Before you really love someone deeply, love yourself.
I have to admit that I had a hard time figuring out myself for the longest time--- of who I wanted to be, or being REAL as I could possibly be!
Growing up, I thought that my only purpose in this world is to simply live by the rules to the norm of my conservative society. That my life has to be in these exact orders:
- finish school
- get a job
- find a man
- start a family with him
- raise my children
- provide for them till they finish school (and make them do the same exact pattern as well)
- and wait for my dying days, thinking what I could have made different or what I did wrong along the process.
What I didn't know is that, the universe has actually provided limitless possibilities to help me achieve the tiny voice in my head--- otherwise known as, DREAM.
My dream (or wish) was to run away, as far away as I can from home. (I have a very deep reason why, that maybe one day, I'd be comfortable of sharing.)
Coming from my humble beginnings, in a small town from central Philippines-- I am now thousands and thousands miles away from home, living the utmost adventure of my life, and fulfilling my OWN dreams!
I'm not telling you to be like me. This is about helping you to figure out, that you should not waste your life--- trying to live up to other's expectations of you, trying to fulfill other people's dream from your own dreams, trying to please everybody for acceptance, and trying so hard just to get a man in order to be saved and be loved.
So let's talk about how to live and love your own life, shall we?!
1. KNOW YOURSELF
Get a piece of paper. Write down all of your natural talents and gifts. Write down your strengths and your weaknesses. Be completely honest. Ask your closest friend or the people around you--- what do they love/like about you? At the same time, what they don't like about you? LISTEN. Don't be offended. You will grow maturely if you open your mind to their opinions about you.
Because in knowing yourself, you will know your capabilities and how far can you take any challenges in your life.
2. FIND YOUR PASSION
What is the very thing that makes you feel happy? At your best? The very thing that you always look forward to do. And where you can express yourself creatively?? What are you most excited about when you wake up in the morning?
Mine are two things: writing on my blog (and journal) and teaching children. Both have given me an avenue to be my whole self, to be creative, and at the end of the day--- HAPPY!
And aside from that, I'm also happiest when I find meaningful activities to do: reading a book, cooking any dish, going out for long walks, exploring a new place, talking to a friend who inspires me, and finding a spot where I can be at peace--- a beach or a stationary store.
3. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH GIRLS, LADIES, AND WOMEN WHO INSPIRE YOU
I remember what my Nanay used to quote us, "Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are."
It's true, you become the person who you spend most time with. Because you imitate them-- subconsciously. That's why surround yourself with people that truly inspires you and who will encourage and support possibilities. The people who will give you wisdom and ideas.
In short, find friends who will bring out the best in you.
I'm lucky enough to have met and came across inspiring women, who are very empowering in their chosen careers, with their families, and with what they advocate in life. My huge influence comes from the women in my family, who are all individually strong, go-getters, career oriented, and have good spiritual foundations. I also continuously look up to women who are making a difference in their own lives and fields-- that transcends to many, the likes of Elizabeth Gilbert, Daphne Paez, JK Rowling, Trisha Velarmino, Ina Garten, and Bianca Elizalde to name a few.
4. LEARN SELF RESPECT, MORE THAN ANYTHING
Respect should come from you first. Be cautious of your words and of your actions. Because your words and actions will speak volumes about your character. Express yourself without hurting someone else's feelings. Learn to dress appropriately, in any occasions. Be sensitive. Don't dress provocatively just because you need the attention. Men will only see you as an object-- not a person, when you do that.
Know when to walk away from people who abuse you with their words, abuse you of your kindness, and the most important thing: when they are emotionally and physically hurting you.
5. LOVE YOUR BEAUTIFUL BODY, INCLUDING ITS FLAWS
Whatever your size, shape, or skin color--- tell yourself that you are beautiful.
YOU ARE AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL!
Never ever take your body as a reason of your insecurity. Do not believe social media's definition of beauty. Their definition is called, consumerism. BUT, make sure that you are in your healthy state.
Obesity and being very skinny are not flaws, it's called a sickness.
Your body is your very own soul, too. So treat it sacredly. Or to put it better, treat it as your most treasured possession in your life. Get to know every detail and corners of it, so that you can really take very good care of it. And when you do--- you will realize that you'll never allow anyone near you, who will not treat your body with utmost love, care, and respect as you do.
6. NEVER, EVER PLEASE A MAN WITH SEX
At the same way, never, ever allow a man to have sex with you--- when you strongly don't like to. This is why self-respect is really important. This is why you need to treat your body with love and respect.
Always listen to your gut feelings. Even with your fears.
When you are not ready--- YOU ARE NOT READY.
When you are scared, then don't do it.
Always remember that your body is yours--- not his! Don't you dare forget that!!!
If he insists, THAT IS TOTALLY AGAINST THE LAW, WHEREVER YOU ARE IN THE WORLD! It's called sexual assault, sexual abuse, or rape! So be very cautious and mindful.
Sex is very beautiful when shared with genuine love and respect.
That is why it was beautifully named as, making love.
7. FULFILL YOUR OWN DREAM
Not their dreams. Not even your parents' dream. Not your family's dream.
I understand and I admired people who said that they always think best for their families--- by doing what they are expected of them. But there's a fine line between having them as an inspiration and being controlled by their (selfish) ambitions. Because at the end of the day, it is your own feelings that mattered. Your own fulfillment mattered. Your own hard works mattered.
Don't call me ungrateful nor hypocrite, because the way I see it, if all of us will start realizing what we really wanted to do in life and being able to do it, then our success will equal to our HAPPINESS, and that happiness will be visible in our day to day interactions, it will then transpire to everyone around us, including our loved ones. However, I understand that this is somewhat a vague statement or analogy for most of you to understand that needed further explanations from my part.
But I mean, would you agree with me that the happiest people you know are the ones who are really doing the work that they always wanted to do and dream of doing their whole lives?! Again, your OWN passion in life. On my experience, these kinds of people I know have not only been doing the very thing they love to do in life, but they also just aspire the simple things in life.
8. MAKE IT HAPPEN
You can make it happen. You know, deep, deep down inside you--- that you can make it happen. Make it happen even if no one believes in you. Make it happen because you can! And you will always find a way to make it happen-- no matter what.
Every challenge in our life's journey is giving us answers and solutions, so why not use that as a driving force every waking hour of your life?!
When I left China, for good in 2014, to travel and move to South America--- specifically in Brazil, I know I'm in for another challenge in my life. Initially, I didn't have enough money to have this very bold move, that even lead to misunderstandings, complicated issues, and conflicts within some of my family members (who were not even in the position to question my own decisions). But because I'm a hard-headed, adventure seeker, I-don't-care-what-you-say-this-is-my-life-anyway, and very ambitious girl, I ended up staying in the US for awhile-- to pause, but never, once, did I gave up on my dream that I'm moving to Brazil. Of course, I am eternally grateful to the people who have helped me, who adopted me, and who have supported me in making that dream of mine to come true.
But if there's really one thing that I learned and I know is right from this experience--- that once you believe in yourself and in your own personal dream, everything is going to be okay, and it will really happen. Even if it will take months, even years to make it happen.
Just lift up everything to God and know within your heart,
that it will come true.
That's what happened to me. I believed in my dream and I made it all happen, because at the end of the day, the people who didn't believe in me-- didn't matter. All I know is that, I didn't want to wake up one day, feeling sorry for the things that I didn't even try to do, just because someone told me I can't. And it it was in fact not going to happen as I hoped it would be, at least I tried, rather than feeling sorry that I didn't.
I had a dream of living in Brazil. I believed on that dream. And I made it happen, despite the fears and the obstacles I faced of getting here.