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?

Some Lessons about My Faith, I Learned through My Ex

Here’s another wordy and very personal post brought to you by none other than my Wordy and Worthy blog! I don’t expect everyone to understand where I’m coming from in this post, and that’s okay. So read at your own risk. Haha!

Warning: You’ll get tired of reading the word “realized” in this post! 😛

To start, I’ve been reading the blog of Ms. Joy Tan-Chi Mendoza (TeachWithJoy.com) for quite some time already, and I love the way she writes honestly about her struggles and victories as a follower of Jesus Christ in the areas of her marriage, parenting, etc. Ms. Joy and I may come from different Christian denominations (she’s Born Again affiliated with Christ’s Commission Fellowship or CCF; I’m Roman Catholic), but we’re both Jesus followers either way, and I can relate and learn from her posts.

Her posts may sometimes be “preachy” (just like me sometimes! haha), but I appreciate the purpose behind her writing: it’s to show everybody that being a follower of Christ doesn’t automatically make a person perfect. In fact, it’s because of our imperfections as humans that give us all the more reason why we should anchor ourselves in Christ. Being a follower of Christ is an everyday commitment, much like any other important thing in life. And being a follower of Christ is actually very hard (more attacks/temptations from the enemy, etc.), but very fulfilling and rewarding, too.

This wasn’t an easy post to write, so I’m warning you now. If you’re from my ex’s side of camp, there’s a big chance you’re going to hate me (if you don’t hate me yet! haha), but then again, I can’t just let my ex take all the blame on why our four-year relationship failed because it also takes two to tango to make a relationship work OR fail. So to my ex, congrats! I’m sure he said a lot of nasty things about me, and here I am supporting some of what I think he said about me to his side of camp when we broke up! Haha!

But you see, I realized that if I’m going to testify about Jesus‘ major role in my life, then I have to be as honest, raw, and transparent as much as possible, even if I have to expose my dark side. But that’s the thing about confessing sins. It’s done in order to be humbled and held accountable. In return, exposing the dark enables light to penetrate through.

MY FAITH JOURNEY

So, let’s talk about my faith first, then we can get to the part of my ex (which I know you’re all dying to read! tsk, tsk). 😛 My faith journey has been an on-going one since the time I was born. I was raised in a Roman Catholic household, studied in Catholic schools (from pre-school to even graduate school!), attended Mass on Sundays, etc. But I’ve to admit, I had weak faith all throughout then. “Weak” in the sense that I did religious things, but I didn’t really have a personal relationship with Jesus yet. I was lukewarm toward Him. 😦 But He never gave up on me. 🙂 I actually wrote a short piece about my faith journey in my first pure Filipino blog post, Babalik Ka Rin!

I guess the first call from God I could remember was when I started reading the Bible when I was in high school. But eventually, I stopped.

My second call was when I joined the youth group of the Light of Jesus (LOJ) community back in 2004. It was then called Youth Mission for Parishes and CommuniTies or YMPACT. The Feast — a Catholic prayer meeting headed by Bro. Bo Sanchez was even held at Camp Aguinaldo at that time. I became active in that group, attended prayer meetings every other Sunday and youth camps every summer. But I stopped again after 2007. I did attend several Kerygma Conferences in between, though. My ex and I even had our first official date as a couple at Kerygma Conference 2012! I can’t believe it now! Hahaha!

After that, my next call came after seven years. I was already a yuppie in Makati for five years then, but it was only in 2014 when I started attending Feast Makati.

Since then, I’ve been attending LOJ‘s The Feast. In the past year, I’ve been attending Feast Bay Area (FBA) more regularly. I even recently joined the Media Ministry as a writer for the afternoon sessions.

And then my last and final call from God to truly follow Him was in 2016: November 13, 2016 to be exact — the date when I broke up with my then-boyfriend of four years.

FROM BREAKUPS TO BREAKTHROUGHS

Yes, you’ve read that right. I was the one who broke up with my now ex. And that wasn’t even the first time.

