The Virtue of Dying to Self

I attended Mass earlier and it suddenly dawned on me that all virtues have one common theme – dying to self.

I realize how very difficult it is to be virtuous all the time because it requires – more like forces us to die to self, over and over again.

Patience – dying from our anger

Humility – dying from the need to be recognized

Kindness – dying from just thinking about the self

Forgiveness – dying to the need to prove we are right

Generosity – dying from greed

Selfcontrol – dying from our desires

Love – dying from selfishness

Hope – dying from irrational fear

Faith – dying from human pride and logic

It requires an outward giving of self. It requires denying what is comfortable, what is easy. It requires us to go against our desires to make way for others. To put ourselves in a lower position or stature to make way for others.

It curtails our egos and forces us to shed off rather than take in.

On the other hand, mortal sins constitute an excessive giving in to hedonistic desires and magnifies our wants without respect for God and others.

Gluttony – excessive want for food

Pride – excessive need to be right or better than others

Lust – excessive sexual desire

Wrath – excessive need for outward show of power

Vanity – excessive love for self appearance

Sloth – excessive desire for rest and comfort

Greed – excessive desire to hoard things for oneself

God made it very simple:

“Live for others and die to self.” 

Jesus is the perfect example.

Aim for a life lived with a force that goes outward – a giving of self, our talents, money, time, energy, for good and always for good.

On the other hand, deny our compulsion to feed our desires excessively, the desire for material things, food, money, power and fame.

That is why during Lent – two sacrificial actions come to mind, fasting and almsgiving, both denying our human nature to satisfy our appetite and to keep wealth.

For in the end, life’s purpose and success is measured not by how we succumbed to our own desires but by how we gave up these desires for the good of others.

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My 34 Cents in 34 Years

  1. Love as if love never ends.
  2. Create time for family.
  3. Your mom will always be your best friend.
  4. Hubbies are God’s gift to show who you can still become.
  5. Motherhood is never final.
  6. Work to be recognized, but more importantly, work to self-actualize.
  7. Friendships should never feel forced.
  8. Prayer time is cultivated and prioritized above all.
  9. Marriage is God journeying with you both in love. 
  10. Trials are embraced, for it is in tasting bitter that we appreciate what’s sweet.
  11. Live life unapologetically.
  12. If you can, give.
  13. God gives us everything, all He asks is faith.
  14. It is in silence that we find the answers.
  15. Sing like there’s no tomorrow.
  16. Enjoy a cup of really good cappuccino.
  17. Great things happen when you believe.
  18. Money should always be a means to propel love, not stifle it.
  19. When you listen to your heart, you listen to what’s true.
  20. You will meet people who’ll break your heart, but have people who will help mend it together 
  21. In trial, ask, “What do I need to work on Lord?”
  22. Find time to be alone with your thoughts.
  23. When you are gifted a best friend, cherish the gift for the rest of your life.
  24. It is human to envy, but wipe it immediately with gratefulness.
  25. If someone hurts you, hurt for awhile but don’t dwell on it. Life wasn’t made to focus on the pain, but what you become because of it.
  26. Remember: You. Are. Special. (Repeat)
  27. Smile. When you wake up and before going to sleep.
  28. Mindfully experience the “moments”.
  29. Opportunities come to you because God intended it.
  30. Be confident in your gifts but humble in your prayers.
  31. Remember, your work should always lift you up, not tear you down.
  32. Find your truth first so you will never have to lie.
  33. Embrace differences and smile in spite of them.
  34. In the end, what matters is how well you lived.

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.