What are Your Core Values?

Even though a little late, since this is my first post for 2018, I think it’s just apt that I write about something that can guide you in knowing yourself more this year. Whatever that means! Haha! 😛 After all, in life, there are things we value and then those we don’t. But even the things we do value also have different levels of “importance” or “significance,” depending on our background, character, personality, etc. As we go through life, we continuously change — and through this, hopefully we grow and mature. As I transitioned last year in a new “season” in my life, I realized that it gave me a lot of lessons, including being firm and fighting for the things I value overall. And of course, in order to understand other values, I had to put importance first to the one I ought to highly value:

MYSELF. ❤

It’s also helpful that I’ve been reading some books that help me understand myself and others more. I’ll make some time to share with you the books that helped me in my journey, but for now, I’ll share with you these two:

This book speaks more about my professional life. I was able to read this because my (dream) workplace supplied it to me and my colleagues. We were given a copy each (yay!), and we were required to read it and take the exam in the end to assess what our strengths are. Basically, the book teaches people to focus on our strengths instead of wasting a lot of time trying to make a strength out of our weaknesses. Simply put, it’s like me focusing on my passion for the written word more because that’s something I know I’m great at, rather than getting frustated at endless numbers for something when I know I can just hire someone to do the job for me (I hate math, and the feeling’s mutual for math! Haha!).

My top five strengths (based on the exam) are 1) Connectedness (relational), 2) Input (strategic), 3) Context (strategic), 4) Belief (executing / executive), and 5) Positivity (relational). So I’m like half relational, half strategic, with a sprinkle of executing / executive. When I understood what each strength meant, I wasn’t surprised. It’s sooo me! Then again, if you want to know what these strengths really are, I highly suggest you also get a copy of the book and take your own exam. 😉

This book speaks more about my personal life. I’ve heard about the “five love languages” since time immemorial, but it was only in 2015 when I first took the quiz. I took it again after more than a year, and if there’s one thing consistent about my results, my primary love language has always been 1) Quality Time. Next are 2) Acts of Service, 3) Words of Affirmation (this used to be my second, which just means that people change! haha), 4) Gifts, and 5) Touch (I really am not a touchy person! Wahahahaha!).

my love language/s

The book was originally written for married couples, so I’m glad that the author, Gary Chapman, wrote a version for singles like me. Aside from being helpful in romantic relationships, understanding the five love languages also helps all kinds of relationships — family, friends, and even God (there’s another version of the book that’s about God and the love languages!). Interestingly enough, the author also has other books and quizzes about one’s apology and anger languages! I also read and took them, and I can say that they’re really, really helpful!! So thanks, Mr. Chapman!!! 🙂

After reading and even taking assessments, the hardest will always be the application IRL. Having knowledge is one thing; acquiring wisdom is another (I’m a firm believer in the saying, “Intelligence without wisdom is destructive.”). When I reflected about what my core values are as a person overall (as in not just me as a professional or lover, but more of me as a daughter, sister, aunt, friend, etc.), I came up with my Top 10! Hahaha! Sure, I came up with that list on my own, without any company-certified tests, but I believe that aside from the One from up above, the only one who knows me best is yes… ME. 😀

But of course I won’t share with you my entire Top 10 for brevity’s sake! If you’re close to me, I can just share it with you in person some other time! (To my best friend and tesh, Nour, are you ready?! Mwahahahahaha!)

Anyway, I’ll be sharing only my Top 3 Core Values. They are:

1) Love – Love in all forms, not just “romance.” This includes love for my family, my friends, and yes, myself. Most especially, this core value of mine speaks about the kind of love that’s like Jesus‘ — the most difficult one to follow, yet the most fulfilling one at the same time as well!

2) Faith – I’m a devout and practicing Roman Catholic Christian. I was born one, and I’d die one. But no, I don’t claim to be perfect — in fact, I’m far from being one! That’s why I need Jesus. That’s why my faith is truly, madly, and deeply important to me. This also includes my advocacy on chastity / purity — which I already wrote here.

