I Don’t Believe in Love

Two years ago, i asked myself (even made a post here) if I still believe in love. And you’d think after a couple of years, I’d already have the answer.

I scrapped that story I was writing. It’s a romantic story. And I dropped it for a reason – I don’t believe (and won’t ever believe) in love.

But the funny thing is that I’m still that same girl who would cry at weddings. I’m still that same girl who would get butterflies in her stomach with a guy’s grand romantic gesture. I’m still that same girl who thinks a man should never stop courting her girl.

So why in the world don’t I believe in love?

Because the love that we all so know about is deceiving. Because the love on which we base all Oscar-winning movies is not real. Because the love that Ted Mosby has been telling his children in all 9 seasons of How I Met Your Mother is fleeting, much like his relationships.

More importantly, because the love I believe in is one where you’d both promise never to run off to the exit door when times get tough and the romance that once held you together like a glue is gone. Because the love I believe in is one where, despite your differences (coz you’ll have differences, guaranteed), you’d both promise to work hard on the relationship because you both know nothing precious is ever easy to keep. Because the love I believe in is one where you’ll help each other keep your heads above the water when life’s pressures gush in. Because the love I believe in is one that’s not based on emotions but on a conscious decision that no matter what happens, you’d have each other’s back in great faith.

Like my old self from two years ago, I’m still putting my chip on the table. I’m still rolling the dice. But now I know on which to place my bet. Now I know that hope is not a drug one could addictively take, unlike Carrie Bradshaw’s view in Sex and the City, because to believe is to hope. And now I know that believing is only harmful if you’re betting the wrong chip – the wrong kind of love.

I guess two years and many experiences later, I’m still a believer. But no longer will I take advice from old friends Ted Mosby and Carrie Bradshaw.

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do i still believe in love?

god is really onto me lately. it’s like everywhere i go, i’ve been asked the same question over and over: do i still believe in love?

it’s a question i’ve never asked myself ever since i’ve stopped obsessing about guys. it was years ago when i’ve stopped obsessing about my ex and started really living my life. in all those years, i’ve just been focused on myself, career, family, friends, and dreams. so in all those times, i haven’t really thought about whether or not i still believe in love.

until recently. because while i was busy cooking up a fictional character’s love story, god has been cooking up mine. a man from my past is returning to test whether or not i still have the ability to believe.

but life is a game. while there is a possibility of winning, there’s also a promise of hurdles in getting there. so i’ve been also reminded that hope can be a poison you’re so addictively taking not knowing it can kill you. carrie bradshaw even asks what the harm is in believing because you can’t be sure if hope is a drug you should be taking to help you live or if it’s something you need to get off of.

but i have to ask first, what exactly does “believing in love” mean? when you “believe in love,” what exactly are you betting on?

is it the belief that there’s still someone out there meant for you? like in my friend’s case, is it the belief that just by praying continuously and intently, a guy would somehow appear in your life like magic? is it believing that you still have a high market value? or is it like my other friend who believes that if others can find love past the age of 40, so can she?

to what exactly are you putting your faith?

maybe believing in love doesn’t necessarily mean being hopeful that your knight-in-shining-armor is just around the corner. maybe when you put your chip on the table, you are really placing your bet on yourself and on god. because believing in love means trusting that no matter what happens – man or no man – you won’t become bitter about life. maybe it means having faith that god won’t leave you alone, and he will fill your life with people who will make you feel loved. and maybe that would make believing not so harmful after all.

i guess am a believer after all. because after everything that i’ve been through, here i am, still putting my chip on the table, still rolling the dice, betting on myself.

things i’m good at

i have a love-and-hate relationship with facebook. most of the time, i love it because it’s full of information about the happenings in my surroundings. but other times, i hate it for the same reason. and today is one of those days where i regret having created a facebook account mainly because for the nth time, it has made me feel like a loser despite all my accomplishments in life.

i guess that’s what you get when you’re always in the loop – you see what everybody is doing in their lives. but the sad part is that the comparison never stops, which means envy is always present. in career, for instance. you just want to find out what everybody else is doing for a living. who became a company president or a businessman? who became a plain housewife/husband despite good grades in high school?

and it’s always the job or how good a person is in making money that seems to be the measurement of success. don’t get me wrong – i am more passionate in my career than you think. but still, i can’t shake off devon woodcomb’s (chuck) words: “don’t confuse your job with your life.” so i’ve decided to make a list of the things am good at that are not career-related before i get too deep into self-pity mode:

1. i’m a good daughter and sister. i may not be a perfect daughter and a sister to my parents and siblings, but i can confidently say that i’ve given more than what i was asked – out of love, of course. i love my family dearly that i want to give only the best to them.

growing up in a family that’s always struggling financially, i promised myself that when i become financially free, i will give                    my parents and brothers the kind of life they’ve never enjoyed. and that’s what i’ve been doing right now. i may not be                            married, but the fulfillment and love that i get from supporting my family are enough to make my life meaningful.

