Staying True to Who We are

In Psychology, there is a term called Congruence coined by a famous humanistic psychologist named Carl Rogers. Congruence is a state where a person’s self-image is almost in line with his/her ideal self or the person he/she aims to become. This involves actual experiences, goals, and ambitions, and other aspects that makes someone who they are. The more our self-image aligns with our ideal self, the more we develop our self-worth, on the contrary, the more they diverge from each other, the more we are feeling inauthentic.

Being congruent is being able to stay connected to ourselves, feelings, and perspectives. Unfortunately, for many of us our self image has become tainted by our need to maintain a certain public image. This is more the case now given how our society have evolved and with the existence of modern technology. It is now easy to hide behind highly curated social media feeds, external achievements, or unhealthy relationships and neglect the need to align our experiences to who we are as a person.

Showing the real parts of us can be very nerve-wracking because it’s often met with disapproval especially when it does not conform with what is expected of us. This is why at times, we can’t help but seek the validation of other people because it gives us a temporary sense of value but without realising that it devaluates our self-worth in the long run. The more we move away from who we are, the more unhappy we become and this does not seem sustainable at all. We cannot simply rely on external aspects to fill in the gaps within ourselves.

Thinking about these made me wonder how many of us have actually become way too entangled with prioritising how we appear in public instead of working towards cultivating our self image to become congruent to who we strive to become. This prompted me to broach the subject as I, myself, is a witness of how much of a struggle it can be avoiding to succumb to the mainstream. I want to remind myself and my readers of the importance of being raw, of expressing our feelings and emotions even when it’s uncomfortable. We don’t always have to accommodate and please people.

I want to be reminded that we can remove ourselves from people and situations that does not reflect our values, and that we can simply be ourselves without needing to create a well-liked public image. We don’t have to post perfect picture shots all the time, or feel obliged to be there for someone when we are not in a good head space ourselves just so they can call us a good friend. We don’t need to have a string of followers, likes, or “hearts” because those numbers does not reflect who we are. We don’t have to fake our experiences just so we can tell a good story and most importantly, we don’t have to depend our worth solely on other people’s evaluation.

The way we see ourselves is more important than how other people see us and this is a relationship that we should grow more than anything else. I am hopeful that we are all capable of achieving some level of congruence and it is possible to live as authentically as we know how. It takes a lot of work for sure but every step we take brings us closer to a more rewarding sense of congruence.

Today’s Reminder

The universe unfolded in certain ways that led you here, wherever that here may be. So as time passes by so quickly and with everything that’s been going on, I just want you to know that you did well, you still are. 

Some things might not have turned out the way you imagined them to but believe that better things is coming your way. This year could have started to be the toughest one yet, but know that you have more strength in you now more than ever, you keep picking yourself up after a few stumbling, and you continue to soldier on to begin anew. 

And in the chaos of everything that’s coming and going, you are learning to be more resilient, to grow in adversity, and to take notice of the small things that inspires you to move forward.

So right now, just for a minute or two, I want you to take a pause. Close your eyes. And breathe the life in again.

Embracing the Quiet

I went out today for an essential appointment and on my way home, I decided to take a long way. It’s the middle of autumn and it is apparent on the fallen leaves scattered on the sidewalk. The city is quiet with just a handful of people, mostly looking like they have just finished a day of work and there’s the occasional sound of the train approaching or leaving the platforms, a few cars and buses on the road but no usual loud beeping in the background or the general buzz of a city alive.

While I soak in my surroundings and revel in the unusual quietness, I realised that I actually quite like how it is. Under normal circumstances and without a virus driving this quiet and calm blanketing the world, it would have been ideal. A world that rests, a world that is not constantly bustling and abounding in noise.

In the grand scheme of things, I can’t help but wonder that maybe all of this is meant to happen to become an eye-opener and break the spell of hecticness that we have been so accustomed to: the jobs that take more than half of our waking hours, the need to always be on the go, the pressure of checking off items from our to-do lists, and all the other excuses we can think of that keep us away from the quiet. We become anxious about the times that we have to be with ourselves because we have forgotten how to do just that. We have become too familiar with the buzz that when it starts to go away, we panic. 

