Thursday, January 24, 2013

All I ask is a truly forgiving heart

Something to ponder about: "Forgiveness is above all a personal choice, a decision of the heart to go against the natural instinct to to pay back evil with evil .... It has its perfect exemplar in the forgiveness of Christ, who on the cross prayed: 'Father, forgive them; for they know not what they are doing.'" --- Pope John Paul II, Rome 2002 (from Walking in the Light 30 Days with Pope John Paul II)

How can you forgive someone who has hurt you for the nth time?

The answer: forgive yourself first for letting that same person hurt you again.

Then, you will truly forgive the person who hurt you the most.

Eventually, you will move forward, hopeful that the person who hurt you learn to forgive himself or herself for all the hurt that he or she has done to you and to others.

So easy to say, but really hard to do. Especially if you keep on forgiving, giving chances, accepting, but you were repeatedly abused, hurt, mocked --- the works.

I thought I have already forgiven myself on the "lighter" problem I talked about in my previous post. That we were heading toward reconciliation. But over the weekend, I was disappointed again, driven mad, fooled. And I never learned my lesson.

After hours of exhaustion because of begging, crying, convincing the other person that he was making the wrong decision, I eventually calmed down. Then, I said sorry to the other person for being angry because I am hurt again. That I am sorry for being too honest about the matter because I felt the truth has to be said, and it is never easy to say --- or hear the truth. And all these fell again on deaf ears.

Is there any bright spot from this happening? Yes.

My friends --- even those I am friends with online but having very good, meaningful conversations with --- assured me that I have done everything possible to make things work. But there are really people who are so hurt, who have unresolved issues, that they consciously or sub-consciously hurt others to feel good about themselves.

I am coping now, steadily forgiving myself.

Shedding copious amount of tears also helped me feel better. However, I look forward to cry over joyous happenings.

Saying thank you to the Lord for giving me a big heart capable of limitless loving and a huge capacity to forgive is what I consciously, repeatedly doing these days, especially when I am feeling low again over this latest blow. And I found the following text from Walking in the Light 30 Days with Pope John Paul II:
Today, I will focus on one person to whom I should offer forgiveness and I will resolve to let my act of forgiveness to be forever. 
And such act is what I am striving to do once more.

Thinking also about my health --- how I need to be well --- is driving me too, to let go of this recurring source of drama. According to the Mayo Clinic, forgiveness can lead to:
  • Healthier relationships
  • Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
  • Less anxiety, stress, and hostility
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Fewer symptoms of depression
  • Lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse
Channeling my energy and time on more pressing matters at work and at home is also my way to be occupied and not dwell anymore on this latest blow.

As such, let us all start to actively choose to forgive the person who has offended us (as there are some grave cases like sexual abuse that it is "permitted" not to forgive).

Let us move away from being a victim.

Let us release ourselves from the control and power the offending person and situation have had in our lives.

I hope these 9 additional quotes on forgiveness (with religious overtones or none) will be helpful to us all as we forgive, let go, and move forward:

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”
― Mother Teresa

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
― Mahatma Gandhi, All Men are Brothers: Autobiographical Reflections

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.

“Keep in mind, hurting people often hurt other people as a result of their own pain. If somebody is rude and inconsiderate, you can almost be certain that they have some unresolved issues inside. They have some major problems, anger, resentment, or some heartache they are trying to cope with or overcome. The last thing they need is for you to make matters worse by responding angrily.”
― Joel Osteen, Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential

“Forgiveness in no way requires that you trust the one you forgive.”
― Wm. Paul Young, The Shack 

“Forgiveness must be immediate, whether or not a person asks for it. Trust must be rebuilt over time. Trust requires a track record.”
― Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth am I Here for?

“Love may forgive all infirmities and love still in spite of them: but Love cannot cease to will their removal.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

“Dear Lord, please show me everything I need to understand about forgiveness and surrender.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

“It’s not just other people we need to forgive. We also need to forgive ourselves. For all the things we didn’t do. All the things we should have done.”
― Mitch Albom, Tuesdays With Morrie   

Friday, January 04, 2013

10 ways to beat post-holiday blues

I had a couple of this Gingerbread Man from Krispy Kreme and such made my holidays! Child-like but this surely uplifted me. Holidays done, and no more Gingerbread Man for now, but I will stay uplifted.

