​The Beauty That Comes From Suffering

The teeter totter of life seesaws us between joy and angst. The manic shift between the two occurs without our deliberate permission or willful desire. Still, life happens and we get hurt. Pain is a necessary reality of living. Wounds scar the psyche and remind us we are fallible yet growing. Growth comes from pain, from learning, from moving towards our potential.

Growth is designed to hurt so we never forget the lesson of the pain.

Monsters are not created in the shadows, but in front of innocent eyes forced to label the unthinkable. The blade pierces the heart when we realize the monster also lives within. I am a monster too. You cannot see the monster inside me because I would rather suffer with my story than let the truth be known.

Pain is an inevitability we cannot escape nor should we try. The painful experiences of living contain the precious lessons and blessings we seek when we question our existence, our path, our reason for being. These lessons are the pearls we seek to better know ourselves and our fellow inhabitants on this hurling rock called Earth. Pain is the connection to our collective humanity.

Yet, we do not seek out pain—or do we? We grasp for notions like happiness or cling to a belief in necessary suffering. We ignore our wounds while praying to forget our sadness. We hope to see the world as good and right, but our mind cons us into believing we are unlovable, worthless, and flawed as we try to fit into society’s current version of “perfection.”

So, we choose suffering because it is often easier than facing the truth. Our wounds are necessary for our survival. We must experience sorrow and agony so we may find joy and kindness. We can never know good without bad, right without wrong, success without failure. The yin and yang of living is not a battle between good and evil, it is an acceptance of pain. We have been looking at the continuum all wrong. Pain is a friend and foe.

Asking for help does not imprison us as helpless. These stories are wounds, which are reminders of the pain we are capable of inflicting upon ourselves. These are lessons which honor the challenges of living in the torrential waters of life. I am not a fraud shielding my inner monster from view; I am just a flawed human who is learning to accept my lessons as blessings.

Our wounds do not automatically intern us in suffering. We choose suffering just like we choose happiness. Suffering is the acceptance of victimhood. Suffering traps us into believing we are weak and frail. Suffering is the acquiescence to pessimistic judgment while choosing to ignore the brilliance of imperfection. We are not born perfect. We will certainly die the same way we arrived.

If suffering is indeed a choice, then we also have the power and authority to seek a different path. The only barriers keeping us from joy are our thoughts and attitudes. Let’s reframe our pain from fiend to ally and recognize our wounds as unique plots in the story of life. These are lessons and blessings we can sincerely share with our fellow spiritual travelers. We can revert to our ancient storytelling ways like our ancestors huddled around the sacred campfires espousing the virtues of a meaningful life.

Our experiences empower us with a story, a lesson to share. Our pain is a gift which has the power to transform lives. Stop being selfish. Stop wallowing in a choice. Find meaning in your stories and your wounds will not only heal your soul, but also others as well.

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Dear God — You Are Good Always

You are good, always. Even when the days aren’t as sunny as I thought they would be. Even when my expectations are totally different from reality. Even when I wake up and my back is hurting, you are good. Even when my life isn’t as luxurious as I want it to be, even when Your provisions are just enough for the day. Even when I hold my chest and I swear I can feel my heart breaking, you are good.

You are good, always.Even when the promises made for me can’t seem to find me as of the moment. Even when I am losing hope and can’t seem to find the right track for me. Even when I spend my whole life searching for ways to overcome with You, you are good. Even when obstacles flashflood and the sun never rises and the land suffers from a constant drought. God, I believe You are good.

You are good, always.Even when I’m not. Even when I’m stubborn and disobedient, even when I sin against you, even when I always fail to follow Your word and fall short. You are perfect in loving me, in caring for me, in being there for me, in helping me out. You are perfect in all of your ways, even when I’m not, even when I’m never.

You are good, always. Even when I don’t understand anything, even when I’m sitting in the lowest point of my life, even when my daily task is to fight, even when my eyes never run dry.

You are good, always. Simply because you love me. You love for who I am. And your love, it’s the kind that doesn’t care how dark and ugly and horrible my past is, it’s the kind of love that’s interested in getting to know me deeper, why I am that way that I am. It’s the kind of love that knows all the bones in my body, memorizes all the composition inside my own universe. The kind that knows all too well how my heart pumps blood throughout my blood vessels, the kind that knows why it pumps, who it beats for. It’s the kind of love that never gets tired. It’s always new and fresh, every morning, every evening.

