idea, the first time that we all met my late maternal grandmother, I was still a little girl. She openly declared – right in front of me – that the three boys were great, but not me.
When I came home with a glowing report card from school at age 9, my late paternal grandmother wasn’t proud of me. Instead, she immediately picked up my younger brother, put him on her lap, with arms around him, told him to beat me next time. Even when I was in college, I was repeatedly told that I’d need a college degree to compete with high school graduates for a job. I apparently needed the extra education to compensate for my lack of intelligence.
Instinctively, a part of me wasn’t willing to accept all this put-down. I became intensely driven to succeed. So, I went on to achieve a lot, including getting my Ph.D. and becoming an award-wining professor at Cornell University, before spending another decade being a successful business consultant. In the process, I discovered that I’m actually intelligent and talented, capable of achieving anything to which I set my mind.
However, my achievements also bumped up big time against my subconscious beliefs accumulated since childhood about being inadequate and undeserving as a girl. As I tiptoed around my new-found intelligence and achievements, I kept attracting men into my life who loved parts of me, but ultimately couldn’t handle my sharp mind or my resume. Their discomfort with me reflected back on my own internal dissonance and wobbling self-esteem. These heart-breaking life patterns kept repeating themselves to catalyze my need to release those old limiting beliefs that didn’t match the woman I had become.
How did I finally learn to accept my intelligence, achievements and self-worth? I started learning and practicing conscious living principles, understanding how to reclaim my power, to accept and love myself. More importantly, I’ve learned that my self-worth doesn’t come from accumulating objective accolades that prove I’m smart, talented and capable. Instead, just like everyone else on this planet, I didn’t have to earn my self-worth. I was born inherently worthy, period.
I’ve come a long way since my sad beginnings to becoming the woman I’m proud to be today. It wasn’t an easy road, and involved years of peeling away layer upon layer of disempowering messages drilled into my heart since childhood. But, it’s well worth the effort. Because, at age 41, I can honestly say that I look forward to what I get to create in the next half of my life!
See how Alice answers our Identity Five Questions:
What have you accepted within yourself and/or within your life? Is there anything you are working on accepting?
I’ve accepted my challenging beginnings in life, appreciating how they fueled my drive to break through and to get to know my true self. I honor their place on my path, as having experienced the hardship enables me to relate to the people I want to help, those who are held back by their own life challenges and forgotten limiting beliefs.
I’m still working on accepting the need to ask for help sometimes and that it’s OK to not be perfect all the time. Both require me to be vulnerable and to be open to being rejected. I’m learning to accept that rejection, while not pleasant, is a part of the human experience. Besides, when I ask for help, I also allow other people be there to support me. Also, my imperfections make me human and allow people to relate to me.
What do you appreciate about yourself or your life?
I appreciate that I’m spiritual, authentic, passionate, caring, intelligent, insightful and inspiring. I’m proud of the fact that I’ve overcome many, many challenges, and grown to be the woman I am today. I appreciate my deep desire to help others live passionately and joyfully in love and grace, that I’m put on this earth to facilitate positive change and awakening.
What have you achieved, or what are you working to achieve personally, physically, or mentally?
Aside from objective achievements, like formal education and professional successes, I’m most proud of having found my way back to connecting to my higher self, the Divinity within me. I’ve learned to tap into the source of pure love with which I was born, and am getting better and better every day at harvesting that love, expressing it and becoming love in motion and action.
What is your not-so-perfect way? We are all unique with quirks and imperfections, so why not flaunt them and embrace them!
I’m quick to judge, both myself and others, and patience is not a virtue. I’m quick to size up situations and people, which makes me shrewd on the good side. But, it could also lead to missing opportunities, especially when my impatience gets in the way, too. I like things decided quickly, and have a low tolerance for leaving loose ends hanging.
How would you complete this sentence, “I Love My…” This has to be about you, physically or mentally.
I love my evolving consciousness and the powerful creator I am in this life. I love my mission in life – to inspire and help empower others to live passionately and joyfully in love and grace – and very much look forward to helping everyone recognize how powerful we all are in creating the life we want!
Alice Chan, Ph.D., a former award-winning Cornell professor and seasoned business consultant, is an inspirational author, speaker and coach. She’s the author of REACH Your Dreams: Five Steps to be a Conscious Creator in Your Life. Learn more by visiting http://dralicechan.com/