The first time I tried to break up with him was in February 2013. We were together for only three months then. I was thinking that it’s better to break up as early as then than prolong the relationship. But after texting him (I know, lame way to do so!) that we’re over, he suddenly went to our house to try to make me undo the breakup. Which I did. But I was so wrong. I don’t know… I guess as early as then I already knew that there’s something off with our pairing, but my stubbornness made me hesitate to end it because I wanted to prove something. #LessonLearned

The second time I tried to break up with him was in December 2013. 10 months after my first real attempt. We were in a mall together and we fought about something. I said we were over. He still accompanied me home. But when we got home, I took back what I said. Again, I was so wrong.

The third time I tried to break up with him was in December 2014. A year after my second real attempt. Instead of hours, this lasted for around two days. Then after a phone call on the second day, we got back together. We were so wrong.

The fourth time I tried to break up with him was in February 2015. Just two months after our “longest” breakup then! We actually just came from a retreat, but I was so frustrated with him (like I said, I still had weak faith), I didn’t know how to address that frustration other than break up with him. I can’t really remember if I actually said that we’re over but I think I implied that when we boarded our bus (the retreat was in Tagaytay). When we got back to Makati, we ate dinner, talked, and agreed to stay together. Again, we were so wrong.

After that, things started going really downward spiral. In June 2015, just four months after again, he was the one who initiated a cool off. Within a week, we were “on” again.

And then in August 2015, we had our first legit breakup. He was the one who initiated it, and I remember that it was so painful on my part, I still consider that more painful than our final breakup. It lasted for a little over a week. And then you guessed it, we got back together.

His next attempt to break up with me was in May 2016. It was only overnight, and I was also so mad at him at that time I was actually glad he broke it off. But the following day, he apologized. It wasn’t a breakup after all.

After that, I believe we were on “autopilot” mode. I remember opening up to a friend as early as March 2016 that I wasn’t really sure about the relationship anymore. In August 2016, I struggled with my faith that I stopped going to Mass altogether for more than a month. My ex, being the agnostic that he was, of course couldn’t care less. I even attended a Christian group discussion in September 2016 and tried to heed advice from complete strangers about my sinking relationship. In October 2016, I decided I needed a retreat, so I signed up to a Catholic one that’d happen two months after in December. And in between those months, in November 2016, I broke up for the last time with my then-boyfriend at Hanoi International Airport when we were on our way back to Manila after our supposed “pre-anniversary” trip. Lakas maka-telenovela, ano? But I really didn’t plan that, you know?!

I’m not going to detail each and every breakup we had, but in general, our breakups were all results of our brokenness, confusions, doubts, emptiness, fears, immaturities, insecurities, naiveness, undecisiveness, unresolved issues, weaknesses, [insert negative word here], etc. But there was never a third party. At least on my part. I’ve had “hunches” about my ex having a third party on three out of eight of our breakups (and those were just the major ones!), but my verdict’s it was all in my head. There was a third party involved in our last breakup in the sense that my ex rebounded just two months after our final breakup, but when we had our closure in May 2017 (oh yes, I really pushed it!), he told me he dated that girl after a month when I broke up with him, and they got together in January 2017. He even said the girl was aware that he’s still in love with me when they got together (so weird!). He actually met that girl around September 2016 when he went to their province in Quezon, I even confronted him about it when we were still together, but he said it was nothing. After all, the girl’s still in college. So technically, they got together AFTER we broke up. So technically, he said he didn’t cheat on me. K. Whatever he said. Either way, I broke up with him not because of a third party. I broke up with him because of a lot of our issues. I broke up with him because of a lot of MY issues — which I’m trying to address now one at a time. 😉

So yes, you can say it was a dead-end and tiring relationship (gosh, I even got tired just recalling the events!). So I also can’t blame my ex if he wants a “chill-chill lang” (his exact words during our closure meeting, not mine) relationship at this time with the college girl.

But the rollercoaster ride doesn’t even stop there.

