How Do We Grow? This has been a great Sunday! Junith and I attended the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at Carmelite Monastery along Mabolo, Cebu. I forgot to take pictures though, grrrrr. The monastery reminded me of the Pink Sisters monastery in Tagaytay. You can also say petitions and give donations to the nuns, and they will say the prayers on your behalf.
In the midst of the hustle and bustle of our lives, having a quiet time somehow recharges our senses to tackle another stressful week huh. Now who said being a grown-up is fun again? Haha! Take your time, little ones. The world can take care of itself. I’m talking as if I am that old. Haha! But how do we grow anyways? Let me count the ways.
1. We choose.
When we were out of the baby crib and were able to dream, we wished to be a doctor, an actress, an architect, a writer, and so forth. Though innocent our dreams may be, they somehow influence the decisions we make later in life. When I reached high school, I was already so sure I will take up Architecture in college. In every college applications I made, it was my primary choice of course.
And what you know huh? I got qualified to take the course in no less than the country’s flagship campus located in Diliman. But as fate would interfere, the urban life in Manila would have been a crazy jungle for me. And I chose again. I took another course in a different university, and I had a great college life. Fate has its own funny ways of interference but at the end of the day, we get to choose.
Even in our personal lives, we get to choose our own perspective. When life challenges you, you can choose to be strong or to be weak. When storms appear, you can choose to dance in the rain or dwell on the gloomy clouds. No matter what situation we found ourselves in, what matters most is how we choose to define the outcome of the whole happenstance. And that brings me to the second item.
2. We respond.
When two persons are put in a very similar situation, it can never expected they make the same decision, thus the different outcome. When one is provoked to anger, one can shout the hell out the top of his or her lungs, then get over it after. Another one can stay calm and composed, then holds the resentment inside for years. We can’t say neither is right… or wrong. Who has a perfect understanding of what’s right and wrong anyways? But sometimes, it takes time for us to distinguish which is which. When provoked to anger, I realized that the best remedy to get over it is to count one to ten. If it does not cure, make it a thousand. You can also take a long walk.
When I was again provoked to anger, I vented it out (!!!) then got over it. Sometimes, our emotions are so strong it blind us. Anger is a powerful emotion it can create things to happen. It can build a pyramid or rage a war. The world is chaotic enough, we just have to choose which battles are worth fighting for, right? Life is short anyway to be spent on anger. I so love this article by Bo Sanchez about dealing with our temper.
“Speak when you are angry – and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.” and “If a small thing has the power to make you angry, does that not indicate something about your size?” are the best quotes on anger management. Really. Haha! The circumstances being thrown to our face does not define us, they reveal us instead.
3. We wait.
One famous psychology test I always like is the marshmallow test done to several kindergarten kids. Each kid was kept alone in a room, given a marshmallow, and was told not to eat it. If they do not eat it, they will be given another one upon the return of the facilitator. These kids didn’t know they were under a test though.
As kids would have behaved, some kids ate it maybe out of impatience or out of the tempting treat infront them. Surprisingly though, some kids patiently waited and did not eat it. The end of the story? These kids went on with their lives, and years after, were investigated how they do well. It was found out that those who did not eat the marshmallow did better in life than those who did.
When we are told to not do something, some part of our brain kicks off an impulse to do that something. It’s because we cannot wait and we want to take matters in our own hands! Waiting sucks! But it is through waiting that we learn patience. And patience it is that makes a wise man.
4. We relate.
No man is an island. We need people, we need one another. While we journey through life, it’s the relationships we build along the way that make us winners in the finish line. God will send to us friends, mentors, and inspiring people who will make us stronger, better, wiser, happier individuals.
The people in our lives contribute to every bit of moral fiber and strength of character that throb in our very veins. Some people simply come and go in our lives but hold on to those who make life worth living and who make the ride fun and sensible! “Hold a true friend with both of your hands.”
At the end of the day, you can’t talk to your money about how your day went. You can’t have a conversation with your expensive gadgets, instead you have a conversation with your friends through the convenience of your gadgets.
5. We love.
Oh love, love, love! Love makes the world go round! So many songs and so many movies have been made about love but nothing can quite capture the whole sense of it. Take off the mask, extract the fairy-tale feel we grew up with, and shower a dose of reality, Love is not just a feeling, it is a responsibility, a commitment, a virtue. And it does not only cater to the couple type of love.
Love can empower you, can consume you. Love can build you, can break you. Love can open you up, can blind you. Love can grant you strength and courage, can weaken you. Oh, love what are you really? You love when you do not give up on that person. You love when you compromise beyond the rainbows and butterflies in your stomach. You love, and you just love. It is only when we love that we realize what we can do in the name of love. Mushy huh. Don’t fall in love, just love.
Follow with all of your heart with the caution of your mind. But above all else, love yourself. This is a notion so hard to comprehend indeed. Loving yourself is way different from being selfish. When you love yourself, you accept yourself, the good, the bad, and the ugly, all of it. It is quite an extraordinary feat to love yourself for only you know the whole of you, inside and out.
Also, I think the greatest love that ever exists is a mother’s. A mother fleshes her own womb for her child and gives birth at the risk of her own life. No one can quite love a person too much than her own mother. Only a mother can love without expecting anything in return other than love. I think that’s the whole sense of it.
6. We accept.
The world does not owe you anything. In spite of life’s imperfections, we accept it as it is. We accept its beauty, its pain, its goodness, its cruelty, its thrill, its monotony, its promises, its fears, all of it. Through it all, I say pain is the greatest experience one can ever have, because it brings great lessons as well.
But it is still up to you how to choose and respond to this pain. Would you let it break you or build you? Nonetheless, learn to live, grow, and accept. Also, accept your fears, acknowledge them and overcome them. You will then realize that fear was just a state of mind. Accept yourself. Accept people. Accept the traffic. And oh yeah, accept the government. Haha!
7. We take risks.
I am so sleepy now, haha. I think this is self-explanatory anyways. And I think I am a mediocre student in this department, so I’ll just shut up lest I my words eat me.
To end this quite lengthy post, I say –> The greatest and most effortless way to grow is to pray, nothing more and nothing less. It will never fail to guide you in your growth. Good night.