How Do We Truly Love Others When We Do Not Love Ourselves?

Book: All About Love, New Visions

Author: Bell Hooks

Introduction: I have been pondering about the mysterious word, action, feeling, we call love. It has been challenging understanding what it meant to love work, love people, love others, or love myself. Prior to reading All About Love, I defined love as something I gave and received.

Main takeaways:

  • Love is “essentially an action of will.” It is a decision we must make every single moment of our lives. However, to love, we must overcome many barriers. First, begin with understanding how to love yourself.
  • Love and care are two different things — love is treating others the way they wanted to be treated.


  • Surround myself with things that enhances my ability to give and receive love.
  • Seek out ways to continue to “love” with every single decision I make because everything I do and don’t do makes an impact.


  • Love is something you give, which then assumes accountability and responsibility (13).
  • Men speak about love from the position of authority, receiving and fantasizing love.  Women speak about love from the position of lack.
  • love: as the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth (10).
  • Care and affirmation, the foundation of love, are the opposite of abuse and humiliation (22).
  • There is no justice without love (30).
  • Males learn to lie as a way of obtaining power, and females do the same but also lie to pretend powerless.
  • Wounded hearts learns self-love by first overcoming low self-esteem–practicing of living consciously, self-acceptance, self-responsibility, self-assertiveness, living purposefully and the practice of personal integrity (55). Living consciously means thinking about our actions, purposes, values, and goals (55).
  • Affirmations work for anyone striving for self-acceptance.
  • One reason women have traditionally gossiped more than men because it was their only way they felt comfortably could state how they really felt (59).
  • We find satisfaction by giving completely total commitment to any job (responsibility) (62).
  • Many jobs undermine self-love because they require that workers constantly prove their worth (64).
  • Much of the violence in domestic life, both physical and verbal abuse, is linked to job misery (64).
  • If you cannot love yourself–accepting and understanding your own self-worth, taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, etc., being clear with what you want–you cannot love anyone else. Do not expect to receive the love from someone else you do not give yourself (68).
  • When we intentionally strive to make our homes places where we are ready to give and receive love, every object we place there enhances our well-being (66).
  • The principle underlying capitalistic society and the principle of love are incompatible (72).
  • Spiritual life is first and foremost about commitment to a way of thinking and behaving that honors principles of inter-being and interconnectedness (77).
  • Learning to embrace our suffering is one of the gifts offered by spiritual life and practice (81).
  • Though our paths are many, we are made one community in love (82).
  • A love ethic presupposes that everyone has the right to be free, to live fully and well (87).
  • There is a gab between the values people claim to hold and their willingness to do the work connecting thought and action, theory to practice to realize these values and thus create a more just society (90). 
  • Cultures of domination rely on the cultivation of fear as a way to ensure obedience 93).
  • Embracing a love ethic means that we utilize all the dimensions of love–“care, commitment, trust, responsibility, respect, and knowledge”–in our everyday lives (94).
  • Addition makes love impossible (111).
  • Dreaming that love will save us, solve all of our problems or provide a steady state of bliss or security only keeps us stuck in wishful fantasy, undermining the real power of the love—which is to transform us (114).
  • Community = group of individuals who learned to communicate honesty to each other, who have developed significant commitment to ‘rejoice together, mourn together,’ and to ‘delight in each other, and make other’s conditions our own” (129).
  • Trust is the heartbeat of genuine love (135).
  • If we want freedom and peace and the experience of love and being loved, we must let go and forgive” (139). 
  • Knowing how to be solidarity is central to the art of loving (140).
  • Enjoying the benefits of living and loving in community empowers us to meet strangers without fear and extend to them the gift of openness and recognition (143).
  • Breaking domination can best begin the practice of love by being giving, and being generous (164).
  • To get the love we always wanted but never had, to have the love we want but are not prepared to give, we week romantic relationships (169). 
  • Love as action is “essentially an act of will” — to love somebody is not just a strong feeling–it is a decision (171). 
  • When feelings are hurt and hearts are broken–that it was a case of mistake identity, that the loved one is a stranger (184). Most of the time, we think that love means to just accept the other person as they are. Yet, when commit to true love, we are committed to being changed to become more fully self-actualized 185).
  • True love is unconditional, but to truly flourish it requires an ongoing commitment to constructive struggle and change (185).
  • Honesty and openness is always the foundation of insightful dialogue (185).
  • Healing is an act of communion (215). — rarely are we healed in isolation. 
  • Peace is found not in the absence of challenge but in our own capacity to be with hardship without judgement, prejudice, and resistance (230).
  • “Shame is the most disturbing emotion we ever experience directly about ourselves, for in the moment of shame we feel deeply divided from ourselves (231). 
  • As long as we feel shame, we can never believe ourselves worthy of love (232).

