Thankful that I was Not Born Beautiful

what you doThis post is inspired by some comments on a TV advert that I was recently featured in. Netizens have taken the liberty to highlight my non-beauty by comparing me to 如花, a Taiwanese entertainment personality famous for her “exaggerated ugliness”. Actually, this is not the first time that netizens have said that I reminded them of 如花. A few years ago, when I was featured in an online article on Yahoo! there were similar comments as well.

The truth is if you were to measure my physical appearance by the standard worldly yardsticks, I am definitely not Miss Universe. It has been said that the more symmetrical your face is, the more beautiful you are. If you look closely at my facial features, my left eye is bigger than my right eye. My left eyebrow is also higher than my right eyebrow. Other than having one eye bigger than the other, I also have single eyelids. I also have lazy eyes on one eye. Having always been on the heavier side, I do not recall ever be considered “slim” in my entire life.

Growing up, I remembered struggling with an extremely low self-esteem. I was overweight, had acne all over my face and had a very ordinary or below average face. Boys would usually befriend me not because they want to know me but because they wanted me to introduce them to my beautiful friends. One of my guy friends commented how flat my face was. Another commented that, “If I were a girl and I am not pretty, I would rather die!”

When I was 15 or 16, I recalled feeling really resentful of my beautiful friends. Their beautiful looks were something that they were born with. They did not work for it. I felt that life was really unfair because they did nothing to deserve the love, the adoration, and the attention that they were getting. And I do not deserve being sidelined just because I was not born beautiful. 

Being someone who feels that being a victim is disempowering, I quickly snapped out of it. I realized that there was no point harping over something that I could not change. And I focused on things that I could change. 

I could be a better friend.
I could be a persuasive public speaker.
I could become an impactful writer.
I could be a motivational leader.
I could be a change maker.

From then on, I did not invest too much time on dolling up or making myself look better. I focused on developing my confidence and other skillsets. 

I honed my listening skills. Friends love talking to me because I am a good listener. I joined Toastmasters, a public speaking club. I practiced in front of mirrors, I recorded my speeches, I took videos of them. I perfected my speeches, took part in speech competitions and won. Till today, I am thankful for the comprehensive training that Toastmasters has given me. I learnt how to create a personal blog through HTML and Dreamweaver (when we did not have WordPress yet) and wrote to my heart’s content. I took up leadership positions in school, in college and at university. I joined service clubs like Rotary International and spearheaded many community service projects.

When I first met Jamie, the love of my life at 20 years old, he did not even remember the first time we met. Why? Because I was not the type of girl that he was usually interested in. In those days, he was only pursuing the prettiest girls in school. He did remember the second time we met. When I was delivering my campaign speech to be the President of a students’ society. He was impressed by my speech delivery and my concrete plans for the society.

For many years, I have forgotten that I was not "beautiful". Because my beauty or lack-of did not matter as I graduated from law school, did a Masters, landed a job with Citigroup as a management associate and subsequently starting Lunch Actually with Jamie, and then tying the knot a year later.

That was until I started to appear more frequently in the media, and netizens decided to chime in with their comments.

When the first nasty comment surfaced on the Yahoo! article, I cried. I did not understand why people who did not even know me could be so cruel. It disturbed me for days. Eventually, I got used to it and realize that this is something I have to live with if I were to continue to be in the public eye.

Hence, when it happened again recently, I was not as affected. However, it did spur me to write this post.

After going through all that I have gone through, you know what? I am thankful that I was not born beautiful.

If I were born beautiful, I probably would not have met Jamie as I would not value him as much as I did when he spoke to me. I would have found his approach boring because if I was born beautiful, I would have had many other suitors and would not given him the time of the day. Because I was not born beautiful, I treasure each and every encounter, each and every person who took time to get to know me. And I know that he loves me for me and not for my looks. I know that even when I am old and wrinkly at 80, it would not matter. Because that was never the reason why he was attracted to me in the first place.

If I were born beautiful, I would not be who I am today. I would not have spent so much time compensating for my “non-beauty” and honing the skillsets that are now priceless to what I do. I would not have been as good a listener, or as patient a manager or as empathetic a friend. I would not have honed my public speaking skills and I would not have taken up as many leadership positions in my youth. Without these skills that I have spent thousand of hours on, I would not be leading a 100-people organization, inspiring hundreds through speaking engagements and appearing in thousands of media coverage worldwide advocating for happy marriages.

My purpose of writing this post is to share with my young women friends out there – it really does not matter if you are not beautiful by the “world’s standard”. You do not need to be beautiful or slim to succeed in life. It does not matter you do not have a “thigh gap”. It does not matter that you do not have double eyelids. It does not matter that your nose is too flat. It does not matter what others say. Because it is not about what they say, but how you respond.

I could have ended up being a real bitter person blaming my misfortunes on not being born with a beautiful face. I could have continued to secretly resent my beautiful friends for the attention they were getting. I could have continued to suffer from low self-esteem and play victim. Instead, I decided to channel this negative energy into something positive that propelled me to become a better person.