Since our previous breakups didn’t involve anyone else, I thought we could still get back together after November 2016 (even though with or without a third party, it was already obvious that a reconciliation was a wrong move again). I had a major case of the so-called “dumper’s remorse.” I only found out about the college girl in February 2017, so you can say that it was really stupid of me to still try to “bargain” with my ex from November 2016-February 2017. I even greeted him on Valentine’s Day — only because I didn’t know that he was already with the college girl then! So lame on my part! Haha! Since this is a “confession,” I won’t deny it to you that I allowed myself to step down on a few levels by sending messages to A LOT of people from my ex’s side of camp (including the college girl, when I found out!). If my ex’s way of coping was rebounding, mine was A LOT OF TALKING! So touche.

I’m not ashamed of all these things now because everything I did gave me the closure I wanted. If I didn’t send messages to the college girl, I don’t think my ex would still talk to me! But he did, and I got what I wanted in the end. If anything, I think my crazy antics even made me push my ex further away from me and closer to the college girl. So they better thank me! Wahahahaha! No, I just know that everything happens for a reason, crazy antics and all. Also, I just charge everything to experience. I still had the “first heartbreak card” then. But since I already used it, I don’t have any more excuse next time. LOL! Then again, each heartbreak is just one step closer to my TOTGA — not The One That Got Away, but The One That God Allowed!

FROM SHAMEFUL TO SHAMELESS

But seriously though, I’m not ashamed of these things now because I’ve already confessed all these to God and a priest through the Sacrament of Reconciliation — several times! I believe one of the things I won’t ever forget in my life was one confession when I asked the priest for my penance and his answer was, “I believe all the pain you’re experiencing is penance enough.” That really struck hard!

It was excruciatingly painful, alright. Why? Because I was also guilty of my faults and my conscience kept bothering me. Sure, there are worse sins out there committed by other people compared to my sins, but I still sinned. Period. It’s true that one of the hardest things you can do is to forgive yourself. And through God’s grace, I already have. 🙂

Looking back, when I was going through the stages of loss in random order, I thought I was fighting for love. Until a psychiatrist finally told me that no, I probably don’t love my ex anymore. I was just fighting for my very hurt ego. And I realized very late in the game, she was right. In fact, I think my ex and me had twisted definitions of love for our entire four years together. But I realized that it’s all because we couldn’t give what we didn’t have, so we both ran empty. That’s why now, I’m making sure to fill my love tank first through God’s love before I enter another relationship. I’m not in a hurry because I don’t want to repeat the same mistakes again when I know I’m still healing.

I’m writing all this not to shame my ex or anything (hello, you can clearly see that I also have my fair share of shameful moments!), but because I’m bothered by some people who just suddenly message me out of the blue with the hope of comforting me without even knowing the real story. They just assumed that it was all my ex’s fault just because that’s what happened to them, and they also can’t acknowledge their own shortcomings in the relationship. Please remember that we all have different love and breakup stories. Maybe I gave an impression that I was the victim and my ex was the bad guy, but as you can see now, we both were the victim and/or the bad guy at different points in our relationship. In fact, I believe we both “won” when we “lost” each other. God saved both of us from each other because we were just bringing out the worst in each other. My ex was far from perfect, but again, you clearly see that so was I. Still am. My close friends who I’ve opened up to know this, and I thank God for their non-judgmental attitude. They know that me and my ex are not bad people individually per se. We were just really bad for each other at the time being.

STOPPING THE HURTS

Now that I’ve mentioned about working on my own issues, we’re going back to my faith. Thanks to The Feast, I realized the truth behind hurt people, hurt people.

I realized that I was a very hurt person when I was still with my ex, hence I had the tendency to hurt others, too — unfortunately for my ex, it was him who got the most “hurts” from me because he was the closest to me. And I’m sorry. How did I hurt him? Well, he was the one who told me that words are both my blessing and curse. So go figure.

In order to stop that (and use my gift of words more as a blessing!), I first acknowledged my faults through some serious self-reflection because it’s through acknowledgment that change for the better begins. I also decided to kiss dating goodbye (for now) and really heal first. I realized my ex was just the tip of the iceberg. I found out that I had more emotional wounds in life all the way back from my childhood that I have to address before entering another romantic relationship. I even had the guts to talk to my biological father over dinner after not seeing him for years (but maybe that’s for another post altogether!).