I think the post-holiday blues bit me.

I was so hyped the whole day yesterday --- completing three deadlines, one of them actually due today but I finished ahead --- that upon leaving the office, I felt tired.

It probably did not help that I had to wait almost an hour for the shuttle ride home, and the mosquitoes were feasting on my ankles. When I got home last night, I felt so hungry that I ate a complete rice meal (the plan was to skip and stick to fruits, which I had apple, two regular-sized bananas, and 2 kiat-kiats/mandarin oranges for lunch), plus dessert! Then I finished the Swedish film, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and after, I just fell asleep on our sofa, dead tired! And I was supposed to workout, read, and blog! Earlier, I snoozed for countless times (having moved to my room around 3 a.m.), and when I finally woke up, it was almost 8 a.m.! I am so thankful that traffic was smooth I got to work in an hour. What happened last night seemed like manifestation of post-holiday blues.

Holiday hangover, post-holiday blues, Monday blues, January blues (which study says mid-January is the most depressing time of the year) --- called by different names but it only means a type of not so pleasant mood (often associated with depression) that some people experience after long breaks. Many of us looked forward to the Yuletide season as the most awaited event of our year. When it set in, we felt all hurried and stressed with various preparations, parties, and gatherings. Come back January 2, we dread to return to our routine (work or school), that we also feel lazy, tired, and irritable.

The good news is, it is supposed to last only a week. If it would not wear off in that period of time, it might mean something more serious that might require medical attention. Thankfully though, there are a lot of ways to beat the post-holiday blues, and I am taking note of the following so I can cope well:

1. Move forward. Again, my theme fits this fight against post-holiday blues. I am trying my hardest not to dwell on things that did not work for me in 2012 or even years back, as they would only pull me down --- migraine, very painful menstrual period! The days ahead are promising and I am seizing them to my advantage.

2. Be productive. I am filling my planners with things to do both on and off work; upcoming occasions like family birthdays, an event to attend to, meeting friends! Surely, these would mean more reasons to keep going.

3. Surround myself with "positive" people. Really, it works for me. Recently, I met someone who by far, has been the most pleasant person I talked to. The conversation was so light and easy that time passed so quickly. I am just glad to know that there are positive people out there who can make other people light and easy, and I like to be one of them. I am trying. Smiling more often is a start. I have been often complimented to have beautiful, smiling eyes (though hidden behind fashionably nerdy glasses). So yes, why not maximize that asset of mine?

4. Eat good food --- and with good company. I do not know how many times last year that I had working lunches. This year, I am more conscious to resist such bad habit. Good food is meant to be enjoyed, only while dining, and not while multitasking. It also helps though to dine with someone or a set of friends, and family of course! Food is indeed best shared. As I always say to my teammates, "share the calories!"

5. Look after myself. I vow not to miss my doctor's appointments and do what is necessary for me to be well and going. Eating consciously (having small portions and avoiding skipping meals) is also a must for me now. My running shoes, pedometer, and jogging suit are waiting for me this weekend! My basic Pilates kit is also on standby. I spent on those workout tools so I better use them to my benefit.

6. Finish a book. I am more than halfway reading Haruki Murakami's 1Q84. It is a long, voluminous read but it is so worth it. Reading a book --- fiction or otherwise --- puts me at ease. Nothing also beats a nook of my own, with coffee in hand as I finish another tome --- print or in ebook format.

7. Seize my thoughts. So far, this is my third blog post for the New Year --- last year I only had 9 for Descovrir! I have been absent for almost a year writing for magazines, so my blogs (Descovrir and Rediscover) are the best avenue for me to continuously sharpen my journalistic skills. And there are so many things to write about!

8. Create more livable space. The general cleaning I had of my room last weekend was therapeutic (though the allergic rhinitis that followed was nasty). I made more space for my stuff by throwing away stuff I no longer need. I think there is more decluttering to do, both in my room and our home in general, so I am scheduling another weekend for that.

9. Have more quality alone time. There were a lot of times last year I deliberately isolated myself --- avoiding my workmates for team lunches, turned down friends' invites, locked myself in my room. And those times I was alone were not healthy times. Now, I am making my "alone" time more quality alone time, use them more productively and more positively --- whether I dine out, take a long walk, stay in my room, or travel more --- those alone times would be the best for me.