What we make of our life is up to us. I have learnt to ignore those who laugh at me because as long as I continue to focus on doing the right things, one day, I would have the last laugh.

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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Turning 35: 10 Things I Wish I Knew 10 Years Ago

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Turning 35 is a big milestone. I am officially middle age! 🙂 Of course not everything are roses and happines, I also started to use a Dim Supplement to counter early menopause concequences. Just like how I reflected when I turned 30, I decided to do a mini reflection now that I have turned 35.

Here are 10 things that I have learnt in the last couple of years.

1. You cannot find your passion. Your passion will find you. Just like any other wide-eyed idealistic youth, I wanted to travel the world, I wanted to find myself, I wanted to know what my passion is. I have learnt that as romantic as it might sound, one cannot find his or her passion by doing “Eat, Pray, Love”. When you have the right mindset, when you are ready, your passion will find you. When I first went into the matchmaking business, did I know 100% that this was my passion? Not really. It was after years of keep going at it that I eventually know that this is what I love doing, and want to continue doing.

2. You cannot be everyone’s friend. You cannot make everyone like you. My DISC profile is high D, high I. I love people. I crave for people’s approval. I used to get very upset when I think some people do not like me. I have even tried all sorts of way to please them hoping that by doing that, I can “buy their love”. I have learnt over the years that – if you were to have accomplished anything in life, you would have your supporters and detractors. Nowadays, I am happy and contented to have a small circle of close family and friends who love me for who I am. And these are the people I know that I can always count on no matter what happens.

3. You should always tell the truth, and not try to be politically correct. When I first started out, I always try to be politically correct. I would sugarcoat my statements. I was afraid that if I were to tell the truth, and nothing but the truth, I might hurt others, or I might get complaints. I have come to realize that, it is always better to tell it as it is. People appreciate it when you are sincere, genuine and authentic. Even though the truth might sting, most of the times, they already know it. And they were just waiting for someone to affirm what they know. By being politically correct, we are actually not helping them at all.

4. Happiness is a choice. I have learnt that happiness is the gap between expectations and reality. The closer the gap, the happier one would be. Sometimes, we might not be able to change our circumstances. However, we can always change our expectations. Often, by just making a small tweak to our perspective, our life will be so much happier and rosier. Do not wait to be happy. Do not put your happiness into the hands of others. Choose to be happy. Today. Now.

5. Sometimes it is better to be smart than to be right. I have a strong sense of justice. I have strong principles. Most of the times, I am an easy-going person. Friends might even feel that I do not have much opinion.  I let people get their way on matters that are not important to me. But when it comes to matters of principle, I stand my ground and rarely budge. However, over the years, I have learnt that sometimes, it is better to be ‘smart’ than to be right. By giving way, by taking a step back, there would be more long-term benefits for all parties concerned, why not? I have learnt (still learning, honestly) to put my ego aside for the greater good.

6. Let go, let God. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. (Psalms 37:5) I have learnt to make plans and commit all my plans to Him. There is no reason to fret, to worry, to be anxious. When the time is right, He will bring it to pass. Since I have started to let go, let God, my life has become a lot simpler, calmer and more peaceful.

7. Leadership is a learned skill. The more you practice, the better you get. I used to worry a lot that I am a bad manager, a bad leader. I swung from being my team members’ best friend, to becoming a tyrant. Obviously, both did not work out very well. I have realized over the years that other than a few lucky ones who are born leaders, for the rest of us, it is about learning and practicing. Read books on leadership and management, practice the concepts and get feedback from others. And one day, you wake up to realize that you have become a much better leader! 🙂

8. When you forgive, you are not doing someone else a favour, you are actually doing yourself a favour. People will wrong us, and we will wrong others. Some do it out of spite and malice; some do it without even knowing and realizing it. We can hold a grudge forever, or we can choose to forgive. I initially found it very hard. Why should I forgive when I am not in the wrong? Why should I forgive when the person has not even apologized? And when I finally mustered the courage to forgive, I realized how much lighter and better I felt. Negative energy weighs us down. By learning to forgive, we free ourselves from emotional baggage and bondage.

9. When you take others’ feedback, it is not acknowledging you are not good enough; you are merely listening and learning from someone else’s point of view. I used to hate getting feedback. Of course, in front of the person giving me the feedback, I would smile and nod, but internally, I am screaming for the person to stop! I realized that I hated feedback because I felt that people are putting me down, and saying I am not good enough. But now, I realized that, feedback is just feedback. Take the good points, and discard the bad. And ever since that, personally, I have grown leaps and bounds, and the business has also been on an upward trend.

10. Life is not a sprint; it is a marathon. Went to Corum’s track and field championship the other day, and was watching the boys run. For the younger boys, they would keep looking beside and behind them, trying to see if anybody is catching up. And in life, that’s normal. Many of us will at some point or other be trying to ‘catch up with the Joneses’ – who has the bigger house, who has the more expensive car, whose kids are doing better? I have learnt that sometimes you are ahead, sometimes others are. But actually, that’s not really the point. The point is – are you a better version of yourself today, compared to yesterday? I have learnt to pace myself. Step by step.

