“So, I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
Disclaimer: All views expressed on this blog are my own based by my experience and do not represent of any entity with which I have been, am now or will be affiliated.
January 16, 2021 – Manila, Philippines
This blog is a story about the unhealthy relationship with myself, pain and the environment that drove me to madness. It is about going through the process of reclaiming my life – a hard-fought battle for self-improvement.
I’d like to dedicate this blog to my brothers – Yves and Lewdan. I know there were many times when you were concerned for me and wanted me to stop whatever I am doing, I am really glad that you did not pick me up when I fall down so I can get back up to try to do it better. Because of that, it allowed me to find more of me. Thank you, bitches. :p
Until my thirty year, I lived in a state of continuous anxiety interspersed with periods of depression and panic attacks. It feels now as if I am talking about somebody else’s life.
In 2013, the most loathsome thing of all was my own existence. I felt miserable and I was in burden of misery. I was diagnosed with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, no career and money, broke up with my then boyfriend, relationships with friends were in turmoil, and I was a victim of my own emotions. Little did I know at the time, out of my greatest despair was to come the greatest gift.
The reason we take little to no action to treat psychological wounds such as depression, anger, pain, rejection is because we lack the tools with which to manage such experiences.
My heart was broken for several years because I was living in the negative emotions I associated my past experiences – the people around me and what I believed as childhood traumas. I was addicted to the emotions of my past. I saw those emotions as my belief and truth, not ideas that I can change. It took a long time for me to have learned that thoughts are the language of my brain and feelings are the language of my body – this is self-awareness.
Too many people have clear idea of how others should lead their lives but none of their own. Nobody told me that the only way to get past pain and suffering was through them.
Through a grace that exceeds far beyond my power. I have found my way out.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not that all positive in my everyday life, I react to certain things too but I already know these thoughts can’t linger with me for so long.
Let me share the principles I have learned to finally let go of my past emotions and live in the present
- It’s never too late to change. You only have to do one thing: DECIDE
I started smoking from a curious age of 14. I have loved every inhaled sticks of Marlboro red until the age of 27. Of course, I stopped in between the years (the longest was 6 months) but I always went back stronger.
In 2013, while I was doing the usual smoke of my last stick of a pack of cigarette. It just dawned on me that nothing was going on with my life and I needed to do something about it. If I smoke again, my health will deteriorate and will not help cure my depression. My family has been going through this tough time with me and I don’t want all our struggles go nowhere. I decided from there that I will quit and will no longer be a smoker. I did not try to quit, I just did.
The process of behavior change always starts with awareness. I had to be aware that I was a heavy smoker and I was sick. Smoking more will not cure my depression and will hurt everyone around me especially myself.
I had to talk to my smoker friends and told them that I can’t come with them for every smoking session. I have never seen someone consistently stick to positive habits in a negative environment.
No amount of self-control helped me to quit smoking. It was because I have just decided to be healthier and stick to the process of living a healthier life. I focused on the process – it was a shitty process but I have endured that because of the overall effect on my body. It took a year to let go of all the cravings brought about by smoking. It was a hard journey but I know any smoker can do it if they just decide. I am 6 years clean now! 🙂
2. Change how you perceive things – mind is very powerful.
Your thoughts are incredibly powerful. Choose yours wisely. Once I changed my internal state, I no longer need the external world to provide me with a reason to feel joy, gratitude and appreciation. I am taking care of my mind, body will follow and I will become one with my soul.
I lost a lot of times, failed to get what I wanted, loved ones and friends left. I regretted some of my decisions but all of these do not define me. It is how I view all the losses. For sure it hurts but I do not dwell too much on my past. I am only interested in my present.
My first heart break was when I was 26. I was so mad to my then boyfriend for leaving me despite of everything I did for him. When I was diagnosed with OCD, I blamed it all to him because he did not treat me right.
I was so bitter and that’s why all the relationships I had was full of bitterness too because that was what my energy attracted. Every time they talked about my ex, I felt so shitty that I could not take how the hurt still lurked inside my heart after 5 years of not being together. I thought I have already moved on – I lost weight, dressed up right, had a relationship again, friends and work were good. But no matter how I changed the outer part of my life, inside of me was suffering. I was a victim of my own past.
I thought if my ex failed too, I’d be happier. I realized that even though I strangled him in one corner and tortured him or saw him suffer, I’d still continue to be bitter. He was not the reason or my past experiences why I felt miserable. It was because I fed my mind with misery, bitterness, hatred, unworthiness. My mind hypnotized me because I fed it with negative thoughts that soon became my reality. My past emotions defined me. I believed those thoughts. So I was always stuck with the familiar – chose relationships that were also had the same bad energy as I had.