Workshop: #HeyGoogle – How Do I Start A Movement

Event Website


  • How does technology inform your work?
    • Three steps:
      • Using data to leverage power on the consumer side.
      • Platform — understanding what your audience uses.
      • Communication — e.g. using an application that sends people emails during the most optimal time.
  • How do you keep updated with technology?
    • Cheatcodes: zero moment of truth – 88% of consumers research before they buy consulting with an average of 10.4 sources.
    • Take in all feedback — listen to ALL pitches.
  • Could/should you be able to control “viral” content?
    • Get the people using the content involved.
    • Keep experimenting.
    • Peer-to-peer or direct communication prevails all — how do we utilize technology to recreate this intimacy?
  • What has been your proudest moment?
    • Changing the way people thought about media and how to buy it.
    • Creating viral petitions.
    • Seeing a grandma take action after the 2016 elections and organizing.
  • How do you build the AANHPI power while increasing inclusivity?
    • Be clear with what your goal/ask is and understand how to leverage that.
    • Be aware of data — no consistent case of AANHPI in moves and news (<1% guest are AAPI).
    • Framing representation issues into an AMERICAN issue.
  • How do you influence both parties in politics?
    • People love animals — e.g. no one likes seeing turtles hurt, so use methods that include both sides.
    • The outcome/goal is the same, but the process to get there is radically different. 
    • Understand intersectionality and how to uplift voices/create spaces for voices.
  • How do you stay consistent?
    • Actually, you do not need to be creative or the messenger.
    • Be curious — force yourself to explore the unknown
    • We all have a voice — so, figure out who we are not listening to (as those with more privilege).

WLP: Ideas to Action – Grassroots Advocacy


What: This week’s WLP session focused on a brief history of AANHPI grassroots advocacy, organizing, and civic engagement. We explored the shifting use of technology, initial experiences that sparked organizing, and strategies to navigate dominant spaces.


Who: (Left to clockwise). (1) Joshua Habursky is the Founder/Chairman of the Grassroots Professional Network and concurrently the Director of Advocacy for the Independent Community Bankers of America. (2) Grace Choi is a South Korean Associate Director for Global Gender Policy and Advocacy at Save the Children. (3) Anj Chaudhry is an advocate for LGBTQ rights that currently serves for the National CAPACD from CAAAV: Organizing Asian communities in New York City. (4) Hoan Dang is a Vietnamese organizer, activist, and public servant in Montgomery. He has served multiple non-profit boards, served as chair, and currently a budget expert for a federal client.

Speaker advice:

  • To establish credibility as AANHPI: (1) remember to advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves. (2) Ask the first question–raise your hand and speak first so you don’t perpetuate Asian submissive stereotypes. (3) Do your homework/research.
  • To mediate racism: (1) Have allies and POCI’s who can support you. (2) Don’t silence yourself–speak up.
  • To redo your 20’s: (1) Have more “fun.” (2) Network at every event–the people you meet will be your allies in the future. (3) Practice self-care so you don’t burnout. (4) Match your skill sets with passion to achieve vocation. 

Fundamentals of messaging: 

  • Controversial – make a call to action
  • Eye catching – utilize visuals
  • Emotions – captivate them
  • Timely – when is congress talking about this issue?
  • Humanize – how does this impact people?
  • Youth – get multi-generations involved
  • Seasonal – 12 Days of Advocacy, Trick-or-Treat.
  • Shareable – emails, social media.
  • Interactive – collect data on social media reaction
  • Campaign style – mailing
  • Identifying – consistent logo, language, symbols.
  • Relatable – relevance to community
  • Personality & branding – following our mission and vision


  • Target celebrities and thought leaders
  • Facebook Live
  • Webinars
  • Share victories and with coalitions
  • Share results
  • (Optional) Share birthdays – essentially be creative

Main takeaways:

  • Build a community that will relay your message to influencers
  • Create compelling, controversial, and visual content
  • Connect Online and Offline Activities
  • Inform community on campaign results
  • Create a platform for constant action and engagement
  • Bolster your reach with media and celebrities on social media
  • Stick to your brand and remain consistent across channels

Extra: Tonia Bui, Hoan Dang, and I. I love Viet people <3.