There is still a long road ahead. 🙂

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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When was The Last Time You REALLY REALLY Laughed?

Dearest Readers,

Disclaimer: The following post might offend you. If you are not able to keep an open mind, or read it with a pinch of salt, I would suggest that you stop reading right now. Thanks, and have a great day ahead! 🙂

I met up with a business associate for lunch the other day, and he shared with me his observations about the fairer sex here on our sunny island of Singapore. He is not from Singapore. He has lived here for close to 20 years. 

As this is the first time we are meeting, at some point in the conversation, I said, "Oh, I am not Singaporean, I am Malaysian." He replied, "I could tell!" I was quite surprised. "Really? How?" One of the key reasons I was rather puzzled is because we were conversing in English. In the earlier days when I first came to Singapore, the taxi uncles would ask after a few minutes of conversation, "You are from Malaysia, right?" And that was because I spoke with a different Mandarin accent. Now, I think my accent has completely changed, and I never get that question any more. 

Anyway, back to questioning my friend. He said, to my surprise, "Singaporean girls do not laugh. They only laugh from the throat, but not from the belly." He went on to share, "The word to describe them is 'constipated'."

I immediately jumped to the Singaporean girls' defence. "I am sure that it is just some of the Singaporean girls that you have met. It cannot be all." He said, "Come on, I have been here for close to 20 years! I have met many Singaporean girls…" I said, "I still think it is a generalisation!" He gamely challenged me, "Well, you just go and observe from now on…!" Just in case you are wondering if he is single, he is happily married with teenage children. 

The above is my friend's personal opinion. Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, and that's his. Whether his opinion is true or not, it did set me thinking. I think Singaporean or not, male or female, we probably come across as 'constipated' at some point or other in our lives.

I love to smile, I love to laugh. I usually get these comment a lot. "You smile a lot!" or "You love to laugh, don't you?" or "Is it really so funny?" The last question came from a Singaporean guy friend of mine. Perhaps it is because my Chinese name has the word "Laugh". I am not sure. If Chinese name has a part to play, I sure am glad that both my kids have the word "Happy" in their Chinese name.

When I hear something funny, I do not worry about looking silly or looking 'unladylike'. I will just laugh. And when I laugh, I would really vibrate with laughter. Not very 'glam' I must say. But I do love a good laugh. 

One of the key advices I always give to my clients or even blog readers when going on a date is, "Be happy! Smile! We all love to be around happy people!" Perhaps I should change my advice to,

"Do not be afraid to laugh! Laugh with your date, laugh at yourself! Even if nothing comes out of it, at least you have had a good laugh!"

In my humble opinion, think it is definitely better to come across as 'unglam' than 'constipated'. 🙂 And like the saying go, "Laughter is the best medicine!" According to Wikipedia… Laughter has been shown to lead to reductions in stress hormones. When laughing the brain also releases endorphins that can relieve some physical pain. Laughter also leads to a stronger immune system!

My dearest readers, so when was the last time you laughed? Like really, really laughed? What are you waiting for? Go and have a good laugh at my expense! 🙂

Image Source: www.housepaintings.net

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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One’s Life Must Matter

Apart from matchmaking, public speaking is one of other passions. This is the speech that helped me win the Toastmasters Area Level International Speech Contest.

Have a wonderful weekend, my dearest readers! 🙂

***

“Aiyoh, you can’t do it one-la! You might look like him, sound like him, hair also thinning like him, but my friend, you are no Li Ka-Shing, you know! Stop dreaming-la!”

“Girl ah girl, you know mummy love you right? Mummy wants you to succeed, but you know, for people like us, we must be contented with what we have. This is the best you will ever be.”

Contest Chair, distinguished judges, ladies and gentlemen,

When was the last time someone poured cold water on your dreams?

When the last time someone close to you, despite well-intentioned and well-meaning ask you to stop dreaming?

Nick Vujicic was borne with a rare disease – a devastating disease where he was borne without all four limbs – yes, no arms and no legs. He was bullied mercilessly because he is different. They taunted him, they gawked at him, they laughed at him. At 10, he almost drowned himself. After he read a newspaper article about a man despite being severely disabled who went on to live triumphantly, he decided, “I will not kill myself. I will lead a full life. I will make my life matter.” Without hands, he learnt to write with his mouth. Without fingers, he learnt to type with his toes. Without arms and legs, he learned how to surf. And last month, he even did something even our Singapore government has failed to get many of its young citizens to do, he got married.

If anybody had an excuse to be depressed, Nick does.

If anybody had an excuse to stop trying to make his life matter, Nick does.

Yet, Nick has travelled around the world, gave speeches and motivated and inspired three million people.

If Nick can make his life matter, what is our excuse?