You are good, always. Even in my brokenness, you love me with an unbroken love. The kind of love that protects and sends me to the rock bottom only for me to discover that You are the rock at the bottom. The kind of love that allow circumstances in my life, circumstances that sometimes I don’t understand the background, but is sure that all of it are in the purpose of making me a better person. The kind of love that lets me fail a job interview and lose a battle just so I can delight in a better, brighter and louder future. The kind of love that inspires and motivates me when I am dwelling in a sea of hopelessness. The kind that knows how imperfect I am but loves me despite.

You are good, always.

You show me the way, You guide me.

You know what I need, You permit me to lose people and hurt over relationships because You know exactly who I need. You release all kind of fear and assure me that I can ride the waves with faith. You ruin all other bad things in my life and hold my heart in freedom. You push me to strive harder and above all You acknowledge that I am trying. You are good, always. And at times, I cannot even expound Your goodness using the best words, nothing is ever enough to cover how much Your goodness and love shield me.

You are good, always. Simply because You were there and You will always be there. Simply because You, who began a good work in me will always be faithful enough to bring it into a magnificent completion in Your appointed time. You are good, always. Simply because despite of all the bad things in life, You are still here. And all these dreadful things doesn’t cancel Your existence. Not in any way

To love is to suffer

To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering, one must not love. But then, one suffers from not loving. Therefore, to love is to suffer; not to love is to suffer; to suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy, then, is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy. Therefore, to be happy, one must love or love to suffer or suffer from too much happiness.

I’m going to write you out of me, but the wound, the wound I’ll keep. I’ve been searching for closure, for a reason, for the answers to all the questions my aching heart still sings, and I’ve come to discover something in my pursuit: we should not pine for closure.

Do you see these scars? They tell stories, they carry memories, and they are my whole life. Without the heartbreaks, the mistakes, and the misgivings… I would not be who I am.

Instead of walking slowly to my fate, I am able to swim in the ocean created by all of the tears I have shed. Instead of searching for words out of empty lungs, mine are filled with endless amounts of love I wasn’t able to give. Instead of carrying pain into the unknown future, I am armed with thicker skin from these marks. Instead of fearing love, my heart is dripping of hope for the dreams it has not yet reached.

I have been searching for a way to stitch these open wounds from my last love, but there’s a certain beauty to them now. They are raw and they are real. They are proof of how hopelessly a hopeless romantic can feel. They are the evidence to emotions that pulse through our veins. They are the love stories that are not yet over.

I’ve realized that I don’t need you to heal me. There’s a certain beauty in being broken. It means that I am not invincible. It means that I am not afraid to fall. It means that I am willing to give up my heart for yours. It means that someone else’s broken pieces may eventually compliment mine imperfectly.

I’ve realized that I don’t need someone to save me. There’s something gorgeous about someone whose eyes admit they can be weak. It means that not only see the world, but also really feel it. It means we don’t fear it because it’s already broken us. We are resilient simply because we’ve learned to function in our brokenness. We’ve found happiness in the empty crevices of our puzzled hearts.

I don’t need you to tell me why you left me, if you’ll ever find me again, where it went wrong, when you thought it was right, or any other 2am thought at night. I need those memories, the epic fights, the moment I fell for you, the moment I first hated you – I need them all as a reminder of the women I have become.

But I am not perfect. I am scarred and I am bruised. I am damaged in the best way. I have lived life enough to get hurt. I have hurt enough to grow. I have grown enough to find beauty in the remnants of a storm that tormented my heart. Now there is no symmetry to my heart, but is there truly ever any symmetry in art?

I will write you out of me – I promise you, but this wound I will keep. I will continue to carry my heart on my sleeve. It’s a badge of honor that I will carry with a plastic smile. It shows that I am not afraid to love. It shows that I am not afraid to fail. It shows that I stronger in pieces than I am whole – because I know what it’s like to put myself back together.

So keep your answers to yourself when you wake up with regret. My search for closure has ceased. Instead I’m looking for adventure to fill in the empty spaces. Instead I’m searching for the pieces of me I have not yet found. I go on this journey wounded – but do not get this confused with pained. I am proud of my sensitive heart. It is my biggest weakness and my biggest strength.

I am as fragile as paper, but alas, all the best love stories are written on them.

New Year!!!

I’ve asked myself many times throughout last year, “What have I accomplished?” without actually being able to think of an answer. 2016 has flashed by and I found myself being unable to manage with what was thrown in my way last year. After days and days on reflecting on what went wrong for me, I finally got an answer. That was why I was utterly helpless in the whirlpool that was 2016 that swallowed me up and spat me out. It has dawned on me that in order to make 2017 a better year, changes have to be made. I told myself that in 2017, I will no longer be a lad. I will be a man, and not just any type of man, but rather, a true gentleman.

