Make every effort to just be yourself.
“You need to study much harder than others to be better.”
My mother kept telling me. Since I was six or seven years old. She bought me many kinds of study materials although my family was struggling financially.
Thanks to my mother, I was the smartest kid in junior high school. But only on paper. Even when I got a perfect score, I struggled with self-doubt. I wouldn’t be recognized as a good kid if I didn’t get a perfect score. Probably my mother didn’t intend to make me feel that way, but that’s what I thought.
Right before I went to college, my mother was hospitalized. She couldn’t come back home since then.
I don’t know what my mother thought in hospital. My mother was unable to speak. But I saw her working hard on being alive although her disease was incurable. Between life and death, she worked really hard to just be herself — not even a daughter, a sister, a wife or a mother. I believe that she made it. Even if no one else recognized that.
After spending twenty-one years in a hospital bed, my mother passed away.
Then I quit trying to be better than someone else. No matter how hard I work on, there’s always someone who is better than me in this world. Instead I continue working hard to just be myself. Not to be like someone else.
Sometimes I still struggle with self-doubt, but it’s different from what I had before. Because my life is no longer conditional. The way my mother lived in a hospital bed is now my DNA.