Book Review: How to Change Culture and Cultivate Synergistic Teams


What: The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle is book that gives you insight of how to cultivate “successful” teams–teams that have “chemistry,” synergy, trust, effectiveness, and collaboration. Coyle includes multiple examples from personal experiences and frames works that allow readers to understand how to utilize design and structures to create an advantageous culture.

Key takeaways:

  • Flow: Safety -> vulnerability -> purpose.
  • Safety is the key feeling and culture needed to enhance engagement, constructive feedback, vulnerability, trust, collaboration, and etc.
  • Focus on the simple moments of affirming that cultivate the long-term culture–habits make culture.
  • Practice ways to making others feel interdependent–utilize feelings, then experiences.
  • Over communication expectations.
  • “First we build trust, then we leap”–Vulnerability is a two-way street.
  • Clarity of priorities and purpose is absolute necessity for effective teams–use slogans, catchphrases, and artifacts/symbols.

Why you should read: You can be the smartest or the best person, but if you team does not function well TOGETHER, you can still lose. Being aware of the minuscule behaviors that you incorporate in agendas, meetings, lunch, conversations, check-ins, and events ALL make a significant impact. If we want to overcome today’s greatest challenges–burnout, disengagement, unhappiness, suffering, etc.–, we must change ourselves and how we behave. And, it all begins with self-awareness and identification of necessary changes.

— Extra —


  • Status management: a process in which groups figure out where they fit into the larger picture: Who is in charge? Is it okay to criticize someone’s idea? What are the rules here? (xvii)

A strong culture increases net income 756 percent over eleven years, according to a Harvard study of more than two hundred companies (xvii)

(1) Build safety, (2) share vulnerability, and (3) establish purpose.

We are all about being a familial group, because it allows you to take more risks, give each other permission, and have moments of vulnerability that you could never have in a more normal setting (7).

Factors of groups with “chemistry” (8):

  • Close physical proximity, often in circles
  • Profuse amounts of eye contact
  • Physical touch (handshakes, fist bumps, hugs)
  • Lots of short, energetic exchanges (no long speeches)
  • High levels of mixing; everyone talks to everyone
  • Few interruptions
  • Lots of questions
  • Intensive, active listening
  • Humor, laughter
  • Small, attentive courtesies (thank-yous, opening doors, etc.)

Belonging cues possess three basic qualities:

  1. Energy: they invest in the exchange that is occurring
  2. Individualization: they treat the person as unique and valued
  3. Future orientation: they signal the relationship will continue

The key to creating psychological safety, as Pentland and Edmondson emphasize, is to recognize how deeply obsessed our unconscious brains are with it. A mere hint of belonging is not enough; one or two signals are not enough. We are build to require lots of signaling, over and over. This is why a sense of belonging is easy to destroy and hard to build.

Pentland’s studies show that team performance is drive by five measurable factors (14):

  1. Everyone in the group talks and listens in roughly equal measure, keeping contributions short.
  2. Members maintain high levels of eye contact, and their conversations and gestures are energetic.
  3. Members communicate directly with one another, no just with the team leaders.
  4. Members carry on back-channel or side conversations within the team.
  5. Members periodically break, go exploring outside the team, and bring information back to share with the others.

Those six words—I’m so sorry about the rain—transformed people’s behaviors . . . response rate jump 422 percent . . . They were an unmistakable signal: This is a safe place to connect (23).

The amygdala is a structure deep in the core of the brain that constantly scans the environment for threats—it also plays a vital role in building social connections (25).

The foundation of psychological safety that builds connection and identity are—asking personal questions, an exercise that revealed their individual skills, a sweatshirt embroidered with their name (39).

The reason why the Spurs were one of the best teams is because—they were smart at drafting and developing unselfish, hardworking, team-oriented individuals (50).

Action: Tell people the truth, with no bullshit, and love them to death.

Make sure everyone feels connected and engaged to something bigger (53).

One misconception about highly successful cultures is that they are happy, lighthearted places—they are energized and engaged, but at their core, they members are oriented less around achieving happiness than around solving hard problems together (55). – they have meaning, which equals happiness.

“I’m giving you these comments because I have very high expectations and I know that you can reach them.” (56)

  1. You are part of this group.
  2. This group is special; we have high standards here.
  3. I believe you can reach those standards.
    1. This message lights up the unconscious brain: Here is a safe place to give effort.

Communication types of belonging cues (57):

  1. Personal, up-close connection (body language, attention, and behavior that translates as I care about you)
  2. Performance feedback (relentless coaching and criticism that translate as We have high standards here)
  3. Big-picture perspective (larger conversations about politics, history, and food that translate as Life is bigger than basketball)

Collisions—defined as serendipitous personal encounters—are, he believes, the lifeblood of any organization, the key driver of creativity, community, and cohesion (66).

