All of us have faced a common nemesis at one point: ourselves.
We’ve all heard of the archetypal conflicts of man vs. society and man vs. nature. But nothing surpasses the magnitude of energy needed when man fights with himself or herself. Internal conflicts can be more complex and harder to resolve than external ones. Sometimes loving ourselves can be even harder than hating ourselves. This predicament stems from our lack of self-awareness and acceptance, which prevents us from living life to the full and maximizing our potential to grow as individuals.
From Gresson Peiffer’s book Sharing My Light & Healing Energy: Journey to True Self, here are some key insights on achieving ultimate self-awareness and acceptance, as told by a half-Filipina living in Belgium:
Recognize that your childhood still plays a critical role in your adult life. Even if decades have passed since you got your last toy, your experiences during your early years have an impact on your adult life. Disney’s 2015 animated film Inside Out shows the concept of core memories formed in the different stages of a person’s life. These core memories are significant experiences in our lives that change how we view ourselves or how we approach life. Ever wondered why some adults splurge on Funko pops or other childhood toys that they should’ve outgrown already? Most of them will say they were deprived of toys growing up.
Don’t ignore your past. That’s how you accept it. Most of us mistake acceptance with ignorance. Ignoring the things that bothered you in the guise of acceptance is akin to kicking dirty laundry under your bed then claiming your room is clean. The problem is still there. Just not obvious. Like Peiffer, we avoid emotions brought up by past baggage and trauma because we believe they have no place in our present lives. But how many times have you sat in silence and suddenly remembered a negative remark someone said about you years ago? If you truly accept it, you won’t even remember it. You would’ve changed that negative remark into a positive. But since you ignored it, you continue to remember.
Ignorance is not bliss when you forcibly delete parts of your past because you think it won’t affect your present and future. Your life is an accumulation of many good and bad experiences which led you to today. Deleting one of those bad days could turn you into a completely different person. Who you are is composed of the past, present, future, the good and the bad. Confront what’s unresolved. It’s one step closer to full self-awareness and acceptance.
Embrace your culture but be open-minded. As a fairly conservative and traditional country, our social movements are defined by norms. More often, the decisions we make in our lives are based on what’s accepted by our families and the general public. Though there is nothing wrong with that, our space for self-expression and creativity shrinks because we feel small and inhibited. We are defined so much by rules and traditions that sometimes we have no room to learn more about ourselves outside of that. True, our cultural background and upbringing is a foundation for our identity. We can’t ignore that. But the choices we make matter more in ultimately achieving who we want to become.
More than ever, traveling is crucial to self-awareness. As a half-Filipina in Belgium, Peiffer highlights the importance of cultural exposure in developing a holistic identity. Learning about other cultures opens us to a wider view of the world. It also makes us appreciate our culture more and makes us feel less inhibited by it. Through traveling, we learn to embrace our culture but also adapt to the changing demands of the world. This makes us more grounded with our roots, but at the same time more adept at connecting with people outside our cultural sphere.
Confidence is hard work in disguise. The concept of ‘confidence’ is now often discussed, especially with the ubiquitousness of social media. It is undeniably one of the things that shape our self-awareness and acceptance. People are hung up on confidence and believe it is achieved through superficial means. But rather than harping on confidence too much, we should look into hard work and skills more.
Knowing your strengths, interests and unique traits is the key to boosting your confidence and self-esteem. The more you work on these strengths, the more you acquire skills that can help you progress towards your goals. Confidence is the end goal, the outcome. But that euphoric state can only be achieved through hard work. You feel more secure with yourself when you put in the time to understand who you are, what you’re good at and how your innate talents can be harnessed to achieve your life goals and purpose.
We are all human. We make mistakes. Despite the notion that some people are more gifted or better than us, we all remain the same: human. Our humanity is no different from one another. Peiffer believes that we Filipinos have more to offer with our unique energy and vigor for life. As a half-Filipina on the outside looking in, she believes we underestimate ourselves and remain confined by racism when migrating and working in a different country. Recognizing that we all have the same humanity internally allows us to feel more at ease with ourselves, no matter what we are externally.
Being fully aware and accepting of who we are is a lifelong challenge. It is a never-ending process we need to work on everyday. As we live more, we discover more about ourselves that ultimately leads us to what we all like to have eventually: a life well-lived with zero regrets and fully embraced and maximized.
Want to know more about self-awareness and acceptance? Grab a copy now! Sharing My Light & Healing Energy: Journey to True Self by Gresson Peiffer for PHP 749.
- Written by Porsha Mangilit