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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“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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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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No Strings Attached?

When I first saw the 'No Strings Attached' trailer, I thought to myself… I would like to watch this show… mainly because I have always enjoyed Natalie Portman's acting. Hence, when OMY Blog Club sent out an email to say that they had 40 preview tickets available, I jumped at the chance to be one of the first to catch the show.

The key question posed in the show is of course… Friends with benefits… does it work? I think most of us know the answer to that. It will never work for long as one party will end up falling for the other, and the other is simply not ready to invest anything more than just sex. It was still fun watching the chemistry between Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher as the plot unfolds…

Even though the plot might be a tad bit predictable, I did glean some interesting tips for all you single guys out there from this show. 🙂

1. Wearing your heart on your sleeve. Ashton Kutcher played the male lead Adam. Adam is such a sweet and sensitive guy, and his friends are always giving him funny advice. However, one thing I have to admire about Adam is that he really dares to just wear his heart on his sleeve and just put himself out there. Upon the suggestion of his friend, he actually visited Emma (played by Natalie Portman) at her work place with a balloon. For you guys out there, you do not always have to come across as macho and aloof. Sometimes, wearing your heart on your sleeve is sweet too. But always be sincere and genuine about it of course.

2. Planning a great first date. Finally after being sex friends for ages, they decided to go on a real first date. I love the fact that Adam dressed up for the date. Gave her 'flowers'. Planned the entire date and even had an itinerary! And they did so many interesting things together, not just your usual dinner. Guys, if you do not know this already, women do not like men who are indecisive. As much as you would like to give her a say or a choice, truth is, we will be extremely impressed if you have taken the initiative to give us a surprise by planning a great date!

3. Standing your ground even when it hurts. In real life, you would think that the guy would be the one who falls for the girl and as a result the whole friends with benefits relationship will break down. However, in the show, it was the other way round. When Adam wanted something more than just sex, and Emma just couldn't seem to reciprocate. Adam finally took the painful decision of putting a stop to it all.

The scene where he told her, "I can't keep doing this. I am not going to see you again…", it was quite heart-wrenching to watch as you know how much he loves her.

The problem with many nice guys out there is… they just simply do what the girls want. They do not stand their ground. And at the end of the day, the girl just tires of them because the girls just feel that they are spineless and cannot stand up for themselves or what they believe in. There's nothing wrong in being nice. But know this, you want her to respect you, to look up to you. And if she's wrong, you have to put a stop to it.

Would I recommend this movie? No Strings Attached might not make it to my favourite romance comedy list like Love Actually, 50 First Dates or While You Were Sleeping… but it's 100% funny enough to have you in stitches, and it's definitely eye candy galore for both the female and male movie goers with two very good looking leads Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. And the bonus… you might even learn a thing or two about dating and relationships!

So what are you waiting for? Go catch it with your special date this Valentine's season! 🙂 Check here for movie times!

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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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What can single women do to lose their singlehood? (Part 2 of a 2-part series)

The truth is, before I become a professional matchmaker, I thought I knew all there was to know about dating, since I met my husband when I was 20 and we got married when I was 25. However, after entering the dating industry, I realised that there are actually many harsh realities about dating that people do not know. And that is why I decided to share my learning and insights in my book so that single ladies out there know what are the myths vs. realities. At least, after they know this, they can then make intelligent and informed decisions on what they wish to do to increase their chances of finding the right one!

Single ladies need to realise that finding the right one is NOT simply about meeting the right one.

Most singles if you ask them would tell you that the reason they are single is because they have not met the right one. However, meeting is just one of the three components. The other two components are ‘being the right one’ and ‘choosing the right one’. I have met many singles who come to use our services. Some of them successfully meet someone, and some don’t.

After some analysing, we realise that people who actually meet someone through us, they are generally:

  • Open minded and have a positive attitude
  • Flexible when it comes to their dating preferences and criteria
  • Take each date as an enjoyable experience of meeting a new friend
  • Partner with their dating consultant by providing honest feedback and also receiving feedback given by the dating consultant

All single ladies out there need to realise that:

hourglass time1. Time is not on their side. As much as they would like to build a successful career, they must also give priority to their social life

2. First impressions matter to men. As much as we do not want to change ourselves, we should appreciate that men are very visual creatures, and hence there’s no harm putting our best foot forward in each date.

