Archive | August 2012

How to Deal with Insecurities

In-secure. It means lack of security.

They come in many forms; they come in different intensities. Some are nothing but a nuisance; some can be robbing us of a life we truly deserve. What if your own insecurities are holding you back from achieving your dreams? What if your own insecurities have caged you and you sit in your prison willingly – if not conveniently? Who have you not yet learned how to deal with insecurities? And more importantly, why are you not dealing with them…now?

Insecurities breed a lot of things, one of them is envy. When you are insecure about yourself, you start to feel that others are better than you. Have you ever looked at a magazine, stared at a model, and just sighed deeply wondering why you don’t look anywhere close to that? We’ve all been there. We’ve all wondered why life is so unfair – why others were born with the perfect set of everything. Well actually, we don’t really care so much that life is unfair. What we really care about is why we are not the one having all the favors.

We are insecure about what we have so we envy what others possess.

The easiest coping mechanism that we have developed against this feeling is to bash whoever we feel envious of. One of the easiest symptoms of insecurity is when people bash other people for no apparent reason. We try to find what is wrong with them. We try to find the little things that we think make us better than them. We try to take them down. Isn’t that just pathetic?

We envy them so much because we are so consumed with our insecurities that the only way we can cope is to find the other person’s faults. The saddest part about this is that the other person most probably doesn’t even care. We over judge people who don’t even pay a single strand of care to us.

But why do we do it? Because it’s easy!

I wanted to share these three simple tips on how to deal with insecurities. Nothing too complex, just straightforward things we can do to properly deal with insecurities and overcome them.

Tip #1. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously

Self-satisfaction has never and will never come from the illusion of perfection. There was this girl who was so in love with a guy. She told me that this guy was THE perfect guy. He was good-looking, talented, funny, smart, and a genuinely nice guy. She was in love with this guy for years but she has always felt inadequate for him. She felt she was not pretty enough. A lot of other girls swarm around him like glittered flies on a perfectly swirled crap.

Then, she got to know the guy. And two things shocked her. First, he was utterly insecure about himself. Apparently, his ex-girlfriend cheated on him and now, he feels very unattractive. He feels that he is not good enough that’s why his ex-girlfriend found someone else. Second, he is no longer interested in any serious relationship. He is genuinely nice to girls. Girls tend to fall in love with him, but all he can give to them is a friendly smile.

I almost feel embarrassed sharing this story because I feel like we all know THAT someone. We all have a friend who’s been there or we have been there.

Get over yourself. You’re not the only one who feels insecure. You might think that you’re not good enough but someone out there might be thinking how good it must be to be you. But you’re so focused on someone else’s illusion of perfection that you cannot appreciate all the good things about yourself.

Tip #2. Work on Yourself

A lot of our insecurities come from things that we can actually work on – things we can change. My personal battle will be about my weight. It has always and still is a struggle. I have numerous excuses why achieving my ideal weight is really hard. I have read so many books, so many articles, so many tips about losing weight that I feel like I should have a PhD by now. But what lacks is the discipline.

I finally managed to lose 30 lbs in a year and I’m 10 pounds away to my target weight. But I had to go through an awful breakup and take a massive hit on my ego before I had the drive. Now pushing for the final pounds seems harder. But then I realize, it was year a year ago because I wanted to take care of myself. I wanted to make me feel better. I was doing it for me. I was doing it not to impress anyone else. But that drive has dissipated because I have gotten distracted.

But you know what? I will never overcome this insecurity until I reach my goal. How do I choose to deal with this insecurity? Well I will make it obsolete. A lot of us have a lot of insecurities that can be obsolete. Just remember, do it for yourself, not for other people.

Tip #3. Cultivate Your Mind

Insecurities are, largely, an inner battle, that’s why they are called in-securities. A lot of it has something to do with our perception. We look at people and we compare. But the comparison is only in our minds.

There is no competition. There is no contest. It’s all in our minds. So what’s wrong?

What’s the need to be the superlative at everything? What’s the need to be the richest? The best-looking? The smartest? The crazy thing about this imaginary competition is that, when we try to be the best at everything, we neglect that the only thing that matters is that we are happy. And being in this imaginary competition will make us anything but happy.

Cultivate your mind. It is tempting to compare yourself to others and develop insecurities. When this happens, we compare ourselves even more to make us feel good about ourselves. The last you want is to spend the rest of your life comparing yourself to people around you.