2. i’m a good friend. it’s one of the things that i pride myself on. i may not be a social butterfly who has hundreds, if not                           thousands, of contacts. but i can definitely keep long-lasting friendships.

i’m loyal, but i know when i have to tell straight to your face that you need to get your act together. tough love, that’s what                   they call it. and my friends really appreciate this in me. they also love getting pieces of advice from me.

3.  i’m generous. because am good in managing my finances, there’s always room for helping others.

4. i’m passionate. when i set my mind to something, i never stop till i get it. i even inspire other people who aren’t self-starters             like i am. and it feels good to be an inspiration.

5. i’m self-aware. it may not be a common achievement to celebrate, but i still take pride on this one. simply because i believe           that a lot of problems easily get solved when a person is self-aware. and because i am self-aware, it’s very easy for me to just               let go and be happy. i can embrace even the kind of emotions that people usually repress, such as sadness or anxiety                               that’s why it’s easy for me to let go of them.

i didn’t do this list to brag. i’m just trying to count my blessings. because in a world where you are defined by what you do for a living, it’s very easy to forget your true worth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

acceptance

my life has been all about choices lately. on the one hand, it’s a good thing because that means i have freedom. but on the other, it’s a terrible thing to be caught up in the web of confusion that makes it harder for you to choose.

nevertheless, the divine has been good to me, and i was able to drill down to what will really make me happy. but the decisions made were not easy. i had to search my soul for answers that i wasn’t even sure were there or if i had to create them out of necessity.

but here i am now, still alive and kicking. and after all the drama and heartaches, i realized what helped me get through all of it: acceptance.

no, it’s not that i backed down without putting up a fight. of course i did what every dreamer would do to anything that wants to take away his/her dreams. here, by acceptance, i mean being open to what the divine (or destiny or universe, whatever it is that you believe in) is telling you to do. if the divine is telling you to pause, unless you do, you’re just going to set yourself up for more trouble and heartache. acceptance is also embracing certain “truths.”

  1. that attraction isn’t something you can control just by becoming attractive. my favorite inspirational speaker published a book on how to find your one true love, where he enumerated steps that can be followed, as if there’s actually a formula. and one of the techniques he mentioned was becoming attractive through self-improvement inside and out.

logic will tell you that just by looking your best all the time and being a good person who looks after other people’s welfare,                  not just yours, is a surefire way to attract a mate. but recently, thanks to curveballs that life threw at me, i realized that                          love is really that mysterious that it’s just impossible to come up with techniques in finding a partner. you can be your best                  self everyday – on the inside and out – while really putting yourself out there for every potential mate to see and still fail.

2.  that chasing after things you don’t care about will only give you stress. there’s a saying that goes: “working hard for                                something we don’t care about is called stress. working hard for something we love is called passion.” it sounds like a cliche’                  that’s been passed around and yet everyone just shrugs off.

and i was one of those who just brushed aside the idea, thinking that every opportunity that comes my way is really worth                     my time and effort. i think of each of them as blessings from above when all they are are a gauge for me to know what my true               priorities are. all this time, i’ve been thinking that by saying yes to every opportunity that comes, i am enriching my life. i                     forgot that my time here on earth is limited that i should only focus on what’s really important to me or i’ll waste precious                     energy and time.

3. that sometimes, it’s enough to just be open. i belong to the generation of go-getters – the ones who are always told we could                 only amount to something if we go after what we want by any means necessary. while that’s exciting to think about, in reality,              it’s exhausting. of course for certain endeavors, only by being aggressive can you be successful. but sometimes, when being                aggressive isn’t enough – you have to take a pause and breathe. because sometimes, all we need to do is be open and stop                        obsessing. besides, there are other equally important things in life to take care of.