When I was 14 years old, I was told by someone whose opinion I should trust, something that I would remember for the rest of my life. This someone is none other than the headmistress of my secondary school. I can still remember that fateful day, where she stood in front of the entire class, stared long and hard at me and told me, “You are good for nothing!” My cheeks started to burn red and hot tears formed in my eyes. I bite my tongue as I knew better than to retort the headmistress.

10 years later, I quit my banking job to start a dating company with my husband. I was scared, I was worried, and do I have what it takes to make it? We worked very hard, and now our business spans across three countries. With God’s grace, we have touched thousands of lives and created hundreds of happy marriages. We have been featured on Bloomberg, Forbes, CNBC Asia and many others.

Fortunately for me, I never believed her .

Someone might have put us down, step all over our dignity and pride. There’s no excuse. We still can make our life matter.

I recently caught a movie and something the main character said struck a deep chord with me.

She said, “I will never be one of those women, who stay silent and pretty on the arm of her husband. Or remote and alone in the kitchen doing the washing up for that matter. One’s life must matter, Denis, beyond all the cooking and the cleaning and the children. One’s life must mean more than that.”

This was said by Margaret Thatcher, the first and only female UK Prime Minister. In those days, it is remarkable for a woman for a woman to become a Member of Parliament. She herself never thought she would see a female Prime Minister in her life time.

The odds were against her. People laughed at her screechy voice. Her opponents were conspiring for her to fail.

When the time came to prove her mettle, when her country needed her, she stepped up and made her life matter.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Whatever we do, wherever we are in our life journey, we can make our life matter.

If you want to start your own business, just do it. It does not matter that you have to start out small. It does not matter that your friends think you are crazy. In fact, I have learnt that the crazier they think you are, the better it is!

If you have chosen to be a homemaker, then ace it. Go all out and be the best homemaker you can be. Cook up a storm for your family so they can’t wait to come home for dinner every night. Bring up not just well-educated children, but also children that are compassionate and well-mannered, children that will make a difference to society.

You can do it. Start dreaming again. Make your life matter.

Contest Chair.

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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Ask Violet: Am I Unwanted, Ugly and Worthless?

Dear Violet,

My experiences in dating has been nothing but a complete failure. I read your success stories on how couples have found true love on net dating sites or through social events or other avenues. 

I tried being more socially active since many years ago when I was an undergraduate. I tried net dating, attended parties etc to know more individuals from the opposite sex but it always turned out to be hi-bye affairs. However, despite the strings of failures, I have never stopped trying. I began to evaluate the reasons of failure, "Why no guys were ever remotely romantically interested in me" I thought it was because of my physical appearances and presentation.  I worked hard in improving my looks, and even read up on books on dating and communication. But time and time again, with every attempt of meeting new guys from dating sites, or social events, it always turned up to be yet again a hi-bye affair or guys simply ignored me during social events, choosing to chat with other ladies.

My strings of failures really set me back. I have tried improving my looks, changing my social and communication skills but i always end up with failure. To be honest, I am totally hurted and rejected. Year after year, my attempts in trying to foster even friendships with the opposite gender have failed…  I can't help feeling rejected, unwanted, ugly and worthless while I see ppl getting attached one after another. I have also received my fair share of criticism about my looks from guys who have participated in these social events. I just met a guy this year and he tells me once again, he is not looking for a special one. I think im being written off again because of my looks.

I'm getting depressed. should i give up? It seems like a hopeless and endless situation.

Sincerely, P

Dear P,

Thank you for your email, and I would like to commend you for picking up the courage to write in!

It is not easy to see people around you getting hitched, and you are still single day after day, month after month. I know how that feels, because as I was growing up, I am always surrounded by more more attractive and beautiful friends. Guys usually only approach me because they want to be introduced to my pretty friends, or they would like to get more information about my friends. As a result, I used to have inferiority complex about my looks. Growing up, being not too well-acquainted with make-up and dressing up, I did not really know how to make myself more attractive. Thus, I started developing myself in other ways e.g. taking up leadership roles, community service, public speaking etc. At the end of the day, the time spent on self-development was well worth it, because it not only helped me develop my self-confidence, it also helped me meet my husband. 

I really applaud you for your efforts in terms of improving your first impression, honing your communication skills and widening your social circles!!! You are definitely on the right track.

Here are some suggestions to help you further increase your dating chances:

1) Get Professional Advice on Grooming and Make-up: Often, it is much easier and more effective to have the professionals tell us how we can improve our outlook, rather than just working on it ourselves. I have invested in both an image consultancy course as well as a personal make-up course. I have to say the personal make-up course is one of the best investments I have made! A good make-up teacher can teach you quick tips and techniques to instantly enhance your features. Check out the numerous YouTube videos that demonstrate the magic of make-up and you know what I mean! 🙂

2) Rediscover Your Passion. As much as you would like to spend time finding the right man, I would like to encourage you to spend time on yourself, doing something you enjoy as well. It is important that you have a hobby, an interest, something you are passionate about. It would make you a much happier person. If you are focused on just finding the right man, you might come across as too needy or desperate, and that would definitely send any man running. 