Maybe this rare pause was meant for us to take advantage of and learn to be okay without the incessant coming and goings of the outside world. To see the value of the simple things, appreciate the time we can keep our minds off the daily pressures we have to face, and maybe even accomplish the things we have always wanted to do but were always too busy to actually get on with. Maybe this time we can finally focus on honing genuine connections not just with other people but with our inner selves too.


This was originally written on April 27, 2020.

Ten Important Lessons That People Learn in their Mid-20s

Being in your mid-twenties can be one of the most challenging parts of life. It’s the phase when you realise that you are an actual adult who has responsibilities to fulfill and you are expected to step out of your comfort zone and set out on big adventures. People say that it’s the best time to live, take risks, and make mistakes yet it’s also a time when you need to start looking for stability not just to pay the bills but also layout the building blocks to a comfortable future.

During this time, you are faced with many challenges that will test your patience, your hopes, and ideals because, at times, the world can be tough and cruel. It is a time when it dawns on you that you can’t always get what you want and some things don’t work out the way you want them to. I know it can be harsh but despite the struggles, there are valuable lessons to take as you go along the transition in becoming a full-pledge adult.

Every one of us goes through different paths and experiences but we all learn significant things that most often than not become guiding principles in how we do life. I decided to ask some of my peers who are also in their mid-20s for a lesson that they have learned during this time. I believe that knowing other people’s perspectives can be useful in addition to our own personal insights.

So here are some of the responses I got.


1. It’s okay to start over even when it means giving up a life you have known forever and being away from people you love to pursue better opportunities.

– Thea

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2. Things unfold in due time. Before I was always worrying about the future, about the uncertainties, and it’s always leaving me a great deal of anxiety and frustrations. But when I started to pay attention more to the things that I can control; the present, eventually better things started to unfold.

– Chris

3. You don’t need to please everyone.

– Louigi

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4. I learned a lot about patience. Timelines are not everything. Use it as a guide but be flexible enough to deviate from it when necessary.

– Donna

5. Life itself is unexpected. Appreciate the little things— stop complaining about unnecessary drama. Be grateful. Never take anyone or anything for granted. Forgive. Love deeply.

– Zyra

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6. Actions speak louder than words.

– Alex

7. Compromise because life happens. Never lose yourself in the process.

– Patricia

8. I learned to just take the risk. I’ve grown a lot. I started to embrace whatever changes happen in my life. I started to take bigger risks. I figured out how life works without relying on other people. I learned to be self-sufficient. I learned to be okay on my own. I think that taking these risks in life is what drives me and keeps me focused on becoming the best version of myself. What’s life without risks anyway?

– Camille

9. Cut some people off. I know it sounds rough but if there’s one thing I learned, it’s that some people do not deserve a seat in my table.

– Paula

10. Never be scared of failure.

– Cheska


As we transition to the next phase or a new adventure, I hope that we find meaningful experiences regardless of whether they are negative or positive ones. What matters is how we perceive those experiences and take away lessons that will be helpful in navigating the twists and turns in stored for us in the future.

Nothing Is Guaranteed, So Make The Most Of The Moments You’re Gifted

It’s really fascinating how moments can be so fleeting. Like how the sun can set in such a short time and then it’s sunrise again, a sign of another day beginning.

Nothing is definite. And things can start and end suddenly, unexpectedly in just a blink of an eye. Feelings change without even realizing it and some things are so temporary you can’t always hold on to them.

We always seem to take for granted certain moments, people, and things that we have because we feel like we have a lot of time with them when in actuality, time is something we do not possess. There’s nothing more when we want it and it will always flow like river water rushing towards the sea.

So what can be done? What could we possibly do to make the most of what we’re given?

Say what you feel even if you aren’t sure they feel the same way. Because you’ll never know unless you brave up and allow yourself to be vulnerable.

Laugh like it’s your last day on earth and spend more time with people you love. You’ll never know what could happen, but being able to cherish every second you have takes you further away from possible regrets.

Give your all in what you’re doing, thinking it could be your best shot at something.

Be grateful for every single day you get to wake up and have another chance to start over. Leave the mistakes of yesterday and just try to be better today.

I know it’s tough to do all that when things don’t always seem to go right. But you gotta keep fighting, keep living, keep chasing the life you’ve been dreaming of.

Remember, no matter how fleeting moments are when lived up to their fullest, they’re worth everything.


