It’s Mind Over Matter

Feb 17, 2021 | Lifestyle

Angela is a medical student at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine

Angela Ho is a medical student and doesn’t give up. She’s all about spreading love and light into the universe View profile

Life is always trying to teach you something. Any situation, problem or person that is bringing you discomfort is meant to challenge you. Growing is uncomfortable. Learning can be uncomfortable, but it’s all about your mindset and how you decide to look at these situations.

Anything that annoys you is teaching you patience. Anything you can’t control is teaching you how to let go. Anything that has power over you is teaching you how to take your power back.

Anyone who abandons you is teaching you how to stand on your own two feet. Anything that upsets you is teaching you forgiveness and compassion.

Every time we encounter some kind of obstacle, whether it’s someone saying something mean or challenging your capabilities, life is trying to teach us something. The way we decide to perceive these challenges is up to us. You can blame the world for your problems or you can look at it from a gratuitous perspective.

It’s all about your mindset.

Do you accept the situation at face value? Or do you do something about it? 

It’s mind over matter. Always. 

Here are a few life lessons that I’ve learned along the way. Each situation poses different challenges; however, as many say, it’s not about what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters. 


Love and accept yourself. Your body is your sanctuary. 

People can say whatever they want to say. Their opinions are none of your business. 

Growing up in Vietnamese culture, the ideal way a woman should look: light-skin, big eyes, small nose, and petite. The women in my immediate family do not look like that. We are more “voluptuous” than your typical Asian female physique. My mother has big hips and like mom, all her daughters have wide-set hips as well. 

One day, I was going into a Vietnamese store to pick up wedding invitations. The saleswoman said “you’re so pretty, but you would be so much prettier if you were skinnier.” A complete stranger told me this. Did it bother me? Absolutely. Did it affect the way I thought of myself? No. Why? As a woman in society and growing up Vietnamese, we are told that we are not enough much too often – not pretty enough, not smart enough, not thin enough…the list goes on and on. 

Self-love. Self-respect. Self-care. There’s a reason why these all start with “self.” You can’t find them anywhere else, but within you.

Self-love is something that cannot be taught, which makes it all the more difficult to learn. We all struggle with self-esteem and it’s often easier to notice the things we hate about ourselves instead of the things we love. Embrace yourself. Your body, your curves, your tummy, your love handles… and most importantly your intellect. 

Be confident. Your unique characteristics are what make you beautiful – what makes you different; what makes you UNIQUE. OWN IT. You are beautiful just the way you are! 

You are worthy of everything you’ve ever dreamed of and MORE. 

Never let anyone hinder you from pursuing your dreams. All dreams can come true, if you have the courage to pursue them! 

My parents have always told me that I could be anything, do anything my heart desired and they would support it. Now, I’m not sure if that’s 100% true as most Asian parents hope their children will become doctors, lawyers, or dentists. And I just happen to be studying medicine; but nonetheless, this is my dream and I am working to make it come true. 

I have been told that I shouldn’t be a doctor. That I’m only nice to patients because I get paid. That I am not worthy of the jobs that I have been given. That I will never make it into medical school. That I could never graduate early. That I am too strong. That I am too confident. That I am too ambitious. Sure, there is always room for improvement. However, if I believed any of these statements, I would have succumbed to the limitations set by others and never gotten to where I am today. 

Don’t ever let anyone discourage you. You are absolutely worthy and deserving of everything you’ve ever wished for. Just keep doing you and work hard to reach your goals. People will hate and that’s okay. Smile and move on. 

The road may not be easy, but anything that’s worth anything never is. Dream big, work hard and make your dreams come to fruition. You will make it through! 

There are no limitations to what we can do. The limitations are set in our minds. 

My parents escaped Vietnam after the Vietnam War, often referred to as ’the boat people’ because they escaped on a boat in the middle of the night to avoid being caught by the Communist government. Each escaped separately from different parts of Central Vietnam and both ended up in the same refugee camp in Hong Kong.

My dad saw mom from across the camp, too shy to say hello, but admired her from a distance. I guess you can call it fate. Both were transferred to a refugee camp in the Philippines and eventually sponsored to America. My dad was sponsored to Minnesota and Mom was sponsored to California. My dad worked and spent his savings to fly to California and be with my mom.

Together, they built a business, raised four daughters, put them all through college, allowing us to pursue our dreams. If that isn’t the American dream, then I don’t know what is. Because of my parents, I’ve had the privilege to graduate from my dream school and now pursuing a career in medicine. 

Hundreds of thousands of people died attempting to escape Vietnam during that time. Many didn’t make it to land and most died in the ocean en route to a country that would accept Vietnamese refugees. Family members were tortured and killed by the Vietnamese government if they knew of someone escaping and didn’t report them. 

The risk my parents took to flee a country in pursuit of a better life displays not just their bravery, but courage, tenacity and grit. No one paved the way for either of them. But together, they paved their own path and have laid the foundation for many generations to come. 

Life has no limitations, except the ones you make. If there is a will, there is a way. 

Our mindsets affect our actions, our perspectives and our experiences. We are only human. There will always be challenges to overcome. If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. We are forever evolving into hopefully, better versions of ourselves everyday. My dad always says that life is a battlefield. And it is, but we must learn to hold and use our own swords. We are strong enough to face it all, even if it doesn’t feel like it right now. 

Tell yourself: I know you’re doing the best you can. I believe in you. Keep going. 

Our life is shaped by our mind, for we become what we think.   

growth versus fixed mindset

Short Article Review

  • Every time we encounter some kind of obstacle, whether it’s someone saying something mean or challenging your capabilities, life is trying to teach us something.
  • It’s mind over matter. Always. 
  • Love yourself and accept yourself. Your body is your sanctuary. 
  • You are worthy of everything you’ve ever dreamed of and more. 
  • There are no limitations to what we can do. The limitations are set in our minds. 

The content in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal, tax, investment, financial, medical or other advice.  Always seek the advice of a licensed professional regarding any questions you may have.  

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