She tried.

First of all, I am a Filipino. Second of all, of course, I’d like our candidate to win again. Yes, I am talking about the 65th Miss Universe, which was held here in the Philippines. I’d like to talk about Ms. Maxine Medina, our candidate further, specifically about her Q&A moment.

The pressure was definitely on, and it became greater I believe when the judges mentioned that the Q&A or the Question and Answer portion will really determine who will wear the crown. For Maxine, the pressure was greatest as she was the first to answer one of those difficult questions that were raised, I believe.

Now, the interpreter. For the entire month, it has been a huge issue here in the Philippines. It just so happened that a lot of Filipinos suddenly became grammarians when it comes to Maxine-on her social media posts, interview answers, etc. Many believed, strongly may I just add, that our candidate will fail with her usage of English and they assumed that she can perform better if she’ll just use our native language. Well, nothing’s wrong with that anyway. Filipino, like every other language and dialect around the world, is beautiful. And I think that’s exactly why a Filipino-English interpreter was present in the stage.

I, like a lot of Filipinos, cannot just understand the need for bashing, hating, bullying from Filipinos to a fellow Filipino. It may-“may”-have an effect on Maxine’s choice in the end to answer in English, to prove her haters that she can.

So, yes, that’s what she did. Even with the present of an interpreter, Miss Philippines answered in English. Is it flawless? No. Does it have any relevance to the question? Yes, if you’d look at the thought of her answer, rather than how she was able to deliver it. Did she do a great job? No, because she wasn’t able to articulate her thoughts very well. Why do I think so? Pressure, distrust, and nerves.

Despite everything, I am proud of Maxine. I think she’s truly an inspiration. She stood there confidently, her smile’s never fading. And most of all, she tried. She went outside of her comfort zone by not answering a difficult question in her native tongue. Even though she wasn’t able to deliver a winning answer, she proved that she can, with poise, answer in the language many people called her weakness. She must be proud of herself. She’s definitely a strong woman.

As for Miss France, the new reigning Miss Universe, I believe she won because she was herself the entire time. It was evident how she loves cooking and she’s very proud of her country. She put herself out there but still she was able to represent France beautifully. Congratulations to her and to the rest of the 86 Miss Universe candidates! Ah, so many beautiful women in the universe. ❤

Wanna know the secret to happiness?

Willingness. That’s the secret to happiness. Simple, right?

You can’t be happy wherever you are if you’re not willing to be happy. If you’re waiting for happiness to bite, it won’t-it doesn’t have teeth. You will only be desiring more of what you have, thinking that maybe if you have more, happiness will finally rest upon your shoulders; nope-happiness is not a fly, silly. You have to take the initiative to hold it, embrace it, keep it.

It’s similar with the other emotions. You cannot be sad or mad or afraid if you are not willing to. They cannot touch you unless you stand or sit or lie still for them. They’re just emotions. They have no power over you unless you let them. Anything. Anything does not have any power over you unless you let it. Anything like life’s excruciating circumstances, failures, and other people.

Yes, I know it isn’t simple all the time. I know. But trust yourself. You’re strong enough to be willing and be not. You are strong enough to be your emotion’s master, they’re yours anyway.

So if you want to be happy, be willing to. Be willing to smile despite of everything you’re going through. Actually, I believe it will help. Your disposition will affect your life. If you frown, the bad will be worse. If you smile, all bad may turn into all good, but definitely not worse.

Be willing. Open your palms. Reach out for happiness, it’s just a yard away. Then close your palms and transfer the happiness on your chest. Let it reach your heart. Let it stay there. Let it grow there. Let the happiness inside your heart comfort you and keep your lips smiling. ❤

No, you’re not any better.

Don’t think so highly of yourself. You are not any better than anyone. Even if you’re now successful and others not, that doesn’t mean you’re better. It only means that you have more. You have no rights to put down anyone. And the same goes for those who are unsuccessful. You have no rights to judge your successful peers and find the ugly in their lives. You’re no better to do that.

You are not better than anyone, even if the person you love loves you too. You’re just fortunate or blessed but you’re not better than someone who’s alone. And if you’re alone, you’re not any better with those couples who are shouting at each other during their endless arguments. You have no rights to butt in, whisper to others your unsolicited opinions. You’re no better, remember that.

No, you’re not better than me and I am not better than you. We’re equals, although ultimately diverse. I cannot judge you, you can’t judge me too. If I think I knew better, that’s exactly when I knew nothing at all. The same goes for you.

Compassion is what the world needs, not finding who’s better or who’s worse.

You could cry.

You could cry. You could get mad. You could be selfish. You could be tired. You could.

Allow yourself to be an imperfect human being. Don’t just take everything in. Let out some, if not all. You’ll be better. You’ll be stronger.

Acknowledge that people are hurting you. Yes, some people can be cruel. Some people don’t think about your feelings. Some people just think about themselves and what they may get from you. They don’t care about you. They don’t think about you just like how you think of them. Truthfully, they don’t deserve your compassion. Truthfully, you can withdraw that compassion.

Acknowledge too that there are those who are just giving you tough love. Cry because their words are too sharp. They’re deep. They’re painful. They’re careless. Cry because they can be too much. That the “love” is sometimes forgotten and “tough” remains. They love you but they’re tough, cruel, insensitive. They could advice you through words of softness and compassion. They could encourage you with their truest to goodness care and affection. They do not. They did not. You could cry. You could get mad. You’re not a stone. You have a heart.

No one has the rights to hurt you. No one has the rights to put you down. No one has any right to make you feel uncomfortable, to make you doubt yourself, to make you feel worthless. No one has the right to punish you, make you suffer, step on you. No one. No one should make you cry sad tears, angry tears, frustrated tears. No one should.