Insecurities kill silently. The lack of security robs you of living your life. Living a life full of insecurities is like the exact opposite of living.

***

Just a normal person finding just happiness.

Should I End My Relationship?

So you’ve been together for a couple of years, shared a lot of memories, celebrated anniversaries, and have grown accustomed to having each other in your lives. But you have become unhappy. You constantly find yourself wanting something or maybe even someone other than your lover. You are no longer excited to be with him or her. Your conversations are as exciting as watching the weather channel. What would you do?

Do you break up and move on? Or do you fight to make the relationship work?

But how could you break up with your lover? How could you abruptly change each other’s lives? How could you possibly just pack up and leave? How could you when:

“I don’t want to hurt her!”

“He needs me.”

“She doesn’t want to let go.”

“This is the right thing to do.”

Breaking up is not easy – it is often messy and people will always get hurt. There are a lot of things to consider. There are a lot of complications. There are a lot of things at stake. Or maybe there are just a lot of excuses.

I have heard a lot of my friends say these things. I’ve even heard it from an ex-lover. But what I feel is that all of these barriers come from the lack of courage and the lack of decisiveness.

A lot of people do not want to be alone because they have attached their happiness to their lover. But how can happiness thrive in a one-sided affair? Is it not sadder? Is not more depressing? Is it not unfair?

When you stay in a relationship for the wrong reasons, you are not making the other person happy. You are standing in his or her way of true happiness. You are robbing them of the opportunity to actually enjoy life.

We have all been programmed that happiness come from finding love. What they didn’t tell us is that happiness starts with the love that we can get from ourselves. Being in a one-sided relationship forces one person to love the other more than they love themselves. This will only breed spite and hatred.

For me, the most important question to ask yourself when faced with this dilemma is this: “How long can you fake being happy?”

On one side, you have a person who is unsatisfied whose dissatisfaction will only grow through the years. More and more, this person will feel like he or she is doing charity. He or she will feel like his or her life has been a sacrifice.

On the other side, you have someone who will grow insecure and jealous. These will cause arguments and friction. But he or she will be more selfish. He or she will be more on guard.

In the end, can you fake being happy for the rest of your life? Or end the relationship when it’s too late to move on?

We all believe in finding “the one”. This is the so-called soul mate – the so-called destiny. This is why we hold on to relationships for the wrong reasons. We hold on to relationships because of convenience – because we think that this might be it and we’re screwing our one shot to happiness.

What if life wasn’t meant to be like that? What if love comes and goes in many forms throughout our lives? What if we are actually hurting ourselves by not recognizing when to stop and when to go?

For me, the only reason to stay and fight for a relationship is if you are still in love. Not because you love the other person. Those are very different things. You can love someone without being in love with him or her. The difference is that one should make you stay and the other one means you have to go.

  ***

 Just a normal person finding just happiness.

 

How to Deal with Regrets

Regrets are one of the worst things in this world. I like to call them glues to the past. Regrets will keep you up at night and play a scenario on auto loop – like a toxic playlist on your iphone. It’s like a hardcore Nirvana fan being forced to sleep with a Lady Gaga album blasting in his eardrums.

Regrets can be so bad that they can actually cause physical discomfort. The nature of regrets is that there is an innate need for us to change what we have done or what has happened to us. The sad part is, no matter how deep or strong the desire to change that particular thing or event, it cannot be done.

This is why we get stuck in the past. This is why regrets glue us to a time that has come to pass. This is why a lot of people never move on. They are too busy trying to recreate the past in their minds only to wake up to an unyielding reality.

I used to work with this girl who broke up with a guy whom she was so deeply in love with. Ten years have passed – ten freaking years – and she still regret that decision. The worst part is that she won’t admit that she regrets her decision. She has not been able to meet anybody and still obsess about her ex. I got goose bumps when she stubbornly told me this:

“I want my ex to see me and see that I’m better off without him. But every time I see him, I just see how better he is without me. I will only be able to move on when he realize his mistakes.”

That’s when I realize that she will never be able to move on. Her regret has consumed her and the only way she copes is through a perpetual lie.

Have you ever made a mistake so bad that you just don’t know how to move on?

I want to share three ways to deal and manage regrets – in a healthy way. Unless a person properly deals with regret, he or she will never be able to move forward – the past will hold you down.