OF HEALING AND THANK YOU’S

During the “dark ages” of my breakup, my prayer to God then was very specific: I didn’t want to simply move on (and then leave more unhealed wounds!). I specifically prayed that I wanted to LET GO, MOVE ON, and HEAL — in that order! And then one day just this month, I realized that He already answered all of those, and I’m now on the healing part. Looking back on how I started my faith journey, I realized how God never left me. I also realize now my ex’s purpose in my life: God used him so I can fully heal — as ironic as that may sound. God allowed me to be “broken” by my ex to expose more of my existing brokenness and enable Him to fill in those crumbling and empty spaces, so I can be whole again. But this time, anchored in Him. ❤

So I thank my ex for letting me go even when I stubbornly didn’t want to do the same to him when I was stilI not over the stages of loss. I can say that I really wish him well now.

And of course, I thank God for enabling me to see the good in all my bad experiences as mentioned in Romans 8:28 — my favorite Bible passage.

Since the breakup…

  • I learned how to be more selfless (as opposed to being selfish, such as clinging on to my ex, etc.). Because of my ex, I learned to pray for my “enemies.” Not just him, but now, when someone angers or wrongs me, I just pray for that person. And it’s true what Bro. Bo once said that praying for your enemies doesn’t just change your enemies’ lives, more importantly, it changes YOU!
  • I embarked on a fitness journey and lost around 30 lbs., and I’ve never been fitter and healthier in my life!
  • I traveled to six countries (five of which were in my dream continent — Europe!)
  • I acquired new skills like baking and cooking! Woohoo!
  • I reconnected with some significant people from my past. I also made A LOT of new friends along the way!
  • I now know the importance of and how to enjoy this “single” season in my life, that it involves pruning and waiting, so when I finally meet my future husband in God’s perfect time, I’ll already be at my best and not someone he still had to “endure” haha
  • Most importantly, I established a closer and deeper relationship with God. I’m now back to reading His Word every day, serving Him, etc. I’m even grateful and humbled to receive some of the gifts of the Holy Spirit — including the gift of praying in tongues! I’m so glad I heeded God’s call at a time I thought I wasn’t capable of answering. I still am a perfectly imperfect person, but God saw that I was becoming the exact opposite of how He intended me to be, so He stepped in and pruned me. The pruning wasn’t a walk in the park. It still isn’t because it’s still on-going. But I’m blessed that I have a support system who truly gets me and a God who never gives up on me! I love you, guys! I LOVE YOU, GOD!!!

If you’re reading this part, THANK YOU! That just means you’ve already reached the last part of this very wordy post. Haha!

At this stage, I can now proudly sing the words of T. Swift that me and my ex “are never ever, ever getting back together.” I’ve already accepted that. And I’ve even realized that it was really for the best. I guess my only regret is I wish we had known this as early as our first breakup in February 2013! But you know, everything — as in EVERYTHING, both the good and the bad — is in the past now. I can only do so much by extracting the lessons — hence, this blog post! Haha!

As I end this post, I hope and pray that those who are undergoing any heartbreak right now may also have the courage to KEEP MOVING FORWARD no matter how hard it is. I totally get you. Crawl if you must, but just “keep swimming,” as Dory in Finding Nemo put it. Hehe! Most importantly, KEEP THE FAITH! God wants to be with you at this very crucial time in your life more than anything and help you carry your burdens — but only if you allow Him to. 🙂 I’m also at your disposal if you need someone to talk to. Just send me a message, and you’ll know why I’m a self-proclaimed wordy lady! Madaldal talaga ako! Hahaha!

On the other hand, I can’t wait to meet my Tobias (for Bible readers, you know who I’m talking about!). And as it’s said in my prayer, may he be “a person with whom I can best cooperate in doing God’s Holy Will, with whom I can live in peace, love, and harmony in this life and attain eternal joy in the next.” After all, marriage (including sex!) was designed by God. Husbands and wives are given the task to outdo each other in helping each to reach sainthood. But first, I must go through my one-on-one training during this season in my life with the Master Himself, Jesus.