“Chivalry is dead.” That is how most articles providing guidelines to what a gentleman should be usually begin with. However, being a gentleman transcends just merely being chivalrous or gallant. As the title of this article suggests, we are no longer living in medieval times.

I drew out certain qualities to acquire in order to successfully make this transition in my life, a type of resolution of sort. So, this is how I intend to live my life in 2017 and these are the 8 ways of the 2017 gentleman.

1. Be genuine in both words and actions.
In order to be a true gentleman, you have to make sure that you ditch the masks and facades. You have to want to be a gentleman for yourself, without having any ulterior motive. Have this any other way and this outlook will just be another mere layer to your costume. And so, rule number one of being a gentleman is to be a gentleman solely for yourself and not to alter the way you behave to change the perception others have on you. To be a gentleman is to be genuine and to be sincere. Say the things you truly want to say and do things you truly want to do. Forget about any judgmental eyes watching you. At the end of the day, you only have yourself to answer to, not anyone else.

2. Be a generous listener and a well-spoken individual.
Many people confuse listening with merely hearing. The ability to listen needs to be developed. It requires a deeper level of comprehension than mere hearing. The art of effectively receiving information and connecting with others as well as to communicate your message across to achieve its underlying purpose tactfully will take some practice. Think before speaking and choose your words carefully. Even words with similar meanings are open to different interpretation. Always keep that in mind. Words are cheap and yet, more often than not, they are sharper than blades. Think before you speak and you will save yourself from being in one misunderstanding after another.

3. Take pride in yourself.
A gentleman should really take pride in the way he looks. Get a haircut or change your wardrobe. Don’t be afraid to experiment with something new. Of course, tread lightly and avoid fashion’s cardinal sins. Go ahead and pamper yourself with a facial from time to time. Hit the gym and make the effort to get your ideal body. As clichéd as it sounds, the rationale behind this is simple. When you look good, you feel good. This brings us to point number 4.

4. Be confident.
Confidence is a quality that all gentlemen should possess. The belief in his own ability to succeed in whatever task he is faced with. In the bleakest of situations, it is the belief in yourself that gives you the strength to say “Screw it”, grit your teeth and soldier on. More often than not, against the odds, the result may just show you that you are indeed stronger than you think. Ask yourself what you would do today if you knew for a fact that you would not fail. Then, go out and do it.

5. Be driven.
Nothing is more attractive than someone who is focused in pursuing his dreams. It does not matter if it is that promotion at work or losing 3 kilograms by the end of the month, a driven man will never go out of style and results will eventually, show. However, this comes with a warning. While focusing on your goals are important, never neglect those around you because of it. You may just end up losing the very source of motivation for your drive. We all know how those stories end…

6. Be independent.
A gentleman should be able to stand on his own two feet. Be able to support your lifestyle in a financially responsible fashion. Yes, everyone needs some form of emotional support from time to time but a gentleman should not overly rely on this. Instead, he should be strong for the people around him. A gentleman must be able to stand tall should the world around him crumble and fall. This independence translates to stability and security. Life throws us curved balls from time to time. Being independent makes us more able to adapt to these situations when they arise.

7. Don’t be afraid to wear your heart on your sleeve.
Be someone who isn’t afraid to express yourself. If you are unhappy about something, let it be known. Don’t bottle it up. Think you’re falling for that beautiful lady in your life? Go ask her out. Bare your heart to her. And if she sends your heart back your way, don’t beat yourself up over it and neither should you ever allow yourself to wallow in self-pity. Sure, it sucks but there is a silver lining to every cloud and the best thing for you is still out there. You have no regrets for doing all you could and furthermore, it is her loss to have let a true gentleman go. If she sends her heart back to you instead, then taking that risk of opening your soul to her was well worth it. Always treasure her for baring her soul to you as you did to her. It is just as difficult for you as it is for her to do so.

8. Have fun!
Lastly, and probably the most important of the lot, is to have fun doing what you do. Life is not always such a drag. Make time to just relax and have fun. Put your worries aside and reward yourself for all the hard work you have put in. Do things you enjoy. Be adventurous. Try something new. Pick up a martial art or hit the club with your mates. Life is short. Enjoy it. Smile and be happy. Do not let your worries weigh you down. Live a little!