3. Dating is a numbers game. You need to meet people to meet the right one. If you spend your Saturday night at home doing your laundry, your Prince Charming is not going to jump out of the washing machine!

4. There is no shame in increasing your own chances of success in finding the right partner. Let me ask you, if you were to go for a job interview, wouldn’t you put on your best suit? Style your hair? Brush up on your CV? Prepare for your answers? Arrive on time? Isn’t your lifelong happiness worth at least the same effort as looking for a job?

At the end of the day, you need to realise this… when you are single and alone, your boss will not be there to look after you. I know all the bosses out there are not very happy with me right now! Winking smile You have to love yourself more. You need to prioritise your time!

I was asked this question at a talk I gave recently… “Violet, is it possible to have it all? A career, a marriage and a family?”

The answer is… a resounding ‘YES!’

However, in order to achieve that, you have to look at your priorities. It’s not going to happen if you spend all your waking moments at work! If you want to have it all, you need to spend equal time on both work and social!

Many people out there will be wet blankets, maybe even saying, “Are you so desperate?” But just let them say whatever they want to say. In one of my favourite books, “Tuesdays with Morrie’ by Mitch Albom, there’s something Morrie said that will always stick in my mind… “Create your own culture!” The world is sometimes not a very nice place… people will put us down, or make us conform to what is known as the norm. However, you don’t need to conform to other people’s culture. Create your own… and go out there and find your own happiness!

Happy dating! Smile

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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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Why are so many career women in Singapore still single? (Part 1 of a 2-part series)

There has been a lot of talk that many career women in Singapore are still single… In the first part of this 2-part series, we are going to talk about the characteristics of some of the single ladies that I have met.

To be fair, not only many career women in Singapore are still single. It is the same with any other modern cities around the world e.g. Hong Kong, New York, Seoul, Tokyo, Shanghai etc. The thing is… more and more singles are delaying marriage. In the past, women marry in their early 20s. If you were to marry in your mid-20s, it is considered old. But now, many women are still not married by the time they are in their 30s. A lot of times, it is because these women are so focused on building their career in the early part of their life. And when they finally decide to settle down, they learn that it is not as easy to find a partner in their 30s as opposed to when they are in their 20s. One of the realities that I have shared in my book ‘Lessons From 15,000 First Dates’ is that ultimately many men are looking to date younger women as they would like to start a family eventually. So they would start to think, if I date a woman who is in her mid-30s, after 2 years of dating, 2 years of honeymoon period after the marriage, would it be too late to start a family?

Single ladies can be generally categorised into 4 groups. Of course these are generalisations and stereotypes and they are not exhaustive.

dragon lady1. The Dragon Lady: Dragon ladies are women who have done very well for themselves in the workplace. And as the skillset of women such as communication skills, interpersonal skills, multitasking skills are being more sought after in the workplace, more and more women are rising fast in the corporate world, sometimes even faster than their male counterparts. Women often feel that they have to adopt a more domineering and aggressive demeanour to climb up the corporate ladder. And often, they bring these characteristics with them wherever they go even when they are on dates. However, I always say to my single female clients, ‘Men are looking to date and marry women, not men!’ Women need to realise that they are on a date and not a debate. They do not need to challenge every single thing the guy say, or have the last say all the time. My advice to the dragon ladies is to indulge in your femininity and leave the fist-thumping in the boardroom.

2. The Waiter a.k.a. The Fixer: These are ladies who might be seeing someone, but they have been in the same relationship for 3 years, 5 years, or 9 years but the relationship just does not seem to be going anywhere. The reason is, the man keeps telling the woman that he’s not ready to settle down, and the woman is willing to just sit by and wait, hence the name ‘waiter’. And some of them are also fixers meaning they believe they can fix the guy, even though women who preceded them have failed. They believe that they are unique and special. My advice to this group of ladies is to give the guy an ultimatum. Give him a deadline, and if he does not adhere to it, then move on. You have to love yourself more because time is not on the side of the women. Just move on. If he loves you enough, he will ask you back and ask for your hand. If he does not, then he was never worth your time in the first place.

