“Because love is not something for which to search or wait or hope or dream. It’s simply something to do.”
― Glennon Doyle Melton, Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed

Disclaimer: All views expressed on this blog are my own based on my own experience and do not represent of any entity with which I have been, am now or will be affiliated.

Why for this blog: I want to know what love is. :p

April 25, 2021
Philippines

If someone asked me what love is, I’d probably would have responded that it’s like a clock that “tick-tocks” to your heart. This sounded really corny as I am writing this but I did not really know what it was until such time that my friends reminded me of what once I had.

When I was a kid, I feared that my parents were going to be separated. I saw my two brothers cried for the very first time in a long time. I thought, gosh. I would not cry – it was my defense mechanism. I did not want my brothers to see me cry in a conflict. I thought I approached it bravely, but that was the time, I first avoided conflict. I did not understand, I was probably 12. I thought it’s good if they separate, they probably did not want to do it anymore. My parents would be miserable if they continued on. But I was wrong, it affected me – I realized that the problems I had that I was ignorant of, I carried them with me into my relationships. My parents did not separate and I am still thankful until this very day that they didn’t – it gave me hope to love and be kind, they taught me that. I am not saying that people should not separate and it’s not good to be separated – they have their own stories to tell. No two people see or experience the world in the same way.

Back in 1996, I attended a birthday party of my classmate, Loui- who was friends with everybody. And I thought I wanted to have friends, it must be very cool to have a lot of friends. Couple of years passed, there I was looking for friends. In high school, I met group of girls – the coolest girls I have met. They were fun! I loved hanging out with them until college – we still talk until now. Things had gone sideways when one of my girl friends lost someone special to her – I thought I needed to be there for her. I was and I tried but I could not take the pressure of being there for someone that I could not understand. I left her without even saying good bye. I thought, she’ll get through that.

Fast forward to when I was working in Singapore, I met a group of another set of friends. I was very happy, I could talk about anything with them – sex, boys, life etc. They were always there for me especially when I was very hungry haha. The friends I met in Singapore were very transformational. But came pandemic and I was writing about the issues I have in my life – which back then, I did not know that they were my issues. Issues I faced at work, men, friends, family – in every relationships I had. I could not let go of what others say about me, kept avoiding conflicts, ego was in an all time high – I never asked help, I have a mindset of I can do this alone. I kept avoiding conflicts. I was still a scared 10 year old kid – afraid of relationships, how to approach them, how to get better. I was looking for friends/relationships but I ended up avoiding them.

I had a conversation with a friend who was heartbroken, he needed me but I told him that I was not responsible for his feelings and I did not speak to him for a while. I remember it was the same feeling I had when I did not speak to my dad when I was a kid but I just thought it was a different thing. My feelings were still the same when I was 10 years old but I am already living in my 33 year old body. How can this still affect me?

When I went back to the Philippines, I came across meditation, learned more about my thoughts and emotions. I also read a lot of books about relationships – Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene, Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi and Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday. And after a while, Stoicism philosophy came to mind as I was searching for meaning in my life. I realized how I lack self-awareness. I did not understand myself and my thoughts.

I realized I needed to surrender and stop controlling my thoughts and emotions. Meditation taught me to surrender – it was a very difficult concept for me but a lot of people and books explained that surrender is giving in not giving up. I am not in control, the process/higher being controls it. But, that doesn’t mean I am giving up and won’t do something about my life. I learned that if I want to meaningfully alter my life, I don’t simply abandon the people around me. I need to replace the dysfunctional habit with a healthy one.

I have learned that negative emotions – it can crash me and lead me with nothing but it can also be a pathway to transformation. I also learned that conflict delayed is conflict multiplied, I have to understand my boundaries. II learned that the people who need the most loved asked for it in the most unloving ways. It sounds crazy but I have been seeking love but love is not to be sought, I need to act on it. It is a really powerful process of engaging myself with others and getting to know more of myself.

Life is really hard – that’s how it is but how can I do my part with a smile on my face? I learned that no matter what I do, if I don’t understand my mistakes in relationships I had I will carry all those in my next one. That’s the hard truth, I understand now, I understood why my therapist asked me questions about myself – teaching me to be aware.

I started surrendering, reaching out to my friends and being closer to my family. I told them that I was really sorry. I really learned it was very hard for me to apologize and once I did, I felt so light that I started crying. I started crying because my friends taught me how to love again.

Love is an act, acceptance that you are so small, that you can learn from others, that you don’t need to change others but fully committing to somebody, just being present. It is just so amazing to say that I will grow old with my friends. I don’t want to leave relationships anymore, it is so tiring leaving and not committing. I am still learning, I am still learning to love and think less of me. I still meditate, walk and get up early in the morning. It is helping me to become a better person.

I hope my blogs uplift and be of service to others. It is truly life changing experience writing about relationships.

My healing is peeling away clothes after clothes and here I am still naked, stripped down to my real identity. I want to end my blog by thanking all my friends through the years, I wouldn’t be who I am today without you guys. Thank you for understanding me when I could not understand myself. It’s a beautiful journey, I am so happy to have witnessed life with you around me. I am glad you showed me how to travel light – letting go of the baggage I had for so long. And lastly, Thank you for teaching me what love meant – I totally forgot what it’s all about until you guys showed it to me again.

Love,

Maria, sometimes Niskie