The human heart was—and remains—a mystery to me. But I’m learning. I have to. —Anthony Bourdain

On breaking the negativity cycle

Two Sundays ago, I got told I was beautiful. It was such a shocking thing. I remember shaking my head and saying thank you to the family friend that said it twice to my parents. Not because I think I’m a beast (and not because I think I’m a ravishing beauty either). My theory is because us Filipinos as a culture don’t expect the compliment. We’re so used to “Antaba mo na! (you’ve gotten fat!)” or at my age “O, kelan na? (When are you getting married?)” It just reminded me how negative our usual banter is and that we should change this culture on its head when we can. Because we are the future titas (aunts/older family friends) that will comment to children on how they’ve been. We can, as a generation, find better ways to start a conversation rather than asking why our quiet niece is still single, and instead go for the positive instead of the usual critique we hear about someone’s weight or failure to fulfill traditional cultural timelines.


You never know how much you’ll affect someone’s day, heck someone’s life even. I’d like you to think about things people have said to you that’s affected you, most of the time simple statements really resonate with people, you never know when, or how much, because words matter, and people listen to you, no matter how you little you think your impact is on others. When you say it one on one, it may make the difference in how a person approaches the next day, week or month.


(Or maybe this is just me reacting to the questions I usually get 99% of the time that I’ve had to bounce back with a shy “When we’re ready!””, or “Just enjoying the time right now”, or when I’m not feeling so great “I just want to be sure this time, this IS forever.”)


So go for the compliment today, my fellow future titos and titas. I’m sure you’ll find something good in the person you run into or meet with. Try to focus on that. I’m not saying sarcastically point out the bracelet you find hideous Regina George style, but find something you really like and if an opportunity presents itself, point it out. Right now, even when I’m mindlessly people watching, I look for at least one thing I like on every single person. It helps reinforce that thinking that there will always be something good about someone, even if your reflex is to look for the bad.


What were you told lately that shocked and awed you?




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