3) Explore Alternative Platforms of Meeting People: Men are very visual creatures. And many tend to judge harshly on physical appearances when put in a dating-focused environment. Thus, I would suggest that other than online dating and going for dating events, you could also explore alternative platforms of meeting new people i.e. places or environments where dating is not the main or only agenda. For example, having rediscovered your passion, you can enrol in classes related to your passion. Or, if you are interested in community service, you can be a volunteer. Dating is a numbers game, hence, the more people you meet, the better.

4) Stay Positive: What we focus on expands! If you keep thinking you are not going to succeed, chances are you won't. I know it is not easy, but do your best to stay happy and positive. Find a happy song that would instantly cheer you up. Go out with your girlfriends and indulge in a romantic comedy when you are feeling down. We are all attracted to happy people. So, you will be surprised how far your smile can bring you! 🙂

In short, my answer to your question is "No, you are not unwanted, ugly and worthless. And PLEASE DO NOT GIVE UP!" You are on the right track and I am sure if you take into the suggestions I have given you, you will definitely increase your chances of meeting the right person, someone who is truly worthy of you…

Take care, and happy dating! 🙂

Love, Violet

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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“Violet, why are you SO desperate?”

I dreamt of getting married by the age of 26.

Yes, when I was growing up, that was my goal. To get married by the time I am 26, and to have my first child when I am 28.

I am very blessed… when I finally got married, I actually 'beat' my goal by a year. Jamie and I got married when I was 25 and he was 29. And among our friends, we are one of the few that so-called 'married young'.

Why did I have a target to marry by 26 years old?

Come to think about it… I am not sure. Perhaps I grew up in a family where my parents are deeply in love, and have a stable marriage. I am sure they have their set of marital challenges like everybody else, but they managed to ride through the storms and they provided me with a happy and secure family environment.

Having such a goal since young, I have never been shy to share this goal with people whom I know or guys whom I am dating seriously. I know, I know… some people would ask,

"Aren't you afraid that guys would run away?"

"Aren't you afraid that guys would think that you are desperate to get married?"

"Violet, why are you SO desperate?"

In life, we all have goals and dreams. And at the beginning of every year, we will often set new year resolutions… setting our goals for the upcoming year. And since we can set goals for our career, our health, our travel plans… in other words every single aspect of our lives, why can't we set a goal for our lifelong happiness?

Why are we so afraid to be termed as 'desperate'? Why are we so scared to declare our true intentions? Why are we so worried that we cannot even set our own rules? Instead, we're being ruled by what others want. And some of us are so afraid that we will even go out of our way to tell others… "I don't really need to get married…" when deep down, that's what you truly and deeply yearn for.

With everything in life, you will not succeed unless you have a dream, a strong belief and an action plan.

If you do not even dream of getting married, why would you end up being married?

If you do not believe you would ever be able to get married, chances are you won't.

And you can dream and believe all you want, but if you do not do anything about it, then it's highly unlikely your dream girl or prince charming would just fall from the sky.

Life is short. Do not spend time worrying about what others might think of you or say about you. You cannot please everyone, and neither should you. Do what you think is right. If you are not going to 'fight' for your own happiness, nobody will.

My wish for you in 2012…

For those who are single and looking… be bold. Dare to dream and set a goal for your lifelong happiness. It might not happen overnight or it might not even happen in the year 2012, but if you have a dream that you truly believe in, and you work towards your goal, you can only be one step closer to finding love.

For those who are in a relationship not sure where it is heading… be courageous. What was your dream? Was it to get married by the time you are 26, 28, 30 or 35 years old? Whatever it was, put your foot down and declare your intention. The right guy or girl would not run. Yes you heard me right. He or she might feel very uncomfortable or even scared, but the right person would not bolt. If he or she quits on you, then he or she was never the right one to begin with.

For those who are in happy and fulfilling relationships… be thankful. I am really glad that you have made the right choice. Treasure and cherish your partner for you are truly blessed to have found one another. 🙂

To my dearest readers, Merry Christmas and have a wonderful year ahead!

If you feel that this post might benefit your single friends who are looking for love, please tweet it or share it on Facebook. 😉 Thank you in advance!

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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Seeking Perfection?

Have not updated my blog in months. And the significant other has started to nag me. 'When was the last time you blogged?' he asked.

The reason for the lack of blog posts is usually the same. The lack of time. Or more often the lack of inspiration.

And I guess, the truth is…

The strive for perfection.

I am unable to post up a blog post that I do not feel strongly about. In other words, I refuse to write for the sake of writing. Maybe I should. Because then, I would probably have more frequent posts, and more regular readers. 😉

The strive for perfection is also often the bane when it comes to singles looking for a mate.

Is he tall enough? Is she pretty enough?

Does he earn enough? Is she slim enough?

Is he really nice? Or is he faking it? Or why is he SO nice? There must be something wrong with him.

And when we finally meet the right person, we realise that, they are not perfect after all. Because we have come to realise that it is not possible to find someone who's perfect. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and more often than not, we have many flaws.