10. Pray. Or be still or meditate. Personally, nothing beats Divine Intervention to help you work things out. Yes, ora et labora or pray and work --- this Rule of St. Benedict is my formula. I have to do my share to achieve the things I set out for myself. And I pray for guidance that whatever happens for this New Year, I would be able to accept it.

And I pray hard that these things I listed here to cope with post-holiday blues --- or any time of the year blues --- would work. They might work for you, too!

So, post-holiday blues, be gone!

Thursday, January 03, 2013


Image from

While filling out my Belle De Jour 2013 planner last night, I had to stop when I came across this: My power word for 2013 is ___.

The busy day Wednesday did not stop me from thinking about it. Until I remembered Elizabeth Gilbert's word (as cited in her bestseller Eat, Pray, Love): attraversiamo, Italian for "cross," as in "cross over."

Since I am pumped up with my self-created theme for 2013 which is "moving forward," I thought of it as my word. But that is a phrase of two words.

So I looked for its translation in Spanish: avanzando. Why Spanish? It is closer to home, with our language that heavily borrowed from Spanish (as we were colonized by Spain, and we already moved significantly forward from those 333 years of colonization).

So there, I have my positivity phrase. I have my power word for 2013 --- and they are one and the same in meaning.

I am moving forward.


What is your power word for 2013?

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

2013 and moving forward

Happy New Year to all!

I ended 2012 by letting go of things or habits that did not work for me and I forgave several people --- myself above anyone else. The new year --- and beyond --- is about "moving forward."

I first heard the phrase when I joined my current company. During meetings, if we would discuss something about what could we have done better for our clients, they would say, "moving forward ..." to ensure that the next time we complete a deliverable, the lessons learned from a not so good experience, plus best practices must be in place first and foremost.

During our visioning session last week, it was agreed that to move forward is better than to "move on" because the latter connotes an excess baggage that still burdens you while you attempt to bounce back from an unpleasant experience.

So, moving forward, I am bubbly to start 2013 right.

A better way to stick to my vision is to write them down. Being a journalist by training and former profession (but still my passion!) I love to write. And because of my love for writing that I was able to write about things I never thought I would be able to write about, like business and finance. And yes, I highly appreciate the notebooks/notepads and pens of customized, special kind as freebies/giveaways from press conferences or events I attended. And my planners/journals are great tools to aid me in moving forward.

From left: Time Check life planner designed by motivational speaker and TV host Anthony Pangilinan; Starbucks planners for 2008, 2011, and 2012; and Belle De Jour for 2010 and 2011

The Time Check life planner was given to me (actually I got two) from two press conferences I attended organized by Gwen Carino. Unlike any other planners, it is date-free --- you can start or continue whenever you want to or like to. It also has motivational and inspirational pages. When I like to put something into action and that overwhelms me, I first write it here until I organized my thoughts.

Of course, being a coffee drinker, the Starbucks planner has become a holiday tradition (except for 2010 that I skipped it for reason/s I forgot). Mainly, I use this for work --- time ins, deadlines, meetings, etc. Last year's planner also doubled for personal appointments, lessons learned, and milestones.

I got introduced to Belle De Jour when one press conference of Canon Philippines had this as a giveaway (being one of the advertisers). This overly girly planner is a hit because it has coupons of discounts, freebies, and upgrades from various establishments. The layout is so feminine coupled with motivational and inspirational messages. The best part of this is the menstrual tracker, which is useful for me given I have an irregular period and being monitored for it. Also, belatedly I learned that the planner was designed by one of the layout/graphic artists I worked with, so I guess the familiarity with it.

This year, and without expecting, I got two planners to fill in. Of course the Starbucks planner 2013 which I accomplished earlier than expected (thanks to my friends' help), and the Belle De Jour 2013, a Christmas gift from @carly_tops.

The Starbucks pen was wish granted from our team's kris kringle

After this post, I will start to write on these "moving forward" tools of mine for 2013. And at this early, I am praying that if my visions did not go accordingly as I claimed them to be, I know for sure that I tried and I will move forward more positively.

So, are you ready to move forward?