Embracing You

I suffer from an ironic kind of dichotomy. 

I love myself yet I know that I do not really love myself. Though I like who I became, I cannot say I am fully embracing who I really am.

I am very competitive, yet I hold myself back every time I want to be the center of attention.

I am very outspoken. Though I bite my tongue when I am not very comfortable with my environment.

I love presenting to people, yet I do not necessarily take the opportunity to shine more often, taking a backseat, wanting to be in the sidelines.

I believe I can be a good host, a good speaker, a good presenter, but I shy away when asked, only letting go fully when I am forced to present. 

I love how I drive for results, but I tend to slow down for fear of wanting too much.

I feel guilty with wanting to be on top of the corporate ladder – for fear of not being a good mom.

I hold myself accountable for aiming so high. I hold back thinking it is so prideful.

I shy away from opportunities to shine for fear of being “out there” too much.

I deliberately try to be low key. But I really am not.

I do not know why but I feel like I am not fully free.

I love some people who are extremely comfortable in their own skin, and show so much of themselves, uncaring and unapologetic.

I feel like I filter more than I need to. For fear of judgment. For fear of being talked about.

I fear rejection, not being able to belong. I fear dreaming too big, too fast, even if I know in my heart I am capable, and I have the gift for it.

I know I can go a long way, but I set lower expectations for fear that wanting so much means that I am not content with where I am and where God put me.

I realize that anything less than my perceived potential and what I am capable of is injustice because God expects us to multiply His gifts, not keep it hidden. For He gave these gifts always for good.

For what is a gift if unused?

A potential if untapped?

A dream if unrealized?

A goal if unaccomplished?

And so I pray to God to give me the courage to shed off a little bit of “me” everyday, letting go and letting it be.

I shouldn’t be afraid. Because God made us and God never, ever, makes mistakes.

Finally Found Someone: A Movie Review


SPOILER ALERT

Intro:

I am a certified #ashlloyd fan. I watched their trilogy countless times and still get kilig every. single. time. I just watched It Takes a Man and A Woman recently to refresh my memory of the tandem before watching this most recent AshLloyd offering.

I also watched the Finally Found Someone trailer and music video a gazillion times on YouTube coupled with the pair’s GGV interviews, movie presscon etc. I listened to I Finally Found Someone and I Just Fall in Love again on Spotify just because I was so into it.

I am that much of a fan. So here goes my first ever review of the 4th film of this incredibly addicting love team.

Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 stars. 

The movie starts off pretty slow. The build up to the premise was weak. And I dare say it, felt contrived.

Sorry Star Cinema (I love the AshLloyd trilogy, don’t get me wrong), but this latest AshLloyd plot really felt contrived. The lines scripted, forcing the lead characters in a less than believable situation of a PR guy wanting to fix a disgruntled bride’s relationship with her cowardly runaway fiancee all because of a mayor’s insistent desire to clean up his son’s name as he aims to run for public office. 

To begin with, Randy (played by Enchong Dee, Sarah’s fiancee) seem too young to be an aspiring mayor. But if we do decide to believe it, the mayor’s intervention at building his son’s reputation seems misplaced in our culture where “hiya” and “delicadeza” take precedence. I would think that creating even more hype over an unfortunate situation seems the last thing a public figure would do to save the son’s tarnished name. 

Ok, so back to the plot. Raffy (John Lloyd’s character) and Aprilyn (Sarah) are thrown into this convoluted plot of trying to save what’s left of Aprilyn’s relationship with Randy with the vain hope of placing Randy’s name in a positive light in the public eye (Raffy’s motive) and for Aprilyn to reunite with her missing-in-action fiancee (Aprilyn’s motive).

Long story short, they fall in love.

The second half was a lot better when their characters started to know each other’s quirks and life stories and actually influences each other to become better in their journey towards finding their “truths”.

AshLloyd’s palpable kilig-overload chemistry came in full bloom when Raffy (Cruz) was trying to woo Aprilyn (Geronimo) to forgive him when she discovered that he was just manipulating her so she will go with the fake for-PR-only story that Raffy was trying to create.

Four years after AshLloyd’s last film do you realize that theie sizzling chemistry never diminished. And it actually what saw the movie through.

The clips of the two leads’ seeming outtakes and adlibs added realism to the already overflowing kilig of their every scene together.

Indeed, a weak plot and even weaker lines did not get in the way of the pair’s on-screen charm and charisma. And this is a marker that the AshLloyd team-up is here to stay, regardless of story and directing.