3. The Princess (and her Prince): A lot of single ladies for into this category. They probably have read too many fairy tales or indulge in too many Hollywood movies or Korean dramas. They would like to meet their prince charming ‘by chance’ because they believe that it is not romantic if they do anything extra to meet him. I believe that dating is a numbers game. Out of every 10 single men you meet, probably there are only 5 whom you are interested to know more about and he too would like to know you better. From the 5, you will probably go on a first date with 3 or 4. And from that 3 or 4, you will probably only go on more dates with 2 or 3. And from there, hopefully, you meet the one. Hence, the question is, if you do not even meet 10 single men in a month or even for some a year, what are the chances you would meet the one? I always ask the princesses, do you wish to be romantically single for the rest of your life, or be more proactive and find your prince charming? Smile My advice is, give yourself more opportunities and find more platform to widen your social circle and meet more new people.

4. The Clueless: Some ladies do not have a lot of relationship experience or have not dated in a long time. Hence, they have no idea of what to expect when it comes to dating or might have unrealistic expectations when it comes to dating. They would tell me things like, “Why should I do anything different? They should like me for who I am. If they don’t, then they are not worth my time!” when I suggest that they put on some light makeup when they go on a date. My question to them is, “There are many guys out there who are very nice and have great personality, however they might not meet your height preference (height is very important for most ladies!), then why don’t you like them for who they are as well?” My advice is that we should challenge our own list of criteria and preferences. Ultimately, we judge others, others judge us as well. When we look at each of our criterion, we should ask ourselves, is this a ‘must have’ or a ‘good to have’. If he is 1.75m, does it mean that he would be a better husband or a better father?

Stay tuned for the 2nd part… ‘What can single women do to lose their singlehood?’

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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’s 3 Secrets to a Happy Marriage! (Part 3)

This is the 3rd and last part to this series. Click here to read the first part of this series and click here to read the second part of this series.

Secret No. 3: Embracing Each Other's Imperfections

I am sure many of you who are based in Singapore would remember this TV ad – Beautifully Imperfect. If you cannot remember it, you can watch it here.

 

Many people go into marriage thinking everything will be perfect. Sometimes, I think it is bad that we try to make our wedding perfect. After such 'perfection', some people go into their marriage having an expectation that everything will be perfect and their marriage will be a bed of roses. But since we are humans, we can never be perfect. If two imperfect people come together, there are sure to be some imperfections along the way.

I love this story that my friend told me about her friend X. So what happened was, X kept trying to change her husband. Her husband had a bad habit of discarding his clothes on the floor after he takes them off. And this would really annoy her a lot. And they will end up quarreling. So after years of trying to change her husband, she finally decided to change herself. She decided to accept her husband for he is, and discarding his clothes on the floor is something that he will always do. It does not mean that he is a bad husband or a bad father. I thought that was pretty hilarious I first heard this story, or maybe it was because my friend was a really animated storyteller. As extreme as this story might sound, sometimes it is just as simple as that. 

Sometimes, we just need to embrace our partner's imperfections.

Back to me. I have so many flaws. I think if I were to write them all down, it's going to take up too much space. 🙂 And my hubby Jamie too has his little imperfections which I don't think would be nice for me to reveal in public space. 🙂 The way we have been able to live harmoniously, at least 90% of the time is to embrace these imperfections, and these imperfections will even grow on us.

Ok, I will let you in on a little secret. I drool when I sleep. YES, I DO! Some of you might be thinking… "EEEKKKSS!" I know, I know… I wish I could find a way to stop this. But apparently, it has to do with the structure of my mouth. Anyway, Jamie can either complain about how my drool is all over the pillows, or he could create a cute little pet name for me based on this imperfection. 🙂 I am sure you can guess what he did.

So here you have it, my 3 little secrets to a happy marriage:

1. Choosing the Right Mate

2. Agreeing on Money Matters Early

3. Embracing Each Other's Imperfections

If you are married, what are you own little secrets? Do share them with us! 🙂

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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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