 

This article was previously published by Thought Catalog at https://thoughtcatalog.com.

For When Your Heart is Tired, Remember This!

Sometimes the universe works in the most bizarre ways. It breaks you and shapes you, then heals you. Sometimes you’re hammered down to the ground just so you can build yourself up again.

Sometimes you will take wrong turns and encounter rough roads which will make you feel like you are going nowhere. But slowly, you are being brought to places that are meant for you to see, people who are going to change your life for the better, and experiences that will teach you priceless lessons.

Sometimes it removes some people to make space for better ones. And just when you think everything is going wrong, it’s actually steering you away from what will destroy you and move you towards what is best.

Sometimes, you’re gonna have to fight tooth and nail to be where you want to be and it won’t be an easy one. And you have to be okay with stopping to give yourself the time to breathe just until you’re ready to take on the world again.

Sometimes a work in progress can look like heartbreaks, failures, or disappointments but it’s not yet the final art. Remember, it takes a lot to create a masterpiece. And you will become one, eventually.

Sometimes you don’t know how resilient you are until you had to go through the worst possible thing that you could imagine and you come stronger on the other side.

My Favourite Quotes about Grit

After a while of not being able to finish a book from cover to cover, I finally felt a sense of achievement for being able to read through “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by Angela Duckworth until the last page. Knowing about this book was pure coincidence. I have heard of the term grit many times but it was just always in passing until one day I was out to do my passport renewal when I met a woman who was also doing some errands at the Philippine Embassy in Sydney. While we were waiting for our turn, I found myself in an interesting conversation with her.

We shared about where we came from originally and what we were doing in Australia. She was very easy to talk to and she had that charm around her which made me feel comfortable. I have always been the listener type, I like hearing stories and experiences of people while this woman, on the other hand, was obviously someone I would consider as a talker, outgoing but in a good way. She shared that she was doing a Master of Business program and a mother of two. Her family is in the Philippines as she pursues a greener pasture not only for herself but most especially to set her kids up for a better future. Of course, this is not an uncommon story. I know a lot of people who have chosen to leave their lives in the Philippines and start a new one in a foreign country which can offer more doors of opportunities (or sometimes can also make or break a person).

“You can’t quit on a bad day.” – Angela Duckworth

In the later part of our conversation, she told me that she was currently reading a book by a Psychologist named Angela Duckworth. It was a book called “Grit: The Power of Passion and Persistence” and recommended for me to give it a go. A month or two after that encounter, I decided to buy the book and find out for myself what “Grit” is all about.

“It’s a persistent desire to do better. It’s the opposite of being complacent. But it’s a positive state of mind, not a negative one. It’s not looking backward with dissatisfaction. It’s looking forward and wanting to grow.” – Hester Lacey

Now that I was able to finish the book, I remembered what the person I met months ago said. She asked me that if I have learned anything from her, she would be happy if I can also be able to pass it on to someone else when given the chance. This is why I have decided to write about it and share some of my favourite quotes from the book that could give you an idea of what grit is and hopefully encourage you to delve more into it just as I had.

“To be gritty is to keep putting one foot in front of the other. To be gritty is to hold fast to an interesting and purposeful goal. To be gritty is to invest, day after week after year, in challenging practice. To be gritty is to fall down seven times, and rise eight.” – Angela Duckworth

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More Quotes:

“Passion as a compass – that thing that takes you some time to build, tinker with, and finally get right, and that then guides you on your long and winding road to where, ultimately, you want to be.” – Angela Duckworth

“When you have setbacks and failures, you can’t overreact to them. You need to step back, analyze them, and learn from them. But you also need to stay optimistic.” – Angela Duckworth

“It’s about hard work. When it’s not fun, you do what you need to do anyway. Because when you achieve results, it’s incredibly fun.” – Mads Rasmussen

“Adopting a gritty perspective involves recognizing that people get better at things – they grow. Just as we want to cultivate the ability to get up off the floor when life has knocked us down, we want to give those around us the benefit of the doubt when something they’ve tried isn’t a raging success. There’s always tomorrow.” – Angela Duckworth

“There’s a hard way to get grit and an easy way. The hard way is to do it by yourself. The easy way is to use conformity – the basic human drive to fit in – because if you’re around a lot of people who are gritty, you’re going to act grittier.” – Dan Chambliss