Beyond the superflous premise, the movie poses questions that hit home, making you think and ponder about what lies underneath all the snazz and superciality of a social media-driven world that lives for likes and views. It actually challenges the agenda-seeking behavior that seeps through so much of what we post and share in our curated Facebook accounts.

It actually made me think about “What is my truth?”

Aprilyn’s character epitomizes honesty and authenticity that feels so lacking nowadays. She exudes the freedom of someone unafraid to speak her truth – a lesson Raffy learns along the way and eventually sets him free – liberating him to fearlessly face his personal and professional “truths”.

Sarah and John Lloyd’s connection is actually what makes the film watchable, and it does not disappoint. It offers audiences all the right kiligs and tender moments of the pair just gazing into each other’s eyes or playing with flour that will make your bones turn to mush.

All in all, the film is what your heart hoped it would be, a light and loveable comeback of a pair that captured our hearts almost a decade ago. It hits the all the right love notes and tackles a theme that goes deeper than merely we-had-the-right-love-at-the-wrong-time kind of theme.

After watching the film, it successfully makes you wonder and think about the question that Aprilyn posed – 

What about you, what is your truth?”

The Proverbial Questions

I have always been work-diligent. Replying fast to e-mails and trying to innovate on a daily basis. 

Amidst the flurry of work e-mails and projects left and right – I think about the why.

Why am I doing this?

What makes me want to do this?

What is it that I hope to achieve?

Many times, I feel fatigued from wanting to do so much. Then I get tired and have no more energy for what matters most. My family.

Work is but one path to self-actualization. But without healthy family ties, what the h*ll is it all for?

I think about the many long days and nights in the office, finishing an endless to-do list and going home tired and impatient from fatigue and stress.

I look back now and ask – “What is it all for?”

We all have our own reasons why we wake up everyday, facing the work day anew, raring for the challenge ahead.

We all experience workplace anxieties, frustrations and anger at the most mundane things.

We all feel irritated by colleagues every once in awhile, most of the time over magnified miscommunications and misinterpreted e-mails.

We fail to realize that with every work deliverable, every task at hand, every interaction, failed project, feedback session, every meeting and every successful initiative – we gain something more valuable than a 10% increase and the word “manager” somewhere in our job title.

We gain experience. We toughen up, getting yet another badge in this corporate boot camp.  We develop skills that would ready us for a future situation that would call for that specific skill. We become more mature with each misunderstanding, knowing everyone is going through the same stress and frustration as we are on a daily basis.

I have thought about quitting many times. Many, many, many times. I have quit once. And I can say that the pivotal “I quit” milestone I had in 2015 led me to so many more breakthroughs than expected. It paved way for many things I would not have experienced if I settled for something less than what I was capable of.

I think about what I have learned. 

And it can be summed up in three things:

  1. Find joy in work – for self-actualization, financial prosperity and character formation.
  2. Time equals currency.
  3. Relax by finding balance between how much you can give and how much is left for yourself.

For what is the point in getting there first if you get there alone?

What is the point of getting to the top but have no joy jn your heart?

What is the point of earning five times more but have no family to spend it with?

When cornered by stress and deadlines, think about your why? Why are you working? 

Once answered, ask again, what is the point?

Heres my answer to these proverbial questions:

Why do you work? For my family.

What is the point of your work? My work in HR enables people. It offers them roles that fit who they are, what they want and who they hope to be. It develops their potential to work with purpose and a sense of accomplishment. It engages them to do their work excellently, allow opportunities for growth and have fun while doing it.

There. I answered my “why” and “what’s the point”. 

Now, it makes perfect sense.

You Have to Do the Hard Things

I was thinking about this line over and over on this looong work week.

You have to do the hard things.

Many times, we see work as hard, stressful, difficult, challenging, demanding, etc. 

We see it as time spent away from family and a hindrance to a healthy social life.

Work becomes the center of our universe, what we do becomes who we are. 

Family events scheduled around business meetings and work deliverables. Quality time with family done in between work days (and nights).

Work is hard. And it will always get harder.

Such is the incessant reality wherever you go, whatever field you are in.

But – we have to do the hard things.

  • We have to work until our bodies are tired.
  • We have to work until we get the project done.
  • We have to work until we satisfy our client’s needs.
  • We have to work until we meet our financial goal.
  • We have to work until our kids graduate.
  • We have to work until we pay off our housing loan.
  • We have to work until we can finally retire comfortably.
  • We have to work until we get the business back in shape.

We just have to.

Amidst tired muscles, severe headaches, an acidic tummy and the feeling of getting down with the flu due to lack of sleep and extra hours spent looking at your laptop’s screen… think about what is it that you are working for, what is the reason why you wake up everyday? 

