I was invited to give a talk at UP Diliman for the Adelfe Enu Crea Sorority. The topic was about boosting self-esteem and I want to share my piece with you, too. I hope you learn a little something from this :)
I was lucky enough to grow up in a household where I was made to feel special. I think that’s why even if I accidentally peed myself in kindergarten right before going home, I didn’t care. I was young, care-free, and all that mattered was getting to play Chinese garter with my friends, read my Archie comics, and eat my Oreos. Then puberty kicked in. The girls in my school started becoming competitive with everything even about who would get their period first. I became self-conscious because I was the only one in the fifth grade still wearing a sando instead of a training bra. When you’re a teenager, you start to think everybody is watching your every move. And then you enter high school and college, where shit just starts hitting the fan. You become hard on yourself because you strive to reach your parents’ and peers’ standards. And whenever you fall short of their expectations, you start developing low self esteem.
I wouldn’t say you shouldn’t care about what others think of you because as the saying goes “no man is an island” and you don’t want to be inconsiderate of others. I have gone through a lot of experiences that made me question if I would ever be happy with myself. I was called a bad influence, a bitch, somebody addicted to chaos, and I was even called a home wrecker by overly-dramatic people who think the term applies to someone their boyfriend thinks is cuter than them. I guess people even think I’m a druggie because they keep offering me weed and cocaine but instead of feeling like a total nut-job I just laugh it off and think hey at least I don’t need drugs to be a funny, energetic person. Fuck those guys. Haha! The thing is, people will always have something to say about you but it’s up to you if you’ll let that label define who you are or not.
We tend to have what psychology calls a biased perception on your own actions. This is when you tend to focus on your wrongdoings and totally ignore the right things you have done. There is also this thing called biased interpretation similar to being paranoid that things are usually worse than they are. For example, somebody says you look great and what you take from it is that this person probably thought you looked horrible in the past. These 2 forms of biased thinking is what keeps your self esteem low. If you keep thinking that you are good for nothing then your future is determined by that belief. You will never try because you think you will always fail. So I’m here to try and help you curb this kind of thinking. We all have a potential for greatness and low self-esteem is one of the worst things that can ruin it. Whether you are insecure about your popularity in school or you just went through a bad break-up, remember that it is all up to YOU to manage what you think of yourself.
Post-college, I stopped being so critical of myself and my choices. Take note, it was a process I had to go through and it didn’t diminish my low self-esteem overnight. Until recently I kept thinking I was not worthy of all the good things coming my way. I actually kept turning down the opportunity to speak at other events because I didn’t think I had anything worthwhile to share. When the blogging industry kaboomed, even if I was online way before all the young fashion bloggers, I beat myself up because I thought they were surpassing my success. They were so driven and there I was just blogging about “what I did today.” I felt pretty useless. This led to less writing, less updates, less work. In retrospect, I think it’s a good thing this happened because I got to take a break from the Internet where I was always in my comfort zone hiding behind my laptop. I have always been socially awkward and when I broke up with my BFF (the Internet) I made new BFFs in real life. Which brings me to my first tip:
I don’t believe in bad influences because in the end the choice to do things or not is yours to make. But the saying “you are who your friends are” does make sense… Think about it — why would you be friends with superficial people if you are not superficial yourself? You need to unfriend these dementors who just keep making you feel worse about yourself. Be with people who make you laugh not because you’re making fun of other people but because you are comfortable with one another. Help each other become better versions of yourselves. Take a class together, bake cookies, watch a documentary. Grow together. You don’t exactly need their validation but if you are surrounded by people who want the best for you, their opinion may be valuable in making major decisions in your life. In the end, it’s not about how others affect you but how you can affect them.
If you are scared you will fail at something, the best thing to do is research, prepare yourself, and go for it! Try experiencing new things because it will really enhance your life. Knowledge is power and the sense of fulfillment will give your confidence a boost! In my case, giving this talk is my “go get it, girl” moment. The first talk I ever gave was a mess! I had no pre-written talk points and I stood in front of La Salle students for a good 3 minutes trying not to cry from stage fright before finally just talking out of my ass. This time, I came prepared so I am more confident in myself! A few more talks and I’m hoping I will get rid of my innate stage fright. Hehe.
In other words, stop being so self-absorbed. Not everything is about you. The more you acknowledge that, the less you will think that the world is out to get you. If your boyfriend has forgotten to text you back it doesn’t mean that they don’t love you. Maybe they were playing basketball with their friends and getting back to you just totally slipped their mind because, I’m sorry to break this to you, they had their own life to live. Instead of going all crazy and getting angry or being passive aggressive and magtatanim ka ng sama ng loob, why not follow up with a “pssst” and look at things in a totally different light? You’ll thank me later when you end up grabbing a drink after his game instead of fighting and crying yourself to sleep, you psycho bitch. OMG JUST KIDDING. (#GGSS means Gandang Ganda Sa Sarili) Also, not every status update is about you, ano ba…
You can either kick yourself when you’re down or just get up and as mareng Taylor Swift would say — SHAKE IT OFF. When you practice this, you will stop blaming yourself for doing a shitty job and remember that you’re a fantastic person who tried your best at something. Or maybe you didn’t try your best? Well, then, there’s no reason not to try it again! Right before my talk in UP, I came from an interview for something and I was telling Jim that although I’d love to get the job, I would be okay if I don’t. I’m just so proud that I actually tried. Plus I did great so there are no regrets!:)
You should want to be your own BFF. You don’t need to keep posting selfies and counting the likes you get on Instagram. When you know you look great, when you like yourself, you’ll stop being so papansin and start doing things that interest you. If you are the person you would like to be with then you’ll be more likeable to others and people will want to be YOUR best friend, too. I don’t know if this makes sense to you but I’d rather hang out with a confident fun girl than a boring pretty one.
So there you go –I may have been the last person in my batch to wear a training bra but look at my boobs now, they’re perfect. LOLJK. When you look back at your so-called problems, they will all seem so trivial and unimportant. It’s just not worth mulling over. “Character — the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life — is the source from which self-respect springs,” says author Joan Didion. There could be bigger problems, of course. I could be a total train-wreck and blame it on my father’s early death. But I refuse to make that experience define me. I am an adult and I’m responsible for myself. The main thing is to stop over-analyzing yourself and let go. Instead of thinking so much about how others perceive you, focus on yourself and who YOU want to be. I’m not even that interested in fashion so why will I compare myself to fashion bloggers? I write about my life, help other young people get through their own life experiences, and that’s what I think makes my blog click. It’s also what makes me happy. When you’re no longer sad, stressed, easily-offended, and angry then the best advice you can get is the most cliché one: just be yourself. Unless you suck – in that case, try to be a better version of yourself.