Thuy (Kristy) Dong | Staff Writer

There are many inspirations in life, but where can we find them?

I am inspired by the little memory I had with my grandfather.

“Hey honey,” said my grandfather, “just put your hands up! I will give you the money to buy that painting as long as they pick you!” My grandfather and I were at an auction of a painting drawn by a dolphin in the theme park that we went to. It was a cute, messy drawing that I liked very much. I did not put my hands up after all. There were too many people there, and I was just too shy.

I know that it is understandable for a little girl like me at that time to be shy, but this incident has always made me think back with regret about how I was not daring to do something as simple as raising my hands in front of a crowd. From that time on, whenever I did something wrong, I criticize myself. However, the memory inspires me to stand up for what I want to do.

I know that I would be so regretful if I repeat the same mistake, which led to me missing the chance to own one of the few remaining tangible memories between my grandfather and I. In case you might wonder, he passed away nine years ago. His death was a push for me to be more confident, but in exchange, I felt unmotivated and weak because of the death. Since then, I started to look for inspirations, something that can motivate me to move on.

I am inspired by my mother.

A few years ago, when schooling and friendships did not go well, I realized that I was craving even more for motivation. In the darkest part of my life, my mother’s brother and his wife illegally stole a large amount of money from our family. Both families owned a hotel business, but it was sold without my parents’ knowledge regarding some financial information.

It was heart-breaking, and it left some consequences. It did not only affect my sister’s and my education, but it also affected the relationships between my family and me. I started to live selfishly, blaming my family for not being able to fix the problem.

I have hurt my mother especially. I do not understand why I had this selfish feeling toward her, but after all this, I have come to understand that heroes have weaknesses, too. She is indeed the strongest woman I have ever known. After I realized that I was acting selfishly, I wondered if everyone still loves me the same. I became very harsh on myself, and all I did was thinking about how to make people around me feel happy.

I am inspired by my friends.

Back when I was in my secondary school, I was very shy. I only cared about studying all day long to obtain high education achievements. I was hurt when some people called me a “nerd” and a “boring” person; others called me “weak” for crying so often. I questioned my ability to make connections with people around me.

It was not until I attended Century College that I met a lot of new friends who surprisingly inspired and motivated me. I was afraid to be hurt again, but then I still decided to open myself to them and live with my true self. I am glad that I have decided to trust myself for once, because that has helped me to make true friends, who appreciate all of my flaws and silliness. I started to realize that, perhaps, I was not confident, nor did I love myself enough. It might be the reason why some of my friends did not take me seriously.

I am inspired by K-pop music.

If I asked myself this question a few years ago, “Do you think K-pop will ever affect your life that much?” I would definitely say “no.” But indeed, yes! What do I mean by “that much” then? A few months ago, I was lost and did not know what career path I wanted to go to. I changed my majors several times, from fashion design and graphic design to new media. I was lost and felt like I was forcing myself to do something that I did not like.

It was not until I discovered a South Korean boy group named BTS, who inspired me with their album, “The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever.” I feel like when I am down-hearted and lost, BTS’s songs lead my way and encourage me to follow my hunch, despite knowing that it is not easy to follow my dream.

Eventually, thanks to BTS and their music that I decided to follow my dream and major in music business and marketing. Recently, it was also because of a BTS’s album, named “Love Yourself: Her,” which made me realize how harsh I have been to myself. I should have embraced myself more, even when I made mistakes.

We all get inspired by every little thing in life.

By now, some of you might think that not everyone gets affected by these kinds of events in their lives anyway, and that is true. All I want to say is, as we keep moving on, more inspirations will come unexpectedly at any moment. For instance, let me ask you something. Have you ever found yourself smiling all day long and keep thinking back to a small event that happened during the day? Such as the endless licking from your cute little puppy after a tiring day, or some of your dad’s jokes that can make no one laugh as always? These little things can become our motivations without us noticing, especially when we are in a stressful part of life.

I had a conversation with two of my friends from the Century College K-pop Club, Ashley Agwatu, 19 years old (math major) and Nalee Her, 19 years old (major undecided), about what their inspirations in life are. Agwatu says, “A lot of people inspire me. Specifically, hard workers. I think there are lots of times where I just get overwhelmed with everything that is going on in my life, and I just want to give up, crawl in a hole, and escape into a book or my phone or something. But then, I see people who, in spite of all the difficulties they are facing, still strive towards their goals in life.” Meanwhile, Her believes, “My friends and all of the opportunities regarding my hobby that I receive inspire me.” Regardless of each person’s situation, they all are inspired by things surrounding them.

Through all the hardships that I have dealt with, I have learned how to appreciate myself and people around me more. I found myself being motivated from motivating other people.

Not everyone is motivated in the same way. However, there is something we all have in common, which is the ability to overcome difficulties, with all the little inspirations in our lives. Remember being proud when looking back at how much you have been through, and realizing how strong you actually are? We all are the superheroes of ourselves. Heroes have weaknesses, too. It is okay because eventually, we all survived, didn’t we?

Remember: accept your mistakes and love yourself! You have to learn to love yourself first before you are able to love anything else.

This article is dedicated to my family, my friends, myself, and anyone who might have not realized how important it is to love themselves.