Life doesn’t always prepare us for what’s to come.

Last week, I planned a trip home to visit the family and welcome my sister’s new baby boy. Instead, my dad was unexpectedly rushed to the hospital and we all had to take care of him, until he was well enough to go home. This experience underscored the quiet heroes amongst our daily midst – my sisters and most especially my mom, whose gentle presence fills us instantly with her love and light. Caring after dad also gave me a glimpse of how it is when our parents are really old and they actually begin to need us more. It was a painful yet necessary reminder that in fact, they are not getting any younger, and the most important thing we can give them is our time and undivided attention.

When I got back in Manila mid May, I had my calendar all blocked off for the next 8 weeks, dedicated to growing the company I initially started. Like any startup, true to form, I’ve had to deal with the frustration of setbacks along the way. Realizing that as our vision and purpose grow, so do the things beyond our control – teaching me once again the values of agility, resilience, humility and faith.

The same is true with relationships. Sometimes we are failed by the people we count on the most, not because they are selfish and cruel, but because just like ourselves, they too are flawed and imperfect. And this spans out across all our life experiences, which have disappointed us one way or the other, despite careful planning, devotion and hard work.

No one ever ungrudgingly envisions the hardships that we all know to be so true in life, and we are still never too prepared to face the painful facts. But you know what, that’s okay. We are humans after all – trials test our faith but also reveal our strengths, mistakes are our disguised cry for help which ultimately trigger our growth, and heartbreaks although they leave us with crushed spirits, they are sometimes all we need to awaken our souls and teach us to love the right way. So when sh*t hits the fan, always remember, diamonds are created under pressure.

I’d like to share with you some personal breakthroughs I’ve learned over the years and still constantly struggle to apply everyday to no perfection, constantly reminding me that I am a student of life. I hope they touch your heart, inspire and comfort you, knowing that you are not alone in the battles of life. We are all in this together.

  1. Take care of your mind every single day, especially during tough times. Your mind has the power to propel you forward or leave you sulking deeper. Feed your mind with love and light by surrounding yourself with people who lift you up. The more you cultivate a winning mindset, the more it will translate into your actions and eventually your results.
  2. Always collect what’s right, in every situation you are in. Ask yourself, what is this experience trying to tell and teach me? More often than not, setbacks are actually detours leading us to where we should be, instead of where we want to go.
  3. Our fears, weaknesses, mistakes and failures DO NOT DEFINE US. In as much as our successes shouldn’t be all there is either. We shouldn’t be ashamed to recognize our flaws and that we need help sometimes, for they do not make us any less.
  4. Release yourself from unrealistic personal expectations, as well as of those people we claim to love. We shouldn’t burden them with self made ideals as a result of useless comparisons and impractical standards. Remember, we all show love differently, we all cope and eventually heal at our own pace. Focus on possibilities because when you do, there are endless opportunities waiting.
  5. Strive to live with compassion and kindness, because whether we admit it or not, it is what every single human being needs the most, other than love.

Life doesn’t always prepare us for what’s to come, for both the bad and the good. But if we open our minds and hearts, listen to what the universe is preparing us for, we are able to transform the hard times into our best life teachers, while savoring the good ones with deeper gratitude and joy. Happy Tuesday!

Cath

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