The most successful projects were those driven by sets of individuals who formed what Allen called “clusters of high communicators” (69).

  • The distance between their desk made a huge impact.
  • The Allen Curve = the closer you are physically, the more clusters you will have. It exponentially increases as distance decreases.

Strategies to implement:

  • Over communicate that you are listening and send a stream of affirmation. It is just important not to interrupt (75).
    • Head tilted slightly forward
    • Eyes unblinking
    • Eyebrows arched up
    • Lean towards the speaker
  • Be vulnerable: ask for help and be honest
  • To create safety, leaders need to actively invite input (77).
    • One of the most vital moments for creating safety is when a group shares bad news or gives tough feedback (77).
  • Preview future connection: remind people of the end goal
  • Overdo Thank-Yous: give affirmation as much as possible
  • Be painstaking in the hiring process: add extra layer of belonging cues—Zappos offer trainees a $2,000 bonus if they quit (about 10 percent of trainees accept the offer) (81).
  • Eliminate bad apples: name those bad behaviors (81).
  • Create maximum collision spaces (82).
  • Make sure everyone has a voice: all meetings must have everyone speak before ending.
  • Pick up trash: practice humility. Muscular humility—seek a mindset that strives to serve the group in simple ways (85).
  • Take advantage of threshold moments: first impressions. They can happen one day or every day.
  • Avoid giving sandwich feedback: instead, ask if people want feedback and having a learning-focused two-way conversations about the needed growth (87).
  • Embrace fun: laughing is the most fundamental sign of safety and connection (88).

When asking questions, ask questions that lead to vulnerability (102).

First, build trust, then leap (107). Vulnerability doesn’t come after trust, it precedes it (107).

Good teams tend to do a lot of extreme stuff together. A constant stream of vulnerability gives thema  much richer, more reliable estimate on what their trustworthiness is, and brings them closer, so they can take still more risk. It builds on itself (112).

Action: intentionally do activities that make people feel interconnected, leading to people relying on others (121). E.g. hell week and how it builds teams.

People who tend to succeed are those who work the hardest (128).

Best thing to improve team cohesion is make them do hard training (140).

I screwed that up” (141)

Build individual relationships by sharing lunch (147).

“She’s incredibly skilled at unlocking teams, asking questions that connect people and open possibilities (149).”

“For me, every conversations is the same, because it’s about helping people walk away with a greater sense of awareness, excitement, and motivation to make an impact (151).”

  • Individuals are really different, so you have to find different ways to make them comfortable to engage and share what they’re really thinking about. It’s not about decisiveness—it’s about discovery. For me, that has to do with asking the right questions the right way (151).

Ideas for action

  • Make sure the leader is vulnerable first and often: as we’ve seen, group cooperation is created by small, frequently repeated moments of vulnerability (158).
  • Recommend 3 questions from People Analytics at Google (159)
    • What is one thing I currently do that you’d like me to continue to do?
    • What is one thing that I don’t currently do frequently enough that you think I should do more often?
    • What can I do to make you more effective?
  • Overcommunicate expectation: this helps with transparency and maximize helpful behavior
  • When creating new groups, focus on two moments: (1) the first vulnerability. (2) the first disagreement.
  • Listen like a trampoline: things they do
    • They interact in ways that make the other person feel safe and supported
    • They take a helping, cooperative stance
    • They occasionally ask questions that gently and constructively challenge old assumptions
    • They make occasional suggestions to open up alternative paths
  • In conversation, resist the temptation to reflexively add value: creating vulnerability often resides not in what you say but in what do you not
  • Use candor-generating practices like AARs, BrainTrusts, and Red Teaming:
    • AAR uses 5 questions
      • What were our intended results?
      • What were our actual results?
      • What caused our results?
      • What will we do the same next time?
      • What will we do differently?
    • Before-Action Review
      • What are our intended results?
      • What challenges can we anticipate?
      • What have we or others learned from similar situations?
      • What will make us successful this time?
    • Aim for candor; avoid brutal honesty: honest feedback is tricky because it can lead to people feeling hurt or demoralized—have smaller, more targeted, less personal, less judgmental, and equally impactful… this is easier to maintain (166).
    • Align language with action: many highly cooperative groups use language that reinforce their interdependence
      • Aircrafts carriers do not “land” but are “recovered”
      • IDEO doesn’t have “project managers” – it has “design community leaders
    • Separate performance review and professional development: Performance evaluation tends to be high-risk, inevitably judgmental interaction, often with salary related consequences. Development is about identifying strengths and providing support and opportunities for growth (167).
    • Use flash mentoring: you pick someone you want to learn from and shadow them—but it only lasts a hour, not years (167).
    • Make the leader occasionally disappear: a coach calls a time-out, but the coach doesn’t come. The players will have to figure it out. This will make the players develop independence and leadership (169).