Tip #1: Make Amends

We cannot change the past but it doesn’t mean that it will now take over our lives. The reason why a lot of people want to change the past is because they cannot face the present consequences of their actions. They are caught up with what could’ve been instead of what could be done.

The most important person you need to make amends to is you. Ask yourself for forgiveness for making that mistake. And then grant yourself that forgiveness. That is the first step. Forgive yourself for the ignorance, forgive yourself for the lack of foresight, and forgive yourself for being human.

Then, make amends to the people who were involved. This is what most people call closure. If you have hurt someone, ask for forgiveness and thank them for everything. If you have been hurt, forgive the person who hurt you and thank him or her for the lesson.

Tip #2: Keep the Lesson

Find comfort in knowing that your mistake was so grave that you will never make it again. Find comfort in knowing that you survived that tragedy and that you are now smarter.

Mistakes happen for a reason – usually for the lack of better reasoning. But now you know better. Now, you are better than before.

Look at the regret and figure out why it happened. Maybe your emotions got better of you, maybe you made a rushed decision, or maybe, you were still a kid. Keep the lesson and share it with someone else. Make sure that you remind yourself once in a while of the new knowledge that you acquired. Keep the lesson but forget the pain.

Tip #3: Create Better Memories

I have often said that life is nothing but a collection of memories. I also said that I am determined to have a life rich with memories. We can never have a collection of memory that is only full of good things. There will always be bad things. But life is good when the good things out qualify the bad ones.

I was almost about to say the good ones out number the bad ones, but we all know that when it comes to life, quality will always surpass quantity.

If you’re life is riddled with regrets, then start creating memories that are filled with positivity, love, and affirmation. You can start small. Sooner or later, you will realize that you have focused so much on creating better memories that the regrets were long buried in the past.

We will always make mistakes. The best we can hope for is not to repeat the same ones over and over again. But when we do make a mistake, just remember to make amends, keep the lesson, and create better memories.

Leave your comments below about how you overcame your regrets.

***

Just a normal person finding just happiness.

Crying is Good

My friend who was not allowed to even go outside the house beyond 8p.m. was wasted – and I mean wasted. It was her first time drinking more than one bottle of beer and apparently, she was trying to drown her guy-related sorrows.

I asked her how she felt and tears just burst like a water balloon being popped between a body-builder’s thighs. It wasn’t just sobbing, it was full on wailing. I half-expected her to turn into a banshee and was quite disappointed that she didn’t.

I rubbed her back and told her to cry and let it all out. Our other friend approached us slowly and he looked appalled. He looked at me and sighed.

“You should stop making her cry,” he said sternly. “You should comfort her instead of making her cry even more. You always do this.”

I was taken aback. It was a just a week ago when he was confiding his own problem to me. I didn’t know what to make of his statement. So I asked him what he meant.

“Remember last week when I had a problem and I was talking to you?” he asked. “You made me cry so much that I had to tell myself that the crying was just too much and I had to stop.”

At that point – I just smiled at him.

Crying is one of the best coping mechanisms that we have against sorrows. It is one of the most effective activities to literally wash away our pain. I explained to my friend that it was okay to cry and I am actually glad to hear his statement.

He said: “…I had to tell myself that the crying was just too much and I had to stop.”

That was exactly the point. No one in this world can actually tell you that the crying is already too much apart from yourself. I wanted him to cry until he had enough, the same thing I wanted my other friend to do. I wanted her to wail and howl like a wolf on steroids until she becomes tired of it.

The worst thing we can do is to ignore our pain and set it aside. It takes a lot of courage to confront our grief and actually process it. This is why a lot of us choose to dismiss it. This is why we choose to believe that it is better to pretend we’re okay than to take the pain head on.

Allow yourself to be sad. If you truly feel sad, ask yourself why. Acknowledge the emotion and deal with it and for goodness’ sake, let yourself cry. Cry as much as you need. I guarantee that you will get tired of it eventually.

Sometimes, sadness comes for a reason and sometimes it’s just pure hormones.

Here’s my advice, when you feel down, take some time alone. Go somewhere private, even if it’s just the toilet in your office. Ask yourself why you feel that way. Dig deep. When you find a reason to be sad, then you can figure out how to fix it. If there’s no reason to be sad, then you might just snap out of it automatically.

If you’re going through a rough time, take some time within the day to deal with it. It’s like scratching a wound. Get it out of your system. Here’s my rule of thumb: if I am unhappy for more than half a day, I need to do something. I refuse to allow myself to be sad for such a long time. I cannot take those moments back! I cannot trade them off for more time.