3) Hope – My description of this core value can be summed up in four words: positive. outlook. in. life! Those people who really know me can testify that I have a very positive outlook in life despite all the setbacks/trials that come my way. Even my strengths showed “positivity” in it! Need I say more?

Love. Faith. Hope. Sounds familiar? Well, yes. Just read the book of 1 Corinthians in the Bible, and you’ll come across those words in a different order. Those are my Top 3! I can only hope and pray that I’ll be given the strength to always execute these in my life properly, and if not, be humble enough to never stop learning from my mistakes and shortcomings. 🙂

“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
-1 Corinthians 13:13

How about you? Do you know what your core values are?
And are you willing to be firm and fight for them?

I would have what I want, but I wouldn’t know “Him”

waiting = knowing more of Him

Wait

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried:
Quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate,
And the Master so gently said,
“Child, you must wait.”
“Wait? You say, wait!” my indignant reply.
“Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is Your hand shortened? Or have You not heard?
By faith, I have asked, and am claiming Your Word.

“My future and all to which I can relate
Hangs in the balance, and You tell me to WAIT?
I’m needing a ‘Yes,’ a go-ahead sign,
Or even a ‘No’ to which I can resign.

“And Lord, You promised that if we believe
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And, Lord, I’ve been asking, and this is my cry:
‘I’m weary of asking! I need a reply!'”

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
As my Master replied once again, “You must wait.”
So, I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut
And grumbled to God, “So, I’m waiting… for what?”

He seemed, then, to kneel
And His eyes wept with mine,
And He tenderly said, “I could give you a sign,
I could shake the heavens, and darken the sun,
I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to run.

“All you seek, I could give, and pleased you would be,

You would have what you want —
But, you wouldn’t know Me.

You’d not know the depth of My love for each saint;
You’d not know the power I give to the faint;

“You’d not learn to see through the clouds of despair;
You’d not learn to trust just by knowing I’m there;
You’d not know the joy of resting in Me;
When darkness and silence were all you could see.

“You’d never experience that fullness of love
As the peace of My Spirit descends like a dove;
You’d know that I give and save, for a start,
But you’d not know the depth of the beat of my heart.

“The glow of My comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight,
The depth that’s beyond getting just what you asked
Of an infinite God, who makes what you have last.

“You’d never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee,’
Yes, your dreams for your loved one overnight would come true,

But, oh, the loss if I lost what I’m doing in you!

“So, be silent, My child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me,
And though oft’ may My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still, “Wait.'”

(This poem originally appeared in
Wait: A journey to discovering the heart of God by Russell Kelfer,
and was excerpted from
Emotional Purity: An Affair of the Heart by Heather Arnel Paulsen)

Thanks to my friend, Tin, for sharing this excerpt (which eventually made me read the actual book! haha). Anyway, I believe you’ll agree with me when I say that the poem was so beautifully written, it’s unfair not to share it!

So yes, if you’re waiting for an “answer” from God, whatever that may be, I hope this poem somehow “answered” you for now. After all, nothing worth it ever comes easy in this life, so if you’re being “pruned” right now, just remember that you’re in good hands — God’s hands!

In the meantime, while you’re still waiting, take advantage and get to know more of Him. Talk to Him. PRAY! What is He trying to teach or tell you? And then LISTEN — through your heart.

I wish you well, my friend. Stay patient and strong, and God bless!!! ❤

“The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
-2 Peter 3:9

Are YOU Ready for May 9, 2016?

Are You Ready for May 9?

Six years ago, I voted for the first time, and I voted for someone I thought would be a great leader for the Philippines. I’ve even attended his miting de avance (see photo above). Heck, I even voted for his Vice President (VP) — even though a lot of people told me it would be “a waste of my vote” because he was a celebrity and inexperienced in politics. I still voted for my President’s VP thinking that since my presidential candidate chose to be “partners” with him, then my candidate saw him as the “best” person he could run the Philippines with. Why vote for someone who doesn’t share the same “vision and mission” of my President, right? But that was in 2010.