Establish Purpose

Make sure you know what is prioritized: (1) customers, (2) employees, (3) community, and (4) company stockholders.

High-purpose environments are filled with small, vivid signals designed to create a link between the present moment and the future ideal – here is where we are, and here is where we want to go (180).

Mental contrasting: imagining the realistic goal as vivid as possible and then imagining all of the obstacles and overcoming it. – this has been proven to improve interaction with strangers, negotiations, public speaking, managing time, communication, and etc. (181).

Study shows that the environment you put people in, improves their beliefs and then performance:

  1. Warmth – teachers were more kind, attentive, and connective
  2. Input – teachers provided more material for learning
  3. Response-opportunity – teachers called on student more often
  4. Feedback – teachers provided more feedback, especially on mistakes (185)

Fastest way to get a team to perform (5 basic types):

  1. Framing: successful teams conceptualized MICS as a learning experience that would benefit patients and the hospital. Unsuccessful teams conceptualized MICS as an add-on to existing practices.
  2. Roles: successful teams were explicitly told by the team leader why their individual and collective skills were important for the team’s success, and why it was important for them to perform as a team. Unsuccessful teams were not.
  3. Rehearsal: successful teams did elaborate dry runs of the procedure, preparing in detail, explaining the new protocols, and talking about communication. Unsuccessful teams took minimal steps to prepare.
  4. Explicit encouragement to speak up: successful teams were told by team leaders to speak up if they saw a problem; they were actively coached through the feedback process. The leaders of unsuccessful teams did little coaching, and as a result team members were hesitant to speak up.
  5. Active reflection: between surgeries, successful teams went over performance, discussed future cases, and suggested improvements.

Ideas for actions

  • Name and rank your priorities: as a group, you must come together and rank your priorities—they may change depending on the people and time (229).
  • Be ten times as clear about your priorities as you think you should be:
    • Paint it on walls, stamped on emails, incanted in speeches, dropped into conversation (299)
  • Figure out where your group aims for proficiency and were it aims for creativity
    • Proficiency = doing the same task the same way, every single time
    • Creativity = doing the hard work of building something that has never existed before
  • Use catchphrases: “talk less, do more”, “work hard, be nice”,
  • Measure what really matters: use metrics that are valid
  • Use artifacts: symbols and items can reinforce signals: this is what matters
  • Focus on bar-setting behaviors: one way successful groups do this is by spotlighting a single task and using it to define their identity and set the bar for their expectation (233).
    • g. training for “forty for forty” – hockey back-checking. You can do it 39 times, but the 40th time



Health is Wealth – Tricia Sandiego, Gem P. Daus, & Quyen Dinh


Why is this important: As an AANHPI (Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander), we encounter a magnitude of challenges that revolve around our individual, elders, and community(s) health. In this workshop, we talked about health care trends in policy, culture, and advocacy to understand how to navigate these obstacles.


Who: (Left to right)

Tricia Sandiego–senior advisor for AARP’s Caregiving & Health Team. Experienced in health communication and promotion and public health research and practice.

Gem P. Daus–award-winning faculty at University of Maryland Asian American Studies Program. Is a professor, executive director, consultant, public health analysis, and etc. that represents Filipinx and Pacific Islanders.

Quyen Dinh–Southeast Asian Resource Action Center (SEARAC) Executive Director. Viet organizer/leader who works to create socially just society through public policy advocacy.

Key Takeaways:

  • Most healthcare expenses occur during the last two years of life.
  • A significant indicator of happiness is the quality of relationships.
  • By 2060, those after 65 years of age will be doubled.
  • 60% of Southeast Asians are traumatized.
  • Caregiving is significant in the AANHPI community.
  • It is not work-life balance, it is personal-care ecology.
  • Take care of yourself first.
  • Strategy: (1) Dialogue/conversations. (2) Be aware of the food you put in your body.

“Figure out what you want to know more about than everyone else” – Robert Wang


Who is this: Robert “Bob” Wang is an non-lawyer adviser at Covington & Burling LLP which is an international law firm with postings in China, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. He has an B.A. at University of Washington, M.A./Ph.D. at University of Iowa, and M.S. at National Defense University.