It is better to build a relationship with someone who is 'not so perfect' but whom you love, rather than spend your whole life trying to look for that perfect someone, only to be sorely disappointed to know that he or she does not exist. 

And so, what is the definition of perfect?

After being in a relationship with the significant other for 11 years, and being married for 6 years… I have realised that… life's perfect when you are contented…. and happy. It's all in your state of mind.

When you are feeling fulfilled and blissful, everything is perfect…

You can't search out perfection. Perfection will come searching for you! When you have finally put away your check list syndrome, get rid of your emotional baggage, lower your defences, open up your heart… and go into the relationship with an open mind, and a positive attitude.

All the best in your path to meeting perfection…!

P/S I promise I would work on posting more regularly instead of seeking perfection.

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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Movie Review: Love in Space 全球热恋

Honestly, I was quite put off with the movie title at first. Love in Space? Hmm…

However, I was attracted to the star-studded cast (Aaron Kwok, Eason Chan, Rene Liu, Xu Fan, Angelababy), and hey, it's a love comedy after all right? Thus, when offered a pair of tickets by omy.sg to catch the preview screening, I decided to give the movie a chance.

To cut the long story short, the movie revolves around a mother and her three daughters who have achieved much in life, but there's something missing in all their lives… you guess it… L.O.V.E. As the story unfolds, we are introduced to the mother and the three lovely daughters – their lives, their aspirations and their love matches.

The movie explores many different themes of romantic love.

Between the mother and her love match, it is about companionship between two people in their twilight years, two people sharing the same interest – cooking. Will love blossom?

Between the first sister and her fellow astronaut (that's probably where the cheesy movie title comes from…), it is about lost love found. They used to date each other, but due to some misunderstandings, they broke up. Will they rekindle their long lost relationship?

Between the second sister and her match, it is about putting aside prejudices and differences, and working together to make a seemingly impossible relationship to work. Will it work?

And between the youngest sister and her beau, it is a love story between a superstar and a 'commoner'. Will she choose love over her career? After all, she has signed a contract to not be in a relationship for 5 years.

Out of the four love stories, the most touching story for me is the love story of the second sister. It is a most unlikely match because she is a cleanliness freak (she actually has to see a psychiatrist for her condition), and he is a rubbish collector. Well, to be fair, he is the only heir in the family-run business, but unfortunately he is involved in the daily operations. They had a false start to their could be relationship, and at one point, it seemed as it their relationship would not stand a chance. But as fate would have it, they ended up bumping into each other again, literally. What really made this love story work is also the chemistry between the actor (Eason Chan) and the actress (Gwei Lun-Mei). 

I would give this movie a 7 out of 10 rating. It is entertaining enough, there were many scenes that got the whole cinema laughing out loud. It is touching enough, quite a number of scenes made me tear. And I did walk out of the movie theatre, feeling that it is time well spent. Even hubby who was initially dragged there to watch the movie had a good time. That says something! ;)

The movie is out in all major cinemas today in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. Go catch it now! :)

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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How to Snag a Great Guy 101

Recently, an associate shared with me that she and another colleague of ours are very envious of me, because I have snagged such a great guy. My hubby Jamie comes across as a good husband as well as a good father. They even said that my hubby's type of man is probably in extinction. It is not possible to find a man like that anymore.

When I shared this later with my hubby, I said with mock indignant, "How come nobody says that you are a lucky guy?" Hubby said without missing a beat, "I am a lucky guy!" See, I love this man! :)

Jokes aside…. I thought it is long overdue that I share some tips with my dear readers on how to 'snag' a great guy, as truly, I know and believe with all my heart that I am blessed to have met and later 'snag' my dearest hubby. I give thanks everyday to have such a wonderful husband and fantastic father for my children.

So, here's my 'secret' step-by-step approach:

Step 1: Ask yourself, "What is my definition of a great guy?"

Problem is, we are often looking at the wrong things. Before I met Jamie, my definition of a great guy or at least an ideal guy for me is someone who is outgoing, talkative, life of the party… and of course he must be witty and humorous. Anybody who have met Jamie would definitely NOT have used the above adjectives to describe him.

In fact, when I invited him to come for my high school reunion, he asked if he could bring a book, and I said OK. And when he first met some of my ex-colleagues from the bank, they actually asked me, "What do you see in him?!" because he was so quiet then and did not say much. 

I am definitely blessed because even though I must admit I was initially attracted to Jamie for biologically-driven reasons, when I got to know him better, it was beyond the surface. I realised that he is indeed my soul mate because among others, we share the same values and same life goals. It no longer mattered that he is not outgoing, talkative and life of the party…! Now, I wondered what was I thinking then?! :)

The most brilliant diamond is often hidden underneath what might seem like a rough rock. Look beyond the surface. Your perfect match might not come in the package that you expect, but if you could just spend some time to get to know him better, he could be the perfect guy for you.

Step 2: Being happy on your own

Are you happy on your own? Or are you looking for a man to fill the huge empty space in your life? Is this an important question, you might ask? Yes it is. Because depending on your answer, the approach you take to life and finding a man would be very different. 