Cry. You could cry. You could get mad. You could.

Then, stand up. And then, wipe your tears away. And then, turn your frown into smile. And then, breathe deep… In and out.

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Forgive Yourself

Love yourself… Now, forgive yourself? Am I too full of myself? Naw. It’s just that sometimes we are too focused on what’s happening around us-our jobs, our relationships, the media-that we forget to give ourselves the attention we needed.

Today, I’d like us to pay close attention to our emotions especially those we inflicted to ourselves, as opposed to emotions caused by others. Maybe, you’re adding too much weight on your shoulders. Maybe, you’re letting yourself take in too much of the emotions that you actually don’t need.

It’s natural for other people-like family members-to have expectations for us; perhaps, your mom wants you to be a successful business owner. Disappointing mom would not only hurt us, it will of course hurt her too. So, if you yourself has a huge expectation for yourself and then you ended up not adhering to that expectation, you will be both the disappointed and the disappointing. Those were too quite intense emotions; aren’t they too much for us?

I struggle with my emotions too but with awareness, acknowledgement, and practice, I believe I can be better. I believe I can be more compassionate with myself. Soon, I will be able to forgive myself for everything.

Compassion. Is compassion and love two different things? I do think so. If you love yourself, you desire the best for yourself at all times. If you are compassionate with yourself, you take time to listen and find what you truly needed. And maybe, what you truly needed right now is forgiveness from yourself.

Let’s forgive ourselves for not sticking to our New Year’s Resolution. Let’s forgive ourselves for not passing the exam, for arriving late at a very important meeting, for being lousy in front of the person we like, for stalking our exes on social media, for getting lost at our trips, for taking the wrong course, for sleeping way too late when we have to wake up way too early, for eating a lot or for not eating enough, for shouting at our friend and telling them mean things, for breaking the rules, for not being a good child… Yes, we’re holding grudges towards ourselves inside ourselves. And now it’s time to release them. It’s time to let them go.

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Then, acknowledge. We cannot be the best every time. Someone will be better and that’s okay. We are bound to make mistakes-silly, little, huge, vital, unnecessary, good ones-but at least we’re trying. We could hurt others too but that does not mean we could not apologize for it. We could get hurt by others but that does not mean we should hold grudges. We could hurt ourselves and I know, you already know what we should do. Life is not all rainbows. Remember, rain is needed in order to get rainbows. Without the rain, it’ll only be bows. Acknowledge that sometimes, you are a rainbow and other times, you’re actually a rain. And that is okay.

Today, why don’t we take time to listen to ourselves and find what we needed. Maybe, we simply need rest or maybe, we need a full-body spa. Maybe, we need to indulge with desserts or maybe, we need an intense workout. Maybe, we need forgiveness and maybe, we need to finally learn how to forgive.

Let us continue to love ourselves and let’s also try to be more compassionate with ourselves. Let’s not beat ourselves, okay? Enough of that tough love, we need more softness and fluffiness and mellowness. Yas!

It’s OK to not be OK.

Last night, I messaged a trustworthy friend and told her about my problems. I was a bit depressed last night, to be honest. I woke up today with a long message from her. She reminded me that it’s okay to not be okay. We’re all humans, humans who feel both positive and negative emotions.

From meditation practices that I’ve done in the past year, I’d learned that we should be just observers of our emotions. We should not let them influence us. We should acknowledge the moments we feel sad, happy, mad, and scared and realize too that these emotions are not permanent. They come and go. It’s like traveling and seeing these emotions along the journey but not letting them hitch in the car and direct our way. We just say hi to them and proceed.

I may be feeling down right now, lacking of self belief, and having anxieties for my future but I gain hope and peace in the fact that this all shall pass. These emotions and thoughts are all part of life, not beautiful they may be. They’re part of living.

Sometimes, there is really no need to overanalyze things. We just have to accept that they’re happening but also, acknowledge the fact that there’s no need to cling onto them. Even if you’re not feeling okay, it’s okay. All is well. You’ll be okay sooner or later.

If enduring is needed, go ahead and do it. If crying is needed, allow your eyes to do just that. If you needed to release the anger, shout. If the emotions are overwhelming, breath in and out… Don’t let any emotion overcome you. Keep your grip on the steering wheel tightly. Look ahead. Keep driving. It’s all good.

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Love Yourself

One of the dilemmas 20-something people experience is finding that person we’re going to spend our forever with (that is, if forever truly exist). For someone who has social anxiety, this could be so much difficult. How can one find a potential partner if s/he doesn’t know how to talk to people?

I am not sure about the other countries, but here in the Philippines, people expect you to be in a relationship by the time you reach 20 especially if you have already finished your studies. Relatives will ask you (all the time) if you have a boyfriend or a girlfriend. If you say no, they’ll ask you-in a very disappointed tone-why. “What, why? It’s just I don’t want to. Why do you care?” We cannot really answer them with that. It’s a no-no to be unrespectful especially towards our relatives.

I am inexperienced in the “romantic love” department. I have never been in a real relationship. I’ve been in fake ones where the only one who knows that the guy (usually a handsome celebrity) and I are in a relationship is me; he doesn’t know too. He-he. Am I making “singlehood at 20-something” a big deal?  Maybe. But I do believe that we shouldn’t be pressured with people around us. There’ s a time for everything, right?

While nobody’s coming on our way yet, let us be the one to take care and love ourselves. Let our love for ourselves resonate with our outlook in life, with our emotions, with our general well-being. Being single never meant nobody loves us. Maybe, it just means that we need to take care and love ourselves a little bit more or better first.

May we find love, whether from other people or our own selves, today and everyday!