Category Archives: Essay

Unboxing the Present

“Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.”

Experiencing what our hearts least desire at the moment can make us view the words above differently. The likelihood of disbelieving the present as a gift in the face of adversity is high. It is because we give much more importance to what is going on in us than what is outside of us. It is unquestionably right, but allowing ourselves to be blindfolded by the things around us until we become less appreciative of them should never be a part of an option.

Almost every one of us is susceptible to defeats. We all lose our balance and weaken our magnitude at specific points in our lives. This causes us to carry emotional baggage and ultimately leads us to discontentment in the present moment. I firmly believe that there is nothing wrong with sinking into the valley of gloom, but showing gratefulness for the simple things we have been blessed with should be a great choice. It is essential that everyone pay heed to himself/herself; however, one of the keys to loving more and taking better care of oneself besides looking inward is by looking outward. Look around. Go spare a little moment. Talk with people whom you hold dear and who love you. Feel the breeze as it brushes your skin giving you renewed energy. Watch as the sun or the moon beams down as beacons lighting your path at your darkest. These little things that are frequently overlooked enormously contribute to living in the present and making life more meaningful. We are dots in a vast circle, but the moment we price ourselves and our loved ones with immense value would mean the bigger world to us. This life we have now is worthy of gratitude. Only by living in the “now” and appreciating it could we regard this time as priceless.

None of us is exempted from wishes. We all have them. We wish things went the way we wanted for us to feel better. We said not-so-good things to someone and we wish we hadn’t done it. We wish someone could fill the missing pieces within us, but we only felt someone’s presence right after knowing that it was too late. We also wish we could save ourselves from losing who we really are sooner than we did because we loved someone too much. Although all of these become parts of history, the scars that are engraved on us cannot be hidden nevertheless. They are there. The same is true with our past. No matter how we want to bury it, we are not able and will not be able to do it. It is part of us. If there is one thing we can bring from the past to the present, it will be the learnings evoked from the experiences that are etched on our hearts and minds.

On the other hand, we also have hopes. We hope our imagination comes to life the way we envisage it. We hope to have all the possessions we dream of. We hope to become the better person we are capable of becoming in the near future. Seeing ourselves in the next five years or so and putting much hard work, perseverance, and consistency into our efforts to live the life we want would serve as a blueprint as we march towards greatness. But what if we are so engrossed in working for our goals in life that we miss out on checking on our loved ones when all they need is our time and attention. What if we are so driven to all the schedules that we become less empathic to our close friend who is on the verge of giving up because all we think is ourselves. What if we are so busy pursuing our career that we almost forget to look after ourselves when it almost costs our physical health because we are so focused on our future. These are instances that already happened and are more likely to happen when we think too much about the future.

If there is a solitary place everyone should reside, it will be the boundary between what was and what will be. Living in the past or in the future would haunt us and preclude us from seeing the things we should be grateful for and the people we should be grateful to. No matter how our present appears to some, we are not as unfortunate as we think. We have come this far which clearly substantiates that we receive a blessing every single day. A gift everyone could lose or receive. Let us all be thankful for today because not everyone is as privileged as us to face this moment. Let us be present in the present. Let us unbox and value this gift and be amazed at how blessed we are.

Ignoring is Saving

“The more you say no to the things that don’t matter, the more you can say yes to the things that do.”

As I age, I learn to redirect my focus to what truly counts. When dogs bark at me, I convince myself to value meaningful things instead of getting distracted by them. Judgments are always there regardless of how good you are in the eyes of the majority. Having understood that so deeply, I have become more mindless of folly. I have turned into a braver person I never thought I could. I have learned the easier way and that is to take a little moment and ask myself. Is it normal to bite a dog when I am bitten? Is a dog worth throwing stones at?

Less often than not, we give in because we want to join the battle of egos to prove to others and to ourselves as well that we are not worth giving a f*ck. But little do we know that the more we immerse ourselves in it, the battle becomes more unwinnable. At times, leaving our thoughts unspoken and saying no when necessary is never a weakness. It is wisdom. Think of an instance when you fretted about your actions because you had attended to one’s judgment. Were you able to make good use of your time? And did you manage to do things on your priority list? Entertaining the least important ones will not make the most. Let us all remember that not every person is worthy of our attention. Not every person is worthy of our time and our energy. Let us not waste our saliva on someone who is not worth kissing. Let us not.

Indeed, saving our own resources for things that matter is of enormous help towards running our day or actualizing our dreams. Although it can be too upsetting to hear criticisms from people, keeping our mouth shut and refusing to react is sometimes the best response. Hence, let us discern which path is best to take. Let us go for a battle that is worth fighting. A battle that brings us closer to our goals. A battle that adds more value to our life. And a battle that makes us a better person every single day. Let us choose a great battle!