A woman who is happy on her own comes across as self-assured and confident, and of course happy. A woman who has a huge gap to be filled usually comes across as needy. And being too needy will definitely send most guys packing.

Basically, men want to be with women who are happy, who are contented, who are positive and optimistic. Why? Because when they imagine a future with you, they want to feel warm and fuzzy inside, and not shudder in cold sweat. No man wants to be part of a quarrelsome household. If during the dating and courting stage, you are already complaining and nitpicking about everything under the sun, chances are, he will definitely think twice of continuing with the relationship. 

Are you currently happy? If you are not, find out why. Fix that first. What is your childhood passion? Go pursue your passion. What is a hobby you have been dying to pick up? Do it now. Where do you want to travel to? Apply for leave and pack your bags. When you are a truly happy person, guys will flock to you like bees to honey. Because honestly, we are all attracted to happy people. 

Step 3: Rediscover your Kindness Quotient

Many men, when asked what attracted them to their wives, did not say that because she was pretty or beautiful or even sexy. Many actually said, because she is kind. Are you shocked? Some has also called it the 'Specific Act of Kindness'. Men like women too have certain soft spots and insecurities. Some women worry about coming on too strong. If he is the right type of guy, he probably would not think badly of you. He would just be touched that you are so thoughtful. 

Jamie has shared with me that an act that won him over was when I bought him fizzy cola candies from the nearby cinema, and I dropped them off at his place. To me, it was just a random act, as I happened to be watching movies with friends, and I knew that he likes fizzy cola candies. But for him, the act has spoken volumes.

Another girl I know dedicated her time to helping the guy lose weight even before they become an item. She was so patient, supportive and encouraging, and the guy was so completely touched by her. They eventually got together and he gave her one of the sweetest marriage proposals I have ever heard. And he absolutely adores her.

Men do not like materialistic women. Men do not like opportunistic women. Men do not like to be taken for a ride. In short, men are not stupid.

Instead of thinking of what you can get from the guy, think of what you can give him. And actually, a great guy is not looking for much. He is simply looking for someone who appreciates him for who he is, and someone who is not afraid to give or wear her heart on the sleeve.

At the end of the day, like anything in life, your mindset will determine your behaviour which will in turn determine your actions. If you do not believe that it is possible to 'snag' a great guy, because they are an extinct species, chances are… you won't!

All the great guys are NOT married or gay. There are actually many wonderful men out there if you bother to search and scour. Keep your eyes and mind open, and I assure you, you will be surprised that your 'great guy' could be right under your nose!

Happy dating! 

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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10 Love Lessons Learnt from General Election 2011

Wow, time really flies… I just realised that I have not blogged for 3 months! Sorry for the long absence as I have been very busy with the business, especially our new branch in Taipei, as well as spending time with our family…!

And of course, in recent weeks, I have been one of the many keen followers on the latest updates on the Singapore's General Election 2011.

Now that the dust has settled, I have reflected on the ten lessons I have learnt from this momentous event in Singapore, and how these lessons can be applied to love, dating and relationships.

1. Do not think that what you have done in the past would help you in the present or the future. As much as it is true that the ruling party has brought Singapore from a fishing village to the thriving modern metropolitan it is today, many Singaporeans no longer vote based on the past accomplishments. Application: Similarly, one of the biggest complaints in many relationships is that the guy or the girl puts on his or her best behaviour during courtship, but once the deal is sealed, he or she will stop trying as hard, or keep bringing up all the things that he or she has done in the past. In any relationship, be it between the government and its citizen or between two lovers, constant and consistent effort must be put in to keep the relationship relevant and growing.

2. Do not come across as arrogant. If you read the many forum postings about GE2011, one of the most common traits used to describe the ruling party is 'arrogant'. Application: I can assure you that if your date meets you for the first time, and you come across as arrogant and high-handed, chances are you will not get a second date. The problem is, many a times, the person who has been labelled as arrogant did not even intend to come across as such. They are usually shocked when they know that others view them as arrogant. It's all in the mindset and the attitude. When you go on a date, adopt an open mindset and a positive attitude – take it as an enjoyable experience to make a new friend. Even when you meet the person, and he or she might not be your ideal mate, do not dismiss him or her immediately. You never know… he or she might have a friend or colleague who is the perfect mate for you… and because of your deemed arrogance, you have lost the chance of being introduced!

3. Communication is a two-way street. I remember visiting one of the PAP candidate's FB page, and I was quite surprised that comments are not allowed and wall postings by fans are also not allowed. It set me thinking, "What's the point of having a FB page then?" The ruling party would have realised by now that they have to rethink their social media strategy to connect with the young. Application: When it comes to dating, it is interesting to observe some who just embark on a monologue during dates. They are not even aware that their date is getting extremely bored and disinterested. A good conversation is like a game of table-tennis or ping pong. The ball goes back and forth rhythmically. Each party must be given a chance to participate and air their views.