My ex messaged me last year asking for forgiveness. But to be honest, he did not have to. I really no longer care if he ask or not. I wished him well, he can live his life because I am living my life now. I didn’t need closure or apologies from people who have hurt me because I can carry on wishing them well. There is so much love in my heart that pain and bitterness are no longer part of it. The only thing I needed to do was to change my associations of the feelings in my past. But to go through that you have to talk to yourself more and decide, decide to change. This is what it meant of letting go.
3. It’s friendship and community that embed a new identity and help behavioral change.
The primary way we generate meaning is through relationships. It’s our environment that is controlling how we think, act, and feel. We’re victims of our personal realities, because our personal realities are creating our personalities.
When changing your habits means challenging the tribe, change is unattractive. But it is very attractive when fitting the tribe. I have to choose the unattractive to learn more of me and be better.
4. Journaling to think clearly
We should be brave enough to contemplate our lives and do what is outside of the box. I only first started blogging last year and this was one of the best decisions of my life when I publicly shared it so I can reach out to people who might be struggling and I can also learn from them in this journey.
I realized that when I wake up, my thoughts were still in the past (whatever happened yesterday) and if I feed my thoughts with negativity as soon as I wake up that is going to ruin my day. So everyday, I tell myself that this is going to be the best day of my life and my day will start positively. You don’t have to publicly share your journal. When people around you is not listening when you talk about your transformation, stop preaching – show up transformed 😉
I love talking about how therapy helped me and this is at the top of my list when I give advice to people who are struggling. I undergone therapy for almost 2 years. It was the best decision of my life.
It was a taboo in our country, when people found out you are in therapy they would think you are crazy and people’s perception of me now – I no longer care 😉
People thought that once you began therapy, your problems will be solved. That was how I thought too when I began to do it. I was so tired complaining to my therapist that nothing was happening. Nothing was happening because I was not doing anything.
Therapy is a guide to help you know what is wrong and where you need to begin. It is a spark that will ignite you not the entire fucking solution.
Through therapy, I quit smoking. My therapist did not tell me to quit, I just did. I started dressing up well – I did not wear shorts or sleeveless until I was 26 yrs old. I did not care about myself.
After therapy, I started going out. When I was 27 I started going to concerts, climbed mountains, go on a yoyo diet (I have particular blog on my fitness journey soon).
The last time I talked to my therapist was last year before pandemic hits. I just visited him to say hi. Life is good. Live it.
6. Break the habit of being yourself, and reinvent a new self
When we strive to be better than we were, everything around us becomes better too.
Too many people want things to go quickly as possible. The road less traveled is the road of delayed gratification. We all need small sparks, small accomplishments in our lives to fuel the big ones. Life is about a cycle of endless refinement and continuous improvement. We always have to fall in love with the process of how we want to live our lives so we can progress. At first, these tiny things that you do seem insignificant, but soon they build each other and can be incredibly source of incredible power.
In 2019, I started reading a lot of books, listened to podcasts, experimented on a lot of things, dated a lot of men, met a lot of people, travel. I did too many things outside of my comfort zone (new experiences, new skills) and I am still doing it now. It took me a while to do something about my life because I needed reasons to, but you don’t have to wait.
I am doing meditation now. Meditation is a state of flow. I am also going for a spiritual retreat once this pandemic is over.
7. Invest and love yourself.
If we start to change our inner world of thoughts and feelings, it will create an improved state of well-being. It always begins with how you feed your body, fuel the mind and nourish the soul.
When you are in love with yourself, you no longer want relationships that are not worthy of your energy. Fear is not the opposite of love, love is the separation from it. We are all responsible for our actions and emotions. Obsessing over what we lack, we will generate more lacking thoughts and will be stored in the body. I will not wait for the outer environment to change to feel loved because I don’t want to let life pass me by.
I will love myself so I can have a positive energy and that the outer environment can change. I will never ever change my past – it made me become better. My thoughts made me sick, my thoughts helped me heal as well. It is like an orgasm in the mind haha 😉
I am still creating a personal mission – a life of purpose, personal meaning and service to others.
I hope this blog helps you to start your journey as I did 7 years ago. I can’t promise it is going to be easy but I can promise that it will become better once you put in the work as time goes by. It will be alright. You too can find the treasure, a treasure worth finding – yourself. 🙂
Maria, sometimes Niskie
My journey in photos