Best Way to Learn to Listen to Yourself

It seems as though everyone is telling you how you are supposed to act, what you should want to do, what you should wear—like they are trying to tell you who you are supposed to be. Sometimes you end up listening to everyone else, but you forget to listen to the most important person: yourself.

Susie Wang didn’t forget to listen to herself. Susie owns a com­pany, Aqua Dessa, which she started a few years ago when she was still in college. It’s an all-natural beauty products line that uses no synthetic ingredients. She started the company with little money, testing her products in her boyfriend’s chemistry lab. Now it’s a multimillion-dollar company with a fan base from all over the world. Even celebrities use her products—and she’s only 25!

Listen to Yourself Best Way to Learn to Listen to Yourself

But before Susie became a success, she heard a lot of negative messages when she was growing up—a whole lot.

Susie had a difficult childhood inKorea. When she was very young, she was kidnapped and then became homeless. She was sent to an orphanage for a few years, where she experienced severe abuse and neglect. Her parents finally were able to find her, and brought her toAmerica. Here inAmerica, she grew up poor. Susie always grew up with negative people around her. She faced severe prejudice because she was poor and Asian, and was the kid without any friends who got picked on in school. Susie remembers it this way:

In elementary school, I faced a lot of prejudice because I was different in many ways. I was Asian so I looked differ­ent, I couldn’t dress in the coolest clothes because I couldn’t afford it, so I dressed differently. I thought, acted, and felt different from most of my peers. I was picked on for being myself. The teachers didn’t like me, either. I had teachers who actually told me I wouldn’t amount to any­thing. I felt worthless, like I was a second-class citizen.

What made me happy was the wonderful world of beauty. Even as a child I was fascinated by cosmetics and the way they made me feel. I loved to transform myself with color. I always fantasized how wonderful it would be to be able to be the one to formulate the cosmetics that I loved so much.

How did Susie keep listening to herself, even though everyone else was telling her she was worthless, that she was wrong, that her passion didn’t matter? Read her advice and find out how:

Stay true to your values. A lot of people were mean to me, and that almost made me into a mean person, too. I remember won­dering why everyone was so hateful to me. In the orphanage and in my elementary school, cruelty was the way of life. But even then I knew it was better to be a nice and kind-hearted person. I refused to accept that a person needs to be cruel and step on others, even though that is what I was seeing all around me. I talked to God and prayed for strength. I did my best to stay kind even in the midst of all the meanness. And I didn’t let others taint me.

Don’t let others put you down. Somehow, even through the worst of my childhood, I knew that what other people said was not always true, that I should believe in myself. I knew I was worthwhile, that all the hurtful things others said about me were not true. I didn’t believe them and didn’t let their hate affect me. I knew in my heart I was better than people said I was. I just knew it. I knew the people putting me down had to be ignorant to make such comments. I told myself that their words had no value and no meaning. I didn’t let their negativity cloud my reality of who I really was.

I also learned that the more I retaliated, the more I reacted, the more they tormented me. When I ignored them, pretended their words didn’t hurt me (although they did), it wasn’t fun for them so they might stop.

In an odd way, they only extended my motivation. I wanted to prove to myself and them that I was better than they said. It made me study harder, and motivated me to be a better student and an overall better person.

Find something positive that makes you feel better.

Whether it’s dancing, swimming, or painting, find something health­ful that makes you feel good and indulge in it. When everyone told me I was ugly because I looked different from them, I made a whole escape ritual for myself. It gave me such pleasure to play with makeup and take care of myself. For me, bathing rituals were relax­ing and good therapy for me. I loved to pamper myself, making fa­cial masks out of things like crushed peaches and honey and cucumbers. And it wasn’t just for my outside beauty, it was not van­ity. It was for my inner self. I used to pour milk in my bathtub and soak my worries away.

Listen to Yourself 1 Best Way to Learn to Listen to Yourself

Hang in there. I believe when people are faced with hardship in their life, and they can overcome them, they inherit strength. When I was a little girl, I had to overcome a great deal just to sur­vive. I believe it made me stronger, and has helped me love and trust myself and have enough confidence to start a company in my early 20s (I’m now 25).

Despite all that, I wouldn’t trade my life in for someone else’s because I know it made me stronger and made me who I am today.

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