A Demystification of Fear and Respect

“Respect earned through fear instead of deeds, was not truly respect.”

Have you experienced respecting people in your life out of threat? Have you met people who coerce others to make them follow and respect? Have you known people who see themselves as powerful human beings just because they gained respect from others who feared them? If not many times, we got to experience all of these once in our lives. At times, we fall into the trap of confusing these two qualities- fear and respect. In addition, we tend to regard people as embodiments of power when they make others respect based on fear. These acts hold true even at this time. But what is really the difference between fear and respect? When is respect considered true?

Fear and respect are two contrasting things. Fear hinders the potential of an individual while respect strengthens it. Think of a time when you feared someone. Did you show who you really are and what you are capable of? How about when you respected somebody and earned respect from him/her? Did you spend time thinking about what the person will say? You might have done it, but knowing that that person accepts your feelings, belief systems, principles, and needs saves you from worrying too much about yourself. In fact, when respect is served, you are inspired to hone your potential at the optimal level and transcend boundaries.

Furthermore, fear goes temporarily while respect lasts a lifetime. How many times have you felt incomparable joy when the person whom you fear the most is away? That person may come from varied figures- an inconsiderate boss, an obnoxious manager or a condescending leader. Yes, total authority is fine. So is perfectionism. What is not fine is belittlement and intimidation by a person. Little does a person know that being abrasive not only robs one’s sanity but also breeds fear. It happens when we try to respect people merely because we fear them. In reality, however, we respect them a little or we do not respect them at all. The truth is a bitter pill to swallow, so to speak. On the other hand, respect can go a long way if it stems from deeds, not fear. If you were asked about the person who left a significant mark in your life, you would probably choose someone whom you look up to- someone who respects you because s/he first respects herself/himself and who gives you value and importance. That is true respect.

Although others have feared someone and have thought of not giving respect to undeserving of it, but the stronger we hold on to this belief, the more we destroy our values. Refusing to respect someone defines more of ourselves than it does to the one we fear or dislike. As Dave Willis put it, “Show respect even to people who don’t deserve it; not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of yours.” Thus, whatever engenders, respect. Whether it is through deeds or fear, respect. And if we are not willing to give respect to others, let us try giving it to ourselves first. Let us show one of the most pivotal virtues. Respect.

Silver Lining of Struggles

These days, we have been facing abrupt disaster that utterly engendered increase of death tolls and downturn of economy. Many countries around the world, whether well-off or impoverished, are tested. However, despite these changes, relationships are strengthened. This undeniably substantiates that silver lining appears in every cloud.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought us deep sadness mixed with tremendous fear caused by a myriad of infected persons. Yet, this challenges us to see things at the brighter side and teaches us to accept that change is the only permanent thing in this world. Furthermore, instead of indulging ourselves over sadness and fear, we better replace these with joy through means possible to us. But, joy is no more a perfume that we have to spray on ourselves before we spray it on others. Conversely, joy is a stone that is thrown into the pond which means that we have to be heedful of our actions and intention of making others joyful. It is because even sole action can have a great influence on others. For instance, you hung out with your friends because you wanted them to be happy and unknowingly, you were infected by one of them. Now, are we making our fellowmen happy with our actions? Certainly, not! We can effectively bring happiness to others by following the safety protocols implemented by our government officials and even by affirming the people on the front line to boost their morale rather than discriminating them. In these pressing times, we ought to consider that others’ happiness lies on our actions and not on our happiness.

Moreover, the pandemic has strengthened relationships. In fact, there were organizations who willingly shared their resources to people in need. Apart from that, there were people who voluntarily gave money to strangers amid this crisis. All these acts have shown that regardless of economic status, people can still lend someone a hand. Impossible becomes possible even when we are faced with challenges. In addition, these times have made us do the things we did not value before. We prioritize our health more than luxuries. We devote much more time to our families than our friends. We pay attention more to our needs than our wants and the like. Things have changed dramatically. Particularly, what we can do now is to adapt to change. We cannot gain something from starting up an argument with someone or spreading erroneous information to the public, etc. Let us do our positive part!

No wonder, this pandemic is either advantageous or disadvantageous. It depends on how we see and value things. Besides, what we have experienced and how we have responded to it would greatly contribute to who we were and who we will be. After all, this pandemic will soon turn out into a learning opportunity and a learning experience. May we not be petrified of challenges because according to Robert Tew, “The struggles you are in today are developing the strength you need tomorrow.” Let us see the silver lining of struggles!