Monday, November 26, 2018

Monday Motivation: How Do I Move On?

I've had my share of heartbreaks, one of which made a scar so deep it reshaped me in significant ways. And I'm grateful for it and don't regret anything about it. After all, anyone who has loved has had their heart broken one way or another.

A question I hear often, and one that took me years to answer is this: How do you move on?

The answer is quite simple, but it's not easy. Even I had such resistance to it when it first dawned on me. However, once you accept it and are willing to do the hard work required, I promise you will experience the liberation and growth you truly deserve. 

You move on by knowing in your heart and truly accepting that you deserve something else, something or someone better. 

The clinging and the holding on are reflections of your belief that you are not worthy of someone or something else; that you have lost that which was perfect or perfectly-suited for you. We cling because we are choosing to believe that the happiness we felt was a fluke, a once in a lifetime cosmic event that can never be experienced any other way and with any other person. We keep holding on to a past love or relationship because we believe that there is scarcity of love and good, and that our past is what we fully deserve. These are false beliefs and ones that are spoken by a wounded 'self' filled with fear. 

But to move on, you need honesty to accept that you deserve something else than what has already ended. Be honest in your post-mortem. Don't dismiss any gut feel or red flag you might have noticed but chose to sweep under the rug. Remove all blinders and challenge all illusion, and I guarantee that you will see truth more clearly: that you deserve better; that love and good are not scarce; and that your sense of worth is what truly needs your attention right now.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Wednesday Wisdom: Happiness and Forgiving Oneself

An old friend of mine shared this quote recently and it resonated so much with me that I've decided to share it today. These truly are wise words, for we can never let happiness in if we are so filled with regrets and resentments, especially towards our own selves. 

Happiness is there, but only if we allow ourselves to see it.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Monday Motivation: Fall Into Healing

I had an interesting dream last night, the kind that gave me a feeling which I wanted to stay with me way after I had woken up. More than the images or characters in my dream, it was the message that struck me. I actually woke myself from the dream because I sleep-talked. I remember that the word that unconsciously left my lips was 'healing'. I caught myself actually saying it and hoped I didn't wake my husband up. 

I still need to figure out the significance of my dream and that word, but in the meantime, I'd like to take this opportunity to invite you to reflect on the Fall season and how we can transition with it. 

Perhaps as we watch the trees gently shed their leaves, we can also look within and think of what we need to shed or let go of, in order to prepare for a fresher start. 

Perhaps being surrounded by trees engaged in the act of self-preservation and preparing for the future serves as an inspiration to us so that we may tend to our own wounds in order to find ourselves more whole again, wiser and more equipped for the seasons ahead. What may feel and seem like death is actually a necessary process for survival and renewal. 

I know I have wounds and pains that need to be heard, baggage to be unloaded. The journey to confronting them is far from simple and light. But the trees are showing me that the choice is clear. Letting go may be painful, but sometimes you'd be surprised at the beauty and richness this process brings. 

Monday, October 8, 2018

Monday Motivation: If You Want a Friend, Be a Friend

Image by: Nagi Usano
When I permanently migrated to the United States from the Philippines, I knew one of the biggest challenges I'll face is making new friends. And it wasn't about replacing my long time friends back home, but rather the clarity that I will continue to need, perhaps more than ever, the energy that can only be given by female bonding. I was a newly-married, newly-transplanted adult and I knew my sanity and yes, to a certain degree, even my happiness depended on it. I needed new friends to hang out with so I can unwind; friends I can vent to and who would understand and not judge; just simply someone I can relate to, trust, and feel comfortable with, other than my husband and family. 

It didn't take long for me to realize that the task ahead demanded a lot of patience and humility. I can't even tell you how many times I thought of quitting and convinced myself that I didn't need friends. But I knew it was a facade, a lie. Sure I was okay. I was functional. But I knew something was missing and it was that energy that one can only get from being with your kind, your tribe. I'm an introvert, and for me to say that I have that need says a lot. It's not about having a big group, but just to have a handful of people I can really talk to, be silly with and still be accepted, even loved.  

Finding new friends as a married adult takes a lot of work. First you need the humility to admit that you need friends. Without that step, nothing will jolt you enough to push you to make any effort. And it does take some effort. You have to want it to get it. And to want it means you need to be a friend. You need to allow yourself to open up bit by bit. You need to make time, carve out time to spend with others so that you get to know them better, otherwise you'll always be stuck with making excuses not to put yourself out there. I get that parenthood is a challenge and maybe sometimes it's easier to convince ourselves that our children need us so bad that we really can't find time for ourselves and (potential) friends. If you find yourself thinking that, then just be honest that you are making excuses. Been there done that. I know it. But when I looked at my situation honestly, I knew it was just that I didn't want it badly enough which led me to my default lame excuses. 

Don't ever delude yourself that you don't need friends. Science has shown that having friends (real, not virtual), social connections and support, positively influence both mental and heart health. 

An interesting article from The Atlantic likened loneliness to hunger. John Cacioppo, a University of Chicago psychologist and author, said that the lonelier one gets, the more likely you are to interpret social situations negatively. He noted that lonely people's brains tend to spend more time searching for signs of social threat. Just as evolutionarily, humans are wired to be more sensitive to bitter tastes when they are hungry because 'bitter' translates to 'possibly poison', lonely people tend to more easily interpret social cues as negative. They find it safer to detect 'foe' instead of 'friend', for self-preservation reasons. No matter how hungry you are, it's better to stay away from, or spit out, what might possibly be poison (heightened sensitivity to 'bitter'), than take a chance and keep engaging ('chewing'). As such, their isolation ends up begetting even more isolation. 

Any human connection is a risk. But don't allow yourself to get to the point of extreme hunger because it will only further heighten your sensitivities and possibly give you even more excuses to stay in your shell. Open yourself a little while the appetite is there. You have to want it to take that first step and keep moving forward. You can't expect people to want to be around you when you don't seem open enough. You can't expect trust when you aren't willing to trust.
A handshake only happens when both people are willing to extend and open their hands. 

You cant stay in your corner of the Forest 

waiting for others to come to you. 

You have to go to them sometimes.