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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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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Happiness is a Choice?

One of my resolutions for this year is to update my blog once a week! So this is my first step… 🙂

Stepping into February (my favourite month because it’s V-Day, and it’s my month of birth 🙂 ), I am having a good feeling about this year! Have met a lot of incredible, amazing and nice people in the last 30 odd days. Come to think about it… I have been extremely productive in the last 30 odd days (Pat pat myself on the back! Haha!)

Ok… on a more serious note, I feel truly blessed… I have learnt a lot from all the wonderful sharing – people sharing with me their life and business experiences.

It makes me start to ponder…

There are times in my life when I feel really down and depressed, and everything seem to be going wrong…

And there are times when everything seem to be smooth sailing, and I will be happy and upbeat…

The truth is… happiness is indeed a choice.

In our busy lives, many things happen in a day. Some might frustrate us, but some will make us smile. It is up to us to decide how we want to react, and how we want to make out of our day.

I realize that when I am less ‘neurotic’, I tend to have a better day. 🙂 I don’t stress over the small things. I take joy in the little things. And I am thankful and grateful for the people around me, and their efforts.

I always tell my clients.

Success in dating is like anything else in life… it is about having an open mindset and a positive attitude.

People like to be around happy, positive and optimistic people. Because they hope that some of your happiness will rub off them! 🙂 Nobody wants to be around a constantly frowning and scowling person. Or someone who just keep complaining about everything under the sun.

So, how is your day so far?

Good? Bad?

It is all about interpretation, and the attitude that we choose to adopt!

Have a happy day! 🙂

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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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Lovely News… A Reminder of Why I Love What I Do :)

Had a call from a local magazine today. They are looking for ladies who have found love in their 30s. So, they wanted my help to check with our clients if they are willing to be interviewed.

It was a good opportunity for me to catch up with our married clients. Called up one of our lady clients who got married earlier this year… let’s call her M. It was really nice to touch base with her. So I told her about the story angle, and asked if she was willing to be interviewed and photographed for the magazine. She gamely agreed. I also told her that it is not necessary for her to tell the magazine how she and hubby met, as many of our clients would prefer not to let people know that they met through a dating agency.

Then M actually said, “I don’t mind!” Wow! Then she asked me if she can bring her own clothes. I told her I am not too sure, as sometimes the magazine might prepare clothes for the shoot, but I will check. And that was when she told me the extremely GOOD NEWS…

“Oh, it’s because I am pregnant!”

Wow! I was like so happy. Another Lunch Actually baby. 🙂

When people ask me, “Don’t you sometimes get tired of your profession? Why are you so passionate about what you do? Why this business of all business?”

This is the reason… I think there are not many jobs in the world where you can have a ‘direct’ hand in helping someone find happiness, and help bring a child to this world.

Can’t wait to see the photos of the baby! 🙂 Happy happy happy!

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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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