Background: Worked in the U.S. Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer for more than 30 years, Deputy Chief of Mission at U.S. Embassy in Beijing, and professor at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.

Key takeaways: 

  • The basis skills you need to be successful is communication (verbal/non-verbal), clearly, persuasively, precisely.
  • Keep things simple. The complex changes happen when simple changes occur effectively.
  • Understand the substance of what your work requires and build skills around that.
  • Do your best.
  • Figure out what you want to know more about than everyone else.

Advice from Mini Timmaraju for Early Professionals and POCI’s in D.C.


Who is this: Mini Timmaraju is an Indian American womxn who have 20 years of federal, state, and local politics. Now, she works the corporate world at Comcast as the executive director of external affairs.

Key points:

  • Network. Getting a job depends heavily on who you know. As a persxn of color, it is even harder.
  • If you are detail-oriented, curious, and have a strong work ethic, you can get any job in D.C.
  • Be open for change. Compared to many decades ago, you will have ~10 jobs rather than 1.
  • Think about your current stage in life. Are you starting a family? When will your parents retire?
  • Find mentors that can support and open doors for you. You can start by asking someone for coffee/tea.
  • Ask for constant feedback from your supervisors, regardless of what they say.
  • Understand your executive presence–when to take space and create space

Main takeaway:

  • Create meaningful relationships (utilize social media–Linkedin/Facebook)
  • Work hard

Book Review: Becoming Perfectly Imperfect

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown



The Gifts of Imperfection has helped me cultivate a better sense and understanding of wholehearted living, shame, perfection/imperfection, and many of the human behaviors that I have difficulty expressing myself.

Brown, like always, brings more language to these behaviors that everyone struggles with every single day. We cannot dismantle and combat these negative emotions if we do not have the communication and understanding to do so. Before addressing them, we must be self-aware.

Key Takeaway

Self-awareness is the key element I took away from reading. I do not necessarily agree that this book is “your guide to a wholehearted life,” however it can definitely be some type of guiding tool. Not only is it important to be aware, but to be able to effectively and efficiently apply these skills to our own lives.

Behavioral studies are awesome. Especially, when you have someone like Brown interviewing and interpreting thousands of people and their narratives. It becomes so powerful when we can share our story and compile it into pieces, such as, this book and share their gifts to the world.


As an Asian American living in the US, we face many interdependent systems that oppress and numbs us from being what we call “authentic.” You have relationships with your parents who tell you to become “successful” studying and becoming a doctor and lawyer (Model Minority), society and media that tells you you are not confident, weak, and incompetent, and groups that sees your differences as flaws.

Sometimes, having awareness of these behaviors is not enough. We cannot just put ourselves in health communities or family relationships, be calm when we suffer from anxiety and biological chemical spikes, or accept ourselves when everyone and everything feels like it is against us. There is still a lot of problems that we need to change so that all of us can thrive in this world. The Gift of Imperfection has placed another stepping stone towards that goal.


Thanks for reading ;). I would appreciate well constructed feedback that can help me reflect better!

Pele Van Le


Many quotes that changed me:

A researcher who identifies and names the subtle connections, relationships, and patterns that help others make meaning of our thoughts behaviors, and feelings (2).

We need common language to help us create awareness and understanding, which is essential to Wholehearted living (3).

Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy–the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light (6).

You learn courage by couraging. The same is true for compassion and connection. We invite compassion into our lives when we act compassionately toward ourselves and others, and we feel connected in our lives when we reach out and connect (7).

I felt totally exposed and completely loved and accepted at the same time (which is the definition of compassion for me) (11).

The root of the word courage is cor–the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage had a very difference definition than it does today. Courage originally meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Over time, this definition changed, and, today, courage is more synonymous with being heroic . . . we’ve lost touch with the idea that speaking honestly and openly about who we are, about what we’re feeling, and about our experiences (good and bad) is the definition of courage (12).

Here is my story. You’re not alone (15).

Setting boundaries and holding people accountable is a lot more work than shaming and blaming. But it’s also much more effective. Shaming and blaming without accountability is toxic to couples, families, organizations, and communities (18).

I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship (19).

To practice courage, compassion, and connection is to look at life and the people around us, and say, “I’m all in” (21). 

When we can let go of what other people think and own our story, we gain access t our worthiness–the feeling that we are enough just as we are and that we are worthy of love and belonging (23).

Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be to be accepted. Belonging, on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are (25).

Relationships and connection happen in an indefinable space between people, a space that will never be fully known or understood by us. Everyone who risks explaining love and belonging is hopefully doing the best they can to answer an unanswerable question (25).

We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick (26).