4. that it’s better to be alone than fake it. i’ve been single for more than 5 years now. but it’s only recently that i’ve decided to                   open myself up to a new relationship (long story – might need another entry here). and god, of course, knew of this decision                 that’s probably why he sent a few guys my way who expressed their interest in me.

if i were my old desperate self, i would’ve given in to any one of my suitors. but because i knew better, i didn’t. i know in                            myself that none of them are good for me, and if i do get together with any of them, it’s only because i want to be in a                                relationship already. so i thought to myself, i’d rather be alone than lie to other people – or to myself.

it’s easy to feel bad with every single curveball that life throws at you. but if you only know how to look for the silver lining in every situation, life won’t seem so hard after all.

 

 

 

 

lifting the “rock”

five drafts (and counting) in the backend waiting to be published. absent-mindedness. my mind in a spinning wheel. no wonder i can’t finish a damn post in this blog. it’s true what david ogilvy said: “a wooly writer has a wooly mind.” unfortunately, my expertise is in making mountains out of molehills. so here i am, turning a molehill of a problem into a major roadblock and now, i can’t concentrate.

so what’s been bugging me lately? there are quite a few, actually:

  1. love life. oh yes, when’s my heart ever become as calm as lake placid? of course it’s always been my issue. now more than ever.

             the surfer dude is still very much present in my life. he admitted (a few times, with no holds barred, might i add) how   much                he likes me. and nothing wrong with that, of course. except that to me, we can’t be anything more than friends. but the                            problem is, am too selfish to admit that to him so he can go and find someone else who will reciprocate his feelings. in the                      months that we’ve known each other, i’ve just considered him as my “boy toy” (read this article, it’s not what you think.) i’ve                  kept him around to make me feel good while waiting for this guy i actually like. (met this guy i like at this class am taking and                am liking what am seeing so far. and i wanna see what’s what.)

            the surfer dude’s not that bad. he’s cute, kind, industrious, and above all, he adores me. but he’s too far (he lives 8 hours away             from me), too young, and has no stable career yet. and by the looks of it, he’s not a husband material. (no, am not yet ready to             get married but i at least want my would-be boyfriend to be a hubby material in case i become ready.) but this has been                         bugging me because this kooky brain of mine wants to keep the guy on the hook without hurting him (crazy, i know). and of all             people, i should be the first one to know how it feels to be kept on the hook (i was kept on the hook by my ex-boyfriend for                     years.) but instead, here i am, about to get an innocent guy’s feelings hurt. (what is wrong with me?!)

        2.  business. i wouldn’t really call this a problem coz it’s not. but just the same, the whole situation is confusing to me. (they say                 an optimist would call any difficult situation an opportunity, while a pessimist would call it a problem. am beginning to think               am a pessimist.)

              my careers’ been going great. projects pushing through as planned. am learning new things everyday. then came this                               business opportunity from a high school friend.

              i have no idea yet what the business is all about coz we’re yet to meet this weekend. this friend of mine knows am a bit                               business savvy. and one of my dreams is to run my own business. but something tells me the timing of this opportunity is                     just wrong. just when i am so focused on another project, this opportunity suddenly shows up.

              and it confuses me a lot because time is limited. i have a full-time job, a big project, and some other stuff on the side. but on                the other hand, i’ve told myself i need to increase my cash flow for this big investment that am planning to venture in. this is                 just so confusing.

           3. project. this project is so big, i consider myself crazy for even coming up with the idea. but it’s here now, so i guess it’s not                     crazy after all. it’s scary because i don’t know where it will lead me or if it will come to the point of completion. i just keep on                 telling myself, i’ll deal with this one day at a time.

whew! that was a relief, having let that all out. i needed to do this because just like how the “rock” that used to block the intersect’s function in chuck’s brain, these issues have been hindering my productivity. and i haven’t been my usual self lately.

 

we all get the love we think we deserve?

we all get the love we think we deserve.

the first time i encountered this line was when i read a novel called “the perks of being a wallflower.” i decided to read it at the time it was turned into a movie. the trailer for the movie was so interesting, i thought i’d read the book version first.

i won’t elaborate anymore on the story, but the main message simply was the line above. at first, i thought i fully understood what it truly meant – that if you don’t treat yourself well enough, nobody ever will. i thought it was simple as that. and funny how, depending on my current circumstance, the meaning of the line changes. just like when i recently decided i’m ready for a relationship and really opened my mind and heart to entertaining suitors (am from the philippines and courtship is pretty much the norm here), all i got where guys that i thought were not good enough for me. while i prayed for better guys, all i got were the “left overs” (i.e. guys who were left after the good ones have been picked out – the jerks and a**holes). and it got me thinking if the line above is even close to the truth because while i thought i deserved better, i got less.