So if you have to, cry. It’s good for you.

***

Just a normal person finding just happiness.

One Wrong Move

She walked inside my room at two in the morning. I could tell she had been crying. She was wearing a shirt too big for her – her usual cleaning clothes. Her face was tired, not from cleaning, but from something more demanding, something more exhausting. She sat on my bed. I knew she was looking for sympathy; I knew she was looking for comfort. She was looking for love.

I grabbed her and wrapped my arms around her. She used to be so beautiful. She used to be so happy. She used to be so strong. I kissed her on the forehead and tightened my embrace. I held her face and looked at her as tears slowly fell from her eyes.

I smiled weakly. How could I cheer her up? How could I make her feel secured? How could I rescue her? How could a fifteen year-old boy reassure his heart-broken mother?

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It all started when I was a baby. My father was a womanizer; his parents were the incarnate of in-laws from hell that I only see on soap operas. She found her strength in me. She found her confidant. She found her best friend. And that’s how it has always been, and I guess always will be.

As a kid, all I wanted was to make her happy. I wanted her to feel loved. But all I could do was to listen.

I didn’t realize how powerful that was.

Many nights when my father won’t come home or even answer calls, my mom and I will stay up and talk about our dreams. She dreams of a simple life. She wants to live in a small house with a small garden that she can tend to. She wants to live near a river so she can take leisurely walks along the riverbank. I was not so modest. I dream of seeing the world.

I guess, in a way, we both felt trapped. She wanted to escape to her paradise; I just wanted to escape anywhere.

On rare nights when my dad does come home, I would have to summon all the strength in my body to fall asleep and not hear the fighting. I will look out my window and wish for wings so I could fly far away from all the crying and the screaming. I felt so helpless.

Those were dark times – so dark that until now, I could not sleep in my old room without having nightmares. They were so dark that I wanted to give up. I didn’t see the rewards of fighting. I didn’t have the will to push harder. In simple terms, I was suicidal.

Every day, I see a lot of cheerful people at school. They seemed so carefree, they seemed so happy. How come I was so miserable? I saw people having fun all the time, but I was not like that. I wanted to rescue my mom, my family – but how? The pressure was too much. The burden was too big.

Then, I heard someone from school commit suicide. He was a student leader – just like me. He had a lot of pressure – just like me. It was too much for him – just like it was too much for me. I decided to see his funeral. I wanted to know what the road looked ahead for me. I was convinced that it was the right choice. I was convinced that it was the easy road.

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I stood beside his coffin and spoke to him. I didn’t know who he was but I knew his pain. It was all too familiar. I went home desensitized. I was numb all over.

“Give up or fight like you’ve never fought before…”

I remember that afternoon like it was yesterday. I was lying in bed with his lifeless face booming in my mind. That was the moment when I had seriously considered ending it all. I was in a forked road and I felt that I had to make a choice. It was now or never.

“Give up or fight like you’ve never fought before…”

I was tired. I was tired emotionally and mentally. I wanted to give up. I didn’t have the energy to fight the good fight.

And then it hit me.

If I gave up – nobody would care. I wanted to give up because I wanted someone to hear my silent pleas for help. I wanted to give up because I wanted someone to come and finally rescue me. But that was not going to happen. Giving up meant it was the end. Giving up meant it was over. And the only one who stood to lose was me – no one else.

Fighting meant I had nothing to lose but everything to gain. What could I lose anyway? I had nothing.

It washed all over me like cold water. I didn’t want to end up like the guy who committed suicide. In the end, no one was there to rescue him. In the end, he lost and he had so much more time to win. Suddenly, I wanted to fight and I was going to fight to win. I was going to fight for my dreams. The world was cruel, yes. The solution was not to give up but to compensate.

If the world was too cruel, then I will just have to love myself a little bit more to balance everything.

I told myself these exact words as I trembled in excitement:

“I will be the best that I can be. I will love myself so I can depend on myself. I will fight. No more mister nice guy.”

I wish I said these words in a more poetic way. I wish I was more articulate with my word selection. But I wasn’t. Those were my exact words and those words represented how I truly felt down to the core of my heart.

I wanted to win. I didn’t want to make one wrong move. One wrong move that could’ve been my last.

***

Just a normal person finding just happiness.

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