I wouldn’t have it any other way now. ❤

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
-Romans 8:28

The Year That Was: 2013

Read one book per week, have a healthier lifestyle (ahem!), update my blog at least once a month…

These are just some of the things in my list and it goes on, and on, and on. Because you know, it’s that time of the year again to make New Year’s “resolutions.” Kahit ang totoo, hanggang mga first week of January lang naman natutupad! Hahaha!

This is just my third time to write a year-ender post and even though my blog has been inactive for the most part of the past year (2013), I still couldn’t let this go because for the past two years, my year-ender posts sort of became my “guide” for the year that followed.

In 2011, I wrote that I wanted to be AMAZED in 2012. Check!
2011 was also my “blogging” year.

In 2012, I kind of asked the universe to help me in my career in 2013. And guess what? Check again!
2012 was also my “travel” year.

In 2013, I found myself lying low in the blogging world but boy, was it one hell of a roller-coaster ride in real life! 😛
I’d like to call 2013 my “career” and “friendship” year for the following reasons:

CAREER

I’m already sure that WRITING, in every sense of the word, is my passion. So when I landed a new full-time writing job at the start of the year, I was ecstatic! I was writing at least six articles per day for different food, lifestyle, and travel websites and I was living my “writing dream.” Unfortunately, that was short-lived because the company declared bankruptcy after a few weeks. And just like that, I was back in the hunt for the next writing job that could fulfill my so-called writing dream. But this time, I was also already cautious with the companies I was sending my resume to.

I just said that I’m already sure that WRITING, in every sense of the word, is my passion. However, I wasn’t really sure what KIND of writing I was talking about. Not until an opening for a great company made its way to me (thanks to a job site) in the second quarter of the year and I figured, why not? Sure, it wasn’t the kind of creative/lifestyle writing I was used to, but it’s a job that still involved the WRITTEN WORD. So yes, I ventured into TECHNICAL WRITING. 🙂

Up to now, I’m a “creative” writer at heart but looking back to my decision to put more importance on the actual company I was applying for instead of the actual job, I’m glad to say that I’ve no regrets! Almost a year into technical writing, I won’t deny that I’m still struggling but you know what? I still consider this as my BEST CAREER MOVE by far! I already love the industry we’re in even before I applied, and I’m glad that I still get to learn NEW THINGS every. single. day! More importantly, I love the work environment — the company knows how to value both its business and employees. And speaking of the latter, my colleagues are the best people to work with — they know how to get the work done without sacrificing the fun, and I’m thankful for the new friendships I’ve formed in the workplace! 😀

Career

Career

So creative writing and technical writing both at the same time? I say, why not?! After all, they still both deal with words, words, words and for a WORDSMITH like me, that’s more than enough! ♥

FRIENDSHIP

Aside from the new friendships I’ve formed in the workplace, reconnecting with my high school friends was one of my 2013 highlights. 😉

Friendship

Friendship

I haven’t bonded with them for quite some time after our high school graduation (which was in 2005!), so I’m just really happy that I got to do so again in 2013… and beyond, of course! In fact, we’re already planning a getaway this coming 2014! So thanks, girls, for our adventures this past year! Really, really, really looking forward to our next ones!!!  ♥

And to wrap this up, of course my 2013 wouldn’t be complete without the love of my life (hehehe, sorry na kung mushy!):

Thanks, hon, for all that we’ve experienced and shared in 2013! I look forward to what’s in store for us this coming new year. I love you!!! :*

Basically, that was 2013 for me. It might look simple and worry-free, but I’m telling you that that wasn’t really the case. Besides, why focus on negativity when you can have a much better outlook in life when focused on positivity, right? Good vibes, all the way!!!

And that’s exactly what I want the universe to grant me this 2014: GOOD VIBES… and to read one book per week, have a healthier lifestyle (ahem!), update my blog at least once a month… you know the drill. Wahahahaha!

Anyway, I wish you all GOOD THINGS this coming new year!
HAPPY 2014!!!

#PeaceOut