4. Speak in the same language. Communicating is not enough. You have to speak the same language as your audience. During the GE, I attended rallies and watched the rallies online. And I found it quite amusing how different the various candidates spoke during the rallies, and the varied responses (some good, and some not so good) that they drew from the audience. I have to say, most of the time, the opposition parties did a much better job in rallying the rally goers. Application: When it comes to first dates, you will be shocked to know what people talk about. Some people like to talk about their jobs even though they hate their jobs. And as they delve deeper into their jobs, they would use industry jargons that people generally do not understand and eventually, their date lose interest. Know your date, know what his or her interest is, and engage him or her on the same level.

5. First impressions do matter. In every GE, be it in Singapore or other countries, there are bound to be some 'STARS'. One of the biggest and hottest names in GE2011 is of course Ms. Nicole Seah. Even before she was officially introduced and interviewed, she was already making waves when her official photo was released to the media. Sweet, pretty, fresh-faced are just some of the words used to describe this passionate, confident and well-spoken young lass. Application: Ladies, I know I have said this before, but I am going to say it again… first impressions are very important for first dates. Men are visual creatures. Hence, always put your best foot forward when going on a first date! First impressions are difficult to change… in doubt, just refer to the unfortunate case of Ms. Tin Pei Ling. Her real self could be totally different from what was portrayed in and by the online media, but it is definitely going to be an uphill task changing that initial impression.

6. Commitment is not enough. You need to have passion too. I believe that all the candidates who ran, withstanding the parties they are from are committed to serve the country. However, commitment is not enough. The voters want to see passion too. If your passion to serve is all wrapped up and people cannot see it, it is definitely going to cost you votes. Application: In a relationship, if there's only commitment and no passion, it is known as empty love. Many long-term relationships fall into this trap. They are committed to stay together, but after a while, the romance fizzles out, and like they say, familiarity breeds contempt. Before your relationship spirals down further, it is important to reignite the passion that you once feel for each other when you first started dating. For a marriage to work, you have to work at it. 🙂

7. Gifts do not always work. In the past, carrots worked like a charm. Lifts upgrading, grow and share packages. This time round, the gifts were no longer as effective as that's not what many of the voters want. I think all future candidates should read Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages. Giving gifts is just one of the 5 love languages. The others are acts of service, quality time, touch and words of affirmation. The ruling party seems to be lacking in the last 3 – quality time, touch and words of affirmation. And hence, they started to lose touch with the voters. The opposition parties however struck hard on touch and words of affirmation when connecting with the voters. Application: When it comes to relationships, do you know what your partner's love language is? And are you displaying your affection by speaking his or her love language and not your own? If your love language is act of service, and your partner's love language is quality time, it is obvious why both of you often feel unloved. Once you understand what each other's love language is, you can start speaking in the same language. 🙂 

8. Watch your words. The biggest buzz word in GE2011 has to be 'REPENT'. Many of my friends and FB friends alike were extremely offended by MM Lee's statement. And ultimately, this word probably contributed to the loss of Aljuneid GRC for the PAP. Application: Similarly, when you are in a relationship, it's so important that you watch what you say. Because a single word can sometimes make a break a relationship. In anger, we often say many things that we do not mean. But hurtful words are like water being thrown out from a pail onto the floor (Chinese Saying). Once it's thrown out, you cannot take it back. When you are in an argument with your loved one, bite your tongue if you have to, but always refrain from sarcasm and contempt.

9. Acknowledge your mistake when you are in the wrong. It has been said that PM Lee Hsien Loong's apology helped to sway some swing voters to vote for PAP. Sorry is indeed the hardest word. I have to force my 2 year old daughter to say it when she does something wrong. And yes, she's only 2!!! Application: Prolonged arguments can be avoided in relationships if one party takes a step back and apologises. When you are in the wrong, put your ego aside, and apologise. It can actually be the best thing you can do to save your relationship or your marriage. Think about it this way, is saving face more important, or is your relationship/marriage more important?

10. Be the right person. Many investors have been holding their breath lest there be a freak election result. Thus, the Singapore's stock market rose sharply after it was announced that the ruling party PAP has returned to power decisively. After the exciting campaigning and hustings, Singaporeans generally voted wisely and rationally. As much as many are not completely satisfied with the ruling party, they still voted for the candidates whom they feel can best serve them in the long run. Opposition parties who did not have strong manifestos or long-term plans were not voted in this time round. Workers' Party who fielded strong and credible candidates and has a convincing manifesto made great strides in this election. Application: When it comes to dating, before one even starts to think about meeting the right person, most importantly one has to be the right person. Because when you are the right candidate, with the right mindset, the right attitude and the right behaviour, you would automatically come across as attractive to your target audience! 🙂

This has been an extremely insightful and enlightening two weeks for me. The General Election has indeed brought out the best and the worst in many of us. I have been heartened and inspired by heroic acts, touching stories and courageous stance; and I have been brought to tears when I saw how ugly and petty we can be. At the end of the day, I believe it is what we learn from it all that will make us stronger and better.

To my dearest readers, happy dating and have a wonderful week ahead! 🙂

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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