For my non-Filipino friends reading this, my President and VP back in 2010 were Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro and Eduardo “Edu” Manzano respectively. They both lost, by the way.

But even if they both lost, I don’t have any regrets. I don’t regret voting for them because in a way, I proved to myself that I could stand for what I believed in, regardless if many people were against my decision/s or told me otherwise.

Of course some will say that “standing for what I believe in” is also a dangerous mantra, especially if it’s something “wrong” in other people’s eyes. That’s where discernment comes in. And it’s always a case-to-case basis. I’m only talking about the elections here, capisce?

So yes, a couple of days from now (May 9, 2016), Filipinos will once again choose “leaders” who they think will bring the Philippines “improvement.” This is probably the first time I said anything about the 2016 Philippine elections (at least publicly), and man, I’m not liking the way how things have been diirrrty and uuugly.

Unlike in other countries who “benefit” from a two-party system, in the Philippines, that’s the exact opposite. Currently, we have five presidential candidates — and these five also endorse their own vice presidential candidates (unlike in other countries that whoever wins as President, his Vice President of choice automatically runs the country with him). So yes, you can say that Filipino voters carry a lot of “election weight” on their shoulders. Given the number of candidates, it’s also no wonder why the Philippines is now “divided we stand, united we fall.” 😦

We’re all divided right now because of the different candidates we support. Check at least the social media feed of one Filipino (voter or not), and there’s at least one election-related post. Some even became “friends to enemies” without realizing that at the end of election day, whichever candidates win, we’re all going to either rise or fall as one nation. And then these people will think, WAS ALL THE SOCIAL MEDIA DRAMA WORTH IT?! Let me be the one to answer that: NO!

It’s clear that WE, Filipinos, are NOT yet ready for May 9. Or maybe that’s just me. But since we don’t have any choice, we must act on that day.

Coincidentally, May 9 is also the death anniversary of my mother. This year’s election day marks the Philippines’ 16th presidential election, and also the 13th year I’ve learned to live without my beloved mother. And although the pain of losing a loved one, especially a parent, never really goes away, I can at least continue to try to honor them.

Right now, one of the ways I can honor them is to fight for what I believe is right — just like how my parents raised me. I’m not gonna bash other candidates. I’m not gonna fight with my family and friends who will vote for other candidates I’m not voting for. I’m not gonna try to “convince” another person to vote for my candidate/s; that’s the candidate’s job. (Who are we to think that we’re better than others just because they want to vote for a different President/candidate? Don’t you think that doing so just makes you the “worse” person, trying to hold their free will and whatnot? So just don’t.) Heck, I’m not even gonna “blame” the next leaders of this country if the Philippines doesn’t change (and God forbid, gets worse!).

All I’m gonna do on May 9 is exercise my right to choose and vote. After that, I’ll continue to try to be a better person (and not just “a better Filipino”) than I was yesterday.

me, after voting in 2010

me, after voting in 2010

I’ll start by NOT throwing trash at inappropriate places. Simple, but effective. Maybe you have a different idea, and that’s okay. But come to think of it, maybe we should exert more energy on tackling climate change considering how HOT it has been in the Philippines lately. (Now don’t say that that’s probably a reason why people are also hot-headed these days. Seriously, how do you expect the Philippines to change for the better if YOU can’t change for the better?!)

For what it’s worth, I’m voting for a female presidential candidate. There are only two of them, but I’m still choosing not to disclose who. What for? Even if you knew and try to convince me to think otherwise, I won’t budge.

I’ve already decided who I’m gonna vote for this coming May 9, albeit not being “ready” in the broadest sense of the word.

How about YOU, my fellow Filipino voter???