If we really want to live a joyful, connected, and meaningful life, we must talk about things that get in the way (35).

Shame is the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging (39).

Guild = I did something bad. Shame = I am bad (41).

I realized that, like many desirable ways of being, authenticity is not something we have or don’t have. It’s a practice–a conscious choice of how we want to live (49).

Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re suppose to be and embracing who we are. Choosing authenticity means:

  • Cultivating the courage to be imperfect, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable;
  • exercising the compassion that comes from knowing that we are all made of strength and struggle; and
  • nurturing the connection and sense of belonging that can only happen when we believe that we are enough (50).

Perfectionism is not self-improvement. Perfectionism is, at its core, about trying to earn approval and acceptance (56).

Life-paralysis refers to all of the opportunities we miss because we’re too afraid to put anything out in the world that could be imperfect (57).

Mindfulness: taking a balanced approach to negative emotions so that feelings are neither suppressed nor exaggerated. We cannot ignore our pain and feel compassion for it at the same time (60).

Five of the most common factors of resilient people:

  1. They are resourceful and have good problem-solving skills.
  2. They are more likely to seek help.
  3. They hold the belief that they can do something that will help them to manage their feelings and to cope.
  4. They have social support available to them.
  5. They are connected with others, such as family or friends (64).

Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning, and purpose to our lives (64).

Foundation of spirituality being essential to resilience:

  1. Cultivating hope
  2. Practicing critical awareness
  3. Letting go of numbing and taking the edge off vulnerability, resilience and spirit (65).

Hope is not an emotion; it’s a way of thinking or a cognitive process. Emotions play a supporting role, but hope is really a thought process made of what Snyder calls a trilogy of goals, pathways, and agency (65).

If we want to cultivate hopefulness, we have to be willing to be flexible and demonstrate perseverance (66).

The best definition of power comes from Martin Luther King Jr. He described power as the ability to effect change. If we question our need for power, think about this: How do you feel when you believe that you are powerless to change something in your life? (67).

Is spirituality a necessary component for resilience? The answer is yes (73).

Both joy and gratitude were described as spiritual practices that were bound to a belief in human interconnectedness and a power greater than us (78).

When it comes to gratitude, the word that jumped out at me throughout this research process is practice (78).

What is joy? Joy seems to be a step beyond happiness. Happiness is a sort of atmosphere you can live in sometimes when you’re lucky. Joy is a light that fills you with hope and faith and love. – Adela Rogers St. Johns (79).

In my research, I found that what silences our intuitive voice is our need for certainty (88).

Intuition is not a single way of knowing–it’s our ability to hold space fro uncertainty and our willingness to trust the many ways we’ve developed knowledge and insight, including instinct, experience, faith, and reason (89).

Book about play and how it shapes our brain, helps us foster empathy, helps us navigate complex social groups, and is at the core of creativity and innovation — Play: How It Shapes the Brain by Dr. Stuart Brown; psychiatrist and founder of National Institute for Play (100). Or A Whole New Mind (104).

The opposite of play is not work–the opposite of play is depression (101).

Calm: creating perspective and mindfulness while managing emotional reactivity (106).

Do we want to infect people with more anxiety, or heal ourselves and the people around us with calm? (107).

The Alchemist–I try to read it at least once a year. It’s a powerful way of seeing the connections between our gifts, our spirituality, and our work (slashed or not) and how they come together to create meaning in our lives (116).

Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you’ve never been hurt and live like it’s heaven on Earth. ~ Mark Twain (117).

Barbara Ehrenreich draws on history and anthropology to document the importance of engaging in what she refers to as “collective ecstasy.” Ehrenreich concludes that we are “innately social beings, impelled almost instinctively to share our joy” (117).

Revolution might sound a little dramatic, but in this world, choosing authenticity and worthiness is an absolute act of resistance (126).



Book Review: Become Remarkable by Understanding the Purple Cow

Purple Cow by Seth Godin

Marketing as we know it, is continuously changing again and again and again. The Four P’s (there’s obviously more than four) strategy–price, promotion, place, and product–isn’t enough anymore. YOU MUST FOLLOW THE PURPLE COW.

Godin describes this new as “Purple Cow.” A strategy that incorporates audience-specific advertising, product enhancement or innovation, unique-experience provoking, worth-talking technology, and fearless action. Being remarkable takes skill, creativity, but most of all, willingness to be different.

I found it incredibly pleasing learning about many companies and brands and what they’ve done to be “remarkable” throughout their many decades alive. Today, marketing doesn’t only include those in the marketing department, marketing significantly relies on the developers of the product, leaders of innovation and design, and everything from creating a product to the experience the consumer has.