then i received an email of a talk by one of my most favorite motivational speakers that teaches about generosity. in his talk, he made it clear that contrary to what the society believes, generosity is not just about giving or sharing to others what you have – it’s also about receiving. and he adds “you cannot give what you don’t have.”

no, it’s not that i don’t take care of myself well enough. i exercise, watch what i eat, develop my talents, and learn from my mistakes as much as possible to become a better person. but then again, there’s still a problem – i am not comfortable whenever i receive anything from other people.

you see, i have been blessed in my career and my finances so i can be generous to others. (no, i’m not rich but i have been given enough to support my/my family’s needs and still be able to give to others.) i give material things to the less fortunate (not necessarily beggars or panhandlers but people in my life who have less material wealth than i have). and it makes me happy seeing them happy because i have become a part of the solution to their monetary problem. but whenever i receive from others, say, gifts or unsolicited favors, i cringe at the idea because i am so used to giving but not to receiving.

then came this talk about generosity that made me realize things, not only about life in general but in my love life specifically.

maybe deep inside of me, i felt like i don’t deserve it every time i get attention from guys (the good ones). i don’t feel worthy of receiving love from the good ones because i am so used to giving and looking after other people’s needs. i cringe at the idea of getting my needs looked after by a good life partner just because i am usually the “good guy” who does that for others. god, all this time, probably wanted to send a good guy my way, but i’m just too proud to receive the blessing.

it also makes me annoyed whenever my family is so concerned about me they would do anything for me because at my age, i feel like i should be taking care of all of my needs already. instead of being grateful for getting that amount of care from loved ones, i hate the idea because i’m just too proud to ever get help from others. and that problem probably spilled over to other areas of my life such as love life. i never get a man who wants to take care of me (or maybe i do, i just don’t notice because i immediately send the guy packing without really getting to know him first if he didn’t give the best first impression) because i only entertain the ones that i think (subconsciously) i deserved.

we all get the love we think we deserve. all this time, i thought i really deserved to be loved by a great man, but i have just been too proud to receive great loveand maybe opening myself up to a relationship again means being open to receiving love from others.

love, happiness, and the “chicken or egg” conundrum

exactly three and a half years ago, a guy from my former work tried to pursue me. he wasn’t exactly my type (mostly because of our age difference), but it was such an ego boost, knowing that someone like me who rarely gets attention from guys is actually being courted. my guy friend said, at that time, i was “blooming.” i told him maybe because i was happy and was finally moving on from the devastating incident involving the only man i’d ever loved in my life.

fast forward to the present, i have been getting the same comments again from people around me – from friends and even from acquaintances. they said i look a lot younger than 28 and that i am “charming.” coincidentally, i’m being pursued again by a guy, who because of our age difference i decided not to get together with. (although he’s still very much present in my life.)

this got me thinking, am i attracting love because i’m happy or am i happy because i’m attracting love? like the proverbial “chicken or egg” conundrum, i couldn’t help but wonder, which came first: happiness or love?

while there’s no formula in finding love, it’s almost always true that when you are [genuinely] happy, it manifests in your appearance. and as a result, you attract people. like a magnet, you gain more friends and even admirers. because you are fun to be with and pleasant to be around, more people are drawn closer to you. you become more beautiful than usual – you have a certain glow. and that’s when guys can’t seem to resist you that you’ll just find yourself entertaining more than one admirer.

so what then came first, happiness or love? while it isn’t that obvious, love really is the proverbial chicken and happiness is the egg. but love as the proverbial chicken isn’t the romantic kind. it’s usually the capital-L kind – the one you have for yourself, craft, family, friends, and life.

it’s when you are at peace with yourself and trust yourself well enough and the decisions you make on a daily basis. it’s when you are dedicating every day to pursuing your dreams and perfecting your craft, doing what it takes to hone the skills that were given to you and loving what you do for a living. it’s when you have become more appreciative of the people in your life, letting go of any judgment towards your family and friends, knowing that they’ve accepted and loved you as you are. and above all, it’s when you have the zest to wake up every morning, thinking that another opportunity has been given to you to correct your past mistakes and to just enjoy what you have.

when you are given the chance to do all these, the end result is happiness. contrary to what thomas jefferson said, happiness isn’t something to be pursued – it’s really the end result of living your life in love. when the capital-L kind rules your life, the tendency is for you to become happy with where you are and what you have become. the love you have for yourself, craft, family, friends, and life essentially transforms into the romantic kind. and happiness has only become the tool.

with that said, maybe finding true love isn’t a quest for a life partner or a soul mate. it’s about finding yourself and being at peace with what you’ll discover.