너만 손해다. This means it’s your loss. You are the only one losing. My parents used to say this to me a lot when I was a child. I was gravely scared of people and new experiences. Whenever a new opportunity approached me, I made the effort to cry and cling to my mother. Always, there always had to be tears. This is when my mother would say “너만 손해다.” It was something I always hated hearing. For two reasons.

One. The more superficial reason. I have always been competitive and jealous. It was horrifying to know that I was causing my own loss. I was surrendering even before the game started. I was essentially running full speed into my doom. I’m screwing up my entire life here and now so I might as well become a hobo. This is the end of the world.

Two. Crying was a form of victimizing myself, something I am still very capable of doing and inclined to do. “너만 손해다” meant that no one cared. No one gives a shit about your non-problems, Minah. Your absence will not in any way to any degree affect others.

I hated hearing that from my mother more than anything because I had hope that my mother could make the situation better, more bearable for me. But this was a death sentence. Only you have the power to better this situation. You are the creator of your own happiness.

Sometimes I would cry more and then muster up the courage to just do whatever it was that I felt obligated to do but desperately did not want to do. Sometimes I would cry more and then just nod and acknowledge my defeat.

Now my mother doesn’t say this to me, but I say it to myself. I catch myself repeating 너만 손해다 to myself over and over again. It’s only your loss. Worrying over petty problems, being lazy, getting angry is all only your loss. Any unproductive (I use this word loosely) or negative expenditure of energy is only your loss.
Because who am I hurting most by feeling humiliated or cowering in fear or getting angry at people?

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