Be good to yourself. People will only treat you as well as you treat yourself. ~ M. V. Hansen

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mother's Day and Self-Love: Things I'd Like to Tell My Daughter

As a mother, I hope to lead my kid to a happy and good life.
May 13 was Mother's Day. I got a note from the love of my life days before that. As usual, her message made me cry. She knows I'm under so much pressure at this time (for the past several years, actually). She also knows that I'm having a hard time figuring out what I want to do with my life - aside from trying to fulfill my role as her mom. She is my saving grace, my human oxygen. I would've gone long ago if she weren't around. 

There are many things I'd like to tell her. Not sure if she'd take time to read this piece, but I hope when she does, she'd learn some lessons and use these reminders to protect and improve herself as a person.

My dearest Love,

First, THANK  YOU for the lovely short message. It did make me cry like the previous ones, even when there's no occasion at all. You're such a sweet, caring, thoughtful child. Sometimes I wonder what have I done to deserve a gift like you. I must've done something good (to borrow the lyrics of a song from the Sound of Music). There are many things I'd like you to know and I hope you'd take time to consider them and do something about these lessons after reading them. Let me start with the simple ones.

Language as a force

While reading your letter, I couldn't help but be amazed of the quality and structure of your thoughts. Love, please believe that you do write well. You wrote properly in English. I'm proud of you. Not all native English speakers spell well or use correct subject-verb agreement. :) 

So one survival skill for you to nurture is to further improve how you express yourself - not just in written form, but when speaking as well. If there's one successful product that the Europeans and the Americans exported to other parts of the world, it is the English language. 

Language is power. The information we read go through a thought process powered by one's language. If we don't know the language, we wouldn't spend time reading any information that we don't understand. Thus, continue to read and to practice writing in English - a survival skill too, within and outside the Philippines.

However, English isn't the only language that people like us have to learn. If possible, you have to learn the basics of Mandarin (as China is off again to achieve what it has achieved many centuries ago even prior to Western imperialism or domination), Japanese, Arabic, Russian, and other languages, particularly of the places you want to visit someday. Even in the Philippines, we'd have to learn how to speak other native languages. It is speaking and understanding foreign and local languages that can help us interact with others and contribute to our survival in a highly competitive world.

Need for self-confidence and healthy self-love

Everyone has stage fright, even those who seem to be already an expert at public speaking. It takes confidence to do that though. Unfortunately, both of us are struggling to achieve the kind of confidence people need to deal with the blows of life, many of which are caused by people who can either enable or break us. Nonetheless, poor self-confidence can be overcome. 

It means the world to me to hear you tell me I'm a good mom or that I'm a good person. Too much negativity and criticism at home has cut my wings, and you are helping me re-grow them. Even at this seemingly late stage. I hope to help you nurture the kind of confidence that either leads to and/or is effected by a positive self-love.

Remember that no one is perfect. There are things and abilities that we have that other people don't have - and conversely, there are things that we don't know and/or can do that other people do. Everyone is equal when it comes to imperfection, I've realized. Still, there are people who think that they're better or superior than others.

As you nurture good self-confidence and positive self-love, please engage in daily introspection, to reflect if you've done alright and if you've not engaged in making others feel bad about themselves. Think first before saying something or doing something bad or negative to others. Of course, it's a different ballgame if you're defending yourself from a violent attacker or a conscienceless bully. Develop compassion not just for yourself, but for others too, especially those who need it badly.

Thus, at this young age, you'd need to discern your personal boundaries and non-negotiables when dealing with other people. Choose your friends well as the right people can help you improve yourself, while the negative ones will only drain you of your emotions - or worse, would leave you when the going gets tough for you. The true friends will remain no matter what happens.
Also, it's okay to follow your bliss, but make sure you're not stepping on other people's toes. But in case you do or when  you make mistakes, remember to forgive yourself too. Remind yourself that you're only human and that you can learn from your falls. Humility will enrich your spirit.

Education is freedom

You'll be going to college soon. There will be uncertainties. However, choose to think positive about it. If others can do it, so can you. And I'm here. I'll do what I can to help you. 

I pray that you will not lose your focus. That you're determined to finish your studies - whatever course you're going to take. Have fun learning. Have fun with your old and new friends. But always prioritize your studies. 

Like language, education is a survival tool as well. It can help you achieve your dreams and it can also enable you to help others in the process. Continue to love reading and learn to appreciate writing as well. Thoughts can act like prisoners that want to escape the confines of the mind. They want to be written and read by you and/or others.

Also remember that it's okay to ask for help when there are things you don't know or find difficult to understand. No one knows everything. It's important to ask questions or to seek guidance. There's the Internet - just in case no one's around to answer you. Nonetheless, invest in books - the ones that you're interested in and that can help you nurture your mind. 

Embrace diversity

The world thrives in differences. It's good when there are people who agree with us or whose lifestyles and behaviors adhere to our personal principles. However, there's always room for some relativity. There will be people you won't like and vice-versa; however, it'd be better if you'd rather be open-minded and let things be. 

Refrain from imposing your beliefs on others. Respect their space and decisions. Sometimes, they'll change their minds in your favor - be thankful when this happens. Respect the nature of others, including their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Men and relationships

I'm not an expert at this, dear. However, I hope that you will learn to help and develop yourself first, to be complete on your own, and not rely on another person for your happiness. Enjoy your freedom as a single, unattached lady. Study well and cultivate your mind and skills as these can help you achieve your dreams. In short, love yourself first before getting involved with anyone. Learn to set your boundaries to protect yourself from men who will only break your heart later on. And as your mama, when you're hurt, I feel the pain more. 

In case you get into a sad love affair, it is only understandable if you spend time crying, grieving, and getting depressed. However, do your best to move on as soon as possible. I've been told that the best revenge is to be happy, content, and successful without that schmuck in your life. Nevertheless, control yourself from wishing ill those who hurt you. As Jesus said, "Be kind to your enemies."

I hate generalizing people, but please always remember that many men like to fool around and like to talk about sweet, but empty promises. Watch out for those who are easy on words, but hard on deeds - meaning, they rarely do what they say, so this means you can't rely on them.

Hopefully, you will be found and loved by a man who will treat you the way he wants to be treated - with respect, sincerity, honesty, trust, and unconditional love. Take caution or think more than twice if you see him treat poor people and service workers like security guards, utility workers, food attendants, and others with disrespect. 

Also, stay away from men who brag about their intimate moments with whoever, as well as those who talk badly about their former girlfriends or ex-wives.  If he can treat them like that, it is most likely he will treat you the same way later on.

Use both your heart and your mind when you love someone. Easy to say, but hard to do as these two often clash when it comes to romance. However, the latter helps tame passion. Be the master of your heart, not the other way around. 

Likewise, please remember that it is not imperative for anyone - man or woman - to always have a lover. It is better to be alone and happy than to be involved with someone who only makes you unhappy and your life miserable. You know that I'm talking from experience, so learn from my mistakes. 

There are still many things I'd like to tell you, but I'm pretty tired now. When you're sleepy, it's best to let the mind rest first and then to continue working afterwards. :) Thus, I hope you'll take good care of your health. And yes, I also need to do that.

I love you, kid. Everyday is Mother's Day. Everyday is your day, too.

You are a blessing to me. 



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