In the end, it is never about the work itself, but who you became because of work. What kind of person you turned out to be and what kind of character you developed throughout the years.

God will judge us based on what’s inside – our character, our point of view, how we were able to contribute to make the world a better place for other people, not just ourselves.

He will judge us based on how we were able to help others through our work and how we were made “perfect” by the many challenges we encountered.

He will not ask if you were able to save a million bucks but how you shared your gifts and talents for the greater good, not only of yourself but more so for other people.

It will never be about the title, but the role you played to others.

It will never be about the bank account, but the time spent doing kindness unto others.

It will never be about the KPIs but the KPIs to be met to qualify for His kingdom.

It is in realizing these things that we are propelled… propelled to always, always, do the hard things.

I Promise Myself

When we think about the word promise, we think about promises made to others…

“I promise you…”

Seldom do we view it in context of what we need to promise ourselves. 

And we should.

So here’s a list of 10 things I promise myself, from now on:

  1. Manage your time. Every second counts.
  2. Pray everyday.
  3. Be kind. To yourself first then to others.
  4. Relax. Breathe. Be.
  5. See the world.
  6. Be unafraid to be yourself.
  7. If anyone makes you feel bad, walk away. 
  8. Love. And love some more.
  9. Money is a only a means to an end.
  10. Stay true to your core.

In the end, God made you who you are and what you are. Be unapologetic with what you think is right, as long as it is good for you and for others.

Stop pleasing people. Only aim to please your God.

In the end, you are only accountable to Him who is the start and end of everything.

Be not afraid. Be not afraid. Be not afraid.

What’s the worst that can happen? Die? Realize that there’s no such thing as death to one who lives his life in God’s ways. For the end is only the beginning of a reward that is everlasting.

And I promise myself to see beyond the labor pains of the now and start living in the beauty of the ever after, in God and with God. The one and the only.

And I will live this beautiful promise, starting today.

Stick to The Impossible

I pray to a great God whose power is only fit for what is impossible to man.

Here are my top 10 Mission Impossible, but not to Him who made heaven and earth:

  1. Travel to 50 countries before I die
  2. Earn five times more at half the time 
  3. Own a resort and live there
  4. Papa & Mama & Mommy & Daddy to stay in the resort for their retirement
  5. Own a condo for Manila trips
  6. Speak publicly and get paid for it
  7. Write a book
  8. Own a photography studio
  9. Milo to be a priest
  10. Jam and I to grow old together

    And I believe these will all come true, in God’s perfect time.

    On Judging Others

    I have always easily judged others.

    I find it very easy to sum up a person based on one or two encounters. 

    Background. Disposition. Intelligence level. Amiability. Likeability. World view. Friendliness index etc.

    Being in HR, it is my role to size up people in an hour or less, on all angles from functional fit to culture match. I need to as I don’t have much time to do so. 

    Such brazenness translates to unsolicitedly passing judgment on each person I meet – most frequently those I did not have a positive interaction with. 

    I immediately think that this person is type A, type B or type C. Sometimes type D and too much of a type E.

    Cut and dry. Quick, successive judgments. No room for error, or empathy. Just plain judgment of character.

    What I miss though is the reality that you can never get to know people in one interaction alone. It takes time. Just as people will never get to know you just by chatting with you for an hour.

    We all live in our own timezones, speak different languages, use different currencies. 

    We all grew up in different worlds with varying world views, teachers and brain-influencers. 

    We hold different temperaments and boast of different emotional intelligences.

    We have our own quirks, laugh at different kinds of humor, love assorted flavors and have different pet peeves as well. 

    And these innate differences only show that other people’s dispositions or perspective may vary significantly from ours.

    That is why  we need to provide people certain margins to be themselves and make an effort to find the gem in their uniqueness. 

    They have an opposing opinion? Hear it out. You just might learn something new.

    They are arguing with you? More like trying to make your ideas better. 

    They are disagreeing with you? More like showing you a different perspective, which may prove to be a better one.

    Suspending judgment is such a difficult thing to do.

    But hold your breath. Bite your tongue. Take a step back. Force yourself to view your ideas from the other person’s angle and you may just be opened up to a blind side you wouldn’t otherwise have seen without their perspective to guide you.

    In the end, no one can ever benefit from judging others too quickly. Just as we ourselves do not want to be judged quickly as well.

    For judgment hinders us from appreciating positive traits or attributes from others that we will only see if we allow them just enough space to be truly themselves.

    Prayer:

    Lord, give me the grace to suspend judgment and to relentlessly allow people margins to grow and make their true selves known before me. 

    For it is through these that I will be able to appreciate other people I meet and allow them to see You through them.

    Amen.