I. It’s okay to make bad decisions. I always blame myself for making poor decisions that will constantly haunt me down. But then I realized that life doesn’t stop there. We make bad decisions, we regret it, but we move on and we turn into a much better person after. Don’t let every single mistake consume your emotions.
II. I’ve learned to stay hopeful despite the confusion. I’ve been on a slump for so long I almost forgot how it feels like to be on top of my game. But I never lose that string of hope that someday, I’ll get to see the end of the rainbow. I believe that whatever happens, you have to show up every chance you can get. You can rest for as long as you want but never stop. You have to get up every morning no matter how complicated life gets.
III. Normally when we face rejections, our initial response is to doubt ourselves and the progress we made. But the recent events of my life taught me how to gracefully handle rejections. If there is one thing I want to point out is the importance of not giving up. No matter how uncomfortable it gets or how impossible it seems, just keep going. You have to see it through the end or you’ll never find out what’s meant for you.
IV. I’ve learned to remain calm despite the chaos. I’ve been misunderstood by the way I talk, the way I keep silent when I’m upset, the way I resolve my issues and the way I fight for the things that I strongly believe in. It’s normal to be criticized for something that you are not especially by those people who never endured half of your life. But you don’t play into their narratives. You do you. It’s not your obligation to explain every bit of your story to please other people. Live your life on your own terms.
V. I realized that no one can use my flaws against me if I know how to appreciate my quirks and imperfections. I lack many things in life but I still have so much to offer, so instead of feeling down, I’ve learned to use all my energy to improve the things I already have. Our thoughts are so powerful it resonates our spirit. So I’ve learned to be careful about what I feed my mind all the time.
VI. Never stop learning with purpose. It’s been my habit to find all the resources I need to educate myself whenever I’m curious. I always find new information by reading, watching, observing, or asking other people. It’s not a shame to ask for help for the purpose of learning.
VII. We often expect things to happen right away. You’ll pray. You’ll keep on waiting. Then you’ll get tired. You’ll feel hopeless. And when you least expect it, it happens. Let things flow naturally in your life. Don’t stress out on things that you can’t control.
VIII. There is so much beauty everywhere. As for me, I find it in raw and simple things. I pay attention to small details. Happiness is not always found in big success, it’s actually the accumulation of little things that makes us happy— like drinking a cup of coffee first thing in the morning, sunsets, the smell of old books, scented candles, homemade food, seeing your family happy, helping a stranger out, the list goes on.
IX. I’m not always right. There are many versions of the truth that are also valid. I’ve learned to be open to all sorts of ideas. I believe it’s another way of learning. And I don’t think it’s fair to condemn someone just because their belief is different from us. Educate people, don’t belittle.
X. There is always a breakthrough in every breakdown. I’ve realized that all my worries, pain, and doubts are only temporary. It will all pass. The thing that’s been bothering me for a while now, I’m pretty sure it will only be a passing memory in the future.
XI. I’ve found power in silence. I’ve learned to be still when my voice isn’t necessary or when I run out of words to say. In silence, I found comfort, peace, and strength. I like that being quiet always calms my anxiety amongst all unnecessary noises everywhere. I prefer to be silent most of the time to listen carefully, to hear more and to observe quietly around me.
XII. Don’t be afraid to voice out your beliefs. Speak up when it is necessarily needed. OUR EARTH IS DYING AND WE NEED THE GOVERNMENT TO ACT ON IT, speak up about it. SOCIETY IS ALL AGAINST THE MARGINALIZED SECTOR, speak up about it. THE LOCAL FARMERS ARE STRUGGLING AND STARVING, speak something about it and help. Let’s raise our voices and use the platform well.
XIII. Love yourself first and the rest of the world can wait. I can’t emphasize enough how important self-love is. It all starts with your conscious decision to choose yourself every day without second thoughts. It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a never-ending practice of discipline, respect, and compassion for yourself. When you love yourself very kindly, you teach others to honor your heart properly.
XIV. Moreover, when you respect yourself enough to know what you can and cannot tolerate, it will also attract the right people in your life and you don’t have to force it. If you have to force things, then perhaps it’s not yours to begin with.
XV. Stop wasting your precious time on things and people that have nothing to offer you but a headache. I’ve learned to be deliberate in choosing who to spend my time with and how.
XVI. Be honest with yourself. Sometimes when you fail, you get distracted, you lose sight of what’s important. But always listen to that little voice in your head and ask yourself, “Is this what I really wanted?” Then do something about it.
XVII. I’ve learned the value of making peace with my old self. I’m not the same way I was a year ago but I love myself just the same. I’m continuously learning and growing and transforming to be the person I should be.
XVIII. I’ve learned to stop seeking constant validation from others. I believe that in order to achieve that, it is important to speak kindly of yourself. Start giving little compliments about the way you put your heart on your sleeves, about the way you look in the mirror, about the way you survive each day. Not all opinions should matter. In my case, as long as I have my family and friends who believe in me, I’m all good.
XIX. I’ve learned to accept failures and setbacks as part of learning opportunities. When I fail, I tend to step back and look at the bigger picture. It’s either I change my plan or adjust my approach.
XX. You can’t always get what you want and that’s okay. I’ve learned to be patient in every season I’m in. You can’t force things to happen in your favor all the time. If you can’t attain those things, it’s either you didn’t want it or need it enough or God didn’t allow it.
XXI. I’ve learned the art of decluttering my personal space to give more time and energy to people and things that sparks my purpose. I value quality over quantity.
XXII. Being angry is a waste of time. It’s easy to be hated especially when you only allow a little portion of your life accessible to people. Let them hate you for something they don’t understand. Just don’t hurt them back.
XXIII. I’ll say it again and again, don’t go back to the same place that destroyed you. For the past year, my greatest mistake is to give people the power to destroy me. I keep going back to the same routine over and over again. They can vilify my reputation all they want but no one can be further from the truth. No one is responsible for all the damage I’ve suffered, I put this on myself. If I never let them seethe into my skin, if I never trusted them in the first place, if I acknowledged the red flags before, I wouldn’t be crying myself to sleep trying to question my worth. I loathed myself for so long. They gave me names, they judged me for who I am not, they throw me insults. But I stay silent. I confronted my struggles alone. There are times I was tempted to look back but I constantly reminded myself that I have to move forward to grow. I have so much time to listen and reflect, to heal and overcome. And then one day, I realized that I’m done compromising my happiness for other people. So I decided to forgive myself for all the pain I inflicted on me and unto others. A year ago, I was in a different spot mentally and emotionally, but this is my living testimony that time heals. I no longer resent these people, I no longer hate myself, I decided to focus on my unhealthy behaviors instead and be a better person. I have so many things to be grateful for, that includes my strength to endure them all and my heart for not giving up.
Happy 23rd birthday to you, my brave self. I am so proud of you ✨