Definitely a nice book to have in your collection if you need to understand how to make you and your organization more “remarkable.”

Here are my top 3 quotes:

3: “If your offering itself isn’t remarkable, it’s invisible.”

5: “Stop advertising and start innovating.”

112: “Marketing is the act of inventing the product. The effort of designing it. The craft of producing it. The art of pricing it. The technique of selling it. How can a Purple Cow company not be run by a marketer?”


Book Review: Modern Romance

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

This book is for individuals who are trying to understand the complex world of romance through technology, culture, and communication. Although this book lacks research in non-traditional heterosexual, interracial, and other culturally-based relationships, Ansari does a great job allowing readers to understand how old romance has transformed to our complex modern romance.

I love figures and statistics, so the incorporation of graphs, data figures, and pictures in the book definitely made it more enjoyable and communicative. You can’t avoid laughter with all of the humorous jokes that Ansari includes. While reading, you can tell Ansari is completely himself and authentic while writing this piece and sharing many stories he has heard and personally experienced.

As, love continues to become more and more complicated, I am glad that there is a book like this which allows me to take one step further into progressing through my romance lifestyle.


Here are some of my favorite quotes/data:

1) Page 14

1932: One-third of couples who got married had lived within a five-block radius of each other before they got married. One out of six had lived within the same block.

2) Page 20

When you ask people today why they married someone, the answers are much more dramatic and loving. You hear things along the lines of “She is my other half,” ” I can’t imagine experiencing the joys of life without him by my side,” or “Every time I touch her hair, I get a huge boner.

3) Page 24

By the 1980s, 86 percent of American men and 91 percent of American women said they would not marry someone without the presence of romantic love.

4) Page 25

When they’re successful, though, the payoff is incredible. According to Cherlin, the soul mate marriage has the highest potential for happiness, and it delivers levels of fulfillment that the generation of older people I interviewed rarely reached.

5) Page 26

Taking time to develop ourselves and date different people before we get married helps us make better choices. For instance, people who marry after the age of twenty-five are far less likely to divorce than those who get married young.

6) Page 36

In a recent survey, 67 percent of teens said they’d accept an invitation to something as special as prom by a text message.

7) Page 38

According to consumer surveys, the portion of all American adults who owned a smartphone went from 17 percent in 2010 to 58 percent in 2014, and they’re most prevalent among those emerging adults between ages eighteen and twenty-nine, 83 percent of whom carry a smart phone wherever they go.

8) Page 55

The lack of specificity in “Wanna do something sometime next week?” is a huge negative to women. [Me too].

9) Page 64

When you are texting someone less frequently, you are, in effect, creating a scarcity of you and making yourself more attractive.

10) Page 79

Between 2005 and 2012 more than one third of couples who got married in the United States met through an online dating site. Online dating was the single biggest way people met their spouses. Bigger than work, friends, and school combined. 

11) Page 89

Even a guy at the highest end of the attractiveness barely receives the number of messages almost all women get.

12) Page 93

In Dataclysm, Christian Rugger used actual user data from OkCupid to show that writing a standard message and then copying and pasting it to initiate conversations is 75 percent as effective as writing something more original.

13) Page 97

Based on the data he has reviewed, Rudder told us that he estimates that photos drive 90 percent of the action in online dating.

14) Page 107

“The brain is the best algorithm,” Fisher argues. “There’s not a dating service on this planet that can do what the human brain can do in terms of finding the right person.”

15) Page 173

“You get all these different cuts of meat cooking at once,” he said. “You’ve got your sausage, which cooks fast. You’ve got your big steak, which is your best cut, which takes some time, right? You got to talk to all these girls at once just like you take care of all the meat at once.”

16) Page 182

The conclusion was clear: Without sexting, these relationships would be much harder to maintain and might not even last. Sexting provided an effective way of coping with a well-established and often heartbreaking dilemma: how to love someone when they are very far away.

17) Page 195

One study found that 88 percent of those who continued to have access to their ex’s Facebook page said they sometimes monitored their ex’s activities, while 70 percent of people who had disconnected from an ex admitted to trying to spy on the ex’s pages by other means, such a through a friend’s account.

18) Page 221

In 1960, 68 percent of all people in their twenties were married, compared with just 26 percent in 2008.

19) Page 232

The model ultimately seems built to address the fact that passionate love cannot last long-term, and that the foundation of a strong relationship is not perpetual excitement and intensity but a deep, hard-earned emotional bond that intensifies over time. In other words, companionate love.